Saturday, June 30, 2012

Phillies on slide again, trade Thome to Baltimore

June 30 - 6

                Sometimes baseball takes a backseat   pic: Saudumm/flickr



Ruben Amaro Jr. is starting to make moves that don't make sense. He brings in a fan favorite in Jim Thome for what is somewhat of a bargain price, and now he deals him to Baltimore for what is next to nothing. These kind of moves leave you scratching your head and wondering why? During the press conference, Amaro kept saying he wanted to do right by Thome by trading him to a team that suited him. Suited him? How about the needs of the Phillies bench? Why did Amaro even bring him here, as a publicity stunt? Thome was one of the bright spots on the Phillies bench, and he proved he still had a lot left in him. Now he is gone.

Meanwhile the Phillies are mired in another losing streak, this one has reached 4 games now. You have to wonder why this happened too? Are the lineups being juggled too much? Has this team just resolved itself to below mediocrity? Whatever the reason, the Phillies are broken and nothing has fixed them.

The bullpen is close to double A baseball team status, the team did release Chad Qualls, and that is a good thing, this pitcher brought a lot of misery to this team and didn't have much positive vibes or good stats as we head toward the All-Star Game.

Baseball has taken a back seat for me and my family as we were affected by the vicious storms that have hit South Jersey last night, it will be days before our daily routine becomes routine again. When you go through something like a bad storm you realize how important the little things are in life, and the most important part of it being your family and friends, and their safety and survival in times like that. The Phillies, even if they finish in last place this year won't be the end of the world and there will still be more seasons.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Welcome back Chase Utley


Chase is back!


There was a spirit in the air at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday night, it was the first game of the year for Chase Utley, and I don't think there was a dry eye in the park when Chase took the field for the Phillies tonight.

We've missed the hustle and some things we've taken for granted from Chase, who has been producing for a long time for the Phillies. Not taking anything away from Freddy Galvis, who as a young player, filled in admirably for Chase and even though he's recently been accused and penalized for an alleged infraction of the league's substance policy - which was vehemently denied by Galvis.

Losing Chase Utley now, would have been a severe blow to the Phillies. If Chase never played baseball again, the game would miss one of the more charismatic players who have ever put on a Phillies uniform. Chase doesn't say too much, but when he does, people tend to listen.

One thing that Chase said when he came back was startling. He said to 'all of those that said I'd never be back' type of comment. Who would make such a statement anyway, and did a professional actually tell Utley that? Utley's comment seemed to be aimed at someone, and that someone knows who they are.

While the Phillies didn't win tonight's game against the Pirates, a testament to the brutal Phillies bullpen again, the offense again showed that it has been supercharged. There is a new optimism on this team, a new renewed spirit that maybe this team isn't destined for the basement all year.

Something has to be done about the bullpen, any lead isn't safe with them. Qualls and Savery have left their mark on this team, and the Phillies should leave a mark on them by sending them away. They have done nothing but inflict more pain into this team and they need to be dealt with now, even if the Phillies do make the playoffs, this bullpen would betray them and that is for sure.

 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Phillies Talk Podcast: Thome sets new walk-off record






On this week's show we're talking about what the Phillies can do to get back on the winning track. Chase Utley coming back soon is interesting, we'll see what that brings.

The main topic of the show would have to be Jim Thome, and his towering home run to end the game in a walk-off on Saturday, June 23. We'll dive a little deeper into the home runs that have made Jim Thome the best player ever when it applies to walk-ff home runs, he now has 13 over the course of his career.

Thanks to our sponsor, Audible.com - listen to the show, and get a special offer to join!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Manuel shows frustration with double loss to Rays on Sunday




Charlie Manuel lost his cool temper yesterday, after the Phillies lost game 1 of a 2 game set that was played on Sunday afternoon, and then evening at CBP.

Manuel was asked whether or not he chose the right player at the right time when it seemed that after, perhaps he didn't. He suggested the press come down into the clubhouse for a 'quiz' on how to run a game. Yes, a quiz, about how Charlie runs his game. We know that Manuel loves to go, by the 'book' and not deviate too far from this 'book' all season.

When things are going well, a lot of accolades are heaped onto a baseball manager, but when they don't, a lot of negative comments come forward. Is Manuel's running of the Phillies 'by the book' actually hurting them?

Maybe, yes, and maybe no. The Phillies lineup is one that is hardly ever the same. There are players in and out, and shuffled around so much that this team doesn't seem like the same 'team' for 3 nights in a row. That is because the lineup is being changed so often, this group can't adjust.

Can Manuel do better? Yes, he isn't perfect and sometimes leaves pitcher's in too long, and doesn't always pick the right pinch hitter, but these wrongs aren't all that is wrong with this group of players.

It was said on the post game show locally, by Ben Davis, CSN sports analyst, that the Phillies bullpen is comprised of Double 'A' type of guys and that the Phillies better 'do something' about it. Meanwhile, we've heard nothing from GM Ruben Amaro, who has assembled this rag tag group of relievers that have now proved themselves to be unworthy.

Can Amaro do anything to get the team going again? Will Cliff Lee ever get a win in a Phillies uniform this season? Chase Utley is working out with the team again, and may soon join them. Will Chase be an answer for the Phillies miserable performances or will he add to them? Stay tuned, this season is getting uglier faster that you can say, 'Outta here.' And if things don't turn around soon, this team will be finding itself on a slow ride to oblivion just like some of the Phillies teams in the mid-80's - what you don't remember them?

Thome Walks-off with Phillies win and new record

Jim Thome

Thome can hit home runs, he can also gets bubbly!   photo: Keith Allison/flickr


This is what we've missed from Jim Thome. With one crack of a bat, the game is won as it was yesterday in the first game of the series with Tampa at Citizens Bank Park.

The Phils had what appeared to be a solid lead going into the 9th inning for Jonathan Papelbon to bring us to victory. That was not to be, as the Rays touched up Ocho Cinco, the mythical alter ego of Papelbon, for 2 runs which lead to a blown save. It was Papelbon's first blown save of the year.

The bottom of the 9th was one to make history for the man who gave the Phillies the victory. Jim Thome hit a home run to end the game for the 13th time in his baseball career. It was also reported that Jonathan Papelbon made Thome an offer of paying him $5,000 if he hit a home run, apparently that is very true as it was reported via ESPN.

Jim Thome was tied with several players for the most walk-off homers ever hit by a player. One of those players was Babe Ruth, and other names are Mantle and Musial, so that kind of gives you an indication of the company that Thome is keeping with regards to certain records.

The new record is now 13 walk-offs, and I always thought this number was a bit higher, but when you consider that even to be able to be in a position to hit a 'walk-off' is great in itself. The odds of just being in a position to be able to hit such a hit has to be great. I wonder if any sports betting sites have any odds of this?

The walk-off home run is one of the best hits in sports. Mike Schmidt had 10 walk-off home runs for the Phillies. I was at one of them or more, Schmidt always had that aura about him, he could come through and deliver that winning hit.

Read more about Thome's walk-off record here at Hardball Times.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Phillies and Rays Reunion this weekend


This is me, the morning after Game 7 of the ACLS back in '08, the lineups from that Game is behind on the wall, the winner went on to the play the 2008 World Series. I think I was the first Phillies fan on the ground at Trop Field


The Phillies last saw the Tampa Bay Rays quite some time ago now, in the 2008 World Series. The Rays haven't been back to Philadelphia since, and this is only the 2nd time that the Rays have been to Philadelphia for a series outside of the '08 World Series, the other series was back in 2006 at Ctizens Bank Park.

With the rain out last night, the Phillies will play two games on Sunday. One at the regular time of 1:35pm and then the make up game at 6:35 pm, all tickets for Friday night will be honored for the 6:35 pm game.

Cliff Lee was to start on Friday night, he is the Phillies starter without a win, it's an incredible run of a combination of bad luck and just not being able to score on the Phillies offensive side, other times Lee hasn't come up all that stellar in some of his other starts. Add this all up and Lee is winless in his 11 starts this season, he's tied a record for a Cy Young award winning pitcher who hasn't recorded a win through 11 starts without recording a win (according to the Elias Sports Bureau), he ties a pitcher who was a favorite of mine when I was a kid, Vida Blue who won his Cy Young in 1971 as a memeber of the Oakland A's. Vida didn't get a win at all in 14 starts pitching for the Kansas City Royals in 1983, now granted Vida was well past his prime them.

What have the Rays been up to since their 2008 World Series appearance? The Rays have been in the hunt since then, they've come up short in two Division series in which they've lost, in 2011 and 2010. Joe Maddon is still managing the Rays, who changed their name in 2007 from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Maddon is in his 7th season as manager.

My fond memories of the 2008 World Series is kind of epic. I had planned a Tampa vacation six months earlier for the start of World Series week. My wife and I were down in Clearwater Beach for the Game 7 ALCS game which the Red Sox and the Rays played to determine who would go on to play the Phillies in the 2008 World Series. It would be Tampa, when it was all said and done, the Rays outlasted the Red Sox by a score of 3-1, Matt Garza got the win for Tampa and they were in the '08 World Series. I brought my Phillies shirt down with me on vacation, and the next morning we drove to Tropicana Field and I surveyed the stadium and gift shop at the Trop that morning, later that afternoon the Phillies were going to arrive to work out after knowing that it would be Tampa that they would be playing. There were Tampa fans that were saying, "They're already here", referring to me and my wife with our Phillies fan gear on.

The Phillies went on to win the World Series, a game 5 that will probably talked about for years, it took a couple days to finish it and the Phillies were World Series champs for the second time in club history. 



Thursday, June 21, 2012

Phils keep fans happy with wins



 Manuel says the Phillies need more of this.... winning!

The home stand that the Phillies are on could have been one where the fans unleash some anger at what they've seen on the field for much of the month of June.

To keep that from happening, the Phillies have turned those possible boos into cheers by winning some baseball games.

Last night, it seemed like the Phils lucky streak was about to end, but a bottom of the 9th rally with some key hits and scoring 2 runs put the Phils in the win column again.

Granted, the Rockies aren't a good baseball team. This Rockies team has shown a few lapses and missteps almost like the Phillies have been playing in the past couple of weeks.

The rally gave this team a little room to celebrate their victory, they got happy with the win. The win improves the Phillies record to 33-37. Jonathan Papelbon ended up with a win, instead of a loss. The win came from a Todd Helton error at first base, and it was only the second walk-off win of the season for the Phillies - so this was rare last night.

Vance Worley pitches tonight in Philly, as it's going to be a high of 99 degrees outside today in the Philadelphia area. It's going to be a barn burner out there tonight, and the Phillies seem like they got a little fire under them already.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Phils hope to conquer Rockies to end poor play






The Phillies are home for an important 10 game home stand. They need to make things happen on this home stand, and reverse the terrible past 15 games that they've already played. The team is currently 31-37 and 9 GB in the NL East going into play tonight. What the Phillies need is a serious winning streak, just like the Yankees are on right now (10-0 in the last 10 games.)

This really may be the make it or break it part of the season. These next 10 games take the team to near the end of June, and if they don't improve real soon, their season is more of a salvage season and the 'Golden Age' of the great Phillies dynasty of the past 6 years is over.

The Rockies are just the kind of team that the Phillies need to start the series with. The Rocks are 25-40 and 16 GB in thier NL West division. The only team worse in the NL West is the San Diego Padres, a team that is 18.5 GB from the Dodgers.

We have Cole Hamels going for the Phillies tonight, another reason for a great start to this series.

Let's just forget about what happened in the interleague series, you can't change it and the games are over. The Phillies have got to prove that they are better, not only to the fans but to themselves. It's obvious that this group is not gelling together well, with some help from Ruben Amaro, he could make the changes that this team needs and still somehow make the playoffs.

It all starts tonight with this series.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Help vote Chooch into the All Star Game for 2012



  Let's all help Chooch get into the All-Star Game for 2012, he's earned it and we've got to show him with our vote. Check out votechooch.com or vote for him here on the MLB All Star Ballot

Lidge banished from Nationals


"Lights Out" Lidge will always be remembered for the 2008 season



The 2008 season is still fresh in the minds of many Phillies fans. It's been a while ago, but we're still faithful that this team in 2012 somehow has the moxie to pull it all together and get to the World Series again.

Brad Lidge had a big part of the season in 2008, he did the extraordinary as a reliever, he had 41 saves as a reliever with 69.1 innings pitched and a 1.95 ERA all season. He didn't blow one save opportunity all season this year. He was what you would call, 'money'. Lidge finished 8th in overall MVP voting for the National League and he finished 4th in Cy Young voting for his outstanding season.

 That '08 season was one that Lidge would never see again. The Phillies rewarded Lidge with a 3 year deal for $36M, after the World Series win in 2008. In 2009, Lidge had the opposite happen to him to what had went on only a year prior. Lidge finished up the season 0-8 for the year with a 7.21 ERA, he gave up 45 earned runs in 58.2 innings pitched in '09, anyone could hit him and then came word that he was injured. He was not the same pitcher, injured or not.

Brad went in for surgeries on his right knee following the 2009 season, he also had minor surgery for his elbow as well. The knee had bothered Lidge all of the '09 season, back then when asked whether or not the knee was still bothering him he said, "[The inflammation is] still there, and it might be for a while, but I'm not thinking about it when I'm pitching."


In 2010, the Phillies had Lidge on the mound for 45.2 innings during the regular season. He finished up 1-1 with a 2.96 ERA and 27 saves during the regular season.It seemed if he had turned a corner, like he was starting to return to his old form for a while.

Then in 2011, Lidge only pitched 19.1 innings, he finished up 0-2 with a 1.40 ERA for the Phillies in the final year of the three year deal. He was injured again.

Lidge has made in his whole career about what the Phillies paid closer Jonathan Papelbon for to come here for 4 seasons. 

The injuries still plague Brad Lidge, just yesterday he was waived from the Washington Nationals after coming back from an abdominal injury,  the Nationals had seen enough from Brad. Lidge had been signed to a 1 year deal for $1 million. The Yankees hit him around pretty good on Friday night in the Nationals loss against the Yankees, and then on Saturday, the gave up the winning runs to the Yankees in extra innings and that was all.

There was immediate talk about Lidge possibly coming back to the Phillies, but I don't think that it would benefit either the Phils or Lidge to do that. Maybe the Nationals gave the Phillies some inspiration to start making some moves with certain players on this team that aren't getting the job done. Ruben Amaro has been very quiet on what he's going to do with this team, as it looks obvious that there will be no playoff run anytime soon from this 2012 Phillies team.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Good Day..ehhh?

CN Tower, SkyDome & Railway, Toronto

Skydome now "Rogers Centre" is a must see for any baseball fan, what a beautiful setting for a baseball stadium
  pic: bklorfine/flickr


It's the wrap up game in Toronto today for the Phillies. Also, it's Father's Day, so happy Father's Day to all the dads out there on their special day. Kyle Kendrick will be on the mound for the Phils today, they'll be giving away a nifty Blue Jays replica batting helmet out today at Rogers Centre, formerly Skydome.

I wish this post could be more upbeat, but the Phillies have spiraled down and down and down and their now seems no limit with how bad it will get for this 2012 Phillies team.

Who's to blame? In short, everyone from Ruben Amaro, Jr. on down. It starts that high. Before this season started, I speculated that the bullpen would be the weakest link in this team. Well, it may not be the weakest link, but it certainly is to blame for a lot of what is going wrong with the Phillies this year.

Chad Qualls should not be in the Phillies bullpen. He's been terrible all season, the little bright spots he's had is like a small speck of sand in relationship to the size of the sun. It's that bad. He himself has blown 5 games so far for the Phillies and he's not even the closer. Get rid of him now!

Cliff Lee is frustrated, the Phillies offense is frustrated. Charlie Manuel is frustrated. The fans are frustrated. Ruben Amaro is the GM of this team, and he needs to start making things happen and happen now for this team or it will be him that the spotlight is shining on how his moves cost this Phillies team, and he did nothing to help them.

The Phillies return home after today's game in Toronto, then they have an off day and start a 10-game home stand on Tuesday. I suspect, we're going to hear a lot of the fans frustration in this home stand, they've seen enough of this already. If this play continues, the fans will unleash on this team, and they'll wish they were out of the road.

The past 5 years of glory times for the team has come to an abrupt end, and without some action we could be in for a very long and frustrating season.


  • Phillies 3-11 in the last 14 games
  • Chad Qualls has pitched 26.2 innings, given up 33 hits, and 13 earned runs, 5 blown saves
  •  Rogers Centre facts ( I like the Skydome name better!): From the Blue Jays website

Rogers Centre History
Rogers Centre in 1989 Now known as Rogers Centre, this world class entertainment facility has been home to the Toronto Blue Jays since June 5, 1989. The stadium is best known for the retractable roof which is one of many innovations that can be found in a stadium that was ahead of its time. SkyDome was renamed Rogers Centre on February 2, 2005 which marks the first day the Blue Jays had full control of their facility.

At conception, the building took an innovative approach to financing, construction and design. Until 1994, it had been owned by The Stadium Corporation of Ontario, a consortium comprised of both public and private funds. The Province of Ontario and the Municipality of Toronto each contributed 30 million dollars. Joining these two levels of government were 30 Canadian corporations including the Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club. Each private company contributed 5 million dollars in exchange for preferred supplier status and a SkyBox. Rogers Centre was previously owned by Sportsco International, L.P. (April 1999), the principals of which were Alan Cohen and Harvey Walken. The final construction cost of SkyDome exceeded 500 million dollars.
Original Rogers Centre Architects Rod Robbie and Michael Allen designed the building and had patented its retractable roof system. Preparation of the site began in April 1986, with groundbreaking taking place in October of that same year. The last exterior concrete was poured in November of 1988 and the first test of the moveable roof panels took place in January 1989. More than 10,000 person-years of employment were created by the construction of Rogers Centre.
The venue is located just to the south and west of the CN Tower, between John Street and Blue Jays Way. A five minute walk from Union Station, it is easily accessible by the TTC or Go Transit.
Rogers Centre is home to the Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Club and Toronto Argonauts Football Club as well as plays host to numerous events during the year such as concerts, trade shows and charity functions. Also located in the building is the Renaissance Toronto Hotel, a 348-room hotel with 70 rooms overlooking the field. Rogers Centre houses several corporate offices for various companies including the Toronto Blue Jays.
One of the unique features of Rogers Centre is that it can be "transformed" from one mode (ie. baseball) to another mode (ie. football or concerts) within hours. The 100 level seating areas are situated on railway tracks that allow the seats to move for conversion purposes.

ROGERS CENTRE FACTS

ROOF
  • Rogers Centre's roof system features a series of 3 moveable panels and 1 stationary panel. Panels 2 and 3 slide on parallel rails while panel 1 slides on a circluar rail "tucking" underneath 2 and 3
  • the roof operates on a system of steel tracks and 54 drive mechanisms called "bogies" and is powered by a series of DCmotors that generate over 750 horsepower
  • roof area is 339,343 square feet or 31,525 square metres
  • weight is 11,000 tons
  • span at widest point- 674 feet or 209 metres
  • height is 282 feet or 86 metres (from field level to highest point)
  • covering is single PVC membrane on insulated acoustic steel deck
  • 100% of the field and 91% of the seating area is exposed with the roof open
  • open/close time — 20 minutes (71 feet or 21 metres per minute)
VIDEO BOARD
  • In 2005, the club purchased an integrated display and scoring system from Daktronics
  • Main display in centre field is 33 feet high (10.0 metres) by 110 feet wide (33.6 metres).
  • Colour outfield wall displays, left and right-centre field are 10 feet (3.05 metres) by 65 feet (19.8 metres).
  • The full colour ribbon boards along the 300 level facing are four feet (1.2 metre) by 435 feet (132.6 metres)
  • The scoreboard has highly versatile programming capabilities including the ability to display full colour commercials during events.
  • The screen is one of the industry's leading with PROSTAR® VIDEOPLUS which utilizes state of the art led (light emitting diode) technology. This will provide excellent resolution, increased brightness and improved viewing angles.
  • The majority of spectators have a great view of the scoreboard.
  • Even those few fans who are sitting in sections beside the video board can still view the screen in addition to the coloured display boards on the outfield wall which measure 10ft high x 65ft /3 metres x 20 metres wide, and coloured display boards on the 300 level facing boards which measure approximately 4ft high x 435 ft/1.3 metres x 132.6 metres long on each side.
  • Images can travel the entire 435 foot span of the screen.
  • The video boards have the ability to work in tandem with one another or independent of one another.
SEATING
  • five levels: 100, 200, 300 Luxury Suites, 400 Luxury Suites, 500 level
  • 49,539 for baseball
  • 49,808 for football
  • 55,000 for concerts
  • 67,000 for other events
  • Concert Hall seats 10,000-25,000
  • Theatre seats 3,000 to 7,000

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Phils hang onto 9-8 win in Twin City

DSC_0612
 Nice statue of Harmon Killebrew, who was a Minnesota Twin legend      pic:  flickr/tonyfro



It hasn't been easy for the Phillies in the past few weeks. Last night was no exception. The Phils spotted themselves a 9-3 lead by the top of the 4th inning, but held on to win last night by a score of 9-8. The Phils finally got some muscle in the form of a Jim Thome home run that sailed into the concourse at Target Field. In fact Jim Thome went 2-4 last night with 4 RBI on the night. He must have wanted to pay his old team back just a little as he used to play for the Twins for two seasons before he was released and went to Cleveland late last year, and this year was signed by the Phillies.

Cole Hamels earned his 9th win of the season, and Jonathan Papelbon earned his  17th save by going with a 4 out save. One of the criticisms of the past few weeks is that we haven't seen Papelbon used effectively in the close games, but last night, this was the case. It's only the second time on the season that Papelbon has been brought in to earn this type of save.

Michael Martinez made a spectacular catch from 2nd base to end the game on a Josh Willingham pop up, it's been great to see Martinez get back into this lineup, he's brought a bit of spunk with him and some much needed youth.

Cole Hamels pitched 6.0 innings, giving up 8 H, 7 R, of those runs 6 were earned runs. Hamels also surrendered 2 HR in the mix, but the Phillies did emerge victorious in this game. The offense banged out 15 hits on the night, they struggled again with scoring runners, they were 5-16 with RISP.

Not sure why something hasn't been done with the batting coach for the Phillies, perhaps they don't want to give Greg Gross the gate, but he has certainly been a good person that the Phils could have made responsible for some of the poor offense we've seen from the Phillies all season. The base running hasn't been all that good either, several runners in the past couple weeks have been thrown out at third when they shouldn't even have started running to third base with a ball hit on the ground to the shortstop.

The Washington Nationals are starting to put some distance between themselves and other teams in the NL East. The Nats now have a 5.0 game lead on the nearest team to them, which is both Atlanta and New York who are both tied for second. The Phillies remain on the bottom of the heap at 9.5 GB, this courtesy of the team going 2-8 in the last 10 games. They are earning the distinction of last place for sure.

The  interleague series in Minnesota comes to an end tonight, another 8:10 PM start for the game. Incidentally, the Twins are pretty talented but they are also in last place in their division. Joe Blanton goes for the Phillies tonight, as he again tried to reverse the downward spiral that he's been in for the last 5 starts, he's given up a ton of earned runs during that span.  

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Phillie Phanatic, a mascot gone haywire?

Phillies World Series Pep Rally: Franklin Square

  The Phanatic should be grabbing anyone, but that doesn't stop him         pic Vincent J Brown/flickr


Can the lovable Phillie Phanatic be a mascot who's time has come and gone? That lovable kid's style mascot that we've all laughed at Phillies games over the years is actually a renegade with a dual personality. The Phanatic is supposed to make people happy by associating himself with Phillies baseball and getting a laugh or two along the way. What happens sometimes though, is the Phanatic getting out of control by barging his way through the seated crowd at an already cramped seating area at Citizens Bank Park, spilling drinks, uprooting food and generally causing chaos at times, to even worse offenses that have the Phanatic going to special events outside of the baseball stadium and injuring people at those events.

The latest story about the Phanatic's rude follies has him in Avalon, NJ in 2010. He's supposed to be like a 'Ronald McDonald' type of character - just waving to the crowd and making nice with people at a party. The Phanatic somehow displayed his 'Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' side again as he picked up a sun chair that had a 30 year old lady on it and promptly threw them into a swimming pool, chair and all. Yeah, that's really nice to do to someone, and the result of that was that the women has injuries now that are permanent from that stunt.

The Phillies organization has known about these problems that the Phanatic has been causing for some time now. In fact, the Phillie Phanatic is the most sued mascot in sports. All joking aside, that really isn't funny when it comes to this mascot representing a baseball team. The Phanatic is even crude and borderline obscene with the way he acts at times in the stadium in an attempt to get laughs.


Why do the Phillies continue to support this type of behavior? Even a poll of best team mascots had the Phanatic losing to 'Mr. Met' this year, a more docile type of mascot who doesn't manhandle people.

What's more is that this most recent lawsuit is a case that is getting coverage on the news from Maine to Hawaii, Europe, and  everywhere in between. Talk about bad publicity. The Phanatic is a mascot who's original intention of making people happy has turned ugly in recent years. There are countless stories of this very heavy costumed guy climbing on top of old people in the stands and breaking bones to the Phanatic shaking people that have no business getting moved around by force, like he does when he is trying to be funny.

Phillies lose first game in Minnesota


Kyle Kendrick did not have his best stuff in Minnesota last night. KK gave up 8 H and 6 R in his 4 innings on the mound. The Twins banged out 17 hits on the Phils. Joe Savery was touched up for 5 H and 3 R in his 2 innings of relief. 

Jimmy Rollins was hot, going 4-5 on the night. Hunter Pence was cold, going 0-4, as was Ty Wigginton who went 0-5. Phillies lose the first game by a score of 11-7.

The Phils will try it again tonight with Cole Hamels on the mound at 8:05 PM.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Phillies 'Thinking About Winning' take on the Twins tonight

Minnie and Paul

  It's the Twins, they actually are named Minny and Paul!            photo: Chauncer / flickr


Somehow you have to feel bad for Charlie Manuel with the Phillies performances we've seen lately on the baseball field. The manager takes all of the credit when things are going great, and now has to fend off many criticisms now that this season is really going where no Phillies fan ever dreamed that it has gone so far.

The other day after the second loss to the Baltimore Orioles in extra innings, Charlie Manuel was talking to the press, he said the Phillies were "Thinking about winning." He also said, that he believes the Phillies are going to rebound from the terrible hole that they have dug themselves in last place in the NL East.

The tough circumstances that the Phillies find themselves in now can lead to a lot of different scenarios. The one glue that is holding this all together right now is that the Phillies fans haven't deserted this team yet. Granted, a lot of the games at home were almost sold out before the season started, and the fans who bought tickets to all of the games now either have to go see the Phils, or try to dump the tickets on the Stub Hub marketplace. All in all though, the fans haven't yet thrown in the towel so far.

One scenario the Phillies could find themselves in is that there will be a break up of some of the superstars on this team. To have a payroll like the Phillies have and then end up in last place like the Phillies are makes no sense. Ownership knows that with a last place team, there will be repercussions down the road with the fan base. No one likes to spend a lot of money on tickets, parking and concessions and see this ball club continue to play as it has been playing. Again, there were a lot of tickets sold for this year before the season even started, but that doesn't mean that next year will be the same thing.

Charlie Manuel himself, could even be looking for a new job soon. Stranger things have happened and Manuel plays every game by the book. He never ventures into changing the way he does things, even though the Phillies may benefit from that from time to time. Maybe it's time to get someone new into the position, as it seems as if the past 5 years of success have now run their course.

Ruben Amaro Jr. hasn't revealed too much of what he has planned for this Phillies team now that they occupy last place and there is no easy exit for them for the foreseeable future. Amaro himself will start to come under scrutiny by the fans and ownership, as this prolonged slump takes hold of the team. Will he deconstruct the Phillies and face a worse outcome by lacking talent that he would trade away.

Waiting for Howard and Utley to come back and save this team isn't the answer either. Their presence back on this team will be welcomed but not what it takes to save the team from poor play.

Nevertheless, it's the Phillies and the Twins starting off a three game series tonight in Minnesota. I don't know about you, but suddenly I could care less about interleague play. I like the Phillies playing their National League opponents, the luster of interleague play has been lost with me.

Phillies projected starters for the 3 games in Minnesota:


Tuesday: Kendrick (2-5  4.44 ERA)

Wednesday: Hamels (8-3  2.93 ERA)

Thursday: Blanton (5-6   5.40 ERA)


The Phillies optioned Raul Valdes to the minors to make room for a righty in the bullpen. Valdes with his 2.13 ERA, was one of the bright spots in the Phillies bullpen. These are the kind of moves that you scratch your head and wonder why. Scott Proefrock, Assistant Phillies GM, has been fielding a lot of the questions about what moves the Phillies have been trying to make. Ruben Amaro Jr. has chosen to stay out of the limelight for now as things continue to get worse for this team. Maybe they should have sent John Mayberry Jr. down and kept Valdez in the rotation. Things that make you go hmmmmmmm.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Phillies Talk Podcast: Orioles have Phillies number







It's this week's edition of Phillies Talk Podcast, and we're looking back at a tough weekend in Baltimore for the Phillies with two tough extra-innings losses. Jim is hopping mad at the Phillies, so mad, he can't remember the Phillies players names and what their numbers are, so I am calling this show, the Orioles have the Phillies number!

Welcome aboard to Audible.com as a sponsor of the show. Did you ever think about getting an Audible.com book to listen to in your car or your iPhone or MP3 player? Just go to our link and get the best deal with a free book and a Free 30 day trial with Audible.com here:   http://www.audibletrial.com/PhilliesTalk



Friday, June 08, 2012

The Orioles aren't your father's Baltimore Orioles






The Baltimore Orioles are enjoying a resurgence. Since the days of Cal Ripken have passed the Baltimore Orioles have slipped into obscurity. Fast forward to this year, and it's all a distant memory about the bad years, the Baltimore Orioles are now on the top (tied) of the AL East along with the New York Yankees.

Since 1998, the Orioles have finished 4th in their division or 5th every year except one year, 2004, when they finished 3rd in the AL East. That is a long time to wait for a team to turn around. This year, the team looks as if it's turned a corner.



The team even changed it uniforms this year, it's the first time that the Orioles will use a cartoonish version of the Oriole on their hats as a third logo. The logo of the Oriole is part of the 'new look' and feel of the O's. Much of the Baltimore Orioles ballpark is what people wanted in Philly long before Citizen's Bank Park even broke ground. The nice "Bull's Barbeque" at Citizens Bank Park was almost a direct copy of what they had going on in Baltimore for years before the Phillies got a whiff of that delicious bar-b-que smell.


It's hard to believe that Oriole Park at Camden Yards is 20 years old this year. We must keep in mind that the Phillies are already playing their 9th season at Citizen's Bank Park this year, so time is flying!

The three game series starts off with the Phillies seeing a pitcher that hasn't had a great season for the O's so far. Jake Arrieta will get the start for Baltimore in Game 1 of the series, he is 1-4 with a 6.43 ERA. This could be the end of a nasty losing streak for the Phillies tonight.
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Thursday, June 07, 2012

How bad will it get for the Phils


             
The news hasn't been too encouraging, in fact it's been downright bad. The losing streak that the Phillies are in is happening at a bad time. There never is a good time for a losing streak, but with only a 5 week stretch till the All-Star Game, the Phillies could find themselves in break up mode really soon. If the team continues to lose and has no hopes for playoff aspirations, there could be a huge fire sale of really talented Phillies, but the team may jettison if things don't turn around.

Bad teams generally don't carry 3 pitching aces, and the way the Phillies have been playing lately, one or more of those aces could be all too happy to pack up and move on. Such a move was threatened last year by Ruben Amaro, it never came to fruition then, but now may be a different story.

This losing streak of 6 games in a row, takes the Phillies out on the road and straight into interleague play. Who do the Phillies play first? None other than the hottest team in the AL, the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles just had a tough past 10 games themselves, going 3-7 in that stretch. They are currently in a tie for first place with the NY Yankees, who have reeled off winning 3 in a row and going 7-3 in their last 10 games.

The Phillies chance of making the playoffs as it stands now is only 15 percent, according to standings that are kept by ESPN. That could be a signal to what will happen next to this team. I don't think Amaro wants to go into the second half with this team the way it stands. That being said, adding a aged veteran like the Boston player, Kevin Youkilis doesn't make sense. What could the Phillies do with another aging veteran that may or may not get the job done?

Getting swept by the Dodgers was an embarrassment to the Phillies players, right in front of the hometown fans.  The fans today booed the Phillies loudly in disgust of what they were seeing. John Mayberry has been given his chance at playing professional baseball, he hasn't been that good. His play usually hurts the Phillies, it's unfortunate but true.

The fans still want that winning feeling from the Phillies. I remember many times when the Vet couldn't get more than 25,000 fans into the stadium and that is exactly what will start happening soon, if this team doesn't turn it around soon.

Chad Qualls has been dreadful in the bullpen, he's a guy that doesn't pitch too much, but when he does he gives up a lot. In 21.2 innings, Qualls has given up 24 hits, and 11 runs. This kind of play is killing the Phillies. I am not even going to start talking about the offense in this post, I would need a lot of space to write for that post, but stay tuned.

Phils vs. the revamped Baltimore Orioles for the weekend.  

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Phils edged twice so far in Dodgers series

Dodger Baseball Bokeh

 Dodger Ball                                                                                                   by Julie Danielle / flickr

The Phillies have been edged late in the game twice by the Los Angeles Dodgers so far in this 4 game series. A loss is a loss though, and the Phils have slipped to a game under .500 and now a full 5 games back in the NL East. This series isn't a make or break series for the Phillies, but it comes at a pivotal time in the season now just about 6 weeks away from the All-Star Game. This series is more a measuring stick of how the Phillies match up with a first place team like the Dodgers, and it isn't going too well so far.

Cliff Lee is going through what Cole Hamels did for a couple seasons, the Phillies just don't score too much when Lee is on the mound. Most of the games are real close or tied, then the Phillies don't score or score after Lee is out of the game to go on and win. Lee had 12 strikeouts in the game last night, which ended up being the 5th start in which the Phillies scored 2 or less runs for him in his 9 total starts this season.

As voting continues to the All-Star game, some Phillies are still in the race. Carlos Ruiz, Hunter Pence, and Shane Victorino are among the Phils that are battling for a spot.

Not too many bright spots to speak about, the Phillies need to salvage this series and continue at .500 or face sinking out of sight as this is the time when the elevator can go all the way down to the basement, and there will be now way out. The more the teams above the Phillies win, the more they have to win, or else it will be a very disappointing season for the Phils and their fans.
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Monday, June 04, 2012

Teaching Charlie Manuel to Tweet




Recently, Shane Victorino checked in with the MLB fan cave, and Shane Victorino was teaching Charlie a little about Twitter, and tweeting. Great video here for anyone that has tried to teach some of our parents or grandparents how to get involved with some of the fun things about being on the internet.

I kind of like Jimmy Rollins and the shows he watches, his tweets are unique and sometimes even personal, he's even tweeted back and forth to me. He's not afraid to say hello to fans and acknowledge people who follow his tweets.

Thanks Tyler for the heads up in sending us a link to the video here!

Phils play not up to par yesterday, roughed up by Zambrano

                                                                 photo: fightinphillies.com
Zambrano outplayed the Phillies by himself yesterday at Citizens Bank Park


Carlos Zambrano still has a lot of pitching left in him as he showed yesterday. Yes, he still is the butt of many jokes by broadcasters and some fans alike. From the close spot to the field that I was sitting yesterday at the game, I heard comments like, "Why don't you go throw the Gatorade jug, Carlos" and "You're still crazy Zambrano". Yeah he's pitching like he's crazy too, and for good measure he added a long homer run to the mix as well.

The fact was that Zambrano basically went out there and beat the Phillies by himself yesterday by a score of 5-1. He had the tenacity you need to win ballgames. The Phillies on the other hand did not. One Phillie that I watched quite a bit was Jimmy Rollins, he had his head down a lot out on the field like something was bringing him down, maybe it's been the play of the Phillies? Rollins was also lustily booed when he couldn't deliver a hit yesterday, when the Phillies needed one badly. He has been lacking that spark that we used to see from him, it's very visible to a  lot of fans.

Joe Blanton pitched good for about 2 innings yesterday. In the third inning, the Marlins seemed to start to take batting practice on Joe. They were hitting the ball really hard and deep starting about that time. Blanton has no rhythm on the mound, he gets the ball and he wants to throw it, almost like he doesn't want to batter to wait, but the way he is pitching isn't too good. Charlie Manuel takes him out too late consistently, as if he just doesn't care and he needs Blanton to stand in there no matter what, by the time he is taken out most times, the game is basically out of reach for the Phillies.

The Phillies played like a last place team yesterday, and couldn't do many things right. They were out hustled, and out played. Yes, there was a few replacements for replacements playing, but the overall mood of this team didn't look good. When there were runners on base, which there were a few, the Phillies just couldn't get a hit. Hunter Pence was coming out of his spikes on balls, but couldn't get a hit.

Now, the first place NL West LA Dodgers come into town for 4 games. The Phillies could be in a whole lot of trouble if they continue to play like they did yesterday. June is here, and this is basically the make it or break it point of the season for the Phils.

Notes from Sunday's Game:


 Galvis, Rollins, Pence combined yesterday: 0-12

Blanton's line:  6.0 IP, 9 H, 5R, now has 5.27 ERA

Juan Pierre:  3-4 with 1 RBI, the lone run of the game by the Phillies

Attendance: 45,356 - the fans haven't abandoned this team yet


Oh yeah, Chase Utley is on his way to Clearwater to join Ryan Howard

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Hamels win streak stops at 8, Phils look to take series with Marlins today

English: Cole Hamels
 Cole Hamels (Photo credit: Wikipedia)





Cole Hamels was on a serious roll. He's been pitching very well lately, and the Phillies offense has churned while he is on the mound this year. That is a different situation than it's been for Cole, in previous years he went through what Cliff Lee is now going through, the Phillies aren't scoring many runs for Lee.

Yesterday, Cole still pitched well, but it wasn't enough for a victory as the Phillies fell to the Marlins 5-4. It's a contract year for Cole, and with his success his asking price has apparently skyrocketed. That's great for Cole Hamels, but it doesn't appear that the Phillies will be the ones that come up with the money to keep Hamels.

We may see Cole Hamels in a different uniform by the time the July 31st trade deadline comes around. If the Philllies are going to improve, and there is no chance of us signing Cole, he should be moved before and the Phillies should be able to get a marquee player for him. The prospect of getting a higher ranked draft pick as compensation for Cole if he should stay with the Phillies the whole season and still end up leaving the team, isn't the way to go, as those draft picks take years to develop and even then don't always pan out.

Cole's been a lifetime Phillie, and he's a great fit on this team, but his market value has risen to a point that I don't think the Phillies want to entertain re-signing him. Hamels would certainly be looking at a 5-6 year deal with numbers that are approaching the $125 million and up range. He's having a great year this year so far, but overall he hasn't show that 20 wins or more season, and consistent high win/loss percentage winning years.

Here's Coles pitching stats:

Year Age Tm W L W-L% ERA GS CG SHO IP
2006 22 PHI 9 8 .529 4.08 23 0 0 132.1
2007 23 PHI 15 5 .750 3.39 28 2 0 183.1
2008 24 PHI 14 10 .583 3.09 33 2 2 227.1
2009 25 PHI 10 11 .476 4.32 32 2 2 193.2
2010 26 PHI 12 11 .522 3.06 33 1 0 208.2
2011 27 PHI 14 9 .609 2.79 31 3 0 216.0
2012 28 PHI 8 2 .800 2.81 11 0 0 77.0
7 Yrs 82 56 .594 3.36 191 10 4 1238.1
162 Game Avg. 15 10 .594 3.36 34 2 1 220
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/3/2012.


The numbers above certain don't look like a $20 million dollar per year pitcher, and just to go on the great start that Cole got off to this year, isn't a good way to access his whole career at this point. If he had 20 + wins or more at least once in his 7 year career so far, then a better case could be made for him to get such a big contract for a multi-year deal.

Hamels Foundation donated $300,000 for new playground in past week

Hamels is a good fit in the Philadelphia community, his charity foundation just donated $300,000 for a brand new playground for kids in a Philadelphia school that needed it. This is just one of many good deeds that Hamels and his foundation have bestowed on the Philadelphia region in the past couple of years, so it would be a shame if Cole took his good deeds and moved away with them.

Blanton looks to improve this afternoon vs Marlins

This series with the Marlins almost felt like playoff baseball to me when I watched the game yesterday. The atmosphere just was kind of more charged than it normally is, and fans were really into every pitch of this game. The series comes to an end this afternoon with Joe Blanton on the mound. Blanton looks to improve upon a couple of rough outings for him.
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Friday, June 01, 2012

Baseball names and the need for Real ID

Giancarlo Stanton - Miami - 2012 Orange Alternate

    Miami Marlins, Stanton jersey for 2012...             photo: baseballbacks / flickr

Over the past few years, it's been more difficult to get a government issued driver's license without having many different forms of identification in order to prove you are who you say you are. For most people, this is an annoyance and they can't understand why it's being done.

Over the past couple years in baseball, there has been players, many from countries outside of the U.S., that come here to play baseball and used assumed names. When I say assumed, I as actually stretching to say, fake names. For whatever reason, several ballplayers, one of which was on the Miami Marlins, have had different names that they used for one reason or another.

One Marlins player who has had name trouble was formally going by the name of Leo Nunez. When it was uncovered that this pitcher was playing under a fake name, he was using in September of last year. His real name is Juan Oviedo.

Oviedo hasn't completely got that situation worked out yet from the Dominican Republic, where he is from, but that hasn't stopped the Marlins from offering him a $6M contract for a season of baseball next year if he can get all of this name game business behind him.

Even the Miami Marlins slugger Mike Stanton is not called Mike Stanton anymore. This wasn't a situation of using a false name, but it was Stanton's decision to use a different combination of his real birth name which is Giancarlo Cruz Michael Stanton. How did he get this many names? I am not too sure, but from now on he'll be Giancarlo Stanton, unless of course next year he wants to change that to some other combination of his names.

Anyway, the Marlins are in town tonight, and even their name has changed from last year. Yes, it's the Miami Marlins now.