Jun 062010

Right now (or at least at the time I wrote this article) the Phillies look terrible at the plate. Earlier in the season they were banging out 10-15 hits a night and scoring about 6-8 runs a game. There was talk that they might end up becoming one of the best offenses in MLB history. Then something happened that little expected.

They stopped hitting. Completely.

Since then they have been in a tailspin of epic proportions where even the idea of them scoring 4 runs in a game just sounds absolutely Ludacris. It is as if the offense spent a night out with Joran van der Sloot, and was found with a snapped neck stuffed inside a hollowed out bed frame days later. (Too soon?)

While all this is going on, people have been pointing fingers in any direction on who or what to blame. I figured I would weigh in on the subject and give some of my possible explanations on why the Phils stopped hitting and winning. I have come up with twenty possibilities. Some highly likely; others utterly ridiculous. Time to round up the usual suspects.

Most Plausible Explanations

1. They are not being challenged enough, so they want to make the pennant race interesting

I used to do this with Triple Play 2000 on the N64. A kid can only play so many 37-0 games in a row before it becomes monotonous. So for fun I’d have Chad Ogea and Robert Person throw fastballs over the heart of the plate for the first 4 or 5 innings, fall behind by 15-20 runs and see if I can come back to win. Perhaps the Phils are using the same general concept. They realize the other teams in the division are creampuffs, so they figured they would make this season more exciting by tanking some games early on.

Likelihood this is the reason? Pretty likely

How do we fix this problem? Pretty straight forward. Quit screwing around and play like champions.

2. They stopped stealing signs

Once they got used to this and had to stop (because all the other teams cried like little bitches even though it is not illegal) they lost their real advantage. It is like watching a kid ride a bike for the first time after the training wheels come off. You know the kid is going to wipe out quicker than Larry Flynt surfing the Humunga Cowabunga from Down Unda. (Kudos to the one reader out there who got that reference.)

Likelihood this is the reason? Most likely

How do we fix this problem? Say a collective “forget you” to the rest of the league and blatantly steal the signs. See about hiring John Nash or another big-time mathematician who can crack any code out there.

(On a side note, does it bother anyone else when movies edited for content on television substitute “forget you” for “fuck you?” Has anyone ever heard a single person say “forget you” as some sort of a putdown? Give me a forgetting break.)

3. Barack Obama

No real reason, except he’s being blamed for everything else. Why not the Phils as well?

Likelihood this is the reason? Depends on your political affiliation.

How do we fix this problem? We cannot fix this until 2012. Any other solution I were to offer as a remedy might end up with the Secret Service visiting me. So maybe I will just move along to the next possibility.

4. They are distracted due to the ongoing BP oil spill’s destruction of wetlands and animal life in the Gulf of Mexico, along with the volatility of the stock market due to civil unrest in Greece.


Likelihood this is the reason? Slimmer than a supermodel. I do not see guys like Ruiz or Victorino being overly invested in foreign affairs or how their portfolio might be losing value.

How do we fix this problem? Start taking those depression pills from those tv commercials that almost seem to cause depression themselves. Or steal Werth’s weed and go to town.

5. Joe Banner

A definite possibility here. We all know how much he hates that the Phillies, and now the Flyers, have made the Eagles an afterthought in the city. This is the same guy who traded McNabb right at the start of baseball season to steal some of the Phillies’ thunder. No one would have been surprised if Banner would have had a press conference while Halladay was in the bottom of the ninth of his perfect game to announce the Eagles were not interested in trading for Roethlisberger.

So how would Banner have done this? My theory is that he snuck into Citizen’s Bank Park and either irradiated the Gatorade with weapons grade Plutonium or put strychnine in the guacamole of the postgame spread. Or more likely is he has been grinding up glass to a fine powder and putting it into their food like Ryan O’Reilly did in season one of Oz. Underrated show, by the way.

Likelihood this is the reason? This is Joe Banner we’re talking about here. What do you think?

How do we fix this problem? Doing E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES!! cheers in the middle of Phillies games will probably pull Joe Banner back to DEFCON 5.

Curses & Karma

6. Eric Bruntlett’s beard > Jayson Werth’s beard

Love Eric Bruntlett or hate him, or more accurately, Hate Eric Bruntlett or despise him, he had a solid beard. That is all he had. It is a well known fact that any team needs at least one awesome beard to succeed. I have said from the beginning that Werth’s beard has been phenomenal, but perhaps I am mistaken. His beard may have been rushed to the majors too quickly, resulting in the team slump we see now.

Likelihood this is the reason? Extremely unlikely. I refuse to believe that Bruntlett could be better than Werth at anything.

How do we fix this problem? Bruntlett was just released. Bring him back and DFA Dobbs. Or sign Zach Galifianakis. Guaranteed World Series.

7. The kid who puked on the cop and the tasered kid somehow unleashed a demon that has taken over the team

We might not know this is the case until Cole Hamels vomits pea soup and pisses himself at home plate. We’re halfway there, I guess.

Likelihood this is the reason? Less doubtful than North Korea winning the World Cup.

How do we fix this problem? The power of Christ compels you!

8. Karma for the Flyers pulling out the down 0-3 hole to Boston

Karma is an evil bitch. Always seems like there can be only one team playing well in any city at a time. Not a terrible tradeoff in a lot of ways. But one would think the Sixers’ play the past several seasons would offset the Flyers’ good fortune.

Likelihood this is the reason? Karma is real, people.

How do we fix this problem? The Sixers need to continue to suck for the foreseeable future. Continued Eagles collapses would also help. Keep your fingers crossed, and get your popcorn ready.

9. The Curse of Pat Burrell

Ever since he left the team they have failed to win a championship. He must have put a curse on the team which somehow afflicted him as well, considering how he has fallen apart quicker than Jack Torrance when stuck at Overlook Hotel for the winter with Olive Oyl.

Likelihood this is the reason? Unpossible. Pat Burrell is good people.

How do we fix this problem? Curses cannot be snapped. Just ride it out, and within 80-120 seasons they will be over.

10. The 11th Plague of Egypt

Maybe God forgot about the last plague, or it was only included in the deleted scenes section of the Bible. As a result, we are only seeing it now. It’s not quite as impressive as say the unhealable boils or tons of locusts and frogs, but this plague has certainly been painful to watch.

Likelihood this is the reason? If God were truly against us, he would have never allowed the Phils to win the Series in 2008. So the chances here are minuscule.

How do we fix this problem? Let Moses Malone’s people go.

11. Jose Contreras’s mother was never supposed to see her son pitch

Him bringing his mother over here from Cuba somehow caused a drastic change in what was destined to happen. This is the result.

Likelihood this is the reason? Let me just say that if a white-haired crazy lady ever tells you that you are not supposed to be doing what you are doing because of problems with space-time continuum and chaos theory maybe you should listen to her, mkay?

How do we fix this problem? Hop into a Delorean or an Ajira Airways plane and prevent Señora Contreras from entering the country.


12. They all have some mass virus or infection

Everyone thought Lou Gehrig was just losing his touch towards the end of his career. Ends up he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease. What are the odds of that? Well, what if the entire team has a super form of Lou Gehrig’s, or Legionnaire’s Disease? Or maybe they all contracted syphilis from passing around and using a fleshlight like in that awesome episode of Blue Mountain State. There are many possibilities here.

Likelihood this is the reason? Bacteria and viruses are everywhere. These guys are with each other for long periods of time. I would expect sicknesses circulate in clubhouses faster than groupies in hotel rooms.

How do we fix this problem? Education of proper usage of fleshlights, and medication.

13. Vaginitis

Pretty simple here. The clubhouse is full of p***ies.

Likelihood this is the reason? There are a few who fit this category. But considering the heart this team has shown the past 3 seasons I highly doubt an outbreak of vaginitis could be the cause of it all.

How do we fix this problem? Stop thinking with their tits. We want a big inning here.

14. The whole team died in a plane crash before Game 5 of the World Series

All the rest has been a world the team created so they could go on together to the next world.

Likelihood this is the reason? Been done before.

How do we fix this problem? Find a Smoke Monster with mommy issues.

If It Can Happen in the Movies…

15. Angels in the Outfield

Some brat’s father said he would only come back to take care of the kid if the Phillies failed to score 20 runs in 25 games. The kid prayed about it and now we got Christopher Lloyd rigging games so the kid can have a dad again. Unfortunately this kid has a dad worse than Bobby Boucher’s, who is more interested in big city livin’ and a voodoo woman named Phyllis.

Likelihood this is the reason? All the signs are pointing to this as a distinct possibility.

How do we fix this problem? Satanism?

16. Charlie and Jerry Manuel switched bodies

Just like in Freaky Friday, Vice Versa, Like Father Like Son, 18 Again, Prelude to a Kiss, Dream a Little Dream, Something Special or Freaky Friday, this has been known to happen. Charlie is a good manager. His half brother D-Von… not so much.

Likelihood this is the reason? The Phils look terrible while the Mets look half decent. So who knows?

How do we fix this problem? Usually by some natural remedy found in a desert, or by touching an idol, or however Corey Feldman and Jason Robards flipped back. I do not recall that film ever explaining what happened.

17. The Aliens from Space Jam Hypothesis

The aliens from Space Jam are trying to enslave the Looney Tunes once again. Only this time they are putting it all on the line in a baseball game. So naturally they took away the baseball talents of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jayson Werth among others. For some reason they also took away Greg Dobbs’s mojo at the beginning of last season. These aliens are not exactly the smartest out there, methinks. After all, they did take away the skill set of Shawn Bradley over a decade ago. Good job, guys.

Likelihood this is the reason? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe forget yourself.

How do we fix this problem? Convince the aliens that Bruntlett is the greatest baseball player out there. With him and Dobbs’s powers on their side, the Looney Tunes will pull it out.

18. Huey, Dewey, and Louie have been rigging the games

Exactly the same situation as Christopher Lloyd fixing games, only this time the boys from Ducktales got a hold of a stopwatch which allows them to stop time to rig a game played by their favorite team the Duckburg Mallards.

Likelihood this is the reason? Unless the Phils are the hated rivals of the Mallards I am not seeing Scrooge’s nephews really caring how the Phils do.

How do we fix this problem? It will be Duck Season shortly after Rabbit Season.

19. An introduction to the opposite sketches

Just like in You Can’t Do That on Television, their foul play is just a precursor to a comedic undertaking of things that do not make sense, like kids upset they do not have enough homework, or a Barthy burger that does not make you vomit.

Likelihood this is the reason? This is the one I am rooting for. Within a few days they will be back to destroying teams by 4 runs a game.

How do we fix this problem? I don’t know.

Give me a few minutes to clean the green slime off my laptop.


Khan is angry at Charlie Manuel for hitting 3 homers off him in Japan back in the 70s. He waited until now to strike back. So Khan has implanted those worms that burrow into the ear and is now in control of several key players.

Likelihood this is the reason? Even if it is, I am not worried. Charlie passed the Kobayashi Maru test way before Kirk ever did. He gon beat Khan.

How do we fix this problem? Charlie is on this. Do not worry. Unless he is really Jerry Manuel. Then we are forgetted.

There you have it. Twenty likely, unlikely, or not even remotely possible explanations as to why these Phillies cannot score on guys like RA Dickey. The good news about all this is the sooner the problem is found, the quicker they can start beating these teams again. It will happen. This team is too talented to continue sucking for more than a few weeks at a time. But until they can get past a 1-game winning streak it might not be a bad idea to buy some KFC for a live chicken sacrifice.

Just sayin.

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