Good Morning, the Phillies Stink

I used to write a post called Morning Wood, a daily, day-after recap of all the nonsensical things from Phillies games. In case you haven’t noticed, that routine has mostly stopped. Morning Wood inherently implies a joyous a.m. boner, something to be proud of. It can still exist following losses so long as the larger context – the Phillies’ season – is even slightly worth investing your time in. But that’s no longer the case– the Phils are worthless and useless. It used to be a summertime ritual to watch games at the shore or at a backyard BBQ or at a bar or anywhere else you found yourself on a summer holiday weekend. But not now. Who can honestly tell me that they went out of their way to watch any of the weekend games against the rival Nationals this weekend? Or yesterday, a Memorial Day game AT FENWAY, with cool uniforms? Yeah, me neither.

I thought about it a lot this weekend – I used to worry about getting at least a few Phils-related posts up on weekends at the shore because no matter how nice it was outside or what else was going on in the world, people still went out of their way to care about and follow the Fightins – but I kept coming back to the same question this weekend: who cares? The game on Saturday Sunday was the perfect example of why no one does. A pitchers’ duel between Cole Hamels and Stephen Strasburg(!) on a holiday weekend in the nation’s capital. Perfect. But then in a matter of minutes the Phils managed to ruin what was otherwise an enjoyable afternoon: Freddy Galvis couldn’t complete the Chase Utley glove toss to first (gives away an out), Michael Young makes life hard for Humberto Quintero on a bases loaded force play at the plate (the ball bounces away and two runs score), Delmon Young tries to climb the foul pole on a ball that ricochets off the seating cutout 40-feet away (an extra run scores), Cole Hamels leaves the game looking like he wants to maim someone.

That’s what Ruben Amaro has done to this team in a nutshell. Role players who can’t play their roles. Chase Utley makes that toss to first. Placido Polanco wouldn’t have made that throw to the plate. Carlos Ruiz wouldn’t have dropped that ball. Jayson Werth or almost any other outfielder on earth knows that there’s a cutout down the line and that balls will bounce into shallow right. But not Galvis and Young and Quintero and fat Delmon Young. No way. That’s the problem– everyone knows the veterans are aging, and instead of backing them up with reliable talent, Amaro has incredibly managed to do it with mostly misfits and underachievers (speaking generally). The reason the Phils were the best team in baseball in 2010 and 2011 wasn’t because they had great starters, it was because they had a great team. They plugged guys in who could play the right way. But now… the drop-off from starter to role player is humongous, and because of that, the Phillies stink.

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36 Responses

  1. you sound like a whiney bitch and a fair weather fan. there used to be a time when I liked reading all your posts but now they just suck. how does that feel?

    1. You appear to be a Whinier bitch outta touch with reality. Kyle is just telling it like it is. The phillies are a sub 500 team and the job the GM did putiing this team together is a travesty.

      1. yeah and I’m also telling it how it is. that’s the problem with Philly fans in general. you like to kick your teams when they’re down. do the phillies suck? yes. do I stop watching them even though it’s frustrating? no. I live in atlanta and pay $200 just to watch mediocre games but they’re my number one team and I’ll keep doing even if they become the worst team in the league. it’s frustrating but it’s even more frustrating reading a post about a “fan” who “loves” a team bash them. kyles a great writer but I prefer him when he’s positive and funny.

          1. I’d be 100 times more pissed off at you if you were trying to sell that this roster would make the postseason and Ryan Howard should be in the All Star game, and that one of the top payrolls in baseball has excuses to be playing like this, etc.

    2. Courtney, just because you’re upset or angry at your team’s performance, or lack thereof, doesn’t mean you’re a fair weather fan. A fair weather fan wouldn’t even care enough to bother posting.
      But you seem like a positive fan as far as the Phillies are concerned, so I’m wondering what positives you see in this team, and why you think they can contend for a playoff spot, if indeed you do think that.
      And I’m not giving you a hard time, but I truly would like to know what positives we can look forward to for the rest of the season.

      Thank you!

  2. Utley makes the toss to first. The only problem is by the time he gets to that ball, the runner has been standing safe at first for 3 seconds.

      1. In the world where Utley is not allowed to bring his Hover-round onto the field. Seriously, the guy has no range or speed whatsoever. He got injured in batting practice. He’s old, deal with it.

  3. He is just telling it like it is, except I made sure I was watching the Hamels v Strasburg game. The way Kyle described it is just how it was, we hung in then blew it badly. Making me think, if we cant win that game…man its gonna be hard to ring of a string of w’s. BUT now that I think about what happened last night, the travesty of a game was started by Cloyd. Gotta give him a break, stutes should be the 5th starter for now. If they lose tonight with cliff on the mound, we can be more worried then ever.

  4. While agree that kyle is a whinny bitch sometimes, this is not one of them. The Phillies suck, and will for the next 20 years unless Ruben is fired, Charlie is either promoted or let go, and we blow this team up. We’ll be stuck with a shitty 4 hole hitter until 2017. So the only thing we can do is draft well and hope Ruben didn’t fuck this team for an entire generation of fans!!!!

  5. At the time that the deals were done, everyone liked them. Michael Young? Good signing, he’ll help, Polanco is done. Delmon Young? Good signing, we need a RH bat with some pop. Ben Revere? Good signing, good glove, good speed…he’s our new leadoff guy and solidifies the OF. Not that Rube shouldn’t be held accountable, but hindsight is 20-20. I still think Revere will come around. Hamels 1-8? Never happen!
    Jimmy’s not a good leadoff guy (you would think he would know by now how to take a pitch and make the pitcher work). Let’s face it: the future of this team is Brown, Revere, Galvis, Ruf and Tommy Joseph. I wouldn’t be surprised if Utley AND Howard are sold for young stud pitching at the deadline. Who’s the Asian dude you always see in the dugout? Maybe he can play.

    1. Does your username refer to the Johnny Briggs who played outfield for the Phillies in the 70’s?
      If so, very cool and very old school.
      But you lost me at getting “young, stud pitching for Utley and Howard”. Come on Briggsy, you couldn’t get a bag of used batting practice balls for those two, let alone young stud pitchers.
      People always seem to forget that there’s another side to each transaction, and most GMs are rational beings (except ours).

  6. This is a really depressing post primarily becasue it’s true. These “games” are just brutal to watch, so many fundamental mistakes, lousy approach to hitting, bad defense, no middle relief…it just goes on.

  7. @junkhead. I guess I just believe in the magic of baseball and the crazy shit that the phillies can pull off. I mean look at the way they started the first half of the season and then the way the finished. they were one of the best teams the second half. they didn’t make the playoffs but at the end they were still enjoyable to watch. now, it’s early in the season. they’ve already had several hardships, Roy Halladay being one of them. the team is also completely different this year and I think they’re still trying to mesh. I love charlie Manuel but I don’t agree with a lot of the decisions he makes and I think that makes a huge impact. I just don’t think we’ve seen the best they can be yet this season and the best is yet to come. I have to be positive. i love my phillies and I know they’re better than this.

    1. Thanks, Courtney, and it’s nice to know we have dedicated Phillies fans, even in Atlanta. I wish I could share your optimism, but I just don’t think they have the talent to get it done. It’s not like in 2005-2007, when we were lousy but we knew we were getting better. And I’m afraid not even magic will help this team, but I hope you’re right.

  8. Usually on board with you but you’ve got selective memory on this one and it is pretty much a throw-away article that does indeed make you sound like a sour sally (sorry ‘whiney bitch’ was already taken). “It used to be a summertime ritual to watch games at the shore or at a backyard BBQ or at a bar or anywhere else you found yourself on a summer holiday weekend”… IT USED TO BE A SUMMERTIME RITUAL? Do you remember Phils baseball from the 94′ Strike through 2006? The summertime ritual was hoping they could stay with-in 10 games of .500! If Phillies baseball from 2007-2011 can be considered standard Philadelphia baseball I would agree with you but in the last 25 years that four year stretch IS the anomaly (though it did for better or worse get a large portion of the city re-interested). My uneducated guess is that the Phils four year stretch of prosperity might match up to your blogging career and thus you are now salty the team isn’t giving you much positive to write about (possible?). CB is a great source for some quality Philadelphia opinions…this piece just vindicates other fans criticism of Philadelphia as a fair-weather baseball city.

    1. Since about 2003 (which happened to coincide with the heart of my shore drinking career) the Phillies have been watchable. Harry Kalas helped too. That’s 10 years. But I guess it depends on age.

      1. You are right they have been watchable since 2003 but I wouldn’t have bumped off drinking plans for them back then! Also a very good call on Harry Kalas’ importance to summer baseball in Philadelphia. After the strike the Phillies didn’t play .500 for 7 of the next 8 seasons. They finally put up their first back to back +.500 seasons in 2003 and 2004 (and continued to play .500 or better ball until last season…that is a nice run of 10 straight seasons). Before 2003 and 2004 the last time the Phillies finished above .500 in back to back seasons was 1983. I probably took issue with the word ‘ritual’ because my summer childhood ‘ritual’ in the 90s was learning curse words from my dad as he watched Phillies baseball but to be fair I enjoyed the same pleasures of alcohol, youth, and phillies baseball in the 2000’s that you did. Something to always keep in mind is the year your blogging career started, the team broke .500 and didn’t regress too much until last season…that’s the most successful run in franchise history…if everything were to be compared to that segment in the future it would make for a pretty grim Philadelphia narrative (which could be coming)

        P.S. did you ever write a piece back in the day about how Jimmy Rollins clearly should not have (or should have) won the MVP?

  9. I don’t suppose injuries to Doc, Utley, Ruiz, and Howard could have anything to do with it?

    Would ANY team make it through injuries to basically their entire core of players? Not likely.

    It would help if Hamels started pitching like Hamels again. If he were doing that, this team would (amazingly) be above .500 and no one would be talking about the sky falling.

    1. “Would ANY team make it through injuries to basically their entire core of players? Not likely.”

      See, Yankees, New York.

      See Granderson, Jeter, Arod, Teixiera, Youkilis, Pettitte, Joba, Nunez. Even the backups are getting hurt and they are right there

    2. Hamels Has not pitched with a lead since April Andy. That’s not an exageration for emphasis, it’s a fact. Also, these guys are injured because they are AGING. That was a pretty predictable part of the preseason analysis don’t you think? We also have a manager who lost the game sunday when he handed out the lineup card. Did anyone really think that lineup would produce enough offense to win that game? That’s the lineup you run out against your division rival in a rubber game with your ace on the mound? I can’t speak for anyobody else but i don’t want to waste a few hours watching Charlie being Charlie, rather play golf etc…

    3. The Yankees have a LOT more injury problems. You are need to focus on pitching more if you thought Halladay would be more than a 3rd starter after his mechanics last year, and Chooch had a fluke year last year (like when Hunter Pence bats .314 in 2011)

  10. “I used to worry about getting at least a few Phils-related posts up on weekends at the shore”

    Bullshit, you barely even post DURING THE WEEK unless it’s advertisements or Twitter screenshots or TMZ shit, when the fuck have you EVER posted “at least a few” posts on a weekend?

  11. I’d also like to say that I didn’t call Kyle a fair wearer fan. I said he sounded like one. I know he isn’t but this post was disheartening coming from him.

  12. Excellent post. Band-aiding an aging team with such misfits is just rearranging deck chairs on the titanic. The glory of that ship has sailed and is going down as is – time to rebuild.

  13. I was driving back from Sugar House Sunday afternoon, my wallet a Benjamin fatter from time spent at the slots when the Phillies imploded against the gNats, and all I could do was shake my head. Last night was just plain maddening when the Phightins avoided Boston’s unbeaten and dominating Clay Buchholz, only to be stymied by a last minute replacement with an ERA that was just north of 8.00. Shit like that makes a fan want to pull his hair out, or set it on fire.

    Lord knows I want to be optimistic since there’s still four full months of baseball left to play, but I see no sign whatsoever that this team is going to improve and become anything remotely resembling a playoff contender. The Phillies are what most experts predicted they’d be before the season started: a third place team with aging stars on their last legs that would struggle to stay above .500 but do nothing more than that. Right now, they can’t even manage THAT much, the pitching has been inconsistent, the hitting woeful, the defense haphazard and the overall mental approach of players at the plate (constantly swing at first pitches), in the field (Ben Revere and his misadventures) and on the basepaths (Cliff Lee, come on down) has often been pathetic.

    You can’t win playing dumb baseball, and the Phils have played stupid in every phase of the game, something I lay squarely at the feet of Uncle Charlie. If all that isn’t a reason to moan and bitch about this club like Kyle has done, then I don’t know what qualifies.

  14. This is why it was always funny to me when people called Philly a baseball town – it’s not, people only care about baseball here when the team is good. Watch how empty the stadium looks by the end of the year.

    1. Prior to 2007 it wasn’t a baseball town, but the demise of the eagles and the rise of the phillies created a whole new rabid fan base. Philly is now baseball town.

  15. the real problem is every damn day i get an email “BUY PHILLIES TICKETS!”and “BUY A HOODIE EVEN THO A HEAT WAVE IS COMING” and it pisses me off enough that I had to unsubscribe from Phillies emails.

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