The Phillies post-season collapse was predictable.
Now that the turd that was the 2011 Philaldelphia Phillies season has had ample time to settle at the bottom of the outhouse, I think it’s time to give my full Sixpence None the Richer on the whole bullshit situation. It’s not like it’s taken me this long to be able to talk about it like some shrapnel-addled hero of foreign war or anything dramatic. I’ve just needed to have the whole scenario gestate in my brain for a few weeks to find the proper way to express myself on the subject. I think I’ve found my avenue through a true tale from my youth.
When I was 7-years-old, an Italian-American friend of mine named Bill and I wanted to make the unchartered trek from our neighborhood all the way to the 7-Eleven on Macdade Boulevard. We’d never ventured so far in our measly lives let alone crossed so many main roads. This was a big step for us.
After tens of minutes of convincing our parents that we were man enough to get this journey under our belts without major physical harm to our bodies, they conceded. My mother offered only one caveat: “Look both ways before crossing every street, especially Academy Avenue!” We shrugged like idiot kids and assured my mom we would and they were fools to even worry about such a childish thing.
Now, a bit on my friend Bill. He wasn’t the brightest strand of linguine in the pasta bowl and I could tell as soon as I met his parents that it might not be his fault. His hulking father had open copies of Playboy lying all over the house and he would openly disparage other children’s performances within earshot during Little League games. His mother was always screaming or crying whenever I would go visit him at his house to play Contra. They seemed a bit unhinged and displayed traits that I would see in other parents of friends throughout my youth, which I would come to learn were just signs of “shitty parents.”
As a result of Bill’s parents’ shortcomings he ended up a tad maladjusted, not prepared for proper society and its etiquettes. He was always picking fights with smaller kids and constantly cursing and talking shit to everyone in the school yard. He would punch people in the back of the head while they weren’t paying attention just for laughs and yadda, yadda, yadda ... What I’m really trying to say is that he was kind of an asshole.
So there we were walking to fucking kick-ass 7-Eleven on our own, and Bill turns to me and says “Shark, our parents are total dicks for thinking we couldn’t do this by ourselves. What kind of babies do they think we are?”
Everything about Bill’s character came rushing into my head as he spoke those extremely brash and over-confident words. It was then that I had an inkling that shit could go very fucking wrong and when it did, I wasn’t surprised.
After 10 more minutes or so of walking and more of Bill’s shit-talk about Ghostbusters toys or some bull, we reached the infamous Academy Avenue. The street itself wasn’t very big but it got a lot of traffic at all times of the day. I knew I was ready for this challenge. It’s a fundamental rule of life to practice caution when playing with fire.
But before I could even look both ways I see Bill, my moronic pal, step right into the street without any regard and BLAAAAMMMMMMM! A little two-door Toyota slammed into him.
I see Bill flying through the air for what seemed like 30 seconds. As he flew through the air like an Albert Pujols line drive the first thing I thought to myself was “You stupid fucking asshole. Of course you were gonna do that. I FUCKING KNEW IT!!!!” I wasn’t even shocked or scared. He slammed onto the pavement and a puddle of blood quickly surrounded him.
Call it pre-pubescent precognition but I knew that Bill, my stubborn and cocky dope of a classmate, would end up in an ambulance with two broken legs and a pair of troglodyte parents blaming me for their kid’s stupidity.
The parallels between this happening and the Phillies exit from the play-offs are staggering. This was the first fucking thing I thought of as I watched Ryan Howard, Mr. Cocktober, weakly ground-out to end the season and the city’s dreams and then collapse like he’d been assassinated halfway down the first base line. I’ll never forget it for as long as I live.
I am the spectator in total belief of what just fucking happened because I took into consideration the possibility of utter disaster like a reasonable adult. That disaster happened and I wasn’t in the least bit shocked or indignant. I knew the Cardinals, with fire under ass, had the ability to totally fuck the Phils out of another title easily, but everyone was saying NYYOOO WAAAYYYYYY THESE GOOIIYS STINK, YEEEOOO!!!” I hope you’re enjoying the 2-4 Eagles, the young, yet-to-bring-its-shit-together Flyers and an NBA lockout, because that’s all we have now that our golden boys are either on the golf course or planning an escape route out of red pinstripes.
It’s all gone to shit and no one was as unsurprised as me. I knew all the talk about the Cardinals coming into this series with bravado and momentum was not just barbershop posturing but real-deal, wrath-of-the-Baseball-Gods type shit. The Phils didn’t have a chance. The Wildcard played them like fools and now the winningest Phillies team in the history of the franchise is an afterthought and a joke. Life sucks, better luck next year.
I’ll be there. Maybe our baseball team’s testicles will be, too.
I know a lot of you think I'm an asshole. But I too have a few rules of baseball morality. One of them is “Don’t Fuck With Kids At A Baseball Game,” and it was egregiously broken last week after the Phillies bounced the Braves out of playoff contention.
I know that this Phillies season has been magical, with all the godlike pitching, almost-consistent offense and an all-time low in South Philly spousal abuse, but I feel slightly ill as the post-season approaches.
I, like many of you adults, am a very avid fan of Vick. His career high passing and rushing numbers last year alone for the Birds have garnered him the big bucks and respect of the league. He is poised to give this football-rabid town what it’s been waiting for, deservedly, for decades: a Super Bowl title. Vick is an Eagle tried and true, with a blue-collar work ethic and a subtle hint of humility in his tone, yet there are still those who continue to harp on about—what else—the dog fighting shit.
First Person Arts Podcast: Proud Mom