(EDITORS NOTE: The opinions expressed in Catz's Corner are neither approved, spell checked, or condoned by the editors and blog lords at The Good Phight, but hey, that's what happens when you let the inmates loose in the asylum.)
So here we are, on August 1st. After three months of injury filled, bad luck induced horribly managed, horribly played ballgames, the Phillies spent two weeks or so doing what they've done to me for the better part of 30 plus years. They filled my soul with unrealistic optimism.
I'll be the first to admit that prior to the Braves series last weekend, I actually thought we had a shot to stay in this thing. Momentum, luck, hittin' season, whatever you want to call it, seemed to be on our side, Cole Hamels was here to stay... Things looked rosy indeed.
But the moment Brian McCann launched that Home run on Friday night, I knew we were selling. Hell, I kind of knew it before, I just didn't want to face it.
So I did what most of you did, this weekend. I buried myself in twitter, and the rumors, and I looked to the future. I imagined myself a faux GM, hell, I'll even fess up to creating more than one fake twitter account just because.(I'll leave it to you to guess which ones..) I dreamed of Chase Headley, and how we could get Olt for Pence, Tried to convince the world to TRADE VANCE WORLEY, and lobbied to keep Shane.
In the end, what I didn't expect was to be filled with disappointment at 4:30 yesterday as the reality of things settled in. Not because I don't like Josh Lindblom for this team (I don't) , or couldn't get past the Pence deal from last year (kind of still can't) even though the haul yesterday was pretty good (It really was), or screwed up the Blanton deal (remains to bee seen), or that Juan Pierre is still a Phillie (really?)
Nope. At 4:30 I realized, that for the first time in almost a decade, the season is over in August. Baseball is meaningless. My Phillies, like they have been for the better part of my 30 year phandom, are THAT TEAM again.
So I headed home from work, listened to Bowden and Stern dissect the Victorino deal, when the real panic set in.
HOLY CRAP. VIC IS A DODGER.
VIC IS JOEYS FAVORITE PLAYER
How the hell was I gonna tell my 5 year old son that his favorite player, the one he dressed up like for Halloween last year, the one who's number he insisted on getting in T-Ball, the one he related to do to his smaller stature, who by way of having an uncle who lives in Hawaii made him part of the family, is now a Los Angeles Dodger.
The answer, after the Jump.I felt like a bad parent. Seriously, I was so self absorbed in the trade deadline, how it would go down, the ramifications to the team, etc.. that I had neglected to think how it would affect my kid. Think about that for a second.
Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny, The tooth fairy, the girl that dumps him in the 11th grade and makes him feel like he'll never love again... All those future conversations paled in comparison to this one at that moment.I remembered the day Mike Schmidt retired. I felt as if someone had died. I couldn't imagine a future where anyone else played 3B. I carried a sunken stomach for weeks. I couldn't bare that for my kid.
.VICTORINO WAS GONE!
How do I tell him?
How do you justify trading a hero?
A 5 year old cant comprehend the luxury tax implications, or the changes to the CBA for draft pick compensation.Try explaining the payroll limitations and the effect of bad trades on the farm system! Right! Maybe he'll be able to fathom the impact of the Hamels extention and how that affects the teams focus moving forward!
Nope. A five year old could give a rats butt about any of that. All that matters to him is that his hero is gone.
So I cleared my head of all the number induced mumbo jumbo for the first time in a month, walked in the door, and sat down to dinner.
And I told him the truth, and here's how it went. Word for word.
ME: Joe, Daddy has some bad news for you.
JOEY: If this is about the mess I made in the craft room you should know that Sophie made the mess first.
ME: No buddy, its. not about the craft room. The Philles traded Shane Victorino to the Los Angeles Dodgers today.
I waited for the tears, the screams, the agony and heartbreak. If ever I wanted to physically hurt Ruben Amaro, now was the time.Time literally stood still for a good 2 seconds until he spoke these words.
JOEY: Aw man! Who's gonna play center field now?
Out of the mouths of babes...
Wait a second, who IS gonna play center field now? I scrambled for an answer.
ME: Who's gonna play center field?
JOEY: Duh? who'd they get to play centefield daddy?
ME: Well, my best guess is a young player named Domonic Brown.
JOEY: Is he better than Victorino?
JOEY: Maybe he'll be BETTER than Victorino, Daddy! You never know!
ME; Maybe he will...
JOEY: What number is he?
JOEY: Well, 9 is more than 8, so he MUST BE BETTER THAN SHANE!
Makes perfect sense to me!
JOEY: Is he playing tonight?
ME: Well probably not tonight, because he didn't get to the field on time from his old team, but who knows, he might pinch hit.
JOEY: Can we watch the game just in case?
JOEY: Is Lee pitching?
ME: he is, actually.
JOEY: I'll be right back, I gotta get my Lee shirt. Go get yours too daddy!
So we did just that. matching Lee shirts and pajama bottoms, with a bucket of popcorn in hand, we sat down and watched the game together, for the first time in a while actually.
And wouldn't you know it, we KILLED em.
When Frandsen hit the home run
JOEY: WHOO HOO! Who's Frandsen daddy?
ME: he's playing 3B while Polanco is hurt.
JOEY: HE'S GOOD! We should keep him!
When Rollins hit the inside the parker:
JOEY: WHOO HOO! I've never seen that before! He hit a home run without the ball going out! That was some hustle, huh daddy?
ME: (laughing) Sure was!
JOEY: Thats 6-0 PHILLIES!! GO PHILLIES!!
ME: Go Phillies!!
JOEY: Hey Dad, what place are we in now?
ME: well, the Nationals are in first, but we're chasing them good, bud.
JOEY: But we're beating them, so we're better right?And Cliff Lee is DEFINITELY THE BEST PITCHER EVER!! Good thing we didn't trade him, huh dad?
ME: Good thing, Joe!
And that's how it went, the rest of the night, until the bottom of the 8th. When Brown entered the on deck circle.
My son noticed before I did, and I don't think the excitement in his soul can accurately be described with any words in Webster's dictionary.
JOEY: Daddy, Daddy! It's Dom Brown! He's up! He's here! He made it! He's gonna hit!
He literally stood up, and jumped around in anticipation, and after the first two misses, every fiber of my being sank.
Joey: UGH! Strike two! He's in trouble now daddy!
JESUS DOM. GET A HIT FOR MY KID!
and then, magic.
CRACK! a single up the middle
JOEY: WOOO HOOO! Dom Brown GOT A HIT! DOM BROWN GOT A HIT!
He pretended to run to first base in the living room.
ME: Way to go Brownie!
JOEY: Woo Hoo! Dom Brown rocks daddy!
Me; pretty cool, huh?
JOEY: It's REALLY HARD to get a hit when you have two strikes dad. He's REALLY GOOD.
ME: He sure is Bud.
JOEY: Can I call Poppy and tell him?
My dad didn't answer, as the old coot was likely fast asleep by then, but Joey may or may not have left him a long winded message on his voicemail about how awesome Dom Brown was.
He did however, ask if I would get him a Dom Brown shirsey to replace his Victorino Shirsey next time we were in New Jersey.
JOEY: But we HAVE to go to New Jersey before HALLOWEEN, cause I definitely need it before then. Cause I'm gonna be Dom Brown this year, OK DAD?
ME: We'll figure it out.
And so will the Philles. They'll figure it out. In the mean time, my kid has a new favorite player.Thanks Dom. You are officially UNSHUNNED. Forever.
And that's how a 5 year old made me forget about the luxury tax implications for about 2 hours, and remember why I've put up with this team, through good and bad, for as long as I've been sick enough to do so. I have a new (old) attitude.Thanks to the kid, and well, thanks to the other kid too.
So for me, starting today its a new season, filled with hope.. For me, today is Opening day part 2. The season begins again, and a new beginning comes from some other beginnings end. My first Catz Corner touched on that with some quotes about baseball. I leave you with two that I missed the first time.
Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good too. ~Greg, age 8
Baseball was made for kids, and grown-ups only screw it up. ~Bob Lemon
Do yourself a favor, figure out how to love this team like you were a kid again. There are enough people screwing things up everywhere else to last a lifetime.