It’s a “Joe Blanton, Surprise Whiskey” Friday!


Port Charlotte’s underwater today, meaning the Phillies and Rays will not be exchanging pleasantries or baseball bats as planned; which is information, for those of us trapped in the already saturated Northeast, that is meaningless.  Though the similar weather patterns in both Florida and Philadelphia will make it easier to pretend that I am down there.

Delusion!  It’s a crutch.

So, with the heavens wide open, we’ve got no Grapefruit League game to preview, or review, or do whatever the hell we do here, so instead, I’m going to fill up this space with some stuff I found.

Firstly, I realize I tend to blanket this blog with intense, startling bitchings regarding Phillies-related journalism, partially because some of the things I’ve read are increasingly evident of minds failing with age, but also because I am a bitter, cynical man, who aches to achieve what Phillies journalists higher up on the food chain have already achieved.

But today, I’d like to throw some props at John Finger of for his, in turn, throwing of props at Joe Blanton, who I discussed yesterday as being lost in the shuffle more than ever, simply because he’s doing his job well.

“Consistency is great for big league pitchers and their managers, but for fans it’s kind of boring,” Finger writes.

Oh my god, consistency is so damn boring. As much as I like Joe and his ability to make a ham sandwich out of seven innings of baseball, Finger is absolutely right on the money.  Everybody starts drooling at the notion of a pitcher’s duel, but when you’re watching one in person, you’ve got to be really, really honed in to appreciate it.  You’re sitting there, getting sunburnt, falling asleep, and no one can even throw in a broken bat single to break things up.

Roommate and I decided to watch a Phils-Giants game last season when Tim Lincecum was squaring off against Pedro Martinez and, upon the discovery of leftover whiskey in the cupboard above the stove (“‘Surprise whiskey?!’  Thank you, baseball gods!”), we chose to take a shot for every strike out.

Why?  I don’t know.  It’d be funny, I guess.  We usually just do home runs.

Anyways, Lincecum had about four by the second inning, and Pedro was calling and raising the shaggy-haired Cy Younger that night, so combined, we were already seven or eight shots into the bottle when the whole thing was called off in favor naps.

Meanwhile, Sportscenter starts foaming at the mouth, and at the end of the day, they’ll get to talk about how spectacular the game was because they only had to sit through 30 seconds of strike out footage and probably, like, a shot of a bird comically landing on the field and disrupting the game for 10 seconds or something as Stuart Scott makes a brilliant pun.

Anyway, not to make this sound like too much of an insult, but Blanton’s that guy, and that’s why he’s overlooked, more often than not:  He doesn’t allow the game to get broken up.  Yes, he’s had shitty outings (we all have, i.e., the aforementioned whiskey), but Big Joe comes and goes often without a blip on the radar, and because there’s not a whole lot of lights and sounds, it’s like he wasn’t even there.

Take his last start against Detroit.  He didn’t strike out or walk anybody, but he only threw 35 pitches through four innings.  He only needed five to steamroll through the fourth inning.  That’s getting shit done.  That’s knowing your role. That’s pitching.

Bob Matthews, on the other hand, will receive zero props, and not just because this blog is blatantly and, most of the time, offensively, Philliesbiased.

Matthews said that the Yankees infield is better than the Phillies, which, okay, I’m listening.  He goes through a position-by-position comparison, saying Teixeira is a smidge better than Howard, Chase blows Robinson Cano’s doors off, Jimmy and Jeter are even, and A-Rod plays in a dimension of baseball Polanco’s never even heard of.

And then he concludes, naturally, that “The Yankees infield will outperform Philadelphia’s infield by a significant margin this season.”

Uh, yeah.  After such careful deliberation it makes sense to end with the assumption that the Yankees are way, way better than the Phillies infield.  I’m not going to start a debate here, obviously I favor the Phillies infield (but I would favor them over the Yankees even if they were a bunch of heroin smugglers), but the point-by-point constructive argument Matthews put together doesn’t seem to jive with the abrupt nature of his conclusion.

Well, whatever, there’s no baseball today, there’s just rain.  At least it isn’t snow. If it were, you’d be reading my last will and testament on these pages, as a I slowly loaded a shotgun and headed into the night, continuously referring to myself as the “angel of death.”

Wow, ending on a dark note today.  Happy Friday!