Results tagged ‘ Spring Training ’

Phils Let The Sweep Slip Away

Kendrick happy place.jpg

Kyle Kendrick is going to need to find his happy place after today’s outing against the Nationals.  Having done well in Spring Training, Kendrick’s first official start of 2010 was a big disappointment.  Lasting only 4 innings, Kendrick allowed 5 runs on 9 hits against a team that sometimes resembles a minor league team.  But in the first inning, the Nats looked like they were taking batting practice off the young pitcher.

A sinker ball pitcher, Kendrick left way too many pitches up in the zone and lacked control.  He had a great opportunity here with the injury to Joe Blanton to show he could start in the majors again, but after today, it does not look good.  Granted, it is only one start, but first impressions can be lasting ones.

The Phillies batters got him off the hook for the loss when they tied the game up in the 6th on a Jimmy Rollins sac fly.  But in the 7th, the Nats took the lead again as a result of Nelson Figueroa walking the first batter of the inning who eventually scored.  In his first appearance back with the Phillies, Figueroa did fairly well, but the 3 walks he gave up created problems.

Chase Utley led off the 9th with a double and Jayson Werth sacrificed him over to third, giving the Phillies hope.  But then Raul Ibanez, who is hitting a meager .091 so far this year, hit a short pop-up to make the second out.  It was not nearly far enough to score Utley.  Shane Victorino followed suit with a short pop-up of his own to end the game, with the Phillies losing 5-6.

The story of the game was men left on base; the Phils left 11 of them stranded.  The at-bats were not as patient as the first two games and the concentration seemed lacking.  It was a bad flashback to last year where this teams’ biggest issue was the inability to play small ball and manufacture runs.

The shame of it is that great offensive performances were overshadowed by the lack of timely hitting.  Werth hit 3 doubles in the game and the top 5 batters in the order had at least 2 hits each.  The bottom of the line-up did not perform and many of the hits came at the wrong times.

But starting the year off with 2 out of 3 is not so bad.  So Phillies fans, just for tonight, go find your happy place and hang there until we get to Houston tomorrow night.


Kendrick photo by Jenn


*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*


Spring Ends On A High Note

The Phillies prevailed over the Pirates today by a score of 4-3 in the final spring exhibition game.  This win brings their Spring Training record to 15 wins, 12 losses and 1 tie.  Spring numbers do not mean a whole lot, however, so we will all be very glad to see the real games begin on Monday.

JA Happ started the game today and pitched 3 innings, allowing 1 run on 5 hits.  In the second inning, Happ loaded the bases with no outs and still only managed to give up the one run, thanks in part to some nice defense.

P4036015.jpgOne thing that has stood out the past 3 springs is the effort this team puts forth, even in games that do not mean anything.  Phillies players give 100% effort even in Spring Training.  It is refreshing to see that they do not hold back and always play the game the right way.  Here are just a few of the highlights from today’s game:

040310.jpgIn addition to the field acrobatics, a few players stood out at the plate as well.  Jayson Werth hit a solo homer in the 4th inning and both Chase Utley and Shane Victorino had 2 hits and 1 RBI each.  Raul Ibanez had a rough Spring overall, but he did collect one more hit today to improve his average to .130.  The low average is due to his very slow start, but Ibanez looks more comfortable at the plate now and hopefully, he is ready to compete.

The roster is nearly set now; after the game, the following players were assigned to AAA – catcher Paul Hoover, infielders Cody Ransom and Wilson Valdez and outfielder Dewayne Wise.  That leaves Juan Castro, Ross Gload, Ben Francisco and Greg Dobbs as the bench players, as well as back-up catcher Brian Schneider.

Three pitchers were placed in the DL retroactive to March 26; Joe Blanton, Brad Lidge and JC Romero.  These are not surprises.  There are 11 pitchers left on the active roster after these moves, which leaves one spot open for a bullpen pitcher after losing Blanton and moving Kyle Kendrick to the starting rotation.  Who the #12 guy will be has not yet been announced, although it is expected to be right-hander Andrew Carpenter.

Here is the full Photo Album from today’s game.  I will also be at the Opener in DC on Monday and will bring back photos from that one as well.  President Obama will toss the first pitch…see you there!

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Photos by Jenn


*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*


The Injury Bug Begins To Nibble

The timetable for closer Brad Lidge to return may have just been pushed back.  After multiple off-season surgeries on both his knee and elbow, Lidge is still experiencing pain in the elbow, although no structural damage has been found.  As a result, he was given a cortisone shot.  His doctor reports that the elbow inflammation is unrelated to the surgery.


While the team and Lidge are downplaying the seriousness of this issue, a cortisone shot is not a good sign.  The fact that the pain is “unrelated” to the surgery could mean that this is a new issue; either that or they are just not giving us all of the facts.  In addition, the frequency of injuries that Lidge seems to suffer from does not inspire confidence.  Here is a quick review of Lidge’s injury history.


– Lidge missed parts of his first four professional seasons with a variety of injuries, including a torn rotator cuff, right shoulder tendinitis and a broken forearm that almost ended his career.

– 2002: strained intercostal muscle near the rib cage

– December 2003: arthroscopic surgery on his left knee

– June – July 2005: shut down with elbow issues

– May 2007: bone bruise on his right femur near his knee

– June – July 2007: left oblique strain

– October 2007: surgery to repair torn cartilage in his right knee

– February 2008: tore the meniscus in the same knee he just had surgery on during his first pitch off a mound in Spring Training.

– June 2009: sprained right knee and a sore elbow (his flexor pronator tendon).

– January 2010: surgery on both the elbow and the right knee again.

– March 2010: the elbow is still an issue and Lidge gets a cortisone injection.


Based on the evidence, are we to conclude that Lidge is made of glass?  Fans grumbled when he came to Philly because of the injury history, but all was quickly forgotten when 2008 turned into the Perfect Season for him.  2009 was a disaster for Lidge and now, 2010 is not looking good either.  Let the grumbling begin…


P7306516_Blanton_cr.jpgAnother key Phillies pitcher has recently joined the injury parade; starter Joe Blanton strained his left oblique muscle while throwing in the bullpen on Wednesday.  He has been placed on the 15-day DL, which puts his earliest return around April 20-28.  This type of issue tends to drag on and take a while to heal, which is not good news for the Phillies. 


Although, this is good news for Kyle Kendrick who will probably join the rotation now.  And that leaves one bullpen spot open as well.  Pitchers B.J. Rosenberg and Michael Stutes will travel north to Philly tomorrow for the last two exhibition games and it is likely that one of them may make the team now.


In other recent pitching disasters, Roy Halladay faced his former team for the first time yesterday.  The Blue Jays, knowing their old teammate well, took advantage and nailed Halladay for 4 runs in the first inning including a 2-run homer.  Halladay recovered and finished off the next two innings without incident.  So maybe not quite a disaster….just another Spring Training game so no one really cares ;o)


The Phillies will face the Pirates today and then return to Philly tomorrow for the last few games before Opening Day on Monday in D.C.



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Photo by Jenn


*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*

Moyer Will Start; Kendrick to The Pen


It is official; Jamie Moyer will be the 5th starter in the Phillies pitching rotation and Kyle Kendrick will start in the pen.  This is the move everyone expected, so it is not a big shock.  And if Moyer gets roughed up, they can always switch roles.

A few other bullpen pitchers to watch as the season begins will be lefty Antonio Bastardo and righty Jose Contreras.  These are the two guys who may make or break the pen in April.  Bastardo is filling in for JC Romero who is still recovering from arm surgery, but he expects to be ready before the end of April.  Bastardo’s pitching has been up and down this spring and after today, he has an ERA of 6.23.  He is young, so consistency will be an issue.

On the other hand, Contreras is a veteran who is nearing the golden years of his career.  His pitching has been more down than up.  Today against the Astros, he blew a Phillies lead in the 5th,, giving up 3 runs in 2/3 of an inning.  The Phillies lost the game by a score of 2-5.  His ERA stands at 9.00 for spring, which is pretty awful.  Then again, it is spring and these games don’t count.  But how will he perform in April based on what we have seen so far?  It is not a pleasant thought.

Brad Lidge is still recovering from surgery too so the Phillies need a closer.  Ryan Madson has been officially given the job until Lidge returns.  Madson did not adjust to the role very well last year, but knowing ahead of time that the job is his may help.  I spoke to Ryan in January on the Phillies Cruise and he feels that with more time to adjust and with more practice in the role, he can be successful.  He has the stuff to do the job and I think he will be just fine.

Another head-turner in camp today involved Jayson Werth and the Grizzly Adams / Caveman beard.  Todd Zolecki of The Zo Zone reports that Werth shaved off the beard!  Tiny, helpless screams from beard-loving fans were heard throughout the town but, in his usual nonchalance, Werth went on with his life and paid them no mind.  He is such a rebel ;o)

Two more spring games to go before the Phillies head north on Friday morning!  Still counting the days…  


Werth photo by Jenn


*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*


Moyer Plays Superman; Hamels Still Working On It

While nothing official has been announced yet, it looks like the 5th starters spot will go to Jamie Moyer.  Against the Yankees on Friday, Moyer solidified his bid for the job by pitching 6 2/3 scoreless innings and allowed only 1 hit. 
Moyer superman.jpg
His overall ERA for spring is now 2.61, if your count all the “B” games he pitched also.  Is it possible that this 47-year old man, coming off 3 surgeries in the off-season, is simply just indestructible?  Either he is taking Fountain of Youth pills or secretly, he is Superman with the red, white and blue uniform being perfect camouflage for his super hero suit.

So Kyle Kendrick will probably start the year in the bullpen and just wait around for someone to toss a huge ball of Kryptonite at Moyer.  Either way, Kendrick should be content just to make the team after a young but up and down career so far.

Leaving his super hero costume at home, Cole Hamels is still a work in progress.  He got beat up on Saturday against the Twins, allowing 5 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks in 6 1/3 innings.  While Hamels was pleased that he was able to reach the 90-pitch mark in a game, he still has some big control issues to work out.  After the game, Hamels told the press that he is “starting to really feel game-oriented.”  With only 8 days left until Opening Day, let us hope that his “game-oriented” compass is pointing towards the strike zone.

Another point of concern this spring is Raul Ibanez, who is barely swinging the bat with a paltry .098 average.  That is only 4 hits in 41 at bats.  Ibanez struggle the 2nd half of 2009 with a hernia that was operated on this off-season.  While he recovered well from the operation, he still has not looked at all like the “RAUUUUUL” of old.  To make matters worse, he got hit in the right elbow with a pitch on Friday.  It may not be a serious injury, but it may be enough that he does not get much more hitting practice before Opening Day.

When the Phillies signed Ibanez to replace Pat Burrell last year, many people, myself included, questioned why they signed a player who was 4-years older than Burrell to a 3-year contract.  Ibanez will turn 38 in June and it does appear that he is not wearing the same Superman cape that Jamie Moyer is using.  Moyer is a freak of nature.  Ibanez, however, appears to be a mere mortal.  While everyone was thrilled with his performance in the first half of 2009, things went downhill from there and show no signs of improving.  Cross your fingers; this could get interesting.

The good news is, if one of the outfielders should go down, John Mayberry Jr. is waiting in the wings.  Mayberry was sent to minor league camp today, but he had a great spring and would likely be first in line to be brought up if anything goes wrong.   Mayberry had 6 RBI, a homer, 3 doubles and hit for an average of .289 in camp.

Two more players were reassigned today also; catcher Dane Sardinha and infielder Ozzie Chavez.  This means the bench for the Phillies should consist of catcher Brian Schneider, infielders Juan Castro and Greg Dobbs and outfielder Ross Gload.  With the 12 pitchers and other regulars, that should complete the 25-man roster.

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Moyer head shot by Jenn


*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*


Age Battles Youth

After another solid start from pitcher Kyle Kendrick on Thursday against the Astros, the competition for the 5th starters spot is getting more interesting by the day.  Kendrick pitched 5 2/3 innings allowing just 1 earned run on 5 hits and 2 walks.  His spring ERA stands at 1.37.


Moyer J.jpgJamie Moyer
has only pitched in one “A” game so far and a bunch of “B” games, but he will face the Yankees tonight in his final bid for the 5th spot.  Moyer’s one regular spring outing ended with a 1.80 ERA for 1 run over 5 innings of work.  Tonight’s game then will likely be the deciding factor.


If Moyer does well, it looks like the spot may be his.  However, if he gets beat up by the Yanks, he still may get the nod anyway.  Although Kendrick has more than earned the spot and personally, I feel it should be his, the Phillies will probably go with experience over youth.  Poor Kyle has all kinds of factors working against him; his youth, Moyer’s huge $8 million dollar salary and the fact that Moyer has never been a bullpen pitcher.


Moyer did work from the pen a little last year when Pedro Martinez arrived, but only for extended innings, like after rain delays.  So essentially, he was still being used more as a starter than a bullpen piece.  Manager Charlie Manuel seemed very hesitant to put Moyer in for only a few batters which tells you that they were not confident about his ability to pitch out of the bullpen.


My prediction is that the Phillies will go with Moyer and put Kendrick in the pen.  After Moyer has a few bad outings, they will probably switch, just like Chan Ho Park and JA Happ did last season.  Then again, as with most predictions, anything can happen.




The Phillies were reunited yesterday with former teammate Brett Myers who was the starting pitcher for the Astros.  Myers made Philly his home for 11 years, with the same team who drafted him. 
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Seeing him another uniform was strange.  Then again, considering how many ex-Phillies are with the Astros, including Myers, Pedro Feliz, Jason Michaels, Michael Bourn, and Gary Majewski, maybe we should all be Astros fans too?  Or maybe not…


Myers left the game early with a strained left groin, but it appears to be minor.  Afterwards, Myers spoke about the Philly fans saying, “I felt appreciated when I came out of the game and they all stood up and clapped for me. That was very respectful. Philly fans get a bad rap, but they’re loyal to the guys that played there and have done things for the organization. I really appreciated that. That was classy.”  Myers will be missed by many Philly fans and we wish him well…unless he is playing against the Phillies, of course ;o)

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Photos by Jenn


*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*


Phillies Have A Power Outage As Opening Day Creeps Nearer

On Tuesday, the Phillies beat the Tampa Bay Rays by a score of 4-3 behind two Ryan Howard homers and a nice start from pitcher Joe Blanton.  Blanton’s ERA is now 3.86 for the spring and as usual, he remains pretty consistent.

However, today against the Braves, the Phillies offense experienced a power outage, going down in flames against the Braves by a score of 0-8.  The Phillies offense managed only 3 hits the entire game and two of those came from 3rd baseman Placido Polanco.  Polly is batting .410 for the spring so far and has looked very impressive at 3rd base, despite the transition from 2nd.

JA Happ started the game and allowed 4 runs in 5 innings on 6 hits and 3 walks.  Not a characteristic outing for Happ, but other pitchers struggled as well.  Danys Baez allowed a run on 2 hits and a walk in just 2/3 of an inning.  Ryan Madson followed later with a 2-run inning in the 9th.

What does all this mean?  Nothing really…just that Spring Training is getting long and the players are just as ready for it to be over as the fans are.  Still, I thought maybe Happ may need some cheering up after today’s rough outing so I decided to give him a make-over….or two or three….Happ hair.jpg

Personally, I think he pulled off the Jayson Werth crazy caveman style quiet well.  And if this does not cheer us all up, I may have to resort to funny hats next…you have been warned ;o)

And the countdown continues…

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Photoshopping by Jenn


*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*




Jamie Moyer and Kyle Kendrick are making the competition for the 5th starters spot a bit complicated.  Both have performed well.  And yesterday against the Orioles in his first “A” game start, Moyer made the decision even more complex by pitching 5 innings of one run ball.  If the race remains close throughout the next few weeks, odds are that Moyer will get the nod based on experience and payroll and Kendrick will begin the year in the pen.  But, as happened with Chan Ho Park and JA Happ last season, the roles could be flipped if Moyer falters.

P7098599 Hamels.jpgThen today against the Yankees, Cole Hamels ran into a few complications of his own.  Hamels has pitched well this spring…that is, until today.  Giving up 6 earned runs over just 4 innings, Hamels got spanked by the Yanks.  That brings his spring ERA to 4.91, which is not too awful.  Plus, these games do not count anyway.  Should we be worried about Hamels after one bad outing?  Probably not.  If it stretches into 2 or 3 bad outings, then we’ll talk.

What is not so complicated now is the Opening Day pitching roster.  Having sent lefty Mike Zagurski to the minors, there are exactly 12 healthy pitchers remaining: Starters Roy Halladay, Hamels, Joe Blanton, J.A. Happ and Kendrick or Moyer.  The pen will be Ryan Madson, Danys Baez, Chad Durbin, Jose Contreras, David Herndon, Antonio Bastardo and then either Kendrick or Moyer.  If the Phillies pick up another piece along the way, this can change, but odds are this will be the pitching staff.  Of course, once Brad Lidge and JC Romero are ready, more changes will be made.

On the offensive end, there was an odd standout performance today.  Hawaiian born 3rd/4th string catcher, Dane Sardinha, previously of the Tigers, went 2 for 4 against the Yankees with 4 RBI on a 3-run double and a solo homer.  The unlikely performance came from a guy who hit .097 with the Tigers in 2009 and was arrested for a DUI in Clearwater, FL last month.  Like Tiger Woods, I suppose he is making his case for forgiveness ;o)

Those four runs today helped the Phillies to the 9-7 9th inning comeback win over the Yanks.  Wilson Valdez, another non-roster invitee like Sardinha, knocked a 2-run homer for the walk-off win.  Next up: Tampa Bay on Tuesday and the Braves on Wednesday…

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Photo by Jenn


*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*


Spring Fever Results In An Offensive Vacation

After the Phillies day off on Thursday, it seems the Phillies offense is taking the rest of the week off.  John Mayberry Jr. had the only hit for the Phils in a 2-0 loss to the Orioles on Friday.  Then in a 3-0 loss today against the Tigers, they scratched out just 4 hits.  But is any more appropriate time for a slump than Spring Training?  Besides, we are all anxious for the real games to begin!

The pitching slumped a bit as well; Roy Halladay had a rough day against the Tigers.  To start the second inning, he hit the first batter, walked the second batter and gave up a 2-run double to the third batter.  A few more hits and another walk later and he had a 3-run inning.  Then again, a bad day for Halladay is a spectacular day for most pitchers.

Kyle Kendrick started Friday’s game and gave up 2 runs over 5 innings bringing his spring ERA to 1.29.  While Kendrick has clearly out pitched Jamie Moyer so far this year, it is still up in the air as to who will win the 5th starter’s roll.  Moyer has way more experience and a much bigger paycheck, which may influence the decision.

Thumbnail image for Bastardo cr.jpg
But Kendrick should not have too much to worry about as it appears he will make the team either way.  Lefty Sergio Escalona was sent back to the minors, indicating that Antonio Bastardo will get the one lefty spot in the pen.  The remaining bullpen pieces are right-handers Danys Baez, Jose Contreras, Chad Durbin, David Herndon and Ryan Madson.  That leaves the 7th spot for either Kendrick or Moyer.  Mike Zagurski, another lefty, may also be in the mix but he has made only 1 appearance all Spring.  The Phillies appear to be nursing Zagurski along after he missed all of 2008 due to Tommy John surgery.

Still recovering from off-season surgery, it looks like both Brad Lidge and JC Romero will start the season on the DL.  However, they should not be too far behind schedule; both are throwing now to live batters and Lidge pitched in a minor league game on Thursday.  Lidge says his command is off and he still needs to work on arm speed.  But both players feel physically fine, which is great news.

Third baseman Placido Polanco is also feeling much better after a right calf sprain and was scheduled to play in a minor league game today.  Chase Utley has recovered from his respiratory issues and played in both games after the off-day.  If everyone else can stay healthy now, we should be looking at a nice start to the season.

And just for fun, I came across this Jayson Werth baseball card and thought I would share it with you.  Werth card002.jpgThis is one of the shots taken during Photo Day in Spring Training from last year.  Each player gets their “standard” shots for cards, programs, yearbooks and other team items on this day.  The way it works is the photographer has them hold up their name / locker plate for the first photo so they know who they are shooting.  They put the name plate down and then continue with the regular photos. 

However, Werth decided to be silly and rather than put his name plate away, he stuck it through his belt loops.  So my question is, did the photographer not notice this or did he just think it was funny and keep right on shooting?  Either way, it is pretty interesting.  Maybe that is why Werth let his hair and beard grow wild this spring?  Could he have been trying to top last year’s bizarre photo session?  We may never know…

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Photo by Jenn


*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*


Solid Spring So Far For The Phillies

The Phillies have had a very productive month so far this spring and will go into their day off tomorrow with a record of 9 wins, 4 loses and a tie.  Spring Training results are not a great indicator of how a team will perform in the regular season, but based on years past, it seems like every player came to camp more prepared and more determined this year and it shows.  The bats are jumping and most guys have stayed fairly healthy.

Placido Polanco’s right knee strain is minor and he will be back in action probably by Friday.  Chase Utley has also sat out a few games with a respiratory illness but again, he seems to be on the road to recovery.  Even pitchers like JC Romero and Brad Lidge who had off-season surgeries are getting closer and closer to game-shape.  Romero threw to live batters this morning and is feeling good; both he and Lidge should be ready to go by early April.

Luck Of The Irish?

199a Hamels.jpgCole Hamels was feeling lucky this week; he threw 5 innings in a win over the Tigers on Tuesday without allowing an earned run; he gave up just 2 hits and struck out 4.  Joe Blanton was not quite as solid against the Yankees today in the St. Patty’s Day showdown, but still not bad.  Blanton did allow 2 runs on 7 hits over 5 innings, but maybe he is just allergic to the shamrock green uniforms?

The two young lefty bullpen hopefuls also pitched in the last two games and showed some progress.  Antonio Bastardo showed off some serious heat, striking out 2 batters and not allowing a base runner in his inning against the Tigers.  Sergio Escalona also pitched a scoreless inning against the Yanks, although he is still struggling with his control and walked two batters.  Regardless, it does appear that both players are anxious to crack the Opening Day roster.

As for the bats, Ryan Howard hit his first home run of Spring yesterday and is batting a very solid .344 so far.  Not to be outdone, Jayson Werth smashed a 3-run homer today that looked like a rocket as it travelled in nearly a straight line over the left field fence faster than you could blink.  It was his 2nd home run this spring.

Lee yellinga.jpg
Cliff Lee Is Angry

No, not at the Phillies; or at least we think not anymore…however, he is having an interesting spring so far with the Mariners.  On Monday in a game against the D-Backs, Lee was actually ejected from a Spring Training game for the first time in his career.  For what?  He was tossed for intentionally throwing at a batter’s head.   The intended victim was D-Backs catcher Chris Snyder; teammate Mark Reynolds stood up for Snyder after the game, calling Lee’s actions “bush league.”

But did Lee really do it on purpose?  Reynolds purports, “I’ve faced Cliff Lee plenty of times to know he’s got amazing control.”  Check out the video and judge for yourself.

UPDATE: The league has now suspended Lee for 5 games at the start of the season for what they are calling an “intentional” act.

Tosh.0 Redeems A Philly Fan

Remember the adorable little girl who was all over TV last year for tossing her Daddy’s prized foul ball catch back onto the field?  Well, the father-daughter team are back and Daniel Tosh of Comedy Central’s “Tosh.0” gave little Emily a chance at redemption.  Check it out:

<td style="PADDING-BOTTOM: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 5px; PADDING-RIGHT: 1px; PADDING-TOP: 2px" colspan="2" Web Redemption – Phillies Fan
Web Redemption 2 Girls, 1 Cup Reaction Demi Moore Picture

I am not sure what is more adorable; Emily tossing the Mardi Gras beads or her proclamation that tea parties are better than baseball.  Funny stuff!

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Photos by Jenn


*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the My Team Rivals network*



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