DEAR FUQUA: I'm beginning to worry that my husband is losing interest in me. We are both in our late thirties and have been married almost ten years. For the last year or so, he has shown me very little affection and we are rarely intimate anymore. I know he has been very stressed out at work ever since they laid a number of people off and he was forced to pick up the slack. But I fear he might be having an affair. Often he doesn't get home until around 9 or 10 o'clock. When I ask him where he was, he becomes defensive and replies "at work." I still love him very much, but I don't know if he feels the same about me. We have a beautiful five year-old daughter and I want her to be raised in a loving environment. What should I do Fuqua? --Concerned Wife
DEAR CONCERNED: I can understand how Chase Utley's defensive performance in the playoffs might worry you, but you must first consider how small a sample size you are talking about here. Of course one could be led to believe Chase Utley is no longer an excellent defensive second baseman based on a sample size of nine games, just as one could be led to believe that Francis Ford Coppola is not a great director if they have only seen "Jack." In fact, Utley is among the best defensive second basemen in the game. This is one of the reasons that the talk of moving him to the outfield is so utterly ridiculous. What you also need to consider is that by moving Utley to the outfield--where decent offensive production is fairly easy and cheap to obtain--you squander the massive positional advantage Utley provides to the team at second base--where offensive is about as rare as an intelligent sports radio host. With Utley in the outfield, there is simply no way to replace his offensive output nor his defensive abilities at second base. In a word, this misbegotten scheme to improve the team based more on folk wisdom and overreaction than simple logic would do nothing but make the team worse.
DEAR FUQUA: My son is 22 and graduated from college in the spring. Unfortunately he has had some trouble finding work and recently moved back home. We were fine with him living here at first as he tried to get on track, but he has begun to overstay his welcome. Instead of getting out and looking for a job, he sleeps until 2 p.m. and plays video games for the rest of the day. My wife believes he may be depressed, but I think he's just lazy. Yesterday I finally delivered an ultimatum: find a job by the end of the month or you're out of the house. The problem is that I'm afraid he might call my bluff. While I would have no problem putting him out, it would absolutely devastate my wife to see her only son become homeless and I think my son knows this. Fuqua, what do I do about this dilemma? --Losing My Patience
DEAR LOSING: I love Jayson Werth as much as anyone and appreciate the great things he did for the Phillies during his time here, but the simple fact is that it would be imprudent to sign him for the price and number of years he is expecting. This should have been made clear when the Phillies extended Ryan Howard at the beginning of the season. What many people fail to recognize is that it is not good business for teams that operate on budgets--even admittedly large budgets as in the Phillies' case--to tie too much of their payroll up in aging, big-money players. Certainly there is no guarantee that Werth will be a bad player in four or five years, but signing too many players to expensive contracts that run beyond their age 35 seasons is almost certainly a recipe for crippling the franchise for years to come. The Phillies should of course monitor the Werth negotiations closely and be prepared to step in with an offer on the extremely slim chance that he overestimates the market and is forced to sign a lesser contract, but they should also be perfectly content with offering Werth arbitration, letting him walk, taking the draft picks, and letting Rookie of the Year-in-waiting Dom Brown take over the reigns in right field.
DEAR FUQUA: My wife and I are planning to start a family in the near future. She is insistent that we adopt our first child, but I believe firmly in passing on my genetic code, thereby fulfilling my biological purpose as a human to ensure the continued existence of the species. We have discussed the matter in the past and only recently has she expressed her interest in adoption. Her sudden change of heart is disturbing to me given that I had assumed we both agreed that we wanted our own children. Do you think this is her way of telling me she does not love me anymore? --Biologist in Distress
DEAR BIOLOGIST: I agree completely! The talk of Domonic Brown needing a platoon partner is very disturbing. How do they expect Brown to improve against lefties if he doesn't get regular at bats against them? "Oh, I want to learn Spanish! I guess the best way to learn it is to avoid speaking, reading, writing, or hearing it in any context." That doesn't make much sense, does it? So it certainly doesn't make sense to have your 23-year-old, future of the franchise rookie right fielder spend his first full season in the majors sitting against left handed pitching. Sure, he may struggle against lefties at times during the 2011 season, but the Phillies should expect as much as he continues to develop and adjust to Major League pitching. Raul Ibanez. There's a guy who could use a platoon partner in 2011. His .268/.309/.419 line against lefties in 2010 was very platoonable. And as a 38-year-old it's not unreasonable to assume that his numbers will continue to decline in 2011. The Phillies should absolutely look for a good, relatively inexpensive right handed outfielder to give Brown the occasional day off, but Ibanez should lose the vast majority of at bats to this righty to be named later.
Until next time folks!
FuquaManuel is an award-winning advice columnist. His "Dear Fuqua" column appears in hundreds of languages and on thousands of internets around the world.