Thursday, April 30, 2009

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Departed Don't Match Up

It is no secret that, right now, Raul Ibanez is making the Phillies look very smart. The Phils' phormer left fielder, Pat Burrell, is struggling in Tampa with a .238 batting average, 1 homer and 8 RBI, 6 runs scored with a .681 OPS. The new left fielder, Ibanez, is GD wrecking opposing pitchers with a .355 batting average, 7 homers, 17 RBI, 20 runs scores and a 1.142 OPS. Furthermore, Burrell's new club, the Rays, are 3-4 when Burrell drives in at least one run. Our Phillies are 9-2 when Ibanez has at least 1 RBI. Also, Burrell has hit safely in 12 of the Rays' 19 games, while Raul has hit in 16 of the Phillies 19 games.

There's no debate, at this stage, that the Phillies made the right call when they let Burrell go, and signed Ibanez to man left field. Hopefully, this will hold true throughout the rest of the season, all the way into the post season. Trends would perhaps suggest that Ibanez will cool off soon, as his career batting average in May is 45 points lower than in April (.293 career April avg. in 213 games, .248 career May avg. in 215 games). His drop off in career OPS in those same months is even more drastic- .844 in April, .713 in May. But, don't you fear, as Rauuuuul's career June OPS is .900 (his best month) in 193 career games. The bald basher bounces back, baby.
Ahead, we'll have a look around Major League Baseball and check out some departed Phillies' offensive statistics, so far this season, matched against the current Phillie in his position.

Aaron Rowand, CF- 17 games played, .283, .819 OPS, 2 homers, 9 RBI, 6 runs, 0 steals.
Marlon Byrd, CF- 15 games played, .328 avg, .858 OPS, 2 homers, 13 RBI, 8 runs, 0 steals.
Shane Victorino, CF- 19 games played, .291 avg, .800 OPS, 2 Homers, 14 RBI, 15 runs, 3 steals.

Jim Thome, 1B(/DH)- 15 games played, .218 avg, .772 OPS, 4 homers, 10 RBI, 11 runs.
Ryan Howard, 1B- 19 games played, .276 avg, .887 OPS, 4 homers, 15 RBI, 12 runs.

Placido Polanco, 2B- 19 games played, .268 avg, .725 OPS, 0 homers, 13 RBI, 9 runs, 0 steals.
Chase Utley, 2B- 19 games played, .357 avg, 1.142 OPS, 7 homers, 20 RBI, 18 runs, 2 steals.

Scott Rolen, 3B- 20 games played, .321 avg, .808 OPS, 2 homers, 8 RBI, 11 runs, 1 steal.
Pedro Feliz, 3B- 19 games played, .333 avg, .889 OPS, 2 homers, 14 RBI, 10 runs, 0 steals.

Bobby Abreu, RF- 19 games played, .301 avg, .864 OPS, 0 homers, 12 RBI, 9 runs, 8 steals.
Jayson Werth, RF- 18 games played, .261 avg, .827 OPS, 2 homers, 10 RBI, 15 runs, 2 steals.


The only position where the advantage goes to a former Phillie, is right field. Abreu appears to be more productive than Werth, so far in April. Center field performance is debatable, as Marlon Byrd is doing well this year, but Shane bests him with runs, steals and RBI. All other comparisons are easily won by the current P-Squaders.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Look-alikes revisited & news links

This Phan-a-vision shot that the Phillies have been using, makes the team's grand left fielder, Raul Ibanez, look like Capt. Aceveda (Benito Martinez) from my all time favorite TV program The Shield.

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News notes on our Phillies...

Carlos Ruiz injury set back....read here.

JC Romero sues supplement company...is still cool. Info here.

Brad Lidge experiencing knee inflamation. Is day-to-day. Details here.
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The Good Phight has Scott Franzke's & LA's call of Rauuuul's Slam. Click here.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Notes and Notes and Notes and Notes

You may have heard that our Phils swept the Marlins this weekend. The two wins on Friday and Saturday marked the first time since September 1957 that the Phillies won back-to-back games after entering the 9th inning at a deficit. The third game of the series, a 13-2 win on Sunday, was the first time all season that the Phillies did not trail in a game.

The Phillies are 8-1 when Shane Victorino scores at least one run.
The Phillies are 8-2 when Chase Utley has an RBI.
The Phillies are 8-3 when Ryan Howard has at least one hit.
The Phillies are 7-2 when Raul Ibanez scores at least one run.

Jimmy Rollins still has not stolen a base this season. There are three games left in the month, and if Rollins fails to steal a base, it would be the first time in his career that Rollins did not steal a base in the opening month of the season. In 2004, Rollins stole just one base in 19 April games, and ended the season with 30 steals. Last season, when Rollins missed much of April with an injury, he still stole 2 bags, in 16 games, and ended the season with 47 steals.

The Phillies' four main reserve players, Greg Dobbs, Matt Stairs, Eric Bruntlett and Miguel Cairo, are hitting .218 as pinch hitters (7-for-32). Take away Matt Stairs' 4-for-8 performance, however, and that average falls to .125 (3-for-24).

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Update-
This just arrived in my inbox. The Metropolitans visit Philadelphia for a three game series starting this Friday.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday School: Story Time 1

Let's take a break from the history and take it easy on this hot Sunday with a classic baseball related story. The following tale is an excerpt from famous negro leaguer Buck O'Neil's great book I Was Right on Time. O'Neil happened to be the very first African American MLB coach.

This story explains the origins of why his pal Satchel Paige had a unique nickname for him.

When Satchel and I were with the (Kansas City) Monarchs, we played this one
game on an Indian reservation near Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It was there
that Satchel, who had a weakness for a pretty face, and the more of them the
better, met this beautiful Indian maiden named Nancy, and since we were going to
Chicago to play the Chicago American Giants, he invited Nancy to visit him
there. She had some relatives there or something, so she accepted his
invitation, and he told her we were staying at the Evans Hotel.

Well, now we were in Chicago, and I was sitting in the coffee shop of the
Evans Hotel when I saw a cab pull up, and out stepped Nancy. I went out to
greet her and tell her that Satchel was upstairs, and the bellhop carried her
bags to his room.

A few minutes passed, and another cab pulled up, and this time out stepped
Satchel's fiance, Lahoma, who wasn't supposed to be coming by, as far as Satchel
knew. Seeing how this might complicate things just a little bit, I jumped
up and greeted her. "Lahoma", I said, "so good to see you. Satchel's
not here right now, but he should be along shortly. Why don't you sit here
with me, and I'll have the bellman take your bags up to the room?"

I went over to the bellman, explained the situation to him to move Nancy
and her bags into the room next to mine, which was also next door to Satchel's,
and then to knock on Satchel's door and tell him Lahoma was here. A few
minutes later, the bellman came down and gave me the sign that everything was
okay. In the meantime, Satchel had climbed down the fire escape, and lo
and behold, there he came, walking down the street.

I said, "Look, Lahoma, here comes old Satchel now." Satch gave her a
big greeting- "Lahoma, what a nice surprise!"- and led her upstairs.

That might have ended the trouble, except that later that night, after we
had turned in, I heard Satchel's door open and close. Then I heard
him knock on Nancy's door. I think he wanted to give her some money and
apologize, but while he's whispering kind of loud, "Nancy! Nancy!" I hear
his door open again, and I knew it was Lahoma coming out to see what was going
on. I jumped out of my bed, opened my door, and said, "Yeah, Satch.
What do you want?" And he said, "Why Nancy, there you are. I was
looking for you. What time is the game tomorrow?"

And from that night on, until his dying day, Satchel called me
Nancy.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Lakewood Pitching Coach Bob Milacki Q&A

PhoulBallz.com spoke with Lakewood BlueClaws pitching coach, and former Major League pitcher, Bob Milacki.


- I asked Coach Bob to comment on Jason Knapp's sparkling 7 shut out inning/14 strike out performance on Tuesday.

Ah, it was impressive. Impressive. I mean you see a guy that throws that hard, that young, and has command of his three pitches, it was fun to watch.

- What's his pitch repertoire like?

He has a fastball, a good curveball and his third pitch is his changeup. But, ya know, when he had them all working together, and you throw a lot of strikes, it's fun to watch. They were late on his fastball, he overpowered hitters at times, and he changed speeds enough to where they never really caught up to his fastball. It was really impressive to watch.


- How much have you had to do with Knapp upping his level of performance?

I think it's all him. I mean, he's tremendous at making changes. The pitching coach is here just to guide him in the right direction, but he's the one that has to do it.


- What have you seen out of the pitching staff so far that you like most, for success going forward?

For the most part, guys at this age level, in my experience, have a hard time throwing in(side). We also throw a lot of strike at this level. We have a lot of guys who can throw some strikes for the most part. But the thing that's really impressed me a lot is a lot of guys can pitch in. And that's hard to teach sometimes at this level 'cause they're afraid of hitting guys and putting guys on base. They're so oriented about throwing strikes and they're so not oriented about throwing non-strikes. And being able to double up on their pitches is really impressive, so we've got a good group of guys here.


-(Coach Bob used to coach in the Pirates organization prior to coming to Lakewood) Can I get you to comment a little bit on the transition of coming from Pittsburgh to the Phillies organization?

It's been really good. The people here in the Phillies organization, when I first came over, and when I did my interview, made me feel like I fit right in and that's the type of people they are. I mean they're just tremendous. Pittsburgh made a lot of changes over there, and it wasn't because of the baseball stuff as much. It was more of a personal thing is why I left. But it was a big change for me. But coming over here with Philly, it seems like, just that I knew quite a few people that were already over here.


- What is the fun level like working with the BlueClaws so far this year?

I think this team's pretty loose. We have a good group of guys where everyone kind of gets along and they're willing to harass everyone a little bit, in a fun way. And it's just a fun team to be around. I mean, it's still early and there's going to be changes, but right now it seems like a pretty good atmosphere being in this club house.


- Is there anyone on the pitching staff that you suspect might be your first to lose due to promotion?

No, I just think we need to do our stuff here.


- I then pressed, trying to get coach Bob to toss a name out...

If there is, it might be someone who's a little older. We have a young pitching staff, so they're probably going to stay here the whole year. And if not, they'll probably go to Williamsport (short season rookie league ball) when Williamsport starts. We don't know who that's going to be.


- Lastly, is there anyone on the pitching staff that projects to have, or currently reflects any, traits of a major league Phillie right now?

Well, I mean obviously Knapp has a heck of an arm. And we have some other guys, (Jesus) Sanchez has a chance and he's just coming along. (Jon) Velasquez has been throwing the ball very well and could play at higher levels. (Justin) De Fratus, 'cause he throws a lot of strikes could play higher levels. (BJ) Rosenberg, same thing. I mean there's a handful of guys...it's really hard to project how far they'd go. But the one that, if he stays healthy and keeps improving like he is, Knapp's gonna be a big leaguer in a few years.


Obviously, with the last question Coach Bob thinks his BlueClaws pitchers are incomparable to any Major League Phillies pitchers (I choose that explanation, rather than assuming he missed the point of the question, because I like him and I'm not mean to people who give me interviews).

This has been PhoulBallz.com, the BlueClaws pitching staff of Phillies blogs. (I insist you take that as meaning this site is incomparable, not necessarily 4 promotions away from the big time...thanks)

Friday, April 24, 2009

"Natinals" Revisited

Earlier in the week, I linked to FanIQ's screen caps of Washington Nationals players Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn wearing misspelled home jerseys. Below is a sample of those original pictures as well as some other ones that Jimmy Kimmel Live wrangled up from the photo shop-, oh, I mean archives.
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The Lakewood BlueClaws announced today that Bob Dylan, John Mellencamp and Willie Nelson will all be performing at FirstEnergy Park on Thursday, July 23rd. Tickets on sale May 2nd. Check out the link for more details.

"Superfan" of Homeside News tracks Phillies prospects as they make their way through the Phils' system and beyond. Check out his page.

And last, but not least, PhilliesFlow points out the flaws in the Phillies' lineup and reviews the Brewers series. This site is always worth checking out.



Travis Mattair Q&A

PhoulBallz.com spoke with Lakewood BlueClaws third baseman Travis Mattair the other night. He was kind enough to answer some questions.


-I asked Travis about his increase in walks this year as opposed to last season (he walked 36 times in 129 games in 2008, and has 18 already in 13 games in 2009).

I've matured as a hitter. I got myself in some brutal counts last year by just waving at bad pitches that I shouldn't have been swinging at. So, I've matured that way. I'm taking more pitches, that I should be taking, and swinging at the ones I should be swinging at. I've been fouling a lot more balls off with 2 strikes, which is good in a way- you want to put the ball in play. But, I mean, I've had about 5-7 just 4 pitch walks where I just go up there and- 4 pitches- I'm on base. But other ones I feel I'm crediting to maturing as a hitter more than anything.

- Broadcaster Greg Giombarrese pointed out to me during the game that you lead all of the minor leagues in walks so far this season. Were you aware of that?

I knew I was leading the SAL (South Atlantic League), I didn't know about the entire minor leagues. That's great.

- What are some of your main goals going forward in 2009?

My main goals are just keep maturing as a hitter...and just continue to hit the ball hard. Even if the hits don't come, if you're hitting the ball hard that's all you can ask for. The hits are going to come if you're putting the ball in play. So, just continue to mature as a hitter, continue to enjoy every day and keep a smile on my face. 'Cause it gets to be a grind when you get to 100 games-140 games, so just continue to enjoy the game, and I think the rest will take care of itself.

- I asked (manager) Dusty Wathan, a couple weeks ago at the open practice, who might be his main suspect to lose first, due to promotion, and while he was hesitant to name players, the one name he did mention was you. Can I get a reaction from you about that?

I can only control what I do. I mean, if I get moved up, that'd be great. If I don't and I stay here, I've still got a jersey on my back, which means I have an opportunity to go to the big leagues, but I mean a promotion would be great. But I just gotta go out and play as hard as I can every day and the rest will take care of itself.

- Non-baseball question...what's your favorite music or artists?

I'm into Christian music. I like Shawn McDonald, Casting Crowns. I like a bunch of Christian music as well as I'm into Lil' Wayne and the rap as well. I go with a variety.

- Do you have any rappers on the team?

Everyone thinks they're a rapper. Tyler Cloyd thinks he's a rapper. (Cloyd walks up and interjects- No, not even close!) I'd say I'm the best rapper on the team.

We agreed that maybe I'll ask Travis to bust some lines next time we meet.

- I coach Babe Ruth Baseball. Can I ask what advice you would give to teenagers who might hope to play beyond high school?

Never let anyone say you can't do something, if you have a dream and you want to do it. It takes a lot of work to get to this point, and I have a lot of work to continue, to make it to the big leagues, but if you really want something you can do it. And I think all of us in this clubhouse are proof of that. I mean, we all had a dream, we all played in high school, we all wanted this dream and we just put in hard work and that's why we're here. But don't let anyone ever say you can't do something.

- And one last one, which Major League park would you most want to play in some day?

Fenway for sure. I'd like to play in Safeco as well, since I'm from Washington and that's where I grew up watching, so...I actually got to play in it a couple times, but being a big leaguer playing in that ball park would be fantastic.


Tune in next time to hear MC Moose Mattair and Grand Masta Ty-C bust the mad flow, yo.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Jason Knapp Q&A

PhoulBallz.com was fortunate enough to meet with Phillies prospect Jason Knapp just one day after he caught the attention of the baseball world with his 7 shut out innings, 14 strike out performance against the Indians' Lake County team.



- I asked Jason, the Lakewood BlueClaw, for some thoughts about his big game...

I had pretty good command of three pitches (fastball, curve, change up). I was on the same page with my catcher, D'Arnaud, and I ended up, ya know, I felt pretty good.



- In a great performance like that, how much credit goes to Travis D'Arnaud, the catcher?

More than you might expect, definitely. I didn't shake him off once. He told me what to throw and I do what I'm told. And if it works out, a lot of the credit goes to the catcher.



- Does the lack of run support (Lakewood has scored 3 total runs in his 3 starts), in your few starts, increase your stress level, or enhance your focus?

No, I just try to go out and do my job every outing. Ya know, we have a lot of good hitters and some games we score, some games we don't. I mean, it's just something you have to deal with. Being on a team, I'm gonna have a lot of starts and a lot of games, and it's gonna even out through out the season.



- You're from New Jersey. As a native of the state, have you acted as a guide to any of the players who aren't familiar with the area?

I'm a native of north Jersey, not so much...I don't know much about Lakewood. But it's been great. I've been fortunate, I have family up here. All my friends and family come down and see me and it's been good.



- Can I get you to comment on some of your goals going forward in 2009?

Well, no number goals necessarily. But definitely to work on trying to consistently command all 3 of my pitches, and trying to consistently go out, do my job and help my team to win every outing.



- What is your routine like between starts?

Well the day after I pitch, it's a lot of running. Mostly just running, a little throwing. The next two days are a light bullpen. Obviously, also with running. Then the day before (the next start) it's just a little bit of throwing, some sprints, ya know then mentally prepare and talk to pitching coach Bob (Milacki) who has helped me a lot throughout the last three starts. And basically the day before is a lot more mental preparation.



- And what has coach Bob helped you with so far this year?

Bob's been great. Between outings, he's with me in the bullpen. He's showing me some things. Some new things that I haven't heard before, which is great. He's teaching me how to keep my change up down, which is something I'm definitely working on. He's a real smart guy as far as pitch selection. I'm basically picking his brain as much as possible....trying to learn as much as possible, as far as pitch selection, when to throw which pitches, hitters and tendencies. And he's great with that. I mean, he can pick up exactly what pitch needs to be thrown at what time to a hitter and that's something I'm trying to learn.



- (With various Spanish speaking teammates chatting it up all around us) Are you picking up on the Espanol?

I almost have no choice. A little bit. They're teaching me a little bit. I'd say I'm somewhat conversational.



- What Major League park would you most like to pitch in someday?

Well, I've pitched in two. I pitched in the old Yankee Stadium and I pitched in Citizens Bank in the bullpen. I mean no one was there, no fans, but it was an unbelievable experience. (Yankee Stadium) is historical, monumental. But ya know, hopefully Citizens Bank pretty soon!



- With all the buzz going around after a game like yesterday, in that case would you look for what's being said on the internet or in the papers?

To be honest with you, I haven't had anytime to do any of that. After the game, me and my room mate (Rob Roth) went out to lunch, and after that we kinda just went home and went to sleep, then had to wake up and come here. You don't have much time to sit around on the computer.

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Luckily for you folks Jay Ballz has PLENTY of time to sit around the computer. Stay tuned for more BlueClaws features in the coming days.


Chan Ho Park- A Decade Ago

Ten years ago today, a feat never before completed in Major League Baseball was achieved. Current Phillie Chan Ho Park, a Dodger at the time, served up two grand slams in the very same inning to Cardinals third baseman Fernando Tatis.

Tatis was just the second player to hit two grand slams in the same game. Tony Cloninger of the Braves did it. And Chan Ho was the second pitcher in MLB history to give up 2 grand slams in the same inning. Bill Phillips of the Pirates did that way back in 1890, to different batters.

Park went on to become a Phillie, and thus we like him. Tatis went on to become a repulsive hand-jiving Metropolitan, and thus we wish for him to be voted off the planet.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Nothing Minor About These Guys

Jason Knapp

Today's pitching performances from Phillies' minor leaguers were sparkling, exciting and phantastic, to say the least. Gems all around from the Phillies' deep corp of minor league arms, and here is a full report.

Carlos Carrasco had a solid outing for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Against the Syracuse Chiefs, the Nationals' triple A affiliate, Carlos threw 7 innings and allowed 3 runs on just 3 hits, walked 1 and struck out 10.

Reading Phillie Tyson Brummett faced the Altoona Curve, the Pirates double A affiliate. Brummett gave up just 1 earned run on 5 hits, in 7 2/3 innings, walking none and striking out 5.

High A ball Clearwater had former top draft pick Kyle Drabek on the hill tonight. Drabek threw 6 2/3 innings, following a scoreless 1 inning start appearance by Mike Zagurski. Drabek walked 2, gave up 4 hits and allowed no runs, while striking out 10.

After all those, the best start of the day came this morning from Lakewood's 18 year old prospect Jason Knapp. Knapp, a New Jersey native, tossed 7 shut out innings against Cleveland's Lake County team, walking one, surrendering 1 hit and striking out 14. Those 14 strike outs tied the BlueClaws' team record set by Robinson Tejeda in 2001.

Combined, that's a 1.29 ERA by Carrasco, Brummett, Drabek and Knapp in 28 innings pitched with 39 K's. Top that off with an 11-4 rain delayed victory by the Major League Phillies, and all seems phine in Philliesville.
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The Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity, headquartered in Oxford, Ohio announced today that their annual Lou Gehrig Award will be given to Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino. The award is presented to the MLB player who best exemplifies the giving character of Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig, who was a member of the fraternity's Columbia University chapter. The award was first presented in 1955 and is permanently maintained at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, NY.

Shane will receive the award when members from Phi Delta Theta and the Philadelphia Chapter of the ALS Association visit Citizens Bank Park prior to the game against the Metropolitans on July 4th. The presentation will be part of "4ALS", a day celebrated throughout Major League Baseball to honor the 70th anniversary of Lou Gehrig's famous "Luckiest Man" speech and to raise awareness for ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease).

Harry Kalas, a Phi Delta Theta member, was originally scheduled to participate in the presentation. Kalas has served as a member of the Gehrig Committee since 1994, helping select the winner each year.

The Brewers are Back

Last year, the Milwaukee Brewers visited Philadelphia twice, at crucial points. In September, the Brew crew came in for a big weekend series, which they entered as the Wild Card leader. After being swept by the Phillies, they left town tied for that lead. The Brewers then returned for two games in the National League playoffs and lost both of those match ups as well, before being eliminated by our Phillies, 3 games to 1.

The Brewers are scheduled to begin a three game series in Philadelphia Tuesday night when Jamie Moyer faces Manny Parra. Moyer lost the only game to the Brewers in that NL division series in October. Moyer lasted just 4 innings in that game, throwing 90 pitches, and surrendering 2 runs. In his career, Jamie is 9-5 with a 3.63 ERA against the Brew Crew. Parra started one of the games in September in Philly last year, and gave up 5 earned runs in 1 1/3 innings.

Game 2 will pit Joe Blanton against Braden Looper. Blanton won the series clinching game against the Brewers in game 4 of the NLDS last October. In six innings of work, Blanton surrendered just one run and struck out seven. Looper, in his career, has faced the Phillies 60 times, but only started against them twice. Overall, he has a 5.53 career ERA against the Phils, and a 4.13 ERA in 26 appearances in Philadelphia.

On Thursday, Colbert Hamels should face Dave Bush in a Business Persons Special. Hamels, of course, won game 1 of the NLDS last year by throwing 8 scoreless innings. That was a day game. Hamels' career ERA in day games is over 1 1/2 runs higher than it is during night games. One more note on Hamels...he has stuck out 11 Brewers in a game in each of the past two seasons. Bush has made 6 starts in his career against Philadelphia, but has no record and a 5.88 ERA in those games.

Hot- Prince Fielder, in 11 career games at Citizens Bank Park, sports a .351 batting avg. with 3 homers and a 1.171 OPS.
Raul Ibanez is batting .455 in 6 home games this season. Out of his 10 hits at home, 6 of them are for extra bases.

Cold- Corey Hart is 1-for-13 in his career against Cole Hamels.
Jimmy Rollins. But you knew that already.

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In case you missed it, the Phillies' Mothers' Day game on May 10th has had its start time changed to accommodate TBS television scheduling. That game will be TBS's national game of the week against the Braves.

And on the subject of schedule changes, make note of this road switch also. That extra day after the all star break is no more. The Marlins announced last week that due to the NFL scheduling a Monday night home game for the Dolphins, the game for September 21st against the Phillies has been moved up to July 16th.


Monday, April 20, 2009

My Neighbors Be Talkin'

Here are some cool links to enjoy on this rainy Monday.

Amanda reviews the results of our All-time Phillies phantasy draft. Guess who won! Yes, PhoulBallz.com drafted the best team, according to the people. My original post on the draft can be found here.

IronPigPen, the loser of the Phantasy draft survey, has a quick review of 2008 Phillie Les Walrond and his adventures in Japan so far this season.

FanIQ has some screen shots of the Washington Nationals and their misspelled home jerseys.

Crashburn Alley's got some fun Raul Ibanez .gif files, a graph comparing Ibanez and Pat Burrell, and glance at Josh Geer's pitches from Sunday's game.

The700Level has video of Raul Ibanez getting shaving creamed up, following his huge walk-off homer on Sunday.

BlueClaws TV has some guy named Muldo reminding you about the exciting home stand coming up for the boys in Lakewood. Wednesday's giveaway of a pine tree seedling, and dollar beers on Thirsty Thursday sound great to me.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday School: History Lesson 12

Most avid fans of baseball will know that there are certain positions on a field that left handers are not welcomed to play. The main reason it's less than ideal for lefty arms to play shortstop or third base is that the fielder must turn his body to throw to first base. The extra time would give a runner an extra step, in most cases. The same applies to second base as well. The catcher position is another one where lefties are not very welcome. Estimating, going back to the 1800's, more than 8,000 players have played catcher in the major leagues. Just 33 of them have been left handed. Of that small group, 10 played in only one game (likely an emergency situation) and 16 of them played in five games or less, plenty of which were players better known to play other positions. Of the 33 lefty catchers, 10 played in 50 or more games, only 5 played in more than 100, and just three played more than 200. One of those three was John J. "Jack" Clements, who caught most of his games with the Phillies.

Jack Clements was a big league catcher from 1884-1897. He holds the record for games caught by a left handed player, at 1,073. Clements was even around in the days before the Phillies had that name, and were known as the Quakers.

Clements was one of the best catchers of his era. Defensively, he led the league in putouts three times, and in double plays and fielding percentage once each. With the bat in his hands, Clements finished in the top 4 in batting average 3 times. His .394 batting average in 1895 still stands as the highest single season average by a catcher.

During the 1890 season, Clements made some waves as he told manager Harry Wright that, after catching both games of back to back double headers, that he would only catch one game of the next day's double header. The team only had one catcher at the time and Clements was overworked. Supposedly, Wright then cancelled one game of the twin bill to appease his catcher.

Earlier that season, Wright fell ill with temporary blindness, and Jack Clements served as player-manager over a 19 game stretch, winning 13 of those games.

Clements, the Phils' regular catcher in 9 of his 13 full years on the team, also filled in at other positions. He played 41 games in the outfield, 18 games at first base, and 4 games each at shortstop and third base. Yes, shortstop and third base too! Jack Clements broke all the rules.



Saturday, April 18, 2009

Saturday Stuff: Notes and Links

Through 9 starts, the Phillies starting pitchers have allowed 43 earned runs in 48 innings pitched. That's 5 1/3 average innings pitched per start, with an 8.06 ERA.

Chase Utley knocked in the 500th run of his career on Friday, passing Richie Ashburn on the Phillies all time RBI list. Jimmy Rollins (547) , Ryan Howard (507) and Chase Utley rank 26th, 27th & 28th on the team's all time list.

Gary Sheffield hit the 500th HR of his career for the Metropolitans on Friday. He is the 25th player to hit that many. Of the feat, Sheffield had this to say, "Now I can say I'm in the club and, you know, it's like getting your degree. Nobody can never take that away from you."

Angels fans are being prohibited from purchasing Nick Adenhart #15 jerseys to honor their fallen pitching star. Apparently, anyone with a bright idea to grab a Harry Kalas #08 jersey will be rejected also. Try it and you will receive this message, "Your current entry cannot be processed. Language deemed inappropriate, derogatory, or profane will not be accepted. Please create a new entry", from various licensed sources, like MLB Shop. These restrictions are just more examples, on a long list, of MLB blowing it. Side note: try to enter the name Ballz and MLB.com will tell you, "Great choice! To purchase your customized jersey, click on ADD TO CART." Terrific. Check the comments section to see what other nonsense names MLB shop accepted, and post your own.

The fine people at PhilliesNation have some MP3's posted of classic Harry Kalas calls. Check them out.
Chris Wheeler outside the newly named Harry Kalas Broadcast Booth. Photos courtesy of Yahoo.com

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Whole Organization is .500

We're all aware that our Philadelphia Phillies have a .500 winning percentage with a 4-4 record. Low A Ball Lakewood is also .500 at 4-4 Those double A Reading Phillies are .500 also, at 3-3. Triple A Lehigh Valley and High A Clearwater total out to .500 with their 2-5 and 5-2 records respectively.


A look around the stat boards after just over a week of minor leagues games delivers some surprises...


Lakewood's first baseman Jim Murphy is roughing up South Atlantic League pitching. His .522 batting avg. and 1.288 OPS through 6 games are very impressive. Meanwhile, top catching prospect Travis D'Arnaud has a .207 batting avg. in 7 games. D'Arnaud does have a homer and 6 RBI in those 7 games though, so don't count him out.


23 year-old Clearwater first baseman, Matthew Rizzotti has 7 RBI in 6 games with a .476 batting avg. and a 1.187 OPS to go along with them, while OF prospect Dominic Brown struggles. Brown's .231 average and 2 RBI through 5 games is small time, based on what people expect from him this season.



Reading's back-up catcher may not be the back-up for too long. Kevin Nelson has 4 hits, one of which is a double and another a homer, in 5 at bats. That is a 2.400 OPS! The following probably should not surprise me, but Joe Bisenius continues to slip further away from the major leagues. The one time opening day Major League roster member, Bisenius, has given up 5 earned runs in just 3 1/3 innings pitched for the Reading Phils. That's a 13.50 ERA.


4/5 of The Lehigh Valley IronPigs' pitching rotation has a combined 2.10 ERA. 2 solid starts each from Carlos Carrasco and Kyle Kendrick added to nice starts from Justin Lehr and Rodrigo Lopez total 34 1/3 innings and only 8 earned runs. The thumbs-down recognition in Lehigh goes to Jason Ellison. His .382 OPS through 7 games is worse than horrific. No extra base hits and no RBI will not get Ellison back to the majors....ever.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Yankees Fans Misled By Pepsi Promotion



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Today, New York Yankees fans attended a Pepsi promotion in Times Square hoping for chances to win opening day tickets to the new stadium, but the tickets, which were difficult to track down due to poor organization on Pepsi's part, were actually for a game in June. Furthermore, the 250 pairs that were promised were actually only 100 pairs.

The fans, who were made to sprint through traffic over multiple city blocks when locations for the promotion changed, quickly turned against the soda brand by pooring out their beverages and chanting anti-Pepsi phrases. Yankees fans are even threatening a boycott of Pepsi. An appearance by Yankee great Goose Gossage could not even settle the angry mob, as he had to be whisked away, as a precaution, according to the Daily News.

Ooo, I'd hate to see what "the worst fans in sports" (Philadelphia fans) would have done to their free Pepsi cans and beloved reliever in that situation. Because this happened in a non-Philly city, the story will be gone in 12 hours, or so. But bet your bottom cheese steak that if this happened in Philadelphia, ESPN and the national media, that loves to throw their "Philly boo bird" spin on everything, would have this story lasting for years. We'd sit down and talk about that great playoff run from 2007 till whenever, someday, and some jackhole would chime in with, "Yeah, I remember when the Phillies won it all and the fans still booed Adam Eaton's dying grandmother at ring day, and threw free soda cans at Steve Bedrosian's head."

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Harry in our Hearts

There were no new postings yesterday on PhoulBallz. This was partly as a day of silence, and partly because it was difficult to muster the enthusiasm to write anything worthwhile, after Harry Kalas passed away. I received an e-mail with a great Richie Ashburn and Harry Kalas story from reader Nikki. With the permission of the author, I'd like to share it with you all.


Picture it, Veteran’s Stadium, 1996 (possibly '97) Phillies ALS Phestival. I had found out about a month prior that Richie Ashburn was going to be signing autographs in the broadcaster’s booth. Father’s Day was coming up, and even though I personally did not know much about Richie Ashburn, I thought the autograph would be a nice gift for my Dad who grew up in Philly, then living in California , and was an Ashburn fan.


So, after waiting for entrance into the stadium, I get on line- first one there. As more people came, I realized I was definitely on the younger end of the age range. Just about everyone else in line had white hair, or was close to it. I was probably 19 years old at the time, and was just coming into my Phillies phandom. A good while later they opened the doors and asked me to walk up to the table. I had my baseball ready and was excited to get it signed.


As I walked up, Harry Kalas (who I was familiar with) was sitting next to Richie and said to him “See Whitey, its not just old guys who want your autograph. Look at this pretty girl, first in line too!” I then replied with “Actually, this is for my Dad. I didn’t really know who you were.”
Well, Harry starts cracking up; Whitey is laughing and pretends like he is going to leave. I just stood there not sure what to do. I didn’t even know this guy, I just wanted to get the autograph and get out of there.



Richie then tells a photographer to come take a picture of him with the youngest fan he was going to have there all day. So we take the picture, me, Harry and Whitey. He signs the ball for my Dad, tells me to tell him to have a great Father’s Day, and thanks me for one of the best laughs he had all day.


They were all nice guys and everyone seemed to get a kick out of the fact that I really didn’t even know who Richie Ashburn was. I found my hubby (then boyfriend), who had been waiting for other autographs, and told him what happened and he couldn’t believe I said what I said, but hey, I was just being honest.


The next year (or later that same year), when Richie passed away, my picture with Harry and Ashburn was spotted on a Sunday pre-game photo montage tribute to Richie. Then, years later, during a tribute to Harry Kalas at the Vet, all of a sudden there is my picture with Harry, and Whitey on the video board. We were shocked both times (the only times the picture has been seen), but it was quite an honor to have been on the TV screen and Phan-a-vision with two legends of Philadelphia Phillies baseball. I’m just glad I was having a good hair day.


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Our Phillies have announced plans to honor Harry Kalas this weekend. Recognition prior to this Friday night's game is being planned, and is still unannounced. Phans with tickets should arrive early. Also, this Saturday, beginning at 8am, phans will be permitted, on a first come, first served basis, to pay their respects. That will last until 12:45, when phans will then be directed to take seats for an on-field tribute that will begin at 1pm. Tickets are not required. Game time on Saturday is 7:05pm, so the tribute will be held separately from the game.

Also, the Phillies plan to wear an "HK" patch on their jerseys for the remainder of the season. The black circular patch will reportedly be placed on the left chest, over each player's heart.

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UPDATE...
Plenty more released about Harry Kalas today...including Harry's cause of death and a full list of tributes on Friday. My favorite acknowledgement that the Phillies are planning, to pay homage to Harry, is that his signature "Outta here!" call will accompany the ringing of the Liberty Bell following each Phillies homer throughout the remainder of the season.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Harry Kalas Phorever...

Legendary broadcaster Harry Kalas passed away today. Harry collapsed while preparing to call today's game against the Washington Nationals. So many phans will feel as though we've lost a member of our own families. I feel as though I've lost a part of myself, but Harry enhanced my love of the great sport we call baseball and I will always carry that love, and Harry, in my heart.

I've stated on this page before that I consider Harry more of a Phillie than anyone who wears the uniform as an active member of the roster. Harry Kalas was a Phillie. Moreso, Harry Kalas was the Phillies.

Please share your thoughts and memories of Harry in the comments section, or send them to PhoulBallz (at) verizon (dot) net.

Man Crush Alert: Matt Stairs is Phantastic!

Hey, that Matt Stairs guy is so great! Remember the last time he hit a late inning, game winning, pinch hit homerun? That was a 7-5 win, just like this time. Ryan Madson got the win & Brad Lidge got the save, just like this time. It's fun to reminisce. Thanks, Matt Stairs. You are my favorite Canadian.

In case you missed it and don't know exactly what I am talking about, our Phillies overcame another early deficit on Sunday, after Chan Ho Park continued the pitching rotation's lackluster ways. Stairs put the Phillies ahead, for good, in the 9th inning with a 2-run homer.


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The triple A Lehigh Valley IronPigs are off to a 0-4 start. John Mayberry Jr. is just 2-for-15 (.133 avg.) in the opening 4 games. On the other hand, the guy Mayberry Jr. was acquired for, Greg Golson, is 3-for-10 with the Oklahoma City Red Hawks, the triple A affiliate of the Rangers.

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The double A Reading Phillies have started the season 2-1, but have yet to hit a homer in those three games. But the combined starting pitching efforts of Joe Savery, Tyson Brummett and Vance Worley have a 2.54 ERA and 16 K's over 17 2/3 innings pitched.

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And one last Phillies phact for you. Only once since 1993 have the Phillies ended the opening week of a season with a winning record. That year was 2001.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sunday School: History Lesson 11

Pete Sivess was a pitcher with our Phillies from 1936-1938. Appearing 62 games over his 3 year big league career, 16 of which were starts, Sivess's 5.38 career ERA was never sparkling. Many players would hold their baseball careers in regard as the high point of their lives, but that did not hold true for Sivess. Although, Sivess would not be one to downplay his professional baseball days, they were simply less important that his accomplishments later in life.

Sivess had ups and downs, and ended up in the Reds organization, before his playing days were over. Arm trouble was shortening Sivess's playing days, and with World War II going, baseball became less important to him. He enlisted in the Navy.

After the war was over, Sivess remained in the Navy, and he was sent to Europe, where he became the Assistant to the US Naval Member of the Allied Control Commission for Romania. World War II had stripped Romania of any government, and Sivess and his colleagues were assigned to run the country for two years, while a governing body was re-established. When his assignment in Romania was complete, Sivess joined the newly formed Central Intelligence Agency. History was surely made as Pete Sivess played in the major leagues of baseball and the major leagues of government service.

Pete Sivess would become the head of a secret operation in the Chesapeake Bay region called Ashford Farm. The facility would provide diplomatic asylum to defectors and political refugees. Sivess and his staff would debrief such people and instruct them in the fundamentals of American culture and ways of life, and help them to obtain employment and places to live. In some cases, the individuals would be relocated with new identities.

Most of the visitors to Ashford Farm were foreign born, but occasionally they'd have an American guest. Ashford's most famed resident likely was pilot Francis Gary Powers, whose spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union, and is the basis of the famed "U-2 Incident". United States officials made attempts to cover the real spy story with fake statements about a weather plane crash. The cover didn't work, and upon Powers' return to the United States, following a prisoner exchange with the Soviets, the secret was out about Ashford Farm, and soon the covert operation was shut down. Sivess was then reassigned to a job in Washington DC, until his retirement.

The ex-Phillies pitcher once reflected on his combined 30 years of government service with a sure sense of satisfaction, saying, "It was an interesting career. I wouldn't trade it for anything."

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Ruiz Hurt, Marson Could be Recalled

Carlos Ruiz strained his right oblique during Friday's game against the Rockies and was replaced in the game by Chris Coste. As of this writing it is still morning in Colorado and a decision has not been made by the team whether or not to place Ruiz on the disabled list. However, team representatives have confirmed that Lou Marson is traveling to Colorado to be with the team, in case Ruiz is not able to stay on the active roster.

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The Phillies are off to their usual slow start, with a 1-3 record after their loss in the Rockies' opener. There is plenty for phans to be concerned about at this point. I am not suggesting we all go into a panic, I am simply stating that the "they always do this and bounce back" attitude should not be the prevalent motto of the week. I am also not suggesting that the Phillies don't deserve some slack after winning the World Series, I am only saying that those sorts of passes should be limited to how critical we might get, vocally...and shouldn't restrict us from addressing the issues that are so obvious.


A team can't win if its lead of man doesn't get on base. A lead off batter sets the table and needs to be on base so the hitters who follow him can drive him home. Jimmy Rollins' .158 on base % is awful. J-Roll's weak performances this week stand out like Charlie Manuel at a dieticians seminar. Ryan Howard grounded into three double plays yesterday. I do not have resources or time to research how often that feat has happened, but I don't think I've ever noticed a player doing that in a game I watched. Ryan Howard is 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position this season. That's an average of twice a game, he's missing chances to drive in runners from scoring position. Cole Hamels' velocity is way down also. He's been maxing out his fastball around 86 miles per hour. That could spell trouble for the young ace, if he takes much longer to get back to last year's form. His usual high speed for his fastball is in the low 90's.

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The Lakewood BlueClaws are auctioning off 4 passes in the press box, with lots of press-like perks, for their April 24th home game. Check out the auction right here.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Wondering About Phans' Affinity

We all saw (and heard) the receptions that Pat Burrell and Adam Eaton got the other day at the Phillies' World Championship ring ceremony. Pat Burrell received the biggest reception of the day. It really had me wondering what exactly it is about Pat that phans love so much. His offensive statistics rank high on Phillies all-time leader boards, but Pat was never an all star and never won any individual recognition, as a Phillie. He was a sometimes-steady hitter, who learned to take more walks over his years, and had slumps as regularly as the weird guy in the cubicle next to me has belching fits and outbursts toward his computer ("Come awwwn! I hate you!"). Patrick the Batrick's performances against division rivals were not very outstanding, despite the misconception that he always killed the Metropolitans (.255 avg vs. Nationals, .249 avg. vs. Braves, .246 avg. vs. Mets, .243 avg. vs. Marlins).

Perhaps the affinity for Burrell can be attributed to the fact that he was the main player who got let go after the Phillies phinally won it all, and everyone pretty much saw it coming...including Pat himself. Maybe phans think he deserves better. Maybe it has a little to do with his love for the area and the full page ad he took out in Philly papers (a la Geoff Jenkins when he left Milwaukee) thanking the team and the phans. Could it be that the female phan base will miss their favorite baseball hunk and the men will miss wearing their "Man or Machine" t-shirts?

It could be a tons of reasons, all adding up to the point that Pat was our guy. He was "home grown" through the Phillies' system, had always been a Phillie and we like guys like that. Is that why phans were so forgiving toward Brett Myers with his spousal/law troubles? Is that why phans let it go so quickly after a slightly ailing Colbert Hamels shunned the concept of pitching, in late 2007, if the Phillies weren't in contention? It could be. We're easier on the guys who've always been in the organization.

Which brings me to Adam Eaton. Eaton was once a #1 draft pick by the Phillies. He left, bounced around with other teams and became a serviceable starting pitcher, which got him big bucks, when then GM Pat Gillick signed him as a free agent and gave him millions of dollars. I certainly won't imply that Eaton does not deserve a poor reception by Philadelphia phans. I just think a guy who was always a Phillie, would get more of a pass.

Speaking of passes, and lighter treatment, is it time to let up a bit on Adam Eaton now? I feel that the ring ceremony boo shower made the point, and no further examples would be required, if Eaton ever paid another visit to Citizens Bank Park. I saw this piece of jewelry recently: "A person reveals his character by nothing so clearly as the joke he resents." Adam Eaton played along and took it with grace. He enjoyed the ring ceremony and the infamous Philadelphia "welcome", by waving back to the crowd as if he knew it was coming, knew why he got it and admitted he may have deserved it. That seems like an apology to me.

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MFWSMVP Cole Hamels makes his season debut tonight. Cole says it's the last National League park for him to pitch in. Other than that, there's little going on in Phillies news today...day off yesterday.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Phantasy Island!!

Last week I got together with a couple other bloggers from my bloggerhood and we decided to pick our all-time Phillies Phantasy teams. Requirements were 3 years service as a Phillie. Based on that, any Phillie ever was up for grabs. We each chose a full lineup, with 2 starting pitchers and a reliever. Amanda from Swing and a Long Drive selected first, Rolf from The IronPig Pen chose second and I picked third. We went in the same order, picking our teams, till each of us had a full squad.

What we would like to do is get you, the readers to review and choose your favorite team, then visit each blog and vote for your favorite Phils Phantasy squad. Check out the teams below, and vote.

My first choice was Richie Ashburn. Ashburn is easily one of the best Phillies of all time. Richie was elected to the Hall of fame in 1995. Ashburn led the Phillies in batting 8 times between 1948-1958. From 1949-1959, Richie led the team in hits 8 times. He won the NL batting title twice, and is the last Phillie to win the batting crown (1958). Ashburn is also second in Phillies history (to Mike Schmidt) in games played, hits and at-bats. Ashburn's #1 is retired with the Phillies.

My second pick was starting pitcher Grover Cleveland Alexander. His credentials as an all timer for our Phils could be endless. Alexander was a great starting pitcher who has the best winning percentage all-time for the Phillies at .676. He had 3 straight seasons with 35 complete games from 1915-1917. During those same seasons, he won the pitching triple crown (wins, strike outs, ERA). Steve Carlton did that only once. Grover holds the team's single season ERA record at 1.22 (1915). Alexander struck out 10 or more batters 8 times in his career, one more than Robin Roberts. His jersey is retired with the Phils. Lastly, Alexander was among the very first class of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

I don't think I have the time to list full credentials for each of my picks, so I will just list my team, with a brief note, and the other bloggers' teams. Vote here, and on their pages, for the team you like best.

Catcher- Mike Lieberthal (Most HR by catcher in team history...career avg. 25 pts. higher than Daulton...most games caught in team history)
First base- Ryan Howard (potentially one of the best offensive players in team history)
Second base- Chase Utley (potentially one of the best offensive 2nd basemen in MLB history)
Shortstop- Granny Hamner (multi-time all star...member of the Whiz Kids, batted .429 in 1950 World Series)
Third base- Scott Rolen (1997 rookie of the yr...solid numbers & gold gloves...pickin's get slim at 3rd base after Schmidt)
OF- Richie Ashburn (see above)
OF- Chuck Klein (4th in Phils history in RBI, total bases and HR...holds Phils single season RBI record- 170...only Phillie to have 100 or more extra base hits in a season and did it twice...3rd player on my squad with his jersey retired by Phils)
OF- Sherry Magee (6th in Phils history in extra base hits and RBI...3rd in team history in steals)
Starting pitcher 1- Grover Cleveland Alexander (see above)
Starting pitcher 2- Curt Schilling (1993 NLCS MVP, 4th in Phils history in strike outs)
Relief pitcher- Ron Reed (had to have a guy from the 1980 World Champs...was part of the Phils playoffs teams in 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980, and 1983...5th in saves in team history)

Amanda at Swing and a Long Drive chose this roster-
C- Darren Daulton, 1b- John Kruk, 2b- Juan Samuel, SS- Jimmy Rollins, 3b- Mike Schmidt, OF- Ed Delahanty, OF- Del Ennis, OF- Greg Luzinski, SP- Robin Roberts, SP- Jim Bunning, RP- Steve Bedrosian.

Rolf at IronPigPen has this team-
C- Bob Boone, 1b- Pete Rose, 2b- Nap LaJoie, SS- Larry Bowa, 3b- Dick Allen, OF- Sam Thompson, OF- Gavvy Cravath, OF- Bob Abreu, SP- Steve Carlton, SP- Cole Hamels, RP- Tug McGraw.

Please leave comments and vote for your choice as the best Phillies Phantasy team!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Don't You Fret None

Okay, it's a slow April like usual. The Phillies have lost their first two games. I am confident most of you are aware that our Phillies have overcome slow starts the past two seasons. However, if there are still some phans who can't lean on those serious rebounds, I've got just one phrase for you..."It's Ring Day!" As in the Phillies won the World Series 5 months ago, and the players receive their individual recognition today, so relax.

You are still allowed to enjoy that World Series victory. If rings aren't enough for you, the Phillies have been invited to the White House by President Obama, next Tuesday, in recognition of their championship. And if that's not enough, go have a shot of something good and call a therapist.


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Amanda has a couple dozen more reason to hate the Mets. Swing and a Long Drive features a video of Johan Santana's different personal hand shakes/rehearsed hand jives with each teammate.


More Hardball has a review of Head Hunters- pitchers who hit batters, and batters who get hit.


IronPigPen has a review of the Reading vs. Lehigh Valley exhibition game. R-Phils won.


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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

BlueClaws Manager Dusty Wathan Q&A

Dusty Wathan and Tim Gradoville working with the infielders

PhoulBallz.com checked out the BlueClaws' open practice today and got some face time with new Lakewood manager and former Phillies minor leaguer Dusty Wathan.

-Dusty, do you have any things that stick in your mind from your two seasons as a player in spring training with the Phillies?

Just being able to be around guys and develop friendships with guys that were able to win the World Series last year. It's pretty special to be able to watch that World Series and know that you've been in the club house with those guys, and hung out with them and become friends with them. I think that's the biggest moment I had was getting to see those guys win the World Series and how much joy I had for them.


-What's the coaching staff like with Lakewood and have you worked with the coaches before?

(Hitting coach) Greg Legg was in the system already when I was a player and we got to know each other a little bit. I never played for him or anything like that, but I knew him as an instructor. Ya' know, he's just a tremendous baseball guy and he's been with the Phillies since 1984, as a player or coach and it's just great to have him to bounce some stuff off of since he's been around and been through everything. (Pitching coach) Bob Milacki is new to the Phillies this year, he's been with the Pirates for years. He's a tremendous guy to be around. He really knows his pitching. He pitched in the big leagues for a number of years. I'm very fortunate to have some guys that have been around baseball, know what they're doing and I can really lean on. Also Tim Gradoville will be here for a while with us working with the young catchers. He actually played here. It's just nice to have some guys that you can trust and really lean on for advice.


-Were any of the players here with you last year when you managed short-season ball in Williamsport?

Yes, a couple of them. Troy Hanzawa, our shortstop is one. It'll be exciting...the guys who weren't there I know most of them from instructional league and through spring training this year, so yeah, I know most of the guys pretty well.


-Who's your suspect as the first guy Lakewood might lose to Clearwater, due to promotion?

I don't know. We have quite a few young guys here. Maybe (Travis) Mattair, he was here last year, so I mean he has an opportunity. Ya know, anybody depending on what the situation is- Why there's movement, whether it be somebody doing well, or an injury, ya know anybody could fit that mold.

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The practice was crisp and cold. I heard some folks around the dugout claiming they heard of a 38 degree measurement. Catcher Sebastian Valle took a moment to teach first baseman Jeremy Hamilton a bit of Espanol..."Hace frio" means "it's cold".

Check out some more pictures of today's practice and stay tuned to PhoulBallz.com for more BlueClaws features in the coming weeks.

Catching prospect Travis D'Arnaud

Jason Knapp throwing his bullpen session as coach Bob Milacki watches on
Troy Hanzawa and Jesus Villegas taking turns turning plays in the middle

Monday, April 6, 2009

Lakewood Reminder

The BlueClaws issued a press release today to remind the public about all the great happenings at FirstEnergy Park this week. The World Series trophy will be on hand for phans to take pictures with on opening night, April 9th. All phans will receive a free schedule magnet on opening night also. Starting Friday, Lakewood is proud to offer Dollar Weekend. All tickets to all three games 4/10-4/12 are only $1!!!

Also, remember that the BlueClaws are offering a kids 12 and under eat free promotion all season long. That's right. Upon entering the stadium, children will be given a voucher for a meal at FirstEnergy Park concession stands. This translates to a family of four can attend a game this weekend and feed the kids for just $4! Friday's post game fireworks, Saturday's growth charts for kids and a Sunday Easter egg hunt round out the weekend events.

The BlueClaws roster is loaded with 2008 draft picks like Jason Knapp, Anthony Gose, Zach Collier, Jeremy Hamilton and Travis Mattair. Come on out and check out your future Phillies! Visit Lakewood's website for additional information.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Red Carpet Reception Short-lived

The last time we saw the Phillies take the field at home on national TV, Harry Kalas topped the night with his rendition of High Hopes. Sunday night they returned to the nation wide stage, and got shut down by Braves starter Derek Lowe. Hey, remember when our Phillies were rumored to be interested and were among the final suitors for Lowe? Yeah, you do. Also, do you remember when our Phillies signed left handed hitting Raul Ibanez because, as Ruben Amaro Jr. stated, the Phillies feared returning the same team to the field in 2009? Well the lefty who replaced righty Pat Burrell, in the lineup, allowed Braves lefty reliever Mike Gonzalez the best possible matchups versus three straight lefty hitters in the Phils' lineup, when he got to face Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Ibanez in a row, and halt the Phils' 9th inning rally.

I was surprised to see Charlie Manuels' lineup that featured those three straight lefties. Switch hitting Shane Victorino could easily bat 2nd, while Jayson Werth could bat 5th, behind Howard, to break up the lefties, with Ibanez taking the 6th slot. The lineup in the 9th inning would then go Switch, Switch, Lefty, Lefty, Righty, Lefty following Eric Bruntlett's leadoff double. This gives minimal advantage to the bullpen matchups for the Braves. Leaving three straight lefty hitters to face the Braves' lefty closer in the 9th inning is not the best managing on Charlie's part, even if those hitters are the team's "big three".

The Phillies have now lost four straight season openers. I have now been sick for five straight days. Rest is needed. Good night.
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IronPigPen featured a nice PhoulBallz.com reference over the weekend. Check that out right here.

Tonight's the Night

Tune in tonight when our Phillies start defending their World Championship on national television!

Amanda has posted her '09 season predictions. And the GM's have opening night's Tale of the Tape. Have a look.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

One Day Left!

Some pictures from Saturday.


Red Phanatic was out at the on-deck series.


Vendors are wearing new shirts with Phils phont this season.

The Jasons...Ellison greets Donald after his homerun.




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More...

Colbert making his way in from the bullpen with Ruiz and Dubee.

Utley awaiting a Ruiz warm up throw.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Season is On Deck

So, if you missed it last time, the initials on his cap stand for The Bat. He's back. He brought his new team along for a visit. Our Phillies beat them (again) tonight, on a Jason Donald walk-off hit, 3-2. The Bat's new team will play at Citizens Bank Park again tomorrow also. Then, on Sunday, it will be on, for real, as the champions of THE WORLD defend their title!

The Metropolitans signed Gary Sheffield. I didn't think he'd be fit well with the Phils. Although, he surely would have plenty to play for and prove, after being released this week.

The Phillies will open the season with three lefty relievers. "Jay" Happ and new acquisition Jack Taschner have made the opening day roster. Scott Eyre is, of course, the third left hander. Sorry, Koplove and Majewski...your spring ERA's (0.96 and 2.56 respectively) apparently weren't good enough.

Macho Row has the full agenda for the opening night schedule, minute by minute.

We'll see you all on Saturday at the ballpark!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Jeopardy Too

For $1,000 in the category of Awful Phormer Phillies, the answer is: "This weak hitting outfielder, who could barely bat his weight and totaled just 2 hits after July during his stint with the Phillies in 2005, is replacing new Phillie Raul Ibanez as the starting left fielder in Seattle."


Question: "Who is Endy Chavez?" Correct!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Why Not Wednesday!

PressPass TV has some interesting Phillies videos posted on YouTube. They're mostly from 2007, but certainly worth watching. Check out a couple here.



The first video is a feature from Mitchell & Ness showing all the Phillies jerseys over the years.
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And the second video features a profile of the grounds crew and their activities, with a humorous cameo from Ryan Howard near the end.