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The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

4/17/09-Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!

By Ryan Hohman

It’s been a rough week for Phillies fans. We lost an irreplaceable part of our history, we lost to the baseball abomination known elsewhere as the Washington Nationals, and if we’re being honest with ourselves, the future is still up in the air. Sure there have been some bright spots, but the deficiencies of this team are threatening to snuff out that light like a solar eclipse. Welcome to another season of Philadelphia Phillies baseball! We’re only eight games in and it’s silly to get too high or too low. The season is a marathon, not a sprint. The Phils are not the Usain Bolt of baseball clubs. The Phils are more like the out of place white guy in the field who looks, after the start, like he’s got no shot, but makes a little push in the middle, and finishes mid-pack. Unfortunately, that’s not good enough. Not in this city, and not in my mind. Here’s a purely subjective, highly biased, and overemotional look at the good, the bad, and the ugly from the first 8 games.

The Good

Ryan Madson has been completely unhittable. He’s the only guy in the rotation with an ERA of less than 3.86…scary right? Madson’s ERA 0.00! There was some talk in the offseason about moving Madson back into the starting rotation. That made me really uncomfortable like Diana Ross grabbing Lil Kim’s pastey covered boob at the MTV Awards… or better yet, like the brutally awkward man hug shared by John McCain and the W. McCain went in for “the real thing,” but the W was too busy hamming it up. Splendiferious if you ask me. Madson is the perfect set-up man. In his four innings of work this year, he’s yet to surrender a hit and has fanned five with what some stat nerds say they have proven to be the most unhittable pitch in all of baseball, his change-up.

Utley, Howard, Werth, Ibanez, & Feliz are all off to a good start at the plate. This quintet is hitting a combined .326 (Utley .393, Howard .313, Werth .313, Ibanez .303, Feliz .305) with 19 extra base hits. It’s a good thing too, otherwise the Phils would be cellar dwellers, sharing space next to the furnace and getting dripped on by leaky pipes along with the lowly Nats. These guys could be the baseball equivalent of N’Sync, only cooler and slightly more manly (Werth kills the overall manliness quotient). Now, stick with me on this. Their short term success has been punctuated by some big hits (Bye, Bye, Bye, Gone, Tearin’ Up My Heart) so far this season but their consistency may be the issue. Let’s keep a level head here. None of these guys hit over .300 last year and once the boy band craze ended so did the careers of most the choreographed wussies. In case you were wondering Chase would be J.T., obviously. He has the most overall talent of the group, and chicks dig talent…haha. Pedro Feliz is the Chris Kirkpatrick of the group. Pedro’s flattop and forgetability get him the nod. Raul Ibanez plays the roll of J.C. because of his impeccable grooming. Also, Chasez’s hair has haunted me for years, so it’s best if I substitute Ibanez’s shining, bald doom to remove the stain of years of agony. Jason Werth…well you already know where I’m going with this. There’s no one in this group of Phillies whose look and act scream, “I’m a homosexual wannabe astronaut!” quite like Werth’s does. Finally the Red Teletubby, Ryan Howard is the baseball equivalent of Joey Fatone. I always thought it was ironic that his name was “Fat One,” and he was indeed the fat one of the group. Howard is slightly more charismatic than the rest of this group which is common among “Fat One’s” from sea to shining sea.

The Bad-

Harry’s tragic passing has left a big hole in the booth. Many, many TVs in the area will be on mute until a reasonable amount of mourning time has passed…like a year or ten. We all need some time to heal and any other voice in the booth now will sound like nails on a chalkboard compared to Harry’s voice. Replacing Harry will be similar to trying to replace Scooter (Phil Rizzuto) or Joe Pa. The next in line really has no chance of making the fans happy. My proposal is that the Phils front office packages Wheels, Sarge, Scott Franzke, and an announcer to be named later and ship them to Tampa Bay for Todd Kalas. We need a Kalas in the booth, period. It’s heretical to believe anything to the contrary. Ruben Amaro, Dave Montgomery, somebody, anybody, please pull the trigger on this move or I may be forced to pull the trigger...of an automatic weapon. Trust me you don’t want that, and I don’t want that.

Chris Coste stinks. Sure it was a cute story how he was a 33 year old rookie and his book has done well since its publication, but he still stinks. His swing and approach at the plate should have been corrected in Little League and any success that he may have enjoyed in the past is sure to evaporate when teams realize that if you just bust him in, there’s no way he can hit that pitch. His bat is slow, his legs are slower, and if I see one more late throw to second that he decided to make from his knees I’m going to bust up his pegs like Frank Nitti used to do for Al Capone. Guess what Chris, you’re not Benito Santiago. He had a good arm cuz, not a noodle like yours. There’s no reason not to make 23 year older, Lou Marson the catcher while Ruiz is on the DL. Let’s see what the kid does. Did I mention that Coste stinks?

Sure he hasn’t blown a save yet, but Mr. “Lights Out” has gotten lit up a couple time already this season. One of the biggest assets of any closer is an air of unhitability. The batters should step in the box and, after soiling theselves, think “I’m toast!” That’s how hitters felt when Lidge was on the bump LAST YEAR; you could see it in their eyes that they knew they were overmatched. However this year Lidge has given up two homeruns and has an era of 5.44. He’s worked his way out of some trouble to earn 3 saves, but this is not exactly what you like to see from your closer. It should be quick and painless, like Belinda Carlisle’s tenure on Dancing With the Stars.

The Ugly-

JRoll’s face is all over TV. He’s in like a hundred commercials including the Dick’s spot which is an obvious Happy Gilmore rip off.. it pisses me right off. Apparently he didn’t have time to take any BP this offseason with his busy schedule of commercial shoots, Sixers games, the WBC, and shopping for sunglasses. He better start hitting or people are going to remember all the reasons we shouldn’t really like this hot shot…or I’ll just tell you now to get it over with. First, he’s hitting .111 with a .154 OBP. He’s scored 2 runs and is second on the team in K’s with 6 (Red Teletubby, 7). This guy hits leadoff? He’s hitting like the kid that Little League coaches try to hide in right field who shows up late with the bill of his hat shaped like a V, white ankle socks with his pants jacked up to his knees, and the remnants of a melted “Screwball” smeared all over his dirty face. So far he’s been your standard scrub. Let’s not forget that he also called Philly fans front runners last year and I make it a policy of not liking anyone from California whose last name is not Utley. I could go on, but let me say this. JRoll makes this whole team go. If he sucks, we suck, so pick it up bumsky.

The state of baseball in other cities is downright embarrassing. There were dozens of people at the Rockies first homestand of the year and if you listened closely, the Nationals game was more of a home game for the Phils than the home opener for the Nats. Even Barack Obama said(and this is a direct quote), “Screw this. This team blows. I’m going to Mexico to hear what a problem we Americans are and how we give drug cartels an incalculable market to deal to. You know what, maybe I’ll wack some cervezas while I’m there. It’s happy hour somewhere right?” We can’t escape the ramifications of the “economic downturn,” err recession, and franchises did a super job of building new stadiums and pricing average fans right out of their seats. It’s positively criminal that all arenas will soon be filled with businessmen and assorted snobs who attend games just to put a feather in their cap while the real fans are drunk and yelling at their TV screens from their recliners. Give me a light!

The starting pitching is off to as good a start as The Keenan Ivory Wayans Show. The starters have been getting lit up every night like sorority girls in West Chester. Every starter has an ERA over 5 and that’s just not gonna cut it fellas. At this rate, the Phillies will have to score just under 12 million runs this year in order to win 90+ games. The poor outings really leave Uncle Chuck in a tight spot. The bullpen has held down the fort for the most part, but throwing this many innings this early in the season is playing with fire. Here’s a thought…survive the first 3 innings without getting touched up like Macauly Caulkin at Neverland. Yeah, it's that bad.

We have been reminded ad nauseum that Phillies’ fans have suffered through many mediocre April’s. Last year’s success is a double edged sword. On one side, it has laid down the gauntlet. For many fans anything less than a repeat is a failure. On the other side, some fans, and it seems some players are content to live in the past and bask in the glow of last year’s success. I hope for their sake they packed sunscreen. I just hope that this year’s version of the World Champs can right itself as mightily as Afleet Alex did in the Preakness after Scrappy T lost his mind and tried to pull a Scott Stevens, checking Alex into the Grandstand. If they crumble like Barbaro’s leg however, it will be a long and exasperating year for some in the City of Brotherly Love. Others ,who are satisfied with mediocrity and those who jumped on the bandwagon during these past few years of success will point to last year’s triumph and excuse the disappointment. Don’t expect anything but venom from me. I don’t do well with underachievers, just ask my students.


  1. You did anything but underachieve this week. The Nsync comparison was spot on. I only know two people that have minds that work in a manner that could put Nsync with those 5 guys, straight up ridiculous. By the way, Chase is so Justin.

    It is a long season, lets not get our panties (man I hate that word) in a bunch over a .500 start to the season through 8 games. The starting pitching has to come around sometime, and if that happens the Phils have enough offensive depth to put up some Ws.

  2. It could be worse. At least you guys get to watch every game. We don't get CN 8 up here in stink town. One more reason this city (A-town) can go to hell. THIS SUCKS

    Nice work as always Ry.

  3. Great job, Ryan! I was laughing hysterically at the fact that you know so much about N'Sync members and have watched Dancing with the Stars! I agree with Todd Kalas coming to Philly. I said that as soon as I saw his interview after his dad died and after I saw the clip of him with his dad at the Phillies/Rays playoff series.

  4. There you go, way to mush Madson, what's that ERA now.

  5. Yup,it was bound to happen...I was texting Bry and the only thing that would've made it really awesome is if Coste would've hit a walk-off. Madson's ERA went from 0.00 to 5.40. Now he's a bum too!

  6. Ry, I enjoyed the article. Also, I would've gladly helped you out with your article, but unfortunately I wasn't by a computer until after I saw yours was up.
    Take Care,

  7. Ryan, spot on writing bro! That ish was hilarious. But sad and tragic too. Please tell me why they don't give the kid Marson a shot.

  8. Deewweeeettt!! At least you guys dont have a Mmmasian with a 35 era. 14 runs in one inning???...... CAMAANNNN!!


  9. Homeboy,
    Yeah its too bad Ian Fonbags couldn't help you out with that one. He must of been too busy making a Diorama for his 4th grade class.


  10. Yeah, at least I hate the guys blow