Delenda Est Carthago

Why not delve into a twisted mind? Thoughts on the world, history, politics, entertainment, comics, and why all shall call me master!

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

I plan on being the supreme dictator of the country, if not the world. Therefore, you might want to stay on my good side. Just a hint: ABBA rules!


"The Phillies win the pennant! The Phillies win the pennant!"

Yeah, it doesn't have the same ring as "The Giants win the pennant!", which is one of the more famous calls in baseball history (referring to Bobby Thomson's home run in 1951 that gave the New York Giants a win over the Brooklyn Dodgers), but it's still true. As a life-long Phillies fan, I'm pretty excited. I'll be more excited in two weeks, when they're World Champions, although I have my doubts that it's going to happen.

A Philadelphia-St. Petersburg World Series (as seems likely to happen) will be death in the television ratings, which is all anyone cares about. Rob Neyer made an interesting point on a radio show this morning, though: It might suck for FOX, but the Rays have helped create thousands of baseball fans in Western Florida, and that can't be a bad thing for baseball. There were already fans in Boston and Los Angeles, and they're not going anywhere. So the Rays in the WS is only a bad thing if you care about ratings. Plus, Philadelphia is the sixth-largest market in baseball based on population. I'm not sure why Boston, which is smaller than El Paso in population, gets such a reputation as being a great baseball town. I mean, it is, but Phillies fans are just as passionate as Red Sox fans.

It has a lot to do with what the media wants. The Phillies are a solid team up and down the roster. They have home-grown several key players (Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Pat Burrell, and Cole Hamels, to name a few) and haven't gone out and chased a big free agent (like Manny Ramirez) to get them to this point, relying instead on smart acquisitions (like Brad Lidge, who was acquired for very little) that build on the core. As we saw in these playoffs, they don't need Ryan Howard to hit home runs to win. I haven't watched as much of Tampa as Philadelphia, obviously, but they're built much the same way, and they're younger than the Phillies are. They scare the crap out of me, frankly. These are two very good teams that "do things the right way," according to all the media. But the media lies. They don't want teams to "do things the right way," because that means the teams are somewhat boring. Look at the Yankees. The media want teams to be like the Yankees, throwing money around like drunken sailors, because then they're "interesting." It makes no difference whether they're good or not. ESPN and FOX wanted Los Angeles-Boston in the World Series not because those are the two best teams, but because they (reporters, that is) wouldn't have to do their jobs. The stories (Manny's and even Derek Lowe's return to Boston; Joe Torre managing against the BoSox again in a different uniform) would write themselves! Who wants to do work when you can simply point out the circus is in town?

I hope the ratings are good for a Philadelphia-St. Petersburg World Series. I don't really care, but it would be nice. More than that, though, I hope the media doesn't treat this like an afterthought and concentrate instead on which Dallas Cowboy is melting down this week. It's the media's job to get people interested in this series, and there are plenty of interesting stories on these two teams that DON'T have players who quit on one team to force a trade. It's a chicken-or-the-egg thing: Are people more interested in the Red Sox/Yankees/Cubs because they're fans, or are they fans because that's all ESPN seems to care about? I doubt if we'll ever know. I do know that the Phillies aren't "romantic" losers like the Cubs are and the Red Sox used to be. If only we had an idiotic curse in our background, then people would write poems and books about us and sports anchors would wax nostalgically about sitting in the stands bemoaning another 100-loss season!

It's been 25 years since a Philadelphia team celebrated a major championship. That's the longest drought for any city with teams in each major sport (baseball, football, basketball, and hockey). I might cry if the Phillies lose, not because it would affect me too much (I have moved on a bit from letting a sports team define me, after all), but because that would mean a loser city like Tampa gets to celebrate instead. At least we share that with Cubs fans - watching upstarts win World Series!

So Dodgers fans can choke on it. Have fun paying Manny 150 mil over 6 years and watching him take the last three of the deal off. And screw you, Mets fan who put Chicago on top of his rooting interest list for the playoffs (although, to be fair, he has the Phillies third). How's that Santana contract looking these days?* The Phillies win the pennant! Shout it with me!

As these pictures show, there's something perversely satisfactory about winning a series on the opponents' home field. It's more fun at home, but look at the dead eyes of the Dodgers and the downcast spectators. That's good stuff! I thought of this last night: Unless the Phillies sweep the Series or win in 5 (unlikely), they'll win all three series on the road. I think Phillies fans will take that.

* (Tom and Roger know, I hope, that I'm just funnin' with them. Men understand. The sports just gets the testosterone a-rumblin'! We're still pals, right, guys? Guys?)

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Blogger Roger Owen Green said...

Yeah, yeah, I know. We're cool.
And you KNOW I'm rooting for Tampa only because I DO like the way they were put together.
On the other hand, if the Bosox should miraculously come back, I'm right there with you.
And there is at least one guy in Albany who's as happy as you - Jim Kalas, who attends the church I used to go to, and who I see at the Y most mornings. BTW, he's Harry's brother.

16/10/08 1:47 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

That's pretty danged cool, sir. Does he have as smooth as voice as Harry?

I just get bummed that all the networks care about is ratings. I know, duh and all, but if they spoke as glowingly about all the teams as the Yanks and Sawks, I wonder if the ratings wouldn't be as crappy as everyone anticipates they will be.

16/10/08 1:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Networks only care about ratings because they don't know shit about baseball.
And, as a Mets fan, I'll take that Johan Santana. He delivers a quality start every 5 days, like clockwork, and he's still young. His presence masked the utter horrorshow that is our bullpen and the lack of big league hitters in the bottom half of our lineup.
Why Omar Minaya isn't looking for work after the Mets collapse in exactly the same way for the second year in a row mystifies me.

17/10/08 6:13 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

Steve: Yeah, I'd take Santana too. He almost single-handedly got them into the playoffs. I thought he would falter in the second half, like he did last year, but he just kept throwing 4-hitters at teams! I just wanted to crow a little, because it's easier to pick on one guy than the entire bullpen, which, you're right, is awful. I'm also a bit stunned that Minaya got a contract extension.

17/10/08 7:51 AM  

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