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Showing posts from January, 2009

"I'm not your friend, buddy!" "I'm not your buddy, guy!"

This week, Shore Sports Network's Kevin Williams took some time out of his busy professional radio duties to answer some questions about baseball and his lengthy career. Thanks to Kevin, who is quick and to the point, for the most part. Kevin is a Metropolitans fan, by the way. 1. Kevin, Cole Hamels speaks the truth. He gave an interview where he confirmed that he thinks the Mets are choke artists. As a Mets fan, can I get your rebuttal to such a statement? (He's an) immature jerk who will regret the comment. The simple difference in the teams this year was the Mets lost Billy Wagner and the Phillies had Brad Lidge healthy for the season. 2. You suspended your Fox Sports 1310 AM blog once the Mets fell short at the end of the 2008 season. Do you have any intentions to start it back up, or will someone else be taking your spot? If you are discontinuing your page...who can take the most credit- the Brewers, the Phillies or the Mets? I really don't like blogging....it

Schmidt vs. Howard

The latest issue, dated February 2nd, of the Sporting News features a cover story on Phillies slugger Ryan Howard. In the issue, Ken Bradley asked Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt who would hit more homers, Howard or Schmidt, in Schmidt's choice of an era. Old #20 had this to say about choosing himself... This era and the stadiums they play in today- and it's not a chip-on-the-shoulder thing or sour grapes by me- it's probably about a 10-a-year difference. Slicing the ball to the opposite field and having it go out of the ballpark didn't happen very often when I played. I flew out to the opposite-field warning track maybe 50 times a year, and 10 of those would go out of the park now. (But) we'd be very similar. In terms of being able to go 50-plus, 60-plus, he might have a little bit more of that kind of ability, but our numbers would probably average somewhere in the 40's on a regular basis. Please chime in with your thoughts on this matter in the com

Free Agency Super Market

So many top level talents are still free agents this offseason. Andy Pettitte finally signed an incentive laden deal with the Yankees yesterday, which can be worth as much as $12 million, but as little as $5.5 million. With under 3 weeks until pitchers and catchers report for spring training, have a look at the big names who are still available. Catchers- Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez- an eventual Hall of Famer Jason Varitek, a mainstay with the Red Sox for, well, ever...still remains unsigned Outfielders- Bobby Abreu, a steady numbers guy and former all star Adam Dunn, 40 or more homers for 4 straight years Ken Griffey Jr, more HoF names on the list Manny Ramirez, another Hall of Famer with a monster bat Garret Anderson, .296 career avg. and 84 RBI last year Jim Edmonds, 20 homers last season is worth consideration Starting pitchers- Livan Hernandez, former world champ & all star racks up innings Tom Glavine, surely another HoF lock Ben Sheets, has talent but is an injury c

Sunday School: History Lesson 2

Are you aware that the Phillies once had a shortstop named Heinie? Oh, well they did. From 1923-1928, John Henry "Heinie" Sand played up the middle for the Phils. Heinie was a popular nickname in MLB, during the early 20th century, for players of German descent. Sand is best known for his role in exposing a betting scandal in 1924 that implicated an ex-Phillie. Late that season, the Phillies were out of the playoff hunt, but the Giants were locked in a tight pennant race. Prior to a game, with 3 days left in the season, Heinie Sand was approached by Giants reserve outfielder, Jimmy O'Connell. O'Connell and Sand knew each other from their youth, as they both grew up in San Francisco. O'Connell offered Sand $500 if he "didn't bear down too hard". The games were all crucial for the Giants at that stage, but Sand refused and notified the Phillies manager, Art Fletcher, later that night. An investigation followed, and O'Connell would later confess a

More headline entertainment

CBS3.com has enlightened the Phillies world to the genius that is new GM Ruben Amaro Jr. In the steal of the century, the Phils have apparently signed outfielder Jayson Werth to a $10 contract. Wow! If you catch this soon enough the headline blunder is still there, but if not, here's a screen capture of the dealio.

Letters from...

In the news this week, we heard about the tradition started by Ronald Reagan of outgoing US presidents leaving the incoming new president a note, in the oval office desk. I really think it's quite annoying that the media was permitted to have photo opportunities with the letter but the public is not permitted to learn what might be contained in the letter, but all-in-all, it's a pretty cool tradition. This presidential custom got me thinking what it might be like if the same sort of practice stood in place for baseball managerial changes. What if Larry Bowa wrote a letter to his unknown managerial successor, prior to leaving Gary Varsho in charge in the closing days of the 2004 Phillies season? What would that letter look like...? To whom it may concern, Hi, my name is Larry. I was the manager here before. The team stunk and they always blamed ME. Some guy named Patrick was always causing issues and snubbing me. The guy could barely bat his weight, for average, and he wante

Arbitration and WBC

The baseball world is buzzing this week with arbitration talk and World Baseball Classic roster announcements. Firstly, Tuesday was the day when players and teams exchange dollar numbers for arbitration. Reportedly, Ryan Howard is asking for $18 million, while the Phillies offered $14 million. So, if the two sides reach an arbitration hearing again this year, Howard would, at least, get a 40% raise. Wouldn't we all like to be guaranteed a 40% pay increase this year? While MVP-runner up Howard stayed headed toward arbitration, Ryan Madson , Joe Blanton and Shane Victorino have all come to terms with the Phillies on new contracts. Madson's deal is worth $12 million, with incentives, over 3 years. Shane's deal is for one year, and is for $3.125 million. Big Joe's contract is also a 1-year deal, worth $5.4 million. The remaining Phillies still up for arbitration, aside from Howard, are Jayson Werth and Chad Durbin . Werth is said to have requested $4 million, wh

NL East Headline of the Weekend...

Star Jones could be finding a new gig, according to the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. I heard she's got a gun like Jeff Francoeur. When did she play for Atlanta anyway? Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day to all of you phine pholks, especially those of you who get a day off from work. I am not one of those lucky people.

Sunday School- Economics lesson

On Saturday, the Phillies signed Cole Hamels to a 3 year contract worth $20.5 million, thus avoiding arbitration with the star lefty. Greg Dobbs also signed a new 2-year deal, also avoiding arbitration. Many phans know a little about arbitration. It's one of those things we all hear about for a month or two of the year, we know there are hearings and some bargaining involved, but not everyone has a tight grasp on all the details. Players are eligible for arbitration when they (1) have as many as 3, but less than 6, years of major league service; (2) a player has filed for free agency, and their team makes an offer of arbitration and the player accepts; (3) the player is a "Super 2", meaning- the player is among the top 17% of players and has more than 2, but less than 3 years of service. There are minimal criteria (86 days of service in the previous year) and cutoffs (2 years, 140 days) to be a "Super 2". The requirements for teams in this process- (1) the tea

Ring-a-ling

This week I heard old news about how when the Indianapolis Colts won the Super Bowl, they gave former Colt Edgerrin James a championship ring. "Edge" had been a Colt for seven years, and even though he was gone when they won the big one, the team and the coaching staff felt as though James had contributed in building the team that won it all, so they awarded him a ring. This got me wondering which people, in an extended Phillies phamily , would be deserving of a 2008 World Series Champions ring. I heard an interview with Mike Schmidt, in the days that followed the Series, and when asked if he thought he'd get a ring, he said, "They have my (ring) size." Schmidt, the Hall of Fame thirdbaseman , was a long time Phillie, a one time coach of the single-A Clearwater Threshers (where he managed World Series MVP Cole Hamels ) and appears as a guest hitting instructor in Phillies spring training every year. With all those things in mind, of course Mike Schmidt sho

The Second Place New York Mess, Sucking Annually

Well, the Mets are at it again...stinking up New York, the NL East and all of MLB. This time it's not with their miserable September play, it's with their crummy uniform decor. The Metropolitans are accessorizing their home jerseys this year with a comemorative patch to celebrate their new home, CitiField. Allow me to present to the Phillies Phaitful the fresh new uniform addition that the NY Metropolitans will have for 2009. This awful image to the right is really what the Metropolitans intend to have on their jersey sleeve this coming season... Amatuerish? To say the least. How about that world class franchise across town? They are going to have a new ballpark as well. What might their patch look like? Have a glance... It is a shame really. The Mets think their Dominos Pizza logo looking art work is sufficient enough to represent what kind of corporate baseball giant they are presenting the world. They are clueless. It screams out, "We deliver hot and fresh in 30 m

Phantasy Island

It's January, and for me that means prep time for fantasy baseball. It's true. I really do start running scenarios and draft strategies in my head this early. January is a good time for that. My fantasy football teams have usually recently made an early exit in the playoffs, and my fantasy basketball teams tend to be struggling at this stage. As I've now just traded away my prized power forward, as a desperation move in my salary cap auction hoops league, just about all that will calm my nerves is looking forward to fantasy baseball. While the other sports tend to stress me out, fantasy baseball soothes me. I don't always win, as my uncle will testify to, but I always enjoy it. My yearly interest increase in the fantasy game coincides with the releases of various fantasy baseball magazines and guides. The Sporting News annual Fantasy Source guide is on news stands, and Phillies phans should be pleased to know that in the Sporting News experts' mock draft, three Ph

Still Sizzlin' Stove in NL East

The offseason Stove continues to stay Hot. The competition made some moves this weekend. The Metropolitans signed Tim Redding this weekend to a one year $2.25 million deal. This signing by the Metropolitans bothered me more than the Mets getting JJ Putz and Francisco Rodriguez. Redding, the former DC Nats pitcher, really owned the Phillies early last season. The Phillies did really get to Redding in one of his 4 starts against them last year, but in April and May Redding made two starts and in those starts, Redding threw 13 1/2 scoreless innings. Tim Redding is one of those pitchers that baffles the Phillies offense. Take away the 5th inning against the Phillies on July 30th, and Redding has a 1.14 ERA against Philadelphia last season. Our Phillies should expect to see Redding four times in 2009 and, at 6-7 innings per outting, that's likely more innings than they'd face Franny and the putz. Also cookin' on the stove this weekend were the Braves, who were craving Asian f

Sunday school: History lesson 1

I got a lot of baseball books for holiday gifts and as I read through them, I find many remarkable stories. These have inspired me to share and teach some Phillies history. Who has heard of Eppa Rixey? I hadn't either. Eppa Rixey was a Phillies pitcher during the 19-teens into the 19-twenties. In 1916, Rixey had a break-out season, when he won 22 games for our Phillies and had an ERA of 1.85. The tables turned the following season. In 1917, Eppa Rixey's record was 16-21. His high loss total was mainly due to a lack of run support. There was one stretch when Rixey lost 5 straight starts, while the Phillies offense could only amass 3 total runs in those 5 games. Rixey even threw 4 shutouts that season. The tales of this solid pitcher not being able to shine continued. Rixey served in the military in 1918, and saw action in World War 1. He returned in mid-1919 to put up a 6-12 record. But in 1920, Eppa led the National League with 22 losses, despite completing 25 of his 33

Hardly a Hound Dog

Folks, it's time to bid goodbye to Elvis Burrell. The strapping 115 pound English Bulldog is headed to St. Petersburg, Florida with his daddy, phormer Phillie Patrick the Batrick. Pat recently signed a deal to play baseball with the American League champion Rays. Elvis decided it would be a fine idea to join Pat as he begins this new chapter in his professional career, so Poppa-Pat feels as comfortable as possible. It's very remarkable for children to stand by their aging parents as times and living situations change. In recent years, Elvis became a staple at Phillies phunctions. He was seen at the team's family days, in the clubhouse on game days rocking a jersey with his family name on it, and he'd even partake in spring training. Elvis became such a staple in the Phillies phamily, that the Phillies asked Elvis to lead the World Championship parade on a Budweiser wagon pulled by Clydesdales. Elvis's parents, Pat and mommy Michelle, joined him aboard that wagon t

I have no idea what's goin' on...

In what continues to be a string of bad luck (Utley surgery, Amaro Jr. over-spending on Ibanez, Elton Brand's shoulder injury) since Pat Gillick retired as Phillies GM, news is unveiled tonight that JC Romero has been suspended for the first 50 games of next season. It's all very confusing, especially since the Phillies, MLB and Romero all knew about this during the post season. But it seems Romero purchased a supplement from a GNC store in Cherry Hill, NJ on July 22nd, and was told by a nutrionist, the Phillies' conditioning coach Dong Lien and MLB that the supplement was acceptable to use. 3 months later, it turns out, the supplement was not allowed. Romero was initially informed of the positive results on September 23rd. ESPN reports that during October Romero was told, by the Players' Association, that the case would be dropped because the findings of his drug screening were positive due to pills purchased over the counter. That did not prove true, obviously. Rom

Pat the Bat gets Pay from Rays

As you've been hearing for over a week, the Rays have serious interest in Pat Burrell to fill their RF/DH needs. Fox Sports baseball insider Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the two sides are close to finalizing a 2 year deal that would pay Burrell roughly $16 million, while ESPN.com is saying the deal is already final. From a phan's stand point, it may seem that general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. may have incorrectly evaluated the market for Burrell, when he thought signing Raul Ibanez for 3 yrs/$31.5 million was the best move. However, Burrell's defense and slow feet made him less desirable in the designated hitter-less National League. Teams like the Rays, who could use Pat's bat alone, were more interested in the veteran with 251 career homers. I imagine this signing will increase interest levels in the Phillies/Rays on-deck series by huge margins. Perhaps an early April battle between Burrell's Girls and Raul's Fools are just what the Phaithful need to

Here and there...

Be on the look out on your Comcast On Demand menu. Certain local divisions of Comcast have a World Series section in their "Get Local" menu, that features every game of the World Series. Also, there is a "Phillies" option that features parade footage, and CSN-Philly is still providing the Post Game Live from after game 5 of the World Series. All of these programs are available for FREE. Tadahito Iguchi, who refused an assignment to triple A Lehigh Valley in order to become a free agent, may be heading to play full time in Japan. The Chiba Lotte Marines are set to begin talks with Tad on a new contract. Derek Lowe has reportedly rejected a contract offer from the Mets, that was for 3 yrs/$36 million. MLBTradeRumors.com reports that the Phillies are still contenders to sign Lowe and are the Mets' main competition for his services, along with the Braves. Phormer Phillie and current White Sox pitcher Gavin Floyd's name has been mentioned in a potenti