Six Things that Tested Even the Most Loyal Phillies Fans in 2010
With only three weeks to go in the 2010 regular season, it's looking more and more like there will be postseason baseball in Philadelphia. That doesn't mean that there weren't some difficult moments along the way.
Injuries and slumps are bound to happen, so rather than focus on the obvious, here is a look at six things that made even the most ardent Phils' fan consider switching to reality television for entertainment.
Jayson Werth's Brain Cramps
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We all know that free agency is looming for "The Beard." But, apparently those visions of $15 million annual salaries created some serious interference in our right fielder's prefrontal cortex (the area of the brain responsible for concentration).
The Phillies' right fielder had numerous baserunning gaffes this season, but none were more flagrant than the time Werth was picked off at second base as Carlos Ruiz was in the process of being intentionally walked.
As egregious as Werth's error was, what made matters worse was his explanation of what caused the blunder: former Phillie Brett Myers distracted Werth by sticking his tongue out at him.
Tasers, Vomiters, and Camera Hogs
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Not all of the 3.5 million fans that have passed through the turnstiles at Citizens Bank Park this season have been a source of pride for Phillies Nation.
This season, the coverage of our beloved home team included a clueless field intruder being tasered and, not to be outdone, a genius who decided to purposely vomit on a father and his daughter.
But, for my money, nothing is a more ever-present annoyance than the non-fans that make it their life goal to gain our attention by getting on television from their high-priced seats behind home plate. You know the ones. They waste a perfectly good $150 seat by spending the entire game on their cell phone, except for when the right- or left-field camera light turns red, at which point they wave, hold up signs, and even make gestures. I am hereby proposing that MLB take a stand against these clowns by assigning a member of security to boot these fans from 2011 home games on the grounds of being the most annoying individuals on the planet.
J.C. Romero's Unwarranted Swagger
It's bad enough that J.C. Romero can't seem to find home plate with a G.P.S., but what is truly maddening is the arrogance that accompanies his wildness.
We are all too familiar with Romero's routine by now. He swaggers to the mound, throws a handful of pitches that paint the ball-zone, looks completely disgusted when Charlie Manuel takes the ball, and then struts off the field while flinging his gum in an act of defiance.
With that said, we are prepared to live with all of this, because he is our only left-handed option for the playoffs!
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I admit it. I actually think Wheeler adds some good insight to the Phillies' broadcast.
Now, if you haven't already clicked away from this article in a statement of disagreement, let me get to the thing that tests that loyalty. It's those Wheelerisms that he serves up on a nightly basis.
For example, I don't want to hear about the ball that was obviously misplayed having "a lot of topspin on it." I also don't want to hear about the "no-doubles defense" when either team has a late-innings lead.
But most of all, I have lost patience with Wheel's explaining that a batter with a 3-0 count is looking for something "middle-in." Really?!! So, you're saying the guy looks for pitches that are right over the middle of the plate?! Are you sure he's not the guy who, with a 3-0 count, is sitting on that always tempting head-high fastball?
We love you Wheels. Just give us a little credit on some of these things.
The Bottom of the Starting Rotation
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Okay, before I explain this one, I will be the first to admit that I am being totally picky. It's easy to become spoiled when you have Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels headlining your starting rotation.
As good as those three guys are, though, is as bad as the 5th starter has been this season. For a while, it was Joe Blanton, who used his first month back from an abdominal injury as extended spring training. Unfortunately, he was pitching in Philadelphia instead of Clearwater at the time.
As Blanton finally began to resemble his six-innings, three earned runs self, Kyle Kendrick started to resort to his five innings, five runs self.
In the end, the combined stats of these two pitchers feature and ERA in the range of 5.00 and an opponents' batting average of .300.
Let's all be thankful for the shortened rotation of the postseason.
Four Straight Shutout Losses To Mets
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You knew the Phils were in a nasty slump when they were shut out for an entire three-game series by the Mets, the franchise with more quitters than Alcoholics Anonymous.
The low point was when the Phils suffered their fourth straight shut out at Citi Field. This was the result of a pitching masterpiece by Mets non-ace knuckleballer and future non-Hall-of-Famer R.A. Dickey.
Let's admit it, those games caused even the most loyal Phillies' fan to wonder if the Fightins really would be playing more than 162 games in 2010.