Dance With Me Inside This Ring of Fire: A Phillies Square Table Discussion
By Justin Klugh
Part One: Square Table Discussion
When Crashburn Alley announced its intelligent person round table that for some reason excluded many of us violent alcoholics, we naturally descended into a pit of depression. In response, we had our own round table, so I and several of the other Phillies writers formed some questions, asked them of each other, and went to town. The result is this mess before you. Previously seen on Long Drive, but these answers are slightly different, and totally worth your time!
Cranekicker of Crane Kick Chronicles
Steve @Estebomb and Max @uublog of Fire Eric Bruntlett
Coal Hammels enthusiast @FanSince09
Ryan @petzrawr aka @Sl_JonHeyman (RIP)
Danny Cohen @dmc0603
1. Are the Phillies too right handed?
Justin: If you’re asking whether or not I think the Phillies should pick one prospect and force him to permanently switch dominant hands through a combination of experimental medications, periodically abandoning him blindfolded in the woods, and sending him realistically photo shopped pictures of his wife cheating on him, then no, absolutely not. That’s just awful. You’re an awful person.
In all honesty, I think we’re too Luis Castillo-ed and not enough Jimmy Rollins-ed.
Steve: No, absolutely not. The Phillies can never be too right handed because right is the hand that GOD chose for us to use and all lefties should be purified with hellfire! Unless they’re pitchers.
FanSince09: If by right handed you mean old, then yes.
Ryan: Trick question. Nobody on the Phillies has two right hands.
Danny: I read that 89 percent of the world is right-handed. That means almost every pitcher the Phillies will face this year is right-handed. It is a fact that if a hitter is the same handedness as a pitcher, he will be out. So if the Phillies have more than one right-handed bat, they are too right-handed. Besides Placido Polanco, who can’t get out because he’s fucking Placido Polanco.
Cranekicker: Charlie Manuel sticks both hands down his pants. That should answer your question.
Jeff : Yes. They are too right handed. In fact, they have been too right handed for years. When Chase Utley came to the big leagues, they told him they needed a left handed bat (notice he throws righty?). Utley figured how hard could this lefty thing be, I mean John Olerud did it and he’s a baby back birch. The rest, as they say, is history.
Max: I’m left handed. In Little League, I set a record for most consecutive strikeouts with 223. I think right handed people are good for an offense. That’s why Chase Utley’s injury is a good thing.
2. Does Danys Baez really suck, or is he just the worst pitcher ever?
Justin: And we’ve been Baez’d enough times we can’t even look ourselves in the mirror anymore.
Steve: Baez is merely the world’s greatest actor doing long term research for a dramatic role as the world’s most likable shitty pitcher.
FanSince09: It’s just another example of the Phillies being cheap and disloyal and it coming back to bite them! Should of kept Scott Air, Chan Ho and tried Brett Myers out as their closer!
Ryan: Danys Baez gets a lot of shit and I think it’s completely unwarranted. Baez plays an invaluable role in the bullpen, one that completely changed the dynamic of the ‘pen in 2010. Baez is the guy who translates everything for Jose Contreras. Without Danys, Contreras, who is a much better pitcher and in no way at all sucks, wouldn’t be able to communicate with his coaches. In fact, Dany Baez is — WAIT, HE’S GETTING PAID HOW MUCH THIS YEAR!? $2.75 MILLION!? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME!?
Danny: I don’t know what it is about moles, but Danys Baez, Carlos Beltran and Enrique Iglesias all have one, and they all suck ass.
Cranekicker: Little known fact: Danys Baez is the only person in history the Cuban government allowed to defect. Actually, I believe they forced him to.
Jeff: I really feel this question is rude. Danys Baez is a father, and for all we know his kids could be reading this. If they are, I’d just like to say:
Dear Danys Baez’s kids,
Don’t worry. Whatever you do in life, you will never be as bad as your dad is at pitching.
3. Do you think deaf people have fun at Phillies games?
Justin: It depends on how well their dog can drive when he’s drunk. Wait, that’s blind people. Shit.
Ryan: No. We don’t. It’s just an awful, awful experience. Why do you ask?
Steve: Yes, because they don’t have to hear the opinions of half the idiots that show up. Also, they have little to no idea what WIP is and that sounds pretty nice to me.
FanSince09: I dunno but I think I would love being blind at Philadelphia sporting events, and I’d have someone go with me who would lie to make me feel better. So if I went to an Iggles game in 2008 or so he could be like “No, McNabb isn’t throwing a million balls in the dirt and throwing up all over everything, we’re winning and he’s a great QB” or “Bob actually just made a save in a shootout and Richards demonstrated an ounce of leadership,” at a Flyers game or “Hammels is throwing a no hitter.”
It’d be great.
4. Is Greg Dobbs hot?
Justin: True story: My girlfriend thinks Greg Dobbs is hot. But she also has a signed picture of Jason Kapono on her desk at work, next to three pictures of me, so I think she just takes pity on people whose lives are generally considered a waste of time.
Steve: Nah, I’m more into guys like Jon Lieber because they remind me of abusive uncles.
Jeff: Judging by the batting stance, I’ve become fully convinced that “Greg Dobbs” is actually Cole Hamels when he’s bored and feels like pinch hitting.
5. How many more times will Raul Ibanez stick his bat in his crotch between pitches before he goes sterile? Is he already sterile? How do you know?
JK: My chief concern with Raul is that when he starts to decline without so much as an offensive hiccup, he won’t be able to tell if people are booing or chanting his name. We’ll have to come up with a new sound to express our displeasure. My vote is “HYEEAAAGGHGRGLAAA!” since it’s the sound I make when anything happens during a Phillies game anyway.
DC: I know Raul Ibanez is sterile because he was caught going to a Justin Bieber concert. Sterile people don’t have to worry about being around underage girls. This is why I shouldn’t be on Twitter or allowed into the world.
CK: The only thing sterile on Raul Ibanez is his hair follicles.
Jeff: Again Chris, this is a ridiculous question. If you want to make it in the blogging game (and by this I mean get lots of page views) you need to ask the hard hitting questions. I heard from a guy that knows a guy that works at Raul’s favorite sub shop. Apparently Raul didn’t feel it was necessary to attend the closing of his house. I can’t support a jerk like that.
Max: Raul Ibanez already is sterile, because some blogger in his parents’ basement accused him of taking steroids. Sticking his bat between his crotch is his attempt to regain his sterility. I know this because I once got a spam e-mail telling me how to increase my penis size by 8 inches. It told me to stick a bat in my crotch every time I play baseball. A spam e-mail has never lied to me before or since.
6. How lastly will the Mets finish in last?
Steve: They will be envious of the Royals.
FanSince09: They’ll win all their games against Hammels and lose to everyone else.
Justin: Finally, a baseball question. Oh, wait, a time traveler just materialized in my kitchen. What say you, stranger?
"“I come from 20 years in the future. Who are these “Mets” you speak of? Be they the baseball creatures that dissolved thanks to incompetence and shame in 2011? We have heard legends of their existence but assumed their tale of woesome embarrassment was merely a biblical exaggeration. Now! Let us head to the nearest whiskey den, where we shall commemorate their destruction by watching a baseball game between the Houston Phillies, Jr. and the Google Presents the New York Googlers.”"
Wow why did that guy talk like he’s from Medieval times. That made no sense. Oh well. He just threw up and died of exhaustion on the floor anyway.
Ryan: The Mets will finish in last place in every meaningful statistical category as well as a few more that I just made up. For example: BABIP on Thursday Night Games from American-born right-handers born west of the Mississippi.
Danny: You think it’s any coincidence that every Mets player wants to be on the Phillies? Valdez, Schneider, Castillo… nobody likes to lose every day in front of fans who pay more for tickets than Phillies fans. The Mets will be tied with the Nationals on the last day of the season. Johan Santana will give up 10 runs in 2 innings to the Reds, and the Nationals will win to put the Mets in last place.
Cranekicker: If the Phillies are the sun, the Mets are Pluto. RIP Pluto.
Jeff: I want to make a joke here, but I can’t top this.
Max: The Mets will lastly finish so lastly far in lastly last place that the entire team will hold a press conference on ESPN announcing their decision to quit baseball for the rest of forever. It will be because “it wasn’t fun for [them] anymore. If you’re not good at a single thing you attempt in life, how obvious does it need to be that the entire rest of of the world hates you? We tried winning games, but we’re just worse at that than everyone else ever. We tried signing guys, but we got, like, Chris Capuano and shitty guys like that. Even the Nationals spend $126 million. The fucking Nationals!”
Then, they will become like the Globetrotters of baseball, except instead of cool tricks, they play really bad and they would go around losing to crappy Little League teams and nobody cares about them anymore and everybody is happy.
7. Will the Phillies win the NL East or do you think age has caught up with them and the Phillies will surprise everyone and win the NL East?
FanSince09: They should win the east, but they’re too old to make a dent in the playoffs. The Giants are a younger team, with all their young home grown talent like Burrell, Rowand, Torres, Tejada, Huff, Ross, etc. By the time October comes around, the Phillies old core will all have developed dementia, and it’s very hard to win a baseball game when the majority of your team is hiding buttons and muttering about The Kaiser.
Justin: The “Phillies”? Aren’t they that team that was great once, then collectively became so outrageously enfeebled by the time they were all 30 that there was never, not once, a time during the 2011 season when at least one of them wasn’t unintentionally pooping in their pants?
Ryan: I think the Phillies are my dark horse candidate to win the division. They’re also my white horse candidate to not lose the division. They’re my Cinderella team for the NL pennant, and my Mulan team to win the World Series.
Danny: The Phillies will win the same amount of games as girls I talk to on Twitter at least five times a week.
Cranekicker: As long as Sarge is in the booth, the Phillies will win the NL East. The numbers don’t lie.
Jeff: Since Mid 2010, the Phillies have made a transition from underrated (when they struggled before deadline last year), to overrated (when they entered playoffs with 3 aces and Vegas essentially made them a lock to win it all), to underrated (when beard left), to overrated (when Cliff came back), to underrated (when Buster Olney pronounced every Phillie dead). At this point, nothing would surprise me. Nothing except the Phils losing 4, maybe 5 games. I’ll say 159-3.
Max: The Phillies are old. Old people aren’t good at things. I would know, I have grandparents. They forget stuff easily. They injure themselves whenever they move. They eat dinner at like noon. They need like 16 hours of sleep and hourly naps or else they get all cranky. But it’s not hard to figure out how Roy Halladay will fix this problem. All he has to do whenever a player gets too old to be good is make another clone of himself and teach the clone how to play the position. He taught those other 5 clones their positions in like ten minutes, and he even taught the Lidge replacement clone how to have a closer’s mentality.
But what will happen when the clones themselves get old, you ask? Quit being dumb. Clones can’t age, obviously.
8. How concerned are you that the Phillies only won 97 games last year? Especially after only replacing Kyle Kendrick in the rotation with Cliff Lee to address this problem in the offseason?
Justin: Switching out Kyle Kendrick for Cliff Lee is like replacing a light bulb with the sun. But I don’t mean sunlight. I mean having the sun be the thing on your bedside table instead of a lamp.
FanSince09: Well first of all, you’re welcome. As you all know, if I hadn’t posted on a now defunct area blog of note with “Should of kept Cliff Lee!” every time the Phillies lost, the Front Office may not have signed him again. But because I pointed out the error of their ways, they realized they had to make it up to me and bring him back. Unfortunately, the damage is done because Hammel was so bad in 2010 that they had to trade the best young pitcher in baseball, JA Happ. If they kept Cliff Lee they could of had Halladay, Lee, Happ, Oswalt, Blanton right now and could of traded Hammels for Oswalt last year. Lee right now is MAYBE a slight upgrade over Happ, but I think they win 88 games this year due to being old. Very concerned.
Ryan: Kyle Kendrick’s wife has a pretty awesome restaurant in Philly called Gigi. They have a TV there that displays tweets that pertain to the Phillies. One time we got drunk there and bombed it with all kinds of fucked up tweets. Nobody in the restaurant understood why this fat guy and his red-headed girlfriend (I’m talking about my girlfriend and I, not Peter and Lois Griffin or the Mets fan and the Scientologist from King of Queens) were cackling at the TV screen.
What was the question again? Something about Survivor? Yeah, I watched it but I think it went downhill after they had Boston Rob on there for a second fucking time.
Danny: I’m not so sure this is an upgrade. Kendrick is younger, cheaper and has a hotter wife. Also, apparently two countries want him to play since he almost got traded to Japan. Cliff Lee gets recruited by only one country, so how good could he really be?
Cranekicker: Risky move breaking up that chemistry and lifting Kendrick in place of Lee. We’ve all seen what Lee can do in the past, but TWO straight seasons of baseball into late October? That takes it’s toll. I’m calling dead arm. Should of kept Kendrick in the rotation.
Jeff: Let me explain something to you sabr-nerds. There’s something called “swagger” in this game, and Kyle Kendrick has it. My friend Skip Bayless taught me this lesson and you should learn it to. Sure a pitcher wants to prevent runs, that’s like 8% of his job. The other 92% is to “will” his team to score runs for him and get him lots of win shares. Kyle Kendrick is a master of the 92%, Cliff Lee at that 8% thing. Now I ask you, whats better, 92 or 8?
Max: I am very concerned about the Phillies this season. I am concerned that they won’t win all 162 games. I am concerned that Halladay won’t be able to find a cure for Utley’s extremely rare and unpronounceable disease before he succumbs to it. I am concerned that Halladay won’t be able to fix Dominic Brown’s swing in time to save his career. I am concerned that Halladay won’t be able to re-teach Cliff Lee about grit, hustle, and heart which he lost when he played in Seattle. Wait one sec, I’m getting a phone call. I gotta take this…
Ok, I’m back now. That was Kyle Kendrick. He said that Halladay gave him the job of re-teaching Lee about grit, hustle, and heart and that he brought in David Eckstein’s heart (not David Eckstein himself, just his heart) to help. Lee will be fine.
9. Cole Hamels had a break out year in 2010, putting years of mediocrity behind him. What can we expect from him this year? Hair highlights? Dogs in backpacks? Cy Young?
Cranekicker: Hamels and his wife Heidi will open up a chain of pet grooming boutiques called “The Pitcher’s Hound”. The business will be a huge success and Cole will retire in June to focus on his true passion. He will be replaced with Kyle Kendrick. Kendrick will then open up a Jean Country with his wife Stephenie and retire in July. He will be replaced by Vance Worley who will go undefeated and win Rookie Of The Year. In the offseason he will open up an Express Opticals and retire.
Danny: Cole Hamels will break the record for consecutive no-hitters, switch to his right hand to pitch and break the fucking record again. Then he will say “you know” 948 times in 20 seconds.
Justin: I’ll take the leap and go with “movie career.” I envision him trying to steal a neighborhood petting zoo as the villain in a children’s movie. Cole is widely panned for the performance and Charlie Manuel is never able to look him in the eye for the rest of his career. His advertising contract with Comcast gets “accidentally destroyed,” which is information that is told to him by the quivering voice of a nervous intern. Then he pitches a perfect game amidst a completely silent stadium, throws his glove into the crowd and screams “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!” He walks off the field with his arms in the air and goes home to a fiery forty-hour fuck-a-thon with his wife.
Ryan: Speaking of Survivor, Heidi Hamels is pretty hot. Cole Hamels will win 18 games and everybody will still shit all over him on talk radio. He will, however, lead the team in “Things Broken by Baseballs in Comcast Commercials”
Max: I am insulted that you would accuse Cole Hamels of having a break out season. That would infer that he had a good season. He lost 11 games and he only won 12. I asked fellow Phillies blogger (and babby-back birch for snubbing us in his “We’re smarter than you” roundtable) Bill Baer if anyone has ever had a good season with a 12-11 record. He said, “No. Wins and losses are the most important things for pitchers.”