Have you ever woken up in the morning and thought to yourself: "The hitter who hits third in the line-up ... Must. Look. And hit. And act. A certain way." No, you have not, because you are a normal human being. Repeat offender Bill Conlin
is not like you. He's titled his latest column:Bill Conlin: Utley perfect in 3-hole, so naturally...
The man is angry. Why? Because Chase Utley has been dropped one spot in the lineup for another guy who is also pretty good at hitting, Ryan Howard. But Howard isn't "perfect" like Utley.
I'll let him try to explain this because I cannot:When I'm King of the World...
A luxury wing will be built at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown to honor the game's most special breed of batsman: The No. 3 hitter . . . It will pay homage to the great athletes who hit with power and for high average. A majority of them also were above-average runners and defenders. They represent the highest evolution of the baseball art. Their names are the stuff of legend.
Already, Bill, dude: you have a weird number three hitter fetish. Relax. It doesn't matter that much if your third hitter has a really high average if his OBP is high, and it certainly doesn't matter if your third hitter plays good defense. Would you accept David Ortiz as your third hitter? Probably not. When you're king of the world, all designated hitters will be sentenced to death by firing squad.Visit the Ritz Carlton Three Hole Resort and you will have answered the question: "Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?"
The Ritz Carlton Three Hole Resort sounds like something a frat guy would call a hot rich girl.
"Dude, I totally spent the night at the Ritz Carlton Three Hole Resort, if you get what I mean!!! I mean I fucked a girl."Beer, high fives, exeunt.Joe will be flanked by Babe Ruth (who could flat fly when he was young, before becoming addicted to lager and hot dogs) and Willie Mays.
Babe Ruth: 123 career SB, 117 career CS. Yeah, he tied the Yankee team record for single-season steals in 1921 (with a whopping 17), but he "could flat fly"? Let me ask you, Bill: honestly, who is more similar to Babe Ruth, Ryan Howard or Chase Utley?Chase Utley is as pure a No. 3 hitter as the Phillies have ever had - average, power, speed. Now Ryan Howard, born for cleanup duty, bats No. 3 in front of Utley. He will steal triples and runs batted in from Utley with his station-to-station gait.
Wrong. Just flat-out wrong. Your claim: that Ryan Howard will steal runs batted in from Chase Utley. Last year, Shane Victorino ended the year batting in front of Utley.
A comparison:Ryan Howard 2006 OBP: .425
Shane Victorino 2006 OBP: .346
That's 79 points of OBP. 79! A 79-point differential in batting average would have Bill Conlin-types frothing from the mouth. It would turn Pat Burrell from a pariah into a hero. The point is: Ryan Howard will be on base more than Shane Victorino this year, and Utley's RBI opportunities will not be stolen from him.
As for triples, Utley has 13 of 'em -- in his career
. He had 4 last year. So yeah, if you want to turn two of those into doubles because you insist on batting fucking shitty-ass Ryan Howard third in the lineup, good luck with that
, Charlie Manuel.
I'll be over here in my front yard carving this oak tree into a perfect life-size three-hole hitter. Hopefully, lightning will strike it and it will come to life, and it sure as hell won't be slow on the basepaths. That's what my stone-carved cleanup hitter is for.
Labels: bill conlin, chase utley, phillies, ryan howard