In all seriousness, he’s a incredibly nice guy and this was a tremendous opportunity for me to talk baseball with the opposing side…and it definitely made for an interesting work day. Hope you cleaned up Justin…That’s just nasty.
You can read my rather modest Q&A session on That Balls Outta Here as well as at the bottom of this post.
Boy, these questions came at the worst possible time for me. And I don’t mean because I was too busy/unwilling to answer them, I mean because I had just read the Phillies starting lineup for tonight’s game and seem to have become paralyzed with disgust. So forgive me if in some of these questions I:
* Rant about how bad the lineup is
* Don’t answer the question
* Ignore the question altogether
Here you go.
1. The Phillies have the second highest payroll in baseball (Yankees are #1…I know, shocker!) but are #7 in batting average with the NL teams currently batting .253. What areas would they be looking to maybe cut some corners contractually to try and pick up this offense if say the pitching staff starts to dip a little?
…I’m sorry, the beat writers just announced the Phillies lineup for tonight and Wilson Valdez is hitting second ahead of Raul Ibanez, who is third. I felt a pop in my head and my nose has been bleeding for 20 minutes. I’m too frozen in despair that I’ve made no effort to quell the seepage. There’s a huge puddle of blood forming in and around this keyboard.
I’d just go home but if I tell my boss I need to leave early again because of the Phillies lineup he will definitely fire me. Because most of the time when I do that I’m emailing him from home, having already run out of the building without telling him.
2. Being a Cardinal fan, we are all compelled to ask EVERY team no matter the need….ARE YOU EYING ALBERT PUJOLS?!?! He’s ours damn it!
How many Wilson Valdez’s do you think Albert Pujols is worth? 1,000? Holy shit. This is the least intimidating Phillies lineup since 2003.
3. With the sudden emergence of the Florida Marlins this season, they are looking much better than the Braves for the time being. This is the division that could very easily produce the fourth and final playoff team, if this is so, who is your early season contender and how worried are you about the East in general?
Everybody’s predicting we score 10 runs tonight with this spring training split squad lineup, you know, as a joke, because with our starters we haven’t done that in a while. But that doesn’t seem very tasteful. You know the last time Valdez hit the ball out of the infield? I think Saturday. Before that it was about 18 years.
4. Our very own STL product Ryan Howard is of course your first baseman for the foreseeable future. Why is he such an underrated player in so many aspects and why do people always question his 5 year, $125 million deal keeping him in town until 2016.
Ah, Ryan. One of the only recognizable names left on there. What a dream boat. My girlfriend met him once and said he had arms more akin to some sort of ancient mythic creature who spent his spare time ripping sailors in half.
He can and has struck out five times in one game. Sometimes only four. The point is, you know somewhere down the line, the K’s will start to be much, much, much more plentiful than the RBI. Its inevitable for a slugger. That’s why people shake their fists at the 5-year deal; it signs us on to watch the downfall of one of our greatest heroes.
Like tonight, for instance. He could get on base at every at bat and still spend the night with zero RBI and zero runs scored.
5. Raul Ibanez was almost showing signs of his age early on. As it stands now he is batting .230 on the season, but this is after his last ten games in which he has gone 12 of 36. Is this the spark the team has been looking for in him or was this just showing how he can dominate a few NL East teams?
That’s Raul Ibanez, official three-hole hitter of the Philadelphia Phillies. As the three-hole hitter, its now his job to be productive. I think he’s proven he’s still alive, which must be nice for his family.
Did I mention he’s hitting third tonight? He shouldn’t be doing that because he’s not very good.
6. Chase Utley obviously hasn’t played a game thus far in the bigs for 2011, what exactly are the Phils missing with his absence?
I hope you don’t mind if I answer this last question in all capital letters.
YOU KNOW WHO ISN’T PLAYING TONIGHT? PLACIDO POLANCO. WILSON VALDEZ IS PLAYING FOR HIM, AND HE’S BATTING SECOND. SECOND. POLLY’S GOT THE FIFTH HIGHEST BA IN THE NATIONAL LEAGUE, AND HE’S NOT PLAYING BECAUSE, I SHIT YOU NOT, HE’S “GETTING A DAY OFF.” ON A DAY THAT MANY OF OUR STARTERS AREN’T PLAYING BECAUSE THEY ARE TOO INJURED TO DO SO. OH YEAH I FORGOT BEN FRANCISCO ISN’T A BENCH PLAYER ANYMORE, HE’S A POP-UP ARTIST WHO HAPPENS TO START THE GAME IN RIGHT FIELD.
BOY THIS IS JUST A TON OF BLOOD ON MY DESK.
1. Your general reaction to Cubs GM Jim Hendry hugging Albert Pujols was:
A. ”Huh. Well I guess their dads were friends or something.”
B. ”Oh, Albert. You sure are known for being an overly warm, affectionate guy.”
C. ”GET THE FUCK OFF OF HIM YOU SERPENTINE DESTROYER OF JOY. HOW DARE YOU CARESS HIS EAR WITH YOUR FORKED TONGUE, PROMISING ENDLESS WEALTH AND HAPPINESS SHOULD HE BETRAY ALL THOSE WHO HAVE LOVED HIM FOR ETERNITY. I WILL KILL YOU. I WILL CLAW INSIDE THE INTERNET AND FILLET YOUR GUTS WITH A STEAK KNIFE.”
D. ”Hm. Wonder what that’s about. Oh, I forgot, there’s a new ‘Parks and Rec’ on later!”
I enjoy C throughly, but the media blew it well out of proportion. He can be a candidate with them, that is fine, I just don’t see this as favoritism leading up to the anticipated decision.
2. I’m looking at the Cardinals lineup and I’m just like, “Wow, look at them, scoring runs, touching bases, and generally making baseball an enjoyable experience to watch.” Then I look at the Phillies farting out weak grounders and pop-ups and I just pray they cut to a shot of Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, and Hamels all sitting together to make me feel better. How does your fertile batting order match up against my brain-punching rotation?
Coming into the season all NL teams knew Philly would be the team to fear. They have of course had ups and downs offensively but they are obviously all about pitching for the time being with the money they sank into possibly one of the greatest starting rotations ever. In saying that, the Cardinals also have what could be a great starting rotation but they are either hit or miss it seems. Hardly anyone ever gave the Cardinals the time of day coming in to the season but the resurgence of Lance Berkman along with the hot bat of Holliday paired with the mix and match of infielders we have has made for an interesting season. Colby is looking better and better, now if only we can get that Pujols guy around to his average season which looks like he is beginning to show sparks of.
3. Would you say that Brandon Phillips is a coward for attending a child’s baseball game the day before facing the Cardinals instead of starting some needless antagonism?
Brandon Phillips is indeed another eccentric Ohio athlete who likes to speak his mind and is widely hated for that very reason in St. Louis. He is a tremendous ball player and paired with his mouth he is indeed bringing the Cardinals-Reds rivalry to incredible heights, especially after last years brawl.
Maybe this is just his way of leaving it alone for the time being, I am sure come the next series in St. Louis the Twitter feeds will be blowing up yet again. He wants to play the villain coming into Busch Stadium and a lot of fans get such a rise out of it, but that’s exactly what he wants.
4. If MLB were comprised solely of Lance Berkmans, it would be the most likable sport of them all. So he’s a guy that nobody minds see perform well, especially in what was thought to be the twilight of his career. But seriously. Why does Lance Berkman have the second highest BA in the National League?
As I said before, I believe we are all incredibly surprised with the turnaround he has had thus far. The last few seasons it looked as if he was quietly riding off into the sunset, but maybe St. Louis is just what he needed, we do have the tendency to bring back pitchers who have fallen into the abyss. When in Jupiter this past March for Spring Training I kept talking how he looks so in shape and thinned out now, he is even faster than I remember.
Right now he is batting like a juiced up freak swatting tennis balls and this is AFTER he toned down so much. We all questioned the move to bring in a broken down $8 million First Baseman to Right Field but he is proving everyone wrong and we look forward to seeing him go to the All Star Game as a Cardinal.
5. A local journalist was hit the in the face with a baseball last season in Busch Stadium by Trever Miller, to the point that he entered the stadium this year with the utmost caution. What have the Cardinals done to prevent injuring innocent civilians in the future? And why do they hate them so much in the first place?
Not being officially affiliated with the Cardinals it is hard to say exactly what they have done if anything to prevent such a scary instance from happening again. They obviously have the netting wrapped from dugout to dugout like every other team but outside of that not many other things you can do to prevent this from happening again unless you just put netting or plexiglass the crowd off from the action.
It is an unfortunate part of the experience and sometimes this does occur, it’s why the say repeatedly at the beginning and throughout games in major league stadiums to keep your eye on the ball while in play. Added measures are just going to take away from the stadium experience.
6. Did you know Stan Musial was a gymnast? I didn’t.
I was not aware of this either up until reading an article about it from his book “Stan Musial: An American Life.” It is a very interesting thing to think one of the greatest baseball players in our history and the league was at one point a gymnast and how it was not really something that someone brought up a long time ago. I guess it just shows how gifted he really was in his younger years.