Another Phillies Blog Post (Baseball Math-Free Zone) 2010 NLCS Game 1 10/16/10

Gonna try a Phillies Blog post. Yes, this is about Game 1, NLCS Phillies Vs. Giants 10/16/10 etc.

This is not about stats or WAR or RISP or LSMFT or AEIOU or whatever alphabet soup is out there in the blogosphere. My tiny brain can’t fathom all these numbers and my instinct says that they don’t really play a part in my thought processes anyway.

Actually, it would hard to pinpoint what actually DOES play a part in any of my thought processes.

However, the lack of baseball math acumen does NOT preclude me from some deep observations. Here they come, get your wading boots on.

Last nights game is the kind I hate the most, a close score. Almost just isn’t good enough, not in the NLCS.  I’d rather have lost 4-0, because that score means that one team was markedly better than the other.

4-3 means that the game was there for the taking, and we didn’t grab and stuff our pockets.

It has nothing to do with Raul misplaying Pat Burrell’s double (though I did flash back to Greg Luzinski misplaying the ball in the 8th Inning in the 1978 playoffs with the Dodgers) or with the ump seeming to squeeze the strike zone just before it. It has nothing to do with any one action, because the Phillies have the power to overcome any one action.

However, they need to overcome themselves.

I love Chooch. I think the way he has handled this pitching staff has been nothing short of spectacular. His drive and determination is wonderful. He is my team MVP, and I am not joking.

However, when your most consistent player comes out of the 8 hole right now, that is a problem. You will not win this series with an upside-down batting order.

This team is capable of producing terrorizing results at the plate. They’ve done that with the help of some very shoddy defense on the part of the opposing team recently (miss you, Jay Bruce)

However, this team is also capable of producing that terror through their own bats, not with the help of others. Freaky, aka Timmy Lincecum was not spectacular, not in the least. He was ripe for the taking last night. Most batters did not try to take him. Wasting men on base (how many man on 2nd, no out situations that score no runs can we live through?).

Halladay definitely had a bad game, and you could see the frustration in the trouble Chooch had with some of his pitches. That is passion, and while I hope it doesn’t get out of control, I’d rather see his passion than the looks on some Phillies faces right now as they walk back to the bench after striking out (again).

This team needs production  from the top of the order. Chooch getting home runs is so sweet, but that should be the icing in the cake, not the primary source of run production (and solo run production at that, since no one is on base ahead of him). You listening, Jimmy Rollins?

I’m definitely not in panic mode. If Halladay is going to have a bad game (and he will) , I’d rather it be the first game than the 4th or 5th when you are in either “taking command” mode or on “survival” mode. That was not the story of last nights game.

Nor was it the crowd, who needs to be juiced all the way through, but seemed to ebb and flow too much. Whether it is true or just an old baseball wives’ tale, the adrenaline from a pumped up crowd really does play into on-field performance. It is atmosphere, and atmosphere affects not only the home team, but annoys and disorients the opposition.

Geoff, the kid who played that gorgeous rendition of GOD BLESS AMERICA, gets it. Get out there and do your best on your own.  I hope the Phillies realize that these games need to be won by them, not lost by the other team.

You can read the game summaries elsewhere. This is my own psyche summary. You don’t write these things if you don’t believe in what you are writing about.

I believe in the Phillies and believe we still move onto the World Series. However, I base this belief on what this team can do, not what other teams may give them.  Luck is for lotteries. Playoff ball is won by those who accomplish.

This Post Has No Specific Title, But It Does Have Roy Halladay And My Heart

While sitting and waiting to find a job and the next breath, one of my odd joys, and great pleasures, has been the ability to follow the Phillies with friends, even when I am not out of the house. Of course, that is the wonder of Twitter, something that can sit on the side while I try to learn social media and maybe a new skillset, and try not to feel like it is for those young folks.

I found the same community last year with Flyers fans, bloggers, and writers, and that was my first exposure. Mixed in with the FB crew, for a few minutes or hours, all is equal and right in my world.

Never more right than last night. Sitting with my dad and my bro watching Roy Halladay pitch a game that will be forever be a treasured memory, it was almost a surreal feeling knowing there were dozens of others “sitting” with me by the magic of the Twitterverse.  Surreal but wonderful.

As game time approached, the TWEETS finally stopped being pissing matches concerning the respect, or lack of same, that baseball writers showed bloggers and bloggers showed baseball writers. Feathers that were ruffled were brushed back into shape, for at least the next few hours. And none too soon, because the arguments were frankly a bit ridiculous.

I have a number of blogs that I love to follow. I read a lot more that are spot on with details and facts and analysis. However, my favorite blogs are the ones that just enjoy the game and impart that joy.  The blogs that know the details and understand the game are fine , but write about the shared  experience, not just the details. I have a few hockey blogs that I love that have that same feel.

However, I also expect the bloggers to realize that they are writing for my attention, not their own self-gratification. I crave knowledge and experience, but it doesn’t have to progress to wonkiness. A few forget that reading these are leisure time activities. There are no exams at the end of the semester at Blog University.

That is why I have been writing this blog in fits and starts. Trying to find a place to fit in that will entertain the readers, I find myself worried a lot that I am just writing for myself and not enough for others. I have almost 30 posts that I started and never finished because I wasn’t confident that they were what you would want.

OK, soapbox done.

So, without doing a play by play, nor some mathematical equation thingee which confuses me, I just go with my feelings, along the lines of I know what I like and I like what I saw last night.

I saw a pitcher who can zone out all the doubters and naysayers and knowledgeable folk who analyze how successful someone will be before anything actually happens, and then hate the debate that ensues.  I saw a pitcher who did not veer from what he knows he needed to do, not just at game time, but leading up to it. I saw a pitcher who did what he does so well, not get distracted by everything around him.

And I saw a man who knows that any great singular achievement does not occur in a vacuum. Be it propelled  by the charged-up fanbase, by a catcher who has become a master of knowing just how to work with and run this great pitching staff, by a team that gives off the vibe that they are capable of greatness, it is wonderful.

And it is shareable. My dad, who is 87, was ageless during the game as we watched and cheered together. There was never the nervousness and worry that accompanies any dramatic possibility. There was really never a doubt that Doc Halladay would not pitch this game. This is the vibe that Roy brings to our stadium and our living rooms.

A determined confidence.

A pitcher who shared the game with his team and the stadium and with us. While it is about his performance, he also knows it is about a fans legacy. A camera shot on NBC10 of Roy with his sons was the microcosm of what he gave to all of us, his extended family. He turned down all manner of broadcast opportunities today, on morning and late night shows, on cable, on anything that shows up on your TV screen.

He instead got right back to the stadium to practice.

He made me feel like his family, by putting it in the proper perspective of a joy shared by all of us, and not something that put him well above us. The best blogs and Tweeters/FBers do the same thing. This started as a blog about last nights game, and it partially is, but since I tend to write ”stream-of-consciousness “ style, it has obviously veered off course.

However, it has not veered from how I feel, and if it gives you even a small taste of what a few minutes with many of you does for a frustrated fellow, then it hasn’t veered at all.

It is spot-on.