Thursday, March 28, 2013

March 28- Philadelphia Phillies

I don’t watch a terrible amount of television these days; however, there are a small handful of shows that I couldn’t live without: “The League,” “South Park,” “Justified” and most important “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” If you’re reading this article and you’ve never seen “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” seriously stop reading this right now and go watch all seven seasons immediately. I’m dead serious! You’re not only missing out on one of the most creative and clever shows on television, but you’re also missing out on an essential component of my dynamic.

Believe it or not I’ve seen every episode at least five times; the first through third seasons I’ve plowed through at least 20 times each.  With the exception of “The Simpsons” and maybe the short-lived “Ben Stiller Show,” never has a television program had such a profound impact on my day-to-day life. For example, the last three years of my life were spent schlepping beers and shots at a public house in Eugene, Oregon called Max’s Tavern. The really interesting things about Max’s is that

1.”The Simpsons” creator Matt Groening modeled Moe’s Tavern after Max’s as it was his old drinking hole in college, much like myself.

2. Kaitlin Olson, the actress who plays Sweet Dee Reynolds on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” also used to drink at Max’s when she went to school at the University of Oregon.

3. I just graduated from the University of Oregon and I drink at Max’s when I’m not working.

Ok, maybe that last part wasn’t interesting at all, but the first two definitely are. Almost every night behind the bar, for me at least, was like channeling Mac, Dennis and Charlie. I didn’t put up with anybody’s crap, I cleaned up after people a lot and I flirted with anything that had boobs. As for the Frank and Sweet Dee traits, I’m a pretty decent businessman and I suppose I do have some bird-like qualities. I mean, my school’s mascot is a duck. But like in the spirit of “It’s Always Sunny…,” I never really know when to shut my mouth.

For those of you who have followed me for the past year, I congratulate you. I know at times I tend to just fire some pretty out there opinions on major issues, but with that I’m also not one to flip-flop. I stand by my word. I also never stab people in the back, which I suppose is the one quality I don’t share with the gang. But, like the gang, we’re all baseball fans.

Hands down one of the funniest episodes from the show is “World Series Defense.” I’ll try to break it down: Dennis goes to court with the gang due to an insane amount of parking tickets he received while he and the gang were locked in a utility closet at the Oliday Inn (I didn’t spell that wrong) in an attempt to go through the visiting team’s secret tunnel in order watch Game 5 of the World Series after their tickets went missing. Throughout the episode we find out that Sweet Dee will try to fun onto the field when “the Phillies go up by a ton of runs in the bottom of the ninth at which Dennis and Mac will start fighting each other to create a diversion.” Yes, I see everything wrong with the sentence, but it’s all correct information. When Frank realizes he left the tickets back at his and Charlie’s apartment he, Sweet Dee and Mac go to fetch them while Charlie and Dennis go to Citizens Bank Park to scalp tickets… or con somebody out of theirs. Sweet Dee, Frank and Mac get poisoned because Frank forgot the apartment complex is spraying for bed bugs but only after Mac admitted that he’s in love with Chase Utley (like a brother), Dennis gets hit by a car trying to fake an injury after Charlie pushed him in front and then Charlie got his ass hammered by passionate Phillies fans after Charlie got big leagued by, and took down the Philly Phranetic (spelling is correct). I feel like I’m rambling on much too long on this synopsis, but I guess that’s your fault for having not seen the episode or show… if you haven’t that is. The point is, I love baseball, and I love “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” Here’s proof…

I’d say up until this point about 90% of what I wrote was merely a lead-in about my tattoo. What can I say? I can ramble at times. This hat; however, has been around since the start of the 2008 season and has served as the Phillies alternate cap for that time. One thing about this is that it’s actually a modified re-release of the team’s alternate hat from the 1994 season. The only difference is that the 1994 hat had blue panels and a blue bill. You know what? Now that I think about it, in conjunction with last night’s Detroit Tigers post, there were a lot of hats only used for a handful of games in 1994. What upsets me about this realization is that it is next to impossible to find the ’94 alternate Phillies cap. I’ve only known two people to have it: my friend Eric and fellow Cave Dweller Gordon Mack who rubbed it in my face that he had it and I didn’t. I really should have stolen it. Oh well.

As for the numbers, I have to refer to the “It’s Always Sunny…” episode “The Gang Gets Stranded in the Woods.”

#11- Actually, this one not so much. Jimmy Rollins is a hell of a ballplayer. He was drafted in the second round of the 1996 amateur draft out of Encinal High School in Alameda, California. A lot of Oakland Athletics fans, including myself, would have loved to have him on the team. It took him a while to get through the Minors, but he made his debut in 2000 and made his rookie campaign in 2001. In his first full year he went .274/14/54 with a League leading 12 triples and a League leading 46 stolen bases. Somehow those numbers weren’t good enough to finish higher than third in the National League Rookie of the Year vote. I suppose that’ll happen when you have to go against Albert Pujols.

Rollins has been a spectacular five-tool player: he’s won four Gold Glove awards at shortstop, one Silver Slugger award in 2007 and has made three All-Star Game appearances. Even though this hat debuted in 2008, it was Rollins’s 2007 that made him a top tier player in MLB. That season Rollins took home his only NL MVP of his career as he went .296/30/94 and led the League with 20 triples and a League leading 139 runs. Oh yah, he did all of this as a leadoff hitter too. Basically he put all of Lenny Dykstra’s 1993 to shame. One other import detail about Rollins is that he a 38-game hit streak that lasted the last 36 games of 2005 and the first two games of 2006.

#26- So now I have to re-establish the episode “The Gang Gets Stranded in the Woods.” Frank donated a ton of money to the SPCA and they decided to reward Frank for his service by throwing a reception in Atlantic City. Frank was also able to spring for Chase Utley and Ryan Howard to make an appearance at the party as well. I should point out that the whole reason Frank did this was to flaunt his leather suit and tell the SPCA off; however, Frank hates to pay tolls and decided to take all the back roads from Philly to AC at which Mac caused them to veer off the road as a squirrel ran out into the road. Only Dennis and Charlie decide to go for help at which the two run across a shady truck driver played by Tom Sizemore. Yaaaaahhhh… after he gets them to AC he offers to “tender their services” in the form of “opening him up like a coconut.” Use your imagination. Anyway, Dennis and Charlie make it to the hotel where the party is at and the two take on the roles of Frank (Charlie) and Mac (Dennis). And then this happened…

Dennis sends the photo he took to Mac and he becomes upset. As for Utley, he’s had a pretty solid little career. He was the 15th overall pick by the Phillies in the 2000 amateur draft out of UCLA and made his MLB debut three years later. As Mac said in the first video, Utley certainly is a power-hitting second baseman, a rare quality. His best years were from 2005-2010 as he finished in the Top-15 for NL MVP voting in all of those years except 2010 and he made the All-Star team every year except for 2005. Funny. He’s a career .288 hitter and has so far tagged 199 home runs and 739 RBI. He’s led the Majors in hit-by-pitch three years in a row from 2007-2009 and is arguably one of the most liked players in Phillies history. This is saying a lot because Phillies fans are ruthless.

One thing I wanted to happen during my time in the Fan Cave was to meet Utley so I could talk to him about what his initial thoughts were on the subject of Mac's man-crush. Very rarely do we ever get insight from a player's mind when they are referenced in pop culture, kind of like the guy who made the Madden video of Green Bay Packers' wide receiver Greg Jennings "putting the team on his back" and scoring a touchdown with a broken leg. Jennings took it lightly and had fun with it. I could only hope Utley would do the same. I even thought having Utley write a letter back to Mac would have been funny. It could go either way: embracing it or being creeped out by it.

#6- Sweet Dee prefers the company of Ryan Howard compared to the rest of the Phillies. Who could blame her? The guys rakes! Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Howard was a fifth round draft pick for the Phillies in the 2001 amateur draft out of Missouri State. This has always boggled me because with the power he possesses what the hell were the other schools thinking? In 2004 he got his September call-up and played 19 games in the Show and hit two home runs in 39 at-bats. In 2005 he played in 88 games and went .288/22/63, which was good enough for the NL Rookie of the Year award. Not too shabby for only half of a season.

Howard proved he was a marquis player the following season as he hit .313 with a League high 58 home runs and a League high 149 RBI which were more than enough to get the votes for the NL MVP. I should point out that he struck out 181 times that season as well, and he still hit .313. Wow! From 2007-2011 Howard made the Top-10 in NL MVP voting and he has made the All-Star team three times in his career. Howard currently sits at 300 home runs and is #134 on the most ever home run list and you can see him all year long plugging Subway sandwiches; which reminds me of how hungry I am.

Obviously all three guys got World Series rings in 2008, at which I think all three can pool some cash together and help Dennis pay for his parking tickets. Something that always confused me why he never brought that up in front of Howard and Utley when considering that they gang will fire off about anything important to them no matter who is in front of them. Kangaroo court!!!

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