2009 Philadelphia Phillies: Old Manager and Unreliable Closer

3 11 2009

During two internships at investment banks, feeling uncomfortable having ESPN.com open on my company’s computer all day, I found myself in the Bloomberg sports section quite frequently. One of the main writers in this section was Scott Soshnick. Nearly every article I read of his was filled with nonsense. Making ludicrous claims, random anecdotes and idiotic conclusions were just a few of his specialties. But with no outlet to vent I was stuck frustrated in my cubicle. Now that I have my blog I get the chance to break down his articles FJM style. His latest disaster is below in bold with my hysterical responses in between.

This one was from a week ago, but it was pretty inane, so it had to be done. Enjoy…

Oct. 27 (Bloomberg) — Every professional sports team has a face, the guy who symbolizes what the roster is all about.

[Every news organization has a face, the guy who symbolizes why we read their news. Scott Soshnick is not that guy [although he does have a pretty face]].

The defending champion Philadelphia Phillies, who open the World Series tomorrow night at Yankee Stadium, actually have two: their manager, Charlie Manuel, and their closer, Brad Lidge.
[You mean the Brad Lidge who blew 11 saves this year? Not former MVPs Jimmy Rollins or Ryan Howard. Not their BEST PLAYER Chase Utley? Nah, let’s give it to their 65 year old manager and their completely unreliable closer. Your off to a good start Scotty Boy.]

First, the manager.

[Let’s do it!]

Even now, with a ring on the resume, it’s easy to underestimate Manuel, whose folksy drawl makes him the antithesis of New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in engineering.

[Who doesn’t love a folksy drawl?]

Manuel isn’t exactly erudite. He’d say so himself, probably explaining that he has little use for big words. Heck, he’s probably never even used the word erudite.

[Hmm…So what you’re trying to say is that he’s…stupid?]

Manuel is a refreshing alternative to the egomaniacal coach who thinks that today’s game is the most important thing there is. He knows better, having endured a number of health problems, including heart ailments, diverticulitis and a cancerous kidney. In 2000, while managing the Cleveland Indians, Manuel wore a colostomy bag in the dugout. That’s how Manuel was raised. You show up for work. No matter what.

[Ohhhh. Not only is he stupid, but he’s old and in poor health. Attention all MLB GMs. Hire this guy!]

I left out like 4 paragraphs that talked about Charlie Manuel as a child. No need to talk about the 1800s.

The Phillies have a collection of stars who conduct themselves like role players. Ryan Howard. Chase Utley. Jimmy Rollins. Their approach is the byproduct of a manager who asks only for hard work and togetherness.

[You clearly have no idea who Jimmy Rollins is. He’s conceded and over the top and by no means “conducts himself like a role player.” Acually, all three of them conduct themselves like MVPs, as 2/3 of them have won the award and the other is actually the best of the 3. These men act like All Stars because they hit baseballs very far. Don’t compare them to role players, because that is just insulting.]

“We don’t have quitters,” Rollins says.

[So role player-esq]

Not quitting, persevering, fighting through, is a perfect segue to Lidge, whose performance evaluation from last season to this one can be classified as perfect to pathetic.

[There he is, the  face of the struggling, pathetic Phillies! Wait? The Phillies are a good team? Surely, you wouldn’t describe the face of the NL champion Phillies as playing “pathetically.” Oh wait…you just did.]

Lidge was, indeed, flawless last season. Not one stumble or hiccup. Not only did he convert all 41 of his save opportunities, but his 1.95 earned run average would make any pitcher envious. He was automatic. Game over.

[Best closer in the league. They actually won a world series too. Hurray!]

This season, though, Lidge posted a regular-season record of 0-8. His ERA was 7.21 and he blew 11 saves. At one point he even lost his job as the team’s closer.

[Worst closer in the league. Luckily they led the NL in runs because of three guys named Ryan, Jimmy and Chase.]

Lidge didn’t whine. Didn’t sulk. Didn’t surrender, either. He just pitched, all the way into the postseason, where Lidge has allowed just one hit in four innings while saving all three of his opportunities.

[The beauty of the internet is that I can review this article a week after it was written and 2 days after Lidge blew quite a big one.]

Folks should know by now not to question the bounce-back ability of Lidge, who in 2005 was one out away from securing Houston’s first trip to the World Series. A single and then a walk brought to the plate Albert Pujols, who crushed Lidge’s 0-1 offering over the left-field wall, allowing the Cardinals to play another day.

“There’s no way this is going to get anybody down,” said Lidge, whose Astros rebounded to win Game 6 in St. Louis and reach the World Series. “This will sting a lot tonight, but when I wake up tomorrow I’ll be ready to go.”

[Then game 6 happened and they lost. Lidge was ready to go for sure…Ready to go hunting in the offseason.]

That’s the Phillies in a nutshell.

[Phillies nutshell: Brad Lidge blows game. Stings a lot. Wake’s up next morning ready to go. Phillies lose series in 6. Anyone see a trend developing?]

“We knew from the get-go that we were capable of getting back here,” was Howard’s take. “It was just a matter of us playing our game.”

The manager will be happy to explain what that means. Win isn’t all that big a word.

[Ha!! Get it!? Because he’s stupid!]





Thanks for not complaining…about a perfect situation?

13 10 2009

Scott Soshnick is probably a perfectly nice guy. But during two internships with investment banks and feeling uncomfortable having ESPN.com open on my company’s computer all day, I found myself in the Bloomberg sports section. Hopefully my interpretation of his dribble will make the articles’ far more readable. Either that or I’m sure you’ll find yourself some sound financial advice somewhere else on the website. The text in bold is from his article while the non-bold text is my response.



Oct. 7 (Bloomberg) —Let’s hear it for the Steinbrenner boys for not having heard from the Steinbrenner boys.

[Let’s hear it for Scott Soshnick for breaking his record of how long it takes to get through his article before he confuses me. 1 line!]

Not a peep. Not about on-field matters, anyway. Overpriced tickets, yes. Underperforming players, no.
[Ok, well that’s your whole article right there. Obviously the Steinbrenners aren’t going to be complaining because their team isn’t underperforming! They won 103 games in the regular season, were the overwhelming best team in the majors and just swept the twins in the ALDS.]

It’s hard to recall the last time the New York Yankees completed a season without an eruption from the owner’s suite.
[Good thing we have 5 billion different media organizations that are more than willing to remind us. Oh and there’s also that thing called the internet.]

Or, at the very least, a let’s-get-going missive issued through Howard Rubenstein, George Steinbrenner’s conduit to the clubhouse.
[Aka, his bedside nurse. I refuse to make an Alzheimer’s joke, but conduit to the clubhouse really just means personal statement maker.]

Rubenstein declined to comment on not having to comment.
[Again with these ridiculous paradoxical sentences.]

You can make a decent argument for any number of team Most Valuable Players this season for the Yankees, who open the postseason tonight at home.
[They swept. And waddya know…no complaints from Hank or Hal! Let’s hear it from the Steinbrenner boys for not hearing from the Steinbrenner boys!]




Refund Please

28 09 2009
During two internships at investment banks, feeling uncomfortable having ESPN.com open on my company’s computer all day, I found myself in the Bloomberg sports section quite frequently. One of the main writers in this section was Scott Soshnick. Nearly every article I read of his was filled with nonsense. Making ludicrous claims, random anecdotes and idiotic conclusions were just a few of his specialties. But with no outlet to vent I was stuck frustrated in my cubicle. Now that I have my blog I get the chance to break down his articles FJM style. His latest disaster is below in bold with my hysterical responses in between.
Sept. 25 (Bloomberg) — The recession just might be the best thing that could have happened to sports fans.
[No argument there. My dad will be the first one to tell you that he’s been to almost twice as many sporting events since his net worth was cut in half. It’s all about priorities people.]
These difficult economic times have, as billionaire Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban pointed out, forced owners, administrators and even coaches to make a priority of ensuring that customers get their money’s worth.
[See: cage dancers at the new Cowboys stadium]
What if, after the final buzzer blares, the customer isn’t satisfied? Imagine submitting a refund request.
Now imagine getting it.
[Now imagine opening the envelope and realizing it was actually a birthday check from your grandma. 36 dollars. Ugh.]
This is the tale of Tony Seminary, an ardent supporter of the University of Oregon football team. This 1996 graduate is passionate about his Ducks, who opened the season ranked 16th in national polls. Seminary has season tickets. And he sometimes travels to road games, too.
Such was the case in Oregon’s Sept. 3 season-opening game at Boise State, in Idaho, where the attraction included a blue field as well as an entertaining and nationally ranked team.
When it was over, Boise State had outgained Oregon 361 yards to 152. Boise State amassed 22 first downs to Oregon’s six, the first of which came about midway through the third quarter.
Final score: Boise State 19, Oregon 8.
[What!? An 11 point loss to Boise State?! I am absolutely furious, and I don’t even care about Oregon. Surely a super fan like Tony Seminary must be at the point of uncontrollable rage.
Boise State: Currently ranked #5 in ESPN Coaches Poll
2008: 12-0
2007: 10-2
2006: 12-0
2005: 9-3
2004: 11-0
Like I said, uncontrollable rage.]
That wasn’t the worst of it for the Ducks, who wound up answering more questions about fisticuffs than first downs.
[Fisticuff: Surprisingly not a brand of toddler sippy cups.]
Ducks running back LeGarrette Blount lost his temper and sucker-punched an opposing player. The ugliness, both football and fight, left Seminary disgusted. Like most of us, he left the stadium feeling as if he’d just wasted his time and money. Most get over it. Seminary stewed.
[I on the other hand, chowdered.]
So he fired off an e-mail to Ducks coach Chip Kelly, asking for his money back. Seminary attached an invoice of expenses, including plane and game tickets, meals and cab fare. The total was $439.
“The product on the field Thursday night is not something I was at all proud of, and I feel as though I’m entitled to my money back for the trip,” wrote Seminary, who was kind enough to offer to provide receipts.
[How thoughtful of him. But I think he was just trying to avoid getting stuck with store credit.]
Only the coach replied, asking for Seminary’s address. A check for $439 arrived a few days later.
No words needed. His action speaks volumes.
[Quite the respectable move. But really? What is the coach trying to prove here. Clearly the athletic department is going to get bombarded with requests for refunds. It was the first game of the season! On the road against a notoriously good team. Cut the team some slack and be realistic.]
Seminary, in case you’re wondering, didn’t cash the check. It was returned to the coach, along with a thank-you note and business card.
[Ohhhh, so he didn’t want a refund. What a wonderful story!
Your article ends here right?]
Predictably, there’s been a rash of refund requests landing at the Oregon athletic department. Seminary asks that they stop, saying the coach’s action shows that he and the university care about customer satisfaction.
[I guess not.]
Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder should offer a refund after rookie linebacker Robert Henson used Twitter to label fans who booed the home team “dimwits.”
Snyder won’t.
[Yea! What’s a stadium capacity refund gonna cost him? 5 grand? 6 grand? Pocket change!]
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones should issue refunds to anyone who bought a so-called Party Pass to the team’s stadium- opening game against the New York Giants. Tens of thousands paid $29 and never got in. That didn’t stop the Cowboys from promoting their record crowd of 105,121.
Jones won’t.
[Probably the only legitimate argument in this whole article. Too bad he only devotes 2 sentences to it.]
The Chicago Cubs should offer a refund to any fan disgusted that portly pitcher Carlos Zambrano, who is being paid $18.7 million this season, only now recognizes that he needs to take conditioning seriously.
“My problem is I’ve been lazy,” the 6-foot-5, 255-pound Zambrano said after a trip to the disabled list earlier this season.
[He should talk to Dan Snyder, so they can agree upon a reasonable refund, because these two situations clearly go hand-in-hand.]
Those who inhabit Wrigley Field need to be less friendly. And less forgiving.
Refund, please.
[You really don’t see the link between your shitty article and these shitty situations. Mr. Bloomberg…Refund, please.]
The Ducks face sixth-ranked California at home on Saturday afternoon, where some 54,000 fans are sure to pack Autzen Stadium. Win or lose, they’ve already gotten their money’s worth from this team.
They have a coach that gets it.
[This weekend, the Oregon Ducks spanked, I repeat, spanked the number 6 ranked California Bears 42-3. Another glaring indication that their lapse in play occurred in the FIRST GAME OF THE SEASON. Coach Kelly should have asked the fans for a 20% tip. I mean the service was just fantastic!]