Ron Costello

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Do the Phillies Have What It Takes to Clamp Down?

Chip Kelly is a helluva football coach. And he's got the Birds off to a helluva start.

But not long ago Coach Kelly took care of business — the same as Speedy would, or Fran Dunphy, or Bruiser Flint — no nonsense coaches who demand that their athletes respect the game.

Coach Kelly sent DeSean Jackson packing — and the Phillies braintrust could learn a lesson from it.

Last Sunday, Papelbon came in to close and got hammered. On the way off the field, amidst a chorus of boos, Papelbon bent at the knees and grabbed his crotch in an obscene and rude gesture toward fans. Then he got into a scuffle with home plate umpire Joe West.

Papelbon was suspended for 7 games and fined. For his part in the on-field fiasco — the ump grabbed Papelbon's shirt and shoved him — West was suspended one game. 

If you haven't seen the lewd incident, Goggle it. I'm not  going to give it justice by showing it here — although it did make the cover of the Philadelphia Daily News. Shows you how hard up the Philly papers are — they'll show anything to get a sale.

Guess you can't blame them, they're trying to survive and they need customers. People see the crotch-cover and out comes a dollar bill — for a paper that's worth, what, 25 cents? If that?

It's no different with the Phillies, they need customers, too. They don't want you to see the groin-grabbing spectacle. It's embarrassing to them. You won't find it on their website, or on the high tech videos they show on the Dektronics HD 15 video display at the park — in between the kids waving their gloves and the Phanatic dancing with a babe on the dugout roof.

Papelbon's idiotic behavior— equivalent behavior of a fifth grader at recess — is an insult to fans who pay money to see boys-men play baseball.

Rich boys-men.

Ruben Amaro, Jr., made Papelbon the highest-paid closer in baseball when he signed him before the 2012 season. And he could be around for a while. 

He's guaranteed $13 million in 2015 and a  vesting option, paying him another $13 million in 2016, if he 1) finishes 55 games in 2015; or 2) finishes a combined 100 games  between 2014 and 2015.

Pretty nice contract Junior gave ole Papelbon. 

But here's what the Phillies should do with Papelbon: Get rid of him.

Turn the ball over to the youngster, Ken Giles. 

Why? First of all the seven game suspension is a  joke. Papelbon is glad to have the rest and has time to get things done in preparation for the off season. It's like suspending a 15 year old from school for three days. He can stay home, eat junk food, text his friends, and watch Sons of Anarchy reruns.

Papelbon, although he must stay with the club, will probably do the same.

Besides, every time he takes the mound, Phillies' fans will remember the clutching incident. In the sections behind the Phillies dugout — to which he sent his harebrained gesture — how many kids do you think were there?

And get this: On the Sunday he crotched it up, it was New Jersey Education Association Phanatic OYO Buildable Dugout Set and author signing for the Phanatic Book Series Day. 

I'm not making this up, I checked the Phillies' schedule.

I bet lots of NJ teachers appreciated Papelbon's creative communication methods with the children.

"Miss Ames, why'd he do that, you know, between his legs?"

"Now La-corey, never you mind that, he was  scratching an itch, is all. Now work on building your dugout."

"Yes, Miss Ames."

Maybe some of those Taney kids were at the game, celebrating youth baseball. If so, they learned something new. But we don't have to worry about the Taney kids — they have waaaaay more smarts and class than Papelbon.

Lookit, who knows why Chip Kelly got rid of DeSean Jackson. My best guess is Coach thought DeSean didn't fit right with the team — the team he's taking to the Super Bowl. I'm sure Coach had his reasons.

I think that's a fair assessment.

Papelbon doesn't fit right with the Phillies, either. 

Let's see if the Phillies have the same you-know-whats — hint,  they're located in the area Papelbon grabbed — to do something about it.
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