PART ONE (in all of its glory) HERE
Dorothy and the toy Phanatic walk the stick-straight blacktop of the Broad Street Road for quite some time, before finally coming to a fork in the road. In the crook of the fork is a field of delicious golden wheat, no doubt for use in hearty Amoroso's Rolls! And in the center of the field, City Hall. And in this field stands a scarecrow. Dorothy and the Phanatic aren't sure which way to go...
Scarecrow: Some people think RBI is still an important stat...
Dorothy: What? Who said that?
Scarecrow: And other people think that wOBA is a more likely predicator of offensive performance...
Dorothy: Scarecrow? Was that you? But... Scarecrows don't talk.
Scarecrow: And some people know Cliff Lee was just a victim of BABIP bad luck in the 2011 post season. He’s my favorite, Cliff Lee.
Dorothy: Why, that was you! And Cliff Lee is so dreamy. He’s all like “whatever” all the time and it’s the best.
The Scarecrow leaps down from his scarecrow-pole and does a little flip, landing at her feet in a puff of straw.
Scarecrow: I love that too. Say… what do you think the most important stat is?
Dorothy: Well, the out, I suppose. Because you only get 27 of them, and then your game is over!
Scarecrow: The OUT! I like the way you think! Say… in a game with no outs you could just play FOREVER! Gosh how I’d like to see that! I love the Phillies so… I just wish... well, I wish they had a brain.
Dorothy: You mean a brain for stats, don't you?
Scarecrow: For evidence-based analytics, yes! You know, someone who would pick pinch hitters based on win probability scenarios instead of just guessing who was gonna mash taters, or who wouldn’t save his best reliever purely for 'save' situations! Why, according to my calculations, if we’d paid attention to leverage indices, we'd have won as many as seven more games this season, which might have been enough to...
And so the Scarecrow prattled on as they arbitrarily headed left at the fork and continued the journey down the Broad Street Road. Soon the two found themselves at the edge of a rather foreboding forest. Even the Scarecrow was afraid, and his third explanation of xFIP soon fell silent. Indeed, it was eerily silent, save for the occasional cry of a dove. As they draw closer, they see a slender figure peering intently into the forest.
Dorothy (whispering): Look! A man dressed entirely in purple!
Scarecrow: That’s a man? From this angle it looks more like a lady. A sexy lady.
Mysterious figure (without turning around): Have U ever seen a perfect rose?
Dorothy: What? No I don’t think so…
Mysterious figure: Behold.
He waves his hand, and the forest blooms with roses of all colors, even paisley. He spins around, revealing his face.
Dorothy: Prince?! Holy cow Prince! I have all your alb-
Prince (placing an index finger to her lips): Hush, child. I know. That is why I am here 2 help U on your quest of divine emancipation glowing life, and help U find the Wizard 2 make your dreams reality. Come now. We mustn’t tarry.
And so the two have become three, and, with Prince as their guide, Dorothy and the Scarecrow are led deeper down the Broad Street Road. They cover many miles, and the forest gives way to foothills, and the foothills to parking lots. In the distance, the silhouette of the Emerald Bank Park stands starkly.
Dorothy: Gasp! There it is! In the distance! There it is! I can practically smell the home runs!
Scarecrow: But first we have to make it across the parking lots, and our chances of doing that...
Prince: Probability is your mask when U have no other clothes; have U been 2 these lots before to look inside yourself?
Scarecrow: I have many times. And... well... there's beer pong. A-a-a-a-and... corn-hole. And grilling.
Dorothy: Beer pong? And corn-hole? And grilling?
Prince: Oh my.
All three: Beer pong and corn-hole and grilling? Oh my! Beer pong and corn-hole and grilling? Oh-
A large, ferocious, and happily intoxicated lion leaps forward, spilling slightly from his red Solo cup.
Dorothy: Eek! What do you want, lion?
Lion: Put 'em up! Put 'em up! (raises Solo cup) RAWR GO PHILS!
Dorothy: I'm terribly sorry, mister lion, but we're on a very important mission to see the Wizard and get back to home runs.
Lion: Ah man I love home runs! I wish we had a third baseman who could hit some home runs! That's what this team needs, man, a friggin' third baseman. One with the courage to play in Philly!
Scarecrow: Hmmm yes if you account for improvement with experience in the outfield and bullpen, that is one of the glaring holes still left in the roster, why...
Prince: Hush. All U ever needed is within, for we are each the Universe Complete. Come with us, cat-man, and be born again into a funky new atmosphere.
Lion: Sweet! Let’s go, I could use some Bull’s barbecue right now. Man I’m gonna eat two bulldogs… aw hey sweet Phanatic doll!
And so the four link elbows and continue onward, approaching the end of the Broad Street Road and the towering walls of Emerald Bank Park…
To be CONCLUDED