Thursday, June 17, 2004

They Feel Our Pain

Turns out we in the blogosphere aren't the only ones underwhelmed by the Phillies' inconsistency over the first half of the season. Today's Inquirer features several team members voicing disappointment in the squad's performance, going much further than Larry Bowa, who has treaded pretty lightly this season.

The Phils' lackadaisical play was on full display Saturday, when I was in Minneapolis to watch them play the Twins. It's difficult to decide on the bigger disappointment -- the Phillies' docile acceptance of their 6-1 defeat or the dreadfully synthetic, Arena Football-like venue that is the Metrodome. The game's storyline was pretty simple: Curtis Silva handcuffed the Fightin's, while Kevin Millwood was doomed by one rough inning.

Now, when I played freshman high school baseball many years ago, our coach, Mr. Burrough, occasionally would spy his players mentally drifting, shall we say, on the field or in the basepaths. He'd pop out of the dugout, cup his hands together, and boom, in a voice that carried like a foghorn across the water, "C'MON, [OFFENDING PLAYER], GET YOUR HEAD IN THE GAME!"

That phrase was on mind in the sixth, when Bobby Abreu took the bat out of Jim Thome's hands with his unsuccessful attempt to swipe second with two outs. If you're going to run when you're down by four and your biggest power threat is up, you'd better damn well make it. Thome, leading off the seventh, naturally fired his 399th career homer over the rightfield wall, but instead of trailing by just a pair of runs, the Phils were still three behind, thanks to Abreu's brain cramp, and never threatened again. Some Shallow Center readers have written to defend Abreu after a previous post about his taking plays off; well, this is exactly the kind of stuff I was talking about. Bobby, get your head in the game.


At June 17, 2004 at 5:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can live with Abreu taking the occassional play off, if that's indeed the case, since he's been the Phils' best hitter this century. Doesn't make losing that game any easier, but on the list of things the Phils need to address, it's a ways down.


At June 17, 2004 at 5:45 PM, Blogger Wyatt Earp said...

I actually like Abreu, but that was a dumb move. You're down, and now you have the Big Guy leading off the next inning WITH THE BASES EMPTY! Not good. I always love the camera shot of the dejected batter afterwards. That's good cinema!

At June 18, 2004 at 6:57 AM, Blogger Matt said...

Hey, Bill -

Ever heard of a couple of guys named Ashburn and Klein? By the way, it's never okay to take a play off. When you're making several millin dollars a year to play a game, you damn well better have you head in the game the whole time.

At June 18, 2004 at 10:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't believe that I am going to say this, but, "I completely agree with Matt". DSJC

At June 19, 2004 at 7:43 AM, Blogger Wyatt Earp said...

I think Bill meant that Abreu is the best Phils hitter THIS century, meaning 2000 or later. At least, I HOPE that's what he meant!


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