I had the opportunity to do a question and answer session with Philadelphia Phillies blogger Justin Klough, lead writer for Thatballsouttahere.com, Fansided’s Phillies blog. We preview the series with a set of questions for each other.
My interview can be read here. Justin’s Q&A is continued on the next page.
Venom Strikes: So what’s up with the Phillies? They looked like a team that was going to win the NL East with a fight in April when they blew through Phoenix. Now they are just plain running away with the thing. What’s changed since then?
That Balls Outta Here: I’ve developed an interest in obscure Super Nintendo games. I discovered Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears. I attempted and failed to learn Italian. I actually started reading issues of NatGeo before the next one came in the mail. I walked on the infield dirt at Citizens Bank Park. The debt ceiling was heightened. Philadelphia imposed a 9 pm curfew for teenagers because they kept punching people.
VS: Who would you consider the Phillies MVP at this point? They seem to be loaded with talent all over the place.
TBOH: The easy answer is Roy Halladay, or Cliff Lee, or Cole Hamels. But there have been extended streaks of glory from a variety of sources. I want to say Shane Victorino, with his .300+ batting average. He solidifies a strong middle core and is now best buds with Hunter Pence. Ooh, Hunter Pence! He’s like a deer that learned how to swing.
VS: Is it true, fans at Citizens Park are allowed to stand along the bullpen walls to watch pitchers warmup? They frown upon that kind of thing in Arizona. 97 year old ushers like to tell you where your place is at Chase Field.
TBOH: FUN FACT: There actually is no security at Citizens Bank Park. We do whatever we want. If an old man tried to escort somebody to their seat, they’d probably push him down the stairs because this is Philadelphia and WE KNOW WHERE OUR F*****G SEATS ARE, PA KETTLE. LET’S START A FLASH MOB. THIS IS HAPPENING.
VS: So, Shane Victorino. What’s his deal? Why does he keep winning the All-Star final vote and why doesn’t anyone vote for him before that?
TBOH: He’s the same in a playoff series. You get people so worked up about Halladay-Lee-Hamels-Oswalt and to a lesser extent, Utley-Howard-Rollins, but there’s Shane, cartwheeling around the outfield and getting on base and shit. I think it takes a whittled-down list for people to remember Shane, but when they see his name and look up his stats they remember that hey; this is a Hawaiian speed demon with an above average arm (In MLB 2K11: The Show, he’s got cartoonishly dominant range from center field) who can lead a team in triples by a wide margin. Plus, other teams hate him because he’s so twitchy. It’s great.
VS: Can the Phillies run through the playoffs again all the way to the World Series, especially if they have to go through San Francisco, who still has a great shot of getting in?
TBOH: Well, no matter who they play, they’ll be playing someone with at least a DECENT shot of getting in. The playoffs are like a second season that is played right after the first one, but much shorter and filled with constant panic. You spend 162 games getting in, but the last few years in Philly have taught us that the trick is staying in. Like breaking into someone’s house, realizing they’re home, and somehow convincing them to let you hang out.
VS: Any chance of rain this week? It rained cats and dogs this weekend back east. It never rains here and when it does, we have a roof. I want to play baseball this week. Does a chance of rain improve the chances of Arizona getting out of Philly without more than 2 losses?
TBOH: Probably, but I’ve never seen Ruben Amaro allow rain to affect a game in two consecutive series. He was merely distracted this past weekend while pulling the trigger on big market signings of Jack Cust and Dave Bush.