Tuesday, September 30, 2008

5 Forgotten Reasons For Postseason Baseball

Any Phillies fan, or any casual baseball fan for that matter, can tell you why the Phillies made the playoffs for the second consecutive year: Ryan Howard's Louisville slugger made sweet love to baseball after baseball throughout September; Brett Myers channeled his toxic temper and erratic mental make-up into a bravura performance post All-Star break; Cole Hamels and Jaime Moyer were steady at worst and spectacular at best, the bullpen was among the strongest in the league, and the offense did enough when it mattered. But there's more to this story. Underneath the surface lies a small cast of secret heroes and characters who have played a pivotal role in the Phillies becoming National League East champs again. Here's my list for the 5 Forgotten Heroes.

5)Howard Eskin
Yes, it's true, the despicable bearded man is on the list, for something he did back in April of 2007. During a particularly ugly stretch of April baseball, Eskin, as he is known to do, turned a post-game press conference into a personal showcase for his irritating penis-breath ways, leading manager Charlie Manuel to the brink of madness. Exasperated, Charlie stood up and urged Eskin to meet him on the dance floor(his office) when the next song started(immediately following the press conference), for a good ol' fashioned southern square dance(fistfight). Eskin wisely declined. Charlie gained everlasting respect that day, from inside the clubhouse and out, and ever since the Phillies have embarked on two seasons of gritty success. Granted, Charlie still has a hard time speaking English and making a double-switch, but thanks to Howard Eskin he showed the team and the city that beneath that country twang lies a hot temper capable of striking fear into the furriest of beards.

The random dance analogy was my own, not Charlie's. Charlie don't dance.

4)Geoff Jenkins
Don't be misled by this heading. I was going to title it "Jayson Werth" but I didn't think that was original. I could have titled it "Geoff Jenkin's right hip-flexor" but I thought that was too wordy. Regardless, let me sum up the Phillies season from a right-field perspective. Beginning of season: Geoff Jenkins starts, Geoff Jenkins sucks. Mid-season: Geoff Jenkins hurts his hip-flexor, Geoff Jenkins goes away. End of season: Jayson Werth takes over for injured Geoff Jenkins, Jayson Werth hits homers, makes women swoon, showcases his ostentatious flavor savor.
Imagine if Geoff Jenkins had never gotten hurt. Not only would we have been deprived of daily viewings of the biggest vertical mustache in the world, we would have had to watch an inferior team. So thank you hip-flexor, for straining or popping or whatever you did.

3)Rich Dubee
The coolest pitching coach in the world, he brings to mind three pressing questions: How come there's not a rapper named Rich Dubee? How long do we have to wait for Rich Dubee brand blunts? And as cool as his name already is, is there any chance he might change his name to Dick Dubee? Awesome name aside, Rich Dubee strikes me as a cool-ass dude who gets respect from the pitchers and the team, mostly because of his name but partly due to his knowledge of pitching. Dubee is the man.

2)Ed Wade
Golly, where to begin with this guy? Not only is the core of the team(JRoll,Utley, Howard,Burrell,Hamels,Myers) leftover from his tenure as GM, but he didn't stop stocking the cupboard just because he started working for another team. Hired to run the Astros, he immediately got to work helping the Phils, trading Brad Lidge and Eric Bruntlet for Michael Bourn and others. I'd say that was a good deal for Philly, with Lidge being in the conversation for MVP and Bourn in the conversation for fastest player to never reach base. It would be like Billy King becoming GM of Orlando and trading Dwight Howard to the Sixers for Willie Green. Ed is also the only GM in the league to get physically assaulted by a player on his team, providing myself and others with a hearty chuckle while envisioning the encounter. Great year Ed, stellar job all around. Wouldn't be here without you, that's for sure.

1)Tom Burgoyne
As much as the other fellas have helped the team and the town this year, nobody comes close to providing the consistent X-Factor to success as Tom Burgoyne. Mr. Burgoyne is the genius inside the Phillie Phanatic costume, the man behind the hilarious hijinks we have grown-up enjoying from the Phanatic. Bottom-line, the Phanatic is the most brilliant mascot in the world, and I would guess he accounts for 10-15 wins all by himself. He keeps the fans into the game, he keeps the stadium loose, and I'm sure he keeps the ballgirls satisfied in-between innings. I love the Phanatic more than I love The Karate Kid.


As for the upcoming playoff series, I'm loathe to make a prediction, too superstitious am I. I like this team a lot and feel good about our chances today and beyond. I will start to worry should we lose to anybody not named Carsten Charles Sabathia. Until then, it's positron city. Do work Phils.


  1. Rich Dubee the rapper would totally have one of those promotional minivans that tool around market street with hundred dollars bills airbrushed on the side and rhinestones on the windows.

  2. also, the christian science monitor is a shining beacon of journalistic gold.

  3. I'm Hyped!!!

    I love the Manuel-Eskin dance-off analogy...or "Dance of Despair" for Eskin.

    Ed Wade looks like the dude from the A&W commercials and Blade Runner, also known as William Sanderson: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0761836/

    Go fuckin' Phils!

  4. Big Win boys! Big win!

    Now, if we can take down Carsten Charles, that'll be even bigger.

    I'll see some of you at the vagina party tomorrow. They better have the Phils on somewhere or I'm gonna have to sneak away to Oscar's.

    Go Phirries.

  5. JAYSON WERTH!!!!!

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