Tuesday, March 31, 2009

News for You's

Plenty going on in Phillies world today. Chan Ho Park was annointed the 5th starter. Park is extremely pleased, of course. "Jay" Happ's role is not yet known, as the Phillies could use him in the bullpen or keep him in a starting role at Triple A.

Geoff Jenkins was released. Jenkins is owed $8 million ($6.75 million for this season, then a $1.25 million buyout for next season). The over abundance of lefties on the bench (Greg Dobbs, Matt Stairs and Jenkins) made Jenkins expendable. Add Jenkins' $8 million to Adam Eaton's $9 million and Jim Thome's $3 million and our Phillies are spending $20 million on players they've parted ways with.

The Phillies have reportedly contacted Gary Sheffield, who was released by the Tigers on Tuesday, also. Sheffield is a right handed hitter. Sheff is likely a stretch as an option for the Phillies' bench, as he is best suited as a designated hitter. John Mayberry Jr. or Miguel Cairo should be the righty batter that makes the opening day 25-man roster.

Charlie Manuel announced that Brett Myers will start opening night, on Sunday against the Braves. Over the last four seasons, in Brett's first start of the year, he's got a 3.70 ERA, averaging just over 6 innings per start.

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Extra special link...BlueClaws Blog has projections on this year's Lakewood roster.

Monday, March 30, 2009

They're Home in Just 4 Days!

Join PhoulBallz.com at the On-deck Series this Saturday, at Citizens Bank Park. You'll get a super sweet schedule magnet, see Pat Burrell in an opposing uniform and you'll get to check out Cole Hamels in his last spring start.

Charlie Manuel announced today that Colbert is definitely out as opening night starter against the Braves. He also announced that Jamie Moyer will start game 2, at home Tuesday night, 4/7. Two key details about the pitching rotation have yet to be made known to the public. 1- Who will start opening night, Brett Myers or Joe Blanton? 2- Who will be the 5th starter, Chan Ho Park or "Jay" Happ? Park made his final start of the spring today. Happ will pitch Thursday. Considering our Phils have 3 days off in the first 10 days of the season, they wouldn't need to use a fifth starter till Monday, April 20th, or so.

Among today's roster moves, Marcus Giles was released. Giles told reporters, "I got every chance in the world. It's not their fault. There's nobody to blame but myself. I would have made the same decision they did to be honest with you. I'm not a guy to make excuses. I had my chance." Miguel Cairo (.286 avg, .830 OPS this spring) can still make the opening day roster as a righty reserve hitter.

Eric Bruntlett had another big day at the plate on Monday, going 3-for-4 with a homerun and 4 RBI. That raised Bruntlett's Grapefruit League batting average to .364 and his OPS to 1.042. Bruntlett is second on the team in total bases and RBI this spring and he leads the team in runs scored and hits.

Raul Ibanez is in great company this pre-season, joining the powerful likes of Emmanuel Burriss, Kazuo Matsui and Mike Bourn as NL players with 70 or more at bats and zero homeruns.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday School: History Lesson 10

John S. "Jocko" Thompson was a left handed pitcher for the Phillies from 1948-1951. Jocko had been in the Red Sox organization prior to World War 2 breaking out, but served military duty as a paratrooper and company commander prior to making his major league debut.

Jocko was set to enter the 1942 season with the class A Scranton Red Sox but, when World War 2 broke out, he was called to duty and sent to basic training. After completing training in Louisiana, he became a paratrooper with the famed 504th Paratroop Regiment of the elite 82nd Airborne Division.

Thompson and the 82nd Airborne made jumps in nearly every major war zone. One of Jocko's early jumps was into Sicily in 1943. This invasion led to the Allies' capture of dictator Benito Mussolini. The list of Jocko's notable war experiences is long. When the war ended, so did Thompson's military career.

Upon his return to the United States and baseball, Thompson was the most decorated professional ball player. He served in North Africa and Europe and, while there, was awarded two purple hearts, a Silver and a Bronze Star, seven battle stars and numerous other ribbons, citations and awards along with a battlefield commission during his heroic career at war. In spring 1946, the 29-year-old reported to Scranton.

Herb Pennock, a former director of the Red Sox minor league system, was now the general manager of our Phillies. Pennock recruited members of his Boston staff to fill spots in the Phillies organization. One of his key hires was Scranton's business manager Joe Reardon, as the Phillies minor league director. Pennock and Reardon were familiar with Thompson and his history of heavy combat and the men made up their minds to acquire Thompson. They knew Jocko was a fighter and had heart. Prior to the 1947 season, Thompson's contract was purchased from the Red Sox.

Jocko would spend parts of the coming seasons with both the triple A Toronto Maple Leafs and the Phillies. Thompson, over his 4 ML seasons, appeared in 41 games, with a 6-8 record, 1 save, and a 4.24 ERA. Some say that the war took far too much out of him to have a sparkling pitching career, but his military service was far more important that what he did on the baseball diamond.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

CATCH the Phever!!

Chris Coste can rest a little easier now that the Phillies have traded away Coste's prime competition for the back up catcher spot. Ronny Paulino was traded twice last night. First, by the Phillies to the Giants for lefty reliever Jack Taschner. Later, the Giants traded Paulino to the Marlins for Hector Correa.

Coste told reporters this morning that he is a little relieved, after learning of Paulino's departure. However, he won't feel like his job is guaranteed, and acknowledged a "constant fight to survive" in order to keep his job.

It is likely also, that this trade clears an easier path for prospect Lou Marson to climb above both Coste and starter Carlos Ruiz, during the season.

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Links for you to enjoy...

PhilliesFlow has a solid post comparing "Jay" Happ & Chan Ho Park.

IronPigPen has content worth reading, as always, today, reviewing IronPigs and R-Phils points of interest.

More Hardball is weak on promises, but strong on the World Series of Hotness. Voters really dropped the ball on this contest, as evidenced over at With Leather yesterday.

And the best news I've heard all week is quoted below, as reported by Larry Shenk on the Phillies Insider Blog:

New carpeting has been installed in the Phillies clubhouse at Citizens Bank
Park. Too much champagne last fall.

Friday, March 27, 2009

...Got My Learn On

The weekend is just about here, but it's not feeling great so far. My college hoops team lost, and my mail included a huge image of Mets star David Wright on the cover of The Sporting News. "All Wright"? Um, I don't really believe it is. Aside from the non-appealing cover, it's the MLB preview issue, so allow me to share some things I learned from this week's magazine.

1- Former Phillie, and regular Sporting News columnist, Todd Jones has gone insane. Jones predicts that Jamie Moyer will win the NL Cy Young Award, and that Manny Ramirez will run for governor of California after the Dodgers win the 2009 World Series.

2- Ichiro Suzuki rocks the party that rocks the body. Metropolitans reliever Francisco Rodriguez compares Jose Reyes to Ichiro, saying they do many of the same things. I must have missed Ichiro performing rehearsed celebratory hand jives after getting a hit or scoring a run in a losing effort. And I know I missed Ichiro getting caught cheating on his wife.

3- Brad Lidge thinks you can't win without scrubs. Sporting News asked Lidge what might stop the Yankees, and Lidge thinks it's "too much talent". Luckily Mr. Lights Out can only speculate about individuals not thinking of team first.

4- My Magic Number for vomiting violently is 16. The two NYC third basemen (A-Rod and Wright) combine for 16 total pages of coverage. Sporting News was kind enough to ask Wright three questions about the Phillies though and additional questions about how the Mets came up short in recent seasons, which that choke artist had coming.

5- The loony Todd Jones must be on drugs too, as he predicts that the Phillies will acquire Jake Peavy in a deadline trade, mid-season. Hey, wait...can I get a puff of that? Come on, Todd, share!

6- The Sporting News is 5 months behind on fashion trends. "Pinstripes are Back in Style". That's their headline in the portion of the magazine where they predict a Cubs/Yankees World Series. Cough-World Champion Phillies-eh-hem-cough...!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Phils Toying with Pro Wrestling Appearances?

Total Non-stop Action (TNA) Wrestling is holding its monthly pay per view program at the Liacouras Center on April 19th. A few weeks back, wrestling champ "Big Sexy" Kevin Nash visited the Phillies in Clearwater and TNA shot some footage of Nash chatting it up with our Phillies. Former World Wrestling Champ Nash seemed interested in recruiting some of the World Baseball Champs for appearances at the April Lockdown show.

Brett Myers, Geoff Jenkins, Shane Victorino, Ryan Howard and even the skipper Charlie Manuel are all seen spending time with Nash. Myers even takes time to tell Nash about the Philadelphia phans and what to expect from the crowd.




In an additional note tying the Phillies and TNA Wrestling, Mrs. Hamels' Survivor and Playboy friend, Jenna Morasca is now employed by TNA in a yet to be announced on-air role. Survivor phans may recall Cole's wife, Heidi and Jenna removed their clothing for food, on the show, and then were featured in a Playboy pictorial later that year.


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Some of you may also recall Jimmy Rollins appearing on a WWE Raw episode back in December from Rollins' off season home, the Wachovia Center.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

It's a Q&A with John Flynn!

PhoulBallz.com was lucky to have folk music artist John Flynn take a few moments to answer some questions about baseball, his national anthem performances at Phillies games and his career. You can see John live in person in Wilmington, Delaware this coming Saturday at YoYo Joe's Toys and Fun.

-John, you're a Philadelphia area native and a Temple graduate. What is it like to perform in your home town?

Its always the best! The more I travel around the country, the more convinced I am that I was lucky to be raised around here...

- You've been seen around the area at live shows wearing Phillies gear, and of course at multiple Phillies games performing the National Anthem. Where do baseball and the Phillies rank with you?

As someone that grew up in Delaware County in the seventies, the Phillies were always on my radar. But I didn't really become a baseball fan until I became a musician. Driving home from gigs late at night I would pick up Phillies games from the west coast... so you see it was Harry, Whitey and Wheels who lured me in! I travel alone a lot but their voices always made me a little less lonesome out on the road. Because of the strength of our AM station, you could pick up Phillies games way out in Chicago!


- In Clearwater this spring, when the Phils faced Toronto, you performed both anthems...a portion of your Canadian anthem was in French. Difficult to learn, or were you already down with the French?

I had high school French, which means I don't speak any at all! I learned to sing the anthem phoenetically but I've had it translated for me so I kind of do know what I'm singing.




- Can I get you to tell our readers the perks of an Anthem performer?

My kids would say VIP parking! They think that's pretty cool. I still get a kick out of hanging around on the field before the game... and of course high-fiving the Phanatic! You know, after all these years it never fails to give me chills to sing the Star Spangled Banner... to see the faces of the folks in the crowd... you really understand what the song means in times like these when you finish singing and that roar goes up from the crowd!

- Growing up, who were your favorite baseball players? And now?

The names that jump to mind from my baseball card days are Johnny Callison and Dick Allen. (Mr. Allen is still a favorite... he had some words of wisdom for me the time I got booed at the Vet while doing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame". I wrote all about it in a song called "Hey Vicente". The title refers to Vicente Padilla who gave up a grand slam to Edgar Renteria just before the seventh inning stretch...) As I settle into deep middle-age, I love to watch Jamie Moyer pitch... also love to see Chase and Jimmy play the infield! And of course you never know what will happen when Ryan Howard steps in! It's a great time to be a Phillies fan!

- Are there any John Flynn athletic tales from your youth to share? Or was it always about the music?

Nothing to speak of... I played lacrosse in high school. Now, I'm a pretty avid distance runner. Last year I did the Boston Marathon with my 20 year-old daughter Sarah!

- What could Phillies phans expect from a John Flynn show?

My shows range- depending on the audience- from family and children's music, to songs that speak about the stuff we read in the newspapers every day.

- You've passed down music to your children. Did you pass down the Philadelphia sports phandom also?

I'm not sure yet... My 17 year-old son Cole watches the Phils on the tube with me during the regular season, but the others kind of wait for the playoffs to get interested.

- You sing a great holiday tune about the wonders of mixing booze and fire arms called, "Christmas Balls". Is there any chance I could get you to do a spring time remix called Phoul Ballz (dot com)?

I'll have to think about that! Ha ha.

Alright, thanks a bunch. John will be performing all spring and summer long all over the country. Check out John's myspace page at http://www.myspace.com/johnflynnfolksinger for tour dates, or check out http://www.johnflynn.net/for more information on his music.

The Bridge to Lidge Revisited

Just dropping a little Jewelry here on a classic Phoul Ballz picture.

A photograph is usually looked at...
seldom looked into.

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The same gem applies to the picture below also.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Looking over the Grapefruit and Cactus League statistics this spring, there are surely some surprises. These types of things are worthy of a look, if only to know which guys might be fantasy sleepers, and which guys to stay away from during fantasy draft time. By position, here are your notable bust-outs, and just plain busts, of the spring season so far.


Bust-outs...

1B- Mike Jacobs: 18 games, 6 HR, 17 RBI, .320 avg, 13 R, 1.063 OPS.

2B- Mark Teahen: 11 games, 5 HR, 11 RBI, 37 total bases in 11 games, 1.621 OPS.

SS- Jed Lowrie: 17 games, 8 doubles, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 1.297 OPS.

3B- Pablo Sandoval: 17 games, 3 HR, 8 RBI, .442 avg, 23 hits, 1.155 OPS.

C- Jeff Mathis: 14 games, 4 HR, 10 RBI, .343 avg, 2 SB, 1.244 OPS.

OF- Corey Hart: 16 games, 5 HR, 13 RBI, .422 avg, 3 SB, 11 R.
OF- Josh Hamilton: 18 games, 3 HR, 16 RBI, .389 avg, 1.085 OPS., 11 R.
OF- Jason Lane: 19 games, 5 HR, 12 RBI, .353 avg., 1.115 OPS.

P- Francisco Liriano: 6 games, 21 1/3 IP, 19 K, 1-1, 2.95 ERA, 1.04 WHIP.
P- Aaron Cook: 5 games, 19 IP, 17 K, 1-1, 1.89 ERA, 1.26 WHIP.
P- Paul Maholm: 5 games, 19 2/3 IP, 12 K, 2-0, 0.46 ERA, 0.74 WHIP.
P- Chris Carpenter: 5 games, 19 IP, 10 K, 2-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.74 WHIP.


And just plain busts...

1B- Ben Broussard: 13 games, .147 avg, 1 HR, 4 RBI, .402 OPS.

2B-Kazuo Matsui: 17 games, 4 R, .111 avg, 2 doubles, 0 HR, 0 RBI, .291 OPS.

SS- Jeff Keppinger: 16 games, 0 R, 0 HR, 0 RBI, .140 avg, .299 OPS.

3B- Geoff Blum: 18 games, .178 avg, 2 R, 0 HR, 7 RBI, .438 OPS.

C-Jamie Burke: 11 games, .100 avg, 1 R, 0 HR, 1 RBI, .256 OPS.

OF- Mike Bourn: 22 games, .213 avg, 3 doubles, 0 HR, .595 OPS, 8 SB.
OF- Nyjer Morgan: 18 games, .179 avg, 1 HR, 4 RBI, .476 OPS., 5 SB, 3 CS.
OF- Denard Span: 17 games, .145 avg, 1 HR, 4 RBI, .472 OPS.

P- Kevin Millwood: 5 games started, 1-1 record, 19 IP, 17 ER, 8.05 ERA, 1.63 WHIP.
P- Matt Cain: 5 games started, 0-2 record, 16 1/3 IP, 13 ER, 7.16 ERA, 1.74 WHIP.
P- Scott Baker: 5 games started, 0-2 record, 17 2/3 IP, 16 ER, 8.15 ERA, 2.04 WHIP.

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Brand New WEAK

It's bad enough that Team USA lost in the semi-finals of the WBC, but it's also Monday. Jimmy Rollins had four hits and got on base all five times at the plate in the semi-final match up with Japan on Sunday, but that wasn't enough to help the team advance as Roy Oswalt surrendered 6 runs in 3 2/3 innings, and the Americans could not catch up...losing 9-4. The rest of Team USA, not nicknamed J-Roll, went 5-for-32 (.156 avg.), in the loss.


And if the USA loss and the arrival of Monday don't have you feeling badly enough, former #1 Phillies draft pick Gavin Floyd has signed a 4-year, $15.5 million contract with the White Sox. The deal includes a 5th year team option worth $9.5 million. A change of scenery has surely proved positive for young Floyd. It's just a shame that Gavin couldn't achieve greater things in Philadelphia. We may never be sure why Gavin never developed well as a Phillie, and only time will tell if he can steadily be the 17-win/Sub-4 ERA pitcher that he was last season...but I must say that I can't help but feel a tad bitter when a guy stinks it up in red pin stripes, then moves on to become successful in another city.


Craving more weak news? The news of the day in baseball is Curt Schilling's retirement. Schill announced his retirement today, on his own blog. Sure, Curt hasn't been a Phillie in years, and yes, he moved on and helped Terry Francona win a World Series elsewhere. But Schilling has always been a Philadelphia guy to me, and I will not hesitate to admit that when Schilling wasn't facing our Phillies, I'd always root for him. Good luck, Schill and congratulations on a great career.

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More of the Mondays...Lou Marson and Brad Harman were optioned to the minors today. Kyle Kendrick lost his battle for the 5th starter role. He was also demoted to the minors.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday School: History Lesson 9

There is tons of lore about the 1950 Phillies, the team full of youth that fought off the Dodgers to make it to the World Series, but do you know about how the season finished? Do you know how the 1950 Whiz Kids nearly pulled a 2007 Metropolitans? Read on, little stars...and let's shine together.

In the closing weeks of the 1950 season, our Phillies had a 7 game lead with just 11 games left to play. A World Series berth seemed almost locked up. It would be the Phillies first trip to the Series in 35 years. However, without warning, the team began to fizzle (yes the Whiz began to Fizz). They lost seven of nine, during the final weeks of the season, while the Brooklyn Dodgers won 12 of 15 games during a stretch in the closing weeks. The Phillies roster suffered a big loss, in September, when 17 game winner, pitcher Curt Simmons, an Army National Guard member, was drafted for the Korean War. The team kept fighting, however. In fact, 1950 was the year that the team got the nickname, "The Fightin' Phils".

With a collapse looming, Brooklyn hosted a 2 game series to close the season against the Phillies, at Ebbets Field. The Phils held a 2 game lead. If the Dodgers won both games, it would force a 3 game playoff series to decide the National League Champions. As you may expect, for the sake of building drama so future generations like us can pass the story on, the Dodgers were victorious in the 1st game. Roy Campanella, a Philadelphia native, smashed a 3-run homerun to seal the 7-3 victory for the Dodgers.

On Sunday, October 1st, Robin Roberts would take the mound for Philadelphia. This would be Robin's third start in five days. Righty Don Newcombe would start for Brooklyn. This was a match up of 19 game winners. Former Phils manager Burt Shotton was now the manager of the Dodgers.

In the top of the 6th inning, Willie Jones singled home Dick Sisler for the first run of the game. In the bottom half of the 6th, the Dodgers tied it on a Pee Wee Reese homer.

The score was still tied entering the bottom of the 9th inning. The Dodgers had runners on 1st and 2nd, with no outs, when Duke Snider lined a single to centerfield. Richie Ashburn fielded the ball on one hop, while Dodgers third base coach, and former Phillie, Milt Stock waived Cal Abrams home. Abrams was not the fastest guy on the field (12 steals in 8 seasons), and was surely no match for Ashburn's arm. Richie fired home and Abrams was out by several feet, tagged by Stan Lopata. Ashburn's throw prevented the pennant winning run from scoring, and kept the Phillies alive. Roberts then intentionally walked Jackie Robinson, and escaped the bases loaded jam by getting Carl Furillo and Gil Hodges to pop and fly out, respectively.

The game then went into extra innings with both Roberts and Newcombe still pitching for their teams. Dick Sisler would smash a 3-run homer to cement his name in Phillies lore. The Dodgers did not score in the 10th and the Whiz Kids avoided a terrible collapse and were on their way to the World Series, with a 4-1 victory.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Charlie's Staying Healthy

Charlie: "Hey! I say, Doc, yeah, it's like you say...it don't-it don't hurt dat bad."


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Links for today-

More Hardball's hottest fans contest. Vote.

The Fightins has Marshall Harris asking Shane Victorino about the WBC assisting him in getting ready for the season. Can you guess his answer?

"Phan Amanda" continues her series on poor Phils pitching over at Phillies Nation.

The BlueClaws Blog continues this week's hype about prospect Dominic Brown.

Friday, March 20, 2009

It's Spring and I Love Baseball

A quote from former baseball commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti-


It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The
game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in
the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains
come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone.

<>I think that sums up how I felt every year until 2008. With the Phillies coming up short every season that I can remember until last year, I felt as though I was left hanging. I would never stop falling in love all over again, with baseball, each Spring season, but I was surely heart broken each Autumn. This was surely brought on by my team not making it to the top. Being left feeling like there was unfinished business, just didn't sit well inside.

2008 was different. 2008 made it all worth it. It was the year when the phandom finally paid off. It was the pinnacle of my love of the sport. The Phillies' World Championship season gave my emotional investment a long awaited return.

In all the years past, there'd be thoughts of not reuniting with my love. By this, I more or less mean, "jump off the bandwagon". Maybe I'd wonder about simply investing less of myself in the love of our Phillies. Why might I give so much of my heart and waste so much of my summer, only to be let down in the end?

Now, I know darn well why....because I was there. I was present when the Phillies won the World Series. And now, since I experienced that feeling, I know that it is all worth it. I know that more than 20 years of that regularly scheduled Autumn heart crushing can, and will, pay off. I know that they can do it and that I will stand by them until they do. For all my tomorrows, I will hold baseball's hand and spend my summers with it, because I know how tremendous it is when baseball gives me a happy ending.

USA to Face Japan in the Semi-finals

Jimmy: "A'ight, JC, dog. So, look...Shane and I wanted to apologize for getting those hits off you and beating you and your boys in da WBC. Like, I'm just sayin', ya know. You gotta do whatcha gotta go."

JC: "Nah, it's cool, man."

Shane: "Oh, no questions asked, it's cool!"

Jimmy: "Yeah, and just make sure you don't give up any more hits to David Wright from here on out. Scott Eyre and dat kid Happ might lock down the lefty spot in the 'pen, while you out servin' dat suspension. A'ight then...we gotta go fly to Cali now, 'cause Team USA is the team to beat in this World Baseball Thang."

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Trivia Calendar Inspired Trivia

I have a desk calendar that provides daily trivia, facts and such, all about baseball. Today's question: Who was the first player to have his signature engraved into the barrell of a Louisville Slugger bat? (Pause, think it over.) Today's answer: Honus Wager.

One of the recent calendar entries had to do with Curt Schilling leading our Phillies in wins and K's during the 1990's. When the question was asked, the answer came easy for me. But that got me wondering about who the team's offensive leaders were, for the same decade. The hitting leaders would not come to mind as swiftly.

In the categories of HR's and RBI, would it take anyone longer than a second to tell you who led the Phillies in those categories in the 1980's? What about the 2000's? (Pause, think it over) In the 90's, was it Rolen? Dykstra? Kruk? Lieberthal? Abreu? None of those are the correct answer.

Darren Daulton led the Phillies in homers during the 1990's with 110. His RBI total also led the team at 466.

Mike Schmidt's homer and RBI totals in the 1980's were 313 and 929. Those led the team, of course. Pat Burrell's homer and RBI totals for the 2000's with the Phils were 251 and 827. Schmidt's totals were in 1,320 games. Burrell's totals were in 1,306 games.


How did you do at guessing the offensive leaders?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

USA! USA! USA!

Team USA won their elimination game last night in dramatic fashion to advance into the semi-final round of the World Baseball Classic. With injuries still plaguing the Americans, expect Davey Johnson to manage the next game conservatively, like he did in the opening round. That next game in the 2nd round, tonight, will finalize the seeds in the semi-finals. Seeding doesn't matter to Johnson, advancing does.

Phillies phans who stayed tuned for the walk-off win got to see Shane Victorino and Jimmy Rollins spark a 9th inning rally against Puerto Rico's JC Romero. While David Wright smashing a game winning hit against Romero (video here) is not something I ever thought I'd want to see, I think when the game is played in March, and there is national pride at stake, I'll be inclined to cheer that occurance.

As if the walk off win wasn't a remarkable enough story, a Dolphins Stadium security officer should be praised for his quick role in making the night very special for one wheelchair-bound American military veteran from New Jersey. Jeff Passan, of Yahoo.com, reports on Sgt. Felix Perez's amazing night. Perez brought an American flag to the game last night...a flag that had been everywhere with him including the deserts of Afghanistan, while he was assigned there on military service.



On the way out, the 27-year-old Perez placed the flag in his lap and leaned
over to a security guard manning Gate G. He was hoping some players from Team
USA might sign it. The security guard led Perez and his sister to the U.S.
clubhouse, and the flag went inside.

“The next thing I know,” Perez said, “I’m getting called to come back
in there.”

And so began the coolest 30 minutes of Felix Perez’s life. On an
evening when he felt especially proud to be an American – when a group of his
sporting heroes wearing his country’s name across their chests banded together
to win a game they had no business winning – Perez found himself surrounded by
them, doused with celebratory Miller Lites, with the American flag that was with
him during the worst moment of his life passed around the room and signed by
every player on the team.

“Everybody,” Perez said.

Check out the link above, to read the full story.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

This...is....Jeopardy!

For $500, in the category of Professional Atheletes, the answer is: "This slugging third baseman, from the city that never sleeps, was seen posing for a metro men's magazine in a near make out session with his own mirror image, when he should be rehabbing his surgically repaired hip...just when you thought you couldn't hate the man any more."


Question: "Who is Alex Rodriguez?"



















Correct.

Time For Redemption

As injuries set in, Team USA has its sites set on redeeming themselves for the mercy rule loss suffered at the hands of Puerto Rico on Saturday night. PR then lost their next match up on Monday, when they got shut out by Venezuela, 2-0.

The injury bug is spreading throughout the Team USA club house. Chipper Jones is out of the tournament. Dustin Pedroia is out, and was replaced by Brian Roberts. Outfielder Ryan Braun and pitcher Matt Lindstrom are also suffering ailments right now. Tournament rules prohibit USA from replacing Jones, Braun and Lindstrom till the current round is complete. Things got so bad during Sunday's game that catcher Brian McCann played left field in the 9th inning.

Team USA manager Davey Johnson has suggested a rule change for the WBC that would allow managers to reinsert a player into a game, should an injury occur. Such a change could not take effect until future WBC tournaments. He would also like to see more exhibition games prior to the tournament, to help prevent injuries.

Johnson says he is to the point where he'd forfeit a game, rather than but a player at risk of further injury. Kevin Youkilis was used as an example. Johnson stated he'd never be able to return to Boston if Youk was injured playing catcher, if needed there, during the WBC.

USA won their elimination game on Sunday against the Netherlands. Jimmy Rollins led the offense with a homer, a triple and 4 RBI. Roy Oswalt threw 4 shut out innings for the win.

Ted Lilly is expected to get the start for Team USA tonight in their attempt to redeem themselves for the 11-1 bashing that PR gave them over the weekend. Hot bat warning...Carlos Delgado (1.496), Carlos Beltran (1.369) and Ivan Rodriguez (1.550) each have a huge OPS through five games of the WBC. Beltran and I-Rod each had 3 hits against USA on Saturday. In regular season MLB games, however, Delgado, Beltran and Ivan Rodriguez only have a combined .233 batting average against Lilly (the gang is 10-for-43, with only 3 solo homers against him and no other RBI).

Let's make it a red, white & blue & green Tuesday and celebrate St. Patrick's Day with a win!

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UPDATES:
The Tampa Tribune reports today that if Team USA wins tonight and advances to the semi-finals, Rays third baseman Evan (Philadelphia knows him as EVA) Longoria would likely replace Chipper Jones on the roster.

And adding to The Colbert Report, with a sigh of relief from the entire Phillies Universe...NO STRUCTURAL DAMAGE. Luck o' the Irish? Maybe. Hamels will begin a throwing program on Thursday, and he will let the Phillies know what his pace is. Colbert may not be ready by opening day, but if that is beneficial to the player and the team in the long run, there's really nothing to complain about. If you recall, Brad Lidge wasn't ready by opening day last year, and look how his season turned out.

Now go have a green beer and enjoy your day.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Colbert Report

The media and internet is all abuzz today with news that Cole Hamels has been experiencing regular elbow soreness. He is headed back up to Philadelphia, tonight, in order to be examined by team doctor Michael Ciccotti.

Many of the beat reporters that are stationed down in Clearwater are posting updates throughout the day. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. assured the press this morning that the Phillies do not think this is a serious issue. Some reporters are stating that Cole was seen on the practice field in Clearwater taking part in stretching, throwing and fielding practice this morning.

Check out the following links for the latest news about World Series MVP Colbert's arm joint region.
Dave Murphy
Scott Lauber
Todd Zolecki

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday School: History Lesson 8

Emil "Irish" Meusel patrolled the outfield for our Phillies from 1918-1921. His best years in the majors came after he left the Phillies. His nickname also fits in with the weekend festivities that many of us have been enjoying.

Initially signed by the Washington Senators, Irish joined our Phillies in 1918 after batting .311 for Los Angeles in the Pacific Coast League. As a rookie, Meusel batted .279 with 18 steals. Meusel would then raise his batting avg., with the Phils, each of the next three seasons, batting over .300 each year.

In 1921, Irish got off to a terrific start, but Meusel became a prime example of the Phillies' front office, at the time, selling off their best players to help pay the bills. While ripping through National League pitching with a .353 avg., Meusel was stunned, along with the phans and press, when owner William Baker traded Irish to the NY Giants for two players and $30,000. Meusel helped the Giants erase a 7 1/2 game deficit in the standings en route to winning the pennant and the World Series.

In back to back World Series wins with the Giants (1921 and 1922) Meusel proved to be highly clutch, as he knocked in 7 runs in both series, more than any other player. Meusel's first four seasons with the Giants led to four straight pennants.

In nearly 1,300 career games, Irish had a .310 batting average. He also led the NL in RBI in 1923 with 125.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Saturday special with the Carlos's

Carlos Ruiz says have a fun time time celebrating St. Patrick's Day this weekend!



Be safe, don't drink and drive, and wear protection...just like Carlos does behind the plate.



And here's a shot of today's game action and Phillies top pitching prospect Carlos Carrasco. Carrasco surrendered 1 earned run in 3 innings pitched while striking out 4, in the Phillies' 5-2 win over Houston.

Click the image for a better look. Happy weekend to you all.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

5th spot, Wall, Old timers, Links

The race for the Phillies' fifth starter spot is still on. While it's not fully fair to compare Grapefruit League stats, when some of the pitchers have had "B game" and scrimmage outings mixed in, Kyle Kendrick and Carlos Carrasco look to be falling behind Chan Ho Park and "Jay" Happ. Happ added to his solid Grapefruit League stats (2.45 ERA, 1.09 WHIP in 4 games) today against the Rays. Pitching coach Rich Dubee had been displeased with Kendrick even before he surrendered 8 earned runs in 3 innings of work yesterday against the Braves.

Park has been working on improving his change up, with (Coach) Jamie Moyer. Park noticed Moyer's location control on his change, so he sought out Moyer to teach him the grip and positioning of the ball. Moyer, of course, feels good about helping anyone on the Phils' staff. Park has been coached by greats like Nolan Ryan with the Rangers and Sandy Koufax with the Dodgers, so Moyer is in great company. Park is working hard, and skipped the World Baseball Classic to focus on earning a spot in the rotation.

Park explained to Scott Palmer of Phillies.com, this week, the importance to South Korea for Chan Ho to earn that starting spot. He described hard financial times in his country, much like we have here in the US, and stated that fans there would feel a big boost in excitement if one of their countrymen were to be scheduled to start a Major League Baseball game every 5 days.

*****
The Phillies have begun voting for this year's Phillies Wall of Fame inductee. Voting began today on Phillies.com and runs through March 26th. The top five vote getters from the following list will make the final ballot, form which the Wall of Fame selection committee will choose this year's entrant. Here are the choices...


  • Jack Baldschun
  • Ricky Bottalico
  • Larry Christensen
  • Darren Daulton
  • Lenny Dykstra
  • Gene Garber
  • Doug Glanville
  • Greg Gross
  • Jim Fregosi
  • Von Hayes
  • Jim Konstanty
  • John Kruk
  • Fred Luderus
  • Roy Thomas
  • Rick Wise

In an effort to answer that question you were just thinking, here is exactly who the heck Jack Baldschun is- Baldschun was a relief pitcher in the early 1960's. In 333 games with our Phillies, he had 59 saves and a 3.18 ERA, over 5 seasons.

Oh, that other question- Fred Luderus played first base for our Phillies for over 9 years and played for the 1915 NL Pennant winning team. Luderus was a rookie for the Cubs in 1909, joined the Phils in 1910, and manned first base until 1920. In his career, Luderus had over 1,300 hits. His best season was 1911, when he had 16 HR, 99 RBI and a .301 batting avg.

And that 3rd question you all had- Roy Thomas was a Phillie from 1899-1908, then again from 1910-1911. Thomas was mainly an outfielder, although he did play a little first base and pitched in a ML game once. He was a .290 career hitter with over 1500 hits in 13 seasons. Thomas had only 7 career homers.

*****
Scott Lauber and Chuck Gormley have a touching story of Marcus Giles getting tattoos, this week, to honor some lost loved ones. Check out the link.

More on Kendrick, Park, plus walk rates and the bullpen today, over at PhilliesFlow. Take a look.

"The Howard" may be the most note worthy non-news I've seen in a while. Perhaps those guys should be GM's.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Our Spokesmodel is back at it again...

Lindsay G, the newest member of the PhoulBallz.com family, has done it again. This time she approached Phillies relief pitcher Chad Durbin to knowlingly pose for a photograph endorsing this wonderful Phillies blog.

I know what you're thinking...How does she do it?

Lindsay just has amazing people skills and even Millionaire Baseball Studs like Chad Durbin and Brad Lidge can't resist her persuasive and smooth techniques.

Durbin inquired, "Hey, where can I get one of those hats?" Lindsay replied, "Just take the picture!"

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Taking a Glance at Pat's Bat

I have some statistics for you all to ponder. Who remembers that old left fielder for our Phillies named Pat Burrell? It's been a while, but if you still have some memories of him, these numbers could be of interest to you. I just thought we'd take a look at Pat's numbers in Phillies' wins against Pat's numbers in Phillies' losses.

In Phillies wins...
Batting avg-.296
HR- 159
RBI- 580
Slg %- .570

In Phillies losses...
Batting avg- .215
HR- 92
RBI- 247
Slg %- .391


Take from this comparison what you will, but I'd assert that this displays Pat's inconsistencies. An argument could be made that this shows how integral Pat was for our Phillies in wins, but if that's the point of view one chooses, there's no ignoring what type of credit he'd deserve in the losses. Blame.

*****
And here is another quick look at the spring performances of John Mayberry Jr. and Greg Golson. Golson was traded for Mayberry in the offseason, as Texas and Philadelphia swapped former top draft picks.

As of this writing, Mayberry Jr. is hitting .277 in 11 total spring exhibition games, with 3 homers, 8 RBI and 1 stolen base.
Golson has played in 9 games, and has a lofty .438 batting avg., with a homer, 2 doubles and 7 RBI. Greg has been been caught in his only stolen base attempt.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Team USA All the Way!

Once again, in conjunction with IronPig Pen and Swing and a Long Drive, it's a World Baseball Classic feature! This week, we're each announcing our picks to win the entire tournament, while making some points against the others' choices.

My choice to be the Champions of the World (Baseball Classic) is Team USA. This year's American squad is plenty different than the 2006 team. With only 2 offensive players on this year's team that played on the 2006 team (Chipper Jones, Derek Jeter), the face of the team is brand new.

Speed on this version of Team USA is much improved also. In 2006, USA only had 2 stolen base attempts and just one of those were successful. In the first round of 2009, stolen bases have not yet come into play for the Americans, but as the tournament moves on, and competition is tougher, speed will be a factor. Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, David Wright, Curtis Granderson and Dustin Pedroia are all stolen base threats, not to mention solid overall base runners who could make considerable differences in ball games simply by taking an extra base.

The infield depth on Team USA is also a force that will be difficult for opponents to overcome. Names like Chipper Jones, Dustin Pedroia, Jimmy Rollins and Derek Jeter kind of go hand in hand with the term MVP.

Sluggers Ryan Braun, Kevin Youkilis and Adam Dunn will power the runs home and continue to wreck opposing pitchers. Youk and Dunn, so far in 2 games, are a combined 6-for-12 with 4 homeruns and 6 walks.

Of course, the pitching is another strength for Team USA. While Jake Peavy and Roy Oswalt, the team's top two starters, have been touched for runs in the first round, the bullpen has really held it down and allowed the Americans to take and hold onto leads. Heath Bell, Jonathan Broxton, Scot Shields, Brad Ziegler, LaTroy Hawkins and JJ Putz form a solid batch of top tier set up men who will be good for an inning or two any time they are called upon.

Rolf at The IronPig Pen has selected Team Japan to repeat as the WBC champion. Japan's strong point is likely their pitching. However, Team Japan, with their 1-0 loss to Team Korea today, fully displayed their own inconsistancies. Japan could not even muster a lone run against a team they had just pounded 14-2, two days prior. Without an ability to cash in when it counts, Team Japan will have a tough time when facing the Pool B winner in the second round. As the runner up of Pool A, Japan faces the Pool B winner. Simply put, with momentum in mind, it's probably easier being the winner facing the team who just lost, than it is being the loser of the "top seed game" facing a team who just won. One additional reason I think Japan's road to a repeat is blocked is because Korea, who will be in the same 2nd round bracket as Japan, has a history of success over Japan. South Korea beat Japan twice in the Beijing Olympics en route to the gold, and beat them twice in the 2006 WBC.

Swing and a Long Drive's Amanda has chosen Team Cuba to be the 2009 WBC champ. It seems as though my cohorts prefer the teams who were in the Inaugural WBC final. Cuba is surely determined to avenge their 2006 loss to Japan. ESPN's USA color analyst Rick Sutcliffe is impressed with Los Cubanos, even though he doesn't know their names. Cuba definitely has power, hitting 6 homers in their opening round victory over South Africa. My simple reasoning that Cuba won't win it all this year is because they'd be part of Pool 1 in the second round, which will feature both Japan and Korea. The Asian teams are built better, top to bottom, than teams Cuba will face in the opening round.


Did my arguments negate one another? (Cuba's gotta face the Pool A Asian teams...Japan has to face the winner from Cuba's pool) Perhaps, just a little. But who cares? Their picks are bad, and my choice is good. In the end, any of those teams will have to beat Team USA, and that won't happen. Smoke on that, baby.

BIG site news...

In order to keep all readers up to date on site happenings...Phriend of Phoul Ballz, Lindsay G., visited spring training in Clearwater, FL last week, with her family, and based on her abilities to get Phillies All-star closer Brad Lidge to knowingly pose for this picture endorsing our little web page, she has now been hired as the official PhoulBallz.com spokes model!


Welcome aboard, Lindsay. It's a glamorous gig that will reward you with all kinds of astounding riches (like free ball caps) for the rest of your whole entire beautiful life.

If anyone else wishes to obtain a similar form of employment, I encourage you to holler this way.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sunday School: History Lesson 7

Eddie Sawyer was a highly regarded Yankees' outfield prospect until a shoulder injury knocked him out of action in 1939. Sawyer never made it to the majors as a player, but earned college degrees from Cornell University and Ithica College prior to playing in the minors. With his playing days over, he began managing in the minor leagues, trying to work his way up the ladder.

In 1944, Sawyer took over as manager in Utica, which was the Phillies' Eastern League affiliate, in those days. There, Eddie Sawyer was responsible for moving a young Richie Ashburn from catcher to the outfield. Sawyer began the 1948 season managing the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Phillies' triple A team, and midway through the 1948 season, the Phillies fired manager Ben Chapman, and Sawyer was promoted to the big club. At the time, some press questioned the move of hiring a man who has never played in the majors, as the manager.

Sawyer's arrival in the majors coincided with the development of some young Phillies prospects besides Ashburn. Hall of Fame pitcher Robin Roberts and future all star Granny Hamner were 21 year olds, along with Ashburn, and together they would propel our Phillies to a huge pennant win in 1950. Sawyer was named manager of the year following that season, and he told the Associated Press, "Build up a fellow's confidence and you build up his ability. Knock him all the time, his confidence disappears and the battle is lost.''

Unfortunately, 1950 would be Sawyer's last winning season as a manager. In 1951, the Phils finished in 5th place. The next year, with the team struggling to compete, in fourth place, Sawyer was fired.

In 1958, the Phillies re-hired Eddie Sawyer as the manager of the big league club. In '58 and '59, the Phils finished in last place and one game into the 1960 season, Sawyer abruptly quit and delivered a classic quote..."I'm 49 years old, and I want to live to be 50." Sawyer stayed in the game as a scout for both the Phils and the Royals.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Neighbors are Talkin'

My Blogosphere neighbors are always chatting it up, even when I come up short of an original post, on a given day. Here's a trip around the horn and what some other cool blogger types, that I am familiar with, have going on today.

It's the story of the day, ladies and gentlemen. It's one of those chunks of news you just can't avoid. Philly Burbs, The Fightins, The Big Lead, With Leather, and others, all had the report on the latest Burrell Girl, Sophia Rossi. Rossi, a "friend" and coworker of adult film icon Jenna Jameson, was on The Howard Stern Show this morning, discussing her celebrity repertoire. From Stern's web site...

Sophia Rossi said she dated MLB slugger Pat Burrell "He was
immature...he was young at the time."


The men at Not Qualified to Comment have a great video up with Stern Show comic Artie Lange telling stories about Bob Eucker and Harry Carey.

Sharapova's Thigh has the clip of Matt Vasgersian dropping the biggest curse of them all on live MLB Network programming. Everybody wants to be like Chase.

Mike Ashmore looks forward to New Jersey Kings football in Trenton (March 2010)! Yes. indoor/arena football. I had no idea either...

Coed Magazine has The Complete Drunk Athlete Web Photo Index....including Ryan Howard and Joe Blanton.

And lastly, the other day, Chris at Long Drive: A Phillies Blog explained how he began blogging. It includes a cool tip of the ballcap to the WSBGM guys.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Quick Look at the WBC

The World Baseball Classic begins tomorrow, when Pool A gets things popping at 4:30AM Eastern. In conjunction this week, and next, with Swing and a Long Drive and The IronPigPen, we're going to glance over our picks for who will advance to the 2nd round of the WBC.

The easiest pick in the bunch, to win their pool is Japan in Pool A. The defending WBC champs easily have the best roster in this bracket. Also, Japan may very well have the best starting pitching duo in the entire Classic. Yu Darvish and Daisuke Matsuzaka are likely to be a knockout 1-2 punch on the mound, especially in Pool A. Most of you should be familiar with "Dice-K", but if you haven't heard of Darvish...you should be watching Japan closely. The 6'5" fireballer is just 22 years old and already is winning awards in Japan. He also has completed back-to-back seasons with both double digit complete games and an ERA under 2. Other major leaguers on Team Japan are Kenji Johjima, Ichiro Suzuki, Kosuke Fukudome and Akinori Iwamura.
My prediction to leave Pool A as the runner up and advance to the 2nd round is Korea. Slugger Tae Kyun Kim of the Korea Baseball Organization is one to watch out for. Korean Chan Ho Park is skipping the Classic, in order to focus on winning that 5th spot in the Phils' starting rotation.


Pool B features Australia, Cuba, Mexico and South Africa. My pick to win out of this group is Cuba. Team Cuba made it to the finals of the inaugural Classic, losing to Japan, and they are expected to have a shot at revenge. Pitcher Pedro Luis Lazo performed well in 2006's Classic, and Cuba is depending on him to shut down the opposition once again. My pick to advance as a runner up will be this bracket's host squad, Mexico.


Oh, say can you see...that Team USA will win Pool C? Matt Stairs and Team Canada is hosting the first round, but they'll have to deal with losing, while USA and Venezuela advance. USA and Venezuela are packed with major leaguers, but the Americans' pitching will ensure the win. Roy Oswalt and Jake Peavy could give Yu and Dice-K a run for the best starting pitching tandem in the WBC.

And lastly, there's Pool D with the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Panama and the Kingdom of the Netherlands. "The DR" is one of the favorites to win it all this year. This squad is strong and could dominate this Pool, but it does have some problems. First, A-Rod is having hip trouble and could miss the Classic. Another potential hindrance to this squad is that it has several outstanding shortstops (Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez and Miguel Tejada), but only one of them can play at a time. With these concerns in mind, and knowing which teams my cohorts selected, I will choose Puerto Rico as my Pool D winner, with the Dominicans advancing as the runners up.


We'll reconvene next week for more analysis, when we each pick a winner of the entire WBC. In the meantime, be sure to check out my blogging cohorts' links above. Amanda and Rolf do very good work with their pages.

Dubble you-Bee-Sea 2-mar-oh

With the World Baseball Classic less than 24 hours away, here is a little something to get you in a patriotic mood. USA! USA! USA!
*****
Colbert Hamels made his 2009 spring debut today. He pitched 2 scoreless innings against Team Canada, allowing 2 hits and a walk.
John Mayberry Jr., Jeremy Slayden and Raul Ibanez led the offense, as our Phils won 9-2, scoring runs off all 5 Canadian pitchers faced.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Phreestyle Battle & Notes



Unrelated to baseball, really...but it's fun and our Phils are off today. This new kid on the hip hop scene, Charles Hamilton, whose single Brooklyn Girl is ripping up radio and video count downs, was at PSU for a performance recently. A freestyle battle ensued, and as you'll see, the Penn State student held his own. Stay tuned for the ending. It's the best part.


Here are some random Phillies-in-idle baseball thoughts and notes-

Colbert Hamels is slated to make his Grapefruit League debut tomorrow vs. Team Canada.
Shane Victorino is going to wear #50 on his jersey for Team USA, a nod to Hawaii Five-O.
Brad Lidge is likely to not see game action till next week, after he throws some more bullpen sessions and works out the tightness in his forearm.
Albert Pujols is declaring "respect for his country" as reasoning for sitting out of the Cardinals' exhibition this week against Team Dominican Republic. He told reporters, "I don’t want to play against them. I don’t feel comfortable with it, and that’s it." It's exhibition baseball, Albert...not flag burning.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Down on the Farm Freebies

This coming season, the farm teams have some worthwhile giveaways and promotions. Here is a glance of some of the best events, by team.


Lakewood BlueClaws-
Thursday, April 9th...Opening Night, Get your picture taken with the World Series Trophy!
Friday, April 10th...Asbury Park Press Dollar Ticket Night!
Thursday, April 23rd...Thirsty Thursday. $1 beers! It's true times two (repeats various Thursdays).
Saturday, May 9th...Bark in the Park Night, bring your dog to the game.
Tuesday, May 26th...Ryan Howard Cap Giveaway.
Tuesday, June 9th...Lou Marson Bobblehead Dolls.
Monday, June 15th...Charlie Manuel World Series Champions Bobbleheads.
Saturday, June 20th...Wrestler "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan autograph signing.
Sunday, June 21st...Celebrate Fathers' Day with a post game father/son catch on the field.
Saturday, June 27th...Phillies World Series Poster.
Tuesday, June 30th..."Jay" Happ Bobblehead Doll.
Thursday, July 16th...World Series MVP Cole Hamels Bobblehead and Thirsty Thursday (AKA- Best Night of the Season!).
Monday, July 20th...Cole Hamels XL T-shirt.
Saturday, August 1st...Darryl Strawberry Autograph Signing.
And don't forget that kids eat free at every Lakewood home game.

Reading Phillies-
Thursday, April 9th...Opening Night, Phillies World Champions Logo Throw Blanket.
Friday, April 10th...Phillies World Champions Logo Seat Cushion.
Friday, April 24th...Wrestler Mick Foley Autograph Session, tribute to pro wrestling night.
Sunday, April 26th...Cole Hamels World Series MVP Hat, and dollar dogs.
Sunday, May 10th...Mothers' Day Pink Tote Bag, w/ pink game jersey raffle, and dollar dogs.
Thursday, May 14th...6th annual beer tasting festival.
Friday, May 15th...Pack Your Bags Instant Vacation Night to Phils @ Nats weekend in DC.
Sunday, May 17th...Phillies World Champions Replica Ring.
Tuesday, May 19th...Gluttony Night- all you can eat at the concession stands.
Sunday, June 14th...R-Phils Camo Game Cap.
Sunday, June 21st...Fathers' Day R-Phils Neck Tie, and dollar dogs.
Wednesday, June 24th...Charlie Manuel World Champions Bobble Head Doll.
Tuesday, June 30th...R-Phils Spatula and a Spam Carving Contest (seriously).
Wednesday, July 1st...Cole Hamels World Series MVP T-shirt.
Friday, July 17th...Pre-game Renew Your Wedding Vows Ceremony w/ 2nd honeymoon trip giveaway.
Wednesday, July 29th...Ryan Howard Batting Stance Silhouette T-shirt.
Tuesday, August 4th...Phillies World Champions Desk Top Replica Ring.
Wednesday, August 5th...R-Phils Bread Box AND free loaf of Stroehmann's bread.
Tuesday, August 25th...Ricky Bottalico and Dave Doster inducted into Reading Baseball Hall of Fame.
Saturday, August 29th...R-Phils Harley-Davidson Night Game Cap.

Lehigh Valley Ironpigs-
Friday, April 10th...Opening Night, World Series Trophy in the house.
Thursday, April 16th...Shane Victorino Bobblehead Night.
Sunday, May 3rd...Ladies Pink Bucket Hats.
Tuesday, May 5th...Cinco De Mayo Maracas!
Monday, May 18th...Plungers. Yes, Plungers.
Sunday, May 24th...Camo Caps.
Monday, June 1st...Mouse Pads. Don't worry, they get better.
Wednesday, June 24th...Superhero IronPigs caps.
Thursday, June 25th...Mascot Fefe Bobblehead Dolls.
Monday, June 29th...World Series Replica Ring.
Wednesday, July 8th...Team Photo/Autograph Night.
Thursday, July 16th...Pre-game Wedding.
Sunday, August 9th...Coca Cola Park Wooden Displays.
Tuesday, August 11th...World Series Desk Top Ring.
Wednesday, August 12th..."Jay" Happ Bobblehead Dolls.

Reviewing, by team, it seems that Lakewood has the best promotions schedule, with Reading coming in a close second. The BlueClaws' kids eat free promotion is too huge. The orginality nod goes to the IronPigs, however, with the plungers and the maracas! The Threshers don't seem to have their promotions schedule listed on their web site yet.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sunday School: History Lesson 6

Eddie Waitkus was a first baseman with our Phillies from 1949-1953, then again in 1955. Waitkus was a slick fielder who is best remembered for being shot by a female fan in his Chicago hotel. Waitkus was also the basis for the novel The Natural, that was later made into a major motion picture starring Robert Redford.

Waitkus was signed as an amateur free agent by the Cubs in 1939. He played with the Cubs over parts of 4 seasons, after which he was traded to the Phillies on December 14th, 1948.

Eddie was not a great offensive contributor, as his best season saw him bat .295, while hitting 7 homers and driving in 44 runs. That didn't stop Cubs fan Ruth Ann Steinhagen from developing a dangerous infatuation for Waitkus. During his seasons with the Cubs, Steinhagen's interest in the player was kept in check, but once he was traded to Philadelphia, her infatuation became obsession and she sought to attack Waitkus. In June 1949, with the Phillies in Chicago for a series, Steinhagen checked into the Phillies' hotel under a name of a former classmate of Waitkus, and left a note for him, telling Waitkus that she needed to see him. When Waitkus arrived at her room, Steinhagen shot him in the abdomen with a .22 caliber rifle. She then calmly phoned the front desk for help. Waitkus required 4 surgeries to remove the bullet and repair the damage caused from the gunshot. Waitkus was near death multiple times and he missed the remainder of the season.

Following his recovery, Eddie Waitkus recovered and played three more seasons as our Phillies' starting first baseman. Ruth Ann Steinhagen never stood criminal trial, but was instead confined to a mental institution for only 3 years, before being declared cured and released.

In March 1954, the Orioles purchased Waitkus for $45,000. He played the entire 1954 season with the O's. He returned to the Phillies for a handful of games in 1955, after being released by Baltimore. Waitkus retired following the 1955 season.