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THE LEGION OF ARMS
GARY SMITH
April 04, 2011
Are the Phillies' starters more powerful than a locomotive? Faster than a speeding bullet? Maybe. But in the City of Brotherly Love, fans care more about winning the World Series and making foes go SPLAT! Here's the first installment in the continuing adventures of ...
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April 04, 2011

The Legion Of Arms

Are the Phillies' starters more powerful than a locomotive? Faster than a speeding bullet? Maybe. But in the City of Brotherly Love, fans care more about winning the World Series and making foes go SPLAT! Here's the first installment in the continuing adventures of ...

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TUNNELMAN

Defeats hitters in a dark chamber, where his focus can't be shaken

CLIFF LEE

LOOSE LASER

Nearly saved the metropolis in 2009; he's back to finish the job

Here are the flowers. The f------ flowers, Vicente Padilla, the Nicaraguan righthander, used to call them. He'd hold out his left forearm as if it were that floozy of a leftfield wall at Citizens Bank Park, then send his flat right hand skimming over it: another five-cent home run plunging into the box of blue pansies just beyond the railing. Another power pitcher who thought he could tame one of the game's homer-happiest yards. The f------ flowers, Charlie, he'd spit to his skipper and scowl.

It's early March. The ballpark's still groggy, yet to dress or put on makeup, just rolling out of her winter bed. The f------ flowers are but a few forlorn purple petals. The warning track's one long puddle from the thaw. A groundskeeper, casting fertilizer across the frost-burned infield grass, pauses and looks up. They'll be surging through those gates soon, 44,000 strong, and when they do, he says, they'll make this place feel like a box.

They remember what John Smoltz said. If you ask me, they can't ever win in Philadelphia.... There's no way free-agent pitchers are going to go there.... I'm not even going to call it a baseball field.... It's a joke.

They remember what Curt Schilling said. F--- this f------ park.

They remember the Giants' Juan Uribe choking their windpipes last October with an eighth-inning fly ball that just cleared the railing in right.

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