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I’m Playing Hard to Get

4/30/09-Happy Birthday Dad!

By Ryan Hohman

This is so typical. I decided last week that I need a little space from the Phillies and they’ve responded much like the middle-school girlfriends I compared them to a week ago. They’re trying to win me back. Let’s be clear though, the Phillies performance over the past seven days has left me contemplating reconciliation, but their effort has not even come close to the acts of desperation turned in by love-crazed adolescent girls who longed for this guy to be their beau. Take for example the 24 inch, gold Figaro Chain that turned my neck green in a matter of minutes, given to me by my sixth grade girlfriend. Imagine my delight when I realized how nicely the chain complimented my Miami Dolphins Zubaz and hyper color t-shirt. It was a good effort Kristie, but I had no intention of returning one of the 300 notes that were FYEO (for my eyes only)! Hit the bricks. The Phillies hot week which included an astounding double comeback-double grand slam performance cannot hold candle to the No Fear hat my seventh grade girlfriend hooked me up with to top off my stone-washed overalls (which I wore with only 1 strap up of course), Chris Mullin Dream Team jersey, and original white on black Filas ensemble. A valiant effort from you Meghan, but no matter how many times you give me your phone number, I’m not calling you toots…unless Keith and I decide to prank you to add insult to your injured heart. Peace! The Phils gave me 5 good reasons to take them back in the form of 5 impressive wins but still couldn’t match the gray Stussy shirt Jenn gave me for our 1 week anniversary that happened to match my faded purple jeans and charcoal Gazelles flawlessly. This ultimately wasn’t enough for Jenn as I realized while opening that present that Jenn was not particularly attractive and while I appreciated the shirt and the attention, I had to alienate her into a forced breakup ASAP. Love is fleeting, a chasing of the wind, and so too, is April baseball. We’re about to turn the page on this first chapter of the season, and while I’ll continue to flirt with the Phillies and continue to the lead them on, I’m just setting the stage for the dog days when I’ll make the Phils my steady. This way they’ll really appreciate me. I may even walk through the mall with them with my hand in their back pocket and their hand in mine. Wait…strike that from the record. For now, I’m playing hard to get and refuse to limit myself to just watching the Phils.
My ex, the Phillies who have been pulling out all the stops to win me back, have had some serious competition this week from a number of “ladies.” Let’s take a look at the week in review.

The Ex- The Phillies (We’re really just on a break)

The Phils were 5-1 since the last time I wrote and have scored 43 runs over this span, an impressive bid to win back my exclusive affection. The Phils subjugated the Marlins in a weekend series after the Pirates speared the Fish in a three game set in Pittsburgh. The Fightins’ outscored Florida 26-9, crushing their confidence and sending them further into a tailspin that even the likes of Kit Cloudkicker or Maverick would have had difficulty recovering from. I haven’t seen someone’s will to play so thoroughly trampled since my 21st birthday performance at Iron Hill Brewery in West Chester. Legend has it, my roommate Tim and I hit Rex’s for half-priced shots then barged into the uppity Chad and Mitch Factory also known as Iron Hill, wearing sweat pants, hoodies, and hats slightly askew. There’s nothing better than everyone looking at you in disgust in a snob sanctuary such as this. I love that hate. After a few Pale Ale’s (you can’t get a Bud or Miller there, they brew their own…big freakin’ deal, it’s twice as much money and half as good) Tim and I got seats at the bar about 10 feet from the band. We then proceeded to bellow out Crash Test Dummies smash hit, “Mmmm, Mmmm, Mmmm, Mmmm” for a solid 25 minutes, totally drowning out and completely mocking the band. Flagged and elated, we were ever so kindly escorted off the premises, but I’ll never forget the looks on the faces of the band members as we passed by, still heckling them. They hated us, but they knew we got the best of them. That’s how the Marlins looked during the Phillies 13-2 beat down on Sunday…like they just heard “Mmmm, Mmmm, Mmmm, Mmmm” for 25 minutes straight. The Marlins added injury to injury when stud Hanley Ramirez took a pitch off the hand the other night. He’s day to day, but we can hope that the training staff down in Miami oversleeps in the tanning bed or gets busted scooping some high-priced calls girls and drops the ball with Ramirez’s rehab. Best case scenario: the hand becomes gangrenous, needs to be amputated and we all have a good laugh at the training staff’s expense.

My Weekend Fling- The NFL Draft (Oooohhh, I feel so dirty!)

Did Matthew Stafford know he was going to be the first pick and that he was going to be on TV? He looked like he hadn’t slept in days, which if I signed a contract for 41 mil, I may have a hard time sleeping as well. I would probably spend most of my time changing that money into all coins and erecting a safe like Scrooge McDuck so my family and I could swim in the loot. The pool of coins would of course become rock solid when the Beagle Boys try to dive in and steal my cream. Someone should have offered Stafford some gel or something because he looked like he had his head out the window of the limo on the Van Wyck. Unless he was wearing his Lions hat all day or just came from Scores where he made it rain Pacman style, there no reason why a grown man, wearing a suit should look that unkempt on the biggest day of his life. Draft day may be the last time we see Stafford with a smile on his face, unless he doesn’t care about winning.

Breaking News: Kiper’s hair moved…twice…not on its own though. You could sense Mel’s concern for Oakland Raiders fans. The franchise has been run into the ground by the Montgomery C. Burns of owners and their first three picks pretty much cemented their fate as bottom feeders for the next few years. Heyward-Bey is a nice receiver but to pass up Crabtree and Maclin flies in the face of conventional wisdom as much as wearing a white windbreaker suit every day and maintaining a slogan of “Just win baby” when all you do is just Too many babies. Here’s a look at Oakland’s recent first round successes.

08’- Why take Jonathon Stewart or Chris Johnson when you can have Darren McFadden? McFadden limped for 784 total yards and 4 TD while totally ruining my fantasy season. Shame on me for counting on a Raider and a former Hog.

07’- I remember the buzz: JaMarcus Russell can throw the ball 70 yards from his knees! Awesome and John Elway threw the Nerf Turbo from one end of the earth to the other (24,901.5 miles to be exact). The problem is, JaMarcus can’t move in the pocket because he’s a defensive end playing QB, he’s clueless reading coverages, and shows terrific arm strength while throwing balls to the other team.

06’- Michael Huff- The sixth pick overall had 28 tackles and no picks in 16 games last year. Donte Whitner, who the Bills snagged with the next pick, had three times as many tackles despite playing only 13 games. Why hasn’t the whole scouting department been liquidated?

05’- The Raiders could’ve really used a solid back in 05’ but passed on bums like Frank Gore and Marion Barber. Instead they decided to sure up their secondary with Fabian Washington. You’re probably saying to yourself, “who the hell is Fabian Washington?” Exactly! This guy has never had more than 43 tackles in a season. If you spend 16 games on a football field, you get run into by the guy carrying the ball at least 50 times. The most shocking thing about the 05’ draft from the Raiders standpoint is that they didn’t trade up to get the only other DB taken in the first round of 05’, the one and only Pacman Jones.

04’-Robert Gallery- I think this one speaks for itself…

Their second pick this year, Michael Mitchell, was projected by most to be an undrafted free agent or 7th round pick by most prognosticators and team officials, so it may have been a bit of a reach like people with convertibles who put the top down and blast the heat when it’s 55 degrees out. Note to people with convertibles: if your heat is on, it’s not warm enough to put the top down. Nobody cares that you have a convertible (especially if it’s a Sebring) and I wish nothing short of walking pneumonia on you and your children.

Their fourth rounder Louis Murphy is another bum in the making for two reasons: 1. He was drafted by the Raiders. You can’t dispute or downplay what a culture of losing can do. It permeates through all parts of an organization (Just ask Lions fans, Clippers fan, and Nationals fans). Right now the Raiders have cornered the market on the permeation of loserdom. It reminds me of what happened to the Delta Chi fraternity in West Chester. One gay brother infiltrated the camp, and even though there were some cool guys left, a portion of the frat took their turn swinging from both sides of the plate. They still gelled their hair with the best of em’ and acted tough at parties when they were 25 deep, but you had to watch your backside if you got one alone. No frat snatched as many turds over a 5 year period (98’-03’)than WCU’s D Chi chapter. 2. Florida receivers just don’t pan out. It’s amazing that all of these guys run 4.2 40’s at Florida’s pro day and during Florida’s Spring workouts but seem to get chased down by safeties and linebackers at the next level. Seems fishy right? For further examples of Florida guys who go bust in the NFL see Gaffney, Jabar, Caldwell, Reche and Taylor, Travis. In other shocking news, it was revealed this week that former Gators receivers Percy Harvin and Brandon Tate tested positive for marijuana during the combine…they must have been set up. It’s amazing that these guys are so talented and so determined to blow it. Like Lorenzo the Bus Driver said, “the saddest thing in life is wasted talent.”

The Birds raised some eyebrows by taking Jeremy Maclin with their first pick. If both J Mac and D Jack stay in town, it could be fun to watch and fun to say. Can you imagine the confusion this is going to cause Mike Quick. This may be the year Merrill turns and says (do the voice) “shut the hell up you stuttering dope.” Maclin is a slightly larger version of Jackson and will make plays in the open field and can be dangerous in the return game. The addition of LeSean McCoy will probably spell doom for Lorenzo Booker. Good riddens, you no talent waste of a roster spot. I really hope the Birds pick a RaSean or JaySean next year to add to our streak of Seans. Cornelius Ingram may turn out to be the steal of the draft. Ingram was ranked 44th overall and was the second best TE available. This beast can block and catch the ball. I won’t have to scream at my TV anymore, pleading with L.J. Smith to just go down before his inevitable fumble. As of now, I’m slotting Ingram in the 4 spot of “My Favorite Guys Named Cornelius List” just behind…

3. Cornelius Bennet- One of two guys you could blitz with and then easily run a receiver down with even though he’s 70 yards down field on the same play in Tecmo Super Bowl. If you don’t know the other one, we couldn’t possibly be friends.

2. Don Cornelius- As a white kid from the Burbs, there was nothing more comical to me than watching that cartoon train roll in and Don Cornelius’ silky voice introducing my favorite songs. I would sit in front of my TV with a cold glass of black raspberry Kool-Aid and wish I could move like that. The Soul Train Line is something to behold.

1. Yukon Cornelius- The greatest prospector of the North. His contribution cannot be overlooked. If it weren’t for Yukon, Rudolph’s entire family would have been brutally slaughtered by the Abominable Snow Monster. However, Yukon knocked him out with an ice boulder allowing Hermie, the misfit toymaker turned dentist to remove his chompers rendering the ASM defenseless. Yukon then pushed the “Humble Bumble” off an icy cliff, apparently sacrificing himself, saving the day and all foggy Christmases to come. We come to find out later that, thankfully Bumbles Bounce, Yukon is alive, and reformed Bumbles can help you finish off your decorating. Whew, and who knew?

The Girl Who Sweats Me, But I’m Not Interested- The Sixers-Magic Seri

Dwight Howard’s elbow has singled elbowedly given the Sixies a fighting chance in this series, and for some reason, I still probably won’t watch game 6. The quality of play in this series has been the basketball equivalent of a chocolate covered turd. I find nothing interesting about watching Turkish hitman Hedo Turkoglu and black hole Rashard Lewis jacking up threes on one end and Andre Miller clearing out the right side and stumbling to the basket on the other. Sammy Dalembert has finally served a purpose this year. He staggered and flailed around enough to frustrate Superman into an above the shoulders elbow, forcing the league’s hand. That’s worth 10.5 million this year right? He brings little else to the table, so let’s just develop Marreese Speights who is statistically one of the league’s most efficient players. I’m so tired of hearing about how great Sammy’s feet are. Well if his feet are so great, why doesn’t he play on his hands, maybe then he would actually catch a pass that’s right on the money with his toes. I can’t wait until the Sixers draft a 6’8 slasher who can’t shoot again this year. This team will be a mediocre 6 seed and one and done in the playoff for years to come. There is no sport’s city in the country whose management, as a whole, is more satisfied with mediocrity. This is why we boo and are quick to turn our backs. Give us a championship or buzz off.

My Crush Who Reciprocates My Flirtation- The Bulls-Celts Series

This has been, by far the best first round playoff series of all time. With the exception of a game 3 C’s schooling of the Bulls, the other games have been decided by a maximum of 3 points. There have been 3 overtime instant classics, and some of the worst playoff coaching I’ve ever seen. How does Ray Allen foul out with 5 and a half minutes left. I’ll admit that both calls were bogus because NBA officials blatantly orchestrate and borderline fix these games, but c’mon Doc. You must protect your team from losing arguably the best clutch shooter of all time. Oh yeah, and Vinny del Negro, who needs his dad on the sidelines for emotional support must have been combing back his feathered locks in a mirror somewhere at the end of game5. There’s no other explanation for not attempting to force the ball out of Paul Pierces’ hands. Everyone knew what was coming. It wasn’t like Doc was drawing something up. The play was “Paul’s gonna shoot his shot from the elbow that he never misses. The rest of you get out of his way.” Some of you are going to cringe when you read this, but I love Joakim Noah. His whole act is exactly what is should be. He gets paid to piss people off the way Tone Loc gets “paid to do the Wild Thing.” He has Sideshow Bob’s hair, Michael Strahan’s gap, and a dirty mustache that rivals Napolean Dynamite’s Uncle Rico’s furry gem. He’s an agitator in the same vein as Dennis Rodman, and he’s doing a great job at playing his role. He’s the Sean Avery of basketball. He’s a little different, and under your skin like an acne outbreak lying in wait for Prom Night. I hope this thing goes 7.

My Crush Who Ignores Me and But Makes Up For It By Ignoring Everyone Else Too- The Kentucky Derby

It's ironic that the Derby favorite is I Want Revenge. It seems as though the casual fan has been getting revenge on horse racing in general lately. I cannot remember a Derby in recent years that has crept up so quietly. This year’s Derby is “The Sidler” from Elaine Benes’ office who, continues to skulk about despite tic-tacs in the pocket. Maybe this year the horse racing industry will exacts its own revenge in the form of an unheralded Triple Crown winner. I’m setting myself up for disappointment, I know, but here are my choices.

Tri-box- I Want Revenge, General Quarters, Musket Man, Friesan Fire, and Pioneer of the Ni

$10 on Dunkirk across the board

I have no grounds for any of these picks and once I hear who Love likes, I’ll probably just start tearing my tickets up like Sonny and the boys in Bronx Tale when Eddie Mush comes stumbling down the grandstand.

Back to My Ex- The Phillies

Just when everything was going well, the Phils lay an egg and can’t manage more than a run off the winless Scott Olsen, whose ERA is over 6. I know I’m hyper-critical. The Phils have earned a much needed day off, but again, this is typical, middle-school girlfriend stuff. Just when I have the space I need, she invites me to Sesame After Dark when I already have reservations with boys at OV Mall so we can patrol the Food Court for Council Rock girls. Some people just don’t respect a man’s space.