Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sunday School: History Lesson 40


Ken Raffensberger was a pitcher for the Phillies from 1943-1947. Raffensberger debuted in the majors with St. Louis in 1939, but went a combined 7-10 over parts of three seasons with Cardinals and Cubs before spending 1942 and most of 1943 in the minors. The Phillies acquired Raffensberger after he won 19 games in the Pacific Coast League in 1943.

Raffensberger was a control pitcher who relied heavily on his sweeping curve, and rarely walked the opposition. Raffensberger walked more than 45 batters only one season in his career, while throwing more than 100 innings ten times.

In 1944, Raffensberger won 4 of his first 5 starts including a shutout of the Reds in May. Raffensberger got little run support from his team though. His record on the season was 13-20, and the Phillies scored just 2 runs or less in 12 of his defeats. Raffensberger was named an all star that season for the Phils. The following season, Raffensberger pitched in just 5 games before joining the Navy.

When Raffensberger returned to baseball in 1946, he was used in both relief and a starting role. He led the league in saves while throwing 14 complete games. His win-loss record was a weak 8-15 and that was enough to get him traded to Cincinnati the following season. That move didn't prove to be a great improvement for Raffensberger's situation as he never pitched for a team that finished above 5th place, in his career.

The lanky lefty, Raffensberger twice led the National League in shutouts. Hall of famer Stan Musial regularly identified Raffensberger as the toughest lefty hurler he ever had to face. During his time with the Reds, Raffensberger would come a lone hit away from throwing a no hitter 4 times.

In 1951 with the Reds, Raffensberger achieved a rare feat by leading the league in losses (17) and WHIP (1.09).

In June 1954, Raffensberger was released by Cincinnati. He pitched one additional season in the minors before managing in the low minors for two seasons. He retired from baseball in 1957.

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Moyer Update and More


Jamie Moyer had another surgical procedure on Friday to repair a blood collection detected in an MRI earlier this week. The blood collection was in his groin and lower abdomen area that was repaired by a surgeon earlier this autumn. Dr. Bill Meyers performed the latest surgery at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

Moyer may remain hospitalized until Monday. This surgery is not expected to impact his spring training schedule.

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For anyone who is not pleased with the Phillies' free agents signings that included Juan Castro, DeWayne Wise and Wilson Valdez this week...I encourage you to wait for better news. These guys won't be the only additions that the team makes. I view the collection of reserve level talent as a positive thing. Last offseason, the Phillies added several lowly regarded infielders (Miguel Cairo, Marcus Giles, Pablo Ozuna) to compete for jobs in spring training. Cairo made the roster, got demoted, and returned for the playoff drive, and was serviceable during his later stint as a Phillie. The others didn't make it through the season with the organization and did not cost the organization very much.

Minimally priced depth can be a good thing. If someone performs nicely and contributes, that's great. If a player performs poorly and stays in the minors or leaves, who cares? The Phillies aren't finished making acquisitions. Stay tuned....bigger and better names will arrive.

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Happy birthday shout outs go out to my lady. "Mrs. Ballz" is turning Ricky Ledee's number. She loves the Phillies and me...Great taste!

RIP shout outs go out to my Great grand mom, who left us three years ago. She was 101 years old and I feel lucky that I got to know her for so long. She was not a sports fan, but loved Lawrence Welk and me. Even BETTER taste!

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving Day & News Links

Duke the dog is here to wish you a happy Thanksgiving Day!

He is also here to offer some links to Phillies news...

Jamie Moyer is dealing with complications with his surgically repaired groin/lower abdomen and was hospitalized. Updates can be found here.

The Phillies have signed DeWayne Wise and Wilson Valdez. Click on each player's name for stats and information about him. Wise is widely remembered for his amazing catch that preserved Mark Buehrle's perfect game. Valdez is widely forgotten for not performing well offensively.

One more thing from Duke...he wants you all to know that ToysForTots.org can be used to help individuals find their local Toys For Tots drop off destination all throughout the holiday season.


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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

MVP Voting is a Joke (For Some)

Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols was awarded his third National League Most Valuable Player award on Tuesday. The honor put Pujols in select company, as only Barry Bonds has won more. Stan Musial, another Cardinal won three NL MVP's also (1943, 1946, 1948). Pujols was also just the sixth player to win the NL MVP by a unanimous vote.

Overall, there was no surprise in the announcement of Pujols as MVP. He led the Major Leagues in homers (47), runs (124) and slugging percentage (.658) and he did it while batting .327. Additionally, there were no surprises when Hanley Ramirez, Ryan Howard, Prince Fielder and Troy Tulowitzki finished sprinkled behind Pujols, as their offensive numbers were all deserving of top 5 status, but not quite worthy of the top honor, by comparison. There were, however, stunning aspects relating to the voting announcements...one standout inclusion and one note worthy omission.

Would anyone agree with Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News that Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt is deserving of an MVP vote...even if it's a 10th place vote? Surely, a 2-2 record and a 1.73 ERA in 74 pitching appearances is outstanding, but not worthy of such elite recognition. With no other pitcher on his ballot, Baggarly chose to give a nod to Jeremy Affeldt as the best hurler in the league. In a blog post, analyzing his own votes, Baggarly declared his Affeldt vote a "sore thumb" vote and admitted he could not make a case to legitimize his 10th place acknowledgment. Baggarly excused his Affeldt vote by declaring that since everyone knew Pujols would win the award, no one could make an impact with a 10th place vote. Baggarly, a Giants writer, also declared that it was his prerogative to not vote for any Dodgers, San Francisco's long time rival.

Two writers from each city, belonging to the Baseball Writers Association of America, are chosen to vote on the MVP award. Thus, 32 votes were cast. Summing up Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard's votes, he only obtained 31 votes. Howard finished third in the voting, but one writer didn't think he was among the top 10 players in the National League. There is no word on who left Howard off his/her ballot, but I'd love to see that writer attempt to justify why.

The Baseball Writers Association of America is an organization for professional journalists. The ability to vote on prestigious awards should not be taken as an opportunity to show of your fidelity to your city's team to its fans. It should not be seen as a manner by which to nominate a less than deserving player to give him a tip of your (pen?) cap. It shouldn't be a pass to omit a former MVP who led the Majors in RBI, hit 45 HR and scored 105 runs.

Comfort in one's position breeds overconfident foolishness. Decisions emerge as absurdity when they are managed by buffoons. Be respectful of your spot and slow your roll, cozy baseball scribes. A new generation of writers is surely right behind you, and if they are anything like me, they wouldn't soon take a distinction like voting for the sport's most celebrated awards for granted, and they surely would never defecate on the sport that they love by not properly performing a duty to honor its best performers.

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According to Jayson Stark of ESPN.com, there were only two teams that didn't receive at least one vote for any of MLB's big awards (manager of the year, rookie of the year, Cy Young, MVP) this season. Those teams were the Orioles and the Mets.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mexican Winter League Phillies Update

Last week PhoulBallz updated you on some final numbers from the land of the Arizona Fall League. There's another offseason hot spot for baseball and it's known as the Mexican Pacific League. Phillies minor leaguers John Mayberry Jr., BJ Rosenberg, Michael Taylor and Neil Sellers are playing there for the Yaquis de Obregon. Right now, the Yaquis are 20-18, in 4th place. Sebastian Valle is also playing in the league.

In 32 games in the Mexican "Winter" League, Mayberry Jr. is batting .314 with 7 homers, 23 RBI and a .910 OPS. Against lefties, Mayberry Jr. is batting .500 (14-for-28) with a 1.319 OPS. Mayberry Jr., a former first round draft pick of the Rangers, batted .211 with 4 homers in 39 Major League games with the Phillies this season.

Sellers, who played third base for double A Reading this year, batted .371 with 3 homeruns, 18 RBI and a .953 OPS in 23 games with Obregon. Taylor, the Phillies' 3rd best prospect (as ranked by Baseball America), batted .308 with 1 homerun and 11 RBI with a .776 OPS in 19 games. Rosenberg, a closer for both Lakewood and Reading this year was 0-0 with 2 saves and a 6.75 ERA in 7 appearances with the Yaquis. Each of these three have not played in two weeks or more. No word on exactly why. Their times could be complete in the league, as ordered by the Phillies.

Michael Taylor

Over with the Caneros de los Mochis, 2009 Lakewood BlueClaw Sebastian Valle is still ripping up the league's pitching with a .303 batting average, 10 homers, 24 RBI, and a 1.029 OPS. Valle is ranked 7th in the Phils' system by Baseball America. Mochis is 16-21 in the league so far, in 6th place.

Former Phillie Chris Roberson is also active in the Mexican Pacific League and he's not performing quite as well as the guys still in the organization. In 12 games played for Hermosillo, Chris has a .167 avg. (8-for-49) with just 2 RBI and 5 runs scored.

The Mexican Winter League schedule runs through December 30th. The first half ended Friday with Mazatlan winning the first half title.

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Check out some links to some cool content from around my bloggerhood...

Chris Jaffe of Hardball Times has a book coming out soon titled, "Evaluating Baseball's Managers". He posted a great excerpt from the book, about Phillie Pat Moran, on the Hardball Times site. Check that out here.

The 700 Level featured a shot of Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter paying his debt to NYC for the Phillies losing the World Series. Link right here.

Macho Row's got an update on how Pedro Martinez stays busy in the offseason- chillin' with Johan Santana, Carlos Beltran and J-Lo's midget husband. Link here.

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday School: History Lesson 39

Willie "Puddin' Head" Jones was a third baseman with the Phillies from 1947-1959. Jones was a big country boy from South Carolina who combined slick defense with a strong bat. The nickname Puddin' Head came from his childhood friends after a character in a film by the same name. Jones spent more than a decade manning the hot corner and played more games at third base for the Phillies than anyone except Mike Schmidt.

At the plate, Jones' strong bat provided a boost on offense for the Phillies lineup. In 1949, Jones took over full time duties at third base for the Phils and early that season, Jones hit four consecutive doubles in one game against the Braves. That same season, in a game against the Reds, he hit a triple and a homer in the same inning.

When the Phillies won the National League pennant in 1950, Jones' 25 homeruns and 88 RBI were both second best on the team. He led the league in games played that year also. Jones was an all star in both the 1950 and 1951 seasons.

In 1956, Willie Jones had an 18 game hitting streak and in 1958, he drove in 8 runs in one game against the Cardinals, with two homers and a triple in that game. It was 1 of 12 times Jones would smash two homeruns in the same game.

Defensively, his quickness and strong throwing arm routinely had Jones leading National League third basemen in putouts and double plays. Despite having health issues relating to his feet for many years, Jones' defensive skills had him ranked as one of the best third basemen of his era.

In 1959, Willie Jones was traded by the Phillies to Cleveland for Jim Bolger and cash in June, then in July he was dealt to Cincinnati where he would finish out his playing career in 1961. Willie Jones was inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame in 1995.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Arizona Fall League Review

On Thursday, the last regular scheduled games were played in the Arizona Fall League. Eight players from the Phillies organization played for the Scottsdale Scorpions, along with prospects from the Giants, Pirates, Rockies and D-Backs. Scottsdale finished 15-16 in the six team league.

Pirates minor league coach Jeff Banister managed the team, while Lakewood BlueClaws pitching coach Bob Milacki, who coached in the Pirates system last year, acted as the pitching coach.

Listed below are AFL stats for each of the Phillies organization's 8 players...

Michael Schwimer, relief pitcher- 10 games, 0-0 record, 0 saves, 4.26 ERA, 12 2/3 IP, 8 K, 8 BB.

Scott Mathieson, relief pitcher- 11 games, 0-0 record, 0 saves, 2.84 ERA, 12 2/3 IP, 15 K, 8 BB.

Michael Cisco, starting pitcher- 6 starts, 1-2 record, 0 saves, 3.38 ERA, 18 2/3 IP, 13 K, 8 BB.

Edgar Garcia, relief pitcher- 10 games, 1 start, 2-2 record, 0 saves, 5.29 ERA, 17 innings, 10 K, 4 BB.

Troy Hanzawa, shortstop- 2-for-25 (.080 avg.), 1 double, 3 RBI, 2 steals, 5 runs.

Steve Susdorf, outfield- 11-for-55 (.200 avg.), 3 doubles, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 1 steal, 6 runs.

Domonic Brown, outfield- 27-for-118 (.229 avg.), 9 doubles, 2 triples, 2 HR, 18 RBI, 0 steals, 10 runs.

Tuffy Gosewich, catcher- 14-for-44 (.314 avg.), 2 doubles, 5 RBI, 0 steals, 1 run.

Also on the Scorpions team was Chase D'Arnaud, brother of Phillies prospect Travis D'Arnaud. Chase, a shortstop, plays in the Pirates organization and batted .296 in 20 games, driving in 6 run, scoring 12 runs and stealing 13 bases.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Journal Register Company: Domonic Brown an Idiot


Be sure to check out Bucks Local News' online story today that calls Domonic Brown an idiot. Matthew Fleishman, the author of the article titled, "Phillies hot stove is heating up", included a note to the editor reading, "(*NFP. DOMONIC IS SPELLED RIGHT. HE'S JUST AN IDIOT*)". NFP means not for publication.

A screen capture of the publishing error is below. Link here, until a site editor corrects the oversight.


Bucks Local News is a network of publications owned by The Journal Register Company. Their local papers serve the Philadelphia metropolitan area. Fleishman is the editor for Yardley News, which is a paper under The Journal Register Company's banner. Fleishman's blog, On the Edge, found here, contains a version of the article without the remark not intended for publication. No word yet on if the incorrect version made it to print for the Yardley News.

In an interview with Brown back in July, I asked him about confusion over the spelling of his first name. Check that out by clicking here.

**UPDATE...Fleishman has updated the main article and posted the following statement...
"EDITOR'S NOTE: As the author of this article, I sincerely apologize if I offended Domonic Brown. The NFP (Not For Print) note was obviously not meant for publication, but was inserted so the editor would not change the spelling of his name. Nevertheless, it was a bad joke made worse by the poor judgment of placing the note in the run of the story. The only idiot in this case is me."**

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Rule 5 Draft Blockin'

Outfielder Quintin Berry

If you missed the news yesterday, the Phillies added three minor league players to their 40-man roster, increasing the total on the current 40-man roster to 30.

2009 Reading Phillies Quintin Berry and Yohan Flande along with 2009 Lakewood BlueClaw Jesus Sanchez were the players added. Berry was an Eastern League all star in 2009, batting .266 with 48 steals for Reading. Flande was a star in the MLB All Star weekend Futures Game and won 11 games at two levels in the minor leagues this year. Sanchez, a right handed pitcher acquired in the 2006 Bobby Abreu trade, went 9-2 with a 2.57 ERA after May, helping Lakewood win the SAL title. 2009 was Sanchez's first full season as a pitcher, after converting from catching.

Sanchez warming up before a September start

With the Rule 5 draft coming up at next month's winter meetings, the Phillies saw fit to protect players who might be subjected to picks by other ML organizations. Players are eligible for selection in the Rule 5 draft when they are not on their major league organization's 40 man roster and 1) were signed to a contract at age 19 or older and have been in that organization for 4 yrs, OR 2) were signed at age 18 or younger and have been in that organization for 5 yrs. Each of the players added to the 40 man roster by the Phillies fits that description.

Flande watching game action from the dugout, during an August game

PhoulBallz interviewed Quintin Berry over the summer. Click here to read that article.

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DeRosa the Favorite at 3rd?

The Phillies have reportedly put free agent Mark DeRosa atop their wish list to fill the team's void at third base. Reports state DeRosa could sign with Philadelphia by the end of the week. The 9 year Major League veteran, grew up in New Jersey and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. He was originally a 7th round draft selection of the Braves in 1996.

DeRosa, a right handed batter, is a career .275 hitter with a .767 OPS. A versatile fielder, he has played 6 different positions in the majors, including all four infield spots. In 311 career games at the hot corner, DeRosa has a .955 fielding percentage.

Comparatively, the Phillies' previous third baseman Pedro Feliz had a .254 career batting average and a .715 OPS. He also had a .964 fielding percentage in 899 career games at third base. Great defense aside, Feliz's offensive production has been on a steady decline. Feliz's OPS has dropped in each of his past six seasons. Phillies management obviously saw an opportunity to improve the lineup and are seeking the right option with which to do so.

The price tag for DeRosa is also likely quite appealing to the Phillies. Other top options for the position like Chone Figgins and Adrian Beltre are sure to demand considerable deals. There's also been some talk of former AL MVP Miguel Tejada being prepared to make a move from shortstop to third base, and he should also come at a greater price than DeRosa. Figgins earned roughly $5.8 million in 2009 and is younger than DeRosa. Beltre has earned over $13 million each of the past 2 seasons. Tejada earned over $14 million this past year. DeRosa earned $5.5 million in 2009.

DeRosa recently underwent surgery to repair a torn tendon sheath in his left wrist. He is expected to be ready to resume baseball activities well before spring training.

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Fairly big news for this site should be announced soon. If you keep up with PhoulBallz on Twitter, you'd know it involves a top prospect in the Phillies organization.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Phillies Buzz

There was plenty of news in Phillies land on Monday. "Jay" Happ finished 2nd in NL Rookie of the Year voting, Eric Bruntlett will officially not return to the team next year and the Phils are reportedly a possibility for Pedro Martinez to return to next year.


MLB announced that Chris Coghlan of the Marlins was the 2009 National League Rookie of the Year. Phillies pitcher "Jay" Happ finished second and was the only candidate who appear on all 32 submitted ballots. Coghlan, in fact, did not appear on seven ballots. Coghlan led NL rookies in batting avg. (.321), runs (84), hits (162), on base percentage (.390) and total bases (232). Happ had a 12-4 record and a 2.93 ERA for the National League Champions.


Utility player Eric Bruntlett refused a minor league assignment from the Phillies and became a free agent on Monday. Bruntlett will forever have two claims to fame for the Phillies...1- scoring the winning run in the 2008 World Series...2- the unassisted game ending triple play against the Mets. Bruntlett batted .171 with a .462 OPS in 72 games for the Phillies in 2009.


According to Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com, Pedro Martinez intends to pitch the entire 2010 season, and the Phillies are still in the mix to re-sign the former World Champion hurler. The article, found here, features quotes from Martinez's agent, Fern Cuza, who blames the poor outing that Pedro had in game 6 of the World Series on the flu that he was suffering through. Cuza said that Martinez lost 13 pounds, while sick. "I don't know how he took the mound that night. I didn't realize how sick he was", Cuza stated.

Martinez may appear in the Dominican Winter league, while he trains during the offseason and prepares for a full 2010 schedule.

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Other news from Monday...

Harry Kalas statue a possibility at CBP. Link.

Read about the type of guy that got elected Rookie of the Year over "Jay" Happ. Link.

Cleveland has hired everyone's favorite ex-Phillies third base coach Steve Smith as a coach. Link.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

A FEEL For the Game...

This is an entry by guest blogger Allen Schatz. Allen may be familiar to some of you as "raschatz" on twitter and Facebook. Allen is a fiction writer and is currently shopping a murder mystery set on a baseball canvas. Those in the business may wish to click here, to find out more about Allen's work.


Much has been said and written about how the Phillies have turned a corner in recent years, how they finally seem to "get it." I was reminded of that after another day of Eagles football came and went with a hauntingly familiar result. The Birds have taken over as Philadelphia's -- hell, maybe ALL of professional sport's -- Groundhog Day Team.

You know, they do the same thing over and over and expect something different to result. Phil Sheridan of the Philly Inquirer hit on it in his assessment of their latest loss...

"The veteran head coach has to take some of the heat for the way some very good drives fizzled..."

"The Eagles' inability to (insert appropriate failure here) remains a mystery..."

"...another winnable game gets away... the Eagles are just a mediocre football team..."

Those comments -- and I swear I've seen them before at some point every year for the past ten or so seasons -- got me thinking about how much these two teams have traded places and even more so, WHY that has occurred. For me, it boils down to one simple aspect:

The Phillies have a FEEL... the Eagles do not.

The Birds are led by men (Andy Reid and his bosses) entrenched in a mind-fart of epic proportions, unable to deviate from a stubborn and insane belief that their system is the be-all, end-all of perfection and if repeated often enough will lead to success. Unfortunately, as much as the system, it is these mens' definition of success that is the failure. They just don't get it.

Contrast that with the Phillies. Professional sports' most successful loser, the team suffered for years as a "second tier" organization run by a management group more intent on controlling the level of debits over credits than wins over losses. Like Lurie/Banner/Reid now, the Phillies front office had no FEEL for success, not really. They liked to try to get you to believe they did, but we knew better.

A couple close calls were made worse by a lack of action when action was called for. The elusive ring was right there, but we were told it was unreachable.

And then something changed...

Someone woke up and Ed Wade was banished to the abyss, destined to make another franchise suffer his indignities. Pat Gillick was presented to us and we were told he got it, he had a feel, just look at what he'd done in Toronto and Seattle. Pat gave us Charlie Manuel, a West Virginia bumpkin on the outside, but a fierce competitor on the inside. We were told Charlie had a feel, and we just had to trust him, we'd see.

At first we were reluctant, but as time passed we saw something in their eyes and heard something in their voices, something different. Off-field moves once thought impossible became commonplace. On-field moves questioned at first soon spawned results. The close calls became championships. A division out of nowhere. Then another with a pennant and a world title. It became a three year run unlike any before.

And best of all, it promises more to come. Not because that's what the mindless dolts tell us will happen, but because we can FEEL it. Watching the Eagles, more and more of us feel nothing. There is no look of a champion, no innate sense they are destined for something other than more of the same. If nothing else, the Phillies have proven more of the same is no longer acceptable. Watching them, despite a World Series defeat, we feel good.

As the off-season settles in, anticipation for the future is high. The Fightins' still carry the look of a winner, the look of a champion. The new season (now more than ever given the Eagles awfulness) can't get here soon enough.

Can you FEEL it?

I knew you could...

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday School: History Lesson 38

Bernie Friberg was an infielder for the Phillies from 1925-1932. Friberg drove in more than 80 runs twice for the Cubs before coming to Philadelphia in 1925.

Friberg's positional versatility kept him active. In 1925, he played all 4 infield positions, the outfield, caught a game and even pitched for the Phillies. In 1926, Friberg spent the entire season at second base, playing 144 games there, but over the next few seasons, he mixed it up all over the infield and played outfield some more. Friberg would fill in where ever he was needed. Phillies manager Burt Shotton called Friberg, "the most valuable man on our team." In 1929, Friberg received some consideration for the league MVP award, finishing 18th in the voting.

Offensively, Friberg never became a huge run producer. His best season at the plate was 1929, when hit 7 homers, drove in 55 and had an OPS of .808. In 8 years with the Phillies, Friberg was a .274 hitter in 795 games played. In 1926, Friberg led the National League in strikeouts, with 77.

By 1932 the team had completed an overhaul of the infield and Friberg's playing time dwindled down. He was released by the Phillies in the 1932-1933 offseason, and was then signed by the Red Sox. In 17 games with Boston, Friberg batted .317 while seeing time at second, shortstop and third base. Friberg would play one more season in the minor leagues before retiring from baseball.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Guillermo Interviews Sammy Sosa


With the World Series over, Sammy Sosa's skin color has become the most talked about story related to baseball, so, here is another installment from Jimmy Kimmel Live with Guillermo tackling the biggest news in the sport. Guillermo "interviewed" Sosa to discuss the controversy, en Espanol.

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First Round Drafting Around the NL East

As Brett Myers departs from the Philadelphia Phillies organization, has another bust of a first round draft pick been secured in team history?
Myers was the second highest paid Phillie in 2009. With the Phillies locked into the $12 million range on Myers, there was no chance of him returning. I can easily concede that Myers was successful at times and will forever be cemented in team lore for closing down the 2007 East Division title and for his efforts in the 2008 postseason, but were a few shining moments enough to prove him worthy of a top draft spot?

This makes two consecutive offseasons where the Phillies will have cut ties with former first round picks, with last year's casualty being 1998 #1 overall pick Pat Burrell. Letting these players go before they could evolve into the faces of the franchise that Phillies phans hoped they'd both become, in the late 90's, got me wondering if they were busts. That then got me reflecting on all the top draft pick busts I grew up following, like Wayne Gomes and Tyler Green. On top of that, I wondered what type of success the other East Division teams have had by comparison. Ahead, I dig in a bit and pit the division rivals' first rounders up against the Phillies' choices.

Before starting, figure in the 2004-2005 draft classes are a fair point to expect a sample to begin trickling into the Major Leagues at this point. Any more recent, has not allowed the players ample time to excel, so 2005 will be our cutoff for discussion. The farthest back I will go is 1994....when the Phillies were defending NL champs for 2 years, thanks to a strike. Anything farther back feels like an athlete's generation ago.

In 1994, the Phillies selected RHP Carlton Loewer. Loewer reached the majors by June, 1998, and started the 1999 season on the Phillies' roster. Loewer played just those two seasons with the Phils and then two more seasons with the Padres. With just a 9-14 record and a 5.68 ERA in 41 games with the team, nothing else needs to be said to label Loewer a huge bust.

1995's first round choice was Reggie Taylor. Taylor reached the majors with the Phils by 2000 and played 14 total games as a Phillie, prior to being traded to the Reds for relief pitcher Hector Mercado in 2002. Reggie Taylor batted .231 in 260 career major league games- bust.

1996's first round draft choice by the Phillies was Adam Eaton. Eaton was traded, along with Loewer, to San Diego. Eaton was twice a bust...first as a draft choice, then as a free agent. Eaton returned to the Phillies in 2007 and went 14-18 with a 6.10 ERA as a Phillie.

In 1997, the Phillies had the second overall pick in the draft and wasted it on JD Drew, after Drew and his agent, Scott Boras, made their financial demands known and told the Phillies not to draft him if they weren't prepared to meet the demands. Drew didn't sign with the Phillies, and thus they missed out on a top draft pick. Bust.

Pat Burrell...1998...top overall pick. Nine years with the team and 251 homers are great...a success by most standards. However, expectations are high with that #1 overall selection. With names like Chipper Jones, Alex Rodriguez and Josh Hamilton also being #1 overall selections in the 90's, it's not difficult to see why expectations for that slot are so high. Burrell was never an all star, which is a big reason why I wondered if Burrell was a bust. If I set the astronomical expectations of "top overall pick" aside, and look at Burrell's place among all time Phillies offensive leaders (RBI- 7th, HR- 3rd, top 20 for many others), then he is certainly a success. The late 90's is when things began to turn around for the Phillies.

Brett Myers was the #1 pick in 1999. Always a promising prospect, he never became an ace, but was a solid starter and even closed for the 2007 NL East champions. 73-63 record with a 4.40 ERA in 8 seasons with the team. Brett Myers was not a bust. We'll call Myers a moderate success.

2000's first round draft choice by the Phillies was Chase Utley. Utley, as we all know, has become a premiere offensive threat, and could very well go down in history as one of the greatest second basemen to ever play the game. Five straight seasons with an OPS over .900...Great success!

Gavin Floyd in 2001...another bust, unfortunately. He had all the tools, but didn't have any success until the Phillies traded him to the White Sox. Certainly a bust for the Phils, potentially a success elsewhere.

The Phillies chose Cole Hamels with their first round pick in June, 2002. Hamels would pitch in the Hall of Fame game for the Phillies, in Cooperstown, against the Tampa Bay Rays the following June, the same team he would earn World Series MVP honors against, 5 years later. Chalk another one up for Great Success!

No first round pick in 2003...Jim Thome signing related. The final first rounder in the review window was Greg Golson in 2004. The Phillies traded him to Texas for John Mayberry Jr. last offseason. Golson is still just 24 and could still excel, but it won't be as a Phillie, so...BUST.

Summary list of Phillies busts- Loewer, Taylor, Eaton, Drew, Floyd, Golson.
Summary list of Phillies successes- Myers, Burrell, Utley, Hamels.


Here are some looks at other NL East teams and their draft choices during the same stretch.

Braves' bust list-
Chad Hutchinson (1995 first round, did not sign).
Jason Marquis (1996 draft supplemental 1st round, 4 seasons as a Brave, 14-15 record, traded WITH Adam Wainwright for JD Drew and Eli Marrero). That trade was a bust too.
AJ Zapp (1996 pick, never played in the majors).
Troy Cameron (1997 first rounder, never played in the majors).
Aaron Herr (2000 supplemental first round, never played in majors).
Scott Thorman (2000 1st round, .222 avg in 175 ML games).
Adam Wainwright (2000 1st round pick, traded away to succeed w/ St. Louis).
Josh Burrus (2001, didn't play in majors), Macay McBride (2001, traded away), Jeff Francoeur (2002, traded away), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (2003, traded away), Joey Devine (2005, traded away).
Braves jury's still out on list-
Kelly Johnson (2000).
Braves great success list-
No one.

Mets' bust list-
Paul Wilson (1994 first rounder, went 5-12 in his only season as a Met).
Ryan Jaroncyk, Robert Stratton, Geoff Goetz...(95, 96, 97...none reached the majors).
Jason Tyner (1998 first round pick, played 13 games as a Met).
Bobby Keppel (2000 first round supplemental, released after 2005 season without ever playing as a Met).
Billy Traber (2000 first round pick, never played as a Met).
Aaron Heilman (2001 first round pick, 26-37 over 7 seasons as a Met).
Scott Kazmir (2002 first rounder, traded to Tampa for Victor Zambrano).
Lastings Milledge (2003 first round pick, traded).
Philip Humber (2004 first round pick, traded in the 2008 Johan Santana deal, has pitched in 18 major league games).
Mets jury's still out on list-
Mike Pelfrey (2005).
Mets great success list-
David Wright (2001 supplemental first round pick).

Marlins' bust list-
Josh Booty (1994 first round pick, played 13 games in the majors).
Jaime Jones (1995 first rounder, never played in majors).
Mark Kotsay (1996 first rounder, played 4 seasons w/ Marlins hitting 31 homers, then traded).
Aaron Akin (1997 first rounder, never played in majors).
Chip Ambres (1998 first round pick, batted .233 in 80 career ML games).
Adrian Gonzalez (2000 first round pick, traded for Ugueth Urbina in '03).
Jeremy Hermida (2002 first round pick, traded to Red Sox last week, otherwise he'd be a jury still out candidate).
Jeffrey Allison (2003 first rounder, has never played in majors).
Ryan Tucker (2005 supplemental 1st round pick, 8.27 ERA in 13 career ML games).
Marlins jury is still out on list-
Taylor Tankersley (2004 first rounder pick, missed 2009 season with injury, appeared in 141 games in relief over 3 seasons with Marlins).
Marlins great success list-
Josh Beckett (2nd overall pick in 1999, helped win 2003 World Series, traded in deal that brought Hanley Ramirez to Florida).

Nats' (formerly the Expos) bust list-
Hiram Bocachica (1994 first round pick, last name was fun to say, never played as an Expo/Nat). Mike Thurman (1994 supplemental first round pick, was 25-36 in 5 seasons with the Expos).
Michael Barrett (1995 first rounder, 5 yrs as an Expo but only two years with an OPS above .700).
John Patterson (1996 first round pick, 18-25 in 88 career games).
In 1997, the Expos had an astounding 7 supplemental first round picks and a regular first round choice. All 8 of those players combined played only 173 major league games, 171 of which were by pitcher TJ Tucker, who went 13-9 in his career for the Expos/Nats. Bust times 8! (Side note: found in 1997's 2nd round- Randy Wolf, Scott Linebrink, Tyler Walker, Aaron Cook, Rick Ankiel, Jeff Weaver)
Brad Wilkerson (1998 supplemental first round pick, bated .256 with 83 homers in 5 seasons with Expos/Nats).
Josh McKinley (1998 first rounder, never played in majors).
Josh Girdley (1999 first round choice, did not play in majors).
Justin Wayne (2000 fifth overall pick, pitched just 26 ML games with a 6.13 ERA).
Josh Karp (2001 sixth overall pick, did not play in majors).
Clint Everts (2002 fifth overall pick, did not play in ML).
Bill Bray (2004 first round pick, pitched in just 19 games as a Nat, before being dealt in the 2006 Felipe Lopez/Austin Kearns trade with the Reds).
Nats Jury's still out on list-
Chad Cordero (2003 first round pick, once a great closer, injuries have set him back a great deal).
Nats' great success list-
Ryan Zimmerman (2005 fourth overall pick, Was in the majors before the end of the '05 season, now an all star and Gold Glove Award winner).

No one within the division even comes close to the Phillies' good fortune with drafting in the first round. The savvy Phillies are the three-time defending NL East champs and their effective methods of selecting amateurs is what has enabled them to be so triumphant. Do it again, with the next wave of first rounders, Phillies! Kyle Drabek and Joe Savery, you are both on deck.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sosa's New Look and Neighborhood Chatter



If you haven't seen Sammy Sosa lately, have a look at the above video, as The Young Turks discuss his new appearance.


Here's are some links to what's hot on some of the pro's blogs...

Rumors about Roy Halladay have picked up again over the past couple days. MLB.com's Todd Zolecki hashes out why Halladay still won't be a Phillie here.

On his blog, Scott Lauber took a look at free agent rankings and the draft pick compensation system. Click here to check that out.

Baseball America's John Manuel gave an interview to BlueClaws Blog about his Phillies prospect rankings. Check that out here.

John Finger has no qualms about asserting that Charlie Manuel is the best manager in Phillies history. For that article, click here.

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Monday, November 9, 2009

Baseball America's Top 10 Prospect List

Baseball America released its list of top 10 Phillies prospects today. The article, found by clicking here, includes a projected future lineup for the Phillies, salary bonus information, a breakdown of best tools throughout the system and a review of the organization's turnaround over the past decade. The author, John Manuel, states that, " No organization transformed its image in the 2000s more than the Phillies," and it was surely for the better.

Pitching prospect Justin De Fratus, on the honor of "Best Control" on Baseball America's Phillies prospect tools list, said, "That's pretty cool to be recognized for that. To be considered the best in a certain area, in such an elite organization, is great. Especially because control and command is something I take a lot of pride in." De Fratus always credits his father Terry as being key in helping with his success with location. A while back, Justin told me, "(My dad is) the reason why I throw so many strikes, 'cause he impressed it on me at a young age- throw strikes, throw strikes, throw strikes. So it's kind of something that stuck with me. You know, as a little kid I didn't just go up there and throw the ball. I threw it with a purpose- throw the ball over the plate."

Baseball America's top 10 includes many familiar names, for frequent readers of PhoulBallz.com. In fact, PhoulBallz featured exclusive interviews with each of the top 6 prospects in the Phillies' farm system this season. Baseball America's top 10 prospects are listed below. The top 6 names are linked to their 2009 PhoulBallz interviews.

1- Domonic Brown
2- Kyle Drabek
3- Michael Taylor
4- Travis D'Arnaud
5- Trevor May
6- Anthony Gose (2nd Q&A here)
7- Sebastian Valle
8-Jarred Cosart
9- Antonio Bastardo
10- Domingo Santana


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Anti-Yankee View of Last Week's Parade



Jimmy Kimmel Live took an anti-Yankee look at the World Series Champions parade, last week. Here is that footage.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sunday School: History Lesson 37

Clay Dalrymple was a catcher with the Phillies from 1960-1968. Never a huge offensive threat, Dalrymple's defensive skills kept him behind the plate as the Phillies' everyday catcher. It was well known that his signal calling abilities and strong throwing arm were Dalrymple's strengths and made up for any shortcomings at bat.

Dalrymple was part of the well-known 1964 Phillies team that is infamous for their collapse down the stretch. That season, the Phillies blew a 6 1/2 game lead with 15 games left to play.

Dalrymple's best offensive season came in 1962 when he hit 11 homers, drove in 54 runs with a .276 avg. and an .809 OPS. Over the next 3 seasons, Dalrymple's batting average would drop, plumeting to .213 in 1965. Dalrymple's sliding production with the bat became a source of frustration for many Phillies phans.

In 1966, Clay's batting average bounced back up to .245 and he had a streak of 99 straight games without an error, but his .172 batting average in 1967 was the beginning of the end of his starting gig in Philadelphia.

Dalrymple caught only 80 games the following season and was traded in the 1968-1969 offseason to Baltimore, where he would play in a reserve role, catching just 73 games in 3 season with the Orioles.

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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Offseason Business Begins

It's been a brief offseason so far. But in the two short days since the Phillies' race to repeat ended, there have been a lot of happenings with the team. It was a sure thing that after the Yankees recorded the final out to win their 27th World Series Championship that the 25 men representing the Phillies at that time would never play together again, but as the days pass, the truth in that statement is increasingly clear.

Brett Myers was informed on Friday that he will not return to the Phillies. Myers' was not surprised by the news, and looked forward to returning to Philadelphia as an opponent. Myers filed for free agency after being notified. Myers, a former first round draft pick, should draw plenty of interest around baseball. His future is most likely as a reliever.

Also filing for free agency on Friday were Miguel Cairo and Pedro Martinez. The official free agency period begins 15 days after the end of the World Series.

Two players had contracts who were finished unless the Phillies picked up the team's option for an extra year. Cliff Lee's option has already been exercised, while the Phillies have until Monday to exercise the option year on Pedro Feliz's contract. With Lee's option being jumped upon, and no action or official word on Feliz being made, that might be fairly telling for Pedro. Feliz would be owed $5.5 million next year. Lee's option is worth $9 million.

Phans should remember last year, when GM Ruben Amaro Jr. thought it was necessary to make a change in the Phillies' lineup, and as a result, Pat Burrell was let go, and Raul Ibanez was signed. Amaro doesn't ever want things to get stagnant. The third base position may be this offseason's lineup refinement. The Angels' Chone Figgins has been rumored to be on Amaro's wish list for months. Acquiring Figgins, who has averaged more than 46 steals over the past 5 seasons, would add speed to the lineup, and possibly make a player like Shane Victorino expendable at some point. With a collection of young outfielders in the minors (Michael Taylor, Domonic Brown and even John Mayberry Jr.) who are on the verge of being ready to be tested at the Major League level, making room to do so could be beneficial for depth's sake as well as financially. Adrian Beltre, who dealt with injuries this year, may be a more affordable option at third base. Figgins would be 32 years old when the 2010 season starts, and Beltre would turn 31 during the first week of the season. Feliz turns 35 at the end of April 2010.

Turning back toward pitching, the Phillies have been in contact with Chan Ho Park's agent about bringing him back in 2010. Another free agent, Scott Eyre, who is due for elbow surgery, will likely be examined as he recovers, before the Phillies decide to make him an offer or not.

The STOVE is HOT already, phans. MLB games may not be played year round, but MLB news certainly happens daily. Check back to PhoulBallz all throughout the offseason for news, notes and insight.

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

2009- Still a Great Year


The Phillies came up short in the World Series this time around. However, players and phans alike should all still feel as though 2009 was a hugely succesful year. I got the hate out of the way with my previous post, so, looking back, here are my top '09 reasons that Phillies phans should be pleased with the season that ended 2 wins shy of a World Series repeat...

'09- The Phillies won the National League pennant. That is still a big deal.

8- Brad Lidge and Cole Hamels will bounce back. (Right? Won't they...?!)

7- Ruben Amaro Jr. knows what he is doing. Raul Ibanez, Cliff Lee and still having Michael Taylor, Kyle Drabek and Dom Brown intact in the Phillies' system are certainly enough proof.

6- Ryan Howard developed himself into a better player. Showing up in Clearwater, the Phillies' spring training facility, slimmer, to work on his defense and focus on being a better hitter, early this year was where it all started. Howard's defense was visably improved in 2009 and he raised his average, OBP, and slugging percentage as well. Howard leads MLB in homers since 2006, with 198. Even better things to come? Yes.

5- Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley are the leaders of the team. When one is down, the other is up. When the team needs a boost, these guys get it done. Two MVP calibre players up the middle, in the infield, is tremendous.

4- You've got a brand new rivalry with real meaning. Forget about those forced rivalries that interleague play brings about with Toronto (rematch of '93) or Baltimore (regional proximity)...seperated by New Jersey, the Phillies and Yankees are full fledged rivals now, and that series from June 15th-June 17th in New York next year is going to be a blast.

3- These runs, deep into the playoffs, add opportunities for bonding, friendships, and fun. More games means more chances to get out to the ballpark and live your crazy Philly sports phan lives with people who are just like you. It gives phans opportunities to network with one another, whether it's at the local pub or online with sites like Twitter. Philly phandom is a brotherhood...it is the tie that binds.

2- The nucleus is intact. Sure, I guess everyone is saying that today, but with the complete core of the team locked up for years to come, 2009 was not the only shot this group of Phillies will get at returning a world championship and a parade to Philadelphia. Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Raul Ibanez, Ryan Madson, Cole Hamels, Carlos Ruiz, Jayson Werth, Shane Victorino, Brad Lidge and Cliff Lee should all get more shots to take out the Yankees.

1- Harry Kalas would be proud of this team...and so should all of you. High Hopes forever!


It was a great season, everyone. Hold your heads up. Every group of fans in baseball, except for one, wishes they could be in your shoes.

Thanks for reading PhoulBallz.com. Stay "tuned" throughout the offseason for original content as we keep you posted on hot stove happenings, as we check in with Phillies minor leaguers and as we continue to honor the best team in the National League, the Philadelphia Phillies.

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Good stuff around the internet worthy of you clicking on....

Friend of PhoulBallz and new local celebrity NeeKo has a MySpace page for his music. Check it out here. And if you missed it, NeeKo's Q&A session with PhoulBallz can be found here.

Umpire Al, AKA- RASCHATZ, has a blog that, today, takes a look at the Phillies' recent accomplishments. Click here to read that.

The700Level is proud and looks at the upgraded identity of the Phillies in baseball. Check that out by clicking this link.

The Daily News' David Murphy looks at some offseason decisions staring at the Phillies. Link for that- right here.

John Finger says the Dynasty is Delayed, and has some quotes from Phillies players. Read that article by clicking here.

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The New Champs are Here


Remember when Phillies phans would have been fully satisfied with a run like this? Remember how the Phillies franchise used to be...with no post season appearances for periods that seemed like lifetimes? Remember that 14 year playoff drought? In 2007, Phillies phaithful were just happy to get into October and, "So what?", when they got swept by the Rockies.

That state of mind doesn't exist any longer. After a 2008 run where the Phillies just couldn't be stopped, once they got hot in September, and the team brought home a World Championship, no Philadelphia baseball lover is pleased with anything short of being number 1!

But, coming in second isn't that bad. The Phillies were runners up to a cheating performance enhancing drug user (Alex Rodriguez), that other performance enhancing drug user (Andy Pettitte), that "legend" who was shown on camera this postseason making sure the umpire wasn't looking when he wanted to add spit to the baseball he was about to pitch, which is also cheating (Mariano Rivera), the traitor who flipped sides in the biggest rivalry in professional sports (Johnny Damon), The faux-hawked giant baby with the permanent smirk on his puss that is second to only Tyler Hansbrough on the athlete's list of easiest faces to hate (Nick Swisher), the whiny catcher who calls timeouts every 45 seconds and complains about opponents stealing signs (Jorge Posada), oh, and GOD (Derek Jeter). How can you all not feel okay with that? Isn't that the type of group of men you shouldn't mind getting beaten by?



And that goes without mentioning their amazing fan base that are always respectful and intelligent and never hypocritical. Aren't those the types of people who are deserving of having a big trophy and a parade?

(Hate! Hate! Hate! Hate! Hate!)

HELL NO! Go get 'em next year, Phillies!
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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

World Series Preview, Game 6: Phillies at Yankees


Trying to extend the World Series to a 7th game for the first time since the 2001 postseason, when the Yankees lost to the Diamondbacks, the Phillies head to New York. The Yankees lead the series 3-2 and still stand just 27 outs from their 27th World Series Championship. The pitching match up pits two pitching greats, as Andy Pettitte and Pedro Martinez look to add to their legendary resumes. Read ahead for pitching match ups and other details from this game.


Wednesday, 7:57pm. Pedro Martinez (0-1, 2.08 ERA in postseason) vs. Andy Pettitte (3-0, 3.24 ERA in postseason). On the road this season, Pedro was 3-1 in 4 starts with a 5.66 ERA. Martinez is 11-11 with a 3.20 ERA in 32 career starts against the Yankees. In his lone home start this postseason, Pettitte allowed 1 run over 6 1/3 innings to Anaheim. During the regular season, Pettitte was 6-4 with a 4.59 ERA in 16 road starts.


Ryan Howard tied the all time record of 12 strikeouts in a single World Series, matching the record by Willie Wilson set in 1980. Howard is just 3-for-19 (.158 batting avg.) in this series.

Carlos Ruiz is batting .310 (13-for-42) in 14 games this postseason with a .977 OPS.

In 22 career postseason games, Ryan Madson is 2-0 with 1 save and a 2.78 ERA. In those games, Madson has struck out 26 batters and walked 7 in 22 2/3 innings pitched.

Mariano Rivera is 0-0 with 5 saves in 11 games this postseason. In 14 1/3 postseason innings this year, opponents are batting .170. In his career, Rivera is 8-1, with a 0.75 ERA and 39 saves in 87 postseason games. In 23 career World Series games, Rivera has 11 saves and a 1.04 ERA.

Mark Teixeira is batting .172 (10-for-58) in 14 postseason game this year...and .105 (2-for-19) in the World Series.

Hideki Matsui is 5-for-9 (.555 avg) with 2 homers in the World Series. In 55 career postseason games, Matsui is a .303 hitter (61-for-201) with 9 homers and 33 RBI. At home this year, Matsui batted .265 with 13 homeruns and 49 RBI in 75 games.

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Don't forget that Wednesdays are PhoulBallz Phillies Wednesdays on The Shore Sports Report. I will be on he air to chat it up with Mike & Joe around 3:20 today. Click the link or tune into Fox Sports 1310 or WOBM AM 1160 in New Jersey to check it out. The Shore Sports Report is on every weekday from 3pm-6pm.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

It's Election Day...Why Not?


Today's edition of the Philadelphia Daily News features Charlie Manuel in a Barack Obama presidential campaign themed poster. There IS hope. And because there's hope, here's a couple other Phillies in similar posters, that were on the web last year.
Get out and VOTE today!

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Time For Some Action

Yahoo! Sports' Tim Brown reported, following the Phillies World Series game 5 victory, that Phillies pitchers Cole Hamels and Brett Myers had a confrontation in the team's clubhouse that was only verbal and was defused before it escalated further.

The exchange stemmed from Hamels' comments to a reporter after his game 3 loss on Saturday. Hamels, in regards to his rough and rugged season said, "I can't wait for it to end." The remark was taken somewhat out of context, as Hamels meant to speak of his struggles, not necessarily about his team's season.

The story Brown reports says that Myers asked Hamels, "What are you doing here? I thought you quit." Hamels then responded with a profane remark. Before the encounter became worse, a team official escorted Myers away. Cole's comment to the media apparently has angered some teammates.

Myers was warming up in the bullpen during the ninth inning of Monday night's game 5 win, while Ryan Madson gave up a run before recording a save.

Both Myers and Hamels have histories with violence, as Myers was arrested on charges of domestic violence in 2006. In 2005, while pitching in the minors, Hamels broke his hand in a bar fight. So, you know what that means...
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, LET'S GET READYYY TO RUMBLLLLLLLLE!!!!

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Afternoon update- some reporters are squashing the story, saying the two were just "breaking stones" and there was no ill will intended. Leslie Gudel of CSN says that Myers wasn't aware of Hamels' remarks on Saturday. For real? Maybe. Damage control? Also maybe.

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It's a Whole New Series


The Phillies bounced back in the World Series to force a return to the Bronx with an 8-6 victory at Citizens Bank Park on Monday night.

Cliff Lee started the game and held the Yankees to just 2 runs through 7 innings, before running into some problems in the eight and being charged with 3 more runs. Lee's final line was 7 innings, 3 walks, 3 strike outs, 5 earned runs. Those numbers are misleading, as Lee really ran the show for the defending World Champions, and truly settled in after giving up a run on an Alex Rodriguez double in the first inning.

Chase Utley was the offensive star for the Phillies. Utley blasted two homeruns, bringing his series total to a World Series record tying 5, and drove in 4 runs. Chase pounded the first homer off AJ Burnett in the first inning with 2 runners on, and the Phillies had a 3-1 lead after just 8 pitches in the bottom of the first inning. The second homer was a solo shot that came off of Phil Coke in the 7th inning.

Utley is batting .333 in the series. Burnett allowed 6 earned runs in 2 official innings pitched in game 5. Coke allowed runs for the first time in six postseason appearances this year.

Burnett's shortcomings marked the very first time this postseason that a Yankees starting pitcher did not last at least 6 innings.

In the 7th inning, with the Phillies leading 8-2, Yankees employees, friends, fans and family members in section 142 all seemed to concede the loss, as they began chanting, "We want Pedro!", referring to the Phillies' scheduled game 6 starter Pedro Martinez. The reply back was easy, "You're going to get him!"

By the end of the game, things got closer and the situation became nervous for Phillies phans. The Yankees hung around and chipped away at the Phils' lead, but Ryan Madson was able to close out a save to force a game 6. No official word on the Phillies' closer status yet, so tune in on Wednesday night to find out.

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Shouts out to Mike, Kevin and Sean/Shaun/Shawn, whom I met at the game and had a blast with.


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Monday, November 2, 2009

Phils Drop Game 4, '2009 Lidge' is Back


It wasn't a save situation, but it was definitely the spot in the game where the home teams uses its closer, because at that stage of the game, the home team can't have a lead without the game ending, so there's no longer a chance for a save situation. Tie score, top of the ninth inning, the Phillies used their guy who locked it down for them all of last year...the same guy who has really struggled this season.

Brad Lidge entered the game in the ninth inning and quickly retired the first two batters he faced, with the game tied 4-4. Up came Johnny Damon, who battled and drew pitch after pitch, before working a 2 out single. With Mark Teixeira batting, the Phillies shifted their infield toward the right side. Damon stole second, and third baseman Pedro Feliz fielded the throw from catcher Carlos Ruiz at second base. An alert Damon noticed that no Phillie was covering the third base bag that Feliz abandoned when he shifted, so Damon quickly broke for third, stealing TWO bases on the same play.

Dipping back to earlier in the game, Alex Rodriguez was hit by a pitch in the 1st inning. After Rodriguez complained, the umpiring crew held a brief conference on the field and motioned to both dugouts to warn against retaliation and further hit batters. The warning meant that any additional hit batters would result in an ejection.

And now returning to the ninth inning, with Damon on third base, Mark Teixeira was hit by a pitch. Lidge should have been ejected. Instead, the umpiring crew did nothing, and Lidge stayed in the game to allow three runs on an Alex Rodriguez RBI double and Jorge Posada 2-RBI single. Lidge was rattled after the Damon hit. An ejection would have been a favor from the umpires, based on the events that followed.

Mariano Rivera entered with the 3 run lead and threw a scoreless bottom of the 9th for the Yankees. Now, they stand one win away from their 27th World Series Championship.

I proclaimed in August that Lidge's role as closer would prevent the Phillies from repeating as World Champions, and right now, after Lidge blew such a pivotal game against the Yankees in the World Series, that statement could turn out to be accurate.

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Here's an AP article about how the Phillies continue to honor Harry Kalas.


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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sunday School: History Lesson 36

Jack Sanford was a pitcher with the Phillies from 1956-1958. After debuting in 1956, appearing in 3 games, Sanford spent the full 1957 season as a member of the Phillies' starting rotation. That season, he won 19 games and was named National League Rookie of the Year.

Sanford matured late, as he spent nearly 10 years in the minor leagues before he made the majors at the age of 27. In his ROY campaign season, Sanford was strong...striking out 10 batters in back to back victories over the Cubs and Pirates in May. The next month, Sanford shut out the Dodgers on 2 hits, and followed that up with a 1-0 win against the Cubs in which he allowed only 3 hits and struck out 13. On July 11th, he took a perfect game into the 8th inning against the Cubs before he gave up a hit, eventually winning 3-1. Sanford's early season success got him named to the NL all star team and by late July, his record was 13-3.

Sanford finished the 1957 season with a record of 19-8, an ERA of 3.08 and his 188 strikeouts led the league. The following season, Sanford's success was not the same and he finished the season 10-13 with a 4.44 ERA. After the 1958 season, Sanford was traded to the Giants for catcher Valmy Thomas and pitcher Ruben Gomez.

The Phillies organization would soon regret making that deal as Sanford's performance shot right back up to where it had been in his rookie season. In 1959, Sanford went 15-12 with 10 complete games. In 1960, he led the NL with 6 shutouts. Sanford was a mainstay in the Giants rotation, making no less than 31 starts each year for each of his first 5 seasons there. In 1962, Sanford finished 2nd in Cy Young Award voting, when he went 24-7 with a 3.43 ERA in 39 starts, and helped the Giants with the NL Pennant. Furthermore, the players the Phillies got in the trade were not even marginally successful. Thomas batted .200 in 66 games for the Phillies in his only season with the team. Gomez went 3-11 with a 5.77 ERA before he left to play for Cleveland prior to the 1962 season.

In the World Series that year, Jack Sanford pitched games 2, 5 and 7 against the Yankees. He won game 2 on a three hitter, 2-0. He lost game 5, despite striking out 10 batters and lost the crucial game 7 by a score of 1-0. In the Series, Sanford allowed just 5 earned runs in 23 1/3 innings (1.33 ERA) and struck out 19 batters.

Sanford would pitch 5 more seasons, spending time with the Angels and the Athletic before retiring.

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