Phillies-Blue Jays Finale: The Sequel to Benchwarmers?

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Phillies-Blue Jays Finale: The Sequel to Benchwarmers?
(Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

First, let’s look on the bright side.

 

The Phillies came from behind to tie the game twice with the help of home runs by Jayson Werth, Jimmy Rollins, John Mayberry, Jr., and Greg Dobbs. New reliever, Tyler Walker, was once again thrown to the lions in a bases-loaded, one-out situation and survived. Jimmy Rollins was 3-for-5, lending faith to his renewed offensive demeanor. And every starter made it to base – at least once.

 

And I have a name for my new goat.

 

I now dub thee Marco Scutaro.

 

I name my goats after Phillie killers and this one certainly has a nice ring to it.

 

When Scutaro scooted around first on a walk and stole second on fielding indifference, my child said, “Wow, that’s embarrassing.”

 

Then when John Mayberry Jr. was daydreaming in right when he fielded a single as Scott Rolen rounded first and then took second to embarrass the Phils further, my son said, “That’ll put you on the bench.”

 

Last year Jimmy Rollins was stashed in the dugout for lollygagging to first base, and also for dawdling to the game in New York. But I’ve seen a bunch of malaise lately and none of it has landed anyone on their butt.

 

Charlie Manuel says he’s not ready to throw stuff around the locker room to fire up his team.

 

Yet.

 

But I’m sure some players are on his dart target.

 

My dad used to coach little league. He tells a story of how he took his junior high team to a playoff game in northeast Iowa. As they were warming up, they watched the opposition’s starter throw pitches. He said it was the crack of a pitch into the catcher’s mitt that first caught their attention.

 

So by the time the game started, the lead-off man stood at the plate and could only cower. After the second batter watched three scorching strikes whiz by, my dad pulled the kids aside and seethed, “Are you baseball players or pussies?”

 

The next batter hit a single but was eventually stranded on base. But at least they’d started swinging. When the first little hitter came back into the dugout, he glared at my dad and said, “It’s not as easy as you think.”

 

It’s not. Nobody ever said it was. But bad at-bats, no try, and injury excuses in the middle of June are getting old. If you log into the Phillies home page and check out the injury update, you’ll see the team's pretty well off.

 

They’ve got a groin pull, a bum knee, a sore calf, and a bad hip. Add a yeast infection and you have a book club.

 

Does that make Midol a performance enhancing drug?

 

My point is, things could be worse.

 

I hope it doesn’t need to get pitch black before it gets better.

 

We’re natural pessimists. When things are going well, we’re programmed to think it has to come to an end.

 

So it does.

 

Or doesn’t. The Phillies beat themselves today. The fielding indifference put two runners in scoring position that made all the difference in the world. Add the third error of the season by Pedro Feliz to squelch a sure double play and you have an 8-7 loss. That’s aside from the nine strikeouts that helped strand the same number of runners on base.

 

So, do you want to play ball or gather around to discuss a bestseller? It makes no difference to me. I even have a few books I could suggest. But there are plenty of those.

 

I’d rather see a great team play.

 

So would my goat.

 

Phillies, we want you baaaaaaack.

 

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