Go ahead and listen to me blither on with Vito Chirco on Sports Talk Soup again… this time, I say the Braves win the NL East! Baseball is very easy to predict.
Tom McCarthy claimed somewhere around the 6th inning that with their recent success in comeback wins, a four run deficit is “not that bad.”
“Not That Bad,” I echoed to the television. ”Maybe that’s what they’ll call this year’s DVD yearbook.”
Cardinals 8, Phillies 4
Fifth grade me was the same unbalanced, uncoordinated, unathletic horror show that landed me on “CUT” lists for the next five years of my life. But he did have one thing about a professional baseball career that I don’t: hope.
I had read and re-read Cal Ripken’s “The Only Way I Know” so many times I assumed I was a Ripken family friend and showed up at his place in Aberdeen, Maryland on a few impossibly awkward Christmas mornings. Sadly, this confidence and swagger did not translate onto the playing field.
As I was rounding third one night, the 13 people in the audience enthusiastically hopped off their lawn chairs. There was going to be a play at the plate, I could tell by the cowardly expression in the catcher’s eyes. The closer I got, the clearer I realized that I was going to have to perform a massively strategic slide. The ball slapped into the catcher’s mitt, and my body instinctively… threw itself into the airborne. I went in the opposite direction of the dirt, missed the catcher entirely, performed something of a lateral, full body, flip, and kicked the umpire in the chest.
The catcher tagged me out. My coach looked down at his clipboard, refusing to look me in the face as I passed him on my way back to the bench.
“Well, that was atrocious.”
Coach’s mantra that season was bouncing off the insides of my head this evening as the television was home to yet another in a long line of irreversible Phillies losses, starring Kyle Kendrick as “GOD DAMN IT.”
Kyle went five innings, gave up 7 hits, 43 runs, 110 HR, and his ERA jumped to 3,087.99. Ten bucks if you even care enough about Kyle Kendrick’s horse shit statistics to even go look them up. No, I’m not giving you ten bucks. Shut up.
The point is, there’s a reason the Phillies top trade target seems to be a back of the rotation starter who can do something other than serve up opposing lineups steaming, delicious pitches to devour for a few runs every inning.
Meanwhile, that WTF-style offense the Phils are playing got them 13 hits (The Cardinals had 7) on 4 runs. Ryan Howard grounded into 2 Wilson Valdez’s and Placido Polanco did the same, but only once. They all went 3-for-8 with RISP. Charlie Manuel must feel like a teacher who’s second graders just spent the afternoon knocking over dinosaur skeletons on the museum field trip.
“ARE YOU PROUD OF YOURSELVES?!”
Ooooh, and Albert Pujols hit a home run. Real creative, Albert.
“Well, that was atrocious,” Coach’s voice said in my head. Coupled with that alarming flashback was the sound of the umpire weezing and clutching his chest, where a perfect footprint from my cleat now appeared. He wasn’t even an umpire. Just somebody’s dad they got to fill in at the last minute.