Chase Utley is one futile at bat from seeing his batting average fall into the .260's, a zone he probably hasn't reached since...well...he became a regular. It's hard to single out Chase among the fallen, but his slump is as deep as anyone's on this club.
Meanwhile, his manager's temper is frayed to the breaking point. He doesn't see much passion or energy from his troops. He's right on that account: they are a dejected, demoralized bunch.
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Three perfect games already this season after only 18 in the history of the game. What does it mean, doctor? If the Philliles are any indication, it means hitters are falling behind pitchers.
Of course the record book will only show two of those games because last night umpire Jim Joyce ruled former Phillies farmhand Jason Donald safe at first base for what would have been Detroit hurler Armando Galarraga's 27th out. Now, cries for instant replays for critical plays can be heard from every corner along with the vicious types who want to pillory Joyce on Facebook and other social [sic] networking sites.
Joyce feels terrible, perhaps more than Galarraga. He blew the call but that doesn't necessarily make him a bad umpire. I don't know where he stands in the unofficial rankings by players and managers but it's safe to say he fell to the absolute bottom last night. Should baseball institute instant replay for critical calls? Probably. Should Bud Selig, always loathe to do the right thing in the best of times, overrule the ump's call? Unfortunately, he cannot, at least not under current rules. Surely baseball can have instant replays for game-deciding calls, but does this play fall under that category?
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Ken Griffey Jr. has retired, his skills eroded, the fun gone out of his game. Watching highlights from his career two things strike me:
1. His swing was magnificent.
2. He was a combination of supreme grace and acrobatic skills as a fielder.
Griffey's greatness was somewhat quiet because much of it came in the Pacific Northwest and, thus, we on the East Coast hardly got much chance to see him except during All Star games, and who watches those anymore? When he was traded to Cincinnati we in Philadelphia saw more of him since the Phils play the Reds, but Griffey spent much of that time on and off the Disabled List. Too bad, really, because he still had those skills when his body began to let him down.
Griffey will entre the Hall of Fame when eligible.