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Between the Marlon Byrd signing and the rumors that are flying around about the Phills entertaining offers for Dom Brown, I’m slowly losing my mind—it’s like the summer of the Flyers’ dismantling all over again. I just can’t watch anymore. I’m fed up with all of these small bandages that Ruben Amaro Jr. is trying to use to cover up the gaping wounds this team is suffering from. And, not surprisingly, I’m not alone.
A website has been created, but “not activated” yet, that threatens to boycott the Phillies. From the static homepage that currently exists:
You should fire Ruben Amaro and David Montgomery and bring in proven baseball winners to run the organization. The country club management of Maitre d’ Montgomery must end.
I know you have that big TV contract coming up so you’ll probably make money even if the team sucks. But have some pride in the product you put on the field. Stop accepting the excuses and blame shifting of failed management by old boy collegiality.
Remember the courage of Chuck LaMar, who told you the truth and quit in protest. That’s the kind of stand up leadership the Phillies need now–someone who won’t make excuses, won’t compulsively gamble away the organization’s future, then double down on failed bets.
For now this site will sit dormant. If positive change is not forthcoming, all Phillies fans will be invited to come and discuss how we can make the difference that’s needed to encourage Phillies owners to build a solid organization that will produce consistent winning baseball that fans can enjoy and support every year. You’d make even more money and be seen as community heroes once again.
That’s the growing sentiment around the team’s fanbase. Not good.
Let’s look specifically at the moves that have been made, and are rumored to be coming down, involving the Phillies outfield, which—I really hate to admit—hasn’t been the same since that bearded monster left for D.C.
Rube has this infatuation with over-the-hill, big, slow, right-handed (former)power hitters. The Delmon Young project collapsed in miserable fashion last year, so Rube thought signing a guy that played here a decade ago and had a career-best year last year at the age of 35/36. Not only did he sign Marlon Byrd, but he’s paying him $8 million a year for the next two years.
I do get the fact that Rube was looking for an upgrade over Darin Ruf, the young and still improving right field, but he hand-picked someone that is well into his decline and isn’t really that much of an upgrade. Ruf played half the amount of games that Byrd did a season ago, and look how their stats stack up:
|Darin Ruf||Marlon Byrd|
Double those numbers and you have essentially the same person—except for the age. The only one up there that might seem a little disconcerting is the strikeout total for Ruf, but all that tells me is that he’s an aggressive young player, something that he should improve on over time. The other one that ought to stand out is the last line that shows Ruf has a good 9 years on Byrd. This is a team that should be looking to get younger, not older and slower.
Which brings me to my next point about the rumors swirling around—thanks to one Howard Eskin—that the Phillies were in the process of working with the Toronto Blue Jays to swap a few power outfielders, Dom Brown for Jose Bautista. Please, God, no, no, no, no, No, NO, NO!
Those rumors have since been shut down by less loopieheaded medials, but no one is denying the idea that the Phillies are fielding trade offers for Brown. Let me reiterate the fact that this is a team that SHOULD be looking to get younger. Instead, they have a GM who’s flying by the seat of his pants, making ridiculous moves, essentially tearing apart any semblance of the core of this team in order to save his job. At this rate, the Phils won’t be starting a single person under the age of 33, with the exception of Roger Bernadina (29) and maybe Cody Asche (23) if he makes the opening day roster. (I’m not counting the 29-year-old Hamels, either.) Think about that.
And if the Bautista thing were to actually happen, the Phillies would essentially be getting a player who has ssllliiigghhtly better numbers than Brown, but who’s 7 years his elder and more injury prone. I get that Rube is trying to balance the lineup with righties and lefties, but how about dumping a guy like John Mayberry Jr. instead? Dom is the guy we’ve been waiting, praying, begging, to finally show up for the last three years, and now that he does, you want to get rid of him? Sure, let’s sell high on the only guy that makes me believe there’s some light at the end of this aging tunnel.
At some point in the next two, maybe three years, this roster is going to experience a significant amount of turnover. I’d like to have at least one All-Star caliber player around that makes watching baseball enjoyable. So please, for the love of God, Rube, stop destroying this team, and start putting a little more faith in the nonexistent stat guy that you hired—who, by the way, I’m absolutely positive is wondering what exactly the hell he got himself into by agreeing to serve in a consultancy-type position, with no real title, and who I bet you haven’t listened to at all, because there’s no way in hell any stat/sabermetrics nerd would ever be able to justify the moves you’re making.
Go to hell, Rube.
It sucks to be a Philadelphia fan right now.
Between the Eagles, who came out of the gate looking great, completely falling off track, the Phillies just being the Phillies, the Flyers being plain embarrassing, and the Sixers not understanding the concept of tanking (though, from the looks of it, the future really is bright and I’m excited about that), there’s absolutely nothing to be proud of right now. And it sucks.
Case in point: Last night, the only thing that got people excited at the Wells Fargo Center during the Caps-Flyers game was this line brawl a few minutes into the third period, at which point the Orange and Black were trailing 7-0.
Embarrassing. The radio call is just as pathetic.
Is it nice to finally see some passion and emotion coming from the Flyers? Sure, but it’s sickening to watch a team so stuck in the past that they think winning a large-scale brawl is just as important, if not more so, than winning the actual game. And the way Ray Emry absolutely lit up Braden Holtby—don’t get me wrong, any goalie fight is a fight for the ages, but that was more of a mugging than anything else. Congratulations, jackass. You beat the shit out of a guy that wasn’t even looking to fight. And the fact that he was named third star of the game—clearly for the fight, because four goals on 15 shots is far from noteworthy—ought to be considered a giant slap in each fan’s face from big daddy Ed Snyder.
Broad Street Bullies, baby.
…was the greatest sports day in my life.
That is all.
While we’re in the midst of what looks like it’s going to be another classic Fall Classic, there’s no better time to share some incredible photos that I was introduced to thanks to ForTheWin a few days ago.
These images come courtesy of the A.G. Spalding Baseball Collection, available through the New York Public Library system.
Makes you want to go out back and have a catch…
This past weekend was the first Labor Day in a few years that Mrs. RLS and I didn’t leave home in the Nation’s Capital for the holiday. Traveling anywhere on this weekend has become nothing short of a nightmare so why stress ourselves out in traffic for half the weekend when we could just relax at home? Plus we had some family move down recently and there’s plenty to do right around here, which included heading to Nats Park on Saturday for a Mets-Nats game.
Now, being a fan of the team in the city sandwiched between these two towns (a team that’s long been out of any postseason race), this was probably the last game anyone would expect us to be at, but, hey, it’s a holiday weekend, we’re fans of baseball, tickets were (as usual) cheap as all hell, and it was Miller Lite Party Nite, so why the hell wouldn’t we go?
Good question. But after this game in particular, we may have a reason moving forward.
Going into the game I had a plan for a post that I was going to put together about what a third-party-fan is supposed to wear when they find themselves in a situation like this—which will still be happening—but something else happened during the course of the game that trumped any other piss-poor idea that I could’ve come up with.
In the midst of some lighthearted heckling of the Nats overpaid right fielder (we were in the second row right behind where JaYson Werth is stationed, so it would’ve been a wasted opportunity to not heckle the man), among other things, we discovered that we were sitting behind one of the most bitter human beings on the face of the planet.
A little background to the story to help set the tone for this encounter: About an hour before game time the four people in our group—Mrs. RLS, myself, my cousin, and my cousin’s lady—spent some time at the Bullpen right outside of Nats Park, which is basically a bunch of stacked trailers that surround a stage where live music is played, and where beer is sold for half the price of the same watered-down liquid inside the stadium, thus resulting in a decent amount being consumed prior to joining the rest of the crowd there to see the on-field action. We stayed there right up until the middle of the first inning. By the time we wandered into the stadium and got to our seats, it was now the bottom of the second and the Nats were down 2-0. Werth, Ian Desmond, and Adam LaRoche were set down in order, which brought about the start of one of the longest innings that I’ve ever experienced in person.
The Mets tacked on six runs in the top of the third, running Dan Haren from the game after just 2 and 2/3’s innings. I mean, it got ugly quick. The inning dragged on for a good 20-25 minutes, and that meant we had a good 20-25 minutes of heckling Werth, mocking the lack of useful scoreboards around the stadium (seriously though, from our seats we couldn’t see the jumbotron that was being blocked by the seats above us, which would usually just mean that you’d have to look at the thin boards around the second deck of the infield, but at Nats Park ALL of the infield boards are used to display nothing but advertisements—you don’t even get so much as the pitch speed or the time from the god-awful things—incredibly poor form there), and (God help us) pretending to be Mets fans. We were not, by any means, the only people partaking in said heckling (a good 40 percent of the 37,000 on hand that night were Metropolitan supporters), but being fans of the Philadelphia variety, as expected, we stood out above the rest with our witty humor, intelligent quips, and boisterous, well-tuned vocal chords. A good time was being had by all. Or so we thought…
At some point between realizing his team was down 9-0, not knowing what time it was or the pitch count or how many outs there were, and coming to grips with the fact that he’s a “die-hard” fan of a team that has won absolutely nothing since abandoning Montreal and moving to Washington except for one measly NL East title, this guy…
…decided it’d be a good idea to try talk back to two of the best talk-backers in the game.
Of the things he said that he thought were excellent zingers (P.S. these are direct quotes recorded by this resourceful blogger):
In response to Werth being overpaid: “Sure the first two years were rough, but he’s playing lights out right now! So, no, he’s not being overpaid.”
And where’s that getting you? So you’re paying him $16 mil this year to have one of his better years in recent memory for a team that isn’t going anywhere. He picked the perfect time to be playing “lights out.” But I guess once every three years will make that $125 million worth it?
“Oh, are you guys from Philly? Where’s your team in the standings right now?”
(Sidenote: Prior to this moment, we never actually identified ourselves as Philly fans. We made a point to not wear anything Philly. This kid just had the nose, I guess, to sniff us out. Or maybe we just barked at Werth ten too many times…) Incredibly far back, my friend, but I accepted that fact months ago. Meanwhile, you’re sitting here decked out in Kid D-Bag’s jersey (Bryce Harper), holding on to a nonexistent thread of hope dat dem Nats are gonna go on some crazy run to make the playoffs. Trust me, missing by just that much makes it hurt so much worse in the end.
“You’re team’s not even playing so why are you even here?”
Because I like baseball.
“Well, thanks for showing up and helping pay some of that $16 million, idiots.”
Didn’t/still doesn’t deserve a response, but we shot back with a “Well so are you.” Childish, yes, but his response opened up a whole ‘nother can of #Natitude.
“Actually no. Didn’t pay a dime for these seats. Free seats, baby.”
We skipped over this, but retroactively a phenomenal response here (but again, extremely childish) would have been: First, I ain’t your baby… Second, so mommy got those for ya, did she? Instead we went with, “Well, sorry that your free seats were right in front of us. Next time you should pick better.” … Hindsight…
“How about you guys just stop talking. All your complaining is ruining my experience. Just shut up and watch the game.”
Our apologies. We didn’t realize that, out of the 40,000 people here engaging in anything from light talking to extreme, eardrum-busting non-human noises, it’s our talking that bothers you. You just turn right back around there and we’ll make sure that the next time we want to engage in some harmless heckling that we check with you to make sure that it won’t ruin your experience. Seriously, though, you sure it isn’t the 9-0 score that’s got the bug up your ass or that your team is, yet again, choking under incredibly lofty expectations? Just saying. (Meanwhile, the Mets tacked on another 2 runs, and the most incredibly ridiculous elder-aged female Mets fan I’ve ever seen went absolutely nuts when they scored those runs, and if anyone deserved to be told to shut their trap, it was that lady. She was certainly ruining my experience.)
There were a few more jabs thrown in about how far back we were, countered by how many World Series titles their franchise has (big fat glazed doughnut there—which, by the way Steelers fans, felt incredibly awesome to be able to throw in someones face…), or even how many pennants (another zero there as well). Don’t get me wrong, I’ve experienced some terrible heckling in my time, and what we were doing was far, FAR from anything that was of that caliber. This kid, obviously, just had some mommy issues or is a few decades behind developmentally.
I’m surprised, honestly, that I haven’t come across more Nats fans like this in my time, just given the class of people that I’ve experienced on the roads and in the city since moving here. Maybe the total assholes really are few and far between. Let’s not have this be the start of a trend, D.C., otherwise we’re going to have some serious issues.
Were we in the wrong here? I’d love to get a conversation going on this.
I contemplated whether or not to do this, but given the fact that there’s not much else to fight for over the course of the final 30-some-odd games of this MLB season, I figured, why not?
Just about five months ago, prior to the start of the season, when there was still hope that the Philadelphia Phillies would contend in the NL East and possibly even in the National League (joke was on all of us apparently), I wrote this little dandy about what a Werth-less leader JaYson Werth has been in Washington. It was in response to a Washington Post article in which Nats’ beat writer Adam Kilgore gave massive amounts of fellatio to the bearded bum. Here’s the specific quote I pulled that was at the center of my anger at the time: Continue reading