Philadelphia Phillies-Los Angeles Dodgers Game Two: Checkmate

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Philadelphia Phillies-Los Angeles Dodgers Game Two: Checkmate
(Photo by Jacob de Golish/Getty Images)

One morning my kid wandered into the kitchen half asleep and accidentally sent my favorite coffee mug to its demise on my hard ceramic tiles. Okay, accidents happen. But this wasn’t just any mug. This was a 32-ounce monstrous work of art I earned from an overpriced jousting show at the Excalibur in Las Vegas on one of our rare real vacations.

My first instinct was to flip, scream, holler, squawk, or fume, but forcing out my frustration through my potty mouth usually only results in something dribbling into my panties. So, I said the only thing that the powers-to-be would have allowed.


“Stuff happens.”


That’s exactly what the moral is to the NLCS game two loss to the Dodgers.


“Stuff happens.” Checkmate.


Seinfeld had one word that summoned up his dislike of the despicable USPS employee that lived next door.


Newman .


I’m sure Jayson Werth will join me in changing that to, “Padilla .”


How can you anticipate a curve ball that’s 40 mph slower than the preceding fast ball? Victorino broke out laughing because that’s all you can do—and hope he never throws that again. Or does it three times in a row like the changeups Cole Hamels threw to Manny Ramirez in game one to prepare him for hitting a home run.


But stuff happens. I don’t think Pedro Feliz missed fielding that ball for lack of effort, I don’t think Chan Ho Park had a chance at that one-in-a-million bunt, and I don’t think the second error in as many NLCS games by Chase Utley was totally his fault.


Like Joe Torre said, “I’d like to have (Utley’s) problem.” He’s one of the best players in baseball. I think the ghost of former Dodger, Steve Sax, was screwing with him. Sax was a great second baseman who regrettably ended his career unable to throw accurately to anywhere. Matter-of-fact when he retired, he was turned down for a paper route.


Or maybe the problem is Ryan Howard is shrinking. He’s probably going through male menopause. If that’s the case, I have some tips for him: take black cohash, and when you come back to Philly for the next three games, count your blessings for those hot flashes.


What we need is a first baseman with the disease like the one Abe Lincoln had where he never stopped growing. Every week our fielder would get taller and taller so when it was playoff time he’d be at his all time loftiest. Oooh, I wonder if getting bigger applies to other parts of his anatomy?


Hey, a girl can dream.


But I have a bone to pick with the postgame and that’s with the annoying jawing of Dennis Eckersley. First, he was talking like he was ever a Philly, and second, he was blatantly dogging the Phils.

As he quipped that, “We need a bona fide eighth inning guy—but we don’t really know whose gonna be our eighth inning guy. Park threw good last night—let’s bring him back—he’s our set-up guy (now). (The problem is) there’s no truly defined roles.”


How could he possibly blame Phillies’ management for overlooking the need for a reliable eighth inning man? What’s my kid say? “No, duh.” Of course we’d love a truly defined setup man.


I really appreciate Denny kicking the 2009 World Champs when they’re down. The bullpen has been truly consistent this year in being inconsistent. Need we review the regular season woes of Brad Lidge or what happened when they shifted around the pen to find an internal replacement for him? But Cal Ripkin redeemed the show when he said, “Charlie’s moves have been the right ones but today it didn’t work.”


That’s the stuff that happens.


Charlie couldn’t expect more innings from Martinez and he wasn’t fooling himself in believing anything would be different. Hey, that’s a lot like marriage. Boy, do I know how he feels. And Charlie knows the only role of a reliever in the postseason is to be effective—immediately. It appears as though Charlie’s message is, “One batter-one chance.”


You only get one first impression.


Let’s look on the bright side. We saw an awesome duel of veteran hurlers—each with a grab-bag of pitches like a successful Halloween haul. We saw Ryan Howard’s fifth career postseason dinger and Pedro Martinez strike out his good buddy and .350 postseason average batter, Mannywood Ramirez.

We also saw Shane Victorino get overheated in the LA sun (I’ll bet he’s a blast at a luau), Ryan Madson strike out Matt Kemp on a bases loaded change up, and Carlos Ruiz being the postseason hero that he is when he foiled Kemp’s stolen base attempt like a father peeking into a parked car.


Well, that’s baseball and we’re about to see a lot of it. I expect these evenly matched teams to duke it out for seven whole games. And what makes for better baseball than that? The networks will make that much more money and it’ll definitely make buying my 2009 NLCS Championship jersey that much sweeter.


Usually after a game like this, the Philadelphia Phillies I’ve watched all season learn from their mistakes. Maybe seven games are too many to stay intense after a game one win and a home field swap. But now it’s time to get their game back on. And they’re returning home to do it. There’s nothing like good ol’ homegrown fans to make you feel welcome.


Let’s hear it for boys.


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