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It's Go Time

by Ryan Hohman

Opening Day is just 72 hours away and I don’t recall feeling this conflicted about the Phillies season...ever. That’s probably because I’ve never gone into a season as a fan of the defending Champs. Now I know how New Englanders and Yankees’ fans must feel…Jerks! Expectations are high. Another parade will be the only acceptable outcome, so naturally I’m preparing for a crushing disappointment. I’ve walked this road too many times as a loyal Philly fan and I’ve endured more gut wrenching disasters than any devotee should have to tolerate. From Joe Carter demolishing a Wild Thing slider in 93’, to A.I. torching the Lakers for 48 in game 1 only to be bulldozed in five, to Birdstone running down a laboring Smarty Jones in the last hundred yards of the Belmont, to Donavan vomiting all over himself in the Super Bowl a la Steamin’ Willie Beamon, my fandom as a whole has been characterized by moments of great excitement that eventually take all the air out of my lungs and leave me wondering why I cared so much. The worst part was, like Lloyd Christmas being robbed by a little old lady on a motorized cart, “I didn’t even see it coming.” Or did I? In the back of my mind and every other true Philly fan’s mind, each of these calamities was so expected. The 93’ Jays were freakin’ good (they had 7 all-stars-Robby Alomar[pre-lugey hocking], Paul Molitar, John Olerud[Olerud, Alomar, and Molitar finished 1-2-3 in AL batting crown…sick], Joe Carter, Devon White, Pat Hentgen, and Duane Ward), no one was beating Shaq and Scottie Pippen…I mean Kobe (see numero uno on my “Kill List”), Stewart Elliot was bound to blow it on a horse that was as out of his league as Seal is with Heidi Klum, and Donavan is the mayor of Choke City. Until the 08’ Phils, you could’ve renamed the towns teams the Broad Street Brandon Lee’s, the Pattison Ave. River Phoenix, or the Philly Soul of Heath Ledger. Each team over the past 15 years was at one point poised to break through and make its championship mark but was tragically cut down before enjoying the fruits of its labor. Nonetheless, I would hope against hope. And then last year, it all came together by some miraculous aligning of the cosmos. Lidge was perfect. Hamels was awe-inspiring. Chubs Howard and Chase mashed with the best of them. J Roll did all the little things. The “Non-Bat” ripped a double off the wall in the most important at bat of the year. For the love of God, Carlos Ruiz had an RBI infield single! Somehow, everything went right…for once in my life. Which leads me to believe that this year, everything will go terribly wrong. I’ve never wanted to be wrong this badly.

Even if all does fall apart and shatter, here are some things that will make the season interesting with or without another parade down Broad Street…

Ring Ceremony- On April 8th the Phils will get their World Series Rings. What’s great is that now all the player’s wives and girlfriends will have ring to put on a chain to wear with their red Phillies jacket with white leather sleaves…wait that was a high school flashback. My b…Anyway, I hope Uncle Charlie guarantees a repeat. He’ll say something like, “if we win the most games and can manage to win’em all in the playoffs too then I think we can maybe do some things and repeat I hope.” Awesome Uncle Chuck…you’re the man. Interesting stat: Charlie’s SP9 (Schmitters per 9 innings) is a healthy 1.3 and I look forward to big things from him this year.

4/20, 4/27, 5/12, 5/25, & 8/28- While we’re on the topic of gluttony, I figured I should share my seasonal excitement about the above dates. These are the Dollar Dog Nights…aka the only nights that I can afford to eat at a Phillies game. These artery cloggers may make me queasy for days and I usually slip into a Nitrate induced coma that takes me through the 3rd , 4th, and 5th innings before rousing myself with a cold one and reloading before stretch time, but I live in the moment! What would really be interesting is “Dollar Beer Nights.” Can you even imagine the pandemonium? The following night would have to be “A Plus Bail Bonds: Bail Your Friends and Family Members Out of Jail Night” or “Lynx Shovel Co.: Scrape Your Pal’s Body of the Pavement Night.”

Harry the K vs. Wheels- I can feel it, this is the year that Harry loses it on Wheels, on air, for everyone to enjoy. In case you haven’t noticed, let me fill you in…Harry and Wheels do not like each other. It all started in 97’ when Dave Montgomery took over in the front office replacing Bill Giles. “Whitey,” Harry’s longtime color man and best buddy decided to retire before Montgomery strong-armed him out of the booth to make way his boy Wheels to get some more time and some more shine. That’s exactly what happened and Wheels weaseled his way into a larger role, much to Harry’s chagrin. Whitey died of a heart attack a few months later and there has been icicles hanging off the booth ever since. What I’m looking for would be something similar to Ralphie dominating Scut Farkus in “A Christmas Story.” Harry would completely blow a fuse and a weave a tapestry of expletives while pummeling a whimpering and sobbing Wheels as L.A., Sarge, Jim Jackson, Tom McCarthy, and Scott Franzke watch with awed and horrified expressions like the kids behind the fence. I simply won’t settle for condescension and flippancy anymore…I want to see some blood!

More Cursing From Chase- In all honesty, Chase didn’t just survive the “F-Bomb Scare” of Halloween, he actually may be more liked because of it. Utley’s obviously booze enduced faux pa was not his first on the airwaves. During the 08’ Homerun Derby in the Bronx, Chase responded just as any Philadelphian being booed in the Rotten Apple would have, “Boo? F!@# you!” I take issue not with the rebuttal itself, but with the forced apology Utley made. Let’s face it, Chase is a regular dude and a ball player. These guys curse. What I hope we’re seeing from Chase is something similar to the phenomenon that happens between parents and children somewhere in the late teens when parents stop correcting and punishing foul language. I vividly remember my first unfettered “F Bomb.” I snuck it in to communicate my disgust with having shovel snow in sub-zero temperatures. My mom and dad both balked at my obscenity, but I slipped out the door into the frozen tundra, and to my delight, it was never mentioned again. After that it was open season in my house, even for my mom. It was like the weight of propriety had been lifted off of everyone’s shoulders. If this is a universal experience, then Utley has carte blanche to say anything he wants, this is still America…sort of. Some hyper-sensitive pansies out there will say, “Chase is a role model and should watch what he says,” or “My child shouldn’t have to hear that from one of his heroes.” Wah, wah, wah, shut it! If you don’t want your child to hear obscenities, here’s what you should do. Don’t take them to a game, or to a parade, or to a movie, or to the mall, or to the park, home-school your precious peach, don’t let him watch TV, or listen to music, and no talking to friends which shouldn’t be a problem anyway because everyone will despise your wuss in training for being such a weenie…just like you. Or just maybe, you can tell little Johnny that Chase said a bad word that he shouldn’t repeat. You know, just be a parent you waste of space.

The Passing of the Torch- Move over Chase, Jayson Werth is the hunk de jour in Philadelphia. The Phil’s PR department decided this for the ladies by making May 10th “Jayson Werth Blanket Day(strangely enough the PR department decided to combine Motrin IB Mothers Appreciation Day with Werth Blanket Day, a two slap combo to all Moms out there if you ask me) ,” only for the ladies 15 and over. For the record, I just don’t get it. To me, Jayson Werth is the Jean Claude van Damme of the squad. He seems serious enough, but just he oozes cheesiness like the overexaggerated moves of JCvD in Bloodsport. Werth, a super-douche inked 2 year $10million deal in January and is bound to have mediocre “non-contract” year. This overrated weenie will probably hit .260 with 17-20 dingers and 125 seductive poses for snapshots with screaming pre-teen psychopaths who would even find Mr. Bean attractive if it meant other people would think they were cool for a millisecond.

Brad Lidge’s First Blown Save- C’mon it’s bound to happen. My guess is somewhere in mid-May and I can’t wait to hear the Philly media throttle Lidge with lines like, “You know Brad seems to have lost a little bit off his slider” or “he just not as effective as he was last year.” Bill Simmon’s “Five Year Grace Period Theory” is applicable in every city except Philadelphia. The response to “Lights Out’s” first bungle will be like the tourist commercial for Florida where the cloud obscures the sun for like two seconds and everyone on the beach moans, then that wench looks at her friend and says, “it was so much nicer yesterday.” That commercial would be much better if the friend disagreed and went on a tirade about how ungrateful the wench was to be relaxing on the beach when she could be freezing her buns of in Buffalo or scooping water of her basement in Fargo and ended with the friend stuffing a knuckle sandwich with extra sand down the wench’s unappreciative throat. The same will be true of any ungrateful sportswriter who slays Lidge after his first blown save. Someone should take his laptop and bash him about the unappreciative skull until he remembers how awesome Lidge was a year ago.

Ryan Howard Passing Out C-Notes- The Red Teletubby makes $18 million a year now, so the least he can do, besides crushing 50 homers, and hitting above .260 is hand out 200 Benjamins to 200 lucky fans at each home game. It may sound like I’m asking for a lot, but we’ve seen the Big Kid put up those numbers and giving up 20 grand per home game would be as meaningless as flicking a boogie out your window while floating down 95. Howard, who will make $111,111.11 per game would still clear around $40 thousand more than my annual salary in one night. Someone please hide my gun. Anyone who says that we pay these guys too much money is out of their mind…they deserve every penny for playing a kids game, especially those guys who do it half-assed.

Jewish Heritage Celebration (8/20)- Why don’t we just tell the terrorists when to bomb the Bank. Actually this could be a hilarious night on the town for me and my buddies especially if the Phils would let me run the promotion. “Free Phillies Yarmulkes and Penny Kosher Dogs For All Menches 13 and Over” I can just picture the Goldberg family waiting in line quibbling. “Why are these soggy dogs a penny? They’re like two bites and they’re not even that good. Why don’t they just give them away for free?” Ahh, stereotypes can be fun.

The September Mets Meltdwon- It’s almost as fun being a non-fan of the Mets as it is being a Phillies fan. Watching the tortured looks on their faces as their bullpen gives it up like it was prom night. Asking them, “hey how did the Mets do last night?” even though they have been eliminated for days. It doesn’t get much better for a Phillies fan. Wait, yes it does…for this entire year we get to remind them that, not only did Mets collapse again last year, but I can’t remember who won the whole thing…oh that’s right, the Phillies did! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! LOSERS!

Another parade- 700,000 fake Phillies fans need a reason to take off of work or school and get completely annihilated in public while the cops watch without caring. I can live with that. 300,000 real fans wouldn’t mind it either.

Let me know what you’re looking forward to this season! There’s no place to go from here but down. But while I’m on top of the world and on top of the MLB food chain, I’m going to take dump on as many unfortunate non-Phillies fans as I can. If I didn’t, then what was the point of winning it all?

Mullet Derby Update:
Primetime Neon wired the field in “The Soul Glow Stakes” inching Juan Samuel at the wire with Mariano Duncan running a close third. Primetime Neon dominated decent competition at a mile and sixteenth and proved he could possibly handle the distance. We’ll see if he can run with the big boys in four weeks.

2 comments:

  1. Ha ha ha. Good stuff homeboy...that shit was funny as hell. Can I say shit on this? Anywho great dumb and dumber reference. Heather and I were cracking up when we read it. Keep the articles coming man, I enjoy the good reading material...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Jewish Heritage Celebration
    As a Jewish person I found this...funny.
    Takes one to know one.

    ReplyDelete