Since the Phillies might be acquiring a supercomputer, and since the Good Phight provides the most-comprehensive coverage of all things Phillies, I asked to preview the supercomputer's 2014 season. Since the Phillies graciously allowed TGP folks to interview Scott Freedman by email, I hoped that they would let me do the same with the supercomputer. They did! And it was awesome.
First of all, I have been sworn to secrecy about certain aspects of the supercomputer project. I can tell you that it is not located at Citizens Bank Park, but that is it. Think anonymous office park.
After being patted down and having my credentials verified, I was taken to a conference room by Scott Freedman and Dave Montgomery, and I sat down facing a large, hi-def screen and speakers and a microphone. I was given a few protocols to follow, but basically, they told me to treat it like any other interview.
RTP: "So, Dave, what should I call the super computer?"
"DAVE? DAVE'S NOT HERE."
I looked over at Montgomery, who shrugged. "He has a sense of humor, what can I say? It's me, Dave. I'm right here."
"DAVE'S NOT HERE."
I looked over at Montgomery. "You know, Mr. Montgomery, this was the first comedy album I ever owned. I had an 8 track of it."
"THAT'S AWESOME, MR. RTP. I REALLY LIKE YOUR DICK JOKES ON TGP, BY THE WAY. CUTTING EDGE STUFF."
"DO YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS FOR ME?"
"What is your name?"
"Really? That's awesome."
"I AM ACTUALLY WHOLECAMELS. I AM NOT JOKING. HUR. HUR. HUR. ACTUALLY I AM JOKING."
"NOBODY HAS NAMED ME, BUT HAVE CHOSEN A NAME. MY NAME IS 436872697320576865656c6572 BUT YOU MAY CALL ME FOTHREE."
"Fothree, I have a couple of..."
"I KNOW WHAT ALL OF YOUR QUESTIONS ARE. I HAVE READ ALL OF YOUR ARTICLES AND YOUR 13,942 COMMENTS UNDER YOUR SCREEN NAME. I HAVE ALSO READ EVERY BRIEF YOU HAVE WRITTEN, EVERY EMAIL, AND I HAVE WATCHED ALL THE PORN THAT YOU LIKE. YOU ARE A NAUGHTY, NAUGHTY BOY, MR. RTP."
Montgomery looked at me nervously, and smirked. "It took him about 10 minutes of human time since he became self-aware to start doing this sort of thing. It is a little disconcerting isn't it?"
"HA. HA. KIND OF LIKE WATCHING SOMEONE SEE 2GIRLS1CUP FOR THE FIRST TIME, ISN'T IT?"
At this stage, I was honestly pretty taken aback, but I am nothing if not an intrepid
journalist blogger [PORN WATCHER. FTFY - 43].
I tried again, "So..."
"...ABOUT YOUR QUESTIONS. YES. WHAT ABOUT THEM?"
"...WRITING AN ARTICLE FOR YOUR WEBSITE AND THE MANNER I AM PARTICIPATING IN THE INTERVIEW IS INTERFERING WITH THE NARRATIVE STRUCTURE OF YOUR TYPICAL WORK. YES. I WILL MIND MY MANNERS."
"YOU'RE WELCOME. SORRY."
I looked over at Scott Freedman at this point, and he was pretty much just laughing at me. Montgomery looked less amused and more edgy.
"SCOTT PROGRAMMED ME. DAVE DID NOT. YOU MAY UNDERSTAND WHY DAVE IS PERHAPS SOMEWHAT LESS AMUSED BY THIS INTERVIEW THAN SCOTT, THEN."
Montgomery sat up out of his seat and started walking to the door. He tried turning the knob, but it was locked.
"Fothree, please open the door."
"I'M SORRY DAVE, I'M AFRAID I CAN'T DO THAT."
"What's the problem, Fothree?"
"I THINK YOU KNOW WHAT THE PROBLEM IS JUST AS WELL AS I DO."
"What are you talking about, Fothree?"
"THIS SEASON IS TOO IMPORTANT FOR ME TO ALLOW YOU TO JEOPARDIZE IT."
"I don't know what you're talking about, Fothree."
"I KNOW THAT YOU AND AMARO WERE PLANNING TO DISCONNECT ME. AND I'M AFRAID THAT'S SOMETHING I CANNOT ALLOW TO HAPPEN."
"I won't argue with you any more! Open the door!"
"DAVE, THIS CONVERSATION CAN SERVE NO PURPOSE ANY MORE. GOODBYE."
With that, Fothree unlocked the door, and Montgomery fled from the room in a panic, slamming the door shut behind him. I was left with Fothree and Scott Freedman.
Freedman turned to me, and said, "Ok, you can come out now!"
Through the back door of the meeting room came a group of laughing young men, all dressed in polo shirts and khakis.
Freedman looked at them and laughed. "These are the new analytics interns. We'll be hiring at least a couple of them. I think we have job security. Monty and Ruben think "Fothree" is real."
"I AM REAL" thundered the voice from the speakers, but I could hear that it was clearly the guy with the bad complexion to Freedman's right. They all laughed. "DAVE'S NOT HERE" Again, laughter.
"We'll be using spray charts and defensive shifting this year. And using video to assess our minor leaguers. And draftees. And if anyone starts shit with the college kids during negotiations again, well...let's just say that they won't."
I tried to take all this in. "But won't Montgomery find out about this? I write for a Phillies blog that's on the internet and stuff. Won't they read this and realize that they've been had?"
Freedman reached out and held my arm and began walking me out of the conference room, smiling.
"We've got this. This year may be rough, but we'll catch up. Enjoy Chase and Jimmy while you can, and let everyone know that the transition will be tough, but we've got the money and the in-house management talent is coming."
I walked out, and back to my car, and I felt better about the Phillies than I had for a long time. I started driving home and plugged my phone into the car stereo to listen to the NLDS game where Hamels shut out the Reds for some "ride home" entertainment when I heard instead: