Saturday, February 24, 2018

It's Play Ball! time in Spring Training! Episode 3.1 - Live Stream The Baseball Talk Radio Show




Everyone on FightinPhillies.com probably knows about the Phillies Talk Podcast, one of the earliest internet broadcasts to follow the Phillies, it was originated about 12 years ago.

I'd like to invite the readers of the blog and listeners of Phillies Talk to listen and watch my other show that I do on baseball with the great Gary Mack, from Long Island NY. We're going live with the show at 1 PM today!

Have a question about Spring Training or baseball in general, we'd love to have you send in your comments!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Phils drop Grapefruit opener, may be in running for Arrieta

Embed from Getty Images
Scott Kingery - The Phils have high hopes for him in 2018

The Phillies did really well against their yearly match up with the local college, the University of Tampa, that is the first test of the year for this new Phillies team. This years Phillies team went onto the diamond for the first time and were able to bring away a win. Today, however was the first official game of the Grapefruit League and the Phils lost vs. the Blue Jays 2-1.

You can't look at wins and losses in the first couple weeks of Spring Training, or even more because of the constant subbing of players by management who need to evaluate many different players who are auditioning for a spot on the roster.

A glaring deficiency in the Phillies roster has been a bonafide ace, there was a report that the Phillies are thinking about a deal with Jake Arrieta. The usual disagreements have surfaced though, and those are usually money and length of contract. The money issue doesn't seem to be the issue this time around but the time of contract may be. The fact that Arrieta is even considering signing with the Phillies is encouraging. The team has been on the bottom of the pile for so long, it's hard to believe there would be interest by a marquee player such as Jake.

We'll see how that works out, if a deal can be made and for how long. Will it add up to sparking some much needed veteran leadership with this team is also a factor in picking up someone with success and some years on the mound.


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Waiting for the season to start!

A post shared by phillies (@phillies) on


Nothing better than seeing this picture from Spring Training year after year.

With the advent of all the social media outlets, it is a really great thing for fans!

Games to start up tomorrow vs University of Tampa and then the Grapefruit League starts up on the 24th!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Depace Sports Museum in Collingswood to merge collection with The Sports Museum


There is a small sports museum in Collingswood, NJ that you probably haven't heard of. That place is called the Depace Sports Museum, it was started by a local cardiologist, Nicholas L. Depace, who has a passion for collecting sports memorabilia to the tune of a $40M treasure trove of Philadelphia connected and other sports memorabilia. Depace has had a close connection to many of the local legends of sports in the Philadelphia area with his physician's office, no one is immune from health troubles with the heart. For Dr. Depace, collection sports memorabilia has been a lifelong passion for him and something that outside of his own profession, really brings him an inner peace well after the hours of his normally demanding schedule of visiting patients and caring for sick people.



For several years one of the biggest area collections of awesome sports memorabilia has been housed in Collingswood, NJ - it still is. The Depace Museum is still open there and will be open for the foreseeable future as yesterday's press conference at the Jetro Warehouse, in the shadow of Lincoln Financial Field, announced a much larger project using a lot of the items that Depace has collected over the years and a merging of dreams started by such notable names in Philadelphia sports like Ed Snider, Lou Scheinfeld - who founded Spectacor (before it became Comcast Spectacor) among other local sports endeavors, and has been trumpeting a museum such as this for the last 6 years, Ed Rendell - Philadelphia mayor and former 45th Pennsylvania Governor (2003-2011), former Democratic National Chairman, and passionate Philly sports supporter and fan (and lead Treasurer chairperson for The Museum of Sports), Ken Goldin, whose New Jersey company handles millions of dollars in Sports Memorabilia auctions. All were speakers yesterday at the press conference announcing this project that is being trumpeted as 'for the fans'. It will be something that fans can help develop and build much like they did with the Harry Kalas Statue project that took place back in 2011 and was started by fans in the business name of 'Dear Harry Inc.' - that all paid for by generous donations from fans.



Some of the best things which includes buildings, inventions, and more that have ever been developed have started out with a dream. It's the dream of fans or collector's to have a lot of what they like to accumulate be it memories in the mind or tangible items like baseball glove for example. The satisfaction of collecting leads to some sort of emotional fulfillment. That is the message of The Sports Museum.




 I found myself at the press conference yesterday like I was at the beginning of something that may be a part of the Philadelphia sports legacy for many decades to come, a dream that has been sharpened into a realistic vision with purpose. Many millions of dollars still have to be raised in this project to make it a reality. The Museum of Sports isn't something that is being funded by the Super Bowl champion Eagles, Philadelphia Phillies, Philadelphia Flyers, Philadelphia Sixers, or the Philadelphia Union. It's going to be a place, call it a shrine of local sports treasures - a treasure trove that will feature interactive displays and a rotating schedule of events with local sports talent who now will have a venue of their own to interact with fans that are perhaps some of the best fans in the nation. Still as I sat in the cold venue that will eventually house a gleaming museum, I could only think that all of the dignitaries and media, and fans alike present at this ceremony where embarking on a grass roots movement ' an old school style', just outside the stark fence around Lincoln Financial Field remained locked to our cars just across the street - as we all were parked illegally up and down the street near the future home of the museum, we were like some vagabond neighbors moving in next door to a multi-millionaire (and in the case of the Eagles, a billion dollar franchise), the tattered red carpets that led to the front steps of the warehouse and soon to be museum were from rented rugs that probably made their way there from some South Philly restaurant, after all, South Philly isn't Hollywood. The cold blowing air inside the event reminded me of the struggle of dreams like building a project like this, I talked with a sharply dressed Asian woman who had a very nice dress on but like others in the room, she said she was very cold (she filmed the press conference and beamed it to Facebook Live), my own friend with me covering the event and Phillies Talk podcaster Mike McCabe aka "The Mayor of The Boardwalk" had just been released from the hospital with pneumonia the day before, but he and people like us were there in this chilly environment. And me, sitting there in awe not at the big names of some of the people present at the announcement: Jerry Blavat, Ed Rendell, Philly councilman Kenyatta Barnes, Dr. Nicholas Depace, but I could only sit there and stare at the projected video of legendary performances from our prior sports teams, Julius 'Doc' Erving sailing through the air fed by Mo Cheeks, Chase Utley, Carlos Ruiz, Brad Lidge celebrating the World Series win back in 2008, Bobby Clarke and Bernie Parent with the Flyers glory days back in the 70's, Chuck Bednarik (Eagles great and someone who played well before my time of watching the game), and even a story told my Lou Scheinfeld about his watching of Philadelphia professional baseball back in 1948 - that all held my interest and I can't wait for this project to open!

The Sports Museum  (join them on Facebook here) is a dream with purpose. Contribute to it today!



NBC Sports story on the Press Conference announcing The Sports Museum:

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Spring has sprung.. at least in Florida it is!









Spring Training has begun in Florida with pitchers and catchers reporting to Clearwater today (on Valentines Day) to an enthusiastic manager who would like the team to really do well this year. Isn't that the goal of every manager. Spring dreams of baseball teams, a fresh start in a new season that is starting up soon.

We'll have to see if the hype around this team is something that will bring some excitement but more important winning to this team that has seen itself decline to the depths of the MLB in the last couple of years.

A lot of fans say that the Phillies should have added a star pitcher this year and that's something that they really seem to need. So far, it hasn't happened though. The Phils remain committed to be uncommitted to any sort of superstar for the time being.

So it goes, another reporting day is here, a brand new season on the horizon, and the Phils are back! Full squad workouts on the 19th - then the Grapefruit League starts a few days after that on the 23rd.

If you missed the podcast with some comments from Phillies new manager, Gabe Kapler, check out the podcast for FightinPhillies.com right here, the show is called Phillies Talk Podcast. I will also post the whole commentary by Kapler from the Phillies College Summit 2018 in a few days for a podcast of it's own. Great that baseball is back and ready to go. 

Of course in the Philly area, every time Spring Training starts up in Florida, it seems like we get snow in the Philadelphia / NJ / Del area, and this year is no different. A possibly large snow event is headed this way for what appears to be a weekend happening for us, who are not as lucky to be in Florida!

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Forget about Rhys Hoskins at first base, MLB Right Now! ranked Carlos Santana in Top 10


Ok Phillies fans, it's only less than 10 days till Spring Training officially opens it's doors to the Phillies! That means we're going to see a team that should be an improvement over the past couple of years with the Phils finish in last place.

Rhys Hoskins was one of the big reasons to get back into Phillies baseball last year, he smacked 18 HRs while appearing in 50 games last year, he played first base. The Phils moved Tommy Joseph out of the first base bag to accommodate Hoskins, now the Phils brought in Carlos Santana for first base, and will apparently move Hoskins to left field this year. A lot of fans were concerned at this move, but don't fret, MLB Network ranked new Phils first baseman in the Top 10 First Basemen Right Now!.. Here's more from MLB Network:

New Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Carlos Santana ranked tenth on MLB Network’s annual Top 10 First Basemen Right Now! program this past Saturday. Santana, who makes his first appearance on the countdown since being ranked tenth on the 2015 list, finished one spot behind the Cardinals’ Matt Carpenter. In addition to Santana, the Phillies’ Cesar Hernandez ranked tenth on the Top 10 Second Basemen Right Now! two weeks ago.
Hosted by MLB Network’s Brian Kenny alongside MLB Network analysts, each Top 10 Right Now! ranking takes into account player performance over the last two seasons, a number of offensive and defensive metrics, both advanced Statcast data and traditional numbers, and expert analysis by the MLB Network research team.
On Saturday’s countdown, MLB Network analyst and 2018 Hall of Fame inductee Jim Thome said of Santana, “Across the board, what he brings for the whole package, I think you’ve got to reward him no doubt. He’s a guy that’s just a consistent baseball player and you know what, let’s face it, he can play first base, he can go to the outfield, he needs to be rewarded for what he’s done on the whole package. …When you think of a solid, everyday first baseman, Santana’s that guy for sure.”
The complete ranking for MLB Network’s top-10 first basemen is listed below and an embeddable recap on Santana can be seen here:
Top 10 First Basemen Right Now!
1.            Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds
2.            Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves
3.            Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks
4.            Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs
5.            Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers
6.            José Abreu, Chicago White Sox
7.            Edwin Encarnación, Cleveland Indians
8.            Brandon Belt, San Francisco Giants
9.            Matt Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals
10.          Carlos Santana, Philadelphia Phillies

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Phillies Talk Podcast: Super Bowl 52 Special and the Phillies get ready for Spring Training 2018





It's the first show of 2018 for the Phillies Talk Podcast, a raucous bunch took to the microphones on this show! We discussed the Eagles and how they made it to the Super Bowl, and of course the Phillies and how they will be heading down to Spring Training to start up a new season under new manager Gabe Kapler. We heard from Gabe Kapler and Andy Galdi, Phillies Director of Baseball Analytics from Rich's trip to the Phillies College Summit, after many years, Rich returned to College this year for 2018 and covered the enthusiastic bunch of students who made the trek for a chance at a career in baseball. 


Additional show notes:

It's the Phillies Talk Podcast back for 2018, getting ready for Spring Training and talking about the Philadelphia Eagles appearance in the Super Bowl.

Rich Baxter is joined by Matt Veasey and a newcomer to the show, who is an old friend of Rich's, Mike McCabe. Matt just recently retired from 28 years on the Philadelphia Police Department and Mike has been retired and he is known as 'The Mayor of The Boardwalk' from the city of Atlantic City, New Jersey, where he retired after many years as well.

Will the Eagles win the Super Bowl? We give you our take on the game. Plus, of course the Phillies season is set to start up again in Clearwater with Spring Training. New manager, Gabe Kapler, is speaking at the 2018 College Summit on how he was inspired to embrace the chance to become a Major Leaguer, as well as how he intends to manage the team this year. 

Andy Galdi, Phillies Director of Baseball Analytics, talks about how he got to the Phillies and what goes into making a successful analytics department. Phillies announcer, Gregg Murphy, introduced the Phillies management to the College crowd for 2018.

All of this and more on this edition of the Phillies Talk Podcast. The show is looking for sponsors, so if you have a business and you'd like to have an ad on the show please visit fightinphillies.com to find out more about it.  


Saturday, January 20, 2018

Annual College Summit at CBP is a passage to Spring






I had the privilege of attending and donating to charity by purchasing a ticket to a 'behind the scenes' look at what happens prior to the baseball season each year around the world of Major League Baseball. It's something that the average baseball fan or even huge baseball fan may not give much thought to. I also made a video that is on the FightinPhillies Youtube channel with some valuable information on not only life lessons you can use with career pursuit in baseball, but perhaps some advice that anyone could use in the game of life in any career path.

College students from local colleges and many from New York and the midwest and elsewhere descended upon the ballpark in Philadelphia the other day, it was a chance to get a foot into the door of a multi-billion dollar industry that is not unlike the other major sports industries like the NHL, NBA, and even the NFL.

In Philly this year, there is a change of management, and what a lot of these students heard from Gabe Kapler, who is known around the baseball world as "Kap" - should stay in the minds of these students for many years hopefully. Kapler spoke about his life experiences in baseball. Names like Johnny Oates, a name that probably wasn't too well known by this crowd, and the life's lesson that he taught Kapler by simply having faith in him that by taking him aside in Spring Training when he was a young player, he told him in Spring Training many years ago, "Relax, you are my starting right fielder." That comment inspired Kapler and let him know that Oates had tremendous confidence in him as a player, and Kapler took that and uses that philosophy today when he evaluates his own guys on this Phillies team as we all forward to the start of Spring Training 2018.

Rhys Hoskins was at the presentation, and we all know what he did last year. 18 homeruns in a short season, is not easy to do. The presence of a guy like Hoskins on this year's Phillies team is huge, he's very patient at the plate and so humble in his approach to the game, that he plays like an already seasoned veteran of many years. Hoskins had some great advice for the students too.

This 'College Summit' was a great testament to the spirit of baseball, a very talented group of people who are actually the commodity in the world. Will the Phillies be able to hire some of these bright minds someday? Maybe they will, but there are so many avenues for the college crowd to take, different industries, different opportunities, with many of those opportunities that pay much more than an internship at a ballpark. The students, including me, who returned to college after many years, to seek an opportunity. Follow a passion and get some words of wisdom that hopefully everyone in the room soaked in, it was a very valuable Summit, and a first class presentation by the Phillies.

The team had a very nice buffet in the Phillies clubhouse, pretzels, Brie cheese and vegetables with ranch dip, among other food for the students. Importantly, the Phillies organization showed off the 2 World Championship trophies as well. The trophies were there to show that the Phillies won this Championship twice, the trophies themselves were gleaming. I asked a fellow attendee which one he like the most, he said the 1980 one, which I agreed with, as the design of the '80 one was really much better. The fellow student pointed out to me that the older one also had all of the team names on the  flags around the perimeter of the trophy which was cool.

The sabermetric crowd was abuzz with college students that really seemed to embrace the idea but also, I think that the group of Phillies presenters from that department including, Director of Baseball Research and Development, Andy Galdi, a former employee at Google, and graduate of North Carolina in 2008 and then went onto Stanford in California. Galdi and his team made themselves available after the summit to continue the conversation about what this department does for the Phillies. I could only think that if Kap and Hoskins were also there and made themselves available as well, who would have gotten the bigger following among the students in attendance, as everyone there were huge baseball fans and can't wait for the season to start. I talked with a student from New York who was a Yankee fan, I told him, "You guys are going to be great in '18 with Stanton and Judge on the same team." He broke out in a big smile and then reeled off more ways in which he thought the Yankees would rule the AL this coming season.

When the end of the Summit came, there was ample time to tour the batting cages, and mingle and network for the students among themselves as much as with the Phillies. A civil engineer major had perhaps one of the best comments of the whole Summit and it was answered very well by Gabe Kapler, who was enthusiastic and couldn't wait for the 2018 Spring Training season to unfold.

Kapler and another player had spent some time in Atlantic City, NJ earlier that day, getting to know one another and had some fun before attending the Summit. The two probably walked around town without being recognized as MLB player and manager. It's part of Kapler's plan to let players 'be themselves' and thereby that loosens up the atmosphere around the clubhouse and let's players have a fun time - not too unlike the previous manager, Pete Mackanin, had going on with the team, but perhaps Kap, who is not as far removed from the playing days of the game, can more easily relate to this group of players in 2018.

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Thursday, January 18, 2018

What happened to the 1964 Phillies? When new car payments were $61 month for a Mustang







An interesting time in Phillies history is revisited by the Phillies Talk Podcast, we travel back in time to 1964 when the Beatles were all the rage - they even appeared on American TV for the first time on the Ed Sullivan show, LBJ was the President of the United States.


The Phillies were coasting along in first place, in September of 1964 there was a beginning to the end of a magical season by the team that included Jim Bunning, former US Senator and Perfect Game pitcher for the Phils, the Phils were being managed by Gene Mauch. 



What else happened in 1964?

New York hosted the World's Fair in 1964 - courtesy Wikipedia





Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Thawing out.. FightinPhillies.com is back!





Well, that wasn't a long break from writing this Phillies blog.. FightinPhillies is back!


I had planned to keep the blog in mothballs for a long time, the practice is called blog fading.. but my passion for the game and the Phils have overridden my need to again bring some writing back to my loyal readers! And thanks for staying with this blog, as the viewing readers approach near 1 million pageviews to this site.

The Phillies fan in me and the lust to continue my quest in bringing some great quality content to the readers of the site has been my goal all along as you may have been reading about for some time now. The rich history of the Phillies is one that goes all the way back to the beginning of this ballclub. Remember it all started for the Phillies way back in 1883.

In the last 10 years, I've talked with many book authors, some of the most talented announcers in Phillies history including Chris Wheeler and Gary 'Sarge' Matthews. Chris gave me perhaps the best advice of anyone during a conversation that I had with him on the interview that we did... "Just be yourself" is what he told me, and those words at the time sounded so simplistic, but yet so true.

Maybe the 1964 season in which the  Phils had an epic collapse, had some thing to do with Chris's desire to seek a position in baseball - listen in here to Phillies Talk Podcast for a special interview I did a few years ago -  Phils colossal collapse of the Phillies in 1964 with Bryan Soderholm,  These two announcers are part of the 'old school' - which is a nod to what baseball was before the advent of 'advanced stats' and the newer ways of approaching the game as if it were something that should be changed after all these years of what I would call conservative baseball. Look at how much the Phillies have changed over the past two seasons.

The Phils have always promoted from within, ever since ownership brought in new team President, Andy MacPhail, - whom himself was humbled that the Phils ownership gave him a chance to returidentn to the game he loves after taking a 3-year personal journey away from the game. That story really hasn't been examined  or explored at all by Philly media. Maybe it's a story worth hearing.

The talk has been about improving for this upcoming season, and we're used to that type of talk over the last 6 years at least. All of this past poor performance is not of course on the watch of MacPhail, but the proof should be in the pudding this year that if the Phillies do not turn in a decent season, the spotlight should be facing squarely in the direction of MacPhail and his GM, Matt Klentak. Things don't change overnight with a ballclub, but with the right moves, ball clubs have turned themselves from worst to first. Pete Mackanin, who the duo had so much confidence in is still here for his opinions and his expertise in the game, though he is not on the field as manager anymore.

That leads us up to 2018, a new spirit, a new season, and new set of goals and dreams. The Phils management were looking for a new manager after this past season, the team took a long look at the candidates that were available for the job. There were many talented individuals in this competitive field of experienced ex-managers and other people that want to manage a baseball team. To their credit, Phils management didn't go out and just sign the guy with the most experience. In fact, they went out and did the opposite, hiring a guy that has a passion for baseball and improving not only a baseball team but a guy who could be termed as a maverick in his approach towards sharing his views of how he feels a great ballplayer should be developed. I am excited to see what ex-Dodger employee, Gabe Kapler , will bring to this ballgame.

If nothing else, it shows that in an interview, a former player who has played this game but not necessarily had all the 'typical' qualifications to become a major league manager, has taken over this team and will have the opportunity to show Phillies fans and the world of baseball what he knows about the game, and how his philosophy of life, which may not reflect a lot of the fanbase of this team's fans, will be in charge down on the field in South Philly with a talented team of young players that may well benefit from his leadership.

I'll be covering the Phils new manager, Gabe Kapler, up close and personal later today at CBP - who is he now and how did his philosophy of the game evolve and did it ever change? What are his plans for this team in 2018? What I like about both he and Phils GM, Matt Klentak is that they aren't your 'typical' old school type of baseball management. Though Kapler is a bit older than the younger Klentak, and even Klentak's road to his job in Philadelphia as the GM wasn't very typical of the way Phillies had done business, he is the GM and has been since his old boss in Baltimore - Andy MacPhail - took a liking to the skills and dedication to the game apparently led to his position of GM of a Major League ballclub.

Klentak's arrival in town hit a bump in the road when he clashed with the self appointed king of sports media, Howard Eskin, when Klentak verbally jousted with him about a 'dumb question' - but is their such a thing as a dumb question when it comes to how this team has been performing in the past two seasons?

Only about a month to go to the Spring Training season in Clearwater for the 2018 Phillies, for yet another season.

Again, I am looking for a few sponsors for the FightinPhillies.com site and my 'news' only site linked called Phillies Reporter - your readership fuels my passion to write for this blog, as I have many other hats that I wear in the space of the baseball world.

For those of you who don't know about my other baseball endeavors, I am the founder of the BaseballTalkRadio.com site as well that will see great upgrades for the Phillies 2018 season as well. BaseballTalkRadio.com has brought a big voice of independent baseball to listeners for the last several years.