Monday, May 25, 2009
So Sonny has a great test for determining whether or not a girl is a selfish broad, but can he help me out with how to handle a once-perfect closer who helped deliver the lone world championship I've be able to witness in my life but all the sudden can't get anyone out ever? Didn't think so. Thanks for nothing, Sonny.
In case you were wondering, yes, I did head up to the new Yankee Stadium on Saturday with silver fox, Paul "lil Jon" Runyan and another friend of ours, along with lil Jon's sister and brother-in-law-to-be for what was supposed to be a glorious time. After all, things got off on the right foot when I headed back to Bucks County Friday night to meet up with everyone and Brett Myers shut down the Yanks to give the Phils the win in the season opener. And then, when silver fox and I entered the bar to meet up with lil Jon, literally minutes later I watched LeBron do this:
Great start. And things went pretty smoothly as we drove out to New Brunswick, caught the train to NYC and made the trip to Yankee Stadium. And the subway ride from Penn Station to the stadium was pretty epic.
On our way up there, our quartet stopped to get two of those small Heineken kegs with the intention of drinking them on the train. Well, time was tight, so we decided to wait until we got into NYC and were headed on the subway. One problem: we had no ice or cups. No worries. In Penn Station, we purchased four large cups from Planet Smoothie filled with ice, found the train and broke out the keg. Here we were, four Phillies fans decked out in Phillies gear tapping a mini keg on the subway. Everyone loved it.
Adding to the fun atmosphere was a group of four young black men who entered the subway car we were on with a boom box in toe. Then, these four guys cleared a little space, turned on the music and put forth a tremendous break dancing show right on the train. It was pretty fucking awesome, especially while watching it with a Heineken in hand. After their performance, the leader of the group told everyone they were accepting dollar bills and ... Heinekens. Fantastic.
Things only seemed to get better as we got off at Yankee Stadium. With one mini keg done, we went to find the tailgating section. As we looked around, we broke out the second keg in plain view of everyone, with Yanks fans marveling at our bravado. Apparently, tailgating before Yankees games isn't a big thing. We eventually walked around, and the only people we found tailgating were fellow Phillies fans in a parking garage. Pretty weak display from the Yanks fans if you ask me.
Well, we finally made it inside and prepared for the game. I was all sorts of excited to see how the new stadium stacked up against the old one. Really, the field itself looks exactly the same, which is kind of cool, and the stadium is nice and all, but it's nothing special. Just another new ballpark.
Don't get me wrong, it's nice. But it didn't blow me away. What did, however, was the amount of Phillies fans there. There were a ton, just like on Friday, and that made the atmosphere even better. And things just kept coming up us, as Raul Ibanez hit another bomb to give the Phils the lead, and J.A. Happ went out dealing, just reinforcing the fact he should have been starting all along.
During the game, I struck up quite a back and forth with a very loud Yankees fan two rows behind me. He and I were going at each other, but in a friendly way, and I have to say, he was the absolute coolest opposing fan I've ever dealt with. He earned my respect very quickly, especially when he started yelling, "FUCK YOU, PETTITTE! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR US SINCE 2001?" The guy was hilarious.
Things were a little tame when the Yanks tied it up, but when John Mayberry came up with two on in the 5th, I told silver fox he was going to hit a bomb. When he did, I went nuts, freaked out, yelled at the Yanks fan about how that was his first hit, split my lip celebrating somehow and just was having a ball. A 4-1 lead with the way Happ was pitching was a great thing. The day was going perfectly along.
When Jeter tied it up at 1-1, I still wasn't worried. Like I said, Happ was dealing, the weather was beautiful, and I was talking some trash to the Yanks fans around us.
Then, with just 70-some pitches thrown, Charlie inexcusably lifted Happ after 6. Yes, Durbin and Madson were unreal, completely owning the Yanks in the 7th and 8th, but I really think Happ should have been sent out there for the 7th. Yes, I know it was his first start of the year and maybe he wasn't quite ready to pitch too many innings, but he was dealing. He deserved the shot.
Either way, Durbin did a phenomenal job, and Madson was his usual dominant self. I was having a ball. And, sitting in the leftfield bleachers way up there, we looked in the top of the ninth to see if anyone was throwing the Phils bullpen. Given the struggles of Brad Lidge this year, we were hoping Charlie would just leave Madson, who had just struck out the side, in. We couldn't see anyone getting warmed up, so we were pumped. But then, at the last minute, we saw Lidge tossing, and all of us felt squeamish.
A leadoff walk, followed by a two-run homer by Gay-Rod later and our day was ruined. Another blown save. Cano followed with a single, stole second and as the Yankee Stadium board flashed the stat that Melky Cabrera has the most walk-off hits since 2000-something with four, I said, "Well, here comes number 5." Sure enough, Melky drove home Cano to end the game, and I was beyond pissed.
How did this happen? How can Brad Lidge go from being nearly unhittable, perfect last season, a World Series champion, to being the worst pitcher in baseball overnight? And how can he completely melt down for the second time in his career? I'm not mad at Brad Lidge. I can't be. His performance last year won't let me. But right now, Brad Lidge sucks. Horribly. There has honestly been no pitcher I've seen worse than him. He's been pathetic. Right now, I have as good a chance of getting major league hitters out as Lidge does. That's just sad.
After blowing the save yet again yesterday, it's officially time. Brad Lidge should not be closing for the Phillies anymore. At least not any time soon. Not until he gets his command back and his mind clear. Ryan Madson has been an unhittable machine this year. He's primed for the closer spot. And with Romero coming back soon, it would be perfect, with J.C. as the setup guy and Madson the closer. All I know is Lidge needs to be pulled as closer right now. He's just dreadful. And he ruined my day on Saturday.
Luckily, the four of us wandered around NYC the rest of the night, drinking the night away. And we got into a nice verbal tussle with some Mets fans, making it all the better. And we may or may not have ended up in a strip club, then wandering Brooklyn trying to find my sister's house.
I do know we got drunk, had a reasonably good time and that Brad Lidge sucks. Oh, and New York is way to fucking big. Great place to visit, but damn, I don't think I could live there. However, I'll be back in a few short weeks with silver fox for Blogs with Balls, and I'm sure the stories will be flowing.