Archives for posts with tag: Philadelphia Phillies

The word is (from Jon Heyman of SI.com, found at Metsblog) that the Phillies got Roy Halladay, the Mariners got the Phillies’ Cliff Lee, and the Toronto Blue Jays (Halladay’s initial team) got prospects from Philadelphia and Seattle.

And John Lackey’s in Boston, getting checked out. (Same sources as previous.)

You know what this really means?

It means Cliff Lee–an amazingly dominant pitcher in this most recent World Series–has moved from the National League to the American League.  It does not mean the Phillies have both Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay as a one-two punch.

It means the Phillies have given up Cliff Lee, money, and prospects for some unspecified number of years of Roy Halladay.

It means John Lackey, who could’ve wound up in our local market and given Mets fans who sweat the latest Yankee move, has become a problem that’s solely the province of Yankee fans.

It means the Mets have not signed a pitcher with elbow problems or a pitcher who’s about to enter the second phase of his career–one that could be defined by increasing decrepitude just as easily as it can be defined by greatness.

I think the Mets come up aces here.  They’ve got Johan Santana; they can still hunt for Jason Marquis (unless I’ve lost total contact with the world and Marquis has moved–if so, please email me about it, ’cause that’s the only way I’ll know).  Is Garland still free?  I’ve eaten three meals in three days; please send word and a Five Guys cheeseburger.

Furthermore, two teams with relatively sensible GMs have just set the bar for free-agent pitching contracts.  Other pitchers, whose hype has not dominated the wires over the past weeks, will fall short of said bar.

Cerrone’s freaking out a bit.  And he has legitimate concerns.  But I think the Mets are astoundingly lucky here.  The Phillies could’ve managed Cliff Lee AND Roy Halladay; the Yankees could’ve had Sabathia, Burnett, and Lackey in their rotation.

Frankly, as fans we’re at the exact same number of wins and losses we were at when the week began.  As Neil Mink tells Tony Soprano at the end of “All Due Respect”: be of good cheer.

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If you go to Keith Olbermann’s Baseball Nerd (linked on the right sidebar, or click here), you’ll find some pictures he took last night at Yankee Stadium.  One he took was of Sean Hannity taking a photograph of him.

There is an object lesson here.

Anyone who watches Olbermann or Hannity (or both, if you can somehow manage to do so without your brain exploding from the convergence of matter and anti-matter) knows that they’re not much for each other’s company.

At the ball park, however, they are civil.  Civil enough to take photographs of each other, in a way that by no means seems to signal a truce, but rather an understanding of rivalry and where its place is, and how it’s to be conducted.

Rivalry in baseball takes place in the ball park.  It takes place on the field.  For fans, the players we cheer are our weapons with which we attempt to achieve superiority.  That’s why we go. That’s why we do our best to show our colors and fill to capacity the place we know as our second home.

Fans can get caught up in thinking that cheering is not enough, and that energy turns into something harsher, and unwelcome.  While cheering and jeering is perfectly acceptable, fistfights aren’t.  Battery isn’t.  THROWING batteries isn’t.

Again, I’d like to point out this photo, of a Phillies 2008 championship flag being set on fire at Citi Field this past season.

burn.jpgSmeared and blurry as it may be, this is the image that sticks in my head as fandom gone horribly wrong.  It’s fandom pushed to this place by rowdy idiots, but not to be condoned no matter who’s responsible.

I’m pleased the Yankees won the World Series in part because I do believe it’s perfectly acceptable to root for a team based in New York if you live in New York.  That debate’s been had, and it seems that over the past week that rather than eat our young, Mets fans on any side of the issue have agreed to disagree.

I’m pleased the Yankees won the World Series because they beat the Phillies.  I think Jimmy Rollins has some thinking to do about his freelance gig as a prognosticator.  I think Cole Hamels needs some time to burnish his image with the team’s fans.  I’m pleased as all get-out that Shane Victorino grounded out to end the game.  That guy’s a jerk.  Empirical study has proven it to be so.

I’m pleased the Yankees won the World Series because it means Philadelphia today doesn’t look like a smoking hulk out of some Roland Emmerich movie.

But mostly I’m pleased because it provides me with the opportunity to make this extended announcement, to any fan of the Phillies who may have engaged in the kind of near-criminal abuse of other people who happen to come from elsewhere, and who may be reading:

“Fan”: there’s a time and a place to be a degenerate. 

New York has been home to MILLIONS of degenerates over the years.  They’ve burned parts of this city down over the course of decades.  They’ve been part of a culture of violence and decay that threatened to ruin it.

Yet while some today moan and complain about how no one in Times Square knows how to mug them right anymore, most of us are glad to have the pleasure of being concerned with how many Starbucks franchises constitutes the correct number for a five-block radius.  These are concerns of adjustment.  They’re not concerns of crisis.

The Yankees conducted themselves in a straightforward, business-like manner, and believe me, that’s infuriating to a lot of New Yorkers as much as it’s pleasing to others.  They did their talking on the field. 

They did their talking with their wallets ($201M in 2009), as the Mets tried to ($149M in 2009), and as the Phillies tried to ($113M in 2009), and as the Twins barely could ($65M in 2009).

When the Yankees won, their fans went as crazy as t.p.ing a tree a few blocks from my house, and dropping half-full beer bottles on the street.  I’ve not one report of a torched car, nor one report of some clown standing on top of a car that then takes off, leaving him prone and concussed on the asphalt.

Just because there’s no destruction of physical property doesn’t mean people didn’t drink so much they puked, or blared their horns as they drove down the street heading home, or conceived a child.  Or–sweet Jesus–all three.

(Section Five Twenty-Eight does not condone drinking and driving, or drinking, then driving.  Driving, then drinking, is the appropriate order.)

There’s a time and a place to be a degenerate, I say to those who’ve ever thrown a punch or urinated on a cap or verbally assaulted a minor while wearing the red and white. 

New York is not that place.

This is not a plea for you to change your way of life at home, though I’d certainly appreciate any further destruction attempted be kept away from our country’s national treasures.  This is a strong damn warning to refrain from acting like an animal when you come to the home of the Mets. 

Come in as many numbers as you want, or you feel you need.  Spend your money. Do your worst in jeering the players on the field if you think they’re overrated showoffs.  The Mets have a laundry list of problems to fix for 2010, but that doesn’t make them any less capable of stomping the Phillies at Citi Field, or Citizen’s Bank Park.  THAT is the fight that I and Mets fans like me–and there are thousands like me–are looking forward to. 

We’re NOT looking forward to telling you to shut your mouth when you start berating US and not the players on the field, and having to do so to the point where only a fist to the face will shut you up or keep our children from crying.  Our past is not so far from our minds that we’ve forgotten how to defend ourselves, and we will.  But fights are not why we go to the ball park.  If that’s why YOU go to the ball park, then DON’T come to our ball park.

My overarching hope with a Yankees victory was that people like you, the degenerate, will have gotten out of bed today, stared into the mirror, and found some humility.  There’s no one–not even Yankees fans–who can’t find their humility. 

As one who’s been humbled many, many times, I can say with certainty that THIS lesson in humility is one you deserve.  Not the Phillies fan down the street who goes to New York and cheers the Phillies and boos the Mets, but talks baseball, not pure obscenity.  Not the Phillies fans who celebrated 2008 by cheering Ryan Howard’s power or Jimmy Rollins’s skill.  Not those guys.

You, the guy who in 2008 thought it was great fun climbing up a lamppost and chucking beer cans at the world.  You, the guy who was looking forward to doing it again this year.  You, the guy that clapped as Jose Reyes took Chase Utley’s knee in his head, then cheered as he lay there.

You, guy.  There’s a time and a place to be a degenerate.  That you can’t even be one in the privacy of your own home is what I’d hoped would be taken from you, at the unfortunate expense of fans who deserved a championship a hell of a lot more than you or your ilk.  Look in that mirror, and think about what you’ve done in the past. 

Understand that, karmically, YOU caused this.  The team you proclaimed homegrown and gritty lost to superior numbers and superior dollars.  That, in my book, reads as success spoiled.

I don’t state this case cheerfully.&
nbsp; There is no tone of gloat, here.  I have no real problem with the Yankees or the fans I’ve met and are friends with.  But they’re not my team, so I can’t really share in the celebration.  Your loss this year is only the means to what I hope will be a more civil end.

Next year, Phillies fan, for both our teams.  Come correct, or don’t come at all.

**Someone please pass this along to the genius who wanted one put in Jose Reyes’s neck.

**Editor’s note: Updated November 9th, because I can’t tell the difference between Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity.

There’s a woman named Patricia McCann who provides product and service endorsements on radio commercials in the New York area. She often introduces herself about a third of the way, and often off-handedly:
 
“…And they never get their whitest! Patricia McCann; good morning. But I’ve discovered new Stop-N-Glow, the first bleaching system that works while you wear your whites!”
 
I didn’t grow up listening to radio, so it took me a Google search–and about a week to remember, post-ablutions, to DO the Google search–to find out that she was a staple on WOR radio, and that she in fact comes from radio people.
 
I’m still not buying Stop-N-Glow.  Paul Vargas; good morning.  Your nominees for post-season contention are:
 
NL East: Philadelphia Phillies
NL Central: St. Louis Cardinals
NL West: Los Angeles Dodgers
NL Wild Card: Colorado Rockies
 
AL East: New York Yankees
AL Central: Minnesota Twins
AL West: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
AL Wild Card: Boston Red Sox
 
What follows is a breakdown of wishes for World Series success, and NOT an analysis of who’ll actually win. This is the wrong place to go for handicapping.
 
I’d be excited to watch a post-season in which the Twins managed to win it all. It smacks of bandwagonism, but I watched the tie-breaker last night (from Top 7 on) and was captivated. That Nick Punto’s heads-up.
 
They play the Yankees to open, and I’m on record as saying I love a parade. I really have no beef with the Yankees if they pull this one out. I hope the Twins at least make a series of it, but I’m good with either of them coming out alive. Again, excited if the Twins make a successful run, but not devastated if they don’t.
 
With that in mind, it’s difficult to order the rest. Generally I seek mercenary justice against those teams who knock my horse out. In 2007 I rooted for the Indians as a favor to my friend from Cleveland, and the Yankees series they played was a bonding experience, as was the unfortunate Red Sox series. But this year, without major beef either way, I’ll have to wait to see who comes out of the Yankees-Twins bout victorious before I go that route.
 
Really, the only reasonable thing to do is pick the rest by ascending order of hatred. 
 
This’ll be fun.
 
Colorado Rockies: Spilborghs’s jerkitude is counter-balanced
by Clint Barmes’s keeping his head down and mouth relatively shut; I’m
talking about that game against the Cardinals in which Barmes didn’t
catch the ball on the run. Also, Jim Tracy is a shining example of what
a manager can do when the former manager is booted mid-season.

Boston Red Sox: Boston fans are fun to talk with on the whole.
Knowledgeable folks, for the most part; battle-hardened. I presume that
there are more like them outside of Bukowski Tavern; I only really know
the ones INSIDE Bukowski Tavern.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: dumb name, but generally un-gross. Additionally, some fun in rooting for these guys at Pacific Standard, which is a West Coast leaning bar that enjoys the Oakland Athletics. It’s like rooting for the cat in a game of cat-and-mouse.
 
Los Angeles Dodgers: it’s getting lean. I have nothing exciting to say about the Dodgers. Neither good nor bad. That Alyssa Milano really took to the game. How’s that?
 
St. Louis Cardinals: Yadier Molina has farty pants. I’ve said this. Why haven’t you been paying attention?
 
Philadelphia Phillies: My list of grievances against the Phillies, their fans, and the city of Philadelphia is long and infuriating.
 
Shane Victorino is a mess. Cole Hamels speaks of choking without respect for his own team’s abominable history. Jimmy Rollins should have a fine enough time trying to square the circle on calling his team the one to beat and growing irritated at on-field celebrations. That they got to the postseason those years is irrelevant; he’s talking out of both sides of his mouth.
 
I have seen physical assaults of Mets fans by Phillies fans, including one truly awful incident in which several Phillies fans surrounded a teenage Mets fan in a. Shea bathroom on September 15th, 2007. I don’t like teenagers, but it took me and twice as many Mets fans to get the teenager free from the circle and shove the Phillies fans OUT of the bathroom and into the arms of security. Bruises along my arms and back were not what I wanted for my birthday.
 
burn.jpgI’d be remiss if I didn’t at least mention what becomes of some Mets fans when Phillies fans come to town. 

To the left is a photo snapped after a victory against the Phillies on June 9th of this year.
 
A group of Phillies fans came to Citi Field and harassed Mets fans in Section 532 or 533; forget which exactly, but to Section 528’s left, directly above the left field wall.
 
After three hours of abuse, a couple of visits by security, and an eventual Mets win, the Phillies group wound down the left field ramp followed by the Mets fans, and one jerk stole a Phillies “2008” championship banner from them.  He was encircled by other Mets fans, who chanted “Burn that s***! Burn that s***!”
 
That’s a photo of that s***, indeed, being burned. It’s blurry because I was shoved out of the way by a cop as I took it.
 
I’ve seen each of the Mets’ other rivals in the parks; I’ve seen victories, I’ve seen losses. I’ve never seen anything like that, and it’s inexcusable. There’s no call for harassment on either side.
 
The city itself is unfriendly, as a municipal enterprise. I was once cursed at by a Philadelphia traffic cop. And I took the TRAIN in.
 
“Excuse me, but do you think I own that car?”
 “I told you: move it out the f****** way or it’s gettin’ towed!”
 “Ma’am, it’s not my car.  See that Amtrak station? I just got off the TRAIN.”
 ::Owner arrives to move double-parked car:: “Whoa, whoa–don’t write the ticket!”
 “Move your car!”
 
Philadelphia, you’ve shown me nothing that makes you deserving of any kind of championship. In fact, everything I’ve seen shows you as standing in the way of human progress.  You’re blowing it for the rest of us.
 
The banner burning is an example of what happens when you’re allowed to congregate in groups larger than four, and leave your city’s limits. 
 
Tend to your own house.  Come out when you’re ready to play nice.

Recapping my preferred order of World Series victors:

–Minnesota Twins/New York Yankees
–Colorado Rockies
–Boston Red Sox
–Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
–Los Angeles Dodgers
–St. Louis Cardinals
–a bottle of Yukon Jack
–a tumor
–TEN tumors
–two tumors
–the penitent ghost of Joseph Stalin
–Philadelphia Phillies

I’ll take any and all hate mail at omniality [at] hotmail [dot] com.  I will most likely read it then delete it (same goes for any hateful comments left here), but feel free to send it.

Specifically, any one of the genus of Picoraviridae that knocked me out this weekend.

In short, I had a cold.

I have the worst colds because I suffer the shortest colds.  For me, they’re the upper respiratory equivalent of ripping a Band-Aid off in a single yank.  Or the baseball equivalent of turning a triple play.

Or the Perez equivalent of getting yanked mid-count.

I honestly have never seen that happen.  To any pitcher.  Granted, there wasn’t television available in the dorm rooms at Bennington College, so I missed a significant chunk of live Mets mediocrity.  I had to settle for reading about it online. (Remember what the Mets website looked like in 2001?  Neither do I.)  But in my time of watching Mets baseball, I don’t recall a pitcher getting pulled out mid-count.

Hell, it’s to the point where I’ve been telling people not-in-the-baseball-know that you can’t take a pitcher out mid-count unless he’s injured.  My God, was I wrong about that.  Now I have to go back and tell people I’m a moron.  They knew this already; still… embarrassing.

So now I’ve gotta find out when the last time was that such a thing happened.  I will email various fine folks; I will scour the Intertubes.  I may ask people at Two Boots tomorrow, if I’m not still hacking up a lung.

Which I don’t think I will be.  Colds for me are done after a couple days; most I see suffering colds suffer them for a week or two.  Not me.  Something knocks me off my horse, I loll about in the dirt for a bit, I’m asked if I want some aspirin or cough suppressant and say no; I hallucinate in the middle of the night that Ron Livingston is going to blow me out into space; I sneeze like a maniac for four hours; I get right back on.

By the by, you may ask: why am I more interested in the history of pitchers removed mid-count than the eviscerating of Oliver Perez for his terrible performance?  The answer: if this is indeed the rarity I think it is, I have him to thank for giving me a thumbnail answer to anyone’s assertion that he’s any sort of good.

Someone: “Oliver Perez is throwing some heat tonight.”
Me: “Three balls to Pedro Martinez after two three-run homers, and he was pulled mid-count.”

Someone: “Wow, that was amazing!  You see Ollie get out of that jam?”
Me: “Three balls to Pedro Martinez after two three-run homers, and he was pulled mid-count.”

Someone: “Oliver Perez sure can climb into a car without hitting his head on the roof.”
Me:  “Three balls to Pedro Martinez after two three-run homers, and he was pulled mid-count.”

The Mets have had some BAD players in their time.  But this guy feels like he’s worse than New York Mets bad.  I don’t know what that would be, but it’s out there.

Mets wrap it up in just about an hour against the Phillies.  Bobby Parnell squares off against Cliff Lee, and I hear the Phillies are spotting the Mets four runs before the game even begins.  Will not, I hear, affect Cliff Lee’s ERA.

Lest you think I’m a curmudgeon, know that I’ve watched this video at least a dozen times since yesterday.  The best part is when Victorino throws up his hands.

Heh, heh, heh.

So he walked six and gave up the same number of hits, yet struck out seven, yet YET escaped with one run.  And the Mets avoided the sweep against the Diamondbacks (W; 6-4).  That’s supposed to be positive?

He threw 5 1/3 innings and 111 pitches.  Sean Green, for all the good he’d do the next day, threw 19.  Feliciano 17.  Stokes 13. 

You know what that’s like, telling me Oliver Perez was not terrible?  That’s like telling me the unemployment rate ticked down slightly in July and wholly ignoring the fact that the rate does not reflect the number of people who’ve given up looking for work

Yes, I’m on his case.  But I’m on his case because I don’t think he’s a good pitcher, and using this start to tell me (middle of page) the man relishes pitching with men on base (doghouse, Omir Santos–doghouse) and that he’s showing signs of, if not greatness, then at least usability, ticks me off.

Bad contract.  BAD.

And while I’m on the subject of Sean Green, an open letter to the man:

Paul Vargas
Section Five Twenty-Eight
http://omniality.mlblogs.com

August 13, 2009

Sean Green
New York Metropolitans Baseball Club @ Citi Field
Roosevelt Avenue
Flushing, NY 11368-1699

Dear Mr. Green,

STOP.  HITTING.  BATTERS.

Regards,
Paul Vargas

enclosures: one (1) photo of me, shaking my fist angrily.
cc: Omar Minaya, General Manager
Jerry Manuel, Manager
Nelson Figueroa

**

Separately: Section Five Twenty-Eight endorses loud booing, heckling, and other non-physical forms of abuse at people who roundly deserve it.  Shane Victorino?  Roundly deserving.  Throwing an elbow at a player while deeming yourself and your team as the vaunted overlords of taste and class makes you deserving of my invectives.  Hell, you could just be there and the opposition, and deserving of a li’l sumthin’.  See: Gregor Blanco, 2008.

But should I ever be within shouting distance of Victorino (he’s not getting a Mister), he’s getting the deluxe treatment.  ‘Cause he’s a no-account whiner on top of his dirty tricks and vindictive showboating and general attention-paid-to-anything-but-baseball-so-the-spotlight-is-on-him-as-often-as-possible.  Boo, Shane Victorino.  Boo.

No, trolls, I am not discounting skills.  Plenty of wastes of time have remarkable skills.  Karl Rove is a genius, for example.

Knowing, as I’m sure readers do, where this is going, I should say that while I condone certain violent acts when appropriate, and enjoy petty vandalism when the results are not permanent or costly to reverse (this excludes grafitti and scratchitti), I don’t know that I condone Victorino’s beer shower.

You can see it, if you haven’t (I watched it live at a bar and nearly choked on my grilled chicken sandwich) by clicking here.  I suffered for that link, by the way: that level of red, applied to Phillies or not, burns the crap out of my corneas.

I don’t condone it because it makes the Cubbies look bad, and I bear no animus toward the Cubbies; I don’t condone it because it looks cheap in the face of an eleven-run deficit; I don’t condone it because it’s a waste of beer. 

To paraphrase Chris Rock: if you are one of the fortunate few on this earth to get your hands on a beer, drink the s**t out of it.

All that said, you gotta admit that from that angle, past the ball-catch on the wall, and with such an oddly-shaped projectile: it was one hell of a shot.**

Way to file the complaint, by the way, Shane-o.  “We’ll get the guy”?  Slow down, McGruff.  Chicago PD will get the guy.

**For the record, I’ve been doused with beer, whiskey, pillow feathers, and shaving cream.  I’ve also been sprayed with a fire extinguisher, been shoved down a flight of stairs (that was in good humor), and swung into a concrete wall, suffering a light concussion (that too, with best intentions).  In all occasions, I was able to find at least one aspect of my behavior I could’ve changed that would have kept me dry and/or uninjured.

I spent the weekend on my couch, a trash can by my side and Gatorade and Ritz crackers at the ready.

But at least I wasn’t at Citi Field.

To tread the line between A Great Deal of Information and Too Much Information, I’ll say that somewhere along the way during Friday night’s game versus the Yankees (L, 9-1), I got whacked with something less-than-good.  My constitution was built by U.S. Steel, but lately it’s been knocked on its heels.  I was no match for a one-two punch of what I believe was an unfortunately undercooked and undeserved green pepper and some stressing news, reporting of which to the masses would certainly cross that aforementioned line.  (It’s not even my news to report; but let’s have good vibes for people who should hopefully get better soon.)

I made it through CC Sabathia’s loss of his no-hitter (praise be to Sheffield), and through an unfortunate bout of foot-in-mouth disease, yelling at a friend for his revealed distaste for people who throw balls back onto the field.

(And let’s get a little basebally here: yes, I know the Cubs fans do that.  But unless the Cubs trademarked it and unless and until it’s banned by Major League Baseball, let people do what they want to do. 

I’m not throwing away a caught ball, but I’ve never caught a ball and I would like to catch a ball.  Others may not care.  It’s their business if they want to throw it back or not.  And just because they do it regularly out in Wrigley Field doesn’t mean Old Man Wrigley made Kenesaw Mountain Landis swear that they’d only do it at Wrigley Field. 

On top of which–and I’d hate to get on the bad side of Cubs fans, whom I dig a great deal–the Cubs haven’t won anything since 1908.  Rather than take this as reason for their deserving of undiluted tradition, I take this as reason for them NOT being deserving of undiluted tradition.

It’s not obnoxious, like playing Neil Diamond during the middle of the eighth inning.  It’s an expression of distaste for the fact that the opposing team has just scored a run or four.  Throw it back if you want.  Just don’t hit any of our outfielders.

There.  Now, had I presented my argument that way, rather than feverishly ranted for ninety seconds, then bellowed in a half-empty stadium that the Cubs could go do something anatomically improbable,  I could have avoided feeling guilty for the rest of the game, and similarly avoided the apology.  I was not a well man.)

I slept about thirty hours this weekend, and it was delightful in hindsight, though waking up soaked through was less-so.  I don’t blame the guy at the sausage stand.  I blame myself.

But I slept, and did not do my duty and watch the balance of the series.  So I missed A.J. Burnett’s ridiculousness and Chien-Ming Wang getting off the schneid.  I went to my default food-poisoned comfort viewing: Six Feet Under and WWII documentaries.  You can’t blame a man who’s on the mend for skipping the Jon Miller And Joe Morgan Show in favor of sleep that doesn’t lead to dreams of Nate Fisher leading the charge through the Ardennes.  I don’t think you can, anyway.

I am now up and about and of middling health.  The Mets are at .500, and two and a half games behind the Phillies.  Both mine and the Mets’ situations are reminiscent of last week at about this time.

I have video of the maelstrom which overtook Citi Field and delayed the game on Friday.  If I deem it worthy, I will post it.  Looked cool on my camera, anyway.

Mets defeat the St. Louis Cardinals 11-0.

I suppose this was possible because it wasn’t technically a rubber game.

My thanks, too, to the TBRays, for the victory over the Phillies.

How ’bout that Fernando Nieve, at 3-0?

More when I’m not basking in the glow of an authentic blowout.