Results tagged ‘ World Series ’

Phillies Smack Braves Around Some More

After sweeping the Braves in 3-games just over a week ago, the Phillies added insult to injury tonight by smacking the Braves around some more.  The Braves and Padres are battling for the NL Wild Card spot and the Padres were trailing by 2 games before the game today.  If the Phillies win one or both of the final 2 regular season games against the Braves, it will have major implications in the Wild Card race.


Atlanta voodoo cr - Copy.jpgJust because they have won the NL East does not mean the Phils will let up on the Braves.  Because several players are competing for either a spot on the postseason roster or possibly a spot with the team next year.  Kyle Kendrick is one of those players.  After a very inconsistent season, Kendrick needed to have a good outing tonight.  He did a pretty good job, allowing 2 runs over 5 innings, although he walked 3 batters, including the opposing pitcher.

The Phillies scored 5 runs in the 6th with a Jimmy Rollins grand slam and Domonic Brown walked to force a run in.  The big lead took Kendrick out of the game and gave a few more pitchers an opportunity to show off their skills…or lack thereof.  Four pitchers, Antonio Bastardo, JC Romero, Chad Durbin and Jose Contreras, all pitched well. 

Mike Zagurski, on the other hand, probably ended his career prospects tonight after giving up 3 runs in 2/3 of an inning in the 9th.  The 11-2 lead he started with was cut down to 11-5.  Zagurski pitched well in AAA but in his 7 appearances with the big club this year, he has allowed 8 runs in 6 2/3 innings for a 10.80 ERA.  David Herndon had to come in to get the final out…after walking one batter, just so Zagurski did not feel too bad ;o)

Tomorrow will be no easier for the Braves.  Rookie Vance Worley will get the start and he will be anxious to prove he can pitch in the big leagues.  His future with the club can be given a huge boost with a solid performance tomorrow.  Game time is 4:10pm.

By the way, the Phillies starting pitchers 70-50 record is the best for the team since 1980…the same year they won their first World Series Championship.

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2010 Announced

Earlier today, the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame announced the Class of 2010.  This 7th class for the Hall will be officially inducted during a ceremony which will take place on Thursday, November 11. 2010.  These chosen athletes have had exceptional careers in their particular sport, either with a Philadelphia team or having grown up in the Philadelphia area and gone on to an outstand sports career elsewhere.

Here are the inductees:

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Several inductees were present at the press conference and spoke with the media.  Closer Tug McGraw played 10 years with the Phillies and is best known for recording the final out of the 1980 World Series.
P7145453k.jpgSadly, McGraw passed away in 2004 from a brain tumor.   His son, Mark McGraw, who currently works as an actor, was there to speak on his behalf. 

Mark McGraw said, “Well I think you all know how much my Dad loved the city of Philadelphia and especially the fans.  And to be honored into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame is an honor for our family, it’s an honor for our Tug McGraw Foundation and Team McGraw which continues on Tug’s legacy and (pause), excuse me, it’s a bit emotional for me, and a very proud moment for Tug if he was here.  And we’re very excited to be honored and representing our father and Tug McGraw into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame and we thank them very much.”


P7145439c.jpgFormer Philadelphia Eagles receiver, Mike Quick, also spoke at the press conference.  Quick played 9 seasons for the Eagles and still lives in the area.  He noted that he has been in Philadelphia for 30 years now, which is longer than his time in North Carolina where he grew up.  “To me now, this (Philadelphia) is really home,” Quick said, “My kids grew up here, I became a man here and I am very pleased that the Hall of Fame had decided to invite me as one of the inductees.”


P7145444e.jpgPhil Jasner
is a writer for the Philadelphia Daily News and currently covers the 76ers.  He is to be awarded the “Legacy of Excellence” award and induction into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame for an outstanding career as a sports journalist.  Jasner also grew up in the area and graduated from Temple University.  Always entertaining, Jasner did not disappoint today saying, “I asked Marcia, my life partner, if she’d still love me when I’m old and miserable.  And she said, ‘Of course I do.’”

But the real highlight of the day for me personally was having the opportunity to speak with former Phillie, Dick Allen.  Allen played for the Phillies from 1963-1969 and 1975-1976.  He earned the NL “Rookie of the Year” award in 1964 and was a 3-time All-Star with the Phillies.  His early career in Philadelphia was marred by several personal incidents.

Allen played during a time when racism was still prominent in America and certainly, in baseball.  Allen was subjected to racial slurs and taunting by both fans and fellow players.  In 1965, he got into a fight with a white teammate, Frank Thomas.  Thomas hit Allen in the shoulder with a bat and was released the next day.  Fans blamed Allen for the dismissal of Thomas and his problems were only exasperated by his own temper and demeanor, which were often seen as negative.

However, when I spoke with Allen today after the press conference, I saw a kind, gentle human being with a great sense of humor.  Allen asked if I was going to take his picture and I told him I would.
P7145461n.jpgHe then pinched me on the arm, winked and told me, “You are such a pretty girl, I should be taking your picture.” Ok, so I’ll take flattery wherever I can get it.  But that aside, Allen stayed to speak with reporters for an extended time after the press conference and was gracious and forthcoming with everyone he spoke to.

When asked about his difficulties back in the 60′s, Allen said, “Mother sat me down and had a long talk with me,” and went on to say his mother also taught him about the importance of forgiveness.  Another question arose about the National Baseball Hall of Fame.  Many think Allen should be in the Hall, but may have been snubbed because of his earlier temperament.  Allen’s numbers certainly warrant a bid to the Hall.  Allen’s career stats include a batting average of .292, a slugging % of .534, and his on-base % was 378.

When asked about a possible bid for the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Allen said, “I don’t even know how that works.  Maybe politics or something like that. I don’t know.  I think everything speaks for itself.  Possibly had I been a little kinder to some of the writers or maybe the right persons along the way, I don’t know.”  But ultimately, he said has always been at peace with everything.  Allen stated, “I played it all and gave it my heart so I am particularly enjoying this,” referring to his Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame induction.

I particularly enjoyed meeting and speaking with Mr. Allen.  I would like to thank him for taking the time to talk to me.  I would also like to thank all the other attendees and especially the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame for inviting me to the press conference.  Congratulations to all the inductees!

For more information on the PSHOF, visit www.phillyhall.org.

 Here is the full Photo Album from the press conference.

Photosby Jenn Zambri Photography

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

National League Wins All-Star Game, Ending The American League Streak

The National League entered today’s All-Star Game not having won against the American League since 1996.  That win took place in Philadelphia.  Manager Charlie Manuel and the Phillies coaching staff had a huge task on their hands for the second consecutive year, trying to win World Series home field advantage for the NL.

P6253786a.jpgTwo Phillies took part in the game today; Chase Utley stayed home as he is recovering from surgery on his thumb.  Ryan Howard served as the DH and went 0 for 2; but hits were difficult to come by in this game.  Through 6 innings, the both teams had only 4 hits each.  Two of the hits for the AL came off Phillie Roy Halladay, although one hit was a pop-up that landed in the middle of nowhere and ex-Phillie Marlon Byrd could not quite get to it.

The AL struck first in the 5th as Dodger’s pitcher Hong-Chih Kuo allowed an unearned run after a costly error where he overthrew 1st base on an easy grounder.  He had already walked a batter, then the error gave the AL two runners and a sac fly scored Evan Longoria. 

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But the NL fought back in the 7th.  Another ex-Phillie, Scott Rolen, singled followed by a Matt Holliday single.  Rolen’s aggressive base running put him on third base.  Byrd walked with 2 outs and then Braves catcher, Brian McCann, hit a bases-clearing double to give the NL the lead.  Two runs were charged to Yankee Phil Hughes and another to White Sox Matt Thornton.

In the bottom of the 7th, Holliday took a bad route to a ball in left and it went off his glove, giving Blue Jay John Buck a double instead of an out.  Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals was pitching but Holliday could not help out his teammate.  Shane Victorino could have caught that ball from either left or center…just saying ;o) 

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But to Wainwright’s credit, he worked out of the inning without allowing a run.  Whew!  So the NL went into the 8th inning with a 3-1 lead.  The NL did not score in the 8th and Giants closer, Brian Wilson, erased the AL batters in the bottom of the inning.  Personally, I think the mohawk is his secret weapon.

So it would come down to the 9th inning.  The NL did not score and Manuel brought in another Dodger, Jonathan Broxton, to try and nail down the save and the win for the NL.  Broxton gave up a hit right away to the Home Run Derby champ, David Ortiz.  He struck out the next batter but gave up a single to Buck.  However, with Big Papi Ortiz running, Byrd was able to throw him out at second from right field.  That was an amazing, heads-up play by Byrd!

The next batter flew out and the National League won it!!  FINALLY!  A win for the NL!  Way to go, Charlie!  Now, let see if the Phillies can actually use the home field advantage this year; that, of course, would require a third straight trip to the World Series.

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

 

Hamels Shines As Phillies Sweep Reds

The Phillies beat the Reds today to complete a 4-game sweep and head into the All-Star break.  And for the first time this week, they did not need extra innings or a walk-off hit to beat them.  And although the 1-0 victory was a very tight game, it felt more like the Phillies were in the driver’s seat the whole game.

Most of that had to do with the performance, and confidence, of pitcher Cole Hamels.  He finally looked like the 2008 World Series MVP again.  Not only was Hamels making his pitches, but he looked determined on the mound.  More importantly, he was never rattled by bad calls or bad plays; and there were plenty of those to go around.

For instance, Ryan Howard dropped a pop-up.  In his defense, it was a tough play.  Also the first base umpire called a runner safe when replay showed he was out by a good amount.  And then there was the home plate umpire who had a strike zone most of the day that was about the size of a pea.  As the weather got hotter though, it looked like he expanded it a little.  See here as a pitch to Carlos Ruiz is called a strike; note that the ball crosses the plate at his elbow.  And here is the Howard play as well:

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But despite the miscues, Hamels kept right on pitching with fervor.  After Howard dropped the ball and the ump blew the call at first, in both cases Hamels got a double play to erase the mistakes.  You cannot ask for more than that from your pitcher; well done.  Here are a few more photos:

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Not so well done was the following: TWO fan interference calls which necessitated TWO booth reviews on balls that looked like home runs.  Ruiz hit the first one, but on replay it was a double and the fan really did not affect it too much. 

The next one was a hit by Jayson Werth where the fan reached over the wall and snagged the ball.  While it also was not a homer, had the ball been left alone, it would have bounced off the wall.  Centerfielder Drew Stubbs was jumping up for the ball, which then would have bounced far away from him, possibly enabling Werth to go to third base or even score an inside-the-park homer.  But because of the fan, it was a ground rule double and we will never know what could have been.

Ok people, I am officially putting Stupid Fans ON NOTICE.  Not all Phils fans; just the STUPID ones (you know who you are).  One day soon, if this trend continues, like the fan who took a pop-up away from Werth on Thursday, a fan is going to cost this team a game.  Mark my words: it will happen.  Today it did not; Thursday it did not; but it is coming.  If you are lucky enough to have a seat in the front row of a section and simple cannot or will not pay full attention to the game and its rules, give your seat to someone who will. 

And the Phillies need to start cracking down on this behavior.  Anyone who leans into the field of play or interfere’s with a player should be ejected and fined.  The Phils “say” they will do this, but more times than not, I see the same idiot fan still in his seat, waiting to ruin another play.  Let’s put it this way, follow the rules and respect the game otherwise, I will suggest to the Phillies that they have Jayson Werth run around the stadium and cuss out the entire front row.  You know he will do it ;o)

And no, I do not condone Werth’s language during the incident on Thursday.  It did make me sad for that poor kid.  But he did have a point.  If you are a fan of the game, act like one.  PAY ATTENTION.  Thank you.

And now back to the game :O)  Sorry for the rant interlude…

The Phillies offense had only 4 hits and 1 run as both pitchers were doing well.  Jimmy Rollins had 2 of the 4 hits plus the lone RBI; the other two hits were the fan-interference doubles.  Hamels wound up pitching 7 2/3 innings without allowing a run.  Jose Contreras ended the 8th and JC Romero got the first out of the 9th.

Romero looked like he was on fire as he mowed down his one hitter.  So when Charlie Manuel came out of the dugout to bring in Brad Lidge for the save, most of the crowd began hollering and boo’ing.  Not only did Romero look great, but Lidge has been anything but great this year.  With only 5 save in 8 attempts, Lidge makes people nervous.  But Manuel is determined Lidge will get better and today, he did.  Two quick outs and the save was intact, plus a win for Hamels.  Whew!

Here is the full Photo Album from the game.

Closing out the first half of 2010 with a 4-game sweep was a much needed boost to this Phillies team that has struggled most of the year with injuries, slumps and sloppy play.  This series could be the engine that propels them into a great second half.

But for now, All-Star fever is upon us.  Before today’s game, the coaching staff and players were given their All-Star jerseys.  Even the Phanatic got one; he was very excited.  And All-Star Mickey Mouse made an appearance at the stadium as well:

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Here is the All-Star schedule of events:

July 11: Taco Bell All-Star Sunday at Angel Stadium featuring: XM All-Star Futures Game & Taco Bell All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game; All-Star Game Charity 5K & Fun Run

July 12: Gatorade All-Star Workout Day at Angel Stadium featuring: State Farm Home Run Derby

July 13: 11:30 a.m. – Red Carpet Show presented by Chevrolet (Parade Route: along Convention Way and Harbor Blvd. ending in Disney Way)

8:00pm – 81st MLB All-Star Game at Angel Stadium

 

Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

A Much Needed Win

On the verge of being swept in Boston, the Phillies would rely today on the arm of Cole Hamels.  Much improved since last season, Hamels did not let his team down.  Hamels pitched 7 strong innings against the Red Sox allowing just one run on 5 hits and 2 walks.  Normally, Hamels fastball clocks in around 88-92mph but today, he was topping out at 96mph.  The extra kick helped and he left the mound with his team in a good position to win the game.


P5090614j.jpgBut the Phillies offense would have to face knuckleballer Tim Wakefield again, who beat them up badly in Philly last month.  Wakefield is an otherwise mediocre pitcher, but he certainly has the Phillies number.  In the first inning, the Phils offensive woes continued as they loaded the bases with no outs but did not score.  Ryan Howard hit a fly ball but Shane Victorino decided it was too close to tag and stayed at third.  Then Jayson Werth hit into a double play to end the threat.  Werth would later drop a fly ball in the outfield, adding to his woes.

In the 4th inning though, it looked like the Phils may have figured Wakefield out.  They scored 4 runs on 2 doubles, 2 singles and a Raul Ibanez homer.  But again, another double play, this time from Carlos Ruiz, ended the inning.  The Phillies have certainly figured out how to shoot themselves in the foot recently.

Lucky for them, Hamels was spectacular and they went into the 8th inning with a 4-1 lead.  Jose Contreras held the Sox down in the 8th, despite allowing 2 singles.  In the 9th, Werth redeemed himself by walking and then stealing 2 bases.  A sac fly from Ben Francisco scored Werth and gave the Phils a 5-1 lead.

But in their usual fashion, the Phillies made the 9th inning an adventure in a game they desperately needed to win.  JC Romero gave up a double and later, Ruiz let a pitch sail past him to score a run for the Sox.  Now in a save situation, Brad Lidge was brought in to finish the job.  Lidge gave everyone a heart attack when he allowed another run, but did finally get out of the jam and save the game.  The Phillies win, 5-3.

While the win today is a huge relief for the fast falling Phils, what ails them is clearly not past.  The offense still sputtered in many situations where they should have scored and the bullpen began to look shaky again.  Monday will be an off-day while the Phillies try to screw their heads on right before a 3-game series with their World Series rivals, the New York Yankees.  Otherwise, the Yanks are going to feast on the failing Phils.  Cross your fingers…

And although I am less enthusiastic about it right now, keep VOTING for your Phillies All-Stars.  Here are the team links for the Phillies Phollowers All-Star campaign:

Chase Utley    Ryan Howard    Raul Ibanez    Placido Polanco

Carlos Ruiz    Jayson Werth    Shane Victorino    Jimmy Rollins

Vote up to 25 times per day, per email address. 

 

Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography

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

 

Bad Luck Or Bad Baseball?

Is it bad luck or bad baseball?  It looked like luck may have been in the Phillies favor when Red Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka was sent to the DL minutes before the game started today.  Dice-K beat up the Phillies in their last meeting, so this must be good news.  Scott Atchison, a career minor leaguer who also played in Japan, made his first career major league start in place of Dice-K.  Again, this seemed like good news, right?

Wrong.  Because absolutely nothing has gone well for the Phillies lately, and this game would be no different.  Joe Blanton has been as bad as he could be since coming off the DL in early May.  By the 2nd inning of this game, Blanton had given up 34 runs, 11 homers and 11 walks in 45 innings pitched this year. 
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And the damage did not end there…Blanton allowed 9 runs total, matching Jamie Moyer yesterday, on 13 hits and a walk by the time he was done, after 4 pathetic innings. His ERA is now 7.28.

Blanton loaded the bases in the 2nd inning, right after the offense scored two runs for him.  He then threw ONE pitch to rookie, Daniel Nava, who in his first major league at-bat, hit a grand slam!  Unbelievable.  It looked like the Phillies had morphed into a black cat with a #13 tattoo, under a black cloud standing on top of a broken mirror, sprinkled with spilled salt.  But was that bad luck or just Joe Blah-anton?

Blanton needs to go.  Obviously, no one will want him with his gigantic 7.28 ERA and gigantic salary, so what are the options?  Put him back on the DL or send him to the minors.  Brett Myers did this voluntarily back in 2008 and came back to help them win the World Series.  The Phillies can bring back Nelson Figueroa or someone else from the minors.  I would rather see a rookie get raked for 9 runs than a veteran who is not living up to his end of the deal.  How about Nate Bump?  He has some experience and was recently clocked at 103mph.  Go get him!

The Phillies have made a lot of mistakes this year and last, many of which have been overshadowed by the acquisition of Roy Halladay.  Letting Myers go was clearly an error in judgment.  I said it before, but because most people have a personal dislike of Myers, most were happy to see him go.  For the Astros this year, Myers has not allowed more than 4 runs in any game, has not pitched fewer than 6 innings in any game and his ERA is a very respectable 3.18.

And do not even get me started on Cliff Lee.  Because the Mariners are not doing well, Lee will likely be traded before the deadline and it looks like he may wind up in the NL East.  Imagine this: Lee goes to Mets or the Braves who make the playoffs, leaving the Phillies in the dust.  You want to throw up right now, don’t you?

And remember signing a 36 year-old Raul Ibanez, now 38, to a 3-year contract?  It looked like a good idea for ½ a year in 2009; now, not so much.  Raul, we still love ya, but things are not going well.  Ibanez is hitting .247 and is getting slower in the outfield.

The Phillies also extended Blanton’s contract this off-season, giving him 3 more years and $24 million dollars.  They noted his “consistency,” which I have never agreed with, and his ability to pitch many innings as reasons for the extension.  Well, all those innings have taken their toll as evidenced by Blanton’s current ERA plus the pre-season injury and DL stint.

By the way, the Phillies offense died after Blanton dug a huge hole for them.  The managed only 7 hits and 3 of those came from back-up catcher Brian Schneider.  The Phillies went on to lose the game by a score of 2-10.


panic.jpgI could go on, but I think that is enough for one day.  The Phillies have now slid from 1st place to 3rd place in the NL East and if the Marlins keep winning, they will be in 4th place shortly.  I mentioned holding off on hitting the panic button last week; well, it is now time.  Let the panic begin.  This past month may be a foretelling of the horror to come.

 

Photoshopping by Jenn

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

 

Halladay Pitches A Complete Game

Roy Halladay got his second win as a Phillie today and his first complete game. 
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Even after going over 100 pitches by the 8th inning, this Iron Man had no intentions of stopping there.  Halladay finished the game with only 1 run allowed on 7 hits and did not walk a batter.  He even had a hit in the game.  All the man needs now is a super-awesome Titanium Plasma Cannon and he will truly be invincible.

The offense was finally slowed down today; for the first time this year, they scored less than 5 runs and only 6 hits in the 2-1 win.  Astros pitcher Roy Oswalt had a bit to do with that, although Jimmy Rollins paid him no mind.  J-Roll hit the 2nd pitch of the game over the right field wall and had another hit later in the game.  The other 3 hits came from Shane Victorino, Chase Utley and Raul Ibanez.  Carlos Ruiz collected the 2nd RBI with a sacrifice.

No bullpen to chat about today, thanks to Halladay.  But we do have 3 pitchers rehabbing right now; JC Romero is looking good and has pitched twice in rehab assignments without giving up a run.  The polar opposite of this is Brad Lidge, who pitched only 2/3 of an inning in a minor league game and allowed 4 runs.  Between the off-season surgeries, recent cortisone injection in his elbow and this lack-luster performace, Lidge may be a big problem this year.  He has not looked healthy since the 2008 World Series and shows no signs of improving anytime soon.

Joe Blanton is also working back from an oblique strain, the first real injury of his career.  So far, that is going well but no time table has been given as to when he might start throwing off a mound.

The long-awaited Home Opener will be tomorrow afternoon at 3:05pm with Cole Hamels pitching against the Nationals.  Hope to see you there!

 

Photoshopping by Jenn

 

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

 

The Chooch Train Rolls For 3 More Years

Avoiding arbitration totally for the second year in a row, the Phillies signed Carlos Ruiz, their final arbitration eligible player.  Chooch will be manning the back-stop for at least three more years with a contract worth 8.85 million, plus a 5 million dollar option for a 4th year.  Ruiz has been the little engine who could at the end of this Phillies line-up for some time now.  Keeping him on board with the rest of the crew through 2012 adds even more stability to the team.175 ruiz.jpg

Earlier this week, the Phillies also signed veteran right-hander Jose Contreras to a deal worth about 1 million for one year.  The deal is pending a physical, of course.  A starter most of his career, the 39-year old Contreras has a lifetime 4.61 ERA which includes time spent with Colorado last year and the White Sox and Yankees before that.  He won the World Series in 2005 with the Sox.  Another fun tidbit; Contreras will join pitcher Danys Baez as the second Cuban defector to be acquired by the Phillies this offseason.

All the signings this month mean that 7 of our 8 starting position players are now signed at least through 2011.  The lone wolf in the bunch is right fielder, Jayson Werth who is signed only through this coming season.  It is thought that, unless he gets hurt or has a very bad year, the Phillies will be unable to afford Werth after 2010.  While Jayson is certainly Werth-Y of big bucks, there are just too many youngsters, like highly-touted prospect Dominic Brown, waiting in the wings to justify the additional expense.  Rumor has it that Werth may command a salary near 16 million a year.  The Phils budget simply will not be able to hold him.

Anything can happen, of course.  That is, anything except for the Phillies budget jumping to Yankee-like numbers.  That being said, Werth being with us long-term does not look very likely.  Well, we will just have to worry about that next year…

Photo by Jenn

 

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

 

UnbeLEEvable Early Christmas Halladay For The Phillies?

It appears the Phillies are going to land Roy Halladay.  However, in an unbeLEEvable twist, it is said that Cliff Lee will be shipped to the Seattle Mariners as part of a 3-team deal.  Shock and awe have overcome me….Cliff Lee??? 
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Really???  Our ACE miracle pick-up of 2009 traded away?  A few acronyms come to mind here; mainly OMG and WTF.

Ok, so apparently Lee is dead-set on testing the free agent market after 2010 and Halladay is agreeable to a multi-year deal; plus, Halladay really wants to come to Philly.  The Phillies are looking to keep the core of this team intact for at least 2 more years and I suppose, with Lee not being a possibility past 1 year, they feel he is disposable.  But we would be basically trading and ace for an ace instead of keeping TWO aces.  Ugh.

Halladay may be a slightly better pitcher than Lee, but he has also pitched nearly twice as many innings as Lee at almost the same age.  Halladay is 1 year and 3 months older and has pitched 2046.2 innings; Lee has pitched 1196.2 innings. 

Also take into consideration that Lee was amazing in the playoffs and is super steady mentally.  He may be one of the calmest players under pressure anyone has ever seen.  Halladay on the other hand was rattled in July and August over the trade rumors and it affected his performance.  This does not mean Lee is better than Halladay; clearly the numbers show otherwise.  However, Lee has advantages that Halladay does not.  The innings pitched and Halladay’s age (he will be 33 in May) are causes for concern in signing a long-term deal.

If there is any way possible to keep both pitchers, it should be done.  The Phillies with both Lee and Halladay may be unstoppable.  In fact, for only 2-3 million more, the Phils could trade Joe Blanton instead of Lee.  Why would they NOT do this?  But the money is the big issue, as it usually is; even a mere couple million apparently is too much for them to handle.  I can tell you this; teams like the Yankees and Red Sox, a few of MLB’s richest teams, would not have to make such a decision.  They would keep both players without question.  And that is what makes this idea hard to swallow.

Not that the Phillies are poor; they ranked 7th in payroll for 2009.  But a lot of money is tied up in big name players like Ryan Howard and Chase Utley.  The window for this group of players to score another World Championship is probably about two years.  With that being the case, I would like to see the Phillies throw everything and the kitchen sink at this 2010 team.  But the kitchen sink is Lee, and it looks like he will be gone.

Do not get me wrong, I will be thrilled to have Halladay.  But the price does seem a bit steep, which puts a damper on the celebration.  And now what about the bullpen?  Is there money left to fix that gaping hole?  That is the other thought that worries me.  It will not matter how good the rotation is if the pen blows games, like they did a lot in 2009.  That solution or lack thereof is yet to be determined.

And on top of all this, it is also rumored that the Phillies top pitching prospect, Kyle Drabek, will be sent to the Jays.  This is the player the Jays have been asking for since last July.  So tell me, WHY exactly would the Phillies wait until we LOSE the World Series to give up Drabek when we could have had Halladay in July had they traded him then??  This makes me very, very, very angry.  Of course, we do not know the details of the deal yet, but usually, where there is smoke, there is fire.

And so we all wait with bated breath for the decision to come down from above…

Photo by Jenn

 

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

 

Holiday Sale 2009

The Phillies held their annual Holiday Sale this weekend at the ballpark and as usual, it was an interesting event.  Phillies Charities holds the event each year, selling game-used merchandise, autographed items, left over programs and books, photos, etc…  Although, this year was not nearly as crowded as last year because of the World Series loss. 

This means less money for Phillies Charities, which is sad.  In fact, the people selling many of the charity items were actually haggling to get rid of merchandise.  A Scott Eyre signed jersey marked $125 went for $100 after the buyer decided $125 was too much and decided to walk away.  Now that is something I have never seen in all the years I have attended.  But plenty of other items raked in big bucks, like game used bats, balls, street banners and empty Champagne bottles from the playoff celebrations.

I picked out a locker name plate grab bag for $30 and wound up with Carlos Ruiz, Miguel Cairo and Mick Billmeyer (bullpen coach).  The Ruiz plate was worth the $30, so I was happy with that.  I have also been working on a collection of signed 2008 World Series balls and am trying to get every player on the team.  But some players who have gone, like So Taguchi, may be impossible to get now.  So I decided to try to buy a Taguchi signed regular ball, which they had a box of there, but by the time I got up front in the line, they were sold out.  Yes folks, an entire box of Taguchi signed balls, gone.  Did everyone else have the same idea I had or are there just huge numbers of Taguchi fans out there that I do not know about?  I can tell you, he was not popular here in Philly at all, so I thought that was a bit weird.  Maybe because they were only $5 people didn’t care who signed it ;o)

While there were not any players there, everyone did have a chance to meet with broadcasters Tom McCarthy and Chris Wheeler, who was signing his new book, “View From the Booth.”  I think Dickie Noles was there too, but I did not see him.  And Milt Thompson was scheduled to sign copies of a hitting DVD he put out later that day.  I ran into Tom in the clubhouse store and chatted with him for a while, then got my book signed by Chris.  Here I am below with Wheels, plus a shot of a Holiday tree and Phanta Claus, who was entertaining the kids:

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It was a dreary day outside, which may have kept some shoppers home.  Rain, slush and snow also dampened the Philadelphia Santa Claus parade, which made its way around the ballpark with fire engines, sirens and bright lights, although the only people silly enough to be outside were those of us waiting in line to get into the Holiday Sale.  Not sure if the Phillies tree lighting went off as planned as I cut out early, but here is a photo of the tree taken from inside the Hall of Fame club:

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I also walked around the concourse a bit to see what the off-season ballpark looked like.  Turns out, they wrap the mobile concession stands with giant tubes of Saran Wrap.  This is either to protect them from the elements, or the stands have been put on some weird plastic wrap weight-loss plan:cling film.jpg

Maybe they can shrink the prices while they are at it?  Just a thought ;o) 

So, did anyone else go to the sale?  What did you think about it?  Feel free to comment below :O)

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