I was negotiating through PNC Park on Saturday, trying to avoid both the distressed, distant stares of the Pirates fans and the ignorant “E-A-G-L-E-S” chants of the Phillies fans. It was the sixth inning and a swarm of moths had descended on my section, clogging the air, frightening the old people in front of me and at one point, carrying off a child to feed their young.
On my way back from the bathroom, there were two PNC Park staffers standing in the walkway with a vacuum/hose device. One of them stood there, whistling I think, while the other crammed the hose head down some drain without mercy.
I had only a few seconds to consider what I was looking at before a sluggish, darkly shaded ooze began spilling up out of the hole. What made it worse was that neither of the employees reacted the way someone at point blank range for the emergence of a sludge fountain would normally react. The guy with the hose gave it a rest. The other hadn’t stopped whistling. This was the best part of his day, apparently.
I looked down. My shoes had quickly been enveloped by the increasingly foul smelling liquid. Within 30 seconds, it was covering the majority of the pathway back to a number of sections.
Fourth of July weekend saw the Phillies end their road trip 2-5. The dugout is running out of recognizable faces. Even the fruitless victory of All-Star game balloting came to a yawn-inducing halt.
And that’s where we are right now. Third place. Limping. Underwhelming. Losing.
Standing in a river of shit.
In a weekend of dumb looking hats and explosions in the sky, Big Joe Blanton was the Phillies latest implosion, epitomizing the diseased baseball being played by people in Phillies uniforms. With a three run lead going into the seventh, he watched his “just keep chucking” style crumble like an old cookie. 10 batters strolled into the box, and it was decided that Joe was no longer the man to clean up his mess.
Jose Contreras was also not that man. The Pirates tied it, courtesy of Delwyn Young and his magical two-run double. Thanks to the ferocious blur that was the Buccos’ strike, there wasn’t a large window of time to warm someone up. Caught off guard, Charlie Manuel had to watch from the dugout as his starter slowly choked to death on the mound, without being able to offer him any sort of relief.
Imagine the look Old Yeller would give you if the gun jammed.
And now, the Phillies return home sweet home to let the collegiate drunken coos and rants of Dollar Dog Night cradle their weary heads. A sweep of the Braves seems unlikely. At times like this, especially with our first half ending on a first place note when its comes to opposition (Braves, Reds), it may be better for our sanity if we just take it a game at a time, like Charlie.
Would Conteras, man who’s ERA bounced to 8.00 for the month of June, have been Charlie’s guy had people like Chad Durbin or Rayn Madson been at his disposal?
"“I don’t know. But today that’s who we have.”"
And today was not very pretty.
Meanwhile, across the country, a certain somebody watched as his former club/teammates/probably best pals gurgled and died another prolonged death. “I’m still with a whole different team, and that’s in the past,” he said.
And another Monday starts with me dying a little inside.