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 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.. 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 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 site as well that will see great upgrades for the Phillies 2018 season as well. has brought a big voice of independent baseball to listeners for the last several years.