Moyer Wants 2011–Someone Notify Camden.

If Moyer Keeps Going, I'll Be Hoping For the 2012 Armageddon.

Great news for the weekend.  Jamie Moyer will not pitch again in 2010, but don’t fret, he’s already committed to making a run at next season.  The question is, would anyone give this guy a contract?  It’s not a situation that concerns me too much anymore, because Moyer won’t make any money wherever he goes.  I just wonder if the Phillies are going to feel obligated, to a lesser extent than were in 2008, to do something for this guy.  I think Moyer gets too much credit for being a local.  He pitched 95% of his career in other cities, but after a couple of years here it is liked he morphed into Richie Ashburn.  There’s no way this guy is going to stop pitching unless he’s turned down by every single team in the league, and maybe some teams in some leagues we’ve never heard of.  Early prediction, the Phillies non-roster invite him to Spring Training.

It speaks to what the Phillies have been doing the last ten days or so that I haven’t been compelled to mention a word about Moyer.  There are more important things going on.  Most notably, Roy Oswalt’s debut in Washington Friday night.  The Phillies are cruising through a soft spot in the schedule with eight straight wins, and the Nationals provide a chance to continue that run, especially with Big Steve on the DL.  I suppose it is a tough spot for Oswalt to come into.  Winning streak, not even a day to get acclimated, and perhaps the wizards in Vegas have picked up on this, installing the Phils as just (-170) favorites.  I thank Big Dub for alerting me to that odd line.  I’m saying Vegas just hasn’t adjusted to the revamped Phils.  I thought they were in a bad spot last night, and they found a way to make that one happen.  I’ll take 2/3 for the weekend.  I don’t want to get too greedy.  The Phillies probably will lose again eventually.  Once or twice.

I’ll be on Fred Couples miracle watch for the weekend.  US Senior Open at Sahalee.  We’re in a little bit of a lull in the golf schedule before the last Major of the year, but if you have a mean case of 80s and 90s nostalgia like I do, the US Senior Open should provide some good viewing.  Fred looked a little rough around the edges yesterday, but that’s why they play 4 rounds, kid.  For the die-hard golf fan the regular tour is at the Old White Course at the Greenbrier.  Great old golf course if that’s your thing, even if the field is very weak.  They’re eventually going to move a FedEx Cup event so a little preview of that as well, plus I’m sure plenty of stories on Jim Justice the local millionaire who is pouring money into the old resort.  He’s even giving the gallery cash if someone records a hole-in-one this week.  True story.

That’s about it.  Last week my movie factoid was, please review Inception for me.  This week, my personal service announcement is don’t go see Dinner with the Schmucks.  I haven’t seen it, it’s just a gut-feeling.  It looks like one of those movies that crosses over the line of being just too stupid, or one of the ones where the guys making it can’t stop laughing, and no one else thinks it is funny?  I could be wrong, but when a comedy preview isn’t funny.  Problem.  No need to hide inside this weekend anyway, this weather is glorious.  I think I see Blue.


Keep Your Quarters Mr. Havercamp.

Thoughts on Tipping.

There I was at The Art of Manliness.  Not my favorite blog, but seeing as I am lifting a post for the second time from there, perhaps I should be more complementary.  I suppose I don’t think manliness is something you acquire from a blog, and it all seems a little self-congratulatory.  Oh, that’s what I do!  I’m manly!  It’s not the humorous, endearing kind of self praise I do here.  Anyway, I do check it out from time to time, to see if they updated their list of manly authors, but today I came across what is essentially their Man’s Guide to tipping.  Tipping is a delicate game, isn’t it?  I think I have a pretty extensive history with tipping.  I’ve received almost any denomination of tip you can imagine from $.25 to $100.  I’ve seen people tip 100% on restaurant tabs and I witnessed my golf coach begrudgingly cough up about 4% on a dinner for six.  I don’t necessarily want to tell you what to do, and I’m not going pat myself on the back for being wildly generous, because I’m not (when sober), but it’s an interesting topic to kick around.  For me.

There’s such mystery around tipping that it is almost always a learned or mimicked behavior.  There’s a very strong chance that you will tip who your parents tipped, and you will tip a similar percentage.  When people aren’t given concrete guidelines they do what they know, or they quickly copy the person closest to them.  In my days of cleaning people’s golf clubs the tips would be all over the map, but individuals were always consistent.  I could tell you what a guy was going to give me before he had his wallet out.  Hell, I could look at the tee sheet and predict how much money was on the course.  How much money is out there?  That’s an actual question asked in bag rooms across the nation.  When a new member came along it was critical what crowd they fell into.  If they started playing with a $5 dollar tipper, there was a good chance they’d become one.  If they played with a “donut,” well, you could add another guy to the polite smile list.  Along with tipping like their group, families tip together as well.  You don’t run across a lot of frugal fathers and generous sons, or vice versa.

As well versed as I like to think I am in tipping, there is one situation that always gets me.  The carry out dinner.  I think I come from a group of fairly liberal tippers, but in all my life I had never seen a soul give a tip to the counter person when picking up a pizza, for example.  It never even crossed my mind.  I guess you have to draw the line somewhere, or you just become Steve Martin in My Blue Heaven?  But, when I was out in Michigan I lived with a guy who dated a waitress.  Waitresses and bartenders are the best tippers, without a doubt, based on their relative income.  But anyway, one night we walked across our driveway to the pizza place next door and got some dinner to-go.  After we paid, I saw my first tip ever given to the cashier at a pizza place.  I stood there dumbfounded.  Had I been stiffing people all along?  Are they over-tippers?  It’s an uncomfortable feeling.  As much as I thought about it though, I never picked up that behavior.  It didn’t take long for me to go back to stiffing the counter people.  I guess my behavior was already too deeply learned.

Like I said I once held down a job where tipping was a pretty decent portion of my salary (all reported of course) and I have tipping lineage so I think I am a decent person to get as a customer, as long as you don’t work the counter at a pizza place.  I usually hit the guys at the golf course pretty good, even though I know they’re going to do a half-ass job.  There’s nothing like the upscale public course club cleaning ambush.  I even allow that to happen, the dirty towel treatment, or as it was referred to in my day, “the two-swipe special.”  I will give a parting piece of advice to the tippers out there.  In this day and age please do not tip change if you are only tipping change.  If fifty cents is all you have to give, you are probably better off keeping that yourself.  Just be extremely nice and say thank you.  No one wants quarters.  There are times when nothing is better than something.

Oswalt to the Phils.

I Dub Thee, "Lil' Roy"

UPDATE:  Looks like Anthony Gose and Johnathon Villar will be the prospects in the deal.  Gose is an outfield/speed prospect, Villar a very promising and young SS.  Both currently in A-ball.

This caption reminds me of the part in Slackers where Jason Schwartzman says, “I was going to call you Laser.”  That was a movie that I thought was pretty funny the first time I saw it, and then I never saw it again.  Is it never on television?  James King.  Young Jason Segel. Good times, but that’s just 50 quick words on how to get distracted by a caption.  It sounds like, after exhaustive texting sessions with Brad Lidge, that Roy Oswalt is going to accept this deal to the Phillies.  It’s the culmination of a few days where the Oswalt market seemed to dry up and Houston and Lil’ Roy lost all their bargaining power.  By the way I chose, “Lil’ Roy” so that if we feel the need, Halladay can be referred to as: “Bob’s Big Roy.”   Anyway, Oswalt wanted St. Louis, then anything not on the East Coast, but he’ll end up here.  Not only that, but it sounds like the Astros are sending 11 million this way, which makes Oswalt free this year and bumps his salary down to 10 million next season.  Ed Wade continues to do his best work  for the Phillies as the Astros GM.

The Phillies send JA Happ to Houston along with a prospect package that will feature Johnathon Singleton.  Singleton is an A-ball first baseman, and the Phillies best power prospect.  He’s also blocked at the big league level by Ryan Howard and his 25 million dollar salary.  With Howard in place Singleton was going to be trade bait all along, it’s just a question of how much more value he’d have with some more time to develop.  This could very well be his ceiling though, and if you get broken up about trading an A ball guy, worried he’s going to be Jeff Bagwell or something, you should probably relax.  Happ leaving is unfortunate, mostly because it keeps Kendrick and Blanton in the rotation, but at least one of them will disappear come playoff time, if the Phillies make the post-season.  I liked Happ, but the guy has borderline stuff, and he’s made 3 starts this season.  He’s also not twenty-three years old.  Good luck in Houston, JA, hear the humidity is lovely this time of year.

I went on and on about Oswalt last week when the deal looked like a mere possibility, but there’s no doubt he improves the rotation.   I’m not going to sit here and say Oswalt is Roy Halladay, but their career numbers are very, very similar.  There’s been some feeling I think that Oswalt has declined a bit in recent years while Halladay has not, and that could be the case, but Oswalt has also pitched for a terrible team.  He’s had the benefit of being in the NL his whole career, but he’s still 60 games over .500, has a career ERA of 3.24, and he’s 4-0 in the post-season.  Not even Halladay can say that.

The key for me will be what Oswalt says when he gets into town.  I think the fans will want to adopt him, but he’s got to play this correctly.  Blame the media for blowing things out of proportion, say he’s happy to be here, loves the intensity of the fans, has been talking to Brad Lidge, whatever.  Just say that, and everything else will be forgotten.  He’ll have to perform, but that’s why he gets paid the 16 million.

There’s no question the Phillies blundered in moving Cliff Lee.  This deal is a painful reminder of that in some ways, but Lee is gone, and now the Phillies have Lil’ Roy to fill in.  We have to think of this positively.  Think of Halladay replacing Lee, and Oswalt replacing Pedro or something like that.  Maybe it will be easier to swallow.   I’m certainly not afraid to say Ruben erred in the off-season, but the ability to make adjustments or corrective moves is something the Phillies have been without in previous years.  I’ve been worried about the flexibility all year, and it seems like they had just enough to get this one done, and luckily had a very willing trading partner in Houston.

Are Teen Phenoms Raining on Parades?

Jordan Spieth Factored on the Weekend At the Byron Nelson.

I’m sure most of you saw that Alabama teenager Bobby Wyatt shot a 57 yesterday in the state’s junior championship.  Since you are going to ask the course was a 6,600 yard par-71.  Not that it really matters.  I couldn’t shoot 57 at Woody’s with 10 mulligans.  The obscene number, 2 shots below golf’s holy grail, is just the latest in a line of incredibly low scores.  Ryo Ishikawa shot a 58 at 18 years of age on the Japanese Professional Tour.  A Nationwide player shot 56 in a pro-am last week.  He’s not a teenager, but just mentioning it in regards to wondering if the mental block of breaking 60 is starting to crumble.  The fact that kids are the ones leading the charge is an interesting piece to the story.  It’s not just the B0bby Wyatts of the World shooting 57 either.  You had a teenage amateur contending over the weekend at the Byron Nelson, Alexis Thompson picked up a top-10 at the US Women’s Open at the age of 15.  The kids are scary, scary, good.

The question I have is, are they ruining it for the hackers?  Junior sports, not just golf, but all of them are so intense and specialized now it boggles my mind.  I’m not that far removed from kicking around the course with a few friends in the junior program.  Not only were we not cool, golf wasn’t cool, and we weren’t that good.   We thought we were, though.  We were good enough to win some local junior events, we were good enough to beat the adults at the club, but more importantly we were good enough to have dreams of great things.  To us, shooting 79 at some dog track could pretty easily be extrapolated out to a Masters win.  All it would take was some time and a growth spurt, maybe.  Most every kid probably thinks about life as an athlete at some time or another before the realization sets in.

I just hope that realization isn’t setting in too soon these days.  I mean, if I was a junior golfer right now, I’d be pretty demoralized looking at the scores being shot.  The elation of breaking 80 doesn’t hold as much water when some kid down the street shoots 57.  Talk about a dream killer.  And, they’re everywhere.  From tennis, to golf, to Bryce Harper being on the cover of SI at 16.  It’s the phenom era.  I hope a few kids are still having fun out there.

Welcome, Gosh Darn It, Welcome.

Hits Like Mays, Built Like Hayes.

Raucous scene down at Citizen’s Bank Park for Dominic Brown’s MLB debut.  The RBI double that sent the crowd into a frenzy in his first at-bat was the culmination of maybe the biggest one week turn around in fan mentality I’ve ever seen.  A week ago it was over.  A third straight loss in St. Louis, and eyes were turning to 2011.  Fans thought they’d eventually see Dominic Brown this season, but it’d be a bright light in what looked to be a bleak stretch run.  No offensive spark, no life, unreliable pitching…most of that has been wiped away with a week-long winning streak.  Suddenly the Phillies are only a couple of games out of a playoff spot, and they’re still not putting their best line-up out there.  Brown’s debut overshadowed the continuing hot streaks of Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez, but for the first time since the very early days of this season the Phillies have more than one guy who is hot.  I’ll skip over the urge to use hyperbole, something in the realm of “left-handed Vladimir Guerrero,” but it was great to see Brown get off to a nice start.  More importantly, it’s fun down at the yard again.

Shifting gears a bit, Sports Illustrated unveiled this list of the 25 most hated teams of all-time today.  I suppose this is in honor of the 2010-11 Miami Heat, who checked in at #25 on the list without even playing one game.  I like the concept.  As a fan who lived in a city where a team didn’t win a title for the majority of my life, rooting against other teams was a way to stay interested in sports.  Jealousy?  I’m sure, but hate doesn’t have to be rational.   Interestingly enough, a college team, the 1986 Football Hurricanes top SI’s list.  That’s the team that showed up for the bowl game against Penn State in fatigues, and then watched Vinny throw five picks.  I’ve seen this game on tape, and I imagine it’s the all-time sports highlight for any Penn State over 35.  It’s interesting as you go through the list how many of the teams were also beloved by certain groups, and how the passionate feelings they invoked, made the games they were involved in better.  Another title for this list I think could be, 25 teams you had to watch.

If I was thinking of 4 teams I hated, I might come up with early 90s Cowboys, late 90’s Yankees, ’92 Duke and the ’86 Mets.  Three make the list, but Scott Atrocious and that Yanks team were a glaring omission.  The ’92 Cowboys are #3.  I’m not sure what it says about Jimmy Johnson when he’s the coach of two of the top three teams on this list.  I can’t really argue, though.  This Cowboy team was a nightmare for any non-Cowboys fan.  What made it worse was the shocking turnaround in just a few years.  The Cowboys of my very young days were terrible.  Buddy Ryan once said of the ‘Boys something along the lines of, “Why would I worry about them.  We kick their ass every time.”  Even after prince Troy arrived we still had that glorious 1-15 season, but a couple of years later it was all over.  The Cowboys were back to winning multiple Super Bowls.  Duke, I think is criminally low on the list at #12 and the ’86 Mets are #13.  Duke has to be higher for me.  They have all the elements to be a hated team, plus they don’t have nearly the base of support that the Cowboys or a similar team enjoys.  Duke is the hated team of the masses.

Of course the list also includes teams or franchises that I was a fan of.  The Broad Street Bullies check in at #4.  I’m sure Philly’s twisted sense of pride will be upset they weren’t number one.  Also on the list was a team I actually watched and was completely addicted to, the 89-90 UNLV Running Rebels.  The crowning achievement of my bandwagon days, I couldn’t get enough of this team.  I don’t know a soul that didn’t like UNLV.  And, somehow they come in at #10 on the list.  No way is this team more hated than the Dukies from two years later.  Not possible.  I guess in closing, I have to give a shout out to Ty Cobb, who essentially made the list as an individual for his wild popularity with the 1909 Tigers.  I did a report on Cobb in the fifth grade.  It was titled, “Mean yet Magnificent.”  God, was I a loser.

Know Your Role: A Subway Rant.

An Actual Pulled Pork Sandwich.

I hate when people, companies, or whatever go outside their realm.  Especially when their realm is horsebleep to begin with.  I can’t describe the exact the reaction I had when I first heard Subway’s pulled pork sandwich commercial.  It was a mixture of rage and complete horror.  I love pulled pork sandwiches.  Pulled anything is better than the original.  Chicken, Pork, Turkey, hell I’ll pull a filet mignon.  I’m crazy like that.  All that being said, I wouldn’t really call the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic or whatever a real bastion of pulled pork.  This is something more properly done in the south where they know their hogs and their sauces.  Still, there are a few places that make a mean pulled pork of some variety or another, and I am especially partial to Quotations in Media, just as a FYI.

Anyway, I like that the sandwich is kind of elusive.  It’s a nice surprise to see on a menu, and it’s even more enjoyable when you get a really good one.  So, this Subway thing, this blatant attempt to get on a bandwagon, to horn in on a good food product and bastardize the hell out of it drives me crazy.  I hope the pork-belt region of the country is properly enraged, because I am, and I have seen the sorry excuse for a “steak and cheese” sandwich that Subway produces.  If you order a hot sandwich some Subway, you probably have dementia and are a lost cause anyway, but if not, there are numerous reasons why Subway is awful.  The pulled pork, a picture of which I just saw on a bus (are you kidding me?), is the last straw.

I don’t know where to start with Subway.  What is the most annoying thing?  Well, aside from the pulled pork, which is today’s winner, I’d have to say the worst thing about Subway is that no place in the history of food establishments has had such BS pictures of their food.  Now, every time you look at a food advertisement, it’s a blatant lie.  The food looks edible, juicy, it has a color besides beige, etc.  But, Subway just cranks this up a notch.  For example, the sandwiches are just bursting with meat.  You see an advertisement for a quarter pounder and it’s a quarter pounder.  They don’t have 12 patties stacked on top of each other in the picture.  In this pulled pork ad, it looked like half the pig was between this bun.  When you show up in real life, they hand you a sandwich that’s 90% bread, 9% lettuce and if you have a treasure map and a half hour on your hands maybe you can find the piece of ham in there somewhere.

Subway also has the worst commercials.  Apologies to Ryan Howard, apologies to Happy Gilmore, but every Subway ad makes me want to throw a pint glass through my television.  This all goes back to Jared, of course.  To me, Jared is worse than any b-List celebrity.   Jersey Shore people,  whoever is on celebrity rehab, they deserve what they have way more than Jared.  Here’s a guy that was fat.  He was so fat that he could lose a tremendous amount of weight by eating hoagies, simply because the hoagies contained far fewer calories than say, I don’t know….30 pizzas and a 5 gallon bucket of cola.  It’s great that he lost the weight, but to become wealthy from it?  Maddening.  Plus, I feel badly for the people who crush Subway all day long and think they’re eating healthy.

Subway also offers one of the worst approximations of the food they are attempting to sell.  We’ve been over this before with pizza.  No national chain has any chance of competing against some shady Italian guy cranking out one pie at a time.  It’s the way of the world, but Subway’s place in the hoagie spectrum is subterranean.  It’s like four notches below Red Baron Pizza, and I’ve never even had that.  If I wanted a hoagie, which I almost never do, but if I wanted something on Subway’s menu, there are probably 7,340 shops within a 50 mile radius I’d go to first.  Is Subway really the face of hoagies in some parts of the country?  It’s just a terrifying thought.

Lastly, I’d like to officially tell Subway that their rolls suck, and they suck hard.  I don’t care of you have giant toaster ovens behind the counter that crank out loaves of whatever the hell this stuff is.  Fresh baked bread daily!  The key word being, “baked.”  I can shoot across the street to Acme, pick up a frozen rod of Pepperidge Farm garlic bread and toss it into the oven too.  I wouldn’t have the balls to call it fresh baked, though.  What they are telling you is that the bread hasn’t been sitting around for a day or two.  It’s kind of like the old Tommy Boy line.  If you want me to take a dump in a box, and mark it guaranteed, I will.  I’ve got spare time.  What passes for bread at Subway is affront to bread and bread lovers.

I wish Subway would go out of business, and take their pathetic attempt at pulled pork, their awful bread, and Jared with them.

Tee-O, Ochocinco to Join In Holy Matrimony.

Far More Amusing For Me than A Pic of T.O.

This is interesting for me mostly because I was starting to wonder if T.O. had actually run out of options in the NFL.  For every player who has ever been called a clubhouse or locker room cancer, there’s always been a team that’s been willing to sign them.  No player that can still contribute has ever had to retire because he was a complete stroker.  I thought T.O. was going to enter that rarified air, or I thought he had a chance.  Enter the Bengals and I guess it is proof that T.O. still has a little in the tank.  I feel like the initial reaction from a lot of people is going to be, “OH MY GOD, THE INSANITY!”  But, honestly I don’t know what T.O. could possibly do that we haven’t seen from him before.  The only drama left would be if T.O. crosses into Iverson territory, just not being capable of handling a diminished role.  Hopefully choreographing celebrations and Tweeting with Ochocinco will keep him busy.

So…Back from the greatest stadium-filled parking complex in the world.  Just another Tuesday with the Phils.  Add some firsthand insights to my usual highlight fueled ramblings.

1.  The Diamondbacks are so gloriously awful.  What a great time to catch this team, one of the worst road teams ever assembled.  Once a week Mark Reynolds runs into one and it goes 430 feet, and the offense could be worse, but this pitching staff is a nightmare.  It was a matter of time before Rodrigo Lopez got hit, and the bullpen was even more accommodating.

2. Cole Hamels wasn’t quite right.  I didn’t have the best angle so I’m not sure if he was getting squeezed, but it was obvious that Hamels thought he was getting worked by the home plate umpire.  Regardless, he didn’t have great control, and he threw a ton of pitches in just five innings.  He hung in there, I suppose, and still had the good velocity, but a little hiccup for Cole.

3.  The Phillies look more patient at the plate.  They’re taking their walks, and I would have to assume that’s a little bit of the panic being removed from the situation.  They’ve scored a few runs, some balls drop in, they win a few, and the weight of things isn’t such a burden anymore.  There’s plenty of bad pitching in this league.  You have to let it beat itself, and the Phillies have done that this entire home stand.

4.  The Diamondbacks infield defense is terrible.  Adam LaRoche:  Thank you, sir.  Thank you for not being mobile, for not trying, bending over, diving, or doing anything that would indicate you even saw Raul Ibanez’s ground ball.  This is complimentary to point number 1.  You have to do multiple things wrong to lose to the Diamondbacks.  An average start, a bad outing from Herndon and some shaky defense can sink you against some teams…not against Arizona.

5.  The Phillies are so lucky to have the fans they do.  I hope they appreciate it.  Tuesday night, terrible team in town, and the place was packed and totally rocking.  The only sign of restlessness was when Greg Dobbs popped up with the bases loaded and one out.  It’s easier to forget these moments when the team comes back to score 9 runs.

So, the Phillies are now 3.5 games out.  I’ll have to say I didn’t see this coming.  Everything has been going right for about a week now, but that changed in the seventh when Shane Victorino left with an oblique injury.  I had this happen once and I described it as, “pulling my side fat.”  Anyway, Victorino left right away, and this is the kind of injury that is surely going to land him on the DL.  Victorino drives me crazy.  His antics tonight on the base paths tonight were a classic example of him being almost painfully dumb at times, but the Phillies don’t need another starter on the DL.  The options will be Dominic Brown and shifting Werth to center.  Or, Ben Francisco could play center.  Some combination is probably likely.  I do, however, think it would be almost impossible for them to now move Jayson Werth.  That’s a move I’ve cooled on significantly in the last week, anyway.