Sunday, October 05, 2008

Phillie/Steeler Crossfire (Wild Card Champs!)

The bullets were really flyin' yesterday (Sat.) during the latest in the crossfire conflict -- and the wardrobe got its usual workout.

Afternoon: Sooners t-shirt (for that huge tussle at Baylor) ...
Evening: Phillie pullover hoodie (for an NLDS loss which didn't hold our attention for very long) ....

Today? Well, it was a Sabathia-less Sabbath ... and there were smoother transitions with more-satisfying results.

Daytime: Red Phils cap (eventually, 7-1/2 will yield to 7-5/8 ... maybe) for Game 4 of the NLDS ...
Nighttime: Bright yellow sweat pants as a complement to the gray t-shirt w/ authentic Steelers logo for the comeback W vs. the Jags ...

It's NOT the emotional roller coaster which the media makes it out to be, here at the La-Z-Boy Lounge -- 'cuz we don't get swept up in the raw emotion of Big Ben's last-minute TD pass to Hines Ward any more than we do when Pat The Bat unleashes his lifetime .257 fury w/ 2 homers which clinch the wild-card pennant for the Fightin's.

We're not gonna waste our time twirlin' the Fightin' Phillie Rally Towel or this Terrible Towel which is a real one from the 1970s -- 'cuz there's that Red Wings rally towel draped over the chair nearby ... and THAT towel saw actual game action at The Joe during the Stanley Cup run of Apr./May/June.

So, there ...

We will, though, give high marks to Big Ben for the manner in which he overcame his encounter with Steeler nemesis Rashean Mathis (the CB who had that INT TD in OT against Tommy Maddox -- subbing for Big Ben -- during the Super Bowl season three years ago ... the same Rashean Mathis who had that INT TD in the wild-card playoffs last year, helping the Jags to become the first team ever to beat the Steelers twice in Pittsburgh in the same season ... the same Rashean Mathis who messed up Pittsburgh's first possession tonight with that INT TD of that horrible-lookin' Big Ben aerial ... ), not to mention Big Ben's two huge completions during the game-winning drive when he had Jags manhandling him ...

It's almost unfathomable that the Steel Town lads are going into the bye week w/ a 4-1 record, given the shitload of injuries.

Yet, Big Ben was only one half of the B&B equation today ... the nightcap portion of the fun we had once Burrell n' Blanton were done Brewer bashin'.

Nope ... there weren't any of Bambi's Bombers in sight (the nickname for George Bamberger's Brew Crew after Harvey Kuenn passed the torch from his squad of Harvey's Wallbangers).

Once ya learn that they built County Stadium on your dad's high school (football) practice field -- after he tells ya that he played some summer ball with Harvey Kuenn in Wisconsin -- well, it stirs up the juices.

Of course, if this were 10 years ago, the Phillies might've had Billy Brewer on the mound while Bernie Brewer was preparing to shimmy down his slide, etc ...

Today? No Billy Brewer vs. Bernie Brewer.

Which is a good thing -- 'cuz Joe Blanton was dealin' out there on the hill.

This we find amusing ... because when the trade deadline rolled around and the Brewers acquired Sabathia and the Cubs landed Rich Harden, people were chuckling when the only person that Philly could reel in to offset those transactions was Blanton, owner of a 5-12 record for the A's.

At the time, it appeared as though the Phils ended up with the booby prize -- but, as it turned out, it was more like a booby trap for opposing N.L. batsmen.

It's a curious thing when we consider how Joe Blanton differs from Sabathia (who's the size of a condo) and Harden (who has that traditional, lean pitcher's physique -- when he's not displaying a delicate-flower/on-the-D.L.-again physique) in the sense that he has the body type which reminds us of a young Bob Vance (before Bob Vance rose to power as "Bob Vance of Bob Vance Refrigeration").

And, despite his rooster-crown hairdo and that zany chin-scruff, Joe's quickly ascending to new levels of popularity in his personal growth -- such as achieving the rank of our all-time No. 2 fave #56 Phillie (behind Geoff Geary ... "a moment of silence, please") and our all-time #2 Phillie Named Joe (right behind Joe Table, but ahead of Joe Boever and epic mound disaster Joe Cowley).

Joe Blanton didn't back into the upper echelon of #56s and Phillies Named Joe. He earned it by going 4-0 in his 13 Phillie starts (yup ... 9 no-decisions) ... and, today, well ... he was as filthy as Cole Hamels was four days earlier.

We didn't play super-close attention to today's game (in fact, the highlight of the game was when the final lawn-mowing of '08 was wrapping up ... and the Mrs. emerged from the house -- bald as she was, as a breast cancer survivor during this, Breast Cancer Awareness Month -- and pantomimed Burrell's 3-run shot which made the score 4-0).

When we did tune in, though, we witnessed Joey Blants w/ complete command of his every pitch (including the rarely-thrown "widow-maker").

Joey Blants completely crossed up those young sluggers and contact hitters for The Crew -- and, because of Joey Blants, there's no need for a Game 5 at The Cit w/ Black Sabathia pitching with "normal rest."

Not that anyone was THAT worried.

Still, it's handy when Rollins is leadin' off the game w/ a big fly ... and Burrell is knockin' the thunder stix outta people's hands by hittin' two rockets into the seats ... and Jayson Werth is sending one over the fence (before he hits a roof-scraping pop-up that hit either a girder or a cable or Cory Lidle's low-flying plane before the ball comes to rest in the glove of a sprawled-on-the-ground Craig Counsell).

SO, THE BREWERS ARE NOW IN THE REAR VIEW MIRROR ... and we're kinda/sorta gonna miss them and their Yost/Sveum issues. After all, WE WERE THERE at that Sunday game at The Vet on Fourth of July Weekend 10 years ago ... when Philadelphia and Milwaukee were meetin' for the first time since the Braves final season (1965) before movin' to The A-T-L ... for the first time since Ray Culp outdueled Wade Blasingame in that Sept. rainout make-up game which drew 812 Wisconsinites which had nuthin' else to do on that Monday.

That '65 game remains a lot less vivid than the '98 game ... the one where we were settling into our seats and Scotty Rolen was jacking that 3-run job against Cal Eldred in the first inning.

What transpired today, well ... sometimes ya just wanna phone up Rolen and boo him and then tell him about how Burrell hit those two homers because, rather than talk about winning, Pat's more inclined to put the team on his back and take matters into his own hands.

Which is pretty much what we figure Pat The Bat will do in the NLCS vs. L.A.

This series against the Dodjerks should be fascinating since it's the first meeting in the postseason for these rivals in the corridor from our past of 25-30 years ago since the night in '83 when Sarge n' Sixto blasted those homers which clinched the N.L. flag.

On top of that, the timing is exquisite for this Phil./L.A. matchup since it's kids that we see wearing uniforms of those teams as Jimmy Rollins oversees matters in those TV ads for R.B.I. (Reviving Baseball in the Inner-City).

Unless the red n' blue is supposed to represent the Bloods n' the Crips.

Merry Cripmas, anybody?

First things first: We know that everyone's ga-ga about what Manny's doin' lately, etc ... -- but, fact is, in those 4 games vs. the Phils in L.A., Man-Ram was 4 for 11 w/ a homer, a double, two walks, 4 intentional walks and 3 strikeouts.

Good ... but not otherworldly.

And, during the Phils 4-game sweep of L.A. at The Cit, Man-Ram was 2 of 14 w/ 3 BBs and 4 SO.

That's it?

Okay ... there was that 1 for 8 (w a GIDP) for Red Sock Manny in mid-June, so ... is .212 supposed to be what we're afraid of?

Hmmmm ... with stats like those, Manny might actually receive more boos from the Phillie crowd than Rolen used to hear.

That's a very big mayyyy-beeee.

Now we're gonna see if 45,000 at The Cit can put together a "Mannn-neee, Mannn-neee" chant the way that 63,000 at The Vet never could for "Dairrrr-rullll, Dairrrr-rulllll ... "


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