Welcome back to the picture bag. It feels good to be back, and even on a Wednesday. Is it getting a little dusty in here? Before we get back to the bag (with even more photos), last night I sampled Rich & Dan’s Rye IPA from Harpoon. Considering the amount of beer I drink, I don’t think it would be possible for me to know less about hops and various other ingredients. Pretty much every time I open a beer I’m thinking, am I going to like this more than Sierra Nevada Pale Ale? The answer has always been “no.” But, Harpoon’s Rye IPA is pretty tasty, and certainly better than most of the standard summer fare, which I find repugnant. Anyway, enough on beer, back to your pictures and questions…
From BK (Not Surprisingly, Slightly Edited for Content):
Q: This may sound a bit crotchety, but what is up with referring to winning titles as “chips?” The people know the word is not Champion-chip, right? Or, don’t they? Donald Lieberry, Tampa, FL.
A: Honestly? They might not. I remember the first time I heard this term. I was surrounded by several young loopers at the time and they were talking about college basketball. One of them said a certain team, “had a chip.” Now, I wasn’t really listening to the conversation, it was background noise as caddy banter tends to be, but this term stopped me in my tracks. I said, “They have a what?” The kid repeated himself, “a chip.” Now, I’m paraphrasing, but I think I said, “The f*ck’s a chip?” I’m 99% sure he answered, “Champion-chip.” I stood there for a second, thought about my options, and then just walked away. Sometimes, it’s best to LET IT GO. The good news was, I didn’t hear this again until we started discussing LeBron 24/7. LeBron needed his “chip.” Everyone started saying it and I’ll admit that it started bothering me more and more. I would like to be crotchety with you, sir. Shortening things that don’t need to be shortened bothers me, shortening them incorrectly is even more maddening. If championship is too difficult for you, how about RING? Why chip? My only explanation is that there are a lot more Josh Waitzkin fans out there then we ever knew. I’M OFFERING YOU A DRAW.
Q: How come the Phillies haven’t been involved in any bench clearing brawls this season? Boring! Robin, Ventura, CA.
A: It was last August 5th when Shane Victorino and the Phillies threw down with the San Francisco Giants. As far as modern brawls go, it was a pretty good one. LIVELY. The base-brawl is really a part of Americana. If you remember, I once discussed them at length and described the different roles that each player has in the scrum. The best part about your basic bench-clearing affair is that they are exciting and they very rarely end in any type of serious injury. I think more players get hurt punching inanimate objects. You see, when a guy goes down the tunnel and attacks the bat rack, he’s actually pissed. In a brawl, 90% of the time, he’s just running around looking for someone to grab. You need animosity for a good brawl, and a lot of people think the modern players are too CHUMMY with the opponents. Why fight when you can glad hand and bro-hug before the game? The closest the Phillies came this year was probably the Hamels/Harper debacle, but that never materialized into a fight probably because Hamels is a weirdo and Harper is 19. The question is, would a brawl help bring this team together? In hockey, guys pick fights to try to swing the momentum. Worth a shot in baseball? We could always drill McCutchen in the ribs tonight and see what happens.
Q: Do you think putting individual players into the Hall of Fame was a mistake? Wouldn’t our lives be so much easier if we just had some Pete Rose memorabilia in the HOF, but we didn’t have to debate whether or not to put a plaque of him in there, etc. etc. Preston E. Donahue, Rye, NY.
A: I think this is an advanced position on the “Museum Argument,” which is essentially the Hall of Fame exists for the fans to preserve the history of the game and to provide a place where that history can be displayed. Is there really a need for the Hall of Fame to become a moral arbiter? It’s easy to see your point when you hear things like Bert Blyleven has come out and said that Roger Clemens should not be in the Hall of Fame. Really, Bert? Here’s a guy that spent years trying to get in the damn place and now he’s trying to limit his company. How about you just be quiet and be thankful you finally wore down the voters? When the Hall of Fame started it probably felt like such a great idea, a no-brainer. Babe Ruth? SURE! But what has happened is the HOF has become a misery for a certain type of player. The borderline guy. A guy like Derek Jeter probably never thinks about the Hall of Fame, because he knows he’s getting in when he retires. It’s great, but it’s probably not on his mind. Same goes for someone like, oh, I don’t know…Joe Blanton. Blanton knows he has NO SHOT, so no big deal. But for fringe guys, guys like Blyleven, it’s this excruciating yearly event. Do I get to attach “HOF” to my autograph? It must eat at you. It’s going to kill a guy like Jamie Moyer. If we could go back in time and take the individual players out of the Hall, I think you might really be onto something. Because if you are such a part of the game’s history, you’re going to show up in Cooperstown in some form and if that’s how it was from the start, maybe it would be enough, but unfortunately we can’t go back. Get ready for more years of debate on Clemens, Rose, Bonds, etc.
Q: Is it a violation to get chicken fingers as an appetizer, or a chicken quesadilla as an appetizer if you’re going to have chicken for your meal? Chick Pollo, Boise, ID
A: So, you want to walk into Chili’s, have a chicken quesadilla TO START, and then have the chicken finger platter as your meal? You know what, I’m FINE with that. It’s a little odd, but hey, sometimes you just have that need for chicken. I try my best not to judge what people eat. I might say, “Oh my god, that looks terrible and I would never eat that–ever.” But at the same time, I’m thinking, my goodness I sure hope YOU enjoy it. I also think I might have doubled up on the chicken in my life. Maybe in some type of “group appetizer” scenario. You know, THE SAMPLER? Maybe I had a finger or two before a chicken sandwich. It can happen pretty easily. You know who completely blows this rule out the water? Pizza places. What you might like before your pizza? Cheesy bread sticks. AKA, pizza in stick form. So go ahead and enjoy your double chicken friend, hold your head high. And get back to me if you can ever incorporate chicken into a third course. Then, you’ve got something.
Q: I saw the other day that McDonald’s is changing their uniforms–how do you feel about walking into Mickey D’s and seeing a guy in a skinny tie? What do you think the employees think about this change? Mick Nugget, Oakland, CA.
A: I can’t remember being in a McDonald’s recently. I’m picturing black pants? Do they wear visors? I feel like the big, foam-brimmed visor might actually be back in style now? Let’s take a moment to peruse the McDonald’s unis past and present:
Ok, that’s not exactly what I was expecting in the new uniforms. Is this really what they’re going to be wearing in your basic, Middle America McDonald’s? I can see someone saying, “Give me my dadgum nuggets before I shove that dipsh*t painter’s hat up your butt, corn cob.” It seems that only the bigwigs will be in the skinny ties, though, which is a relief. I think if I do ever return to a McDonald’s I’m not going to be in the mood to see a high school kid in sloppily thrown together hipster attire. Uniforms are really a funny thing. Depending on your job or your point of view, you could be striving for the uniform or striving to get out of the damn thing. I’ve never had to wear a uniform for work (at least not in the strictest sense) and I am thankful for this, because your basic, everyday retail uniform seems to have those black pants I mentioned before. I assume this is so you can wear them Monday through Friday with no worries, but I hate black pants. Can’t tell you why, it’s just another one of my THINGS. I did have a pair of black jeans back in the day, but that’s some history I’d like to revise.
Q: Phillies fans have been a little ornery this year. The booing has become an almost nightly occurrence at The Bank. To my knowledge, Chase Utley has never been booed by his home fans, but apparently he received a smattering of boos in Clearwater after a late-inning strikeout. Is there any way Utley, set to return, faces the wrath of the fans? Boo Radley, Maycomb, AL.
A: The other day before Jim Thome hit his walk-off home run, Papelbon blew his first save of the season. He gave up two runs in the ninth and was greeted with boos as he walked off the field. I was listening to the game on the radio and Larry Anderson was pretty annoyed with the fans, saying they shouldn’t be booing a guy who had been so consistent up to that point. What LA didn’t mention is that the boos weren’t necessarily directed at Papelbon. He was taking the brunt, but the boos down at the stadium this season have been more a reflection of the general condition of the team. Everyone knows Papelbon had been perfect in save situations to that point, but when faced with yet another blown game, what are the fans supposed to do? I think the booing of Utley in Clearwater was a similar occurrence. Fans are trying to show their displeasure in any way they can. That said, coming back to Philly from the DL is a far different situation than a A-ball rehab game. Utley will be showered with adoration, as is the custom, tonight and into the near future. I once ranked the players in terms of how bulletproof they were with the fans. Lee and Utley were at the top of the list, but they’ve since been bumped by Chooch. Ruiz is the new gold-standard. This is what happens when Utley spends months on the DL. Cliff Lee has been pushing his luck, but even a terrible month hasn’t led to any boos. I’d say Utley has a pretty long leash, but if he does end up getting booed–that’s the point when you probably know for sure that the season is over.
*Note*–I received a question this week about what game show I’d like to be on. I actually addressed this with a full post way back in the early days. So, instead of repeating myself for those with great memories and to be sure I don’t contradict myself, if that question interests you, check out the old post.