Photo credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Photo credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Chase Utley out with the flu. Kyle Kendrick is the starter. Ryan Braun hits three home runs.

I haven’t mentioned it yet because I’ve been trying to block out the fact that Ryan Braun’s rejuvenation party happened at Citizens Bank Park during what is supposed to be a happy day (but historically isn’t) for Phils fans– the Home Opener. Three goddamn home runs and his dumb clop-clop trot around the bases. Ryan Braun is a horrible person who was caught cheating once, came out guns blazing with a pitcher’s mound press conference, tried to ruin an honest man, and then was caught again for being the lying, cheating asshole that he is. He needs to be welcomed back. Cole Hamels welcomed back. I’m dead serious. I will gain so, so much respect for Roberto Fernando Hernandez Fausto Carmona Valenzuela if he puts whatever fastball he has in or around Braun’s headual area today. Braun is a horrible human being and he doesn’t deserve to have success. He’s owed $128 million over the next eight seasons, mostly because he took steroids. How F’d up is that? He’s mega rich because he cheated. That’s enough. He doesn’t deserve more. And what is with this stupid home run trot? WHY DO YOU MOVE LIKE THAT, YOU DUMB WEIRDO? YOU RUN LIKE FORREST GUMP IN THE MOMENT HIS BRACES CAME OFF.

Ryan_braun1Braun’s post-game press conference made me so angry. I couldn’t even watch the whole thing. How does someone not say, “Ryan, as a proven cheater and really bad person, do you find it unfair that you get to have success?” That’s a reasonable question. Instead, reporters are disarmed by Braun’s disingenuous grin:

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Meanwhile, the broadcast team did nothing to lessen the blows. I am waiting to give a full review of the Tom McMarthy-Jamie Moyer-Matt Stairs trio, but… it’s not looking good:

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Look, it’s early and there’s a steep learning curve for this sort of job, probably steeper than Moyer or Stairs imagined. But I feel like, as a whole, the broadcast has gotten worse since the first spring training game. Moyer has a good voice, and he actually has a personality. He says mostly smart things, but does sometimes find himself in situations where he needs to say something and spews out a half-thought that is really, really dumb or basic. That’s fixable, though. Both he and Stairs suffer from that problem. I think it comes from nerves. They’ll learn when they need to have something ready to go.

But Stairs… yikes. I like him. He was kind enough to come on our podcast a few months ago and, though monotone, he was very entertaining. He had a lot of good stories to share, and he clearly knows baseball. BUT I CAN’T UNDERSTAND HIM! He needs to learn that his voice has to change when he’s speaking to an audience. For most people this is instinctual. Your voice just morphs when you know people are listening. It doesn’t have to be phony – like T-Mac’s – but it should change to acknowledge the fact that a mass audience needs to, you know, hear you. Stairs doesn’t do this. He talks like he’s mumbling something over his fifth shot of Banker’s Club. He skips entire sentences sometimes. He just glazes right over pertinent words to the thought which he is trying to communicate. At one point, Moyer teed him up for a simple analysis of batting stance hand positioning, and Stairs, a career pinch hitter, was speechless. Literally speechless. It took him about six seconds to muster up words, and they sounded like someone throwing a sack of marbles at a brick wall. This is what it would look like if he typed whatever the hell his response was: “YeahjuwatoholdemhighIBraundiagoodobofrivitodalley.” WHAT’S THAT, SCOOB?! YABBA JUST GOT A BLOW JOB IN THE ALLEY? Sometimes you just have no idea what Stairs is saying. It’s like playing Whisper Down the Lane Marlee Matlin. And then sometimes he just disappears for seemingly entire innings. I spent the entire ninth yelling at my TV, “Where’s Matt Stairs?! Someone tell him he’s still on TV! No, really, WHERE IS MATT STAIRS! Matt, we’re on! TV! Matt! MATT!!!!!”

They (Stairs in particular) need to stop overthinking things and just have a conversation about baseball. They did this well in their first spring training game. Maybe they ran out of stories. I don’t know. But it doesn’t need to be overly complicated. Let T-Mac run the show (he’s good at that) and just talk baseball. Please. And annunciate, so we can hear it!