A gentle, horrid haze descended on Philadelphia, bringing with it an Excessive Heat Warning from the National Weather Service and field conditions at Citizens Bank Park that turned the whole scene into a high school hallway.
Maybe it was his attitude. Maybe it was the humidity. But for whatever reason, Umpire Ed Rapuano initiated the longest-distance ejection in baseball history.
Shane came trotting in from the outfield and, via living out one of my fantasies, his first move was to violently shove Paul Bako. Unfortunately, the real target of his ferocity wasn’t the Phillies’ backup catcher/lineup hole, it was with the quickly-tiring old man with a mask on who claimed he saw something 300 feet away.
The Hawaiian’s afternoon was over.
Some poor decisions, a lack of effort, and some Rodrigo Lopez later, we were on the wrong end of a sweep that both slices our NL East lead by three games and caused Charlie Manuel to call a behind-doors yelling-at.
Phillies websites the world over are alive with his words:
“I was upset kind of with how he played today. I felt like we lost our composure and we did some things that we usually don’t do, and we didn’t play like we usually play. … We’re not the team that you saw on the field today.”
Let’s not make excuses. We sucked all weekend. Any attempt to reel in the Marlins was met solely with the flopping, gasping fish landing back in the water. The offense failed to produce. The pitching failed to contain. Shane Victorino failed to control his horrifying temper. And now we set off for Chicago with everybody in a terrible mood.
Having to digest that terrible…terrible baseball has left a rancid taste in my mouth, so let’s just engage in a little game called “At Least.”
-We can be swept by the second place team in August and still feel pretty good about winning the division.
-David Wright is a complete tool.
-Also, seeing Wright up close like that made me aware of that bizarre, frighteningly unnatural alignment of his eyes. His face looks like an unbalanced scale.
-The Marlins aren’t the Mets, who have apparently replaced us as their NL rivals with some steps.
-Lee, Happ, and Blanton and their magical arms will all have a turn against the Cubs.
-I got another Paul Bako diss in there.
-Maybe we can use the day off tomorrow to relax and reflect on what went wrong today, how to improve our efforts, and learn to harness our anger before unleashing it in the form of a casual arm wave.
In watching the replay of the scuffle, although Shane is obscured by Pedro Feliz’s legs, you can see Jimmy Rollins had a stronger reaction than Shane did. Now, I was only watching it on TV, so maybe Victorino had let loose a string of stroke-inducing obscenities at the top of his lungs until the very second he was ejected.
We’ll never know. Baseball is tied together by careful little nuances like that.
See you at Wrigley.