Fire Eric Bruntlett

There's only one Bruntober

The Devil’s Advocate II: The Sequel

I want it written on my gravestone. “Here lies Max Gallner. He believed in Brad Lidge in 2009.”

Sure, he has 9 blown saves this season. That’s awful. It’s unacceptable. But the rest of the team always seems to find great, new ways to help him blow it. Last time, it was awful batting with RISP, as well as Utley not getting to a ball that he very well should have. This time it was more carelessness by Werth. Did he go to another UFC fight or something? Whenever he gets the day off, it’s as if he uses all that free time to take a nap and is still daydreaming when he comes back into the game. He’s gotta stop worrying about UFC and start worrying about WFC.

Plus Old Uncle Cholly did a horrible job of managing his closer, throwing him out there four days in a row, knowing all too well how awful he can be. Honestly, was there really any reason for Lidge to pitch in the 4-run game on Monday? Non-save situation. He had pitched in the past two days, both save situations. Using him on Monday essentially should have made him ineffective on Tuesday. But he wasn’t. And Cholly used him. Again. And he paid the full price.

One thing I’ve noticed very interesting about us Philly fans – and all Philly fans in general – is that we’re the first to get on your back when you’re great (see: Hamels, Cole, circa: 2008; Lidge, Brad, circa: 2008; Utley, Chase, circa: every single day) and the first to get on your ass when you’re awful. (see: Bruntlett, Eric, circa: until Sunday; Bako, Paul, circa: basically every time he plays; Eaton, Adam, circa: his entire life.) In some cases, that could be a good thing. But some of us severely over-react in situations like these. Take, for example, the people suggesting that the Phillies demote him, put him on waivers, or even release him. Allow me to reiterate my comments from my previous Lidge rant. What has changed since then that makes anyone else in the bullpen anymore of a reliable closer? Has Myers returned? Did Madson’s closer stint in June mysteriously disappear from both all records and our memories? No. In fact, he pitched Wednesday night, with a 1-run lead in the 9th and promptly blew a save opportunity of his own. HE IS NOT A CLOSER. HE IS A SET-UP MAN! We still don’t have any better options.

Let me go back to the over-reaction of Philly fans and give a couple more examples. In fact, let me go back to Cole Hamels. He was great last season, especially in the playoffs, winning himself both post-season MVP awards, in the NLCS and World Series. He threw a combined 262.1 innings in 2008, after throwing over 70 fewer the year before. My belief about Hamels this year has always been that he simply just threw too many innings last year. And I have been called crazy for thinking that. Even though it is a proven fact that pitchers who throw significantly more than 200 innings for the first time one year – and pitch well – one year after less than 200 IP experience a sever drop-off in that 3rd season. People always seem to want to blame “Hollywood Hamels” for letting the Hollywood get to his head. For example, that PuppyPack thing. But the over-reaction reached an interesting point for me on Tuesday night when I read a tweet (@uublog, @firebruntlett) from Tortured Fanatic: “What really sucks is that Hamels is on the mound tomorrow. That’s almost a guaranteed loss. We needed this win tonight.” Obviously that was proven to be factually incorrect. Not only did we win, but Hamels pitched 8 innings of dominant, scoreless ball. But, in any case, is that really where we’ve gotten with Hamels? Whenever he pitches, we just expect a loss? Even against the Pirates? Has he really reached Adam Eaton territory?

(By the way, Eaton was optioned by Colorado on Tuesday after winning their extra-inning game on Monday by giving up 3 runs in 2 innings, and getting really lucky when his offense hit a walk-off grand slam. Weird, I know. We never had to do anything like that for him.)

Anyway, back to Hamels, HE WAS OUR FREAKIN’ ACE AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SEASON! He suffered lot of freak injuries in early April! He was way over-pitched last year! Now, people are threatening to leave him off the playoff rotation! I’m not even complaining about how stupid it would be for the Phillies to use a 3-man staff with all of their pitchers. I mention to “J.A.(ace) Happ” on Twitter how people were comparing him to 2007 Kyle Kendrick during Roy Halla-mania, trying to justify trading him to Toronto. I also said how Kendrick was never a Rookie of the Year front-runner like Happ is now. I kid you not, someone asked me if anyone is comparing Hamels to Kendrick. I don’t know if this person or someone else – or anyone – was even thinking that, but I can not find a single comparison between the two, except that they’re both pitchers in the Phillies organization.

Another Philly athlete who Lidge can be compared to is Michael Vick. I know, I know… “But Lidge plays baseball. Vick plays football. Lidge is a closer. Vick is a quarterback. Vick killed dogs. Lidge has just been really bad this season.” Just stay with me here. Once I start ranting, it will all make sense.

Lidge has blown 9 saves so far this season. He’s 0-6. He has an ERA of 7.33. Phillies fans want to run him out of town. They don’t care how he leaves, that just want him gone. (Like our feelings on Beardo.) In one way or another, they’re totally over-reacting. Such is the case with Vick, too. Eagles fans are way over-reacting when they threaten to not be fans anymore. And they’re lying. I wouldn’t be surprised if any other team signed him and those fans said that, but not Eagles fans. That’s not us. Whether the team is actually good or not, we’re always still fans. Whether or not we actually like the players, we still stand by the team. Why else would we cheer when Michael Irvin was injured? Why did we throw batteries at J.D. Drew? Because we stick up for the team against those who screw us over. (Only Philly fans can bring up those events, no one else.) People say that Philadelphia fans are the most rude and obnoxious and whatever. I just say that we’re the most loyal. But the ones threatening to quit the fan base because of one acquisition they didn’t agree with are the exact opposite of that.

Fine. Don’t be Eagles fans anymore. But we’re like a gang. There’s only one way out. You can only become a Giants or Cowboys fan.

So, you still want to leave? Prove it. Don’t buy any Jackson or McCoy or Maclin jerseys. Don’t even go near the TV for fear of accidentally cheering for them. Burn all of the Eagles gear and merchandise you currently own. Hate us. Despise us. Cheer against us in any situation. But the most important rule is that you can’t come crawling back, begging us to let you back in again. Ever. If we’re in the Super Bowl. If we win the Super Bowl. Never. Because once you’re out. You’re out. And it doesn’t matter if Vick is a good person or not. You know damn well that the Eagles wouldn’t have signed him if he wasn’t still a good player.


August 28, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. take it easy.

    I grew up in Philly during the 80’s and 90’s. Mostly every sport team sucked, with a few ok seasons(excluding 1980 and 1993 of course). I remember going to Veterans stadium and sitting in the nosebleeds. Average attendance back then was about 15,000. That left about 45,000 empty seats. We used to go to the games just to dump sodas on peoples heads and throw shit at Von Hayes in right field.

    Now they’re the best team in baseball and everyone acts like they’ve been the biggest fans since birth. Citizens Bank is like a fuckin resort. I live in LA now and I see people wearing the old school Mike Schmidt fitted. ESPN has jumped on the bandwagon and feature and talk about them almost as much as the Yankees (props to John Kruk).

    The point of the story is this: If you haven’t thrown shit at an underacheiving Philadelphia player, attended games regularly during a losing season, or instigated a fight with a Mets fan, then you were never a fan to begin with. Just a dickriding groupie.

    Comment by Veterans Terror | August 29, 2009 | Reply

  2. […] replacing Brad Lidge in the closer role for the Phils in recent weeks (Max has written about this extensively).  Well it’s time that I put my two cents due to my importance in the world.  Thus far this […]

    Pingback by Closing Time « Fire Eric Bruntlett | September 9, 2009 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: