Another Reason to Hate the Mets – Sorry, Thaddeus

The Mets are going to host a dinner for the Hebron Fund this month, a group that supports the ongoing illegal settlement of Hebron, a city in the West Bank that has some really onerous Israeli religious folk.

Go to this site and tell the Mets to suck it: http://www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org/publish/article_1227.shtml.

Pretend you’re a Phillies fan and 600 Mets fans come down the turnpike, pick a spot downtown and turn it into an armed garrison. They then proceed to take pot shots at random Philadelphians, walk through town pointing their guns at everyone and being a real nuisance. When there is some violence, New York sends down its police force to keep the peace (if violence is directed at the Mets fans, only).

And then one day you come home, and find David Wright, Jose Reyes, and Carlos Delgado telling you to get the fuck out of your house.

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Utley: Godsend

utleinator2

The machine behind the man

Courtesy of Costesflaming bat.

Back to the Bronx for Game 6.

“Chase Utley, you are the man!”

Nick Swisher, 29, Will Be Best Remembered for His Relatively High .OBP

Police approached Joe Blanton quietly as the pitcher put out his hands to be cuffed. He didn’t say anything, he just let the officers lead him off the field and push his head down as they ducked into the dug-out. Meanwhile, Sgt. Thomas Patterson pulled a sheet over the victim’s faux-hawked head. 46,000 witnesses looked on.

“I’m sure we’ll uncover more about the relationship between the two as time goes on,” said Sgt. Patterson. “But, yes, we do think it was premeditated. We’ll continue to investigate.” He looked glumly towards the batters box, stained with a three inch patch of pin-striped blood. “It’s such a shame to see a guy with such a high on base percentage go like that. I mean, his average was terrible, but he sure knew how to walk.”

Nick Swisher, RF, Yankees, aged just 29, leaves behind a career .245 avg in 6 seasons in the majors though with decent power numbers and a good on base percentage. Joe Girardi, Yankees Manager, said that Swisher was one of the best number 7 hitters he ever knew. “And I knew a lot of them,” Girardi said.

Authorities are still unsure of what caused Blanton to throw the fatal pitch, though they suspect that the dispute was from their days together on Billy Beane’s Oakland Athletics, a team that patched together a mediocre offense that walked a lot, combining statistical analysis with breathtaking boredom.

Swisher, Blanton

Nick Swisher is best remembered for acting like an ass at every available opportunity

In the photograph above, Swisher (right) looks on in sheer oblivion. Joe Blanton is pictured on the left, cold and calculating. “He would scare you, ya know?” said Phillies’ third baseman, Pedro Feliz.

Though police are certain that Blanton acted alone, there is reason to suspect the existence of an accomplice, perhaps pictured here thrusting his hand towards Nick Swisher’s crotch.

However, other theories abound.

“I suspect Ruiz,” said Ron Hudson, a Phillies fan. “Last night, in Game 3, Swisher bowled into Ruiz with his knee up. I think he told Blanton to throw that pitch.”

Others disagree. “Nick was acting like an ass on second base last night when he got that double. He was also acting like an ass when he got that home-run. He was also acting like he batted higher than .249 this season when he acted like an ass after flying out late in the game,” said a Yankees player, alias “A-Rod”. “I don’t know. Anyone could have been in on it.”

As authorities investigate the murder, fans will ponder his .114 batting average in the post season up to Game 3. He’ll also be remembered for his wit.

“The way things have been going, to pull off a win like this gives us momentum and confidence,” said Swisher during the regular season after a win. “The way it happened was cool.”

Hey Everybody, the Yankees have a new tradition!

The New York Times has broken the news that the Yankees have a new tradition. Regardless of the definition of “tradition”, and blind to the fact that the coverage of this World Series is reaching inane heights, the New York Times goes on to describe this previously unknown “tradition” to its online audience that got bored 3 paragraphs into reading about a bombing in Pakistan.

This “new” tradition that is called, “pieing,” which the author is delighted is in the dictionary (“And yes, word fans, the Oxford English Dictionary recognizes the noun “pieing,” just as it recognizes the verb “to pie.” – NYtimes.com) was brought to the Yankees this year by some genius named AJ Burnett. It’s a “creamy slap in the face” that is employed when a teammate hits a walk-off. You can almost hear Jorge Posada sitting in the dug-out around a hastily crafted fire grunting, “Boom him in the face” while he leans on a tree-trunk that is used as a club. But, it doesn’t stop there. The catch is that it is shaving cream, not whip-cream, and now the Yankees are doing it, despite the fact that the article begrudgingly accepts that yes, several other teams have been doing it for years. But hey, it’s now happening in the House that Ruth Built Next to the House that Ruth Built, so already, it’s beyond mythic.

Below you will see a victim of “pieing.”

Pieing

Notice the “reach-around” employed to make sure that he takes as much cream to the face as possible.

Jim Bouton, the foil for this article, doesn’t like it one bit.

“In my day, they had more creative ways to sort of celebrate,” said Mr. Bouton, 70. “Pieing would have been silly, kids’ stuff. We would put a live snake in a guy’s underwear. That is something that real men would do. This is silly stuff, you know what I mean? It’s kid stuff. The guys today, they’re inexperienced.”

Real men would stick reptiles down each other’s trousers. You can almost hear Mr. Bouton going on, “Back in my day we didn’t only pie the player, but their families too, in the middle of the night. Yessir, rounded them up and pied them into a ditch. These kids ain’t got no backbone.”

An expert weighs in:

“baseball historian John Thorn drew a distinction between what he considers pranks like snakes in underwear and rituals like postgame pieing — and, he added, the pie in the face is a new phenomenon, as these things go. “I don’t remember this happening 20 years ago,” he said. Pieing, he added, was a product of “the age of irony.”

Good thing he said something. Before I just assumed pieing was the product of vastly overpaid man-children who are treated like Mona Lisas. Now I can relegate all of that to “age of irony”, which also made “Rick Rolling” popular.

Conclusion: “pieing” is not new, nor a “tradition,” the Yankees are over covered, and the media is way too in love with those billion dollar boys in pinstripe blue. Like Mr. Thorn says: “It makes our heroic players seem like regular guys, and we like them to have 90 seconds of insipid postgame interview capped by the pricking of the gonfalon bubble.”

Prick those gonfalon bubbles, mates.

Don’t Tread on Philly

Don't Tread on Philly

A common flag in colonial America. Go Phillief! (image by Eric Nielsen)

A Philadelphia Phillies versus New York Yankees World Series creates a lot of rivalry hype. We’ve heard talk about “Cheese-cake vs. Cheese-steak”, a “statue of liberty vs. the liberty bell,” “Wall St. vs. Broad St.” etc. Implicit in all of this naming is a class-war between New York and Philadelphia, where the Yankees represent money and glitz, while Philadelphia represents stagnation and grit. Obviously, this can’t only be about baseball – it’s a war between cities whose fans border each other (see this particularly dichotomous article from the Associated Press: Cheesecake versus Cheesesteak). The author, the famous Jim Litke, goes as far to make this about New Jersey:

“To most of the nation, this year’s World Series sounds like a lot of work just to find out where New Jersey’s loyalty really lies.”

As an avid New Jersey partionist, I find this level of rhetoric a bit myopic.

This is about more than the current Philadelphia versus the present New York. No, it’s much deeper than that.

This is about the roots of AMERICA.

On July 1st, 1776, as the Continental Congress sat in PHILADELPHIA, they pondered if they should declare independence, forever severing themselves from the crusty teat of jolly ol’ England. By the next day, most states had been won over, all except NEW YORK, which postponed their vote while the other twelve voted for the United States of America, and thus, freedom.

But NOT voting for the Declaration of Independence wasn’t enough for NEW YORK. During the Revolutionary War, Washington found himself withdrawing from the island, while the British forces took over their Tory stronghold.

My selectively edited paragraph from a Wikipedia article proves the treachery of New York, a harbinger of the baseball team to come: “New York City and Long Island (the British military and political base of operations in North America from 1776 to 1783) had a large concentration of Loyalists…” “Loyalists tended to be older, more likely merchants and wealthier” “Loyalist civilians… harassed… the Patriots.” And finally, perhaps a last straw in this historic rivalry: “Two Philadelphia residents were executed…”

You’d think that once the war was over, New York would recognize its historic blunder and support the fledgling democracy. Again, like a high school student at midnight, I will allow Wikipedia to do my talking for me:

After the evacuation of the British, New York, then the nation’s second largest city, was briefly the capital of the United States of America, with Congress meeting in Federal Hall starting in 1785. However, the city’s and state’s status within the new union under the United States Constitution written in 1787 was under question when the Governor George Clinton proved reluctant to submit state power to a strong national government, and was opposed to ratification. Some New York City businessmen proposed New York City secession as an alternative to join the union separately, but Alexander Hamilton and others argued persuasively in the Federalist Papers published in city newspapers for state ratification, which after much dispute finally passed in 1788.

As if it wasn’t enough to oppose the Declaration of Independence, New York also had to try to sink the Constitution. In 1790, one year into Washington’s presidency, and perhaps the nation’s first off-season free agency signing, the first president left “The Big Apple” by carriage in the middle of the night.

Philadelphia was again the nation’s capital.

So, when you think of Wednesday’s World Series rivalry, think not of “NJ turnpike’s” and “Amtrak” series. Think of the birth of this great country, and how New York did all it could to stifle it.

This is the series of Ben Franklin (and Ryan Howard) vs. Nobody.

ryan howard ben franklin edit

Ryan Howard (2006 Most Valuable Player) and Ben Franklin (1776 Most Valuable Patriot) - (image by Eric Nielsen)

Opening Day Notes from Moonlight Graham

So first, Costesflamingbat is a standup guy just for rolling out of bed so early for tickets. Without him, I would have been sitting in my office, doubly miserable when Gordon blew the lead. Instead I got to share in an exciting 8 innings of Major League Baseball with Costes and Hackdaddy.

So thoughts on opening day? SEPTA came through with a connecting Phillies Express from suburban. The electricity in the air reminded me of the last days of September of 2007. When Jimmy hit his lead-off double to start off the Phillies offense, the chants of “MVP! MVP!” almost brought me to tears. Baseball is back.
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Andy Pettite’s Judgement Day

While Roger Clemens surged into Congress to defend himself against the allegations leveled at him concerning steroidal abuse, Pettite took a different route. Initially coming off as humble and sheepishly guilty, comparable to a kid who finally comes forward to tell Mom and Dad that he broke the cookie jar, Pettite will escape any stigmas that Clemens will now have to absorb. However, Pettite’s words during his apology, kind of threw me a curve ball.

“I know in my heart why I did things. I know that God knows that. I know that I’m going to have to stand before him one day. The truth hurts sometimes and you don’t want to share it. The truth will set you free. I’m going to be able to sleep a lot better.”

Can we pause for one second? Since when was God pissed at Andy? “And Thou shalt not use HGH, quoth the Lord” (Leviticus 14:2). Pettite is referring more than anything to his cheating, and I am glad he came forward. However, I am always made uncomfortable when people invoke God for forgiveness, as if God was at the moment was sitting in His easy chair (divine throne), a heartbroken Yankees fan. Like alcoholism, “God” is a good word to utter if you want forgiveness. So while Clemens chugs through the US government’s resources (hoping that “shock and awe” will force people to forgive him), Andy Pettite is the opposite: so humble that people will forgive him of his primary sin: making us question the game we love.