Wednesday, April 02, 2008

April: Baseball's Cruelest Month
Every year I get intensely excited for Opening Day. Springtime, the assured presence of my favorite sport, maybe my favorite thing in the world, on TV somewhere more or less 24/7, the return of the Phillies.

And every year, within no more than 72 hours after that first pitch is thrown, they find some way to kick me in the figurative balls.

Monday's season-opening loss was at least characteristic of the team's pattern of play over the last few years: they fell behind, came back to tie it on some huge hits, then shat the game away in the 9th with cover-your-eyes, hide-the-children caliber relief pitching to lose 11-6. Tonight, though, just felt like the sort of metaphysical screw-you one only experiences through sport. (My strongest memory ever in this line was the 2006 game the Eagles lost to a last-place Tampa Bay Buccaneers squad, when a waiver-bait kicker beat them with a 62-yard field goal as time expired. I swear I could almost see some ghostly hand floating behind the uprights, all fingers folded in but the middle one.) Cole Hamels, Phillies ace and hero of the internets, pitched eight innings of one-run ball; the run was a wind-blown bullshit OFJOAB ("Our Fucking Joke of a Ballpark") special homer. The Phillies offense, meanwhile, was that special combination of inept (one hit all night) and unlucky (at least three rockets hit right at defenders in the final three innings).

So the team is 0-2 with the two good pitchers having taken their turns without any wins to show for it, and The Crap due the next three games. Usually I don't make this AIS post--it is a yearly tradition--until they hit 1-6 or so, but this year I figured why wait.

5 comments:

Brian said...

kill me now

David said...

Can't remember the time lag on these comments. I was definitely up for being killed by 2 or so this afternoon, but now it's a little after 6 and I'm feeling surprisingly peppy...

The Navigator said...

Apparently Blogger has the time here set to Pacific. Here's a test: I'm posting this, in Philly, at 1:05 Eastern.

The Navigator said...

Sure enough.

Anyway, I haven't sat through the first three games, just most of Hamels' start, but taking a step back, they seem to have been kind of fun games: a taut 1-0 pitchers' duel, which is a delight for a true baseball fan, followed by an extra-inning triumph with some really entertaining parts, including seven singles in a row, a huge comeback, and Rollins going to third on an infield sacrifice. Really, although the inability to hit Tim Redding is sorta galling, that sort of things happens now and then; the only serious problem with the season so far, i.e. the only one that seems to portend larger problems rather than something transient and likely to end soon (like poor infield D or weak hitting) was the bullpen's meltdown in Game 1. If Gordon's toast, and Lidge isn't restored to full effectiveness, the season could turn into a debacle.

David said...

This probably isn't surprising... but after the win yesterday, I feel like we still don't really know about this team.

If they'd failed to come back, of course, I'm sure I'd be seeing 90-plus losses from the awful pitching, overrated offense and general malaise.