I don’t read a ton of baseball books, but I remember carrying around Cal Ripken’s “The Only Way I Know,” for awhile in junior high because I was an obsessed baseball freak, not yet aware of my painfully obvious lack of any and all motor skills necessary to play the sport I loved.
In one section, he’s recalling an early portion of his career, not long after his Major League debut, when a slump found him and came down on his skull with the might and fury of the hammer of the gods.
The fans in Baltimore, clearly unaware of what their future held in store for them, were booing him (Though I don’t know how you could boo Cal Ripken, Jr… you might as well be booing Scott Mathieson or that oil-soaked duckling from the Dove commercial), and he was upset.
His agent explained to him, they weren’t booing him. They were booing his strike out, or his slow grounder to the pitcher, or his GIDP. The same goes for cheering. Fans cheer for a home run or a base hit or a guy jumping three feet into the air like a startled cat to spear a line drive out of the sky.
Are we really booing the Phillies? Are we really down there, with the rest of the message board-trolling sewage scum who say things like firing Chuck or bringing up Dom Brown are going to turn this team around? It’s been an incredibly painful… christ, its been a month already… and we’re learning that we’re not not invincible.
This is like having our guts dissected, held in front of us with a pair of rusty tongs, and then devoured by the mini-beasts from Cloverfield.
My point is, if we turn on the Phillies now, we’re no better than 1981 Orioles fans.
I… think. That’s what my point is.
Marlins 2, Phillies 0
Sometimes I wonder, in the midst of all this dog shit, if Roy Halladay shoves another loss in his pocket that he didn’t earn, and thinks, “Damn it, I came here to win.” He’s going to the cupboard and it’s bare. Its like trying to find something on Hulu to watch but seeing nothing but reality shows and the season finale of “Glee.”
And while second place is hardly the worst place in the universe, and its early, and we’re still in it, when they flashed that statistic on screen tonight–the one that you know they had a production assistant standing by with just in case what has become inevitable happened–and we all found out that the Phillies had just been shut out seven times, the total number of times they were shut out in 2009 in its entirety, well. You’ve got to wonder how much longer they–not us–will be able to pick up the pieces.
Roy was his usual priestly self, hurling a line to hook any school of ambitious fish–8 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K. Danys Baez excused himself from bullpen quarantine to disease the pitcher’s mound Doc had left in all but pristine condition, and proceeded to cough and sputter a HR to the Marlins’ cause, courtesy of Dan Uggla.
And that was pretty much all that happened. Wilson Valdez grounded into a double play, which is becoming the trademark of a Phillies game these days. Jayson and Ryan both struck out twice, Ryan to end it with Placido Polanco on second.
As the sun set over the Philly skyline, a stadium full of dreamers, well-wishers, jilted Flyers fans, drunk pre schoolers, NHL goalies (Leighton was there), and whatever other weirdos wandered into the park tonight got to drown their sorrows of yesterloss with the fresh sting of a brand new heartbreak.
Well. At least Mr. Schuester saved the glee club.