Thursday, April 17, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Did Phils fans hold up their end?

The Phillies stumbling start has obscured another stumbling start: Ours. At least ye who vacated your much sought after seats before the final pitch this week.

Did Phils fans hold up their end?

The Phillies may have gotten off the a lethargic start, but their fans seem to be asleep at the wheel as well. (Charles Fox / Staff File Photo)
The Phillies may have gotten off the a lethargic start, but their fans seem to be asleep at the wheel as well. (Charles Fox / Staff File Photo) INQ FOX

The Phillies' stumbling start has obscured another stumbling start:

Ours.

At least ye who vacated your much sought after seats before the final pitch this week. You know who you are.

Sure there was not much offense and not much to cheer about over the first 2 ½ games. And if you left early Wednesday because it was 10-3 and dinner time, well, OK.

When is it OK to leave a game early?
Bad weather
Phils are getting crushed
Early work in the morning
Have to get kids to bed
Beat the traffic
Never

But as they showed in those final three innings, and throughout September and October, four runs is insufficient reason to bail. Especially if you were one of those cornering me all winter with your wistful stories, or one of those who vowed to cut them some slack, to stick with them thick and thin.

To those who stayed til the end in any or all of those games, a pat on the back. For you others, there are 78 games left to seek redemption.

Bobby Cox said he had never before seen a game like Wednesday’s before, and maybe that’s true. But he saw one that was damn close, against the same team, two seasons ago.

Sept. 5, 2007, Turner Field. Perhaps you remember. The Phillies led 8-2 entering the eighth as Tom Gordon took the mound. Chipper Jones doubled, three singles followed that, and when Phillies closer Brett Myers took the mound with one out, the score was 8-3.

Myers uncorked a wild pitch, walked Yunel Escobar, allowed an RBI single, walked another batter and the Braves pulled to within 8-6 before the fire died – temporarily. The Braves completed the 9-8 comeback victory with three runs in the ninth as Myers surrendered a bases-loaded one-out triple to Matt Diaz.

Another reason to love Brad Lidge: Staked to an insurance run in the eighth inning Wednesday, he challenged Matt Diaz on a 1-1 count rather than fall behind him. With a two-run lead, in a game that had already swung dramatically via walks, it’s one of the subtle attributes of Lidge. He’s about the game more than the numbers.

Diaz hit a home run. Lidge then used some October sliders to retire rookie Jordan Schafer on a ground out and strike out the free swinging Garrett Anderson to end the game.

Sad but true: A South Jersey high school pitcher threw 189 pitches in a game Wednesday. Penns Grove senior Don Haines, who walked 10 batters in a 15-8 victory over Woodstown, said he struggled with command of the strike zone.

Clearly Penns Grove coach Jim Halter struggled with command of his senses.

At the risk of pointing out the obvious, THIS IS A REALLY BAD IDEA!!!!

Under any circumstances.

Haines is headed to Rowan University. How would you like to be the head baseball coach there, and read that?

The coach explained to a reporter that he had a reliever ready in the sixth inning, but the kid didn’t want to leave the mound. What that tells me is that the kid is a gamer. He should have plenty of years to prove that in college and if reports of his high 80s velocity are true, maybe even as a pro.

Again, stating the obvious, this episode should never be repeated again. By any high school coach. Or college coach.

Or any coach.


 

Sam Donnellon Daily News Sports Columnist
About this blog
Donnellon's career began in Biddeford, Me., in 1981, and has included stops in Wilkes-Barre, Norfolk, and New York, where he worked as a national writer for the short-lived but highly acclaimed National Sports Daily. He has received state and national awards at each stop and since joining the Daily News in 1992 has been honored by the Associated Press Sports Editors, the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association, the National Association of Black Journalists, the Associated Press Managing Editors of Pennsylvania and the Keystone Awards. He and his wife of 26 years have raised three fine children, none of whom are even the least bit impressed with the above. E-mail Sam at donnels@phillynews.com
Reach Sam at donnels@phillynews.com.

Sam Donnellon Daily News Sports Columnist
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