Huge numbers of Phillies fans are packing the Bank, the club’s in first place, and still, I think of the Phillies as losers. Here’s a short list of losers at the helm, and I don’t mean Wes.
Dave Montgomery, CEO – I’m sure that Dave wants to win a World Series. I’m sure he feels it would be really, really nice. I think winning a World series would make Dave very happy. He would like that. Yes, he would. But I think most of us agree that with Dave, there is no URGENCY to win. It’s just so “pleasant” to be competitive, draw those huge crowds, play nine at the country club, and drink martini’s with the boys. But my God, wouldn’t we love an all-out-do everything-to-win-right-now CEO? Don’t we deserve one? Sadly, we can only conclude two things about our Dave: 1. He doesn’t have the guts to take the risks required to win. 2. He doesn’t have the smarts to win. Either gutless or incompetent. Or both. Nice.
And one more thing: this is not a young team. Their all-star trio is hovering at the tip of old baseball age. Certainly, potential for top production years is dwindling. Chase Utley will be 30 this year. Jimmy Rollins will be 30 this year. And next year, Ryan Howard will be 30. Plus, Pat Burrell, turns 32 this year, and may soon turn away from the Phillies to test free agency. No, this is not a team with a lot of time to get it done. Hey Dave, boooooooo.
Ruben Amaro, Jr., Assistant GM – Oh, this guy thinks he’s so smooth. But really, he’s transparently counterfeit. What a phony. Whenever I listen to him, I feel like I’m being “had.” He always seems to be trying sell us a used car (without an engine). I’ll bet you tons of Euros that the next time you hear Amaro interviewed, he will say three things: 1. Frankly. 2. The fact of the matter is. 3. We didn’t get to the finish line. Well, Rube, frankly, the fact of the matter is you’ve never gotten your club to the finish line. Amaro, to me, is condescending and smarmy. And utterly predictable. But he’s the prince to the G.M. throne. Bill Conlin calls him, “Gilbuckle.” I’m not sure, but I don’t that that’s a compliment. Ah well, just another UPenn boy at the gates.
Gary Matthews, an Ignorant Man. For quite some time, I thought Gary Matthews was simply stupid. But he’s not. What he is is ignorant. Stupidity you’re born with. Ignorance is a condition, a choice. As hideous as his work is, it’s obvious this guy has no interest in getting better. He obviously has never put in the time the study to improve. He makes the same mistakes over and over. He has so much room to improve you’d think it would be easy to get better. But he is quite comfortable with his gig, happy to take his money and go home. Oh, how I wish he would go home.
Tom McCarthy, a Flatulent Man. Does he never shut up? Does he think he’s on radio? McCarthy talks-talks-talks, blah-blah-blah,and is so impressed with himself. Let the game breathe, McCarthy. And while we’re at it, his in-game interruptions remain gaseous, full of hot air. A good plan might be to have “T-Mac” go to his typically far-away broadcast location, have his picture taken, not say a word, and then go back to where he started. That would serve everyone’s interests so well. Tom could be on-camera lot and lots, and we fans wouldn’t have to suffer his vacuous disruptions.
Alert! Alert!! This just in: Our dear, dear Tommy has enlightened us again. During the second inning of tonight’s Phils-Cards game (Friday, August 1st), ol’ Tom has scooped the competition. He talked about “walking around Busch Stadium and I saw lots of Cardinals fans.” Wow, really. How perfectly fascinating. Cardinals fans at a Cardinals game. Good work there, Tom.
TV Games – Television coverage of the Phillies games continues to be mottled. Most annoying, as ever, is their inconsistency with posting pitch speed. One inning, it’s shown, the next not. One pitch it’s shown, the next, not. That is so bush league. It’s so astoundingly inept.
There’s more. Do readers recall the disputed home run Ryan Howard hit weeks ago? At first it was ruled a ground-rule double, then the call was changed to a home run. I still haven’t seen a picture of Howard crossing the plate. Take a bow in the truck, boys.
While I’m at it, how about those incessant, unrelenting cutaways showing us silly shots of fans in the stands. Who cares? I want to see the players. The whole idea of showing fans cheering dates back to the first days of sports television – to show viewers the action was “live.” But now those shots come at us in oceanic waves. It’s so boring. Tedious, really.
Rob Brooks Must Be Fired Now! Bet you thought I’d forgotten. Brooks, the Phils director of broadcasting, is the man responsible for hiring the hideous Matthews, the insufferable McCarthy, and the long-gone, easily forgotten Scott (Say what?) Graham. He’s also responsible for the lack of continuity in TV broadcasts with the constant shuffling of broadcaster pairings. This guy thinks he’s re-inventing sports television. What he’s done for the last three years is to destroy the once great pleasure of watching a Phillies telecast. Entertaining, very entertaining, Robby. Thank you.
Philadelphia Sports Writers – Why is it these denizens of letters never report on any of this stuff? Both the NY Daily News and the NY Post have reporters to keep an eye on incompetence and fraudulence by sports commentators and TV executives. But not the Philly papers. Hell, maybe they should hire me. Ha!
The Daily News Strikes Out; Gary Matthews Bumbles Along; The Three Most Annoying Voices in Philly Sports; and, one more time, Who Is Rob Brooks and Why He Must Be Fired NOW!!! – Part 4
The Daily News – More Money, Less Coverage
There was a time when The Philadelphia Daily News had one of the finest sports pages in America. Now, in this writer’s opinion, they’re not even first in Philadelphia. Beat reporters like Les Bowen lack the insight, the clever phrasing, and authority fans expect, while there has yet to emerge a columnist who can carry Bill Conlin’s laptop. Give me The Inquirer’s Bob Brookover and Bob Ford every time.
Can You Find Phillies Coverage?
We can all agree the current edition of the Phillies has captured the imagination of the city. But let me ask you this: have you noticed where the News puts Phils coverage? Certainly not on the first sports page. And no, not on the second. More like the 4th or 5th. But on Tuesday, following the long awaited first game in the Red Sox series, they relegated game coverage to page EIGHT! That is simply not acceptable. Worse yet, and if you didn’t read the game account you won’t believe this, the contest was NOT reported by beat writer David Murphy, not by Paul Hagen, not by any News sports writer, but by the AP. There’s more. The piece was less than 400 words. Ridiculous and insulting. The Daily News disrespects both the team and the fans. So, as a proud Philadelphian, let me respond to the News and this conspicuous and inexcusable omission thusly: BOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! Some one needs to be fired. Or taken behind the wood shed and whooped!
Gary Matthews Flunks Another MATTH Test
The abysmal, appalling, atrocious, astonishingly inept work of alleged color commentator, Gary Matthews, just doesn’t get any better. If you love your Phillies and enjoy watching them on TV, the experience continues to be ruined by his forever incoherent babbling. Face it, he’ll never get better. He’s just plain bad, arguably the worst commentator in the entire history of sport.
I’ve written about my ever-growing contempt for his jumbled thinking, and intellectually insulting mutterings for some time now. But it’s even more important to remind folks that the determination to hire Matthews, along with other horrible decisions, was made by the Phillies director of broadcasting, Rob (I’m the smartest guy out there) Brooks. It was Brooks who hired (and, after one season on TV, fired) Scott Graham. It was Brooks who created the last year’s disaster of three men-in-the-broadcast-booth. It was Brooks who so “cleverly” decided that Tom McCarthy should make in-game “reports,” while mindlessly intruding on the action on the field.
Last night sadly served as another reminder of how aggravating “TMac’s” in game invasions are.
Maybe you’ll agree with me that one of the most exciting plays in baseball is the drag bunt for a hit. The batter taps the ball and then we watch fielder, runner, and the baseball in exciting anticipation of who wins the race. Last night, Shane Victorino dropped a beauty to the second base side of Red Sox first baseman Sean Casey, and legged it out for a single. It was sheer delight. But thanks to Rob (Hey look at me – I’m really smart) Brooks, what did we get? We got a look at TMac, sitting in the stands, rambling on about something eminently forgettable, and were denied the call by Harry Kalas. It’s revolting. It really is.
But back to Matthews and some more beauties of illogic and inarticulateness. Here are some of his “best” dim-witted remarks from the last two Red Sox games:
On Pitching: “Your number one and two have been struggling except for Hamels.” Say wha? Are we just a bit confused, Sarge? Hamels is clearly the Phils Nunber one starter and he has been brilliant. Egads.
On getting the “Sure Out”: With a runner on first and a ground ball to Ryan Howard, Howard considered throwing to second, but then got the “sure out” at first base. Matthews intoned, “You want to take that sure out, but you want that sure double play.” That’s for sure, Sarge. Existential thinking there. Impressive.
More on Pitching: With Adam Eaton pitching and struggling to keep the Phillies in the game, our ace analyst spoke, “He needs to pitch to allow his team to win.” I’d not only agree with that, I’d say Matthews has to shut up so my ears can breathe.
On Jon Lester’s Assortment of Pitches: “He has four pitches: fastball, slider and splitter. OK, let me do some rudimentary MATTH. Hmmn, that would be THREE pitches, Sarge. One. Two. Three.
Well, that’s it for me. It’s sickening enough to listen to Matthews, but it’s become even more stomach turning to recount his gaffes on this site. So, to protect my mental health, I have to retreat to my policy of earlier this season: no TV during innings 3, 4 and 5. No more Matthews. Just can’t do it anymore..
Silly Season for the Spoken Word
For those who aren’t paying attention – congratulations! You haven’t noticed that Mike Misanthropic-nelli is back on the air. I wonder if he’s still angry? Yes, I’m sure Mikie is terminally apoplectic.
John Clark – Weekend Sports Anchor, NBC10
Calrk is the most high school Harry, rah rah rah, jock sniffing “journalist” in town. If you want to win some money, make this bet about his next report following an Eagles road game: while he’s blabbing sophomoric homilies, there will be a bunch of Eagles rooters shouting behind him. Not that Clark is obvious or predictable. His next original thought will be his first.
Jan Gorham – WIP newsreader
Gorham has gotten the longest free ride in town. She is simply rude, crude, and barbaric. Gorham reads her copy with a derisive, mocking tone. Gorham is all about the cult of Gorham. And on the rare occasion when she does an interview, she poaches her unsuspecting subjects and asks demeaning questions for which there are no answers, something along the lines of, “Do you still beat your wife?” It’s time someone noticed and called her out.
Of all the dung heaps that stink-up Philly sports, nothing – nothing – could be more insulting, more sleazy, more upsetting than yesterday’s condemnation by that slime, Cataldi, the WIP talk show hack. Oh, he’s odious.
He made loathsome comments on his “Morning Show” yesterday, impugning both Tim Russert and Tiger Woods. He tramped deep into the sewage of his mind, beyond his already subterranean limits of decency. He’s a slime.
Cataldi is so completely full of himself, so puffed up with a sense of his own importance, that he feels no compunction in condemning anyone at all, just for his own amusement. This Cataldi, this slime, is a real sport.
Once, about 20 years ago, Cataldi had a pedigree. Now he needs a pedicure of the mouth. Or a punch. Where he once had a measure of respect as a beat writer for The Philadelphia Inquirer, now he resides in a bathtub full of his own mucous secretions.
That he’s loud and full of himself doesn’t mean he’s not entertaining. He often is. I admit it. Listening to Cataldi is a guilty pleasure. I can easily enjoy his harangues at the expense of pompous Philly sports owners, most particularly Jeffrey Lurie, and the mysterious, secretive, creepy Phillies landlords.
His transparent tirades, most often a huckster’s shout to boost ratings, are obvious. He is – and I say this with a touch of praise – a skilled ratings manipulator. And oh, is he ever a master of the tease. He is brilliant at peeling off a tasty morsel, holding it tantalizingly just out of reach, keeping us in his grasp while his bosses sell more soap and sleaze.
But yesterday, Cataldi gleefully tossed out piles of invective at Woods, complaining that he wasn’t really hurt, that he was milking his knee surgery for sympathy. Surely, Woods was faking it. All that limping? All that grimacing? Using his driver as a crutch? Oh, Tiger Woods, you’re such a phoney. And Cataldi’s new toady, slurping Hugh Douglas, along with the ever pliant Rhea Hughes, gushed in agreement. All together now: he’s faking-he’s faking-he’s faking! Na na na na na.
For anyone who somehow doesn’t know, Tiger Woods won the U.S. Open yesterday, having competed for 5 days and 91 holes on an obviously damaged and painful left knee. That he hadn’t even walked 18 holes since the Masters in April only underscores his achievement. On a day when his play was less than brilliant, when he was often doubled up in pain, Woods did what a transcendent athlete does: he persevered and somehow found a way to win.
And Cataldi? Cataldi does what a ratings whore does: he infects something good and makes it vulgar for his own egotistical purposes. It was an odorous, transparent attempt to boost ratings and draw attention to his own sad Self.
Here’s an approximation of what Cataldi said: “Can you name people like Tim Russert and Tiger Woods who can do anything and people won’t complain about them?” In other words, Russert and Woods have been so deified by the press that they can get away with any kind of bad behavior. The implication is that Russert and Woods could lie, cheat, and steal without ever having to own up to things. The further implication is that Russert and Woods are too privileged, too high and mighty to have to be accountable for their actions.
Cataldi’s remarks were revolting. The irony is that all of Cataldi’s accusations apply to Cataldi. Cataldi has never known what being an athlete is truly about. Being an athlete is about trying your best. It’s about willing yourself beyond seeming physical limits. It’s about never giving up regardless of circumstance. Sport is about the purity of competition, of finding the finest part of yourself. Of trying your best. Of playing fair. OK, I know, I know that sounds so corny, so hopelessly old fashioned, but it remains true. It will always be true. I don’t care about the users and abusers of performance enhancing drugs. They don’t negate the highest calling of sport: to give it all you have all the time. To respect the sport, to respect your opponent by playing hard and by playing fair.
But Cataldi, the slime, wouldn’t know about that. His conceit wouldn’t allow it. And so he attacked Tiger Woods for his own personal benefit and amusement. Cataldi delightedly belittled what most would agree was one of the finest moment in sports: Tiger Woods relentlessly and endlessly calling on his best, giving his best, in the most pressure packed, dire circumstances, while in visibly agonizing pain. My God, to watch Woods deal with pressure and physical pain was, in the truest sense of the word, awesome. It was awe-inspiring, a rare alchemy of genius and courage mixed together, forming a perfect harmony of mind and body. It was absolutely thrilling to see Woods, in ever deepening adversity, do exactly what he had to do to compete at his highest level – and win!
There’s more. Cataldi, the slime, in utter madness, also demeaned NBC-TV political analyst Tim Russert, the much beloved and stellar political analyst, who died of an apparent heart attack on June14th. Russert was also a great champion. To besmirch this man within days of his death is both horrifying and unforgiveable. By his own words, Cataldi reveals himself to be a man without ethics.
Cataldi, the slime, is man who says he had a breast reduction operation. Apparently, his doctor sliced away his decency, too.
THIS NOTE is being added on the evening after I wrote about Cataldi, the slime. We’ve just learned that Tiger Woods played the U.S. Open with a torn ACL AND with a double stress fracture of his left tibia. So, what do you say everybody, let’s all tune in tomorrow to Angelo and his sycophants for more accusations about Tiger and his “fraudulent” injury. Let’s listen again to how Tiger was so phony, faking all that pain just to gain our sympathy. I, for one, can’t wait for all the hijinks, frivolity, and yuk-yuk-yuks at the expense of a truly courageous athlete.