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Showing posts from December, 2010

Minor Jobs: A Look at How Prospects Spend Their Off-seasons

As many fans know, not every baseball player gets a huge signing bonus or a large salary. Many minor league players find themselves working in the Autumn and Winter months to supplement their income and to stay busy. A question often wondered by fans: What do prospects do during the off-season? The answer is simple...pretty much anything and everything. Phillies first base prospect Matt Rizzotti is an individual who typically finds himself working during his time away from the baseball diamond. However, Rizzotti is not working this Winter as a result of having spent much of this off-season continuing to play baseball. Following the 2010 regular season, Rizzotti went to instructional ball in Clearwater for a month, then spent another five weeks playing for Mesa in the Arizona Fall League, where he batted .333 with an .865 OPS in 19 games. Last year, however, Rizzotti, who was a physical education major at Manhattan College, went back to his roots and worked as a full-time teachers ass

Winter League Updates, 12/28/10

The stove stays hot during the off-season, but there are Phillies and Philadelphia prospects playing games around the world. It's time for another review of the various Winter Leagues. In the Puerto Rican League- Righty hurler Julio Rodriguez has pitched very well for the Gigantes. A native of Puerto Rico, the 20-year-old Rodriguez has posted a 3-1 record and a 2.00 ERA in 11 games (9 starts) while striking out 25 batters in 40 innings pitched. In the Venezuelan Winter League- Lefty reliever Sergio Escalona , who pitched with the big league Phillies in 2009, has appeared in 22 games for the Tiburones. He has yet to record a decision and has a 4.50 overall ERA. In his last 10 games, Escalona has posted a 2.45 ERA and allowed runs in only 1 appearance. In 50 games at Double A Reading in 2010, Escalona had a 4-8 record with 10 saves and a 3.81 ERA while holding opponents to a .227 batting average. Escalona turned 26-years-old in August. Fidel Hernandez , a 24-year-old Venezue

The Heaven Hotline with Harry Caray

PhoulBallz.com recently had the opportunity to connect with a legend of sports broadcasting, live on The Heaven Hotline. I spoke with Radio Hall of Fame honoree Harry Caray, who called baseball games for decades in Chicago. Harry chimed in with his thoughts on the return of Cliff Lee to Philadelphia, the state of the Cubs and more. Check out the media player below to listen to the full interview. _______________________________________________________ You can follow PhoulBallz.com on Twitter by clicking HERE . Connect with PhoulBallz.com on Facebook by clicking HERE .

Sunday School: History Lesson 84

Larry Hisle was an outfielder with the Phillies from 1968-1971. Hisle was a solid athlete who played a season of college basketball at Ohio State before signing with the Phillies and playing professional baseball. Hisle made his debut as a late season call up in 1968 at the age of 21, after batting .303 in the minors that year. The following year, in his first full season in the Major Leagues, Hisle slugged 20 homeruns and drove in 56 runs to finish fourth in National League rookie of the year voting. Hisle's HR total was good enough for second on the team that year and helped to get him named a Rookie All-star by Topps that season. In 1970, Hisle struggled and lost confidence, posting a low .205 batting average and only 10 homeruns. After a period of offensive strife, Hisle found himself back in the minors by the middle of the 1971 season. Following the season, Hisle was traded to the Dodgers for utility man Tom Hutton. Hisle spent a year in the Dodgers' system without play

Christmas on the Farm

On behalf of myself and The Shore Sports Network, I'd like to wish a happy Christmas to all of our readers that celebrate it. In recent weeks I've checked in with a several Phillies minor leaguers from various levels of the organization, as holiday spirit was building, to inquire about some of the players' favorite Christmas things. Check out the list of answers from the players I spoke with below. Santa De Fratus FAVORITE CHRISTMAS FOOD- RHP Jarred Cosart..."Favorite food during Christmas is chicken, ham, turkey, mashed potatoes, okra, salad. Ha ha...you name it, I'll eat it." RHP Justin De Fratus..."My favorite holiday food would have to be tamales. I don't know how many Phillies fans would know what those are, but if you are ever in Southern California during Christmas time, you have to have some." RHP Jake Borup..."Father-in-law makes red chile enchiladas!" LHP Nick Hernandez..."My favorite food, or dessert I should say

Draft Bargain Pettis Speaks on Success and Future

This September, right-handed pitcher Eric Pettis was tossed into the proverbial fire. The Phillies wasted no time moving their late-round steal, from this year's amateur draft, into the crucial postseason schedule of the defending South Atlantic League champions, the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws. Pettis began his professional career swiftly after being selected by the Phillies in the 35th round of the 2010 draft with the Williamsport Crosscutters of the short season NY-Penn League out of UC-Irvine. The 6'2", 200 pound hurler started and pitched in relief en route to posting an 8-0 record and a 1.37 ERA while striking out 67 batters in 59 innings with Williamsport. By Labor Day, Williamsport had just missed the playoffs by the slimmest of margins and the BlueClaws were beginning their run at a second straight league title, so Pettis, who opened many eyes while becoming a NY-Penn League All-star, was added to the Lakewood roster in an effort to fortify the bullpen. Pettis w

Special Announcement!

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, phans of all ages....PhoulBallz.com proudly brings to you and your fancy cellular telephone- THE BRAND NEW PHOULBALLZ.COM iPHONE APPLICATION! The application will be the newest way to stay in touch with all the happenings around Philadelphia baseball and the minors. Get all the exclusive PhoulBallz interviews, player features, series previews and loads of other exclusive content that readers have come to depend on from this site. I expect to provide exclusive content to the application for those special folks that take the time to download this unique service. The versatile and fun app, that will allow users to view all the latest posts, with easy access to the PhoulBallz Twitter feed, all PhoulBallz Facebook updates and much more, can be used on your iPhone, your iPad and your iPod! Visit the iPhone App Store by clicking HERE to download the application for free. ____________________________________________________________ Special thanks to

Sunday School: Phillies History Lesson 83

Fresco Thompson was a second baseman with the Phillies from 1927-1930. A righty batter who played in the Major Leagues in 9 different seasons, Thompson's best years in the bigs were with the Phillies. Thompson, whose given first name was Lafayette, made his MLB debut in 1925 as a member of the Pirates. After spending the 1926 season with the Giants, Thompson was acquired by the Phillies in a 3-team trade with the Robins (also known as the Dodgers) and the Giants, prior to the 1927 season. With the Phillies, Thompson posted impressive numbers in his first full season as an everyday player. In 153 games, he batted .303, hit 32 doubles, scored 78 runs and drove in 70 runs. Speed was also a key part of Thompson's game as he stole 19 bags and laced 14 triples in 1927. Over the next three seasons, Thompson would continue to contribute offensively, notching no less than 34 doubles each season and scoring 99 runs, or better, twice. Thompson was quoted reflecting on his time with th

Chatting Baseball on 97.3 ESPN

Tune in around 1:25pm today (Saturday, December 18th) to hear me talking Phillies baseball with the one and only Tyrone Johnson. We'll be talking about the Phillies' stunning acquisition of Cliff Lee and other matters pertaining to your favorite MLB club. Tyrone is a multi talented Millennium Radio force. Music, politics, current events and sports are all topics you can hear Mr. Johnson discussing on various Millennium owned outlets. He hosts The Weekend Sports Guide each and every Saturday, from noon to 3pm, on Atlantic City's 97.3 ESPN. You can listen on the air or online . Check it out! _________________________________________________ Connect with PhoulBallz.com on Facebook by clicking HERE .

Cliff Lee Quotables

The Phillies hosted a press conference on Wednesday at Citizens Bank Park to announce the signing of free agent pitcher Cliff Lee, who they traded away last December. Lee signed a 5-year contract worth a guaranteed $120 million on Wednesday. The deal's annual salaries are laid out like this- 2011...$11 million 2012...$21.5 million 2013...$25 million 2014...$25 million 2015...$25 million There is a vesting option year for 2016 that could pay Lee $27.5 million. The option year vests if Lee throws 200 innings in 2015, or a combined 400 innings in 2014 and 2015. If the option year does not vest, there is a $12.5 million buyout built in. Lee and his family loved their time in Philadelphia the first time, and that weighed greatly on his decision to return. Read all about this and more of what Cliff Lee had to say in the press conference excerpts below. On his return to Philadelphia- "It feels great to land back here in Philadelphia....I never wanted to leave this place in the fi

Halladay Named Sporting News Pro Athlete of the Year

Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay was honored as the 2010 pro athlete of the year, in the latest edition of The Sporting News. In his first season with the Phillies, Halladay threw a perfect game during the regular season and notched the second no-hitter in MLB postseason history. His overall regular season record was an impressive 21-10 and his 2.44 ERA helped him lock down the National League Cy Young Award. As the Phillies' ace, Halladay threw more complete games (9) than any other team in the National League. The issue includes an article written by Halladay. In the piece he mentions the fancy watches he purchased for all his teammates and team staff following his perfect game in May. Halladay references the phrase he had engraved into each gift, "We did it together", and elaborates... "Looking back on the entire 2010 season, I feel it can be summed up in those four words. I might someday forget the details of the perfect game, the playoff no-hitter and and othe

Phils Prospect Cosart Reflects, Prepares For Future

With the release of Baseball America's list of top ten Phillies prospects on Monday, some players will be receiving some much deserved attention. One in particular, Jarred Cosart , is a fireballing right-handed starting pitcher with the potential to move up the organizational rankings very quickly. The 20-year-old Cosart has excellent command and a superior fastball that regularly hits 97 MPH. As a member of the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws in 2010, Cosart posted a 7-3 record with a 3.79 ERA and 77 strike outs in 71 1/3 innings pitched. He projects to be the type of pitcher whose presence could effect the odds involved in Sports Betting some day, much like Cliff Lee did when news leaked that the Phillies were preparing to sign him this week. Cosart missed much of the 2010 season with an elbow injury, but the Phillies did a superb job of catching the injury, before it was too late, and shutting him down to prevent further damage. Cosart was was back to 100% in time to spend the mo

Lee Arrives in Philadelphia, Comments on Return

Below is an excerpt from Tuesday night's edition of the PHL channel 17 news. NBC 10's John Clarke located Cliff Lee, upon arrival, at Philadelphia International Airport tonight and asked him for his reaction after news of his agreement to sign a deal to return to the Phillies. Lee is scheduled to take his physical examination on Wednesday morning. Signing of the new contract will then be finalized and the Phillies will host a press conference in the afternoon to officially announce Lee's return. In other news, Wednesday afternoon will also feature the Washington Nationals' press conference to announce their new free agent acquisition, Jayson Werth. ________________________________________________________ Hat tip to Den Nardo for the video. You can follow PhoulBallz.com on Twitter by clicking HERE . Connect with PhoulBallz.com on Facebook by clicking HERE .

Myster-Lee Team Signs Fourth Ace

It was a move that nobody seemed to expect. But, as the afternoon hours turned to evening hours, baseball insiders began to trickle out rumors online that the Phillies were the previously rumored mystery team making offers to Cliff Lee and, later, negotiations were confirmed by multiple sources. At about midnight the story broke that the Phillies had locked down the services of the man they traded away one year ago...Cliff Lee. On December 14th, 2009 the big story was the trade to acquire Roy Halladay and the subsequent deal that sent Cliff Lee away to Seattle. It's not possible to forget the months of second guessing that so many Phillies phans did, as they wondered what a rotation that included Halladay, Lee and 2008 World Series MVP Cole Hamels would have been like. 365 days after Lee left, he's back and the Philadelphia phaithful have their wish...as well as a bonus. When the Phillies worked a trade in July to acquire ace righty Roy Oswalt from the Astros, there was a wid

Phillies Confirmed to be Bidders on Lee

This afternoon Jayson Stark stated on ESPN.com that the Philadelphia Phillies were the rumored "mystery team" in the mix, along with the Texas Rangers and the New York Yankees, for the services of a free agent known as Cliff Lee. Later in the evening, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal cofirmed via Twitter that the Phillies are involved in the pursuit of Lee. Other info via the likes of Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman (yes, the real one ) and others state that the Yankees still have the edge on the monetary value of the contracts offered. However, if location means enough, as Lee stated in the past that he loved his time in Philadelphia, the Phils are certainly a contender to be high on Lee's list of desired destinations. Other reports state that the Phillies have touched base with multiple teams in an effort to trade Joe Blanton, which would help to free up money in the team's ever-rising payroll. Blanton is owed $8.5 million ($17 million total) in each of the 2 y

Winter Baseball League Updates

Sure, free agency and the Hot Stove can provide plenty of news at this time of the year, but there are actual games being played...somewhere. Let's take a look around the varying "Winter" leagues that are going on all over the world, to review how players with current Phillies ties are performing. In the Dominican Winter Baseball League... Domonic Brown was a member of the Escogido Leones, but left the team last week. After struggling in 9 games for the Leones, Brown's Winter league stint was cut short. He went 2-for-29 (.069 avg) with 1 double and 8 strike outs. 2010 Phillies rookie hurler David Herndon has looked sharp thus far out of the bullpen for the Cibao Gigantes. In 6 games, Herndon has thrown 6 2/3 innings and held opponents to a .167 average without allowing a run. Phillies lefty reliever Antonio Bastardo is also a member of the Gigantes relief corp. In 7 games, Bastardo, a native of the DR, has a 0-1 record with 7 strike outs and 1 walk in 9 innin

Sunday School: Phillies History Lesson 82

Henry Lee Meadows was a pitcher with the Phillies from 1919-1923. Meadows was the first player in the 20th century to take the field while wearing eyeglasses. At the time this was quite unique. Journalists wondered how Meadows could find home plate, while opposing batters claimed to fear for their safety. The attention earned Meadows the nickname "Specs". Meadows, a right-handed hurler, made his Major League debut with the Cardinals at age 20 in 1915 after two winning season in the minor leagues. He was originally a spitball pitcher. In July 1919, Meadows was traded to the Phillies, along with infielder Gene Paulette, for Doug Baird, Elmer Jacobs and Frank Woodward. Out of his 17 starts for the Phillies that year, Meadows completed 15 of those games and threw 3 shut outs. The following season, in 1920, Meadows posted wins in 8 of his first 10 starts, but he struggled down the stretch and finished the season with a 16-14 record and a 2.84 ERA. Meadows threw 3 shut outs for

The Top Phillies Video of the Year

On the last night of Hanukkah, our annual countdown of top Phillies videos concludes. Leading to the number 1 ranked clip, here's a rundown of this year's full list of the top 8 videos! #8- Ryan Howard, Raul Ibanez and Roy Halladay answer fans' questions. #7- PhoulBallz.com's exclusive interview with Carlos Ruiz. #6- The July 9th comeback vs. the Reds. #5- The 2010 Phillies TastyKake commercial. #4- Josh Zeid locks down the 2nd straight Lakewood BlueClaws championship. #3- Prospect Matt Rizzotti discusses the highlight of his 2010 season. #2- Roy Halladay's perfect game against the Marlins. And now, it's on to the top one. So, grab your kippah and check out the media player below to view the top Phillies clip of the year! You all know the deal...Halladay threw a no-hitter in his playoff debut. It was only the second no-hitter in MLB postseason history. Halladay defined "big time" in 2010 and made Philadelphia proud. Thanks for helping this si

Phillies Winter Meetings Update

While several free agent and potential trade names have been floated around at this week's Winter Meetings in Orlando, Florida, with the Phillies organization attached to them, the moves that the Phils have actually made were of minimal impact at the minor league level. In an effort to clear space on their 40-man roster, the Phillies released pitchers Yohan Flande (pictured) and Jesus Sanchez. Flande, a Dominican lefty hurler that will turn 25 years old prior to spring training, is currently pitching for the Toros in the Dominican Winter Baseball League. In 6 games (4 starts), Flande has posted a 1-1 record with a 4.91 ERA and a .303 batting average against for the Toros. In 27 starts for the Double A Reading Phillies this year, Flande went 10-8 with a 4.38 ERA. The right-handed Sanchez performed well this season with the High A level Clearwater Threshers as a starting pitcher. In 23 games (22 starts), Sanchez, who turned 23 years old after the season, posted a 9-7 record with a

The 2010 Video Countdown- Number 2

This 7th night of Hanukkah brings the runner up to video of the year. The second best Phillies video of the year is brought to you by the wonderful Cy Young Award winning pitcher known as Roy Halladay. On May 29th, in Florida, Halladay etched his name into history books everywhere by throwing a perfect game against the Marlins. Plenty has been written about this. Only the video of Halladay himself does the feat any justice. Have a look at the media player below to watch this golden moment from Phillies history one more time. Happy Hanukkah! ____________________________________________________________ You can follow PhoulBallz.com on Twitter by clicking HERE . Connect with PhoulBallz.com on Facebook by clicking HERE .

2010 Phils Video Countdown, Night 6

As we continue on with the countdown we do each year during Hanukkah, to mark the top 8 Phillies videos of the year, we come across another clip straight from the minor leagues. This year's number 3 ranked video comes directly from the minds of two Phils' minor leaguers. In an exclusive interview last month, first base prospect Matt Rizzotti told the story of how he and Reading Phillies teammate Tagg Bozied came up with the concept to produce a promotional video of the pressure bestowed upon the team's cleanup hitter. Check out the media player below to hear Matt explain what led to the video and then check out the second media player to view the end result. Happy Hanukkah to all! _____________________________________________________________________ You can follow PhoulBallz.com on Twitter by clicking HERE . Connect with PhoulBallz.com on Facebook by clicking HERE .

Gillick Elected to Hall of Fame

Former Phillies General Manager Pat Gillick was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Monday by the 16-member Expansion Era Committee. Gillick, who won 3 World Series as an executive with the Blue Jays (1993-1993) and the Phillies (2008), declared that the announcement was an honor. "It's really on behalf of all the people I worked with over the years. That's who I feel this honor is for," Gillick stated. Gillick received 13 votes, one more than required to be elected. Marvin Miller, a longtime executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, fell one vote short of election this year. Candidates must receive 75% of the vote to be elected, thus needing 12 of the 16 votes. By definition, the Expansion Era covered umpires, managers and executives who made their greatest contributions to the game from 1973 to the present. As for players to be considered, that period was 1973-89. Currently employed as a senior advisor to current Phillies

Werth Signs 7-year Contract with Nationals

As was long expected, Jayson Werth is officially an ex-Phillie after signing a contract with the Washington Nationals. The deal, worth a reported $126 million over 7 years, surprised everyone on Sunday afternoon, a day before the annual MLB Winter Meetings take place in Orlando, Florida. Many analysts and baseball writers felt that the two teams most likely to sign the 31-year-old right fielder were the Angels and the Red Sox. Werth's deal could set the tone for other free agents, as it comes relatively early in the off-season. Carl Crawford is the other highly sought after outfielder on the market, while Manny Ramirez and others also look to cash in this Winter. In a conference call with the media on Sunday night, Werth stated, "Obviously, I'm excited to be part of an organization like the Washington Nationals. (Team owner Ted Lerner) is committed to winning. We've got a great GM in Mike Rizzo. He's definitely committed to bringing in quality players and guy

Phils Video Countdown, Night 5

Here on PhoulBallz.com we celebrate Hanukkah annually by counting down the top Phillies related YouTube videos of the year. Tonight, on this 5th night of the Festival of Lights, we recognize a tie in the 4th spot. The 4th ranked videos are related and both filmed by me. Back in September, the Phils' Class A alffiliate, the Lakewood BlueClaws, won their second consecutive South Atlantic League championship. Several Lakewood players were on the team for both postseason stretches and that group included starting pitcher Trevor May, who celebrated greatly with his sweet dance moves. Below are two videos. The first clip is of pitcher Josh Zeid locking down the BlueClaws' title by recording the final out while the second features May's boogie time. Happy holidays! ____________________________________________________________ You can follow PhoulBallz.com on Twitter by clicking HERE . Connect with PhoulBallz.com on Facebook by clicking HERE .

Video Coundown Rolls On...Night 4

Welcome to the fourth night of the annual Phillies video countdown that we do each year during Hanukkah! On the list of top Phillies videos of the season, we can't forget about this gem, brought to us by the folks at TastyKake. This season's edition of the annual ad that co-stars the Phillie Phanatic and Kirbee Krimpet, also featured a pair of handsome local bloggers/writers that you may be familiar with. "Ryan Petzrawr", of Long Drive and TheFightins.com fame, and yours truly, "Jay Ballz", were on hand this year on a brisk March morning to film the TV spot that was seen during each Phillies game throughout the 2010 season. While my filmed closeups were not included in the spot, Ryan and some friends were featured more prominently. The screen capture below shows one of the multiple group shots that I was featured in (far left). Ryan happens to be the lucky individual seen high-fiving the Phanatic in every version of this advertisement. Check out the med

2010 Phillies Video Countdown, Night 3

If you've kept tabs here, you'd know that Hanukkah marks the annual countdown on PhoulBallz.com where we list the top Phillies videos of the year. On this third night of Hanukkah, I bring you video #6 for 2010. Check out the media player below to have a look. This video shows all the key turning points from the Reds vs. Phillies game on July 9th, 2010. I was in Lakewood on this night, covering the Phillies' Single A affiliate the Lakewood BlueClaws. The 'Claws rolled to a 4-3 victory over the Delmarva Shorebirds with the rehabbing Carlos Ruiz leading the way, while the Phillies entered the bottom of the 9th inning trailing 7-1. As the Baby Phils' clubhouse filled up following the final out in Lakewood, the attention in manager Mark Parent's office turned toward a Big Phillies comeback. First, an RBI hit by Ryan Howard plated Shane Victorino to get the Phils within 5 runs. Then it was a 3-run homer by Greg Dobbs that scored Howard and Jayson Werth to close

2010 Hanukkah Video Countdown, Night 2

Happy second night of The Festival of Lights, everyone! Tonight, I bring you clip #7 in this year's annual PhoulBallz list of top Phillies videos of the year. Check out the media player below. This video, while actually just audio with a slide show visual, is my exclusive interview with Carlos Ruiz from July of this year. Ruiz was in Lakewood playing with the Phils' Class A affiliate, the BlueClaws, on an injury rehab assignment. Highlights of the interview include Ruiz speaking about his teammates and revealing the way he likes his ice cream best in his insanely lovable accent. Happy holidays! ___________________________________________________________________ You can follow PhoulBallz.com on Twitter by clicking HERE . Connect with PhoulBallz.com on Facebook by clicking HERE .

3rd Annual Video Countdown

As I do each year around this time, the multi-cultural phamily of PhoulBallz celebrates Hanukkah by counting down the top 8 Phillies videos of the year. Worth noting is that due to MLB being tight with video availability and embedding restrictions, this normally comes down to the top 8 Phillies videos that are available on YouTube. So, light the menorah and check out the media player below to begin counting down with us. In this video brought to you by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce , Ryan Howard, Raul Ibanez and Roy Halladay take part in a lengthy question and answer session with Phillies phans. Highlights include Howard talking about Subway sandwiches, Ibanez talking about the support of the Philadelphia crowds, Halladay mentioning how close he was to playing college basketball and Howard reminding us about how superior Davey Lopes was as a first base coach for the Phillies. Happy hanukkah, everyone. Stay hot. ___________________________________________________

PN Roundtable: Relief Pitcher Free Agents

On Tuesday, I took part in a roundtable discussion with PhilliesNation.com. The subject at hand was "Of the currently available free agent relief pitchers, who should the Phillies attempt to sign?" While some folks feel that names like Scott Downs, Dan Meyer and others are suitable fits for the Phillies bullpen, I disagree. Read what I had to say below, and click HERE to check out what the other PhilliesNation contributors had to say about this matter. Which free agent relievers should the Phillies target? NONE OF THEM. Free agent relievers are too hit or miss, as the Phillies and their phans saw last season when Jose Contreras and his statistics were a pleasant surprise, while Danys Baez and his weak production proved to be money virtually wasted. With the Phillies’ current crop of solid pitching prospects, I don’t feel it is necessary to sign a potentially costly free agent. Sure, there seems to be a need for an additional lefty reliever, but is Scott Downs and the d