Sportsattitudes Mailbox – 11/16/11 Edition

The fictional mail box is full once again…time to respond to more questions I put there…

Q. Big news in your neck of the woods with the signing of Jonathan Papelbon, huh?  What are your thoughts about the Phillies signing him to what makes him the second highest-paid closer in baseball to Mariano Rivera?

A. Let me begin my answer with a quote from Phillies’ GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. “Four years is a little uncomfortable.  But for a player like this, a person who’s had this type of pedigree, this type of background of success, sometimes you got to go the extra mile to do that.” Um…that’s once expensive extra mile, Ruben.  And how nice of you to share your being uncomfortable with the deal after making it.  Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer calculates if our new closer pitches the total number of innings (268 2/3) from his four prior years in Boston over the length of the contract Ruben just uncomfortably gave him, the Phillies will pay him $62,035 per out.  (For reference purposes, Matt offers that Roy Halladay earned $28,530 for each out he recorded last season)  Soooo…Matt wonders if we might all wonder if the money spent here might have been better spent on a position or positions that will have a greater effect on the outcome of the next 600+ games they play.  Needless to say, the Philadelphia Phillies have now proven they are going to continue to print money in the bowels of Citizens Bank Park and finances are of no concern.  The team has regressed one slot each year since winning it all in ’08…losing a World Series, a League Championship Series and a Divisional Series.  I don’t know if anyone noticed, but pitching didn’t seem to be the stumbling block.  Manager Charlie Manuel has been not-so-quietly howling for some professional hitters for some time now, guys who make contact in the clutch.  There are issues with age, health and most especially…light hitting when the games are tight and the pitchers are first-class.  With arguably the best rotation in baseball, maybe Ruben would have been more comfortable getting a deal with a capable closer, not necessarily the best one available.  And as for Poupon – the name I have given him for purposes of this blog – I find him high-strung, highly embarrassing in his demeanor and therefore highly unwelcome.  I’m a Barry Sanders guy…score a touchdown…act like you’ve done it before…toss the ball to the nearest official and jog off the field.  Poupon is 180 degrees from that.  He acts like a psycho for doing his job.  I like people who play with passion, not go over the top with it.  I know calm, incumbent closer Ryan Madson was asking for a ton of cash also and barely has proven he is worth such an amount.  It would be laughable to compare his resume to Poupon.  However, being the fastest to 200 saves in major league history and being 32 on opening day might indicate the Phils have just compensated Poupon for the backend of his career.  Madson is essentially the same age but the wear-and-tear on the tires…not so much.  Poupon gets $50,000,058 (the 58 on the end is ego for his jersey number…another indication of why he’ll be known as Poupon).  Ruben, quite frankly…I’m uncomfortable too.  Let’s see what you do with the next dollars coming off your printing press and see if you actually address more critical needs than a closer.  Can’t wait to see the Phillies’ clubhouse next season with this time bomb in it…

Q. Sticking with baseball, what do you think about the Washington Nationals’ Catcher Wilson Ramos being kidnapped in his native Venezuela.  Great to hear he’s OK, huh?

A. Yes, it is.  Until I heard he’s staying there and planning on playing in the Venezuela League.  Maybe it’s just me, but when you are taken at gunpoint and held for two days before police and national military can track you down and free you in an all-out, to-the-death gun battle, you might want to consider a second option.  Leaving Venezuela.  And as for all the expense incurred in tracking down his abductors and freeing Wilson, please bill the Nationals.  And when he gets kidnapped again, call the Nats first to see if they’re willing to incur additional charges.  Make sure they know they have to pay extra for dead people.

Q. What the heck was going on during that national televised game last week with your hometown Philadelphia Flyers and the Tampa Bay Lightning?  The Flyers wouldn’t advance the puck because the Lightning wouldn’t come after it? 

A. Indeed, it appears the neutral zone trap is back in fashion in certain cities and opponents are once more getting fed up with the lack of forechecking that makes it so successful.  Some folks on Twitter took to calling it “Occupy Hockey.”  I understand at the General Managers meeting next month they are going to discuss the “situation”…primarily because Philadelphia decided to “call out” Tampa Bay for, as Flyers’ Captain Chris Pronger puts it…sending the game “back to the stone ages.”  The funny thing was reading all the local coverage of quotes from Flyers who said how much they felt for the fans that had to watch.  They were saying how it couldn’t have been much fun to view at home…and certainly was no fun to play.  So play.  You started this.  You have the puck.  Outplay, Outskate, Outwit.  Figure it out.  What are you going to do next, NHL…outlaw defense?  Hell, why don’t you just eliminate the goalie position and get on with it.  And that goes for the shootouts, too.

Q. Did you see TCU bust Boise State’s BCS bid on Saturday?

A. Oh, I scheduled my day around seeing that game.  I knew it would be a thriller and it passed even my wildest expectations.  Back and forth, big play after big play.  Of course both of these teams would lose a couple of games if they played in the SEC each year…but they’d also get the best of the big boys on occasion just like they have in bowl games when they get the opportunity.  Every time I see Horned Frogs’ HC Gary Patterson get interviewed he impresses me more and more.  Even in the excitement of the last-second, 36-35 win, he took as much time to praise Boise State’s program, coaches and kids as much as his own.  I loved his decision to go for two after scoring a TD with just 1:05 left.  It was the right call at the right moment.  You don’t play on that mind-numbing blue turf before those rabid, ravenous rooters and not go for the kill shot right then and there.  I think the most impressive thing about Patterson at game’s end was he did not look or sound irate about the horrendous phantom pass interference call that gave the Broncos one final FG attempt at the gun.  It would have been the most replayed “highlight” from the weekend had Boise State been able to boot the winning points.  For TCU, proof their program is still among the best after a rough start in 2011.  For Boise State, poof goes the BCS championship dream for another year but like TCU…proof their program is worthy of a top bowl game…as usual.


About sportsattitudes

I'm Bruce. Born, raised and still outside the City of Brotherly Love. Managed (so far) to visit a dozen of our United States and Canada (twice). Addicted from birth to Television/Movies/Sports. Took three years of French and got credit for two of 'em.
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16 Responses to Sportsattitudes Mailbox – 11/16/11 Edition

  1. tophatal says:

    So Papelbon is on to his next big payday ? Hopefully he’ll as productive for the Phillies as he has been for the Red Sox . If not then this move could come back to bite the organization in the rear end .

    I see that Scott Boras has issued an eight page glossary as to the benefits of signing his client Prince Fielder ? Those must be some wonderful picture don’t you think apart from the stats . This is about to become the silly season with regard to the off-season of baseball . Let’s see which GM’s and owners will be duped into over paying for talent .

    If at all interested merely click on the link to view .

    A Game For The Ages Or Not …

    The Silly Season ……. Well It’s Baseball Isn’t It ?

    Off topic somewhat but my skin is still crawling from Sandusky’s interview with NBC’s Bob Costas !

    tophatal …………….


  2. toosoxy says:

    I am so over Papel-bum. Over it.


  3. chappy81 says:

    I think you forgot a question. What’s up with all these changes in the new MLB CBA?!?! They had one of the best postseasons in awhile from an entertainment aspect, and now they’re blowing it all up! I guess I like the idea of 10 teams in the playoffs, but hopefully they lighten up the schedule so there’s somewhere like 130-140 games…

    We’ll see how Papelcock does. I have to admit, I love seeing him fail because of his losing face just cracks me up.


    • The “letter” sent to me about the MLB CBA must be in the back of the mailbox somewhere…anyhoo…I have not fully digested the ramifcations and even saw USA Today had compiled a proposed schedule to manage 15 teams in each league, 10 teams in the playoffs, etc. Gotta do more research but I share your concerns. Papelcock > Poupon? Perhaps your nickname has more merit…mine is designed to express unnecessary expense…it’s just spicy mustard people.


      • chappy81 says:

        Yeah, I wouldn’t put too many thoughts in writing on the MLB until they make it final, then it’s time to analyze away!

        The only reason I think that’s what Papel’s face would look like if he saw someones junk. Horror mixed with almost crying!


  4. Longworth72 says:

    Agree with your question marks on Papelbon. I like him as a good reliever but do the Phillies need him as a closer? In 2011 he saved 31 of 34 (18th on # of saves). Madsen did 32 of 34 (16th on # of saves). Throw in the manufactured wildman closer thing (Spot on with the Sanders example) and I’d be nervous about $50 over 4. Would have been nervous if the Sox had tried to match that.

    It comes across a little as getting someone on the roster just to be saying we got this guy on the roster. Like you say, some run production might have been a better investment. Either way I guess, I wish him and the Phillies a happy union – Hope it works out.


    • Agree with all your points on the Phillies’ new closer. God, that creeps me out just typing that. And you are spot on with the comment “comes across a little as getting someone on the roster just to be saying we got this guy on the roster.” Couldn’t have said that any better. We got the great Red Sox closer who has been there before. Great. Is that going to help US get there? Thanks for stopping by!


  5. tophatal says:


    Soon to be newly installed Astros’ owner Jim Crane was heard to make a comment that he will do his utmost to make that team a competitive one and at least now make the AL West more exciting . Well that just made my day now I can look forward to who will become the next ” Mr Kim Kardashian” .

    So the Dodgers lay out $160 million to Matt Kemp ? Was that meant to be the last parting gift from Frank McCourt ?

    tophatal …..


    • I’m still trying to figure out the discount on the purchase price to the Astros for “moving” to the American League. Is that to pay the “movers?” Does the stadium have to be “moved?”


      • tophatal says:


        Jime Crane pays $680 million to purchase the Astros and then by way of a “thank you” the MLB hierarchy kicks back in excess of $50 million so that he can move the team . Now I fully appreciate how much Selig assisted Jeffrey Loria when he dumped the Expos and then got a “sweetheart deal” to purchase the Florida Marlins . ‘nough said !

        The baseball hierarchy make the drug cartels of Colombia and Mexico seem like paragons of damn virtue in some ways . I know that they haven’t yet resorted to killing innocent victims but hell the fans are being made to suffer at times with a really bad on the field product .

        tophatal ……


  6. After watching the great series with the Phillies and the Cardinals, it did not appear that the Phillies needed any more pitching. Pitching is not what lost them the series, it was their poor hitting. The signing of Poupon (I just love that) seems kind of strange for a team needs a big bat…Pujous?

    Hockey (is) was a great sport until they started tinkering with every aspect of the game. While hockey will always be my favorite sport because of the speed and agility of the players, the game is just not what it used to be. Take out the instigater rule, widen the ice surface, let the players pay the game. The game is so different from the days of Bobby Clarke (who I respected but dispised in St. Louis)…now we have ‘Traps’, 1-3-1, shoulder pads that linebackers would use, players weaving back and forth in the corners. Players who can’t take a clean hit without getting up and starting a fight. Let’em skate, let’em hit…let’em make plays. Hockey is turing into the Ice Capades


    • Indeed, Chris…the Phillies have several real needs that have kept them from winning it all the last few years and it seems all we focus on is pitching. They don’t appear to even be interested in bidding on bats. Time will tell and they might shock us, but Poupon (thank you) appears to be the “big get” for the team. Regarding hockey, I now see the NHL wants to “talk” about protecting the goalies like quarterbacks in football. Another sign that sport is headed in the wrong direction. The first thing they need to do is worry about calling it on the ice as it happens if the hit is so illegal…not just a couple minutes in the box. Hockey indeed is turning into an “Ice Show” rather than the game we’ve grown up with. Thanks for commenting!


  7. tophatal says:


    If at all interested let me know what you think as it relates to Fielder and Pujols and the money both are said to be seeking as free agents ?

    Take It For What It Is !

    So Tebow is now producing miracles in Denver ? When he turns water into wine I think that it’ll be time to bow down and hail him ! The Jets ……… damn !

    tophatal ……


  8. FireDannyAinge says:

    Define successful? Blowing two huge games against the BALTIMORE ORIOLES that your team needed to make the playoffs= NOT successful.

    Sorry he made some great saves 3 years ago. He has done almost nothing the last 3 years.
    I know I sound like someone that is not appreciating him because he is gone but that isn’t even close to being the truth.

    I have been bashing him since he told us he was saving his arm because he wanted a pay day.

    Hey Bruce,
    Did you read that recent article on Paul Pierce. I wrote about it on my blog. It’s too funny.


  9. Pingback: The 2015 Joe Shlabotnik Award – Major League Baseball’s Bad, Worse And Worst | sportsattitudes

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