Friday, November 21, 2008

No Ordinary Guy

Repeating just got a whole lot harder with the announcement Chase Utley would undergo some sort of hip surgery next week. The team's most valuable player could be sidelined anywhere from mid-April to June according to various reports. Suffice it to say his absence for more than a day is not good news.

Of course, every non-licensed MD in the Delaware Valley knew something was wrong with Utley when his batting average plummeted after a torrid start and his swing began to resemble John Kruk's AB's versus Randy Johnson. Still, you'd never had known a thing was wrong as Utley dived after this batted ball and that, lunged at the bag, crashed into catchers and otherwise threw his body about with no regard to personal safety.

The Phils won the World Series in no small part precisely because the ailing Utley declined to sit. Heck, he declined to complain even a little.

If there's any solace in the news, and really, there isn't much, it's that he continued to play his brand of all-out baseball, with the hip already ailing and still managed to help carry his club all the way to the top.

A guy like that has got to heal faster than mere mortals, doesn't he?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

World F _ _ _ _ _ _ Champions.

OK, I'll admit that for a man of few words, Chase Utley might have chosen them more wisely in his "speech" before the adoring throngs at Citizens Bank Park last Friday afternoon, but there is another way to look at it.

The poet Robert Graves once observed, in the British army the word "fucking" was used so often in so many ways that it ceased to have any meaning except to herald the approach of a noun.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Home Is Where The Heart Is

So much good feeling...from all directions. For a few days all was right with the world.

Two million fans lined up to adore their boys of summer and those boys gave it right back in spades. With that, Philadelphia finally got its parade of champions down Broad Street. Ever since Brad Lidge sank to his knees Wednesday evening, no one in this town seemed to want it all to end. For the next forty-eight hours more thanks were giving than in all the preceding Thanksgivings in recorded history. You could mix in a healthy does of relief as well. During those two days players, coaches, managers, beat writers, national media types, suite attendants, equipment managers, broadcasters, Democrats, Republicans, Independents and members of the Grange could not stop thanking each other, clapping each other on the back and declaring, "finally, we did it".

Normally, this "we did it" thing is a bit odd since, in fact, it's always really "they" who did it. But one got the feeling over and over that the players to a man believed the crowds and their support had truly made a difference during their championship run. No greater tribute was offered than by Pat Burrell, whom management chose to be the parade's Grand Marshall. Sitting atop a horse-drawn wagon, accompanied by his wife and dog Elvis, Burrell, the most senior Phillie, soaked in the adulation and gave heartfelt thanks and praise to the fans. Burrell's tumultuous nine year tenure in Philadelphia is probably over, but neither he nor the faithful will soon forget how in the end all was forgiven and only the good memories remained. Burrell did not fail to mention how tough this town was on its sporting heroes, but in the same breath he also mentioned how he wouldn't wanted to have reached this final goal anywhere else.

So now the players will depart for all points in the Western hemisphere. A large contingent will head off to California. Another group will head for Central and South America and the Caribbean. A few will be heading for the Midwest. Few if any of the 25-man roster make their permanent homes in the Philadelphia area, but after this past week we can be sure they'll always have a home here if they want one.