When my sons wake up tomorrow morning, the first thing my seven year old will ask me will be whether the Phillies won tonight. (My five year old will feign interest, but would really rather hear me say "yes, you can watch more TV before breakfast" than anything about the Phillies.) Here's what I'll be able to explain to him:
The Phillies offense: John Mayberry had three RBI and a stolen base. Domonic Brown hit a bomb that the outfielder barely moved for. Chase Utley's two replacements accounted for the other two runs, with Kevin Frandsen hitting a home run in the first inning and Freddy Galvis driving in a run in the eighth.
Starting pitching: Jonathan Pettibone was impressive yet again. He walked a couple of batters, hit two others, and gave up four hits, but he held a strong Cleveland lineup to just 2 runs over 6.7 innings. He has pitched five or more innings in each of his five starts. The Phillies have won 4 of the games he started.
Relief pitching: With Mike Adams out, Charlie Manuel was forced to use his bullpen based on matchups tonight, rather than rote roles. And by gosh, it worked. Antonio Bastardo, Justin DeFratus, and Jeremy Horst got four outs to complete the seventh and eighth innings. Bastardo didn't make it pretty (2 hits and 1 walk), but it was ultimately effective. Jonathan Papelbon closed out the night with a one-hit ninth.
The score: All of that is nice, but in baseball, all that matters is scoring more runs than the other guys, and the Phillies did that tonight for the 19th time this season.
The standings: As I write this, both Atlanta and Washington are losing, so the Phillies might wake up tomorrow 3 games back of first place in the NL East (and 2 games back of second place).
I'll be able to easily explain all of that to my son tomorrow morning. But there's one thing I won't be able to explain to him at all.
The other team's name: I was sitting in the car with him driving him home from diving practice tonight. As we do on Tuesday nights when the Phillies aren't playing on the West Coast, we were listening to the game. As they had to, the announcers repeatedly talked about the Indians. This is the first year my seven year old is this invested in the games. It's a lovely thing that I'm so enjoying sharing with him. But, I didn't want to be listening tonight. He knows about Native Americans and some of the history of this country with respect to Native American issues. He knows that some people say "Indians" instead of "Native Americans." He's a smart kid, so I was waiting for him to ask me about the team name. If he had, I realized that I don't know what I would have said. How I would have explained to him that yes, in 2013, there is still a team named after a group of people who were pretty much annihilated in order to form this country. How it would be like a German soccer team calling itself "The Jews." I'm not afraid to talk to him about these things, but at the same time, I wasn't prepared to have that conversation with him tonight while listening to the game. I'm glad it didn't come up, because there's really no good explanation for it. But, at some point, it will come up and I'll tell him that it's shameful and that sometimes we participate in things that are not right. That's a pretty mature conversation to have to have with a seven year old about.
I'd rather just explain to him this boring, but quite splendid, Fangraph: