As each of the division champions and wild-card teams are determined, Big League Stew asks World Series hopefuls to issue a formal acceptance speech and explain why they're the team that will be hoisting The Commissioner's Trophy in late October. Next up to bat are the Philadelphia Phillies, who clinched the NL East on Saturday with a 4-3 win over Washington.
Mr. Commissioner, Gentleman Dave Montgomery, Chairman Giles, the Phantom Five, the Prince of Passyunk (Phillie Phanatic), General Manager Gillick, Mr. Balboa and Adrian, Michael Jack Schmidt, Skipper Manuel, the Loving Brothers and Sisters of Philadelphia, the Broad Street Bullies and one provolone wit'.
Happy now, Philly pholks? We told 'ya the Mets knew they couldn't compete with the Fightins', that they weren't as good, and will you look what happened? They choked on their cannoli again, and who was there to scoop up the NL East title for a second year in a row? You're darned right we accept it, are you kidding? Gimme that!
Not that we should be too happy with ourselves, oh Legions of Luzinski. Winning this championship, which we undeniably deserve and won't give back, so get out of our face, took 1,000 years off our collective lives. We have some of the best players in baseball, we're talking the top superstars in the game, and each of them apparently felt like they needed a little vacation right in the middle of what should have been work time!
(Pause for applause and a few going, "Give us Barabbas!")...
Ryan Howard can be the most devastating force in the NL. We're not here without him, friends. But we might have clinched this sucker by Labor Day if his swing didn't have a hole the size of a New York subway rat in it during the first half of the season. Ryan, we know it's a marathon and not a sprint but the first 15 miles counts for something, too, now make like Jimmie Foxx and hit us 55 homers!
(Pause for "IronPigs, IronPigs" chant)...Sentinels of Schmidt, let us turn to Howard's right. Chase Utley can be the best all-around player in this game. The guy plays like a combination of Rogers Hornsby, Pete Rose and Chuck Klein in the first month. This was to be the year Chase led the league in everything, if April was any indication. Eleven homers! Three-sixty batting average! Any number of canines rescued. But what happened to the power, Chase, ol' buddy? Big Dipper, we could call you. It's one thing for us to give you ribbing, but New Yorkers? (pause for reflexive booing)
At the Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium, those New York slobs booed our Chase. Our brother. Your son. On national television. In front of his family. In front of America. Boo Chase Utley? Boo? [Profane] you, New York! Boo? [Profane] you, New York!
(Pause for chant of Boo? [Profane] you, New York! Boo, [Profane] you, New York!)...
Sons and daughters of Ben Franklin, everybody knows how the reigning NL MVP slipped up this year. Everybody knows how Jimmy Rollins disgraced you, all of your fathers and all of your fathers' fathers by saying Phillie fans are front-runners. How often have the Phillies run to the front of anything, J-Roll? But that's OK, that's OK. Don't hate back, folks. We love Jimmy. We love Jimmy because he turned it on in a key series against the Mets and planted those first seeds of doubt that led to the Second Great Collapse. Jimmy Rollins doesn't need to be told. He knows. He knows the Mets can't handle what the Phillies got. He knows that, the Mets know that, we just proved it for the second year in a row, and now the whole world knows!
(Pause for riot, hoagie and cleanup)
Fellows of Fregosi, the Florida Marlins were a pain in our sides. All those suckers did was hit home runs and drink our beer. Dan Uggla. Sounds like a guy from Camden we all knew back in the late '70s. Does he owe you money, too? Anyway, let's not get bogged down in old debts, because the Phillies and Fish are paid up until next year. Enjoy the winter in Miami.
Chipper, Chipper, Chipper, you Southern Gentleman. Flirting with .400, like Chuck Yeager messing with the speed of sound, only Yeager got there. The Braves ain't getting anywhere anymore. Their time has passed, their torch has passed. This is a new millennium, and it belongs to Philadelphia!
Washington? Damn, are you people are annoying!
OK, how many here remember 1980?
(Pause for respectful applause and whistling)
Cohorts of Carlton, that's what this is all about. Winning the whole thing. Not being satisfied with "just" getting there. Ripping the other guy's throats out. That's what Bowa and Boone and Charlie Hustle and Schmitty and Bake McBride and the Bull and Tug — God bless Tug — that's what they did in '80. They went for blood. Brett Myers needs to go for blood. Cole Hamels needs to go for blood. Jamie Moyer needs to go for blood plasma, because he's not getting any younger. If those pitchers go for blood each time out, the Fightins' can win again like they did in '80 when we showed the world why Philly's the greatest city in the world
(Pause for effect)
Fans, thank you and may our Founding Fathers bless the Phillies and may the Founding Fathers bless the United States of America!