When I was 14, I was riding my bike home when I came across a cat struggling for life in the weeds. He looked healthy enough that he could have carried on for decades had his torso not been pulverized by a mail truck, or whatever unfortunate vehicular carnage had occurred moments before. He must have been fully prepared for existence, in great shape, seemingly primed for whatever life could stack against him. Sure, there would be harsh times, but he’d pull through, because he was strong and fresh and willing to fight. Instead, he would now spend the next few days meandering half-dead through the vegetation until the last of his guts fell out.
God my fantasy football team blows.
To distract myself from the “pulverized stray cat torso” that is my weekly fantasy affair, I’m going to peak back at the Phillies glorious season, and just whose skulls they stomped on to get where they are now.
Like Gandhi once said, “Sadism is A-OK, because it makes you feel better. Now who wants to finish off this British soldier with my staff.”
1. Atlanta Braves
We’ll start with these guys, because they’re such a fresh kill.
Now, I’m sure the same Braves forums that were whimpering and shouting and spewing spittle for the past few weeks are now full of jubilant, moody southerners today, all guaranteeing that they were one of the golden fans who had managed to keep the faith through the hard times. Eeking an 8-7 win passed a team that has straight-up embarrassed you in the past two meetings and defeated you in the past five surely instills a great deal of hope for the challenges to come.
But months and months ago when the Phils were written off as nothing but shameless NL Wild Card contenders, we all knew it would take a great deal of patience and victory to overcome the self-built deficit in front of us. Somehow, we would have to transform from a crippled band of aging miscreants to a wild-eyed flaming scourge of streaking missiles and swinging K’s. Good luck.
Meanwhile, the Braves already were what we had to become. They had youngblooded hitting. They had oldblooded fielding. They had starters rising to the challenge and a relief corps to back them. The NL East was their’s to lose.
2. Jonathan Broxton
“I’m just feeling a walkoff,” my cousin said, in K Lot, just before Game 4 of the 2009 NLCS.
I threw my empty beer bottle into what I thought was a trash bag but what was actually a woman’s purse and made a joke about the people next to us looking like their necklaces were made of anal beads. I am one of those hilarious drunks you’ve heard about. I know the other ones only think that they are funny when everyone else thinks that they suck, but I’m different because I’m actually funny.
It was a night in which the lines to the bathroom stretched the length of Ashburn Alley (populated by old men making jokes about their prostates exploding) and we would both lose and then find and then re-lose our cell phones. But neither the cellular communications blackout that followed, nor the health issues of the elderly could spoil the finale to this particular playoff game.
Time after time, the Phillies have made Jonathan Broxton stand in front of a mirror and question his self-worth. Sure, he’s got a 100 mph fastball. But for some reason, the Phillies just swarm and overcome him whenever they can. Bringing him in is like ringing a dinner bell. He is delicious. And so is the victory he brings; namely the 7-run deficit he helped us overcome with only two innings left on August 12.
Thank you, Jonathan. Your sacrifice will not be forgotten. For taunting purposes.
3. Cole Hamels
The fact that I don’t even have to remind you of all the times we fucked this guy over is tragic. Cole represents a good chunk of reasons why we weren’t even better, which at one point this year actually meant something. Now it just means we would have been better than the best we are now.
But back when wins weren’t just flowing like a pure, crystal stream of liquid delight, when we weren’t hitting and all of my posts were filled with sarcasm, accusations, too much punctuation, and admittances of constant crying, Cole’s shitty luck with the offense was usually to blame.
Time after time, start after start… Cole would hurl a beauty only to let one run slip by in there. And then, he’d be alone, walled off by his own teammates and left to his own devices.
Shipwrecked on the Island of Misfit Offense, his victimizing at the hands of a dry gulch of a lineup was criminal. The desperation and endless frustration was of biblical proportions.
Forgive them, Cole. They know not what they do.
4. Kyle Kendrick
I know what you’re thinking. ”But weren’t we victims of Kendrick for most of the year, idiot?!”
Well, first of all, Kyle was never supposed to be there. Anybody that can work out with Roy Halladay for all of Spring Training and emerge anything less than a powerhouse is clearly lacking in some key areas of pitching (“Not Letting the Other Team Score” is a big one, I hear).
So Kyle topped off a mediocre spring by getting beaten onto the rotation by a 47-year-old-man. That’s not a slight against Jamie Moyer. I’m just saying. There were plenty of other prospective starters trying to make plenty of other starting rotations and a lot of them were competing with zero 47-year-old-men and made it.
Not supposed to be there, Kyle barely had time to rightfully hang his head in shame when Joe Blanton went all “strained right oblique” on us. Suddenly, Kyle had a job again, and boy were we… concerned.
Then on July 20, “Phillies starting pitcher injuries” passed the torch from Blanton to Jamie Moyer, who was yanked after straining a something or other muscle in his whatever. And Kyle’s reign of terror continued.
For every seemingly dominant start he’d throw out there, there were two more to follow where he wound up getting tattooed to all holy hell. Always a victim of “that inning,” KK was most likely to be cruising, only to give up seven runs in the time it took you reply to a text message. And that message was usually “Dude, KK is tots cruisingLOL!!!1″ because that is how normal people speak.
And, because he was never supposed to be there, Kyle fell victim to expectations and demands that should have been shouldered by some other, better pitcher. He wound up being on the same rotation as Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, and Roy Oswalt, and he is Kyle Kendrick.
Secondly, you’re the idiot, idiot.
5. My Sanity
Roommate peered cautiously around my bedroom door.
“Justin?” he asked. ”The landlord says your rent is not ‘under the rock by the far tree,’ as you keep suggesting it is.”
“SHHHHH!” I replied. ”I’m building something.“
“What? I can’t hear you through the Phanatic mask. Why are you dancing.”
“THE PHILLIES ARE A CORPSE OF YESTERDAY. TOMORROW SHALL BRING NEW LIFE.”
The sound of the door quietly closing indicated Roommate’s hopelessness with the situation. His hands were clean. In a few months, they would no longer share the same apartment, and he would have a new roommate, a cool roommate… one who wouldn’t react to another Phillies loss by accusing the toilet of conspiring against him.
Something glass broke from inside Justin’s room as Roommate turned up the volume on the Yankees game.
“That’s it,” he thought. ”I’m bolting the door from the outside.”