A Phantom, Real Life, Let’s Pretend Interview with Chase Utley or An Ode to Utley or Ima Love da UT!
This is a transcript of a real life, not really, I’m pretending, but coulda been true, interview with Chase Utley. The interviewer writes a blog named, “PhillyMediaSports”, and is known far but not so wide as “JJ.”
JJ – Tell me, Chase, about the amazing four home run game you just had.
CU – I’d like to thank the Marucci Bat Company for the work they did in making the bats to specifications. Without them, it wouldn’t have been possible.
JJ – Yeah, but Chase, you’re the one that hit the ball.
CU – That’s something that came about because of the great job our BP pitcher did today. He was grooving nothing but strikes.
JJ – Seriously, aren’t you gonna take credit for this amazing accomplishment?
CU – It’s a team game, and with Ryan Howard hitting behind me in the clean up spot, it makes the pitchers throw more fastballs to whoever is hitting ahead of him.
JJ – Well, Chase, all four homers landed in exactly the same section in the right field bleachers. You must have been totally locked-in.
CU – I have to thank Milt and Chuck for all the help they give me.
JJ – Let’s switch to another topic. You recently had a few games where you made some bad throws. Some people thought you were about to get “Steve Sax Disease,” but you seem to be on target now.
CU – I don’t think I ever had any problem throwing the ball, but if I had, Sam Perlozzo would have done a fine job helping me out.
JJ – You’ve put together some amazing numbers, and if you continue at the present pace, you could wind up in the Hall of Fame.
CU – That’s something I don’t think about. We’re just playing one game at a time and trying our best to win every day.
JJ – But surely you’re aware of the incredible success you’ve had.
CU – We are only interested in team success and in winning ball games. As long as Jimmy and Shane keep getting on base, RBI opportunities are gonna be there for Ryan, Jayson and Raul. I just do my best to try to contribute.
JJ – Well, Chase, thanks so much for taking time to give me this interview. It was a pleasure.
CU – Oh, don’t thank me. You’re the one who came up with the questions.
JJ – How true. I was terrific.
(more to follow)
We love our Fightin’ Phils. But here we are in November, with Christmas wrapping paper and candy canes already in stores, and we’re not quite ready to wrap up the season. No, not yet, not for two more games, both ending in “W’s.” But, there’s still plenty of annoying stuff going on.
One Vulgar New Yorker
Unlike many locals, I harbor no particular disgust for New York fandom. Ok, I lied, I despise them just like all of us.
During Game 3 of the World Series, I had great seats, six rows behind the Homie’s dugout. And it was great fun for three innings as the boyz led and Cole Hamels was in control. But then, calamity struck, the Yankees pulled ahead, and all the fun was sucked out of the ball yard.
At the exact time that the Yankees took the lead, I became aware of a horrible-sounding voice behind me. I turned around and saw what I can only describe as a truly ugly man wearing a faded blue ball cap, with white “NY” emnbroidered on it, shouting profanities in the general direction of the Phils dugout, and yucking it up.
Where did he come from? He hadn’t been there before. He was the living, breathing caricature of the prototypical New York fan. Obnoxious with a capital “O.” He was full of himself, loud and vulgar, and was rubbing the Yankees sudden success in our faces. I took it for awhile, but when he began making cell phone calls, bragging that he had “snuck into an empty seat in row 7,” I flipped. I jumped from my seat, found an usher, reported the dude, and within minutes, whimpering like a girlie man, he was removed from the district. See ya,twerp. Buh-bye.
Championship Team, Expansion Team Cheerleading
It all started, I think, with the founding of the American Football League. When the league was formed and had second rate players and third rate stadiums, they introduced the clarion”Charge” call, to alert the unknowing local yokels of when to cheer. Fifty years later, the poison has spread throughout sportsdom like swine flu. Now, scoreboard operators and their staffs have become glorified, cheerleading DJ’s. Where I find this most objectionable is when they find the fans too dumb, or apathetic, at least, to know when to cheer. Scoreboards light up with instructions to “Get Loud,” or “Make Noise.”
It’s the kind of thing you’d expect to find in an expansion town, or at the least, San Diego, but certainly not on the east coast. That’s why I was horrified to see the Citizen’s Bank scoreboard explode with directions to GET LOUD, and to MAKE NOISE at Game 3 of the Series. All the theatrics of modern faux extravaganza’s came into play: flashing lights, changing colors, exploding stars, all urging us, the ignorant masses, to cheer – as if we were too dumb to know, or maybe too passive to care. Insulting, unnecsssary, putrid theatrics, and at the core, disrespectful of the gathered faithful.
I only want two things from scoreboards: easily accessible, useful information, and as many replays as possible. Oh, a third desire is to be entertained before the game with highlight packages and mini-documentaries of great Phillies accomplishments.
Instead, what we get in Philly is a scoreboard whose graphics are poorly designed and inaccessible at a glance. It’s busy, confusing and disconcerting. Where is the pitch count? Oh, now I see it, over there. Where are balls and strikes? Uh oh, no time to look the ball’s in play. There are a lot of lousy graphic designers out there in the world who have no sense of order or proportion, and apparently we’ve got a contingent of them at the Bank.
One More Thing
A lot of fans got to the ball park early. I was with a huge crowd waiting for the gates to open at 5:05 P.M. on Saturday afternoon. For the next two hours, the Phillies Jumbotron featured a swirling mess of incomprehensible activity which, after intense scrutiny, could be deciphered as a kind of space station featuring moving Phillies and Yankees logos. Around and around they moved, over and over again, ad nauseum. I’ve posted a picture. Take a look.
WIP’s Howard Eskin and Ike Reese Show
This is painful. It is not going to last. We were told that Eskin’s ratings had dropped and that he’d need to have a sidekick to bolster his afternoon drive-time standing. And so Reese won the prize. To my way of thinking this was no prize, it was a demotion. After all, Reese had his own show at 7P.M.
So what have we now? A mismatch of sub-epic proportions. Eskin completely dominates Reese making Reese an afterthought to the proceedings. Eskin is all too obvious in his contempt for the situation and, instead of inviting Reese’s participation, ices him out. Reese tries and tries to jump in, kind of like Celine Dion trying to upstage Aretha Franklin, but guess what? It ain’t gonna happen. Not now, not later, not ever.
And worse, in a vainglorious attempt to get his foot in the door of Eskin’s superiority, Reese has rendered himself an idiot. Yesterday, he aimed his full quiver of arrows at Jimmy Rollins, condemning Rollins at length for his poor performance. It was small minded, self aggrandizing, and a pathetic effort to find footing on Eskin’s stage. It was a hollow attempt and it failed. It made Reese all the smaller.
Eskin obviously resents the situation. He sees Reese as an intruder and because of this, Eskin will torpedo the show. This show will not survive. Something must change. But Eskin is too smart and too clever to go down with the ship. I’m betting Eskin has his agent out there right now, scouring TV and radio stations, for a new gig. He surely knows his show is going down and he is going to bail as soon as he can. Vai Sikehema, watch your back.