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Philadelphia Phillies Starting Rotation: Death By Chocolate?

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Philadelphia Phillies Starting Rotation: Death By Chocolate?
(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

The series sweep of the Nationals was sweet. 

 

The first game gave JA Happ his third win and boosted the confidence of closer Brad Lidge while Jayson Werth broke his 145 game no-error streak–a National League record. Hopefully, he’ll streak again and not just in my dreams.

 

Then in game two, Ryan Howard broke Michael Jack’s franchise career grand slam record. Well, it was destined to happen. Ryan’s a show-off. In little league, he was the only player to hit a home run over the Red Lobster. I wonder if he got a free dinner.

 

Then yesterday, Jamie Moyer reached the elusive 250th win—in almost as many tries.

 

This calls for a celebration. And I think my sister should be in charge.

 

I partied at her house on Saturday night (which is obviously why you didn’t hear from me on Sunday). But I have some great insight on celebrating.

 

First, you start with food. Food’s good and great food’s better, but just having great food isn’t what makes the party. As I rounded the counter to throw away my most certainly biodegradable Styrofoam plate, an item deserving of awe and respect caught my eye.

 

A chocolate fountain.

 

You heard me right.

 

As I gazed upon the cascading liquid candy with awe and delight, my focus narrowed like a strike zone. One thing was certain: When I die, I want to come back as chocolate.

 

At first I wanted to strip naked, dive in, and bathe myself in the lukewarm magic, but then a remote stroke of sensibility fluttered through my mind that said, “That’s probably illegal.” 

 

Alas...I simply shoved my cup under the stream and gulped until the mustache painted my lip like a “Got Milk” commercial.

 

Got chocolate?

 

Got a point?

 

Hang in there.  I do–and more great dessert ideas.

 

There’s something euphoric about chocolate that moves. It makes the confection come to life like a giant wax sculpture. Actually they should start casting celebrities out of chocolate.  And they should start with the Phillies

 

Then my husband yanked me from my fantasy by whispering those three little words that go straight to my heart.

 

“Strawberry shortcake.”

 

Okay, that’s two words, but it eats like three. There at the end of his finger sat a pot of gold; a triple-layered strawberry shortcake.

 

It exuded an aura that lured me and my mustache over like Prada shoes on a discount rack. One thing was certain: it would be mine. What I was about to do was immoral, but no one like me (female and menstruating) would accuse me of idiocy. It was a Triple Crown, palate pleasing, intertwining of cake, whipped cream, strawberries, and love.

 

Which reminded me of the Phil’s pitching staff. 

 

Not for that reason, although now that you mentioned it...

 

One thing was certain: I needed a big piece and I wanted it to last a long time.  But I didn’t want to look weak. That’s when I decided I’d cut one ginormous piece and split it among many plates. Then I could chow one after another, moving about the place so no one would notice, and satisfy my sweet tooth with multiple layers of love.

 

My point is, Phillies pitchers need love too. And it’s easier to do when they’re covered in whip cream and strawberries.  I’m sorry, was I thinking out loud? What I really mean is, their struggles this season have cast a totally different light on my perspective of pitching in general.

 

And that giant piece of strawberry shortcake led the way to my answer: The game needs to be split. That “complete game” piece was divvied up like a game heavy in relievers, and it worked like a charm. 

 

So maybe baseball should become a game of relievers–not starters–which is what’s been happening with the Phillies anyway. And as much as we whine about it, it’s working.

 

All this time we’ve been thinking Phil’s pitchers need to go deeper into a game. They need to man up, get tougher, and hang longer. We just have to find the right man for the job, and right-hander Jake Peavy is who we’re writing about. 

 

But what if the problem isn’t with the “man,” it’s with the “job.”

 

That’s the stuff I think of as desserts bathe my brain in a sugary matrix.  

 

I read an article in the Daily News a few days ago that said just the opposite. The writer’s expectation was that pitchers need to toughen up and pitch the whole game, just like olden days.  And the pitch count needs to be abandoned.

 

What if it was abandoned, but not for the same reason?

 

I like to think I can expect people to understand why a middle-aged woman dunked herself naked in a fountain of chocolate, but that’s a warped perspective.

 

Maybe our perspective of pitching is wrong, and our expectation.

 

What if the problem is, starting pitchers are expected to maintain a freshness into the seventh inning that’s unrealistic for someone who’s only in the game every five days. Charlie even tries to get his pinch hitters in more often than that because he knows they need love too. 

 

I think the argument against that theory is, relievers would get overused. Given the current system they would. But I’m saying throw your starters in the bullpen too.

 

There’s no difference between pitching a few innings every other game and pitching seven every five days. Whether you eat one huge piece or many small pieces of cake–it all comes out in the same place.

 

What if the solution to the starting rotation is doing away with it altogether? We’re thinking we need more durable arms, but what we’re seeing are surgeries and therapies designed to repair less durable arms. Maybe we’re expecting 300,000 miles from a 100,000-mile part.

 

What if our entire pitching staff was the bullpen? I, for one, wouldn’t mind seeing them all sitting in the outfield den together. That makes them much easier to stalk with my binoculars, which is legal. It’s peeping at them outside the stadium that’s considered inappropriate.  How would I know?

 

Back to that party. 

 

I gorged my soul with more sugar than a Peeps factory and sustained a high that lasted all the way through the last play of Sunday’s game. That’s when the Nats connected with a Brad Lidge pitch that threatened to start a rally until Chase Utley decided that ball would not get by. When he spun, leaped, and threw to a stretched-out, reinvented Ryan Howard for another Light’s Out save, one thing was certain.

 

I died.

 

My epitaph read, “Death by chocolate.”

 

That’s the only way to go.

 

See you at the ballpark.

 

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