I know I said “Sunday,” but you’d be surprised how little flight attendants and pilots care that you “have to update the Phillies blog” or “chief’s gonna have my ass.”
High volumes of air travel sometimes turns me delirious.
Also I was being interviewed by all sorts of Mets blog internet radio.
Cliff Lee swung into Philly while the town was facing toward Toronto and Roy Halladay. The surprise of his arrival was far from negative, as Cliff became the dominant life form on the pitching staff’s ecosystem; an intrical predator in a league full of hitters who were happier without him.
But we all know this story. It has a shitty ending and all the main characters end up confused and/or in Seattle.
Yet during Cliff Lee’s quick entrance and quicker exit from Phillies lore, Jamie Moyer was carving his own niche into history: the Wise and Persistent Elder Statesman. Both players were part of a Phillies team with emphasized grandeur.
In the quietly chilling annals of Philadelphia’s autumn–a time of year when the broiled roadkill of yester-season becomes a frosted science fair exhibit–it is 2010, and everyone’s story has undergone significant tweakage. Cliff Lee returns to the World Series in a different uniform, and Jamie Moyer returns to winter ball in the Dominican Republic at the age of 47. Seeing either play for the Phils again may be relegated to a fantasy world, for those of whose fantasies heavily feature middle-aged men playing sports.
In the case of Jamie Moyer and the Phillies, it is a case of who will blink first. From an outsider’s (my) perspective, it seems like the Phillies keep assuming Jamie Moyer will retire, or explode; while he keeps playing, and not exploding. 47 is an even closer number to 50 than 46. I don’t think there’s an actual rule saying a man can’t play pro baseball at the age of 50, but it sure seems like an appropriate cut off; one that Jamie edges closer to with every second, and yet, he continues to hate the “old man” stigma so much he succeeds on the mound out of pure will (until his injury, of course).
Were this a movie, and in my head it always is, Jamie would drift to the dugout and accept the role of beloved pitching coach/advisor that is clearly meant for him. But his seeming indestructibility arouses certain inquiries.
- Have doctors greatly underestimated the limits of the human body?
- Is the Moyer Foundation just a front to feed into the construction of cybernetic body parts for Jamie himself?
- After drinking from the Holy Grail, how was Jamie able to maintain his eternal life after leaving the collapsing temple?
No matter who comes up with the “old guy” jokes, Jamie is off to the Dominican Republic, without even so much as a reply email or restraining order in response to the above questions.
Some people, however, are still playing some baseball for some reason. When Cliff Lee isn’t uncharacteristically allowing offense or watching his family get spit on by classy New Yorkers, his hobbies include hunting, baseball, and possibly becoming a free agent.
That said, the Phillies have no chance of collecting him a second time.
That said, nothing has stopped us from conjuring images of him arriving back in Philly, hugging it out with Ruben Amaro and high-fiving with Doc in such a way that sends a dimension-shattering shock wave into the cosmos. Of course, having endless money as the Yankees do, Cliff can’t afford to eliminate them from his potential 2011 suitors just because his family is still washing the Empire State’s saliva out of their hair. But plenty of other teams would welcome a pitcher who fails to experience negative form of human emotions.
I believe we’re stuck playing “if only” in these particular Cliff Lee sweepstakes, not that that is a bold prediction in any way. Problems loom on the darkening fall-adelphia horizon, as leaf clusters swarm into traffic and cause driving obstructions your parents and instructors always warned you about but you’ve never actually experienced.
One inevitable sacrifice has presented itself in that we don’t really have a first base coach right now. Davey Lopes, the mainstay behind the bag since 2007, has ditched his post because he and the Phils were unable to come to an agreement concerning his paycheck. Which is funny because you can imagine the Phanatic across from him at an officious conference table, sitting in silence, passing a piece of paper with various offers on it back and forth as a clock ticks. It is not funny because he’s a bad-ass, necessary first base coach who led the league in successful stolen base percentage for four years running and claims he wasn’t asking for all that much.
We’re forced to go to fantasies a lot right now; a quicker playoffs exit than predicted, a possible loss of Jayson Werth; a guy keeps sending me his thoughts on the team via some alarmingly racist emails. But these things indicate that the shape of the Phillies 2011 team has already begun to be sculpted as pieces are chiseled away. It’s the offseason. Changes will be made, decisions will be questioned, and people will die.
Though not directly because of anything related to the Phillies.