Wednesday, June 13, 2012

My Last Time With the Phillies: So long Philadelphia

What a month.  It started with such promise and unbridled enthusiasm and it quickly dissolved into a river of shit.  But no one should be surprised by this slump.  Just like Rome all dynasty’s end; some more quickly than others.
The Phillies have remarkably very little offensive talent.  Despite an MVP season from Chooch and an average start by Hunter Pence there is no one else in the lineup who frightens even the most pedestrian pitcher.  The starting rotation was blessed with almost unprecedented health last year, it was unfair to expect results like that again. And our bullpen was terrific last year despite relying on David Herndon, Michael Stutes and Antonio Bastardo.  This year they have reverted back to form.

But it’s safe to say that the main reason for the Phillies struggles can be placed directly on one man’s shoulders; mine.   Yes, one of the many drawbacks of being a famous internet sports journalist and noted Lothario my words are read by on average dozen(s) of people.  So when I made the Phillies my World Series Champs in the preseason I was painting a large bull’s-eye on their back for the whole season.  As expected they have crumbled under that enormous weight.  To make matters worse what I thought were steroids that I was handing out before games turned out to be horse tranquilizers.  Needless to say I’ve fired Crazy Nico as my go to drug connect.

So to recap: I doomed this team to a horrible season by predicting the team to bring the Championship back to Broad street.  I’ve been an unwitting accomplice in a faulty drug ring.  And I sort of accidently ruined Roy Halladay by starting a masturbation competition with him, and you know Doc- he hates losing.  However I wasn’t expecting it to end this way.

On May 24 I was summoned to Charlie’s office.  This in general wasn’t to strange.  Charlie and I had hung out frequently during my tenure with the team.  I was the one who would spike his Gatorade with Jim Beam and pre- chewed chewing tobacco; he called it his thinking juice. 

When I got in I didn’t suspect anything.  Charlie was at his desk knuckle deep in his nose with Greg Gross seated in the corner facing the wall.  Everything was as it always was.

“What’s up skip?”

As per usual Greg got up and stood behind the manager who, because he spoke in an indecipherable Appalachian dialect was unitelligable except to a select few peoples.  Greg was one of those peoples and did the translating, it was the only reason he still had a job. 

What came out of Charlie’s mouth was a series of guttural squeals and hearty guffaws.  He finished his sentence with an over dramatized fist pump followed by blowing on an oversized jug several times. 

“Mr. Manuel would like to start out by saying, despite not knowing what it is you do around here, he couldn’t be happier with your performance.”

“Haha, that’s a fair assessment of my responsibilities.  I like to think of myself as sort of a half motivator, half alibi coordinator and half steroid injector” (Editors note: at the time I was convinced that I was in fact giving them steroids.  Also it was very important to use bad math in front of Charlie.  Anytime someone corrected him on basic addition he would fly into a murderous rage, it was somehow the reason he kept insisting that Chad Qualls was serviceable.)

Again more farm animal noises punctuated with a series of aggressive kicking motions and topped off with an elaborate hand puppet show signaled Charlie’s thoughts.

“What Mr. Manuel means is that while your clubhouse demeanor and attitude are unorthodox to say the least he’s unsure of where you fit in with this organization.”

“What are you saying CM Punk?”

Tears started welling up in his eyes upon hearing my pet nickname for him.  He puffed out his chest and started pounding his fists against it a la Tarzan, emitting a hypnotic African rhythm to accompany his flickering of the light switch.

“It seems that you have been traded to the Nationals for literally a bucket of balls and a new third base.  Please talk to Sally in HR. and she’ll have all your paperwork ready.  If you could go and clean out your locker a car will be waiting to take you to your new home.”

“Charlie, this can’t be true can it.”  He lowered his head and let out a deep, low moan. And with that I left the office.  To say it was surreal would be an understatement.  I had never been traded before.  Sure I had played for the Indians for a couple of seasons, but they were like a AAA team then.  But this is serious.  Now I’m moving to an arch rival city in my own division.  It’s going to be weird.

After moving up Washington’s wingman farm system I finally cracked the Nationals clubhouse.  Starting next week I’ll be a regular of DC, and it’s not as bad as I thought.  I’m excited for a new opportunity and a fresh start away from all those in Philadelphia I owe money to. So, goodbye Philadelphia, it’s been great.

But don’t worry I brought Crazy Nico with me and he has a bunch of exciting, new Chilean Estrogen pills I’ll be distributing to Bryce Harper.

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