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!]