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I'm Not Angry, I'm From Philly

That wasn't what the Phillies were saying today, although they certainly could have been; it was on the front of a T-shirt that looked like this one, on a guy I suppose was, well, from Philly.

That was only one of quite a number of very odd things I saw at the ballpark during this series, not to mention odd happenstances. The Cubs beat the Phillies 11-2 this afternoon; that was the highest-scoring game (13 total runs) of the series. It was also the fastest -- two hours, twenty-one minutes -- and by a substantial margin at that. (The next-shortest was last night's, which went 2:37.)

Odd sight: last night, a guy sitting down the RF line, near the Cub bullpen, wearing a Cub home pinstripe replica jersey reading "AARDSMA 54". Now, there aren't any of those on general sale -- it had to be a special order, and those aren't the official game jerseys this year, either. Mike & I figured it must have been his family; the guy wearing the shirt was a fifty-something guy, so it might well have been his dad.

Odd sight today: a boy, about four, and his dad and grandparents, sat in front of us, and the kid pretty much took over the section as if it were his own. Mike & I, sitting by ourselves today on a day when large thunderstorms were all around the Chicago area, but left the ballpark area by 10 am, laughed when the kid pulled out money, flagged down a water vendor and bought himself a $3 bottle of water.

Odd sight today: the Cubs scoring runs at will, hitting the ball all over the ballpark, and getting outstanding pitching from both Carlos Zambrano and Jae-Kuk Ryu -- only eight hits and one walk given to the Phillies.

The Cubs homered four times -- Michael Barrett (tying his career high with his 16th), Aramis Ramirez (who had a triple, single and homer in his first 3 AB and then flied out and grounded out in an attempt to hit a double for the cycle), Phil Nevin (back-to-back with Aramis), and Angel Pagan all left the yard, and after Z had yet another shaky first inning, giving up two hits, his only walk and a run, he slammed the door, allowing only two harmless hits through seven innings. In that seventh, he knocked down Jose Hernandez' (yes, THAT Jose Hernandez -- he pops up everywhere, doesn't he?) bouncer back to the mound and couldn't get it to first in time. Z stayed in the game, as the next hitter was the pitcher, Fabio Castro; Castro, who had had exactly one major league at-bat before today, had a seven-pitch AB before finally hitting into an inning-ending DP. That got Z to 103 pitches, not a ridiculous number for him; given the 11-2 lead, he was removed as a precaution, and Jae-Kuk Ryu threw two fairly decent innings in relief -- although, why Dusty chose him is beyond me; Ryu was a possibility to take Ryan O'Malley's turn on Sunday night in St. Louis, and now he won't be available. As noted in this article, other possibilities for Sunday night include Wade Miller (though he got hit pretty hard last night in Des Moines), Jerome Williams, or Sean Marshall, who's just about ready to return. Choosing Marshall would be a neat bookend on this rotten season -- his major league debut, as you may remember, was on a Sunday night in April vs. the Cardinals, and he threw credibly in a game the Cubs eventually won on a Michael Barrett grand slam.

The above-linked article also has this Dusty Baker quote:

"On-base percentage is great if you can score runs and do something with that on-base percentage," Baker said. "Clogging up the bases isn't that great to me. The problem we have to address more than anything is the home run problem."

There's so much wrong here I don't even know where to begin. There's that "clogging up the bases" thing again, and I simply cannot understand why Baker cannot see how getting runners on base via walks is a GOOD thing. It obviously results in tons of runs scored for Cub opponents, when Cub pitchers issue the ridiculous number of walks that they do. There's more discussion of this issue in this diary.

Baker IS right about the power -- the Cubs have been outhomered 168-128 this year (and at home it's even more ridiculous, 101-62; both of those numbers include today's four) -- but if there aren't any runners on base, more homers are only going to produce one run at a time.

I think that this sort of statement is a reaction to many of us, who DO understand the "Moneyball" theory -- which didn't start with "Moneyball", but that's how a lot of "inside baseball" people view it -- and a lot of "inside baseball" people don't like to be told that the way they've always viewed the game is wrong. I'm not DEFENDING Baker for his views here, only trying to explain why I think he has them. Dusty is 57 years old and has been managing for a long time. The game has, I think, passed him by. It's time for him to go.

A couple of site notes: You'll notice there are now "Sections", next to the title of each post I make here. I've added "Game Threads", "Recaps", and "Movie Reviews" to the section categories. If any of you can think of other "sections" you'd like to see, let me know. The purpose of this is that if you would click on the section name, you'd see all the posts made to that section -- i.e. all the game threads, or all the recaps, etc. Unfortunately, I can't make this retroactive, so it starts today.

Finally, there was a bit of controversy this morning over a question about the ad on the left sidebar entitled "Did 9/11 Really Have To Happen?" There were some who wanted to start a political discussion about this, and I stopped it. I have made a conscious decision to NOT allow politics here, because I know for a fact that my politics differ from many of yours, and that's OK -- we're here to discuss the Cubs and baseball (and occasionally, tangents into pop culture), and I don't want politics dividing us. I hope you'll be understanding of that. The ad in question is running across the entire SB Nation network -- I had nothing to do with it and have no control over it. The revenue from such ads does NOT go to me -- only the BCB-specific ads seen under "BCB Sponsors" does -- that revenue goes to maintain and upgrade SB Nation servers, etc. If you want to comment to The Powers That Be, go to the SB Nation home page (link above) and click "Contact Us". I have amended the BCB Community Guidelines to reflect my views on political advertising on this site.

The kicker to all of that is -- that's not a political ad. It's an ad for an upcoming show on Court TV examining the attacks.

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