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Friday, August 19, 2011

Game 122: Why are the ball girls wearing helmets? (80-42)

The Phillies won tonight, mainly due to the ridiculous offensive production they keep getting from the center-field position. Shane Victorino, by far, has been the best offensive player this season. He started his two-game suspension tonight. His replacement was John Mayberry, who cracked a 2-run home run en route to a 4-1 victory over Arizona.

Charlie Manuel didn't really make any mistakes, aside from the nightly gaffe of stacking Utley and Howard back-to-back. He removed Vance Worley after a 2+ hour rain delay in favor of David Herndon, who pitched 3 scoreless innings for the victory. Stutes, Bastardo, and Madson each pitched an inning for their meaningless holds/save stats.

In more relevant news, the ball girls are now wearing helmets. I'm currently watching the 1:30am broadcast and it caught my eye. This has been going on for some time now: I noticed it about a month ago. There are several reasons why ball girls should not be forced to wear helmets on the field, but I'll only discuss the most obvious ones here:

1) If you're hiring a person based largely on his or her appearance, why are you disguising his or her appearance?

Let's face it: ball girls are not hired because they are the most talented females in the Philadelphia area who can field ground balls. If they were selected solely for their talents, my guess is that ball girls would not exist at all, because males usually outperform females in athletic ability. So why are they hired? Because they are attractive women who can moderately field ground balls. Is this a sexist thing to say? If it is, then it's a sexist hiring policy.

Sexism isn't necessarily a bad thing, however. I'd much rather have a poor-fielding attractive girl down the right field line than a decent-fielding 60-year-old male. And who wouldn't? Oh wait, I suppose San Franciscans would object (I just spent 4 minutes searching the internet for a picture of the old men that the Giants use to chase the foul balls, but i couldn't find any; here's a link for some reference if you don't believe me).

You hired an attractive girl to field foul balls specifically because she is an attractive girl who will be working in front of a largely male crowd. Putting a switch-hitter helmet on top of her considerably diminishes the purpose of your employee.

2) These girls aren't in any danger whatsoever.

How far do the ball girls sit from home plate? 200 feet? How far do the 8-year-olds behind the Phillies dugout sit from home plate? 80 feet? It's absurd. Every time I watch a fan behind the dugout staring at his/her cell phone, I immediately imagine a late swing from Roy Halladay firing a fall ball into his/her cranium, causing instant death. This would cause MLB to erect safety nets above each dugout, which would inevitably cause a rant on this website similar to this one.

The ball girls are in no such danger. I'd imagine that the ball girls would be safer with no helmets and a .15 BAC than any fan sitting behind the dugout with no helmet and a .00 BAC. Yet, only one of these parties is forced to wear a helmet.

Trust me, a fan sitting behind the dugout will die one day. It will occur between tomorrow and 50 years from now.

3) If she can't protect her own head from a line drive, why are we trusting her with split-second decisions on fair/foul balls?

The Friday night game that the Phillies lost to Washington was very frustrating, except for the fact that I bet under 8 total runs in the game. A fan interfered with Hunter Pence trying to catch a foul ball because the fan wasn't paying attention. Fans in right field booed Jayson Werth nonstop, calling him Werthless, which, I must say, is a creative and original insult. His .404 OBP in 2007 was exactly that.

In one of the later innings, a Nationals' batter slapped a hard ground ball down the third base line. It was immediately ruled a fair ball by the third base umpire, and guess what? The ball girl, helmet firmly on her head, bent down to field the fair ball. Not only did she fail to secure the ground ball as it went between her legs into the corner, but she managed to touch the baseball on the way by. The result? A physically and mentally incompetent ball-girl wearing a helmet. The umpire was forced into ruling the play a ground-rule double. If a fan did the same thing, the fan would be removed from the stadium for interfering with a fair ball. Why do we hold drunk fans to higher standards than sober employees?

Oh wait, this is an organization that allows the mascot to stand on top of the dugout in high-leverage innings, blocking the views of fans who pay the highest ticket prices.

Moral of the story: if you're going to hide her face, hide the face of someone who can pick up a ground ball and read a basic umpire-signal.

The Phillies open a 3-game set in DC tomorrow when Roy Oswalt faces RHP Livan Hernandez at 7:05 pm.


cheesefondue said...

Why did Herndon get the victory if we took the lead while Worley was in the game?

Scott Graham said...

The starter needs to go 5 innings to get the W

Robby Bonfire said...

Also, the Ball Girl needs to go five innings to get her hair just right.

Robby Bonfire said...

Nicely done re taking the "unders" on the 8-run total, Andy. All you had going for you was a visiting starter whose team had not lost in his last seven starts, and a home starter whose team had not lost in all 10 (now 11) of his starts this year. With a skill level match-up like that, got to figure you had the percentage edge. Only a pronounced hitter's umpire could have upset the apple cart, and fortunately, The Blue Force was with you.

Robby Bonfire said...

By the way, while Worley did not get the official win, he did get the Starter Win, that is, unofficial credit for outpitching his starting pitcher opponent, in a strictly SP match-up. Over the past 15 years I have been keeping track of this stat, the par figure established is that 80-85 percent of the time a team gets a better performance out of its starter by comparison with the opposition starter's numbers (on the basis of total runs allowed divided by outs recorded), that team goes on to win the game, rendering this stat a powerful indicator and proof, if anyone needs it, that the starting staff is more critical to your success than the bullpen (in a sport wherein 50% of the time the outcome is effectively decided by the fifth inning)

Maintaining this stat serves the purpose of debiting a starter when his bullpen and offense get him on the official "hook," and crediting a starter with a starter win when his bullpen blows a game in which he did his job by outperforming his opposite number.

Robby Bonfire said...

Phillies Starter Won-Lost records since July 4th:

Worley 6-2

Halladay 5-2

Lee 5-2

Kendrick 3-2

Hamels 4-4

Oswalt 1-1

Anonymous said...

Wow I'd say you are sexist and rude. Your whole comment was unnecessary. Ball girls aren't there for just the male crowd and should wear a helmet for safety reasons. I should know because I am one