They're greasing poles in Philadelphia

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Phillies-Fans.jpgApparently, Phillies fans are good climbers, and the local authorities just aren’t going to take it anymore. (From the Inquirer, via The 700 Level):

City workers have greased poles along South Broad Street in an effort to deter revellers from climbing them during any wild celebrations that might follow a possible Phillies victory tonight.

Street lights, signs, bus shelters and even trees have been coated by a yellowish goo that bears a resemblance to petroleum jelly.

Click here for photographic evidence of Philly tax dollars at work (something Craig has already had some fun with). You’ll see workers greasing a light pole, a pay phone (is that really necessary?) and – yes – a tree. (if a tree is greased in the forest … oh never mind).

Philadelphia police Lt. Frank Vanore said police will be out in force tonight in an effort to prevent all the zaniness that happened after last year’s title-clinching win over the Rays, which included looting, throwing things, and yes, climbing on stuff.

I’m all for preventing looting and violence. But greasing trees? We can’t do better than that?
If the police really wanted to make a statement, they’d break out the complete Kevin McCallister playbook: Coat the steps outside the stadium with ice. Rig flying irons and paint cans to swing down from street lights at head-level. And of course, tarantulas!

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Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

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All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.

The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.

It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.

It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.

Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉