As the Cardinals and Phillies square off in the 2011 NLDS, what better way to preview this highly anticipated series than exchange some questions with Justin Klugh, the senior editor of FanSided’s That Balls Outta Here. Justin and I did a 6-Pack for the St. Louis/Philadelphia series last month, so if you enjoyed that, you’re in luck. We’re at it once again. It’s always interesting to get a sense of the opposition’s thoughts, especially when they’re coming from a true Philly Phanatic. Be advised, many of Justin’s responses are, well, typical Justin responses.
Take a look at my 6-Pack of questions to him after the jump. Enjoy!
Q: How much of a role does home field advantage play in the postseason? Citizens Bank Park is always crazy in October, but do you really think you’re going to be able to intimidate us? And what’s with that big green thing that roams the ballpark during every home game? That thing is the most talked about mascot on the planet.
A: I don’t know, I’ve never been on the receiving end of CBP’s mayhem. I’m always just a contributor to it. Honestly, I can’t imagine having to play there. I think a lot of players wouldn’t give a visiting fanbase the satisfaction of admitting intimidation, but come on. How can they not be. You’re not in St. Louis anymore, where booing means a citation for “Hurt Feelings.” Remember Ryan Franklin? Boy you guys REALLY flew off the handle with that one. I think somebody expressed displeasure within Busch Stadium.
As for the Phanatic, if you can look at him without melting into a childlike state of wonder, laughing and clapping like a lunatic, then you’re not human and I will be contact the authorities because you’re clearly an alien parasite host whose killed a real human and replaced them.
Q: Everyone loves Carlos Ruiz in Philadelphia, but we have a pretty damn good catcher ourselves. Just in case you didn’t know, Yadier Molina is awesome. Are we watching two of the best catchers in the game out there in this series?
A: According to a broadcaster yesterday, yes, we are. And as we all know, broadcasters are never wrong. Yadier is okay I guess. But I missed his cover story in Sports Illustrated about how he overcame the death of his father, handles the best pitching staff in the Majors, is beloved by all, and has a nickname that means “fuck.” I saw Chooch’s, though. It was great.
On a related note, sometimes I wonder what Chooch is thinking when a whole stadium of people is going “FUUUUUUUCCCCKKK” after he singles.
Q: Are you scared of Lance “Big Puma” Berkman yet? He took Halladay deep when these two teams played a few weeks ago, and he did it again to start game one. The Phils seem to be pitching him likes he’s and old washed up veteran who has nothing left, which is quite honestly what I thought when he first came to St. Louis. Has anyone told the Phillies that this dude can still hit? But go ahead and keep throwing him those juicy fastballs out over the plate, cause I really do love seeing Lance launch those moon shots to right field.
A: There’s this blogger in the Phillies blogosphere whose nickname is “Puma”. Most people seem to hate the shit of out him. Finding out that Lance Berkman shares a nickname with the guy does nothing as far as an “intimidation factor” goes. In fact, it makes him look even worse.
I’ll answer your question with a question. Has anyone told the Cardinals that Ryan Howard can also hit? These answers will now be sent to you 20 minutes later than I intended because I have to go watch replays of the go-ahead dinger from last night. Sorry.
Q: Is Hunter Pence the best all around player on your team? Based on what I’ve seen him do this year, I’d have to think he is. But why is he so awkward? He plays the game like a deer in headlights.
A: Back when we were all telling each other that Hunter wasn’t worth Jonathan Singleton, Jarred Cossart, and friends, The Good Phight put up a post (as they always do when trade rumors surface) called “Hunter Pence (Probably) Isn’t That Good at Baseball.” The excitement of adding another All-Star to the lineup was there, but… but… the long term effects… prospects… highly touted… GAAAAHH–
And now he’s the best guy ever. My point is, somebody mentioned around that time that Pence commits one garish misplay of an outfield ball per game. I haven’t seen anything THAT terrible–he’s had one or two hilarious stumbles, but other than that, yeah, all-around I’d say Hunter, and to a lesser extent Cliff Lee with his two home runs, is the best all around player. Also Shane Victorino, maybe. Also I can throw pretty hard, so I think I’m still in the hunt.
Q: Is it just me or is playoff baseball on TBS terrible? They’re using football announcers to call the Phils/Cards series, and they seem to have trouble structuring two meaningful thoughts together. I know you Philly people have a burning hatred for Joe Buck (who doesn’t?), but should I just watch the games with the TV on mute?
A: Ah, the old TV-muted-radio-on trick. We do that all during the regular season (Phillies broadcasting died with Harry the K, and now exists in a sliver of Scott Franzke and Larry Andersen, who are confined the radio). But now the TV guys are on the radio, too, so… honestly, there is so much complaining about broadcasters. There seems to be far less good ones than incompetent ones. I think it must be a thankless job, having to fill silence with quick thinking, even when your thoughts aren’t there.
The ones who suck are the ones whose thoughts are there, but they just happen to be dumb or obnoxious or useless thoughts–your McCarvers, your Valentines, your Brenlys. These guys just… I mean, at least there’s Twitter to make all the jokes we want about them. And yeah. most of them are employed by TBS.
Q: The Cardinals have arguably the best offense in baseball. The Phillies have the best pitching staff in baseball. Since pitching ALWAYS wins in October, why are they even playing the series? Should the Cardinals just admit defeat and face the fact that they are over matched on paper, or does this have the potential to be a closely-contested series?
A: “The Cardinals have arguably the best offense in baseball. The Phillies have the best pitching staff in baseball.”
See the difference there? The word “arguably.”
Yes. Admit defeat.
*My answers to Justin’s questions can be found here.