We all know the Phillies future is bright. That's why we're all going to the Futures Game at Citizens Bank Park, to gaze through the mists of time and smile and nod at what we see.
But what happens, dear readers, when behind us, the crackle of space and time splitting open, and out march the phantoms of Philadelphia's horrid baseball past.
"When do we get our due?!" shrieks the shrill, unappealling voice of Phenomenal Smith, and the other specters nod in menacing agreement. Meanwhile, the players and fans are either transfixed at the sight or fleeing for their lives, their fragile realities now in shreds.
We spent the winter here on The Good Phight re-living the ancient past of Philadelphia's Baseball Ghosts. With so much talk of what's ahead, countless fans born from PBG's immense popularity have been asking: what if these prospects had to take on Phenomenal Smith, Eddie Stanky, Highball Wilson, and all the rest?
SS Eddie Stanky
CF Zeke Wrigley
1B Jake Virtue
RF Oyster Burns
3B Alan Strange
2B Mahlon Duckett
LF Abraham Lincoln Wolstenholme
C Ed Sixsmith
P Highball Wilson
What you have to remember is that despite these ghosts coming from deep, deep in the past for which Philadelphia is still begging for forgiveness, many of them don't have much more experience than the Phillies prospects. The Ghosts are especially weak at the catcher position, with Sixsmith and his back-up, Zeiher, combining for 23 total AB and a BA of exactly .000. But, if we bury them low enough in the lineup, maybe that will help. I've been told that's how this sport works?
These transparent spirits will be getting most of their power from the middle of the order, with Burns and Virtue and Stanky actually having long pro careers and Stanky even being a three-time All-Star and occasional MVP vote-getter. He's leading off because he's got the bump in OBP (.410 is easily the highest in this group) and there is no reason to get cute when the offensive numbers start to dwindle as alarmingly as they do here.
Burns and Virtue will be the tank brigade, bringing the power - but that's clean power, remember, not the kind of power wee see in the modern era, the kind fueled by horse tranquilizers and an entire extra human's worth of hormones. So by "clean" power I of course mean "less powerful" power. Keeping in mind that these hitters were knocking fewer balls out of the park in general, you also have to acknowledge that the parks in question were smaller or in some cases completely lopsided when it came to the outfield walls. Citizens Bank Park would probably be an awe-inspiring monument from the future to them, the sheer volume of screaming people surrounding them being enough to keep them cowering in the dugout in a pool of urine.
Anyway, back to how awful the offense gets the further into the lineup you go. Duckett and Strange have very abbreviated legacies of hitting in the .220-.240 range, so you just have to hope that they can put the ball in play and get lucky. Strange even hit a triple once. That's three bases!
And then you have Wolstenholme, whose career was so short and so pathetic it's a wonder that anyone bothered to record it. But there he is in the annals of history with his .091 BA and .173 OPS. What is he even doing out there. When people asked what his job was he probably just told them he "worked at the ballpark" so they would assume he sold concessions or passed out programs or ran the pig circus that came out onto the field between innings instead of standing there in a uniform being terrible.
I hope no one was planning on going anywhere, because Wilson starting means you'll get to see a career 1.21 SO/W ratio in action. These prospects will have to do little more than be in the batters box to have a more effective day at the plate than in the first Futures Game last night.
RHP Socks Seibold
LHP Phenomenal Smith
Look, we're a little light on players in general, okay? And remember, Phenomenal Smith is the guy who gave himself the nickname "Phenomenal," telling his teammates just before his debut that that was the name to which he would answer. They all hated him so much they threw the game on purpose. I'm not sure this clubhouse has the strength to hold up under his ego. Here's hoping Wilson and Seibold can keep it together enough that we don't have to bring in the pitcher whose appearance ends in an automatic loss. Fortunately, these guys come from the era of baseball in which pitchers who were taken out of a game were summarily executed moments later.
IF Yank Robinson
C Henry Zeiher
Zeiher and his innate inability to play the game of baseball is troublesome as the back-up catcher, so hopefully nothing terrible happens to Sixsmith (who is also terrible)... but it probably will, because he's the guy playing the most dangerous position on the field and probably considers his uniform all the protection he requires.
Not to mention the complete lack of depth the Ghosts have in the outfield. Let's take it easy out there, okay guys? Real easy. Like, the plan should be to just hope the ball comes to you.
The Ghosts are at an immediate disadvantage in that they will have to play a team that hasn't been dead since a time when medical professionals blamed actual ghosts for the majority of diseases.
In general, the prospects feature better pitching by far, and maybe four guys from the Ghosts' lineup could hang with a modern a fastball. But something like Jerad Eickhoff's curve might have them stepping out of the box for a few quick prayers or charging the mound, accusing him of witchcraft.
So, for a variety of reasons both related and unrelated to baseball and time travel, it's easy to imagine the Phillies of the future taking down the Philadelphia Baseball Ghosts. The real trick would be sending the prospects back to play the Ghosts on their own turf. But that's a concept so ludicrous we won't even delve into it.