Saturday, February 28, 2009

Defending Champs' 1st Win & The Century Mark

The 2009 Phillies recorded their first win today! Rejoice, everyone!

Our Phils recorded this win against the team they won their last game against, in the fifth and final game of the World Series, the Tampa Bay Rays. Pat Burrell made his return to Clearwater, for the first time as a visitor. Pat was 1-for-2, with a double. Pat's return helped set a Brighthouse Field attendance record at 10,270.

Burrell actually looks great in his new uniform. The letters on his hat and helmet no longer stand for Tampa Bay, by the way. It's now "The Bat".

Prior to the Phillies' scheduled game on Wednesday April 8th, the Phillies have planned their World Series championship ring presentation. The Phillies have invited Burrell and he will attend that ceremony. The Rays are in Boston that night to face the Red Sox, and the schedule works out to allow Pat to make a trip to Philadelphia in the afternoon.

John Mayberry Jr. continues to look like a quality acquisition, as he is 4-for-10 so far this spring with a homer. However, Greg Golson, the player our Phillies traded away for Mayberry Jr., is 5-for-9 with 2 doubles and 3 RBI with the Rangers in 4 games played.

The century mark has been achieved. This is PhoulBallz.com's 100th entry. The fun here has only just gotten started. We'll see you tomorrow for Sunday School.

Friday, February 27, 2009

It's the End of the World As We Know It

...And we should all feel fine. I know where everyone's heads are. Some phans may be thinking the worst. The Phillies have begun the pre-season with 3 losses and no wins. How can we ever recover? Relax...it's not that bad.

I'll tell you method #1 for recovery- release Adam Eaton. Method #1, completed! That is all.

Still not feeling better? Just consider that these games mean nothing. And take notice of the fine spring performances so far for Jamie Moyer, Carlos Carrasco, "Jay" Happ, John Mayberry Jr., Raul Ibanez, Pablo Ozuna, Greg Dobbs, Jason Donald, JC Romero and Gary Majewski. Oh also, forget about the awful spring performances so far from Andrew Carpenter, Sergio Escalona and Joe Bisenius.

So, back to Eaton. Yes, the Phillies finally bit the proverbial bullet and gulped down hard to eat the $9 million that they owe him. Eaton spoke to reporters after the release and the most intriguing comment he made was this..."I know there's a lot still left in my arm." He also insisted he's healthy and pondered that he should have opted for surgery last offseason. Read plenty more Eaton quotes in multiple posts over at The Wonderful World of Scott Lauber.

Adam Eaton will forever be mentioned as Pat Gillick's (only?) huge error in judgement. Yes, Gillick was the general manager who returned a championship parade to Philadelphia after a 25-year drought, but Adam Eaton underperformed so badly, that he will forever be the stain that the folks over at "World Series Trophy Cleaners" could not get out of Gillick's Hawaiian Phillies shirt.

Phriend of PhoulBallz "MLR Joe" points out that Eaton's Wikipedia page has already been updated with this terrific ph'n news.

In other news, ailing Indians outfielder Grady Sizemore has backed out of the World Baseball Classic and Shane Victorino has been chosen to take his place. Shane will join Jimmy Rollins on the team USA roster. Other Phillies in the WBC are Carlos Ruiz with team Panama, Matt Stairs with team Canada, and the Australian triple threat of prospects- Drew Naylor, Joel Naughton and Brad Harman.

The Lakewood BlueClaws announced their bobble head giveaways for the season, this week. For you Phils phans that either got shut out of the sold out Charlie Manuel bobble head night at CBP on April 28th, or simply can't make it, our friends the BlueClaws will have a Charlie Manuel World Series Champions bobble head doll giveaway on June 15th.

Lastly, here is your official Pat Burrell on the Rays in Spring Training Report. Patrick the Batrick batted twice in the Rays' spring opener on Wednesday and was hitless in two at bats. Today, Elvis's daddy also batted twice and got a single.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Notes, updates, more notes, and stuff

To follow up on the Scott Eyre/frozen assets story, the Phillies have offered to advance Eyre some of his 2009 salary, so that he can pay his bills. Read all about it here.


Pedro Feliz has still not begun swinging a bat, despite telling reporters that he feels good this week.


Mickey Morandini is in Phillies camp for the first time, this spring, as a guest instructor. His time spent with the team will include a few days at Carpenter Field with the minor leaguers next week. Morandini told The Sporting News recently that he really likes the signing of Chan Ho Park and the contract given to Ryan Madson. He added, "We all know how important the bullpen is, and to have Madson, Park, Scott Eyre and Chad Durbin to get you to Brad Lidge is very important."


John Mayberry Jr. and Raul Ibanez, the Phillies' left fielders in the Grapefruit League opener, each drove in a run in the team's loss. Mayberry Jr. could be the righty bench bat that the team was hoping to find. Don't worry about the loss though, phans. It's likely the least important game of the year. Tomorrow is when things should really become interesting, with both "Jay" Happ and Carlos Carrasco beginning the battle for the fifth spot in the starting rotation.


Todd Zolecki reports that lefty reliever Mike Zagurski finalized his contract for the 2009 season, believed to be worth the $400,000 league minimum ($235,500 in the minors). Carlos Ruiz also finalized his 2009 contract, which is for $475,000 (and $255,000 in the minors).


Here's a (not-so-)special sneak peak of what you can expect once our Phils make it home to start the season, and that tuxedo photo shoot debuts in the Phillies Magazine, their game day program.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Spring Games Have Begun

Graefruit League baseball games won't start till tomorrow. However, there are a few Phillies who have already found ways to compete and have fun, after growing tired of drills and practice.

Raul Ibanez vs. Pat Gillick- Staring Contest! They are stiilllll going. Stay tuned to your PhoulBallz network to see who blinks first.

Over the weekend, the Phillies played dress up. Here, Scott Eyre is seen helping Colbert Hamels with his attire and reminding everyone that the Phillies are #1.

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News update-

MLB.com reports that Phils reliever Scott Eyre is suffering great financial setbacks because he invested money with scammer Robert Allen Stanford. Federal regulators have frozen assets tied to Stanford, and this includes accounts belonging to Eyre, and other MLB players, while the investigation is ongoing.

Happy Baseball Games Eve! Scott Lauber, of The News Journal, reports tomorrow's Grapefruit League opening day starting lineup for our Phillies is as follows...

SS Jimmy Rollins, CF Shane Victorino, LF Raul Ibanez, 1B Ryan Howard, RF Geoff Jenkins, DH Matt Stairs, 2B Jason Donald, 3B Eric Bruntlett, C Chris Coste, P Jamie Moyer.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Ump Gives Cheaters a Pass

Tim McClelland, the Major League umpire famous from the George Brett pine tar incident, was the guest speaker at an Iowa baseball dinner last week and he had some interesting things to say about the steroids issue, in his sport. Here are some gems, from McClelland...

"I'd like to see people kind of get over it. It was part of that era. In 2004, baseball instituted the ban on steroids. The previous 15 years, you just have to realize there were a lot of people taking steroids."

"They used it to make themselves better. I can't fault a player for doing that."

The Brett/pine tar incident was during a 1983 game with Brett's Royals visiting Yankee Stadium. While trailing in the 9th inning, Brett smacked a homer off closer Goose Gossage, and gave the Royals a lead. The Yankees knew of Brett's habits of adding too much pine tar (a legal substance used on bats for grip), too far up his bat. The Yanks chose a crucial time to point it out, and Tim McClelland reversed the homerun, and called Brett out. McClelland was also on the umpiring crew during the game when Sammy Sosa was discovered to be using a corked bat, in 2003. Sosa was ejected and suspended for using the lightened, doctored bat, which is designed to help batters swing the bat faster.

Tim McClelland is certainly familiar with cheaters and enforcing rules. And we're all familiar with the fact that using performance enhancing drugs, that are illegal in the United States, is cheating. So, why is McClelland so quick to say, "Let's forget it and move on"? Because for all those years, especially following the strike in 1994, the MLB organization was lenient with drugs, on purpose...hoping that increased offensive outputs by players like Sosa, Barry Bonds, and more, would bring back fans who may have been turned off by the strike or found other forms of entertainment. Let's attribute that to the Selig Administration. During the 1990's into the 2000's, to Commissioner Bud Selig, baseball without sterioids meant baseball with less fans, which translates to less revenue. Thus, MLB continued on a lengthy stretch of ignoring the illegal substance use through its core, and every one in the organization, including the on-field rules moderators known as umpires were involved. McClelland proved it is hard to break those old habits of ignoring.

If a man who is supposed to uphold the rules of baseball can speak so aloofly about players cheating, and assert that fans have obligations to move on, who is left that gives a good gosh darn about the purity of baseball?

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UPDATE...a phew Phillies news notes worth mentioning.
1- Jamie Moyer, Joe Blanton and Joe Bisenius are scheduled to pitch in the Phillies' first Grapefruit League game this coming Wednesday against the Pirates. Carlos Carrasco and "Jay" Happ are slated to pitch Thursday in Clearwater against the Blue Jays. According to Scott Lauber of The News Journal, Colbert Hamels won't pitch till March 4th. The Phillies' 2009 television debut, on Saturday, will see Adam Eaton, Kyle Kendrick and Brad Lidge get time on the mound.
2- Todd Zolecki announced today, on MLB.com, that the Phils will be featured in a reality program on the MLB Network. MLB Productions has been in Phillies training camp, filming footage of the team's relief pitchers. The program, called The 'Pen, will debut June 1st, and will run for 6 weekly episodes.
3- MLB.com also features an article today about two prospects, in Phillies camp, that are hoping to contribute as a battery for the Austrailia team at the World Baseball Classic. Right handed pitcher Drew Naylor and catcher Joel Naughton, both former BlueClaws, are waiting for the final roster cuts for the Aussie squad.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday School: History Lesson 5

Frank O'Donnell (Don) Hurst played for the Phillies from 1928-1934. Hurst was acquired from St. Louis in 1928 for catcher Jimmie Wilson. Promptly, Hurst was installed as the everyday Phillies first baseman where he would excel. In his very first game as a Phillie, Don Hurst reached base all four times, going 2-for-2 with a triple and an RBI.

Hurst was one of the rare guys who could hit for both power and average. In 1929, Hurst had his career season high in homers, when he hit 31, including at least one in four straight games. 1929 also marked the first of two seasons when Hurst would drive in 125, or more, runs...and it was the first of four straight seasons in which Hurst batted over .300.

In 1932, Hurst had his best year. He led the National League in both RBI and batting avg. (143, and .339, respectively). For that performance, Hurst felt that he deserved more money. Thus, he held out the following spring, missing training camp, and he never again delivered such high-end performances.

In 1933, Hurst's numbers were way down. He hit 16 less homers than the previous season, his RBI's dropped by 67, and his batting average was 72 points lower. In 1934, when Hurst got off to another slow start, he was traded to the Chicago Cubs, for Dolph Camilli. The Camilli trade proved great for our Phillies, who gained great offense in Camilli (over his 3 full seasons with the Phils, Dolph averaged over 26 HR's, over 88 RBI and had a .285 avg.), and shed Hurst, who was out of MLB following the 1934 season.

Hurst went on to extend his playing career in the minor leagues in the American Association and the Pacific Coast League. He also managed a bit in the low minors, before officially retiring from the game that he loved.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

New Team in WBC? Get Lost!

The Chinese Taipei team is out of the World Baseball Classic. Chinese Taipei was voted out of the WBC this week by confused phans who didn't grasp why Taiwan, just couldn't go by the name Taiwan in the world of sports. To avoid confusion and fan unrest, WBC officials and Phillies blog magnates have found a new team to play in The Classic. Lost Island will field a team for the first time in organized sports. Lost's head coach Jacob will rely on slick fielding Korean import Jin-Soo Kwon, veteran pitcher John Locke, slugging thirdbaseman James "Sawyer" Ford and slugging outfielder Sayid Jarrah to compete with the likes of China, Korea and Japan in the Group A bracket. Lost Island's Department of Heuristics And Research on Material Applications is said to have played a major role it getting this team its place in the WBC line up.

Lost Island will make history in multiple ways, other than being the first replacement team. Speedy infielder Kate Austen is slated to be the first female to play in a WBC game. Kate is rumored to be in the very early stages of pregnancy with a teammate's child, but it won't stop her from playing. Relief pitcher Jack Shephard has been linked to Austen most recently. The ageless wonder, Richard Alpert, acts as coach, scout and firstbaseman for the team. He's the only WBC player pulling triple duties. The Lost Island team's batboy, Aaron Littleton, is four-years-old. Littleton will be the youngest batboy in this year's WBC.

Hitting coach Christian Shepard, Jack's father, is confident that Lost Island's bats will prove to be their team's strong point. Christian claims that Lost Island will be using bats made out of a coffin he once inhabited (don't ask), and that will prove deadly for the opposition. Some media sources and internet bloggers have suspected an odd connection between Christian and team manager Jacob. Details on that are purely speculative, however.

Baseball experts are not giving Lost Island much of a chance this year, but starting catcher Hugo Reyes feels differently. "Dude, we definitely got, like, a shot", Reyes said. Starting pitcher Desmond Hume said this about Lost Island's squad, "It's a grand old team, and there's going to be a show, brotha!" "Sawyer" Ford had this to say when asked if Lost Island stood a chance: "What do think I'm gonna say, Hoss?" Point taken, Sawyer. Female viewers may not appreciate it, but hopefully, Sawyer can keep his jersey on long enough to win some baseball.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Shea Hey


Usually the Mets wait till September to have a huge collapse, but yesterday the final remaining portions of Shea Stadium came tumbling down.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

War of the Words, and some non-media created news

There is loads of news coming out of spring training this week. Most of which is from the Phillies' home of Clearwater, FL, but some is from Port St. Lucie, FL, where the Mets train. The New York media continues to ask every Metropolitan possible about the remarks of Jimmy Rollins in past years (about our Phils being the team to beat), and the statement by Cole Hamels, in December, to a NYC radio station about the Mets being "choke artists". It seems that the Metropolitans players are getting a vibe from all the media questions that the Phillies players are speaking about the Mets endlessly, when the fact is that the only material going is from the reporters who wish to build this rivalry, in order to get page views, sell papers, and gain viewers for NYC sports programming.


Carlos Beltran was nice enough yesterday to state the Mets' desire to end Cole Hamels by saying, "The only thing I know is that he will be watched every time he faces us. Hopefully, we kill him..." Jose Reyes gave some comments today on the World Champions. Reyes said, "We don't worry about Philly. I don't know why they worry so much about the New York Mets. They can talk about whatever they want to, because we worry about us. They are the one to win the World Series, not us, and we don't say nothing about them. " Oh, you all don't, huh? Ryan Church saying last week that the Mets are coming for the Phillies, isn't talking about the Phillies? Francisco Rodriguez borrowing the famous phrase from this rivalry and proclaiming that the Mets are now the real team to beat, isn't calling the Phillies out? Beltran wishing to kill the World Series MVP isn't the Metropolitans talking about the Phillies? And then Reyes, the guy who just said his team doesn't talk about or worry about the Phillies, going on to blab about how Shane Victorino celebrates and how other Phillies (presumably Ryan Howard, among others) stand at home plate and watch their own homerun balls leave the park, don't count as a Met talking about or worrying about the Phillies? Wow. That's a large amount of talk about the Phillies, by the Mets, that doesn't count at all. The Mets are pretty accustomed to doing a lot of stuff that doesn't count, in the end, so that is seemingly their style. Way to hold it down, New York Mess.

Anyway, in real news...Chris Coste signed a new official contract. Coste is guaranteed $460,000 in the majors and $249,000 in the minors this season.


Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt is in Phillies camp this week, before he leaves to assist with coaching duties for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. Schmitty was asked today who would win a series between the 1980 World Champion Phillies and the 2008 World Champion Phillies. He had this to say: "Probably these guys. Bigger, stronger, faster. Yeah, no doubt in my mind. It would go seven games. It would probably turn on a Schmidt error. Bowa picks it up, throws to first, and Bruce Froemming calls him safe. And the '08 team wins in a controversial play that's talked about for years." Hmm, more Schmidt vs. Howard debate, anyone?


Scott Lauber, Comcast Sportsnet, and other sources have unveiled the cover of next week's Sports Illustrated that features Cole Hamels. Colbert's star shines brighter all the time. Next stop- shutting those awful Metropolitan cry babies the heck up?Lefty pitcher Mike Zagurski (elbow ligament surgery) expects to pitch this spring, and has asserted his desire to be ready to contribute, whether in the majors or minors, by opening day. Also, Chase Utley is said to be further along in his rehab from offseason surgery than teammate Pedro Feliz.


The Lakewood Blueclaws announced yesterday, in a joint promotion with the Trenton Thunder, that all kids, 12 and under, will eat for free at every home game this season. The teams are recognizing the financial crisis facing many New Jersey families and this is their way to help, as they continue providing a great value for baseball fans. Lakewood GM Will Smith said, " We really couldn’t be happier to do this." Smith went on to add that he hopes all Blueclaws phans will Get Jiggy Wit It because his Parents Just Don't Understand. The Blueclaws open their season at home on April 9th when they host both the Delmarva Shorebirds AND the World Series Trophy.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Phillies look-alikes, Part 1

The Phillies are World Series Champions and, thus, are world wide celebrities. This recognition isn't enough, I tell you. Some of the champs could very well be confused with other major celebrities around the globe...or at least around my house. Let's dig in...

Two look-alikes in particular have been widely discussed. Geoff Jenkins even made a sign on the table covering at his autograph station at last year's Phillies Phestival that he is not Brett Favre or phormer Phillie Randy Wolf.
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Jayson Werth may be on his way to Wrestlemania. Jay-Dub is aware that he resembles Heavyweight wrestling champion Adam "Edge" Copeland. Are you?

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Carlos Ruiz's fame was boosted by TBS during the playoffs, but he might be ready for his own Comedy Central sketch show, as he looks very much like Carlos Mencia. Dee dee dee!


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And while I'm on television comedians, I'll even throw an ex-Phillie in the mix, by mentioning the resemblance between Vicente Padilla and talk show host Jimmy Kimmel.

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And finally, I think this is the most uncanny match of them all. Brett Myers could go from Citizens Bank Way to Sesame St. in order to meet up with his twin Bert!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sunday School: History Lesson 4

Charles "Red" Dooin was a talented catcher for our Phillies from 1902-1914. He excelled at blocking home plate from runners, despite his small size. Dooin's playing weight was roughly 165 pounds. From 1910-1914, Dooin not only played for the Phillies, but he managed them as well.

Red's impact on the game wasn't only with his on-field performances, because he was the first catcher to use shin guards. Hall of Famer Roger Bresnahan is widely credited for the innovation, but Bresnahan really only began wearing them after a collision at the plate with the well protected Dooin, in 1907. Dooin actually put Bresnahan in touch with his own sporting goods supplier, in order to obtain the shin guards. Dooin regularly wore his shin guards under his uniform, while Bresnaham wore his protection over his pants. Thus, fans and media took notice to one of the men first, instead of the other.

Red Dooin's offensive statistics weren't overly impressive. His career homerun total was 10...of which, he hit 6 in 1904. Red's speed was a plus however. He stole double digit bases for 7 straight seasons, as a Phillie. In his career, Dooin caught 1,124 games for our Phillies, which is second most in team history behind Mike Lieberthal.

Dooin's talents weren't confined to the baseball field. For years, during and after his playing days, Red would travel the Vaudeville circuit as both a singer and actor, performing with an Irish comedy act, "His Last Night Out".

In 1910, the Phillies named Dooin manager of the team. Dooin continued his catching duties. In 1911, he suffered a broken leg in a violent home plate collision, which forced him out of action. Over the next couple seasons, Dooin saw another leg injury and his playing time decrease.

In the 1914/1915 offseason, the Phils traded the 35-year-old, and "Red" became a Red. Dooin stayed in the majors through the 1916 season, then spent two more seasons playing and managing in the minors before he retired.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Baseball is Romantic

Happy first day of Spring Training to all of you. Most years I like to celebrate the first day of Spring Training just a little. In the past, I've gone as far as creating a hybrid flash card/greeting card that acted as a slide guide to help my lady learn new Phillies players' names.

This year, luck would have it that the first day of Phillies spring training landed on Valentine's Day. So, I purchased a box of chocolates printed to look like a baseball for my lady, among other things, to recognize the joint occasion. My beautiful Valentine girl was thoughtful enough to realize the dates coincided as well, and she purchased a lovely box of baseball cards for me, as a gift. We are having a lovely day together, so far, and we are about to head out for a wonderful date.

Let this be a lesson to all you phans out there. Romance is not dead. When all else fails, think (baseball) diamonds!

Friday, February 13, 2009

What's Eaton You?

Adam Eaton is still owed $9 million by the Phillies. Yeah, NINE MILLION DOLLARS. His salary for 2009 is $8.5 million, and there is a buy-out option for 2010 at $500,000. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has made it clear that Eaton is not in the running for the 5th spot in the Phillies' pitching rotation. Eaton has accepted his own current status, as he's aware of the terribleness that is himself. Eaton, a former first round draft pick of the Phillies, is 14-18 with an ERA of 6.10 over the past two season for the Phillies.

Just to provide a quick example of how significant $9 million is on the Phillies' payroll, Jayson Werth, Carlos Ruiz, Chris Coste, Eric Bruntlett, Matt Stairs, Scott Eyre and Chad Durbin combined will not make $9 million this season.

When asked about the possibility of accepting another minor league assignment, Eaton had this to say, "If we get to that point, I'll be released. And I don't think that's the end of the world by any means. It would be kind of prudent not to trade for me. I'm not going to accept another assignment. It doesn't take a rocket scientist for another GM to maybe wait and take your shot at getting me for less than a trade would be."

Eaton also added, in regard to the internal race for the last starter spot and the likelihood of him not being a Phillie this year, "...I just have to get ready for a season. I'm not going to shortchange myself or my teammates now or in the future. If it's a season here in Philly, so be it. If it's a season somewhere else, that's the way it is."

Most of us noticed Eaton's absence from the post season celebrations and the parade, but did you know that Adam Eaton watch the Phillies' World Series run from his home? "I definitely watched. It was the most baseball, regular season, postseason, that I've ever watched probably since the Atlanta Braves in 1991 or '92. It was definitely weird. I had my own little celebrations, running around the house when (Joe) Blanton hit his homer. It was fun to watch, but at the same time, it was definitely weird to watch it (on television)...", Eaton said Friday.

The rest of the pitching staff has all arrived in Clearwater for the first official day of spring training. Tomorrow, the repeat begins.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Boo...

This week, we've all been pounded (not in a Matt Stairs kind of way) with news about Alex Rodriguez and his positive test for performance enhancing drugs. Rodriguez came clean, in an interview with ESPN's Peter Gammons, admitting that he took steroids for at least 3 seasons while playing for Texas, and admitting that he lied in previous interviews when asked about it.

The test results were to remain anonymous, thus MLB is unable to punish Rodriguez over the maliciously released news. Instead, Commission Bud Selig can only chastise Rodriguez, saying that he has shamed the game.

Rodriguez's confession has also drawn concern from the management of the Yankees. General Manager Brian Cashman stated, "I'm not confident about anything, about anybody." And manager Joe Girardi expressed his desire to keep a closer eye on players that he has concerns about.

Alex Rodriguez is a cheater. Much like a cheater in school or in a relationship. Is the cheater sorry when he/she is getting A grades on exams? No. Is the cheater sorry when he/she is enjoying that side action? Not a bit. Is the cheater sorry when he's winning American League MVP awards? Also no. That considered, he is not the only cheater in baseball these days. Remember Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield were named in the BALCO scandal as having used illegal steroids. And while steroids are the most prevalent drugs of this baseball era, players of yester-year, like Willie Stargell and Phillies Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt are long rumored to have dabbled with methamphetamine.

The cheater, in this case, is not to blame. Schools have rules and punishments for cheaters. Husbands, wives and the law have rules and penalties for cheaters. Major League Baseball has only recently began with more strict rules and impactful punishments for players who cheat. Blame baseball for this. Don't hold Albatross Rodriguez fully responsible for how he has tainted the game. It's this organization of MLB, that wants its hitters to hit and hit big, that needs to be held accountable for the disappointing state of stats, players, records, and this era of the game we love.

Can it be fixed? I truly don't think fans will be confident that Major League Baseball is really on the road to improving itself until a new commissioner is in place. Can a true fan trust that the Selig regime can, and will, do what's in the best interest of the integrity of baseball? Commissioner Selig said, this week, "We are fully committed to ridding our game of steroids and other performance-enhancing substances. These drugs and those who use them and facilitate their use threaten the integrity of our sport." Prove it or get out.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mucho News Week

Just pondering all the news and events going on lately, it really seems like a HUGE sports week. The NFL Pro Bowl was last weekend. The NBA All Star events and game are next weekend. Alex Rodriguez admitted to taking illegal performance enhancing drugs this week. Wrestler Chris Jericho was bombarded by fans after a WWE show, then was filmed shoving a female fan to the ground after she spit on him. The annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue was launched this week. One of the biggest rivalries in all of sports, Duke vs. UNC men's basketball, sparks up this week, with both teams in the national top 5. Actress and MLB.com blogger Alyssa Milano will release a book this year, with a foreword written by Dodgers manager Joe Torre. All star shortstop Miguel Tejada has been charged with lying to congress during steroid investigations in 2005.

But even with all those big stories in the news, the only one that I really care about is SPRING TRAINING BEGINS IN 3 DAYS for our Phillies.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Ryan Howard is Philly- WHOOP-DE-WHOOP!

The Sunday School series is pre-empted due to #6 news. Ryan Howard has officially avoided arbitration and signed a 3-year contract with our Phillies, sources confirmed.

General Manager Ruben Amaro said, Sunday, “We're very pleased to have avoided the arbitration process, not just for this year, but also for the next two. Ryan is clearly one of the top power hitters and run producers in the major leagues and is a very important part of our championship club.”

Ryan's contract breaks down this way...$15 million in 2009, $19 million in 2010 and $20 million in 2011. It is also packed with incentive bonuses, including one of the most ridiculous we could have expected to see- $50,000 for winning the Gold Glove Award. Seriously? Ryan Howard has a GOLD GLOVE incentive in his contract? Is this a joke?

With that never reachable incentive listed, the Phils should have included some of the following bonuses for Howard.

  • $50,000 for winning the MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss

  • $51,000 for winning the Nobel Prize in chemistry

  • $100,000 for winning the Grammy for outstanding Country Western solo artist

  • $250,000 for being named to Maxim's 2009 Hot 100 list

  • $2 million for winning a Wayne Newton look-alike contest
That list could go on and on. Another note worthy clause in the contract is a $1 million bonus paid to Howard, by the Phillies, if Howard is traded prior to November 1, 2010. That sounds like a pretty unique, but fairly logical request by the player.

Ryan Howard has been in Clearwater, Florida, the Phillies spring training home, for weeks, working out long before the mandatory day for pitchers and catchers to report (Feb. 14). In fact, Howard was the only big leaguer in Clearwater prior to President Obama's inauguration.

In the past 3 years, Howard has hit 153 homeruns, driven in 431 runs and has an OPS of .970. If that's what the Phillies can get from him over the next 3 years, $54 million could prove to be a bargain.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Rappers in Phillies Caps

Weekend greetings to you phine pholks out there. Today's post features pictures of rappers wearing Phillies caps. Why rappers in Phillies caps, you ask? Because... Any other questions?


We will start things off properly by going with a highly recognizable hip hop star. 50 Cent stays constantly relavant by consistantly creating radio friendly material to help sell (G) units, while he "keeps it real" by still rapping about the thug life he lived before becoming the 2nd highest earning black entertainer in America. 50 is seen here in a recent interview rocking a throw-back Phillies cap.


Next up we'll use a throw-back screen cap from what may be the very first major appearance by a rapper wearing Phillies gear. Chuck D, of legendary rap group Public Enemy, wore a Phillies cap in the music video for rap anthem Fight The Power in 1989. The song was the lead single from the soundtrack for Spike Lee's film Do The Right Thing.


Next up we'll go with some home grown talent. Philadelphia's own sons Cassidy, Freeway and The Roots can be seen repping home with Phillies caps from time to time.


Cassidy, is probably best know for his 2007 post-jailtime Swizz Beats produced single My Drink N My 2 Step. Cassidy is on the Ruff Ryders record label. Cassidy also had another big single in 2004, with Hotel. It featured R. Kelly and reached #4 on Billboard's Hot 100.


Freeway, is currently signed to Jay Z's Roc-A-Fella record label. Freeway's current single features James Blunt and is called When I Die. Freeway sports one of hip hop's most unique voices and is backed by one of the industry's best labels.



And last, among my home town Philly listings, is The Roots. Two-time Grammy winners The Roots are widely considered the very first and only true hip hop BAND that has seen major success. The guys are proud of Philadelphia and show it by repping their city with home team gear. Rumor has it that Jimmy Fallon has booked The Roots as the house band for his upcoming hosting gig on NBC's Late Night program.



Next up is one of my personal favorites, The LOX/D-Block member, Jadakiss. Jadakiss is currently signed to a solo deal with Roc-A-Fella records. Jadakiss' most notable mainstream recognition came in 2004 when, on his single Why?, he made an assertion that President Bush had a role in the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001.



Finally, rapper DJ Paul of the Academy Award winning group Three 6 Mafia, is likely the rapper most often seen sporting Phillies caps. Paul performed at the Academy Awards ceremony and accepted his Oscar in a Phillies cap in 2006. Three 6 Mafia has become one of hip hop's best known, and best selling groups in recent years.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Slick fielding Sam is the Champion of the (PhoulBallz) world!

Phillies Ball(z)girl Sam Arnone was kind enough to answer some questions for the PhoulBallz site and all of you. Sam will be entering her 3rd season as a Phillies ballgirl and is a junior at Drexel University. Sam hails from the great town of Mt. Ephram, NJ.

1- Since the Phillies are the World Champions of baseball teams, are the Phillies ballgirls the world champions of ballgirl teams?

- Of Course!!! There are not that many teams that have Ballgirls, so the competition is a little scarce. I would definitely put my team up against any other Ballgirl team with full confidence!

2- What is your routine to prepare for a day of on-field duties?

- Before a game, I am always a little nervous. Once I am ready to leave my house and head to the ballpark I triple check my bag to make sure I have my glove and then I check again. I always have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on wheat because it keeps me full and gives me energy for the entire game. I guess I might have to find a new favorite sandwich because of the salmonella outbreak in peanut butter. I also try to stop drinking any liquids a couple hours before game time so I won’t have to use the bathroom while the game is in progress, but there are exceptions on hot days where you have to stay hydrated! When I finally get to the ballpark, I usually hangout in the offices and watch Rachel Ray with Michele (the ballgirls' boss) until it is time to go down on the field. Then I get my chair and head down to whichever baseline I am working that night. The nerves do not go away until the first pitch is thrown.

3- What is the best thing about being a Phillies ballgirl?

- The best thing about being a Phillies Ballgirl is that we have our own softball team. We play various teams around the tri-state area to raise money for Phillies Charities. All of the Ballgirls have played softball before, so the team allows us to stay competitive and keep playing the game we love. It also allows us to be role models to young girls in such a male-dominated sport. The biggest perk is being able to live out every baseball fan’s dream; to sit on a major league baseball field, watching your favorite team compete.

4- The ballgirls get involved with promoting recycling around Citizens Bank Park as well as the Phillies' charities fundraisers. What's your favorite community action you've been involved with, through the Phillies?

- My favorite community action is working the Phillies Phestival. Before I became a Ballgirl for the Phillies I knew about Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS), but I was never aware of the diagnostics of those who have been affected. Working the Phestival for the past two years has allowed me to really learn about the disease and the effects it has on an individual’s life. I really enjoy helping the Phillies raise awareness and money to help discover a cure. This year the Phillies Phestival is on June 22. Fans can go to Phillies.com for more information.

5- What is your favorite feature of Citizens Bank Park? And/or favorite food at CBP?

- I like Ashburn Alley. When I come to a game as a fan and not a Ballgirl, I tend to migrate towards the Alley. I like to read the history on Memory lane and see the players that have been inducted onto the Phillies Wall of Fame. My favorite ballpark eat is also in the Alley! Crabfries are my favorite food at the ballpark!

6- Favorite baseball player growing up and favorite baseball player right now...?

- I had three favorite baseball players growing up.
1. I played shortstop when I was younger so I was a huge fan of Cal Ripken Jr.
2. Lenny Dykstra. I would always try to emulate how much chewing tobacco he had in his mouth with Big League Chew.
3. Ken Griffey Jr. I still love to watch him play and his swing will never get old to me.

7- The Phillies ballgirls have a blogger on the Phillies web site. A silly Mets fan recently told me that blogging is for losers. How do you feel about blogging?

- I think blogging is a great way to get your thoughts heard!!! I think that the silly Mets fan opinion shouldn’t count because he/she is a Mets fan. Enough said. (Ed. note- Take that, Kevin Williams!!)

8- The ballgirl job involves meeting the phans, at times. Do you have any noteworthy, entertaining or scary stories about interacting with the phans?

- There are many entertaining stories, but I do not think they are appropriate to write (Sorry). Dollar dog nights were always interesting because the Ballgirls are the ones that have to pick up the hot dogs. Mets games are always exciting to work because when our fans are mixed in with Mets fans there tends to be some entertainment. But for the most part the fans are a lot of fun to talk to during the games. We really do have the best fans in baseball.

9- Have any of the "riches" from our Phillies winning the World Series trickled down to the ballgirls?

- It really depends on how you measure “riches”. I look at it like I have been able to be a part of something special and have collected endless memories and stories. I think the best thing that any of us have received since we won was the opportunity to be a part of the parade. That day was the single best experience of my life. We have been in the Thanksgiving parade, we have been to the Sixers game, we have been able to see the trophy…the list goes on and on. So we definitely have been able to go to some cool events.
10- What is/are your favorite sports team(s) besides the Phillies?

- I love every team in Philadelphia. I grew up cheering for the Eagles, Flyers, and Sixers. I don’t think my family would approve if I rooted for anyone else!

11- Have you ever made "an error" on the field?

- Knock on wood… I have never made an error on the field. If I do this season it will be your fault for making me answer this question! Just kidding!

12- Before we let you go, tell us something about the ballgirl job that we don't know already...

- Each Ballgirl has a 2 year contract with the Phillies pending a physical. After each year we can go to arbitration if we’re not satisfied. Totally Just Kidding!!! I think that a lot of people don’t know what we do when we’re not on the field. If we are not on the field we are collecting recyclables during the games, playing our own softball games, or mingling with the fans on Rooftop Thursday’s. There are so many more things that we do other than work the lines of the field, and I hope fans are aware of that!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I like to move it-move it!


Each year, around this time, moving day comes along. It is the day when Phillies equipment manager Dan O'Rourke and his staff pack up one huge trailer with everything the Phillies will need to call Clearwater, Florida home for 6 or 7 weeks during spring training.

Every season, I enjoy glancing over the list of what O'Rourke and the team take with them. So, courtesy of Scott Lauber and The News Journal, here is a list of many of the items that make the trip to Florida.

15 cases of gum
12 cases of sunflower seeds
20 coolers and one half pallet of sports drink mix
300 helmets
350 pairs of shorts
450 pairs of socks
600 pairs of pants
600 ball caps
2,000 t-shirts
200 fleece tops
1,200 bats
10,000 12 oz. cups
15,000 baseballs
150 pairs of batting gloves

They also take along hundreds of pieces of memorabilia to be auctioned off at the FanFest charity event at Bright House Field on Feburary 20th.

Monday, February 2, 2009

New notes

According to recent reports, the Phillies are confident that they can avoid arbitration with Ryan Howard. There is no confirmation whether the agreement would be a one-year or a multi-year deal. If an agreement can not be reached in the coming days, a panel of 3 arbitrators will hear arguments from both the team and the player, next week, and decide on either the Phillies' offer of $14 million, or Howard's requested $18 million.

Two local BC Sports Collectibles will be hosting Phillies player autograph signings this week. BC Sports in the King of Prussia Mall will have Chris Coste signing autographs this Wednesday night, 2/4 at 6:30pm. And on Saturday, 2/7, Jamie Moyer will be at the Oxford Valley Mall starting at noon.

There are 11 days till the 63rd year of spring training baseball begins in Clearwater, Florida. Jamie Moyer is 46 years old. Ryan Madson has changed his jersey number from 63 to 46. I have no idea if those numbers are all related, but this is a nice little paragraph and I hope you learned something from it.

Madson appeared on MLB.com programming last week and told host Noah Coslov that his jersey #63 is retired for Valleyview High School in California, where Madson helped win the championship in 1997. Ryan has been wearing the same number since high school. Madson also said in the interview that the #1 thing to change in his life since the World Series victory has been that he realizes how Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins feel on a daily basis...he gets recognized where ever he goes all over Philly and South Jersey. It may not be the championship. Perhaps it's the purse!

Phormer Phillie Bobby Abreu's list of potential teams seems to be growing every few days, with Ed Wade and the Houston Astros now interested. The Mets are also reported to have more than a little interest. Abreu will turn 35 before the season begins and his numbers are as solid as ever (20 homers, 100 RBI, 22 steals last season).

Phillies Phantasy Camp is in full swing this week. Dave Hollins, Mitch Williams, Mickey Morandini and Bob Dernier are all on hand in Clearwater to teach the phantasy campers, as well as play along with them.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sunday School: History Lesson 3

Another Sunday, another lesson. This week, we'll talk about a premiere slugger from the Deadball Era, Gavvy Cravath. Clifford "Gavvy" Cravath joined the Phillies in 1912, when he was 31 years old. The "Deadball Era" was a stretch in the early 1900's, when pitchers were known to throw many trick pitches and games were regularly played with a single mis-shapened ball. These factors made hitting for distance quite a challenge.

Gavvy was a rightfielder. He batted right and threw right. Born on March 23, 1881, Gavvy became the first major leaguer from the San Diego area. While playing ball in his younger days in California, Cravath picked up his nickname by hitting a seagull (which is gaviota in Spanish) with a batted ball.

Gavvy's pro career began with the Angels of the Pacific Coast League. He made his major league debut with the Boston Red Sox in 1908. Prior to that season, Cravath's contract had been sold to Boston, where he bacame a 27-year-old rookie. Then began a series of moves for Gavvy and tough road to Philadelphia. In August of 1908, Gavvy's contract was sold to the Chicago White Sox. In 1909, Cravath started off quite slowly with the White Sox and he was traded to the Washington Senators, who sent Gavvy to the minor league Minneapolis Millers. In 1910 and 1911, Cravath excelled with the Millers, leading the American Association in batting avg., hits, HR, and doubles BOTH seasons.

Rules at the time, made it rather difficult for Gavvy to reach the majors again, and reportedly a clerical error in a telegram was his real ticket to Philadelphia in 1912. He replaced veteran John Titus as the everyday RF. In 1913, Caravath batted .341 with the Phillies and led the NL in hits, homeruns, total bases and RBI.

Cravath led the National League in homeruns 6 times from 1913-1920. In the Phillies' World Series season of 1915, Gavvy led the league in many offensive categories, including HR's and RBI. At the time, Gavvy's 24 homers in 1915 was a MLB record for a single season in the 20th century. The Phillies lost the 1915 World Series to Cravath's former team, the Boston Red Sox in 5 games.

In 1919, Cravath took over as player/manager of our Phils midway through the season. The Phils roster, in those days was quite weak, and two straight last place finishes in 1919 and 1920, led the Phillies to fire Gavvy. He then went on to play and manage two more season in the minors, after which, he retired to his native California, where he later served as a Laguna Beach city judge for more than 35 years.