Sunday, October 26, 2008

PHILLIES: The Difference Is Crushability

What TV has taught us 'bout gettin' wasted while watching/attending sporting events:

Bud Light's drinkability makes it the beer of The MLB ... but, if the focus is fewer carbs and swell taste, the Commissioner of The More Taste League suggests that you drink Miller Lite during NFL telecasts.

Baseball beer vs. football beer ... so, how many Silver Bullets does it take to get the courage buzz goin' for gettin' her bra unclasped? ha ha ...

America ... a nation overwrought by booze conflict -- particularly when a ballplayer w/ the ultimate Pabst Blue Ribbon body (Joltin' Joe Blanton) hits his first major league homer over the DRINKABILITY sign on the outfield wall one night after his teammate, Ryan Howard, blasted his home run below the DRINKABILITY sign hanging from the upper deck.

As if anybody would celebrate such heroic accomplishments with a light beer.

Those are he-man feats ... it's time for a Yuengling (or three).

Or vodka ...

That's the cool thing about visiting the ol' ballyard when ya haven't been there in several years -- it's a real learning experience.

Just ask the Tampa Bay Stingray pitchers who leave pitches in the fat part of the plate to this Phillies lineup.

"The difference is crushability ..."

And, because the Fightin' Phils pigged out on pitches with a high hittability factor, we're arriving at the conclusion that the difference in this World Series is winnability ("yes" ... these cliches are a reach, but, c'mon ... what kind of a hookline is "drinkability," anyway? That's like saying that you drive the car you drive because of "drivability" or that the meal you're about to eat has a lot of eatability ... ).

Weak ad campaigns: The difference is gullibility.

Not that any of this detracts from what transpired while attending our first Phillies home game since the FIRST-EVER SUNDAY game at The Cit (when, on that mid-April day, The Vet was still a pile of rubble next door ... and when the Montreal Expos came out for the bottom of the 9th with Terrmel Sledge in LF as a defensive replacement and Rocky Biddle was on the mound in a non-save situation in a 4-4 game ... a scenario which lasted all of 5 pitches as Doug Glanville rocketed that Biddle offering over the head of Sledge ... over the flower bed atop the outfield fence ... and into the bleachers for a walk-off home run and <<< what the frick??? >>>

Is this REALLY the time or the place for "The Ballad of Rocky & Sledge"?

Is the difference truly Sledgability?

What a journey: From the first-ever Sunday game at The Cit to this -- the first-ever Sunday World Series game at The Cit ... on a Sunday which began so gloriously for the Fightin's when Carlos Ruiz ended matters in delightful fashion with that Game 3-winning, 48-foot dribbler up the third-base line at 1:47 in the morning.

Let's sing it together: The difference was dribblability.

Although tonight's Game 4 did not end with Lights Out Lidge demonstrating Lidgabilty, it was a terrific field trip, due in large part to the fact that the Fightin's haven't lost a Sunday home game since the Fourth of July weekend.

Eight in a row -- and, moreover, since The Cit opened, the Phils are 52-16 on Sundays (11-2 in '04; 9-3 in '05; 12-4 in '06; 9-3 last year; and 11-4 this season).

Winning three-quarters of your games under any circumstances is tremendous -- yet, it just goes to show: The difference is Sundaybility.

For us to participate in Citability, it's necessary to recall the conversation which took place more than a week ago when the former director of the Phillies' West Coast bureau (Shadow Company, 29th Infantry, Batallion X, circa 1975-97) and the Mrs. were 'bout a trip to The Cit for a World Series game and <<< "no, seriously, honey ... we don't have tickets." >>>

Like that's gonna stop her during this, Beware of Breast Cancer Month.

After you've had both breasts removed four months earlier, "obstacles" which might stymie other people seem a lot less unconquerable.

Still, it makes ya chuckle when you're sittin' there by The Cit's "Third Base Gate" (not too far from the Schmidty statue, which, unlike the Johnny Unitas statue outside of M&T Bank Stadium, was sculpted depicting a favorable likeness of the Hall of Famer instead of what happened to the Johnny U. sculpting which has him depicted with a crotch-bulge the size of a cantaloupe ... begging the question: Should we open a checking account at Citizen's rather than M&T?

The difference is genitalability.

Back at the ranch: We enjoyed overseeing the intermingling of Eagles fans in their green jerseys (after their "W" at The Linc became official an hour earlier) with everybody in Phillie red during the Game 4 pre-game melange of humanity.

It's amazing how the passers-by were decked out in every type of Phillie cap, Phillie shirt and Phillie jacket conceivable to mankind, although it's always amusing any time those baseball shirts (they aren't "jerseys," America ... football players wear jerseys; baseball players wear "uniforms" ... let's get on the same page, people!) have an official Phillies logo on the front, yet the letters and numerals on the back are entirely the wrong font and incorrect point size.

Like the Johnny U. statue, there are some flaws which need correcting.

Despite these nitpicks, the swarm of Phandemonium allowed us to complete a mental inventory which we can take to the next board-of-directors meeting.

The breakdown is as follows:

43% of those shirts were dedicated to #26 UTLEY ...
24% were for #35 HAMELS ...
9% were for #11 ROLLINS ...
8% were for #6 HOWARD ...
6% were for #20 SCHMIDT ...

... and the other 10% were equally divided among #8 VICTORINO or #54 LIDGE or #5 BURRELL or #28 WERTH or an '80s/'90s throwback (McGraw or Kruk or Luzinski or Dykstra).

Notwithstanding those pie-chart demographics, sometimes it's difficult to shake the memory of that first-ever Sunday game at The Cit in Apr. '04 when that dude (whoever he was) crossed up everybody in the Phillie phanbase by wearing a #48 GROTEWOLD shirt ... back an era when 88% of the fans wore a #25 THOME shirt.

That memory of a fan's tribute to Jeff Grotewold sometimes is the brain's way of hoping upon hope that somebody -- anybody -- would walk by wearing a #2 BROGNA or a #21 McBRIDE or a #51 SLOCUMB or a #44 RUTHVEN or a #8 EISENREICH or a #74 URBINA or a #22 INCAVIGLIA (the Mrs. doesn't know yet that somebody was wearin' a #12 IGUCHI, but nobody was wearing a #99 TAGUCHI).

There's no denyin' that seein' somebody with a #2 BROGNA shirt would've stirred up quite a few emotions (considering how Rico provided quality play and back-to-back, 100-RBI seasons while battling the effects of ankylosing spondylitis "lookit up").

Alas, we stood a better chance of seeing somebody wearing one of the two finest Phils caps which sells (which we've discussed previously) -- i.e. either the lid w/ the combo of purple shell + sky-blue brim + yellow P or the MLB Chocolate Funk w/ brown shell + pastel circles on the brim + electric-pink P outlined in electric blue.

Fortunately, we had visual proof that nostalgia wasn't totally dead once we saw that guy entering the ballpark as he wore a kelly green (or is it forest green?) #48 HOPKINS Eagles jersey ... "that's exactly what we're talkin' 'bout!" ... word up, old school ... been gettin' too much midnight green in our diet ... ).

[Y FYI: There were as many shirts for #51 RUIZ and #7 FELIZ -- "zero" -- as there were #23 CHURCH and #30 DONNELLY shirts -- meaning that Philly appreciates its Latin American stars about as much as it feels inclined (which is to say "not at all") into paying tribute to Bubba Church and Blix Donnelly, two pitchers for your '50 Whiz Kids, dammit ... which really makes ya wanna burn your #43 HAPP shirt ... mostly out of guilt ... because there's no way that J.A. Happ is better than Bubba Church ... Y]

The parade of shirts/caps, etc. was fascinating as hell, but when it was all said and done, it didn't get the ticketless fan any closer to gettin' inside, despite a bellyful of The Bull's Pulled Pork Sandwich bought from one of those nondescript stands.

We knew it was "crunch time" when we were still outside and the Phillies' lineup was announced backwards (no, not as in "Drawoh Nayr" -- but in reverse order ... as in No. 9 thru No. 1 ... what the frick?) before Patti LaBelle butchered the "The Star-Spangled Banner" worse than the Backstreet Boys did before Game 1 with all of those wild "waaaa, oooooo's" and "eeeeee-yahhhh's" and some made-up lyrics (note: one day, this once-proud nation of the United States of America will cut to the chase and stop bastardizing Francis Scott Key's national anthem and take the song to a new level -- and, that's to say that when the song arrives at "... and the rocket's red glare ... " it'll morph into "you're whispering in my ear / tell me all the things / that I wanna hear / 'cuz that's true / that's what I like about you ... " -- because, here in America, THAT'S the song which we use for 78 percent of our TV ads because, well ... didja ever stop to think that maybe the Romantics are better than Francis Scott Key, mostly because FSK never had a single in the Billboard Magazine Hot 100???).

Well, right about the time that some of us were thinkin' that a nation which has "Enter Sandman" by Metallica as its unofficial/unauthorized national anthem isn't such a bad country, the Mrs. was delighted to inform her hubby that she was standing inches from Commissioner Selig near the curb on Pattison (he musta just stepped out of a limo or a helicopter or something).

It didn't occur to her to do the sensible thing (such as stab him in the eyeball with a Bic pen) -- nor did she think to inquire about the Eppa Rixey controversy.

"Commish ... when the hell are you gonna de-enshrine Eppa Rixey? In his eight years as a Phillie, five of those years were subpar, one was ordinary, one was good and one was excellent. In his 13 seasons in Cincinnati, three were subpar, six were ordinary, two were good and two were excellent. Nobody gives a rat's ass that his 266 career wins was a record for a southpaw when he retired. The simple arithmetic sez: 8 subpar seasons, 7 ordinary seasons, 3 good seasons and 3 excellent seasons. Add it up, Slick ... there's very little that's Hall of Famish about that "alleged" Hall of Famer. And, say, while you're de-enshrining Eppa Rixey, go ahead and do the responsible thing and revoke the memberships of clowns such as Pud Galvin and Old Hoss Radbourn and their circus stats from 100 years ago. By doing so, you'll be availing space for considerably stronger players from a more-balanced era ... players such as Jim Kaat, Bert Blyleven, Lance Parrish, Bob Boone and, 'yes' ... Jamie Moyer ... "

It's a serious concern ... the way that nobody wants to address the Eppa Rixey matter. All they wanna talk about is that little tyke who spent the Game 4 pre-game peddling around that little car called "The Utley" -- or that kid who was riding on his dad's shoulders and holding up a little sign, "The Rays Are A Fluke."

WAIT! Someone actually took time out of a gorgeous Sunday to Magic Marker such hate-itude? And then "that somebody" made his kid tote the sign?

If not pointless, it does seem counter-productive.

Yet, it didn't change the fact that there was $300 on the line for two tix that somebody was lookin' to ditch, but before anyone could say, "ShamWow!", those well-dressed gentlemen with no particular team affiliation appeared out of nowhere (maybe they just stepped out of a limo or a helicopter or something) and offered FREE tix.

We don't know if they were baseball nomads or some heroic benefactors (they were definitely more dapper and fit than those male foursomes in the Flomax commercials ... y'know, the TV ads which address matters such as "incomplete emptying" when we should be addressing the Eppa Rixey injustice), but the Mrs. didn't need to milk the cancer angle, though she has cancer and she's married to a Cancer (albeit neither she nor her spouse has ever been referred to as a "clubhouse cancer" ... the deadliest form of all the cancers ... ).

Those nattily-clad gents -- the anti-thesis of the City of Brotherly Loathe -- wouldn't permit us to buy 'em a beer (or five) as payment.

"Just enjoy the game ... "

And then those generous gents vanished ... leaving us unsupervised within the walls of The Cit ... free to roam and go nuts with everybody else in Section 307 (on the foul side of the RF foul pole) ... or in the area on our way to Section 307 ... "that's right," Section 122 ... the place where we saw Rollins rip that leadoff double down the line before Burrell sandwiched a bases-loaded walk between feeble ABs by Howard (an eventful comebacker!) and Victorino (a tapper in front of the plate!) ... this, after spending only a few fleeting moments on the outskirts of Section 131 when the first batter of the game, Akishinjo IwoJima, hit that opposite-field deep drive which caused Burrell to stumble and stagger and stumble again and then eventually make the catch up against the wall.

As he was staggering.

The irony of our gamelong free roaming was that Howard had the audacity to lauch his first bomb inside the LF foul pole when we were just outside the RF foul pole, then he went wicked, super-nasty big fly to RCF when we were (socializing with the local rabble in Section 140) near the LF foul pole.

It was like that old Translator song, "Everywhere But I'm Not."

Good band.

What happened to those guys?

OH, RIGHT ... the game ...

What a night in the City of Brotherly Shove ... a once-in-a-lifetime World Series experience (a 10-2 victory, a 3-games-to-1 lead, the Liberty Bell prop gettin' all flashy n' sparkly w/ its neon lights of red, white n' blue) for a 34-year veteran of the Phillie summer wars of '75 thru '08 and his sidekick, the sweetest bald chick, bar none, within the stadium.

It was the type of night which can prompt a guy to unabashedly misuse terms such as "funner" and "funnest," particularly when that inebriated guy walks over and asks you who that is warming up in the bullpen next to Lidge ... and you mess with his head and, instead of saying, "Jay Happ," when you notice that it's the lefty, #43, you inform the guy that it's not J.A. HappWhoCallsHimselfJayHapp, but that it's actually "I.M. Hipp."

The stranger thanks you and you send him off with a hearty, "No prob, dude. Glad I could Happ ya out ... "

Note to self: 30 years ago -- when most of us were certain that the Ozark-led Phillies would win back-to-back world titles -- Isaiah Moses Hipp was a bad-ass RB for the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Yup ... before Jarvis Redwine ...

Inside, you're amused ... 'cuz you remember when Nebraska knocked off your beloved No. 1-ranked Sooners, 17-14, in that '78 showdown ... and you recall that the Sports Illustrated made a coverboy out of a 'Husker white-boy RB named Rick Berns, not RB w/ the funky name "I.M. Hipp" (that was a time before white-boy RBs were outlawed in this country ... during a frustrating period of teenhood when Heisman Trophy-winner Billy Sims lost the football at the 'Husker 3-yard line late in the game one month after Garry Maddox dropped that soft liner in Game 4 at Dodger Stadium ... thank god the Steelers bailed us out two months later and >>> uh oh, the game! <<<

Sometimes, it takes a ballgame such as this to remind ya that it's good for the bloodstream to get a little clappin' and yellin' goin' as Werth is hittin' a frickin' screamer into the seats (y'know, when you witness a pitch that's a blur and a swing that's a blur, yet your eyes are fixed on the drive from the split-second that it jumps off the bat ... and you see it sail over the wall (or, as the broadcasters say, "out of the park") ... quite unlike the way you see the same development in its chopped-up version inside a cube called "a TV" before Buck or McCarver say something unintelligent or incongruous ...

It happens so fast in person ...
And it happens so fantastically ...
Especially in a Game 4 setting ...

It makes ya wonder: Why can't every game be a Game 4?

That's the thing about TV sports -- ya forget how, despite all the bells and whistles of modern technology, NUTHIN' can reproduce the sights n' sounds of bein' there, no matter how much Hi-Def and Surround Sound is injected into the system

Invariably, TV will muffle and mute the environment -- and while the medium may offer closeups and some cliche words from miked-up players, there's no way that the other mikes can effectively translate the power of 43,000 chants of "EEEEE-vuhhhh! EEEEEE-vuhhhh!" accompanying 43,000 rally towels wavin' as Longoria is inching closer and closer to gettin' punched out.

While Phillie phanatics have definitely earned a measure of respect this season for fillin' The Cit to capacity repeatedly, one gripe is that the crowds grow mighty quiet when JumboTron is not instructing them how to act and how to feel.

We shouldn't allow "Kernkraft 400" by Zombie Nation to create "electricity."

It's a pleasure when the game-action dictates the buzz.

And, once all hell breaks loose (in a good way), it's worth it just to soak in the pandemonium ... admiring all the pretty neon colors -- again -- of the giant, Liberty Bell prop, especially when you've just finished watching Joe Blanton circle the bases because he just homered (to the surprise and amusement of everyone).

Of course, that's the beauty of bein' at the ballpark -- you go to grab an Italian sausage 'cuz the Phils have the bottom of the order comin' up and then you linger near Ashburn Alley for a little too long because you're mesmerized by that black guy wearing that throwback, powder-blue 1976 Phils shirt which has CASH 30 on the back (in maroon, not red ... ) and you're so blown away by the old-school brilliance of it all that you lose focus momentarily until the crowd is erupting and you're running up the nearby stairs to see what's goin' on.

Just in time to see Joey Blants trotting around second base in a semi-leisurely fashion.

"No ... effing ... way!"

But, that's Joey Blants for ya.
Kentucky Joe!
He's just crazy enough to pull it off ...
Take that, Kevin Millwood (or Jon Lieber)!

It's then that you recall what it was like during that very first Sunday four years ago when Thome blasted one out several innings before Glanville's game-winner.

That was the first week that the bell tolled for home run heroes.

But that was a day game ...
And, it was April ...
And, the victims were Rocky Biddle and Terrmel Sledge ...

THIS WAS WAY DIFFERENT, obviously ... right down to the postgame misbehavin' by the kids who supposedly pushed over (so they say) a streetlight just north (we think) of the Broad and Curtin intersection (according to the young driver of that Chevy Lumina who we talked to at the traffic light at Broad and Hartranft).

And, maybe there simply is no explanation for that bizarre post-game fracas one car ahead of us on Broad when all three occupants of that taxi (including the driver) exited the vehicle and engaged in some slap-fighting with some riled-up street toughs (maybe) in that park between Geary and Curtin all because one of those punks banged on the cab's trunk, but x MAKE NO MISTAKE ... the greater crime which took place at that very moment -- as Sunday was merging to Monday -- is that we were actually watching those shenanigans instead of having our butts parked at Pat's King of Steaks right then ... and, while wolfing down a "whiz, without" (if that's how we out-of-towners order the Cheese Whiz version w/ no onions), asking the locals about that ballfield right there across the street ... w/ home plate nestled up against 10th and Wharton and ...

"Wait a sec ... do only Little Leaguers play there? 'Cuz if there's slo-pitch which takes place on that diamond, it looks like a pretty easy pop for a lefty slugger. We've all seen slo-pitch gorillas who can knock one 200 feet -- and that's about all it would take to clear that fence in right field, to clear the traffic on Passyunk and to land on top of the roof at Pat's. Hey ... you'ze-list'nin'-uh-mee? We ain't talkin' 'bout no 525-foot blast to straight-away center which lands on the roof at fuckin' Geno's, y'know? Straight-away right field ... betcha someone's done it ..."

A Game 4 victory like there was tonight ... it gets everyone a little crazy. Kids are wired and lettin' off steam, after all ... it wasn't as if they could storm the field and tear down the goalposts.

Kids nowadays ... when they aren't texting or losing their iPods and stealing someone else's iPod because they lost theirs, they don't always stop to smell the roses (whatever that means) -- nor do they very often stop to appreciate that old black dude who conducted his own postgame show outside the parking lot on Pattison by playing the title theme to "The Good, The Bad & The Ugly" ON HIS VIOLIN!!!

For us out-of-towners, we don't know if that guy was a phixture of Phillie postgames, but, maybe THAT GUY should be performing "The Star-Spangled Banner" before Game 5.
It would serve as a fitting prelude to what we envision happening if the Series wraps up with the Phils clinching in 5 ... and the quality of rioting which would surely ensue.
Forget the light pole which was uprooted.

It's "Best of luck to you, Mr. MyCarWasCapsizedAndSetOnFire" ...

It might very well mushroom into an ugly, every-man-for-himself, free-for-all which is commonplace when championships are won (which hasn't happened in THAT city since '83, unless ya count that Philadelphia Soul/Arena Bowl championship which garnered much global acclaim for Ron Jaworski -- who, the Mrs. reminds us, is a fella who can be taken outta Depew, but Depew can never be taken outta him).

It's highly doubtful that anyone who has ever toured Philly has ever described the visit as "magical" or "otherwordly," yet, that's how it played out for these lovebirds four days after their 10th wedding anniversary.

Our union is strong enough to withstand ballpark temptations, such as that gorgeously-magical and otherwordly gal who some of us brushed up against on the patio outside of McFadden's.

She was insanely beautiful ... although she was not the cause of the unzipping and the whipping out ... that was the result of an unstoppable urge to whizz inside the men's room at McFadden's rather than at the base of the Rocky statue on the way back to the car.

Needless to say, that "looker's" unmitigated raw beauty was only heightened by that '70's/'80s, maroon Phils she was wearing.

Perfect crown, perfect stitching on the logo, a fitted shell ... the sight of a knockout like that wearing a cap so stylish and brilliant and alluring definitely prompted thoughts of approaching her and asking:

"Say, what are the chances that I could talk you into a threesome? Me n' the Mrs. here would really love to take your maroon Phillies cap home with us for a beautiful experience, if you catch my drift. Say 'yes' and I promise you this: The Phils cap can be 'on top.' Yintristid ... ?"

Nobody knows for sure if she spent any time "mulling it over" because, before the thought process computed that "the difference is bangability," we were accosted by those Japanese TV guys only a few steps outside the McFadden's patio.

Imagine that: Just a few seconds from stepping outside the ballpark boundaries and onto Pattison, the Japanese cameraman turned on his light and the the Japanese guy speaking broken English wanted our comments for Japanese TV.

It makes a Fightin's Fan wonder: "What in the name of So Taguchi, Tad Iguchi and Emperor Hirohito is Japan's agenda?"

On one hand, you're thinkin' that mayyyy-beee The Land of the Rising Sun wants our observations on various trends in this Series, such as Longoria and Pena being a combined 0 for 29 -- or, before tonight, the Phils' inability to hit with runners in scoring position (0 for 13 in Game 1; 1 for 15 in Game 2; 1 for 5 in Game 3; and, tonight, 0 for 6 in such situations until Pedro Feliz had that critical 2-out, bases-loaded single one inning before Howard went 3-run Big Fly to LF).

Sure ... 2 for 39 (.051) was bleak, but then Feliz's rip into LF got the RISP avg. up to .075 before Howard's jack lifted it to .102.

Baby steps ...

Is that what you were looking for, PRP (Pacific Rim Programming)?

Or were you fishing for something controversial, such as some inflammatory remarks regarding the way that the Stingrays' IwoJima kicked two grounders tonight or the way that Taguchi was forced to ride the pine by his manager, Charlie Manuel, a former Japanese League star?

Maybe the Japanese wanted an explanation in THEIR version of the Eppa Rixey Crisis -- such as the time when the Mrs. went to Japan almost 16 years ago and brought a pack of baseball trading cards across the Pacific ... and inside that pack was there not only Koichi Yanada wearing #0 for the Yakult Swallows and Koji Nakada wearing #34 for the Hanshin Tigers, but -- check this -- So Taguchi was wearin' #6 for the Orix Blue Wave.

Most Americans might not be able to pick Koichi Yanada or Koji Nakada out of a police lineup unless those players are wearing a Swallows shirt with a YANADA 0 on the back or a Tigers shirt w/ NAKADA 34, but here's an issue which Japan doesn't like talking about:

When So Taguchi was brought to the bigs by the St. Louis Cardinals, he couldn't wear #6 (Stan The Man's retired #) and he couldn't wear #6 turned upside-down (#9 ... Country Slaughter's retired #).

So, So-So So Taguchi chose #99 ...

Two upside-down #6's ....
(That dude's frickin' crazy, man ... )

That's a quasi-newsy tidbit that the Japanese citizens can handle -- far less controversial than any of us explaining the injustice which took place before the bottom of the 8th when dancers from the local colleges did some dancing (what else?) atop the Phillies dugout.

We saw gals from St. Joe's, Drexel, LaSalle, Villanova, Penn and >>> holy crap!!! there was nobody representin' Temple!!! <<<

That guy standing nearby (it might've been the guy who couldn't I.D. Jay Happ warmin' up in the Phillies' 'pen) was livid. He was madder than a hornet -- so, it's probably just as well that nobody told him that also NOT dancing were leggy female reps from Gratz College, Stenton House or Eastern State Penitentiary (located right next door to St. Joe's, for you out of towners).

In Japan's eyes, this might not've registered as much of "an issue" -- after all, our Pacific Rim neighbors are infamous for mocking The MLB for crowning a "world champion" when the so-called "Fall Classic" is nothing more than a U.S. Pro Baseball Sweepstakes.

Lest we forget, Japan defeated all international competition three years ago (destroying all comers, from Iceland to Rwanda) in winning the World Baseball Classic -- and, to them, this Phillies-Stingrays series is but a mere prelude to WBC 2 next March.

Although nobody in the States can touch Makoto Nagano's insane level of athleticism in Ninja Warrior, Japan needs the WBC as a deterrent to those international collapses at the Little League World Series, not to mention the bitterness the nation experienced five months ago when Kristi Yamagushi (not Midori Ito) waved the green flag to signal the start of the Indy 500.

That Indy race was a real heartbreaker, considering that American rookie Ryan Hunter-Reay finished in 6th place less than one full second ahead of Japanese rookie Hideki Mutoh (even though those Top 10 times were almost 13 seconds ahead of 11th-place finisher, rookie Oriol Servia of Spain and almost 24 seconds better than 13th-place finisher, rookie Will Power of Australia).

Do the Japanese people feel as though "Oriol Servia" and "Will Power" are made-up names of two anonymous KV Racing teammates?

Speaking of the Japanese and automobiles, the viewers back home in the villages of Daihatsu and Mistubishi probably don't realize that the last time that the Phillies were one win from a "world championship," the Datsun B210 Honey Bee w/ the dimpled hubcaps made to look like a honeycomb was a car which we would frequently run off the road with the power and brute force of our '73 Gran Torino station wagon.

Taken together, all of these are matters which have displeased the Japanese people and strained Amer-Asian relations.

That ... and the fatal misunderstanding between Hans Gruber and Mr. Takagi in the Nakatomi Building in L.A.

Oh ... and the fact that we scoff any time a broadcaster informs America that Eeee-chee-rohhhh is such a magical hitter that he could hit a home run any time that he choses ("he's THAT good") -- which, doesn't make a damn bit of sense because when the M's were free-falling to 100 losses w/ the $100 mil payroll, shouldn't Eeeee-cheee-rohhh have waved his magic wand and gone 6 for 6 in a game w/ 6 grand slams?

Y'know ... just for kicks?
Instead of that "doin'-the-fundamentals" thing during a 14-5 game in which a "W" won't help the "36" in the "GB" column.

At the end of the day, American TV not only misinforms us re: the spiritual one-ness of Eeee-chee-rohhh, but also how Sapporo beer stacks up against the previously-mentioned Yankee-doodle pisswater lite beers out there.

It kinda makes ya wish that the result of the joint venture between Matsumura Fishworks and Tamaribuchi Heavy Manufacturing Concern had been a rice beer rather than the dish detergent which banishes dirt to the land of wind and ghosts which we came to know as MR. SPARKLE.

It stands to reason that Cole Hamels will employ a Mr. Sparkle focus when he takes the mound for a potential clincher in Game 5.

"Out of my way, all of you. This is no place for loafers! Join me or die. Can you do any less?"

If Hamels succeeds in his quest to become the first pitcher to go 5-0 in a single postseason, the Stingrays will be banished to the land of wind and ghosts.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, though, we'll spend a little more time savoring the hearty goodness of the Game 4 fiesta.

It might just be worth it to call in sick to work Monday ... except for some of us, we don't need to use the telephone inasmuch as we are required to roll over in bed and tell her, "Ain't gonna make it in today, hun."

As for her, she's got some powerful stories to share w/ everybody during her 4-hour, Monday chemo session.

"... and then Kentucky Joe came to bat ... and he practically came outta his cleats when he took that swing ... "


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