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Friday, February 26, 2010
SPOTLIGHT ON: Spring Training & Off-Season Acquisitions
Here's a piece filed by international Philadelphian John Sharkey. He's been on the other side of the globe for some time and it seems that the distance has given him some perspective on our Phils.
Unfinished Business. Phillies Spring Training 2010
Hello my fellow Americans and lovers of all thing fair and true, it's that time again when the grass has risen green and the smell of victories near and far flow from the every enthusuatic pore of the pretzel man. When fathers, if not for only a few months, love their sons again. When the common stranger on Shunk Street becomes a familiar acquaintence if not a true soul brother. When we all stop fantasizing about how much rope we would need to hang Donovan McNabb's entire family. When punks and jocks alike come together to taste the sweet possiblity of champoinship glory, just like the end of Major League (good movie). I'm talking about Phillies Spring Training, what a grand feeling is upon us.....
I'm sure the man on everybody's mind first thing is big-money acquisition Roy Halladay and why shouldn't it be. I mean, we did give up the one truly holy member of last years pitching staff, the mighty Clifton Lee, to attain him. This came as a shock and a blow to all the Phaithful, your emminance included, that we'd cast aside the beast with the grease after his stunning performances in games 1 and 5 of last years dismal Fall Classic. Seems like betrayal. But yet this is a business to some and the mighty Halladay deal was done before you could say Judas. We'll have to cry ourselves to sleep as Roy shows up like a warrior sharpening the mace everyday at 6am for training to fill the shoes left behind. I'm not sure it will be a problem for old mate. Stew on this thought for a minute; Halladay=better pitcher. Cliff Lee = better dude. I don't believe for a second that this move was a lateral one and the possiblity of this pitching staff getting it's shit together for 2010 with Halladay a part of it makes my chones tickle. He simply is the best pitcher in the Majors. I think we'll all stop belly-aching around mid-april if my predictions are correct. It's a new day, let's live it.
The Big Man Ryan Howard returns to Clearwater to handle "unfinished business" left over from last season referring to the WS loss to the drug cheats up the turnpike. A svelt Howard weighing in at about 245 has come to training ready to slay all that stands in his way. "Last year didn't go the way we wanted it to. Hopefully everybody come in here with the mind set of unfinished business. We all get locked-in and have good Spring Training and carry it out through the season". If last years 45 dingers and paltry 14 errors is any indication of whats to come The Bat is definitely not fucking around. WATCH OUT, BRO!
Chase Utley has been hitting the weights on the off season apparently as he reported to camp looking like an ox thats been cock-teased for 3 months and last year's (first half, at least) golden rod latin lover Rual Ibanez has reported healthy and ready to fight. Ibanez, who suffered from a sports hernia throughout the second half of last season had abdominal surgery this winter and is looking forward to making the big bell rock on a nightly basis at Citizens Bank Park. I know we all didnt buy these shirts for nothing......
Korean righty and worthless traitor Chan Ho Park has declined the Phils offer of 3.25 mil to relieve and instead opted to sign a one year aggreement with the Yankees for 1.25 mil plus 300 grand in incentives. When asked why such a horrendous move was made he replied in broken english that "I have chosen the Yankees, a prestigious team that can advance to the Wolrd Series again." Well, Parky the last time I checked the Phils weren't chopped liver. What exactly are you trying to have translated? Well, I wish nothing but the best for you and hope you enjoy your time being Joba Chamberlain's foot-stool and Andy Petites syringe receptacle in the bullpen for most of 2010.
I'm not really sweating Park's departure now that Danys Baez was a acquired to fill some gaps in the bullpen. A career ERA of 4.04 is not something to salivate over but the righty has experience and with 114 career saves and a WHIP of 1.31 I'm betting the sabermetricians are putting their money on this man. Bring on the Cuban heat!
2008 World Series MVP and 2009 Expert Whiner Cole Hamels reportedly is "more mature" and "ready to put last year behind him". I guess his grandmother had stern words for the boy as she rode him all winter about his house chores and his team moral bulding skills. I hope he put as much work into a 3rd pitch as he did massaging granny's bunions.
Speaking of melt-down mothers, Brad Lidge- the man responsible for 11 blown saves and numerous beaten wives last year - is reportedly in great shape after having surgery on both his elbow and knee during the off season. Last monday Lidge fired from the mound and "felt great!". Hopefully feeling great and not pitching with a Parkinsonian tremor go hand in hand. I myself am hoping for the full recovery of good ol' Lights-Out.
Prodigal son Placido Polanco has returned to the hot corner for the Fightin's and this man couldn't be happier about it. I'm sorry but Pedro Feliz and his 35 errors and mercurial plate presence last year is not worth 5 million dollars (He and Brett Myers can enjoy the sultry sounds of Geto Boys reunions down in Houston while we enjoy the sounds of violent victories) This copiously domed Dominican will surely strengthen the Phil's infield to a force as impenetrable as an Amish singles night.
All in all children I think we have here a team so focused on their third World Series run that not even J-Roll's jinxing predictions could taint them. Everything is falling into place. The core players have remained intact, Jayson "The Rooster" Worth has grown a grizzly facial mess now looking like a homeless Godsmack, Blanton and Victorino got good new money in arbitrations and Chooch Ruiz finally getting paid a salary more than his part-time dishwashing side gig after games last year. I can see why the world has them poised to be the first National League team to make it to the Series 3 times in a row since the Cardinal back in '42, '43 and '44.Even the man behing it all, Charlie Manuel, just has one thng to tell his boys: "Just Win!" I for one have a hankering for another parade where man, woman and Puerto Rican alike can come together in brotherly love on the streets of Philadelphia, embrace like siblings and proudly loot as many Luggage stores as their blackened hearts desires. Unity.