The Fightins R.I.P. Harry Kalas Fri, 15 Jul 2011 21:16:57 +0000 en hourly 1 Open Game Thread: 7/15 Phillies at LOLMets Fri, 15 Jul 2011 21:16:57 +0000 Chris

7:10PM on CSN


Vance Worley (4-1) 2.20 ERA

RA Dickey (4-7) 3.61 ERA

Fuck the Mets.

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The Unrecognized Revenge of Bill Hall Fri, 15 Jul 2011 19:00:11 +0000 Justin

To an outsider, there really was no reason for Bill Hall to be standing in the hallway.

The hotel was full of MLB All-Stars, and he wasn’t one.  He wasn’t a fan favorite.  Nobody was scanning the rosters of the NL squad, shouting “Wait a second… where’s Bill?!”  He was just Bill Hall, of the San Francisco Giants.  And his heart was filled with revenge.

“Excuse me sir,” a bellhop said.

Bill jumped.  As any analyst would tell you, his instincts were starting to fail him. After several moments of silence, he stepped out of the bellhop’s way and waited to see he would ask for an autograph.

He didn’t.

No, the hallway remained silent, save for the quiet squeak of the bellhop’s food cart, getting less audible as it was wheeled away.  Bill was frustrated.  He’d assumed by now the air would be filled with panicked, muffled screams.  The plan he’d spent months crafting in airplane bathrooms and hotel bars seemed to be taking longer than he’d predicted.

It was simple, really.  Way back in Spring Training, Bill Hall had been wronged.  He quite easily slipped back to that moment in time, as he had many times since mid-March.  There he was again, standing in the batter’s box in Clearwater.  And there was Cole Hamels, out on the mound, preening in the sun.

“FUCK YOU, BILL HALL, YOU COWARD” Cole had shouted; though afterward, many people had informed Bill that nothing like that was said out loud, and the closest thing to a noticeable sound prior to his at bat was a sea gull screeching casually overhead.

“He’s a good guy,” Cole had said, but Bill knew what he meant.  He could see it in his eyes.  Cole may have been saying nice things, but his eyes were very plainly saying “Bill Hall is a gutless coward whose best days are behind him, and probably hasn’t satisfied his wife in years.”

And just like Bill thought, on the very next pitch, Cole Hamels came inside on him.  And nobody came inside on Bill Hall.  Especially not after insulting him with their eyes.

“He’s definitely a marked man for me now,” Bill had replied to the media, which people had laughed at.  Sure, Bill may not be a household name in most houses, including his own. But if there was one thing Bill Hall could do well, it was say who was marked and who wasn’t.  And he’d said Cole Hamels was.

So Bill had found himself plotting against Hamels from Spring Training onward, with his plans set to reach fruition just at the All-Star Game.

He had himself traded to a west coast team so that access to Phoenix, AZ would be even simpler.  He watched as Cole Hamels had a season good enough to put him in the All-Star Game.  And then, he would put together a situation that would end in Cole Hamels’ untimely death–and look entirely like an accident.

Because not only was Bill Hall un-pitch-insideable, he was a genius.  And the dangerous part was, he knew it.

He’d placed the scorpion under Cole’s pillow, assuming that when the pretty boy laid down for his undoubtably fourth diva nap of the afternoon, he’d be met by a sharp sting and a sudden fall.  But Bill had been standing in the hallway for six and a half hours now, and there hadn’t been a single bloodcurdling scream for his efforts.

“Maybe its out of poison,” Bill thought.  ”It did sting me 40 or 50 times on the way over here.”

He looked down at the welts on his hands.  They looked pretty bad.  Maybe he should have used gloves.  Ah well.  He could fight off a silly poison if he had to.

The bellhop was returning from his journey down the hallway; but this time his head seemed to be comprised of colorful swirls and surrounded by miniature dancing Cole Hamelses, all mocking Bill relentlessly.

“Nyah, nyah, nyah!” they shouted in shrill, antagonistic tones.  ”‘My name’s Bill Hall and I !”

“SHUT UP!” Bill bellowed.  ”YES I DO!!!  I DO IT ALL THE TIME!”

“Sir, are you okay?” asked the bellhop.  ”You… you’re foaming at the mouth.”

Bill caught a glimpse of himself in the nearest doorbell.  One of his eyes twitched involuntarily as his hands began to swell.

“Oh, I’m fine,” he replied, attempting a casual, laid back tone that greatly contrasted the crazed shouting from seconds before. He tried to coolly lean against the wall behind him to drive the point home, but in doing so slid to the ground without realizing it.

Just then, his phone beeped.  To properly stalk Cole, he’d begun following him on all social media fronts.

“Here’s the scorpion that was in our room!” Cole had tweeted. Bill would have recognized that scorpion anywhere.  The incompetent creature couldn’t even poison the right person.

“You son of a…”

“Sir?” asked the bellhop, who Bill now hallucinated as Cole Hamels wearing a devil costume and prodding him with a pitchfork.  ”Sir, I’m calling an ambulance.”

“Call whoever you want,” Bill mumbled, slipping in and out of consciousness.  ”That… that scorpion’s a marked man…”

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The Definitive Sarge Matthews Hat Collection (Part II) Thu, 14 Jul 2011 14:20:21 +0000 Back in May of ’08, The Fightins proved their love for Phillies color commentator Gary “Sarge” Matthews by debuting The Definitive Sarge Matthews Hat Collection. It was pretty much the greatest blog post of the year, and set us apart as the biggest Sarge fans on Earth. We even have a section of Sarge’s wiki page giving us propers for outing him as such a big hat enthusiast.

And because we continue to grow as a site and don’t rely on the same gimmicks year-after-year, I kind of shied away from posting about Sarge’s hats recently. That doesn’t mean I still don’t marvel at Sarge’s ability to match his Kangols perfectly with his broadcasting attire, because I do, I just thought it could get a bit tiresome and wear out some of the Sarge Hat appeal.

Well, I can’t take it any longer. So we are proud to present to you this EXXXCLUSIVE of every single hat/cap/fedora that Sarge has sported this year in chronological order. All 95 of them.

Tell ‘em, slideshow:

After the jump, I’ve gone ahead and tallied up how many times Sarge has worn each cap so you can get a sense of which ones are his favorites. Believe me, it was my pleasure.

Which hats did Sarge wear most frequently? I’m glad you asked:

  • Navy Kangol: 18
  • Sky Blue Kangol: 13
  • Baby Blue Kangol: 9
  • Red Kangol: 9
  • Sarge Father’s Day Cap giveaway from ’10: 6
  • Tan fedora: 6
  • Sarge signature New Era jeff cap: 5
  • Sarge signature New Era fedora: 4
  • Black Kangol: 3
  • Black fedora w/ brown stripe: 3
  • Tan Kangol: 3
  • Lime Green Kangol: 2
  • Navy fedora w/ white stripe: 2
  • Straw hat: 2
  • Unidentified brown jeff cap: 1
  • Maroon Kangol: 1
  • Black fedora w/ brown stripe: 1
  • Brown Kangol: 1
  • Grey Kangol: 1
  • Philadelphia Stars Negro League cap: 1
  • Black Kangol w/ white stripes: 1
  • White Kangol: 1
  • White Phillies cap: 1
  • Powder Blue Phillies Cap giveaway from ’11: 1

This post would’ve never happened if it weren’t for the painstakingly long process of screen-capping each Sarge pre-game and/or booth appearance this season done by our very own @Petzrawr. The least you could do is follow him on twitter and say thanks.

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Sports Illustrated’s Profile of Chooch Will Make You Laugh; Cry. Wed, 13 Jul 2011 19:26:38 +0000 Ryan

As mentioned yesterday, Carlos Ruiz is profiled in the current edition of Sports Illustrated. The story has hit the web and trust me when I say you need to drop whatever you’re doing and read this right now. It’s equal parts hilarious, heartbreaking, hopeful, and, uh, hinspirational.

Read it on (or a newsstand, I guess) or check out some choice excerpts after the jump. But seriously, I’m not screwing around here, read the goddamned article.

After his father’s tragic death, Carlos made a vow:

On his father’s last shift before a long vacation, a tire had blown out on Sgt. Joaquin Ruiz’s police jeep as he patrolled a nearby town. The jeep spun into a ditch, flipped, flung the unbelted man from his seat and then crushed him. Two weeks after Carlos’s grandmother died of cancer, his dad, too, was dead.

Carlos, the eldest of Inocencia’s three sons, knew at once that he must become the new father. “Don’t worry, I will play in the big leagues one day,” he informed his mother not long after, unaware that the odds of that were roughly two in one million. “I will take care of the family.” At the cemetery he dug himself an even bigger hole, repeating the promise to his father’s spirit. Then he grew silent and watched what men did, so he could become one too.

Chooch’s role on the team:

He’s the Tailor of Panama. The discreet man whose job and joy is to make his client look and feel wonderful, materializing in the mirror beside him only to smooth out a wrinkle, make a subtle alteration or offer a few quiet words of praise or advice. “Our starting pitchers do not need a tailor to make them look good,” he murmurs. “They make the tailor look good.” The perfect tailor’s words.

The origin of “Chooch”:

Chucha! That was the word that seemed to burst most from the quiet man’s mouth over the long, harrowing years that followed. It was the equivalent of the f bomb in his native land, and in the spring of 2004—when his bat utterly betrayed him—it escaped his mouth so often that his minor league teammate and roomie, Anderson Machado, began to address him that way … and it stuck. How Chucha cringed when he heard his new nickname, praying that no Panamanians were in earshot. His hitting agonies spilled into summer that year, his second season in Double A, but then came his break when Reading’s starting catcher was injured and the chance to play regularly brought Chucha’s bat back from the dead, his .284 average marking him—at the borderline age of 25—as a man who … well, might be a backup big league catcher one day. When his call-up came in 2006, the Philly writers, thank God, anglicized his nickname to Chooch, and the Philly fans took it as a children’s train reference, even sending him cute locomotive pictures as they began to fall in love with his pluck. The man with the steamy nickname became the Little Engine That Could.

There’s so much that’s better than that; honestly the entire article is worth block-quoting. But to take it out of context would be doing the piece a great disservice. GO READ IT ALREADY.

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On Softball and Fun Wed, 13 Jul 2011 12:30:12 +0000 Dash Treyhorn You know, I was going to do a running diary of the All Star Game tonight, like the one I did a few years ago, but I was tired, lazy, or some combination of the two, so the potentially 10,000 word post that would have been nothing more than stale punchlines and jokes about Joe Buck is neatly condensed for your reading pleasure. Or displeasure. Whatever.

As I sit here, watching the All Star game, I am reminded of my own experiences playing baseball as a child, and most recently, on a beer league softball team. Winning and losing didn’t matter. It never really did, because we were just kids. Even if we did win, big deal. When I was about eight, my Little League team crushed just about everyone else. We finished with a 19-5 record or something, and didn’t lose more than once to a single opponent. But I was eight, so first place in Little League didn’t really matter.

The older I got, the more winning mattered. By the time I was ten or 11, winning was everything, even though it didn’t mean anything at all. It was all about having fun on the field. Throwing, catching, hitting, all that. I was never really bothered by a loss, and an oh-fer at the plate (there were several) stayed with me for all of 45 minutes. I just didn’t care. And why should I? Even at a young age, I could see how competition could bring out the absolute worst in some people. The ones who were so caught up in winning, even if they were the best players on the field, never actually looked happy.

Even now, as a member of a beer league softball team who has yet to win a game, I find myself at peace with the fact that we aren’t that good. I’m more concerned with enjoying myself and having fun with my teammates who are similarly not affected by not having one in the win column. And to be honest, the last hour of work on days that we have a game are some of the best of the week, just because I get to play baseball.

Conversely, some of the most miserable people in our league are the ones who are routinely part of winning efforts or have the ability to mash the ball at will. Case in point: A couple weeks back, our team was short a man, so we borrowed a guy from another team to fill the roster spot. Having played against this guy a handful of times, I knew what to expect: A big bat and a piss-poor attitude. This guy can hit the ball a mile, but he pitches a fit when it doesn’t go over the fence, because triples are not good enough for this guy. And if you strike out to end the inning? You better watch your head, because a bat or some other object is sure to be tossed about, because that sort of thing is just plain unacceptable to the him. Then guy was miserable the entire game. It didn’t matter if we lost by five or won by ten, he’d have been a pisser just the same. Guy was the best player on the team, but was absolutely not having an ounce of fun. What’s the point? None of it matters, and you are only making yourself look like a massive tool (I mean, assuming the six arm and writs bands didn’t already do that.)

Point is, baseball is about fun. Especially when it’s a rather meaningless game on a random Tuesday night in the middle of summer. For an hour or so, we get to leave it on the field before going home to our crappy jobs and lives of unfulfilled potential. It’s an hour of escape, once a week. What’s the point of being miserable and not enjoying yourself? Hitting three homers won’t make your night any better, but actually having fun just might.

How, exactly, does this tie into the All Star Game? I’m not really sure, except for maybe that those players are similarly having a good time on the field, even though the game “matters.” They are smiling, they are playfully jawing with the other team, and so on and so on. And really, I just wanted to write something about baseball.

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The Fightins Drunken All-Star Game Live Chat Tue, 12 Jul 2011 23:00:16 +0000 Ryan

Last night’s impromptu Home Run Derby Live Chat was an absolute friggin’ riot so we’re gonna do it again for the All-Star Game. Grab your mind-altering substance of choice and join us at 7:45 PM as we all get fucked up and talk about everything except the actual All-Star Game. Who knows, maybe we can land ourselves on another Big League Stew post tomorrow!

Click Here to launch the chat in a new window, or hit the jump to use the embedded chat window.

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Larry FN Bowa’s 2011 Midseason FN Report Card Tue, 12 Jul 2011 15:01:05 +0000 Larry FN Bowa

Dallas Green once told me while holding Nino Espinosa’s head inside a tub of rattlesnakes: “Being named to the All-Star team only makes you half-good, pudface!”

That was in 19-fucking-80. It might as well have been 19-fucking-80 million years ago, because at least back then when you were named to the All-Star roster for your nice fucking first half of one fucking season you FUCKING SHOWED UP.

Someone told me that 85 players have been named All-Star this year thanks to all the crampy cunts who dropped out. That was half the fucking league before all you pantywaists got your precious Marlins and Rockies thanks to expansion.

In my time, you didn’t miss the All-Star Game because of an ouchy fucking thumb. You did what every blue-collar American did in order to get out there to earn a paycheck: You took a handful of greenies, stuffed them in your cake hole and flew to fucking work! And I don’t want to hear about greenies being outlawed. Spitballs were illegal, but you didn’t see that stop Gaylord Perry from putting enough Vaseline on his person to lube up the starfishes of every one of Derek Jeter’s 3,000 “hits.”

Tell you this much: I’d much rather be the All-Star representative of cheating than the designated fucking hitter.

Anyway, Mooch wants me to do these midseason awards — like any of these candy-asses deserves a prize.

NL Least Fucking Sad Player: Let’s cut to the fucking chase: Fuck Matt Kemp. Fuck that fucking fuckstained fuckhole. How about you save a coaching staff’s jobs and do what you’re doing for a team that can compete in that clown division? Then maybe you’ll be something other than the King of Shitsville.

If I was going to go to war with an NL hitter this season, it would be Ryan Braun. I’d just stop him from wearing those Affliction knockoff shirts that make him look like Vin Diesel’s half-retarded brother.

AL Least Fucking Sad Player: I don’t know what Jose Bautista is putting in his bananas, and I don’t want to fucking know. At least whatever he’s on doesn’t make his fucking head puff up like a Macy’s Parade balloon.

N.L. Limp Dick Failure of the Century: How much is Dan Uggla’s contract? $62 million? He should have to pull his fucking monthly paycheck out of a vat of bat shit and Chipper Jones semen.

A.L. Limp Dick Failure of the Century: If I were that fucking donkey in Shrek, I would use a laser fucking guidance system to assure that I deliver the most devastating fucking kick to the ‘nads of that gelatinous wad of oosperm Adam Dunn for sullying my fucking species by using it as his nickname.

N.L. Pitcher Least Like That Fucking Cunt Jimmy Haynes: Another year, another easy fucking managing situation for Charlie. He didn’t even have to deal with watching that founder of the fucking deep fryer, Joe Blanton, waddle out there every fifth day because he’s (wink, wink) hurt.

The choice is between Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels. Give it to Halladay, since the fucking team never loses a goddamn game he starts.

A.L. Pitcher Least Like That Fucking Cunt Jimmy Haynes: Giving awards to pitchers is like giving a prize for Khloe Kardashian’s Best Fucking Crab Louse. Anyway, I’ll go with Justin Verlander here because he dominates for a team that fields like Meech’s hungover softball buddies on a Sunday morning.

N.L. Pitcher Most Like That Fucking Cunt Jimmy Haynes: Well, well, well. Seems the Phillies these days like to unload their fucking piece of shit pitchers and replace them with All-Stars. When I was manager they would plop Omar Fucking Daal in my lap.

It’s too fucking difficult to discern one flame bag of ex-Phillie shit from another, so J.A. Happ and Brett Myers have to share this backhoe of guano. Well done, bozos. That’s what you get for having Ed Wade as the president of your fucking fan clubs.

A.L. Pitcher Most Like That Fucking Cunt Jimmy Haynes: Has John Lackey killed himself yet? Because I heard his wife has decided all of Boston is right and he should go stick his cock in the plug that lights the Citgo sign.

N.L. and A.L. Rookies of the Year: You pathetic cunts get nothing. And I don’t care if that means Dom Brown’s dick gets covered in Meech’s salty tears. Tough tits.

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(Pic via Philly’s own, Bryan A. Graham)

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Jarred Cosart, Sebastian Valle impress at Futures Game Mon, 11 Jul 2011 16:55:49 +0000 TonyIsDynamic



The Phillies were well represented in yesterday’s Futures Game, which saw them send Jarred Cosart and Sebastian Valle to Arizona for the festivities.  Neither of them failed to disappoint. Valle, who came on as a pinch-hitter in the top of the 6th, doubled in the game-tying run off Indians farmhand Drew Pomeranz. The World team would eventually take the lead in the same inning.
Even more impressive than Valle, was Jarred Cosart. Cosart entered the top of the 8th inning of a 4-3 game and proceeded to show electric stuff. In only 10 pitches, Cosart managed to strike out two players from the World team, touching up to 97 MPH on the gun while displaying his amazing curveball and changeup. The USA team managed to take a 6-4 lead in the bottom of the 8th, giving Cosart the Futures Game win. All in all, a very impressive showing from both Phillies farmhands.
.GIF’s of Cosart’s impressive stuff after the jump.



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How to be the Classiest Guy at the Baseball Game Mon, 11 Jul 2011 14:00:00 +0000 Justin With a divisional rival in town, its only natural for the internet to turn into a festering Petri dish of insults.  Braves suck!  Phillies suck!  Bobby Cox hates women!  Charlie Manuel once killed and devoured a bull moose in front of a kindergarten class!

In response to such remarks, we often see our enemies and ourselves breach the topic of “class.”  Often times, the “classiness” of the other team’s fans is brought into question, just prior to an insult that questions the “classiness” of ourselves.  It is a neverending cycle with no end, and like a snake eating its own tale, we are doomed to choke to death if this keeps up.  But not on snake flesh.  On unpleasantness.

So we have compiled a short list of ways to install classiness in every baseball game, so that these intense rivalries become the vacant, lifeless sporting events they were intended to be.

And before you even say, “Hey, asshole.  What do you know about class?!”  maybe you should read my guide to Meeting a Lady at Citizens Bank Park.

Apology accepted.

Root for no teams

Picking a side is for people with opinions and regional pride!  That’s not you, though.  At least, not anymore.  Maybe your father told you that he used to listen to Harry Kalas with a small radio under the blankets.  Maybe he described it as his favorite part of the summer—as the moment he fell in love with the game, and one of the main components as to why he so lovingly passed baseball along to you.

Time’s have changed.  These days, baseball is about filling a wheelbarrow with your most prized memorabilia, soaking it in kerosene, and, well… you know what happens next.  We all know what you did to that elementary school.

Representing one team over the other through cheers or fashion statements is just unfair!  How do you think that other team feels out there?  All lost and alone, delirious from homesickness, wandering around the outfield grass, not knowing if their family and friends are alive or dead.

No, its best to just sit there and root for the game itself. If everyone remains neutral, then our message boards will be free to conduct productive, interesting debates, rather than cowardly trolling and the occasional penis enlargement pill.  The next time the Braves are in town, let us wear neither red nor navy blue; let us avoid the Phanatic Dance and the tomahawk chop.

Actually you should avoid the tomahawk chop regardless of your intentions because it is 2011 and boy that is just racist as fuck.

No one speaks

Think about it.  The first part of you that reacts to something at a baseball game is your mouth.  If everyone agrees to keep it quiet, then none of the hateful things we love to say can instigate a classless altercation.  Take a look at this chart, which chronicles remarks we may have made before we became classy, and then indicates what may take hostility’s place.

If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.  Sure, we may all die from the ulcers that form in our stomachs from keeping our hostility inside, but at least we’ll die… with class. As long as no one is looking when we inevitably void our bowels.

Make the games two innings long.

The less time we give ourselves to have an outburst, the less likely we are to do it in public.  Think how classy we’ll look to Braves fans if we keep our irrational, unpredictable rage at home with our families.  Will certain relatives be scarred for life?  Absolutely.  And not to mention ticket prices will seem even more astronomical for a game that ends pretty much by the time everyone finishes tailgating.

But what we sacrifice through destroyed childhoods and money will be made in spades by the classiness we feel.  For too long, our divisional contests have been marred by the classless actions of those who want to be passionate, fiery, and drunk on their team.  If we simply remove all of the fun parts of baseball, then it becomes a far more enjoyable game for the people we hate.

Obviously, the answer is a stadium full of neutrally-colored occupants sitting in complete silence for 45 minutes, tops.

Mmmm.  Classy.

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