Wednesday, May 5, 2010

You're My Boy Chooch

Over the past two seasons, I've had a tough time coming up with "my guy" on the Phillies. Ever since Charlie Manuel took over this team, there's just been so many damn likable players, awesome players, but I didn't ever really have one of my own.

Let's face the facts, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard belong to the masses. Same thing with Jimmy, at least when he's not putting his foot in his mouth. Shane has a large cult following, Raul became an icon the first half of last season, and Adam EatShit took claim of Jayson Werth and Ryan Madson (yes, Ryan Madson) from the start. Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee are so incredibly awesome that they don't even count. And my other roommate called Placido pretty much right when the Phils signed him.

I've always been partial to J.C. Romero. In fact, you could call him my boy. But he's a relief pitcher, one that only has a limited time on the field (especially when he's getting suspended for a banned substance or residing on the disabled list). That left one man and one man only: Carlos Ruiz.

Ruiz has quietly been one of my favorite players for a while now. Sure, it was annoying watching him ground into double plays with regularity, but right from the get-go, you could tell he was a fantastic defensive catcher — quick feet, cannon arm, blocks everything. Then Hatfield hot dogs started running a radio commercial with Ruiz, a guy who spoke very broken English, where he was calling pitches … and ordering two hot dogs. You know the one: "Fastball. Curbball. No, I was just ordering two hot dogs!" That's when I dubbed him Curbball, and he's pretty much been my boy ever since. I just didn't quite know it.

It should have been clear as day. I loved the way he called a game, the way he seemed to get big hits out of nowhere, the way he handled the pitching staff. I was ecstatic as he elevated his game to new heights two Octobers ago, and then again this past fall. He's matured right before our very eyes, and all he does is get better and better and better. Then last night, he went and did this:

It may have taken last night's walkoff for me realize it, but Curbball is my boy. He always has been. Right up there with the Shane Victorinos, Chase Utleys, Ryan Howards, J.C. Romeros, Halladays and Lees. And he's beginning to catch up to his all-star teammates at the plate, at least so far this year.

Coming off an October to remember, Chooch is batting .288 in 22 games played. He's already scored 10 runs, has four doubles and has made the 8 hole another dangerous spot in an already ridiculously potent lineup. All while continuing to play top-notch defense behind the plate. You're my boy, Chooch. Glad I finally realized it.

The walkoff wasn't the only good news for the Phils last night either. Cole Hamels was brilliant himself, putting up a line of 8 innings pitched, 1 earned run, 8 strikeouts and just 2 walks. And he looked to be on his way to a potential shutout when another fan running on the field derailed his rhythm. After that, Cole gave up a double on an 0-2 pitch and then another double to Yadier Molina to tie the game.

Hey, fellow asshole Philadelphians, can we please stop this before it gets out of hand? Yeah, a kid got tasered when he ran out the field and got all over the TV, becoming a national story. That doesn't mean you will. And if that's why you're going to a baseball game, to draw attention to yourself instead of, you know, actually watching the game, please, just do us all a favor and fucking kill yourself. Preferably in a horrible, painful, slow way. Because that's all you deserve. To die. Fuckheads. AND ESPECIALLY DON'T RUN ON THE FIELD WHEN COLE FUCKING HAMELS AND HIS FRAGILE EGO IS ON THE MOUND!!!! Have you seen this guy the past year-plus? He gets rattled at the slightest thing, for god's sake. Don't go fucking up his world when he's throwing one of his best outings in the past two seasons. Christ. No wonder the rest of the country hates us. I hate us too sometimes. What an asshole.

No more running on the field, OK people?

Thank goodness Curbball came through in the 10th, walkoff style. Otherwise, that schmuck who fucked up Cole's flow would have had to watch his back. Big time.

BallHype: hype it up!

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