Let’s say you are Charlie Manuel.

During the off season the Company hires three men who are deep in managerial experience. One quits so that leaves two: One to coach first and one to sit next to you on the bench to watch your every move.

Would that make you slightly nervous?

Also, during the off season your left-handed hitting pinch hitter goes free agent on you (Dellucci), leaving you with a bench of:

  • a guy who didn’t play a game in 2006 because of a wrist injury (Werth);
  • another guy who played the last two years in Japan (Garcia);
  • a rookie who runs like a deer but has only 8 big league at bats (Bourn);
  • another guy who had 27 plate appearances and just ten hits last year (Dobbs),
  • and an author who’s been nursing a sore hammy since March 16. (Coste).

Are you gettin’ nervous, yet?

You start camp with your boss gloating that you have six pitchers and not to worry because he is going to trade one to beef up the bull pen which looks kind of shaky to say the least. Here we are with just nine days left in camp and you still have six pitchers and a bull pen with a higher ERA than Britney Spears’s cut off skirt; and the two guys the Company hired in the off season are starting to smirk and smile more often.

What do you think…collar gettin’ kind of tight?

Then yesterday afternoon you noticed the guys sitting behind home plate, while your Number Two was on the mound, were smacking their hand-held Stalker guns against their legs because something had to be wrong with the two digits they were puttin' up: 82. Then when Number Two comes into the dug out he says his thigh hurts and he wants to be examined.

Meanwhile, even before all this started, your shortstop decided to call the season off and declare your club the NL East winner and the team everyone ought to be worrying about which will soon make Bobby Cox scowl at the clubhouse boy: “Take them damn newspaper clippings down about Rollins and post them back up when we get to Atlanta.” And you weren’t too happy when your buddy told you he saw at least three baseball stories in the  New York Times  with the lead paragraph about JRol and his predictions.

What’s that you say? You’d like to get your fistroll around JRol’s neck? Now, now, quick anger is a definite sign of a nervous condition.

To add gasoline to the fire, Angelo and the boys have eased up on Andy because of the bratty kids and have started in on you early, taking bets over the air on when your last game will be. Right now, as we speak, most of the bets are hedging on May 10, an off day, which management likes to use for such purposes, right after you return home from losing 8 of 9 games on a swing run through Atlanta, San Francisco, and Arizona.

Go ahead, loosen you’re your top shirt button, its okay.

Plus the guy you’ve got slated to hit behind theAmazing One; have you noticed his spring training batting average? It’s gettin’ close to the Mendoza Line and your back up catcher has a sore shoulder so you may have to dust off the author again.

And when you got into the office this morning, someone left a copy ofSports Illustratedon your chair, the one that came out today with the rankings of major league teams and the Phillies are at number 13.

And you say you think Jimy or Davy left it there? Charlie, paranoia is the first sign of an incurable nervous condition. Come on man, lightin' up.

Bear in mind you can not always win. A few days, the most inspiring individual is likely to taste defeat. There is, however,, in this case, always another day - just after you have done your best to achieve success today.

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