It is said that the great American author Ernest Hemingway was once tasked to write a story in just six words. Hemingway delivered, or so the story goes, and a famous work of fiction was born.
For sale: baby shoes, never worn.
The six-word story has since become a popular format. Often, these stories are tragic, sometimes humorously so. This is another favorite of mine.
Found true love. Married someone else.
To me, the six-word short story seems like the perfect way to write about the Phillies thus far. Tragedy? Check. Humor? Check. Long enough to encompass everything that’s gone wrong with the team? We’ll see.
After last night’s game, I started writing a few of these stories myself.
For sale: Moniak uniform, never worn.
The first one was more of joke than anything else, but it has a deeper meaning too.
Heading into Spring Training, I don’t think many of us had high expectations for Mickey Moniak. But he surprised everyone and played well enough to earn a spot on the Opening Day roster. Then, just before the season started, he landed on the IL.
In a way, Moniak’s season is a microcosm of the Phillies season so far. At first, our expectations weren’t so high. Then, in Spring Training, the team gave us reason to get our hopes back up. Shortly thereafter, that excitement dissipated.
Lose, lose, lose, win, lose, lose.
This one is pretty straightforward, though I did spend a while debating whether I should put the “win” after the third or fourth “lose”. Ultimately I decided it felt more accurate to put the one win right in the middle of a sea of losses.
Camargo has been the best player.
At first glance, this seems like just one statement about the team — not a full story. But think about all that this implies.
Many of the stars have been underperforming, like Bryce Harper and Zack Wheeler. Johan Camargo has been getting starts over Alec Bohm and Bryson Stott. Joe Girardi is continuing to show a preference for proven veterans with low ceilings rather than young players with high potential.
Camargo has been genuinely good. I don’t mean any disrespect towards him. But if Camargo is your best player, it’s probably a sign that things aren’t going as planned.
What’s the definition of insanity again?
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
In truth, I don’t think the Phillies are doing “the same thing” this season. I expressed much on Twitter the other day. But after watching the defensive miscues, the ineffective bullpen, and the offense that goes cold at all the worst moments, I can’t help but feel like we’re watching the 2021 Phillies all over again.
I know that’s not true. I know this team is better and they will be better. But the more I say that to myself as I watch the Phillies continue lose ballgames, the more I feel like I’m slowly losing my grip on reality.
After writing a few stories myself, I decided to open up the floor.
Give us your best six word short story about the Phillies season thus far!— The Good Phight (@TheGoodPhight) April 20, 2022
I was very impressed by the quality — and quantity — of stories we received. I couldn’t possibly include them all in this article, but these are some of my favorites.
A clever interpretation of what exactly counts as a word
Zzzzzz— schmenkman (@tgpschmenk) April 20, 2022
Whether the ZZZZZs refer to the Phillies themselves or all of us watching from home, this story from our own Schmenkman sums it up pretty well.
The question on all of our minds as we watch the Phillies lose several days in a row.
So far, the only thing going up is the bullpen’s ERA
Rollercoaster has more downs than ups— Mike Alexander (@Kardiokid) April 21, 2022
I like this one a lot. We all knew this season would be a rollercoaster, but we were hoping for more ups than downs. Thankfully, there’s still plenty of track to ride.
A very fair question
What the hell is Girardi doing— Lauren Amour (@philaurdelphia) April 20, 2022
It’s great when a six-word story feels just like a natural sentence, and this is definitely a sentence I’ve uttered many times this year.
The Phillies’ problems go beyond Joe Girardi, but the manager certainly isn’t helping. It seems like he makes at least one questionable decision every game.
Why did I even include this one?
THE NEW YORK METS WILL DOMINATE— Henry J Sallusti (@hjsallusti) April 21, 2022
Go away. No one asked you to come here.
Good word play is always appreciated
Paid for offense, results are offensive.— John Ferrier (@thejohnferrier) April 21, 2022
I still believe in the offense. They will hit, and they will score. But it’s hard to argue that the lineup hasn’t been offending our sensibilities so far this year.
More good wordplay
Another day, another lineup, another lineout.— M. Night Coburn (@mnightcoburn) April 20, 2022
As Schmenkman has done a good job of pointing out, it’s really not that uncommon to use different lineups almost every day at the beginning of the season. Every team is doing it. That being said, it is noteworthy that Kyle Schwarber seems to have lost the leadoff spot after just a few games. J.T. Realmuto was given the spot for a day or two, and then he lost it too. Girardi has said he wants to try and use a consistent lineup, but he hasn’t done so yet.
Please update faster
We’re still in beta. Will update.— Rob Hanna (@RobHanna85) April 21, 2022
The Phillies are still a talented team. That hasn’t changed. The starters will get loose, balls will start dropping for hits, and eventually, Dave Dombrowski will find more ways to improve the roster.
That doesn’t mean we can’t be annoyed by the beta phase though.
Did someone say “what should I have for dinner”?
Beefy Boys Half-Cooked; Wheeler Toast?— phixated (@Phixated) April 20, 2022
I can’t say I fully agree with this story, but as you know, I’m a sucker for wordplay.
All things considered, the beefy boys have been fine so far. Their combined wRC+ is about 130, which is pretty impressive (even if Nick Castellanos is doing a lot of the heavy lifting in that area).
As for Zack Wheeler, I think it’s way too early to say he’s toast. The man barely had a Spring Training, so he needs a few more starts to get loose before I begin worrying about him.
That sounds familiar
Phillies threaten, but do not score.— Logicbrush Studios (@logicbrush) April 20, 2022
Certainly feels like this has happened a lot this year.
I admire anyone who can stay positive right now
The best is yet to come!— cgoggs44 (@chrisgoggin) April 20, 2022
But I can’t blame anyone for switching the channel either
Far more fun to watch Sixers— Jeffrey Jaeger, MD (@jjaeger3) April 21, 2022
And finally, some poetry from the poet laureate of The Good Phight
April really is the cruelest month.— Wet Luzinski (@Wet_Luzinski) April 21, 2022
Indeed, T.S. Eliot. Indeed.
These are just a few of the many great responses we got. If you have time, I highly recommend checking out the whole thread.
Some of us are angry — and we have the right to be! Others are staying optimistic, at least for now, and that’s perfectly fair too. It’s still just April after all.
No matter how you feel, it’s good to take a day like today to take stock of how things have gone so far and what needs to change going forward. Although it’ll probably take take a lot more than six words to do that.