Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I Hate Everything About You

Game 66 - Phillies

Fish 5, Phils 4

Record: 39 and 27

Ok, no big deal. Have to lose sometime. Wish Myers would have pitched better but, baby steps.

Hamels on the hill tonight. A great outing would speak volumes about just who is in charge here in the NL Least.

So, to kill time until some event generates visceral emotions, I will manufacuture some emotion with a little list of my all time least favorite Phillies.

C – Lance Parrish. Parrish was a 6 time All-Star for Sparky and a colossal bust in Philly. Then again, signing a free agent catcher at the age of 30? You get what you pay for.

1B – Gregg Jefferies. I wanted to put Travis Lee here. Lee was one example in the long line of players who were cursed with the “sweet swing” tag. (See Von Hayes below.) He was supposed to help assuage the loss of Curt Schilling with that swing. Expectations were too high and he appeared too aloof, at least for this deranged town. He was an excellent fielder though. We can’t blame Travis. We can blame Gregg Jefferies. Where do we begin? He was a Met. Okay, so was Tugger and Lenny and Roger McDowell but they were funny, gregarious and certainly cool enough to slide down I-95 and not miss a beat. Jefferies always made you feel like he was doing you a favor by donning your uniform. The kid had talent but you just knew it was all about him. It didn’t help that he was the best player on the worst Philly teams in the 1990s. His biggest offense of course, was the gratuitous extra “G” in his first name. By the way, Jefferies actually split time between left field and first base but he wore his stirrups like a first basemen so he goes here.

2B – Mark Lewis. This was the toughest position to pick. Philly has always enjoyed sold second base play. While Marlon Anderson never really panned out, I had to pick Mark Lewis simply because I had completely forgotten he played for us. He played one season in Philly (1998) and hit .249 while kicking 16 balls in 140 games. That made him slightly less than average and wholly forgettable.

SS – Steve Jeltz. Go look up Steve Jeltz at baseball-reference.com and tell me how the hell he managed 8 years in the bigs. Can you imagine him playing 8 seasons in this century? Remember the term “light hitting middle infielder?” That’s right son, back in my day, shortstops and second basemen rarely hit more than 20 home runs a season – combined!

3B – Tie Rick Schu and Todd Ziele – OK, Schu was awful but in his defense, he could have been Scott Rolen (the Midwestern mannerly, dutiful and no-nonsense version) and he still would have been hated for not being Mike Schmidt. His name did begin with Sch- though. Nice try Rick. Todd Ziele was Greg(g) Jefferires’ best friend. (Why didn’t he just marry him if he loved him so much?) For that, he gets on the list.

LF – Phil Bradley. Bradely was a great young outfielder in Seattle where he had all the tools. Power, speed, average and arm. He came to Philly and posted his worst season hitting .264 with 11 home runs and 11 stolen bases (vs. 9 CS.) I swear, after we made a deal with the devil to get Pete Rose, players since have gone to Philadelphia to die.

CF – Wendell Magee. Like second base, the Phils have had some success here with Garry Maddox, Len Dykstra and most recently Aaron Rowand. However, during the dark years of the late ‘90’s the future genius Terry Francona had to trot out this guy on opening day, 1997. Wendell played only 38 games and hit .200. He was gone before the loathing set in.

RF – Von Hayes - Do you know from which motion picture this dialogue has been hi-jacked?

Nick: It's not your fault.

Von: [Softly, still staring off] I know...

Nick: No you don't. It's not your fault.

Von: [Serious] I know.

Nick: No. Listen to me son. It's not your fault.

Von: I know that.

Nick: It's not your fault. [Von is silent, eyes closed]

Nick: It's not your fault.

Von: [Von's eyes open, misty already] Don't fuck with me Nick. Not you.

Nick: It's not your fault. [Von shoves Nick back, and then, hands trembling, buries his face in his hands. Von begins sobbing. Nick puts his hands on Von’s shoulders, and Von grabs him and holds him close, crying]

Von: Oh my God! I'm so sorry! I'm so sorry Nick!

Leave your guesses in the combox.

Von Hayes was not Ted Williams. Then again, he never claimed to be. Other, less serious minds tagged him with that. Von Hayes also never asked to be traded. He certainly never said he was worth 5 major league players, one of which was Philly favorite Manny Trillo. Oh, and one of the throw-ins was minor leaguer named Julio Franco whose career spanned 23 years and produced 2500 plus hits with a .298 average. Hayes lasted 12 seasons collecting 1402 hits while batting .267.

He never said he was Teddy Ballgame though. It wasn’t his fault.

SP – Joe Cowley. Cowley, along with battery mate/partner in crime Lance “Perish” came over in the off season of ‘87 to help the Phils make up the 20 game deficit to the ’86 Mets. What a joke that notion was. Cowley had pitched a no-hitter in ’86 but in doing so, issued 7 walks. That should have been an adequate warning for the Phillies’ brass. Cowley became the first pitcher in history to throw a no hitter and never win another game. His brief stint in Philly featured 5 starts, 0 wins, 4 losses, 11 2/3rd IP and a 15.43 ERA.

Closer – Billy Wagner. Look, Wagner is one of the greatest closers ever. How he can uncork 100mph fastballs from his slight frame is mind boggling. I remember how much fun it was when his pitches clocked triple digits at Citizens Bank and the crowd would go nuts. That first season, he spent a little time on the DL but he pitched well when he was healthy. The second season though, he started the mumbling straight from the Curt Schilling/Scott Rolen Free Agent To Be Handbook about the front office not being committed to winning and so he left town and promptly began whining and bashing Philly, its players and its management.
This line score from the 2006 NLCS…

0.2 4 3 3 0 0 1 16.20

…was poetic justice for those inclined to partake in schadenfreude. Brad Lidge saving 3 games in a World Series championship would be icing.

Manager – Terry Francona. Tito was an all time good guy. He piloted some shameful Phillies squads woefully short on talent. This was not his fault. Had he slipped away in relative anonymity as the third base coach for the Twins, he wouldn’t be on this list. Certainly others – Lee Elia, John Felske, Nick Leyva – belong here. We know why Tito makes this list. I am too petty to be happy for him. In fact, that applies to Schilling and Rolen and any other lucky bastard to escape Philly and win a championship.

6 comments:

TJ said...

Steel Vaginas?

rob said...

this is a phenomenal concept and i'm quite angry with nick for thinking of it first.

rob said...

and interestingly, whit and i might have the same first baseman.

rob said...

oh, and that's from 'good will hunting'.

TJ said...

Love this idea. Luis Polonia is not going to like what he sees.

Nick said...

Thanks Rob and good job on the correct answer!