TBOH Midseason Free-for-all, Episode 2: “Ryne Sandberg is managing this team next year.”


With half the season behind us, it’s easier than ever to make predictions.

TBOH staffers will be making their picks known during the All-Star break so you may laugh/cry/shout at/with them/us.

Here’s aggressive button-pusher John Stolnis (@FelskeFiles) with our second entry.

The Phillies are .500 at the break. This makes me (choose one): Confused/angry/pleasantly surprised/pleasantly confused/hungry

I’ll go with “wandering in a glass case of emotion.” I feel like Charlie Brown running to kick the football, only to have Charlie Manuel pull the ball out at the last second and then spit tobacco juice in my face. The “fan” part of me wants to see them win, and this last homestand was great for that very reason. Of course, I know they’re lucky to be .500 and it’s probably not sustainable.

I remember the late ’80s when the Phillies would do their perennial “Dance with .500” as Mike Schmidt used to call it. It’s incredibly frustrating and most times, I’m caught in this “buy-sell” limbo hell.

Jul 14, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies center fielder John Mayberry (15) celebrates hitting the game winning walk off single during the tenth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies defeated the White Sox 4-3 in 10 innings. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

“Ruben Amaro will find a suitable replacement for center field.” Is this a true belief, or something muttered over and over again by someone rocking back forth in the dark?

What are you talking about? John Mayberry Jr. is starting the next 45 games in center. Get on board the Junior Train, ’cause it’s leavin’ the station.

Seriously, who’s out there? Chicago’s De Aza? Alex Rios (he can’t play center, by the way). Who? Juan Pierre?

The most exciting thing about Phillies baseball in the near future:

Watching Ryan Howard run. No seriously, I’m excited to see the young talent, like Asche, Ruf, Franco, Biddle, etc., start to rise through the system. That, and watching Chase Utley play. For now.

The most unwatchable portion of Phillies baseball in the near future:

Any game in which #DemonYoung gets three or more at bats.

The bullpen will get (choose one) better/worse/depressed/hungry

Better, only because it has to. The young arms will hopefully gain from their experience, and I’m sure that, if the Phils are still within 6 games of a playoff spot by the end of July, Ruben will trade for a reliever or two. I’m not wild about doing that, because I hate trading prospects for volatile relievers. But, at the end of the day, Jake Diekman and Justin De Fratus aren’t getting it done. It can ONLY get better.

June 25, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies third base coach Ryne Sandberg (23) prior to the game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Charlie Manuel’s job security – stronger than ever, like Utley’s knees, or weakened and fragile, like Ben Revere’s foot bone?

No doubt it’s fragile. Let’s face it, the dude’s a lame duck. Ryne Sandberg is managing this team next year and there’s nothing Manuel can do about it. Will he get fired in the middle of the season this year? No. Not happening. But he’s definitely managing his last three months (hopefully four) with this franchise.

Ruben Amaro will do (choose one) something/everything/nothing and it will be (choose one) brilliant/terrible/emotionally exhausting

Amaro will do something. What that something will most likely be emotionally exhausting, only because those of us on Twitter will find a way to suck the life out of whatever it is. Amaro’s done some stupid stuff, but he deserves credit for his off-season trades of Revere and Michael Young. Young because he’s likely going to net the Phillies some prospects or a reliever. Hopefully Amaro has learned from his mistakes and that all the maddening stuff he says in the press is either one giant troll job, or he’s lying to us to improve his negotiating position.

I’m not optimsitic that we’re dealing with a mad genius. So, it likely won’t be terrible, but I don’t think it’s going to be anything all that good, either.

NL East:

Washington Nationals

NL Central:

St. Louis Cardinals

NL West:

Los Angeles Dodgers

NL Wild Cards:

Atlanta Braves

Cincinnati Reds


Yadier Molina – St. Louis Cardinals

NL Cy Young:

Clayton Kershaw – Los Angeles Dodgers


Jose Fernandez – Miami Marlins

AL East:

Boston Red Sox (picked them first in the pre-season, yo)

AL Central:

Detroit Tigers

AL West:

Texas Rangers

AL Wild Cards:

Oakland A’s

Tampa Bay Rays


Miguel Cabrera – Detroit Tigers

AL Cy Young:

Felix Hernandez – Seattle Mariners


Wil Myers – Tampa Bay Rays