Chase Utley sat in the examination room. A sweaty, nervous team physician entered with a swath of papers.
“Well, it’s not good, Chase,” the doctor breathed. He eyed the chart unpleasantly and collected his thoughts. It was only fair that he was in here; he had drawn the short straw.
“Your thumb’s sprained. The MRI tells us you’ll need surgery.”
Chase leaned his head back and into some shadows inexplicably collecting in the center of the room. He then took the longest and most intense breath the doctor had ever heard, even though he spent a summer pulling bullets out of fighters in the Sudan.
“All right. Take it.”
The doctor looked up. “Excuse… me? Take what?”
Chase gestured and looked at his extended thumb. To him, it was obvious.
“Just take the thumb off. I can play without it.”
The doctor looked around. Had he read Utley the wrong chart? Was this a normal reaction from a professional baseball player? From… anyone?
“You don’t have to put me under,” Chase continued, checking his cell phone. “Just tell me when you’re finished. First pitch is 7:05.”
He leaned back on the table and put in his earphones. The sounds of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” were clearly audible. The fear of telling this man “No,” was overwhelming, the doctor discovered. Utley just looked like a guy who could fracture your spine with some casual Military move that looks like he’s giving you a friendly greeting; and he was backed by the Puppies and Kittens of Philadelphia. He had every base covered.
“What’s taking so long,” Chase asked, eyes still closed, music still deafening, and not really in the form of a question. “Way, way down inside honey, you need it, I’m gonna give you my love,” he sang quietly, “I’m gonna give you my love.”
The doctor reached silently for something that could sever a human thumb. This was going to be a law suit for the ages.
Pirates 3, Phillies 2
Well, based on this little tidbit of info, and tonight’s some kind of thing, we’re looking at a bedraggled, chewed up, hard boiled body count continuously overflowing the DL.
It’s the very start of July, and we’re all suffering. Some more physically than others, sure, but all of our pain is mental, and that shit lasts forever. Already, this road trip that we couldn’t afford to really lose more than two games, sees us at a disgruntled 1-3.
You can try to see the frosting on this shit-cake (In a nice and stupid twist, Wilson Valdez keeps home running), but in the end it may just not be enough. We are looking at a lot of bench players, and a lot of bullpen absenteeism. You’d like to hope that the right combination of starters would be enough to take down a starter like Daniel McCutchen, who won his first ever Major League game tonight. You’re welcome, Daniel. Enjoy. Youearnedit.
Unfortunately, whatever that number or combination is, we just don’t have it. It’s obvious these guys are in lock down mode, but when you get down to it, there’s a reason they aren’t the starters. Which is why it’s even worse when they go down.
But why just blame the injuries? The Phillies are 11-18 in PNC Park, which anyone will tell you, is a hell of a gorgeous stadium, mainly because of the Pittsburgh-sponsored hideous atrocities happening on the baseball diamond it surrounds. For whatever reason, the Phils just can’t win there.
It’s been close to a month since the Pirates beat a team over .500. Okay? Okay.
Meanwhile, Charlie Manuel observed the game from the press box, a caged beast watching his cohorts struggle and die. It couldn’t have been pleasant. But, that’s what you get for accidentally touching CB Bucknor’s hat.