Saturday, October 31, 2009

World Series Preview, Games 3 & 4: Yankees @ Phillies


Just like last year, the World Series arrives in Philadelphia tied 1-1. Wet weather threatens the start time of game 3. Rain is expected from 4pm Saturday throughout the evening. Game 3 was delayed by weather last year also.
Read ahead for reviews of the upcoing pitching match ups and other key details...


Saturday, 7:57pm. Andy Pettitte (14-8, 4.16 ERA in regular season) vs. Cole Hamels (10-11, 4.32 ERA in regular season). Pettitte has 16 career postseason wins. Pettitte is 4-2 with a 3.89 ERA over his last 8 starts. In 7 career games against the Phillies, Pettitte is 2-2 with a 3.67 ERA. On the road this year, Pettitte was 8-4 with a 3.71 ERA and a .230 batting avg. against. Jayson Werth, Matt Stairs, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard are a combined 3-for-38 (.079 avg.) against Pettitte in their careers, with just 2 RBI. Colbert is 3-3 with a 5.09 ERA over his last 8 starts. Hamels at home this season was 7-5 with a 3.76 ERA in 17 starts. Derek Jeter, Melky Cabrera and Johnny Damon are a combined 10-for-18 (.555 avg.) off of Hamels in their careers, with 2 RBI. Cole allowed only 2 runs in 6 innings pitched, struck out 5 and walked none in a no decision vs. the Yankees in May.

Sunday, 8:20pm. CC Sabathia or Chad Gaudin vs. Joe Blanton (12-8, 4.05 ERA in regular season). There is still no official word from Yankees manager Joe Girardi on who will start game 4. Blanton has allowed 5 earned runs in 9 2/3 innings pitched (4.66 ERA) this post season. Blanton is 3-2 with a 5.30 ERA in his last 8 appearances. At home this season, Blanton was 7-4 with a 3.77 ERA in 16 starts. Alex Rodriguez is 4-for-7 off of Blanton with 2 homers and 5 RBI. Blanton hit a homerun in game 4 of the World Series last year.


Derek Jeter is a career .333 hitter against the Phillies, with 5 homers, 14 RBI and a 1.000 OPS in 21 games. Jeter has played in 134 postseason games in his career.

Robinson Cano is batting .214 in the 2009 postseason (9-for-42). Cano is a .231 hitter in 24 career postseason games.

Hideki Matsui hasn't played the outfield since June, 2008.

In 33 career post season games, Pedro Feliz is 18-for-92 (.196 avg.) with just 2 doubles, 1 homerun and 7 RBI. Feliz is batting just .132 this postseason in 11 games.

In 7 career World Series games, Jayson Werth is 10-for-24 (.417 avg.). Werth has a 1.040 OPS in 31 career postseason games.

Greg Dobbs' status for game 3 is uncertain. Dobbs was sent home prior to game 2, because he is sick with the flu.

9 of the last 10 teams to win Game 3, when the World Series was tied 1-1, went on to win the Series.

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WSBGM's wishes you a Happy Halloween with a JibJab video featuring the Phillies performing the Monster Mash. Check it out.

Check out More Hardball for additional World Series content.

Balls, Sticks & Stuff has a fun video clip of Cliff Lee facing Babe Ruth.

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Friday, October 30, 2009

NY Post's Reed Tucker = Philly Hater, Idol Material

Reed Tucker plays video games with 50 Cent and is a top notch human


If you're unfamiliar with the verbal stylings of Reed Tucker of the New York Post, you should take a moment to familiarize yourself with this truly grand chap. The wondrous wordsmith coined the term "City of Brotherly Duh" this week, when he displayed astounding investigative reporting by declaring Philadelphia's fandom as being "feeble". In his article, Tucker sited a full FOUR people and used ALL OF THEM to build his strong case that Philadelphia phans are lesser beings than Yankees fans.

The first phan that Tucker spoke of was reality dad Jon Gosselin, who is from some non-Philadelphia town called Wyomissing, PA. Gosselin is disliked because of his failed marriage and public persona so he must not be a good Phillies phan. Tucker then wrote of a die hard Phillies phan, that he encountered, who wore a Yankees jersey because he liked the design of it. Then there's the patron of Jim's Steaks who doesn't hate the Yankees, but instead appreciates their great tradition and history. That's buffoonery! If those guys aren't a solid enough sampling of Philadelphia sports phans, Tucker then reviews a guy that he saw, wearing red, who is from Baltimore but is only in town for the Pearl Jam concert, and isn't interested in discussing the Phillies. Oooo, that puts things on lock, for sure! Confirmed! Philadelphia sports phans ARE feeble and "softer than the bread their beloved cheesesteaks are served on."

Whew...Reed Tucker, you got Philadelphia. You got the whole city goooood.

Then today, I was sent more exciting literary wizardry from The Tuck. This news paper clipping asserts that victory would be wasted on Philadelphians, who he refers to as "yokels". The Tuck lists the top 5 ways Philly phans would celebrate. Wow, FIVE on this list? There's a chance his sizable sample for researching this article grew! Where does The Tuck find the time to survey so many people?! Anyhow, here's his exact list, in COUNTDOWN form...


5. Hit the town's most popular sports bar. It's wild! It's woolly! It's in a
strip mall! Yep, Chickie's & Pete's has everything a Phillies fan is looking
for- including one too many apostrophes in its
name. Ralph Marino, who runs
Ralph's Newsstand nearby, says it's the "No. 1 place, known all over," and one
of the reasons Philadelphia is better than New York. What's No. 2? Chili's?
4. "Bang pots and pans." Also acceptable: mouth-harping and jug blowing.
3. "Get f---ed up!" You work hard, your team just won, and no one is going
to begrudge you a six-pack of Coors Light or 14. After all, one cop was quoted
after last year's celebration saying the problems they encountered were "nothing
the stomach pump wouldn't take care of." Stay classy, Philly.
2. "Break
s---!" What better way to say, "Your miraculous achievement makes my heart soar,
Phillies," than by introducing a brick to a plate-glass window? "We just go out
and break s---,"said Dan King, a photographer having lunch at Jon's Bar &
Grille.
1. "Stay at home." A popular answer, that, in light of Nos. 2 and 3,
makes perfect sense. Hey, look, "Invincible" is on cable again.



That was quite a tremendous representation of Phillies phans. I mean, who could argue that drinking alcohol and breaking stuff, following sports victories, is exclusive to the Delaware Valley?

And surely, there are no other locations in America that adore local sports bars...and there is no doubt that all other regions of our nation think sports bars that are made of wool are a bad thing.

It's a certainty that making noise is also an absurd option. Banging pots and pans, getting rowdy...who does that?!

And, woah now! What kind of fans stay home after they've just watched television at home till midnight on a work/school night?! That is unreasonable!

I am on board with The Tuck. Phillies phans, you are all objectionable and rude. Stop celebrating the ways that you do. You are all so abnormal. No one else is like you...don't you understand? The NY Post has exposed you all as horrible people. Just stop watching sports. The Nation of New York will always be better than you and your teams.

In closing, Reed Tucker has opened my eyes. I can only hope to be a little spec of light in the sky where he is the brightest star and that he will allow me to shine with him.

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Pedro's Daddy Bombs Back

The story of the night, leading into game 2, was certainly Pedro Martinez facing his long time enemies, the Yankees. Much was made of Martinez's history against New York. Pedro was excited for the big stage, saying this is why he chose to sign with Philadelphia...so he could pitch in the World Series.

Martinez was on point in game 2 using a slower, crafty approach to keep the Yankees' lumber in check. Martinez was strong, despite not lighting up any speed guns. His fastballs usually hung around the mid-80's, but who needs velocity, when you've got MARVELocity, like Pedro has?

The only damage the Yankees did for the first five innings was a solo homerun by Mark Teixeira in the 4th inning, which tied the game. Phillie Matt Stairs had driven home Raul Ibanez in the 2nd inning to give Philadelphia the lead.

With 2 outs in the 6th inning, Pedro allowed the Yankees to take the lead in game 2 when Hideki Matsui hit a homerun to right field. Matsui drove a low pitch out of the strike zone deep and it left the field of play.

While Martinez was performing well and keeping the game close, New York righty AJ Burnett was just a notch better as he stole the show...and the national headlines. Stair's RBI early in the game was the only run the Phils would get. Burnett allowed 4 hits and 2 walks over 7 innings while striking out 9. He turned the game over to Yankee legend Mariano Rivera, who closed out the game with a 6 out save, his 10th in World Series play. Rivera's save didn't come without excitement however, as, with 2 runners on in the 8th inning, Chase Utley pulled a ground ball to the second baseman Robinson Cano who turned the 4-6-3 double play, even though replays showed Utley was safe at first.

Martinez took the loss. Martinez was charged with 3 earned runs in 6+ innings pitched, while striking out 8 and walking 2. When he was relieved in the 7th inning, he smiled at the New York crowd as he exited the field, possibly the only reaction an almost always jovial Pedro could display for the tenacious and hearty rivals that Yankees fans have become over his career.

Final score...Yankees 3, Phillies 1. The series, now tied 1-1, will move to Philadelphia for three games, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

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If you're new here, be sure to check out loads of exclusive PhoulBallz interviews by clicking HERE. This season, PhoulBallz has had dozens of great Q&A sessions with people all up and down the Phillies' organization. Major Leaguers like Greg Dobbs, JC Romero, Pedro Martinez and Brett Myers...minor league coaches like Dusty Wathan and Bob Milacki...big name prospects like Kyle Drabek, Domonic Brown and Michael Taylor...lesser know future stars like Justin De Fratus, Travis D'Arnaud, Trevor May and Mike Stutes...and loads more. Click the link and check them all out.

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Another Jayson Werth Look Alike

Comic actor Dax Shepard took to impersonating Jayson Werth on Wednesday night's edition of Jimmy Kimmel Live. Click the link for a video clip of the interview with Dax, where he plays a World Champ. Even Hollywood big shots with hot celebrity girlfriends want to be Phillies.

Many people are aware of Werth's other twin, WWE wrestler Adam "Edge" Copeland.
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Phillies Win Game 1...Again!


It's how they get down. The Phillies won game 1 of another series. Between the 2008 & 2009 postseasons, the Phillies have not had to play catch up in any of the series they've played. They've won the first game of every series, none of the series have gone more than 5 games, and they've won each of the series.

The duo of Ut-Lee was really all Philadelphia needed to secure a victory over the Yankees, as Chase Utley and Cliff Lee starred for the Phillies. Utley smashed two homers off of Yankee starter CC Sabathia. Utley's first homer of the gave scored the Phillies' first 3rd inning run of the '09 post season. His second homer made history. Utley become just the second lefty hitter, all time, to hit two homers off a lefty pitcher in a World Series game. That other hitter was Babe Ruth in 1928. Lee shut down New York, allowing only 1 unearned run while tossing a complete game. Lee's mixture of pitches dazzled the New York hitters as he struck out 10. Lee added in some noteworthy plays in the field, for good measure. A very casual catch on a pop up was topped off with a behind-the-back grab on a sharp ground ball. Utley and Lee were the stars in game one.

Lee said after the game, "Winning game 1 is huge. Now we have a chance to take both of (the first 2 games in New York) and go back to Philly in a good spot."

Cliff Lee's record as a Phillie when he doesn't allow a homerun is 10-0 with a 0.96 ERA.

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I don't look down on bloggers. I am one, among other things. I do however look down on some content that certain bloggers post. (In my best Shabba Ranks accented voice-) Hear me now! I promise that I will never write an article about a player's hair gel. Link- Big League "Poo".

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Watch Out For the Bat Boy

Stop ice grillin' the Phillies players, bat boy. I am watching YOU.

I don't know what is on your mind, bat boy, but don't even think about doing something slick. You might wear the Phillies' uniform, but it is clear that you are a Yankees fan. It's all over your pale little "I wanna grow up to be like the Robert De Niro character in The Fan" face.

The World Champs should be cautious around this kid. He could be dangerous.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

World Series 2009, Games 1 & 2 Preview: Phillies @ Yankees


Finally, the World Series has come back to New York City! The Phillies are in New York to defend their World Championship against a new challenger, the Yankees. Read on for pitching match ups and other key notes from this series.


Wednesday, 7:57pm. Cliff Lee (7-4, 3.39 in the National League this regular season) vs. CC Sabathia (19-8, 3.37 ERA in regular season). Lee is 2-0 with a 0.74 ERA in 3 starts this post season. In 2 starts against the Yankees this year, Lee is 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA in 12 innings pitched. Lee is 3-2 with a 4.94 ERA in 5 career starts in New York. Derek Jeter is 11-for-27 (.407 avg) with 3 doubles against Lee in his career. Sabathia is 3-0 with a 1.19 ERA in 3 post season starts this year. Last year, in the division series, Sabathia lasted just 3 2/3 innings, giving up 5 earned runs to the Phillies while with the Brewers, including a grand slam to Shane Victorino. In Yankee Stadium this year, including the post season, Sabathia is 9-2 with a 2.93 ERA.

Thursday, 7:57pm. Pedro Martinez (5-1, 3.63 in regular season) vs. AJ Burnett (13-9, 4.04 ERA in regular season). Including postseason games, Martinez is 12-13 in his career against the Yankees with a 3.41 ERA. Jorge Posada is 11-for-60 (.183 avg) in his career against Martinez with 4 homers and 10 RBI. In his career against the Phillies, Burnett is 5-8 in 17 games, with a 4.75 ERA. Burnett lost to the Phillies on May 22nd in New York. Burnett has no decisions this post season, in 3 games, but has a 4.42 ERA and a .187 batting avg. against. Ryan Howard is 2-for-12 (.167 avg) vs. Burnett in his career...both hits are homeruns.


Chase Utley is 3-for-35 (.086 avg) in his post season career vs. left handed pitchers. Utley is hitting .303 with a .439 OBP this post season.

Pedro Feliz is 4-for-28 (.143 avg), with just 2 RBI, in his regular season career against CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett and Andy Pettitte.

On the road this regular season, Raul Ibanez had a .283 batting avg. and a .931 OPS. He hit 21 of his 34 homeruns on the road this season. Ibanez is batting .226 in 9 games this post season.

Phil Hughes has a 0-1 record and a 5.79 ERA this post season in 6 appearances. At home in the regular season, Hughes was 4-1 with a 2.50 ERA and a save in 27 games.

Hideki Matsui is 1-for-10 in his career against the Phillies. Matsui is 5-for-35 (.143 avg.) in his last 10 home games, including the post season.

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Don't forget that Wednesdays are PhoulBallz Phillies Wednesdays on The Shore Sports Report. Today, it gets a little more intense than usual when I participate in their week-long Philadelphia vs. New York sports debate series. Tune in around 3:15 pm EST for all the action as it unfolds! Link- here.
PhoulBallz.com's favorite rapper NeeKo has another version of the "Ill State of Mind" track on YouTube with an added verse by TonyTwoStep, with a download link. Check that out right here.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

World Series Slide Show Music Video



The World Series is almost here. Check out this Phillies montage I created. As if you weren't jazzed up enough already, here's something else to get you feelin' it and ready to play ball!

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World Series Storylines: What's Your Angle?


The story line that I was rooting for, Team Nick Adenhart vs. Team Harry Kalas in the World Series, didn't come to pass. The story line that MLB wanted, Joe Torre vs. his former employer in the World Series, also didn't happen. However, there are still some solid story lines that will appeal to many in this year's Fall Classic.

Liberty Series: The Statue vs. The Bell...The Turnpike Series...Broad St. vs. Broadway...whatever you choose to call it, there's sure to be some aspect to interest baseball fans from coast to coast.

There is the ex-NDN factor, as the last two American League Cy Young Award winners and Cleveland castoffs, Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia, go head to head in game 1. Each pitcher is looking better each time out. Lee is 2-0 in 3 post season starts with a 0.74 ERA and 20 K's in 24 1/3 innings. Sabathia is 3-0 with a 1.19 ERA in 3 games this post season with 20 K's in 22 2/3 innings.

There is Pedro Martinez likely getting a shot at starting a game in New York against his familiar foes. Pedro battled New York many times, as a member of the Boston Red Sox. Martinez has thrown more innings against the Yankees than he has against any other opponent. Pedro has held the Yankees to a .211 batting average against in 32 regular season starts.

There is the angle that the Philadelphia radio heads seem to think is so important...beating the Yankees would solidify the Phillies' place as a true dynasty, because of New York's storied past. The Yankees will be playing in their 40th World Series. The Phillies have reached just their 7th.

There is the angle that my boys on The Shore Sports Report love to stress...if the Yankees are going to win it all, it's got to be against the Phillies, because "to be the man, you've got to BEAT the man." Ric Flair said that phrase thousands of times, but the action only needs to be done once (well, 4 times really, in this case).

There is the match up of the monster mashing sluggers...Alex Rodriguez vs. Ryan Howard. Ryan Howard is batting .355 with a 2 homers, 14 RBI and a 1.204 OPS in 9 games this post season. A-Rod is batting .438 this post season with 5 homers, 12 RBI and a 1.517 OPS in 9 games.

And of course, let's not forget that rematch of the 1950 World Series. That's a good one too, even though the national media is exhausting it. Pick your favorite story, phans, and nestle in for a good time.
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The Camden Riversharks have hired Von Hayes as their new manager. Read about that here.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

PhoulBallz Q&A With NeeKo

On Friday, PhoulBallz introduced you all to soon to be local sensation NeeKo. He's an aspiring musical artist who remade Jay Z's smash single "Empire State of Mind". Jigga Man's New York City anthem, which features Alicia Keys, has reached top 10 status on the Billboard chart. Many music heads around Philadelphia wondered where their own theme song was, and NeeKo answered their call, teaming with vocalist Deana Marie to remake the track and create a song all Philly's own.

I had chance to interview NeeKo over the weekend, and here is how that went down.


What is your attachment to Philadelphia? Born and raised there, or what?

I was born and raised in the northeast, had a quick stint in the 'burbs and now I'm back living in the northeast and loving it.


Talk about the creative process with the song...how did you start? How long did it take to write, record, edit and find the right female vocalist?

So, I was driving in my car, listening to the Jay Z track on the radio and at the end, the DJ was asking his Philly emcees where our version was. It was an instant light bulb for me. I met Deana through a friend who said she could really sing and I ran the idea by her. From then it took about a week to write and a few more days to record and edit. My main focus was to not force anything and let the track really represent all aspects of the city through me. I knew I had to go above and beyond with it, and I'm extremely happy with how it turned out.


What has the response been like, since you released this remake online this past week?

The response has been phenomenal to say the least! It's only been a few days and it's gone far beyond my expectations. People are reaching out from all over...young, old, it doesn't matter, they can really relate and that is what I was going for.


How does it feel knowing you are able to enhance pride in residents of and those who are products of the Philly area?

It's indescribable honestly. I mean what better city to have backing you a hundred percent, especially considering how pride driven we are here? I wanted to provide the people with an anthem they can be proud of, and so far so good.


As this track's appeal grows, what would you like to gain out of the exposure that comes with it? Do you hope to have a career in music?

I'm definitely looking to pursue this as a career and the exposure could be huge for me. I'm just hoping it reaches the right ear and they say, "Ya know what, this kid's got something here, I wanna work with him." That's all I can really ask for.


What else do you do with your time?

Right now, I'm working two jobs, construction during the day and bouncing at night to pay bills. I also have a Philly inspired t-shirt company called Ambishis that people can check out at Ambishis.bigcartel.com. So I'm keeping myself busy these days.


Describe your Philly sports phandom...are you a 4-for-4 (all 4 major Philly team sports) guy?

Yes, I am most definitely a 4 for 4 guy. I stick to my city's teams, if they win I'm with 'em and if they lose I'm with 'em too. Can I get a rePeat?


Who has been your favorite Phillie, and what did u like about him?

Hmm, I'm gonna have to say Aaron Rowand was my favorite Phillie. The way he shattered his face just to get the out, that's the kind of players this city needs. Of course, the current Phils deliver time after time in the most crucial situations and you can't ask for more than that.


What is your favorite ball park food?

That would have to be Tony Lukes roast pork and broccoli rabe for sure.


What's your favorite Philly site and/or hot spot?

I'm simple man, just give me a nice sunny, seventy-degree day walking through center city, there's nothing better. This city has so much to offer, I just like to stand back and soak it all in.

Biggest musical inspiration(s)?

Wow, there are just so many. Anything from Phil Collins to Beanie Sigel. If it changes my mood in any way, that's what I'm looking for. Which is also the same thing I'm shooting to do. I'm on a crusade, just to make your mood change.


Thanks to NeeKo...and here's a link to the post with the music track, if you missed it.

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday School: History Lesson 35

Jimmie Wilson spent 10 total years with the Phillies, from 1923-1928, then from 1934-1938. Initially, Wilson was just a catcher with the Phils, but later became manager of his hometown team.

Wilson grew up in the Kensington section of the city. He grew up playing soccer but was convinced to try baseball as well, around age 20. He played both sports until he was moved from New Haven of the Eastern League to the Phillies in 1923.

At first, Wilson shared the Phillies' catching duties with veteran Butch Henline, but Wilson's superior offensive performance gradually won him the starting assignment. Wilson batted over .300 in both the 1925 and 1926 seasons. His true value was behind the plate, however, and he was regarded as one of the era's best signal callers. In 1927, he played in a career high 128 games, but his batting average and OPS dropped, as did his value to the team.

On May 11, 1928, Wilson made baseball history when he was traded by the Phillies to the Cardinals, for young catcher Spud Davis and outfielder Homer Peel, during a game between the two teams. According to one account, "Wilson was a Phillie for two innings, then darted into Redbird regalia, and sat on the St. Louis bench, for the remainder of the game."

With the Cardinals, Wilson played 6 solid seasons, helping the team win 3 NL pennants over 4 seasons. In 1929, Wilson had his best season, batting .325, scoring 59 times and driving home 71 runs.

In the 1933-1934 offseason, the Phillies and Cardinals reversed the 1928 deal, by trading Wilson for Davis again, this time with infielder Eddie Delker going over to St. Louis. Wilson was named player/manager of the Phillies for the 1934 season, and he stayed in that role until 1938.

Wilson played parts of the next two seasons with the Reds, while serving on their coaching staff. He was active in the 1940 postseason and went 6-for-17 (.353 avg) in 6 World Series games that year. His stardom in the Series helped get Wilson another managing gig with the Cubs in 1941. He would manage and coach till 1946, when he retired from baseball and soon after passed away due to heart problems.

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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Stuff and Things For Your Weekend


This phan was spotted at Citizens Bank Park during Wednesday night pennant winner. I have mixed feelings about this head carving. Initially, I am all about team spirit and I fondly remember carving things in my hair for my 13 year old all star baseball team to support our team...however, that was in 1990 and since it's no longer 1990 and etching things into your head is no longer all that cool, I'll have to go the route of clowning on this guy. Nice hair cut, Mr. Silly Pants! Why don'tcha put a cap on that head?

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Links for you to enjoy...

The Dallas Morning News has a good article on their hometown boy and Phillies broadcaster Scott Franzke. Check that out here.

David Murphy talks about the potential World Series roster and the status of Antonio Bastardo. Read that here.

ESPN's Jayson Stark thinks Brett Myers may have not pitched his last game for the Phillies. Link here.

Upon Official Review is the newest entrant on the PhoulBallz blog roll list and they have some really good Philadelphia sports content. They are certainly worth a click!

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Phinally, Your Own Anthem



Ladies and gentlemen, I happily introduce you to rapper NeeKo! He's on YouTube and it seems that this remake of Jay Z's Empire State of Mind is about to blow up. It's an instant classic for Philadelphia! NeeKo's lyrics in this track are dynamic...metaphors and punchlines that are chuckle inducing with assertions that spark pride.

I thought this song was necessary last week when I heard post game locker room interviews with Phillies players, while the original Jay Z homage to NYC played in the back ground. Philadelphia, here is your anthem.

With the Phillies continuing to make their run at a championship repeat, city and regional pride is growing, so pass this track on to anyone who will enjoy it.

They call him NeeKo. This is for my people! Ill state of mind everywhere that we go!

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"It's Always Sunny" Does the World Series



The FX Network's mature comedy It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia featured a story line themed around the Phillies, the World Series and a parking violation in this week's episode. If you missed it, be on the look out for an encore broadcast Saturday night at 11:30.

It's Always Sunny stars Danny DeVito as a bar owner who rolls with his adult children and their group of dysfunctional friends as they all take part in wild antics and offend everyone they encounter.

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Umpire Changes and Magazine Honors

MLB is changing their methods of selecting World Series umpires, due to poor judgements and bad calls in this year's postseason. Sources within MLB spoke on condition of anonymity, because the announcements are no yet official.

In 24 of the past 25 Fall Classics the 6-man umpiring crew has included at least one umpire working his first World Series. According to the Associated Press, in each of the past two years, there were three first time Series workers on the crew. MLB will not allow any "newbies" to get in the mix this year, with longtime crew chiefs Joe West, Dana DeMuth & Gerry Davis, in addition to veterans Brian Gorman, Jeff Nelson & Mike Everitt all slated to call the games.

Reportedly, C.B. Bucknor was in line to call the Series, but blown calls in game 1 of this year's division series with the Angels and Red Sox hurt his chances.

Phil Cuzzi's "foul" call that was clearly fair by a foot or more, in the Twins/Yankees game...Tim McClelland’s awful one out call when two players were tagged OFF the third base bag in this week's ALCS game...Dale Scott's missed pick off in the same game...these are all among a growing list of inaccurate calls by umpires this post season that have fans of baseball calling for the expansion of video replay rules. Lucky catch for fans...umpires don't work in consecutive rounds of the playoffs, so any ump that has angered you in the LCS rounds couldn't be back in the final round.

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As many of you heard, "Jay" Happ was named The Sporting News magazine's National League Rookie of the Year, this week. In a panel of 328 players, 22 managers and 31 general managers and assistant general managers, Happ was chosen as the premiere rookie performer in the National League, with his 12-4 record, 2.93 ERA and 119 K's. Despite what other web pages or blogs might tell you, this is not an official MLB award and Happ has not been named the real Rookie of the Year, at this point.

Additionally, Sporting News honored a pair of other Phillies by naming Chase Utley and Jayson Werth to their end of season NL all star team. Utley, who is often regarded as the best offensive second baseman in all of baseball, had a great year, posting his fourth consecutive 100-plus RBI season. Werth, who had career highs in homers, RBI, runs and OPS got one of three NL outfield spots in The Sporting News' post season honors.

Also among the awards given by The Sporting News were Player of the Year- Albert Pujols...NL Comeback Player of the Year- Chris Carpenter...AL Comeback Player of the year- Blue Jays second baseman Aaron Hill...AL Manager of the Year- Angels manager Mike Scioscia...NL Manager of the Year- Rockies skipper Jim Tracy....and AL Rookie of the Year White Sox third baseman Gordon Beckham.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Back 2 (the Future) Back

As I watched game 5 of the National League Championship Series from section 418 on Wednesday night, sitting next to my 15 year old cousin, Eric, I looked over at him a lot.

Occasionally, whether on the baseball diamond when I've coached Eric's Babe Ruth League team, or at home witnessing how he reacts to things, I see much of myself in him. Never have I felt like I was looking into a time delayed mirror more than at NLCS game 5. I glanced at Eric and saw myself sitting in the 600 level of Veterans Stadium at game 6 of the 1993 NLCS.

In 1993, I was a year older than my cousin is now, but I could tell that his state of mind was exactly the same as mine was back then. As I watched that '93 Phillies team excel, achieve great feats and go farther than anyone expected, I knew I was watching something terrific, and I knew it was more than worthy of celebration...but I don't think I appreciated the team enough. I don't think I was grateful enough that MY team was going to the World Series. Eric didn't fully appreciate what was happening in 2009 either. That is nothing against him...he's a kid. But, I felt it was my duty to build the levels of value and adoration he has for HIS team.

I explained to Eric how hugely significant this occurance is, based on the post season and World Series droughts that the Philadelphia Phillies have gone through in their history. I pointed out that the Phillies used to go 30 years or more without times like this. He seemed surprised when I pointed out that OUR team had gone from 1915 till 1950 without a post season game, and then from 1950 to 1980 without playing in the World Series. Eric is not unaware of team history, by any means, but occasionally looking out at those division championship and league pennant flags, along the Citizens Bank Park rooftop area, never quite sunk in. To a casual teenage glance, it probably appears like a lot of flags. Some are white (division title), some are blue (league pennant), some are red (world championship)...all must be treasured.

Looking around, as Eric and I counted down the outs until the Phillies clinched a World Series berth, I flashed back in time once again to October 13th, 1993. My most vivid memories of that night are of the final out (Mitch Williams striking out Bill Pecota of the Braves) and celebrating with the phans all around me. Hugging strangers was never more normal or welcomed. I told Eric all of this, and I hope that he'll remember 2009 NLCS game 5 as fondly as I remember that 1993 game.

I thank Eric for providing me with an opportunity to time travel in my mind, and I thank the Phillies for helping a family bond and share special times. Phans, no matter your age, never take this team and their accomplishments for granted. We are all watching what is potentially the greatest group of players to ever represent our city and our region on a baseball field.

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The Phillies Won the Pennant!















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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

FACT- Raul Ibanez is Latino in America.



Check out the video promo of Rauuuuuul sitting down with CNN for their feature on Americans of Latino descent. The program will be broadcast tonight (10/21) and tomorrow (10/22) on CNN at 9pm EST. No details on which broadcast will include Ibanez. I have a feeling that if Ibanez is on tonight's show, many Phillies phans will miss it, since there's some important game being played in Philadelphia. Hopefully, CNN will arrange their content accordingly.

The CNN specials will feature George Lopez and Eva Longoria, among others. The goal of the show is to examine issues from immigration to education and the American dream with these individuals. Soledad O'Brien hosts.

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NLCS Game 5 Preview: Dodgers at Phillies


With the Phillies leading the National League Championship Series 3-1, they have one chance to clinch a World Series berth at home. Philadelphia is wildly anticipating game 5 tonight. Read on for details on the pitching match ups and other key information from this game.

Wednesday, 8:07pm. Vicente Padilla (12-6, 4.46 ERA in the regular season. 1-0, 0.62 ERA in the '09 post season) vs. Cole Hamels (10-11, 4.32 ERA in regular season. 1-1, 6.97 ERA in the '09 post season). Padilla is 10-11 with a 4.98 ERA in 26 career starts at Citizens Bank Park. Padilla is still undefeated as a Dodger in 10 games. Opponents are batting .160 against Padilla in 2 post season games. Colbert's ERA in his last 5 starts is 7.00. Cole is 5-2 with a 3.18 ERA in 8 career post season starts. In 3 LCS games against Los Angeles, Hamels is 3-1 with a 3.26 ERA.

Casey Blake and Matt Kemp are a combined 11-for-56 (.196 avg) this post season.

Jim Thome is a career .222 hitter in 64 post season games with 17 homers and 34 RBI.

Ryan Howard has hit safely in every game this post season and has at least one hit in 18 of his past 19 games. Howard's OPS this post season is 1.250.

Scott Eyre has allowed earned runs at home only one time this season. That was way back in April!

Brad Lidge has had 7 straight scoreless outings. That is his longest streak of this season. Lidge's last streak of 7 or more scoreless games was last October, when he had 8 straight scoreless outings to close out the post season. Lidge's ERA at home since the beginning of July is 4.05 ERA.

The Phillies have outscored the Dodgers 25-12 in this series, thus far.

The Phillies are 10-1 in home post season games from 2008-2009.

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It's PhoulBallz Phillies Wednesday on Fox Sports 1310am and WOBM AM 1160....check it out on the radio around 3:20pm in New Jersey, or on their live web stream HERE. It's The Shore Sports Reports, darn it! Listen!

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Manny Bathing Manny


Have you heard the one about the performance enhancing drug user who ditched his team in the playoffs to take a shower and get ready to leave the ball field? No? Oh, well then you missed today's news about Manny Ramirez.

Radio stations all over the region, and sports writers from coast to coast laid into Dodgers outfielder Manny Ramirez for taking to the club house during Monday night's game 4 of the National League Championship Series, after he was removed for a defensive replacement, in order to disrobe, shower and perhaps attempt to dodge the press. On Sunday night, Manny was asked by a reporter about Philadelphia phans having the notion he had taken steroids, following chants from the crowd asserting the concept. All Manny could say was, "Next...".

With a 1 run lead in the 9th inning, on Monday night, it seemed that Manny felt that the game was locked up and the Dodgers were sure to tie the series and force at least one more game back in Los Angeles. Ramirez didn't feel like that warranted sticking around to celebrate with his teammates. Washing up and getting changed was priority #1. In the end, the Phillies executed an improbable comeback and won the game with 2 outs. Ramirez had missed it entirely.

LA manager Joe Torre was asked about Ramirez's actions. "It’s really nothing different than he’s done before," Torre told the media. "I don’t think it’s disrespect of anything. He wasn’t going anywhere until the game was over, and we can’t put him back in the game."

What happened to being a team player? What happened to positive veteran influence on young stars? Maybe this is just beyond me...and us. This type of action seems so foreign to Philadelphia phaithful because no one on the Phillies would dare to snub his red pin striped brethren. No one on the Phillies would want to miss out on celebrating a playoff victory. And no one on the Phillies is as selfish and objectionable as the dope, er- rope haired, shower loving PEDodger.
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Greatest Comeback I've Ever Witnessed



I was lucky enough to be in the building for the Phillies' game 4 NLCS walk off victory. I would like to write about it as though I'm reporting on it. I'd love to be able to jot down a story and go off to bed, like I did after game 3, but I don't think that is possible. I feel like I did last year following game 5.2 of the World Series. I was up all night, unable to come down off of that Phillies high. I have the same feeling right now.

You all know what happened. I don't need to tell you all a story about the game. It's very likely you've got the image of Jimmy Rollins lacing that double off Jonathan Broxton burned in you brain, frame by frame already. I know I do.

With two outs in the bottom of the 9th inning, my lady began to collect her things, strapping her purse on across herself. I shot her a quick look as though to convey, "What are you doing?" She shot back, "I'm getting ready to go." I replied, "I'm getting ready to WIN!" Wow!

There isn't a single detail about this night that isn't vivid in my mind right now and I want it to stay that way. The roller coaster ride was tremendous. Ryan Howard, Joe Blanton, James Loney, Matt Kemp, Casey Blake, Chase Utley, Manny Ramirez, George Sherrill, Brad Lidge, Jonathan Broxton, Matt Stairs, Jimmy Rollins, Carlos Ruiz!

I have never had more fun driving home from a game. I jumped from station to station on the radio listening to Scott Franzke's call over and over, pumping my fist each time I heard Larry Andersen yipping and wooing in the back ground.

As I write this, I continue to look over at the TV, MLB Network and ESPNews are my best friends right now. Time is going by quicker than I'd prefer. It's very late...and while the Phillies high is not wearing off, sleepy eyes are starting to set in and I am wondering if my tired body will bother me more tomorrow than my 150+ times high fived hand is bothering me right now. Here's hoping my dreams and your's are half as good as what I just lived tonight. For PhoulBallz, this is your boy, Jay Ballz, signing off.

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TheFightins has CSN's 9th inning reactions from Barkann, Bottalico and Dutch, here.

If you've stopped smiling from that win, you haven't read what Metropolitans fans said in reaction to it...find that here.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

TKO in South Philly


Cliff Lee hurled another sparkling gem while big offensive blows from Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth, Carlos Ruiz, Pedro Feliz and Shane Victorino buried the Dodgers, and the Phillies took a 2-1 series lead in the National League Championship Series with an 11-0 victory on Sunday night.

Lee dazzled the crowd and embarrassed the NL's leading hitting ball club with 8 shut out innings. Lee allowed just 3 hits as he lowered his post season ERA to 0.73 in 3 starts.

It was a historic night in South Philadelphia. Not only did the Phillies' 11-0 win set a mark for largest margin of defeat in the team's post season history, but Ryan Howard also set the all time MLB record for consecutive post season games with an RBI (in a single post season) at 7. Howard learned of the feat after the game when TBS correspondent sharp dressing Craig Seger asked him about it. Howard was suprised and admitted it was quite an accomplishment.

Los Angeles starter Hiroki Kuroda, who had some solid success against Phillies batters entering the game, only lasted four outs as the defending World Series champs hammered him early and tagged the righty for 6 runs and 6 hits, including a Ryan Howard 2 RBI triple and a massive homer off the bat of Jayson Werth in the first inning.

Matt Kemp spoke to the media after the game and was fully aware of LA's shortcomings against the Phillies in game 3. "They did everything we didn't do tonight", Kemp said following the game.

The two teams will meet again, Monday night at 8:07pm in game 4 of the series when former Phillie Randy Wolf matches up against current Phillie Joe Blanton.


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Sunday, October 18, 2009

NLCS Preview, Games 3 & 4: Dodgers at Phillies


Tied 1-1, the Los Angeles Dodgers come to Philadelphia to take on the Phillies in the 2009 National League Championship Series. Following an implosion by the Phillies' bullpen, in the 8th inning of game 2, that gave Los Angeles a win, ace pitcher Cliff Lee will get the start for the Phils, which could mean a night off for the team's relief corps, if Lee continues with his postseason dominance. Read on for details on the pitching match ups and other key notes for these games.


Sunday, 8:07pm. Hiroki Kuroda (8-7, 3.76 ERA) vs. Cliff Lee (14-13, 3.22 ERA). Kuroda is 1-0 with a 0.95 ERA and a .100 batting avg. against in 3 games against the Phillies. Ryan Howard, Shane Victorino and Jimmy Rollins are a combined 0-for-19 off of Kuroda. Opponents are batting just .186 against Lee in two games this post season. Lee is 4-2 with a 2.21 ERA in 6 starts at Citizen Bank Park as a Phillie this year.

Monday, 8:07pm. Randy Wolf (11-7, 3.23 ERA) vs. Joe Blanton (12-8, 4.05 ERA). In 27 career starts at Citizens Bank Park, Wolf is 9-7 with a 4.30 ERA. Wolf was 7-4 with a 2.78 ERA in 16 road starts this season. Carlos Ruiz is 4-for-6 with a homer, 3 RBI and 2 walks against Wolf in his career. Blanton also started game 4 of the NLCS last year against the Dodgers...in that game he allowed 3 runs in 5 innings. Blanton was 7-4 with a 3.77 ERA in 16 home starts this season. Blanton has a 7.04 ERA in his last 4 outings, including 2 in relief this postseason.


Manny Ramirez is 1-for-9 in 2 games so far in this series. Ramirez is batting .227 overall in 5 games this postseason. Ramirez is 20-for-39 combined in his career against Lee & Blanton (.513 avg) with 3 homers and 14 RBI.

Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier is hitting .450 (9-for-20) this postseason with a 1.522 OPS.

The Phillies are struggling to get going early in games this post season. In 6 games, they've only scored 2 total runs in innings 1-3, none of which have come in innings 2 or 3. That's only 2 runs in 18 innings.

Jimmy Rollins is batting just .214 (6-for-28) with a .464 OPS and no steals this postseason.

Ryan Howard is batting .409 for the Phillies this post season, with at least 1 RBI in each of the 6 games.

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