Cholly’s Follies

Woo boy.  Cliff Lee pitched ten shut-out innings last night, averaging around ten pitches per inning, and the Phillies still managed to lose.  Of course, Matt Cain pitched just as well, going nine and giving up none on a similarly scant number of pitches.  The way the game was going, it seemed destined to end as it did, 1-0, and even though neither team really “deserved” to win more than the other, it still felt like the Phillies blew it.

In the top of the 11th, they had a runner on third and only one out, after Carlos Ruiz led off with a double down the left field line and Freddy Galvis laid down a sacrifice bunt.  The pitcher’s spot was up next and Charlie sent his buddy Jim Thome up to pinch hit, and this of course prompted Bruce Bochy to bring in one of those nasty lefty “specialists” he seems to have in endless supply.  Instead of replacing Thome with a right-hander (Mayberry or Polanco), though, “Cholly” left him in, and the thoroughly likeable but probably over-the-hill future hall of famer sadly, predictably whiffed on five pitches.  So then Cholly sent Mayberry up to bat for the man whose head is as small as Polanco’s is big, Juan Pierre, who (the stats nerds will tell you) hits lefties better than he does righties, and Mayberry sadly, predictably hit a weak dribbler to the infield.  Inning over, along with the Phillies’ chance to score the go-ahead, and potentially winning run.

At this point I said “fuck it” and turned off the TV to get ready for bed.  It was almost midnight and, you know, I have a job (the only reason I stayed up was because the game was going so fast that by 11:30, the time I usually bail out on these west coast games, it was already in the 8th inning, instead of the 4th or 5th, and I figured another half-hour wouldn’t matter).  I couldn’t resist one more score-check before getting in bed, though, so after brushing my teeth I flipped the TV back on just in time to see the stadium emptying out and the final score: Phillies 0, Giants 1.  What I missed was Antonio Bastardo giving up a lead-off single, followed by a ground ball to third that could have been a double play but instead was mishandled by Ty Wigginton, followed by a walk-off RBI single by Melky Cabrera.  So, in addition to mismanaging his pinch hitters, Cholly inexplicably left the notoriously ham-handed Wigginton to play third in a 0-0, extra-inning game while last year’s gold glove third baseman, Polanco, watched from the dugout.  There’s a contingent of fans over at the Philly news site who incessantly bash Manuel, portraying him as a gum-chomping rube whose idea of in-game strategic managing is to wait for someone to hit a three-run home run.  Hard to argue with them after last night’s performance.

The Phils are now 5-7, after dropping 2 of 3 to the Mets and Giants.  Ryan Howard is still “rehabbing” his Achilles tendon and no word on when he’ll be ready to play.  No word either on Chase Utley, who appears to have gone missing, perhaps into something akin to the witness protection program for injured ballplayers.  If they don’t figure out how to score some runs, it’s going to be a long season.  Or a short one, depending on how you look at it.

Up next: Four in San Diego and three in Arizona, then back home.


These fuckin’ Hollywood liberals

Well, I mean we open up not a can of worms, we open up an actual oil tanker of worms, in my mind, if we start talking about your opinion and my opinion of what the government should be spending money on…I could give you another three or four hours of my objections to that.  Listen, it’s about freedom of expression.

Alec Baldwin

Yes, how would we fund the military-industrial-prison-national security-spy-police state apparatus if people were free to express their opposition to such things?

Whacking Off

While I was over at Taki’s Rag checking out that Derbyshire piece about how you should avoid black people unless you want to die, or something like that, I noticed this “letter” to Henry Rollins (apparently a mock tribute to the segment of Rollins’s old IFC show in which he composed acid letters to various celebrities, e.g., Ann Coulter) over in the sidebar.  I don’t have much affinity for the Taki’s crowd, in general, but I have to admit, this strikes me as spot-on, in particular:

While you seem to think your political opinions are still perceptive and edgy, they’re mostly recognizable as the default liberal opinions of the LA set you hang with these days. But having read a few books by Howard Zinn or Noam Chomsky does not make you somehow more enlightened than the average Joe with whom you claim affinity but toward whom you actually condescend. At this point you have a lot more in common with Tori Spelling than you do with Sid Vicious.

I’ve been to two of Rollins’s verbal bludgeonings, aka “spoken-word shows,” the most memorable aspects of which were their sheer length and the numbness in my ass by the time they finally ended (I had no interest the second time, but I allowed a friend to talk me into going), and I’ve seen several episodes of the IFC show, and pretty much the exact same thought occurred to me on more than one occasion.  I remember him ranting, for instance, in the “teeing off” segment of one of the IFC episodes, about the creationists sneaking “under God” into the pledge of allegiance, as if it somehow ruined the majesty of an otherwise rousing work of poetry.

I know we’re all supposed to get more conservative as we age, and I have no idea if Rollins’s political views were ever anything beyond a half-step to the left of tepid mainstream liberalism, but all I could think the whole time was here’s the former lead singer of a punk band called Black Flag defending the integrity of the pledge of allegiance.  The pledge of fucking allegiance, for crying out loud!  Take away the tattoos, the black T-shirts, and the sudden outbursts of shouting, and you’re looking at someone whose next gig could be as the angry white dude on The View.

Phils even record, prevent sky from falling…for now

After winning the season opener against the Pirates, the Phillies lost the next three, including the home opener against the Marlins, sending the Phaithless scurrying for the life boats, or the Flyers.  But suddenly the offense came alive and they took the next two from the Marlins.  On Wednesday, they pounded Josh Johnson, winning 7-1, and last night, behind Joe Blanton doing his best Roy Halladay impression, they won 3-1.  They even hit two home runs last night, doubling their season total in one game.  Mind you, nobody’s going to confuse this team with an offensive juggernaut, but at least they’re getting hits when they need them, and the pitching’s been as solid as expected.  Up next: The Mets for three in Philly.

Why Dogs Lick Their Asses

Copeland estimates that kosher laws add about 20 to 30 percent to the cost of production. That might sound bad for business. In fact, the owners of Manischewitz told me that kosher law could be the best thing they have going for them.

Alain Bankier, co-president of Manischewitz, said that the capital investment in the company’s state-of-the-art matzo machinery poses a huge barrier to entry for potential competitors.

So rather than being bad for business, all those kosher rules mean Manischwitz won’t have much competition.

Why Matzo Makers Love Regulation

Those crafty matzo makers might be onto something!  When news of this gets around, all kinds of businesses will probably start lobbying congress to write regulations that create barriers to entry for potential competitors.  Ah, NPR.  It’s like they found a heretofore unknown tribe of people in the Amazon that had just discovered fire, and then wrote a story about it, as if the discovery of fire was the news.