I was shocked when I checked back into the Chicks archives and realized that I last posted a Player Profile almost two months ago. Considering it’s suppose to be a weekly feature, I’d say I’ve slacked a bit.
While I would love to sell you an elaborate story of what has kept me away from my computer these last several weeks—African safari; Northeast club tour with Cock, my all-girl Bush tribute band; filming pool scenes with Adrian Grenier for an upcoming episode of Entourage—sadly, it’s been one long, boring ol’ case of writer’s block. I tried everything to break out of it, but while large quantities of booze and young men always did the trick for Oscar Wilde, they had very little effect on my writing. As I said to the Chicks’ baseball lady-in-chief Michelle at one point, apparently my creativity slumped right along with the Phillies.
But while the Phillies’ recent play hasn’t been without its bang-your-head-against-the-wall moments, including dropping three out of four in Pittsburgh and these last two ugly losses to the Braves, there have been a few signs of life here and there after last month’s God-awful slump that included soul-crushing, back-to-back blow-out losses in Boston. And, as I saw posted several times on the Internet earlier this week, the Phillies had the same record after 81 games this season as they did in the 2008 and 2009 seasons when they, of course, went all the way to the World Series.
So with that stat staring me in the face—and because I’m no front-runner, Jimmy and Shane—it seems I no longer have any excuse for my lack of blogging effort: It’s time to cue up Guns N’ Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle” and rally. And, as I also told Michelle, if Wilson Valdez can hit homers in back-to-back games (in last month’s series against the Twins), damn it, I can blog again.
So it only seemed appropriate when Michelle recently suggested Valdez as my next player profile. I had already started profiles on Rollins and Ruiz that I never finished, but with Valdez now filling in yet again for an injured starter (first for Rollins and now Utley), the time was most definitely now to get better acquainted with one of our newest players.
To be honest, I don’t know much at all about Valdez, even after watching him play for three months. I was at one of the Phillies-Braves games this week with a friend of mine, who asked me who Valdez was. This was my two-minute summary over a Miller Lite and a dollar dog:
“He played for the Mets last year, and signed with the Phillies in the off-season. He was playing in the minors until Rollins was injured; now he’s in for Utley, who just went out on the DL. See, his ears are really big [pointing to image on PhanaVision]. He was hitting into a double play pretty much every time he was at bat, but recently, his offense seems to be improving.”
Not a bad summation for having had a few beers and a mild case of heat stroke, huh? I think Valdez represents where we’re at right now—suffering from injuries to key players, certainly not playing at the top of our game, but still never to be counted out entirely, because holy shit, they do have the ability to amaze you when you least expect it. With Utley out for an estimated eight weeks (and honestly, I’m worried about the possibility of Rollins aggravating that calf injury yet again), here’s hoping we see less of “Double-Play” Valdez and more of that magnificent bastard who went yard more than once in a series.