AJ Daulerio's Cultural Oddsmaker runs every Friday. Email him to let him know what you think.
Old people. Two incidents in the last week have evidenced just how great old people are: referee Joey Crawford's bizarre blow up at Tim Duncan and then Phillies manager Charlie Manuel unleashing his own mix of backwoods whoop-ass on radio "personality" Howard Eskin. Crawford has most likely refereed his last game, given an indefinite suspension seems like a forced retirement on the part of NBA Commissioner David Stern. Consider this Crawford's Howard Beale moment. It would have to be; how many other 50something old men would challenge a 7 foot professional athlete to a fight? Even if it is Tim Duncan.
Cholly, on the other hand, well, this was a little more troubling. In what's turning out to be one of the most fraudulent seasons in Philadelphia Phillies history, it's at least encouraging that Goodtime Charlie still has something left in him. Most of the time, he's perched at the top of the dugout with this Oops!-I-crapped-my-pants expression, never showing any kind of emotion whatsoever, but now, we're witness to the fiery muskrat that has laid dormant for far too long. Eskin was an easy target for his wrath, given his penchant for picking on people he doesn't play golf with. (And, Charlie, please don't accept any flower bouquets should Eskin try to apologize.)
You really can't blame Manuel for his actions (too much). The 2007 Phillies are just repulsive; besides their awful everything, it's more repugnant everybody in the Delaware Valley got duped by a silly PR slogan and Ryan Howard's MVP glare. Goosebumps? More like Nut Punch. This is team is just another reshined turd.
See? It's easy to become cantankerous when you're talking about the Phillies.
And with Manuel's latest outburst, the wacky demotion of Brett Myers to the bullpen and the Phillies sinking deeper and deeper into irrelevancy early in the season, it's become apparent that Good Guy Charlie (Nice Guy Charlie! Granpaw Charlie! Craaaaazy Charlie!) is starting to completely unravel.
So this week, I'm lathering myself in Fixodent, taking bong hits from a colostomy bag and placing odds on Charlie Manuel's next haywire move.
Let's head out to the outhouse and gets all growned up, after this jump.
Batting first...Jon Lieber: 2/1
The lineup switches employed in the first week — flip-flopping Utley and Howard — obviously didn't have the desired affect. Protection for Howard? Not really necessary. Ryan Howard would swing and miss at a cantaloupe on top of a tee right now, so that's irrelevant. But the better solution would be to completely invert the batting order. Bat the pitcher first, with the sole purpose of getting him hit by a pitch. That's something to do with those six starters — use one as a sacrificial lamb in the first inning. Also, by employing this logic, you'll have eight people protecting the true power hitter on the team, Jimmy Rollins. I'm sure he'll get plenty of pitches to hit batting ninth.
Begins Blaming Losses on Imaginary, Trouble-Making Animals : 2/1
Where are these extra bases? Why are people stealing third? Why does Ryan Howard get picked off? What's with this double-switch problem? Why not bunt? These are just a handful of the standard managerial questions that Manuel's been asked after a number of losses. There appears to not only be a lack of discipline, but fundamentals as well. But Charlie's a lifelong baseball guy — how could all these things be happening? Well, for one thing it's the cows. Damn cows are running all over the field. Then it's the cotton-picking roosters. They keep crowing. You try to hit while there's a rooster crowing. And the goddamn sheep are turfing up the outfield. Can't get good footing if the sheep are out there jumping around. And the zebras. Goddamn zebras are noisy. Get those noisy bastards out of the dugout. We might win some ball games if it weren't for the zebras.
Orders a Code Red on Wes Helms: 3/1
It's probably too early to start pounding on Utley and Howard, so the next logical choice will be Wes Helms. Don't be fooled by his laudable batting average — this guy appears to have spent the off-season learning how to hit into momentum killing double plays. Plus, since he's a new acquisition, it'll be a lot easier to convince the team that he's the reason why there's such a low RISP average this year. I wouldn't be surprised if the media walked into find Helms hanging from the locker, dirty sock stuffed in his mouth, and covered in bruises from the bar of soap pummeling he'd just received hours before.
Answers Every Media Question at Press Conference with a Thundering Fart: 1/1
It's easy to see that Charlie's exasperated with the team, and answering the same questions each and every day is just going to become more maddening. Instead of stammering through mind-numbing questions from Marcus Hayes and Todd Zolecki, et al, it'll be a lot easier for Manuel to express his disappointment for how his team's doing right now through his rectum. Most impressive, Bill Conlin is familiar with this ancient form of communication and will begin asking questions the same way: