Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Beat LA, Beat LA, Beat LA

Here we are, on the eve of the NLCS, in what is sure to be another classic series between the LA Dodgers and the Phightin' Phils. This is the 5th time in postseason history that the Phils and Dodgers will be meeting in the NLCS. Both teams have advanced to the World Series twice in the previous matchups. The Dodgers won the first two encounters in 1977 and 1978 and the Phillies won in 1983 and last year's World Championship year.


Tomorrow night we will see Clayton Kershaw vs. Cole Hamels at Dodger Stadium. Hamels needs to regain his 2008 postseason form and the Phillies' bats need to get hot and strike first and often. The Phightins' need to set the tone early and should the world once again, why we are the defending World Champions. The Phillies are riding high after their incredible series with the Rockies. For me, it was one of the best series I have ever seen. With the exception of Game 1 (I was in attendance), every game was decided by one run. The Phillies need to bring that energy to LA. Things are looking good for the Phightins', the bats are swing well but need to get better with runners in scoring position. We can not leave the bases loaded over and over again and expect to win another World Championship. Brad Lidge is looking like the same pitcher than closed out our first World Series win in 28 years. Also, it looks like our bullpen will get a little stronger with the hopeful return of Chan Ho Park and Joe Blanton has pitched well from the pen. We all know what happens when a team gets Great Pitching and Clutch Hitting in October, you win your first World Championship in 28 years.

I am confident that by Game 6 of the NLCS, we will be gearing up for another World Series in Philadelphia. I can hear it now, the sound of 45,000 Phillies Phaithful chanting as one, "Beat LA, Beat LA, Beat LA."

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Billy and Cal Ripken Jr. Show

Yesterday, I was a caller on the Billy and Cal Ripken Jr. show on XM MLB Radio. First, I want to say want an honor it was to get to speak to Hall of Famer Cal Ripken. The basis of my call was to talk about none other than the Phightins'. I wanted to hear their take on who they felt would be the starters for Game 3 and 4. I mentioned that with Blanton and Happ both throwing in game 2, though it was only one inning and one pitch respectively, did Charlie Manuel hurt us for Games 3 and 4. I mentioned that I thought it would be Perdo Martinez would start (this call was before Charlie Manuel announced that it would indeed be Perdo) but I was slightly concerned how Perdo's stiff neck would react to the 20 degree weather that is Coladoro (Cal found this comment to be funny and started laughing). I also mentioned that I thought by using Blanton and Happ in Game 2 and not using the true bullpen guys are you telling your relief pitchers that you have no confidence in them.

Both Ripkens agreed that the Phillies are still in good shape and that Pedro should be fine and that Phillies have alot of fire power in them with Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez who both had over 30 home runs and not to mention two guys named Utley and Howard. Billy Ripken mention that he thinks the Brad Lidge would be fine and that he started pitching much better at the end of the season and that the time off was exactly what he needed. He also went on to say that come Game 4, he felt that Blanton and Happ would both be available to start because their appearance in Game 2 was no different than throwing a bullpen session.

Cal then jumped in and stated that the Phillies success does not rest on the bullpen or the starting pitching. He believed that it relied on the top of the lineup's performance. He said that when Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino get on base and "start running around" that Phillies would be untouchable.

Well hopefully tonight in what will be the a very cold night with snow possible, the Phightin Phils can turn up the heat and score run after run after run. Also, I truly feel that Pedro has some gas left in his arm and that he will show us all tonight why the Phillies signed him. Tonight is the most meaningful game in the 2009 season so far and I believe the Phils are going to come out swinging and put a hurting on the Rockies pitching staff. This is now a best of 3 series and the World Champions are going to show the world just how they won the World Series last year.

LET'S GO PHIGHTIN' PHILS!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Masterpiece



Wow....that is the easiest way to describe Cliff Lee's first ever postseason start. Cliff Lee's performance was amazing to watch. If Lee had some postseason jitters, you couldn't tell from the way he pitched. Lee pitched a complete game, giving out one run on six hits, five strikeouts and no walks. At one point, Lee retired 16 batters in a row, simply amazing. Lee was even one out away from a complete game shutout. When asked after the game, if at any point during the game he took a step out and soaked in the fact the he was pitching in the postseason for the first time, Lee said "It was in the ninth inning, right before I gave up that double in the gap, so I wish I wouldn't have done that," Lee said. "I wanted to give myself a chance to really absorb it and take it all in. Maybe it cost me a run, but we still won so that's the bottom line." In addition to his great pitching, Lee found got himself a hit and a stolen base. That stolen base was one of two historical Phillies moments that took place. Lee's stolen base was the first postseason stolen base by a Phillies pitcher in the history of the franchise. The crowd of 46,452 who witnessed Lee's gem, we all a part of the largest attendence in the short history of Citizen's Bank Park. The crowd was so taken by Lee, that "Let's Go Phillies" and in the bottom of the 9th "Yankees Suck" was replace by "Let's Go Lee." See for yourself.





In addition to Lee's pitching, the bats came alive, but not in a way Phans are accustom to. The Phillies score five runs and none were as a result of a home run, very unusual for the team let led the National League in home runs. But despite the lack of the long ball, the Phightin' Phils knocked around 12 hits and every player in the lineup got a hit.

Hopefully the Phillies have set the tone for the postseason. Great pitching, clutch hitting and speed on the base paths. Jimmy Rollins said it best after the game, "Finally, it's here," "We can finally let the wins actually count for something. You win, it's one less game you have to win to go to the next round. One down, 10 more to go." That's right Jimmy only 10 more to go. This will be another exciting October in Philadelphia thanks to the Phightin' Phils.

Road to a Repeat, Let's Go Phightin' Phils!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Road to a Repeat

The road to a repeat begins today at 2:37 PM. Cliff Lee has the ball and every Phan hopes that Lee overcomes the struggles he has been having as of late and pitches like the Cliff Lee that first arrived in Philadelphia. The Phillies have to come out strong and take game 1 today. The bats have to wake up and take it to the Rockies pitching staff. If the bats come out slugging, there is no one in the league that can stop the Phightin Phils. Going into the playoffs, our biggest concern still remains our bullpen. But, I think Lidge is going to get it together and so will the rest of the staff. The best scenario that could play out for the Phillies is if we go into the 9th up by 3 runs and Brad Lidge is brought in for the save. A save in Game 1 would probably do wonders for his psyche and would help carry us through the rest of the playoffs. It goes without saying, but our success relies on the bats waking up and the bullpen supporting our great starting pitchers. I am confident that the Phils with play up to their potential and we will not repeat 2007 against the Rockies. Let's Play Ball and Let's Go Phightin' Phils.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST CHAMPIONS

After a season filled with ups and downs, the PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES have 3peated as National League East Champions for only the second time in franchise history. What an incredible feeling as a lifelong Phillies Phan. The greatest moment of tonight's game was the ceremonial way that Charlie Manuel brought in Brad Lidge to get the final out of the game. As I am writing this, I still have the chills. But it is not over yet, we still have to get a few more wins to clinch home field during the playoffs. We are only one game back of LA for the best record in the National League.

Thank you to the Philadelphia Phillies for giving this Phan memories that he will never forget and thank you for reading.

There are still more memories to be made. Let's hope the Phillies get after this Sunday's regular season finale, that the Phightin' Phillies get 11 more wins!!!

LET'S GO PHILS!!!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Losing Faith

For weeks now, we have been hearing from Charlie Manuel that Brad Lidge was our closer. Then articles popped all over the net, that Manuel might turn to Myers if Lidge can't get his act together. Well, it looks like today might have been Lidge's last day as closer for the Phillies. In the 9th with the game on the line, Lidge was pulled for Ryan Madson to close out the game. I like others was starting to think Lidge had turned the corner until this past weekend. Time will tell if this was Lidge's last day as the closer, but we are blessed to have some many great pitchers on the ballclub to pick up the slack. I love Brad Lidge and will be forever greatful for his performance during the 2008 World Championship season, but I want to repeat as champs and until he gets his stuff back, we need to look else where to win games.

Monday, August 24, 2009

History


Yesterday, I had the opportunity to see Citi Field for the first time and what an experience it was. First, thanks to one of my great friends, Doran, I was able to sit 9 rows behind the Phillies dugout. That in an of itself makes for a great afternoon of baseball. But, little did we all know the afternoon that laid ahead. Did I mention these seats were incredible, again many thanks to Doran for getting these great seats and for the opportunity to see history. The game was exciting from the get go with the Phightins hitting 2 homers in the top of the first to take a 6-0 lead, the best part about it is Pedro Martinez batted before he threw his first pitch. Then in the bottom of the first, history was made when Angel Pagan hit the first ever inside the park home run in Citi Field history. But that was nothing compared to how this great game ended. I have seen many great moments in Phillies History, just check previous posts, but what I witnessed yesterday was something that has only happened once before in baseball history and never in the National League, an unassisted Triple Play to end the game. It was the bottom of the 9th and Brad Lidge was in the game and the Mets were threatening. 2 errors and a basehit and the Mets had cut the Phillies lead down to two. The Mets had 2 men on, Luis Castillo on 2nd and Daniel Murphy on 1st and Jeff Francoeur at bat. For some reason, the Mets decided on a double steal and Francoeur lined out to Eric Bruntlett who doubled up Castillo and tagged Murphy to end the game. I was in shock and estactic. If you haven't seen it yet, check it out now. What an amazing way to end the game. I am so thankful to have seen it in person.

On a side note, congratulations to Ryan Howard for becoming only the second Phillie in history to hit 30 home runs and bat in 100 R.B.I's in four straight seasons, only other Phillies to accomplish that feat is Chuck Klein. Congrats again to Ryan Howard.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Week in Review 8/9, commentary on Jamie Moyer

What a difference the turning of a calendar makes. After an amazing July, where it looked like the Phightins were going to run away with the NL East, just 10 days in August and no it's a different story. After losing 3 of 4 in San Francisco, the Phillies cam back home to Philadelphia and opened up a short 6 game homestand against the Colorado Rockies and Florida Marlins.

Phillies lost the first game against the Rockies, but then we had some amazing pitching to close out the series. On Wednesday, J.A. Happ through a 4 hit Complete Game Shutout. Happ made it clear to everyone, that he belongs in the rotation and like most Phans, I want to see Happ stay in the rotation. Then on Thursday, Cliff Lee made his home debut in front of a sellout crowd at the final Business Persons Special of 2009. I was there and it was amazing see Lee pitch, 9 K's in just 7 innings.

After two great pitching performances, the Florida Marlins arrived in Philadelphia. For Florida, it was do or die time and Florida came to play. After two close games where the Phillies lost 3-2 and 6-4, the Phillies had their worst performance of the season that was filled with bad calls, bad plays and full of tension; and I was again in attendance. What a different game than the amazing game I saw on Thursday. Phillies pitching gave up a season high 19 hits. Jamie Moyer started the game and looked good through 4. Florida scattered hits against him but were unable to score. Then in the 5th, everything started to come crashing down. Florida scored three runs and took the lead and it just got worse from there. Moyer came out to pitch the 6th, but struggled to get an out and was pulled. Moyer was finished for the day, giving up 11 hits in 5 innings and 3 runs, 2 of which where earned. The Phillies were able to get out of the 6th unscathed as Tyler Walker shut the door and got Moyer out of his jam. Then the bottom of the 6th, the foundations for the tension that ensued was laid. With 2 outs and 2 men on, Ryan Howard stepped to the plate in a crucial at bat for the game. Howard has been struggling of late, as most of the Phillies lineup. Howard drew the count full and was rung up on a pitch that was clearly low and outside. Then in the top of the 7th, on a 0-2 from Rodrigo Lopez to former Phillie, Wes Helms, I saw something that I had never seen before. Homeplate Umpire, Ed Rapuano stepped out from behind homeplate and gestured to the field and threw out Shane Victorino. Rapuano after blowing the Howard strike out, called Lopez' 0-2 a ball and Victorino threw his arms in the air in a "Where was that pitch motion" and Rapuano took offense to it and threw Victorio out of the game. Shane went berserk. At first, I thought Rapuano had thrown out Jimmy Rollins, but after some confusion it was clear he was gesturing towards Shane. Shane was on fire, he sprinted in at full speed from centerfield and b-lined it at Rapuano. Phillies' catcher, Paul Bako tried to get in the way of Shane, but was shoved out of the way. Shane was so enraged that it looked like Ryan Howard had to literally pick him up and take him to the dugout to avoid a suspension.

After that, the Phillies came unglued and gave up 6 runs in the 7th and two more in the 9th. In a weird move, Manuel brought in Brad Lidge in the 9th with the Phillies down 9-3. Lidge in a non save situation gave up a home run to Helms. Lidge who has struggled this year, gave up 3 runs on 3 hits. Perhaps, Charlie thought Lidge needed to work through his problems, but giving up a home run to Helms probably didn't help.

Following the game, many were thinking, did we just witness Jamie Moyer's last start in a Phillies Uniform. Despite Moyer's 10 wins, he has been mostly ineffective as of late. Right now, I am reading Phillies Confidential: the Untold Inside Story of the 2008 Champion Season, written by Gary Matthews and Scott Lauber. In the book, Matthews praises Moyer saying in reference to Moyer:
"Why can't he continue to pitch? For me, he can keep going until he isn't effective anymore, and he's showing no signs of that."

Well unfortunately, the signs are showing now. Moyer was huge for us in 2008, Moyer has been great for the Phillies, but as of late, he has been ineffective and for this team which is rich in starting pitching, it might be time for Jamie to step aside and perhaps consider a new role as pitching coach. Moyer's leadership was vital to this young Phillies pitching staff and he has help coach many of the younger guys, but perhaps, it is time to transition to a new role with the Phillies or another ballclub. As much as I don't want to see Moyer go, I think its time. We have the pieces to win another World Series and for right now, Moyer is hurting those chances.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Welcome to Phil-LEE!


I was in attendance at today's home debut of the newly acquired 2008 Cy Young Award Winner, Cliff Lee. Lee did not disappoint the home crowd, giving up 1 run on 6 hits, allowing one walk and striking out 9 in 7 innings. Cliff Lee was amazing to watch in person.


Cliff Lee's first pitch:



In addition to Lee's debut, Jimmy Rollins provided some excitement in attempting to hit for the cycle. Sadly, he was just a home run short. Here is video of Rollins attempting to go for the cycle after hitting a triple, double single:


Finally, in the 9th, Brad Lidge was called upon to save the game for Lee and he did not disappoint. Here is Lidge entering from the bullpen and the final out of the game.



Final Out, Lidge Saves the game



Following a Phillies win, there is a new tradition and that is the Late, Great Harry Kalas singing High Hopes on Phanavision. I hope this is a tradition the keep for years to come.

Impressive, Most Impressive

In the words of Darth Vader, J.A. Happ was "Impressive, most impressive." Last night's performance was a strong statement from Happ on his future in the pitching rotation. Just hours after the Phillies put out an article entitled "Happ's spot in rotation may be tenuous" Happ goes out and pitches a masterpiece; a 4 hit, complete game shutout. Happ's numbers were again strong, as Happ makes he case to stay in the rotation and Rookie of the Year. In addition to giving up just four hits, Happ had 10K's and only 2 walks. Happ has been incredible this year, in only 14 starts, Happ leads the team in Complete Games and Shutouts at 2. On the year, Happ has appeared in 26 games (14 starts) and is 8-2 with 2.74 with 86 K's and only 37 walks.

In other news, Pedro had his best rehab start to date for AA Reading. Pedro struck out 7 of the first 10 batters. Pedro had a rough 6th inning and gave up 3 of his 4 runs. But the good news is Pedro had a fastball that reached 93 MPH, was hitting his locations, gave up only 5 hits, no walks, and an impressive 11 K's.

I think Pedro is on his way to Philadelphia and this was probably his last rehab start. I like many others, don't know what the Phillies are going to do. This is the first time I can remember that the Phillies were so rich in pitching, which is a great problem to have, as long as it does not hurt the team chemistry.

That's all for now, going to the game today to see Cliff Lee's first home start.

Hopefully today will be another day where EVERYBODY HITS! WOOHOO!!!!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Phillies Memories: The Greatest Moments in Philadelphia Phillies History


Phillies Memories:
The Greatest Moments in Philadelphia Phillies History


Narrated by Late Hall of Fame Announcer, Harry Kalas.

Over the years, I have seen and owned many Phillies dvds, but this by far was the most entertaining and informative. Phillies Memories is over 2 hours long and it takes us from the start of the franchise all the way to the final out of the 2008 World Series. It’s narrated by one of the most recognizable and missed voices in sports, the Late Harry Kalas. Through the 2 hour journey into Phillies History there are clips and insight of many great players and management from the past, as well as bits of knowledge from baseball and Phillies historians. The video is broken up into several chapters starting with:

The Early Days

First season was not very memorable. The Quakers went 17-81 games in the inaugural season of the future Phillies franchise. One the tidbits I took away from this chapter was that the Phillies never finished in first in the first 30 years. Also covered in The Early Days chapter were the stories of Grover Cleveland Alexander and Chuck Klein. First Phillies MVP, first triple crown.

The next chapter was called Post War Highs and Lows. One of more interesting notes of this chapter was the fact that former Phillies owner, Bill Cox bet on baseball, earning him a lifetime ban. This opened the door for the famed Carpenter family to take ownership. Throughout 1948, the Phillies had only one 1st place win.

Also included in this chapter where the beloved The Whiz Kids, who had an average age 26. Some time was spent of this team and its leader, Richie Ashburn. They also dug up video footage of the Phillies of the first pennant and the 1950 World Series against the Yankees, our first World Series since 1915.

The next collections of stories to be told were entitled, The Golden Age. Here from the archives we get video of the end of Connie Mack Stadium and opening of Veterans Stadium. They provides clips of Larry Bowa’s first hit of Veterans Stadium and many of the famous Veterans Stadium Promotions, like Kite Man, Cannonman, the clowns, and circus acts. Also covered was Steve Carlton’s 27 wins season on one of the worst teams in baseball history, truly incredible.

Next in this chapter, they focus on the Phillies National League dynasty. Covered was the Phillies Black Friday, the NLCS 1977, the 3 straight NLCS losses. Then they shifted to the season that was almost 100 years in the making, 1980, the first World Champions in Phillies history. Interesting insight in this section, apparently there was lots of turmoil, no perfect chemistry on this team. Another interesting fact touched upon here was the 1980 NLCS, which is considered by some to be the greatest series ever, which included 4 consecutive extra inning games. Phans will enjoy lots of great footage from that historical season and postseason, including the 1980 World Champion Parade.

The next chapter was my favorite, A Wacky, Wonderful Bunch of throwbacks. This was my first season as a season ticket holder and watching this chapter bought home so many great memories. It was great reliving our “Worst to First” season. There are some great behind the scenes and some awesome candid statements. My favorite quote was by Tom Glavine, who called them the “Dirtbags of Baseball”. Clips of the season and postseason where shown here too, including Game 6 of the NLCS, I was there and what an incredible feeling that was. I remember that moment fondly, Philly was buzzin that night. Also covered was Curt Schilling’s World Series Game 5 masterpiece, another game I was lucky enough to witness first hand.

After the disappointing end to a great season by one of the most memorable and loved teams in all Philly sports, the dvd shifted to the rebuilding years and laying the foundations of a future winner. In the part, the stories of Scott Rollen, Mike Lieberthal, Pat “the bat” Burrell, Jimmy Rollins and the arrival of Jim Thome. They make mention that the signing of Thome was the turning point in the focus of the team, from perennial losers to a future of winning season after winning season.
The last part of this chapter was the final year of our home, Veterans Stadium. Some called The Vet a “Dump”, but it was our dump and we loved it. The Kevin Milwood no-hitter was spotlighted. (I was there for that too) The last part of this chapter was focused on the Final Moments of The Vet. I was lucky to get tickets to all 3 final games. Some day, I will have to scan in all my old Phillies photos and post them here and on my other site, Phillies Win World Series.

The next two chapters were relatively short, probably because they are very recent in all our memories and they are: The Rebirth and Champions. The Rebirth covered the opening of Citizens Bank Park. (more moments I was lucky to be a part of) This chapter focused on the building of our championship team. Ed Wade was highly criticized in Philadelphia and I was one of the ones that love to second guess our former GM. But in watching these memories, Wade laid the foundation of last year’s World Champions and we as Phans owe him a great big debt of gratitude, because if not for Wade’s moves, Pat Gillick would not have been able to put the final pieces of the puzzle together.

Champions focused on the great season of 2008, when we won our second ever World Championship. Great clips from throughout the season and the most memorable October in recent memory. Again, this was something I was fortunate to witness first hand. I was there when for Game 2 of the NLDS when the Phils beat up on C.C. Sabathia and again for NLCS Game 2, when we beat the Dodgers. But, none the memories will match the next game I attended, Game 5 of the World Series. I still get the chills every time I see Brad Lidge strike out Eric Hinske. Again, this moment was so memorable, that I create Phillies Phan site, which includes my videos and pictures from the 2008 World Series. Just remember it is a work in progress and I am buy no means a web developer, I am like you, just a Phillies Phan and proud of it.

This great dvd concludes with the The Phantastic Forty, the ultimate Phillies 40 man roster. Remember these are not mine, they are from the dvd. Though, I would have to agree with most of there picks.

First Base: John Kruk, Ryan Howard,
Second Base: Juan Samuel, Chase Utley
Third Base: Scott Rolen, Dick Allen, Mike Schmidt
Shortstop: Dave Bancroft, Larry Bowa, Jimmy Rollins
Catcher: Darren Daulton, Andy Seminick, Bob Boone
Left Field: Sherry McGee, Greg Luzinski, Pat Burrell, Ed Delahanty
Centerfield: Lenny Dykstra, Garry Maddox, Billy Hamilton, Richie Ashburn
Right Field: Bobby Abreu, Johnny Callison, Gavvy Cravath, Sam Thompson, Chuck Klein
Starting Pitchers: Curt Schilling, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Steve Carlton, Curt Simmons, Robin Roberts,
Relief Pitchers: Brad Lidge, Larry Andersen, Mitch Williams, Tug McGraw,
Coaches/ Managers: Jim Fregosi, Dallas Green, Gene Mauch, Eddie Sawyer, Charlie Manuel
Honorary Member: John Vukovich

The bonus features are fun to watch too, they are listed below:

Legendary Last Outs: 1950 NLCS, 1980 NLCS, 1980 World Series, 1983 NLCS, 1993 NLCS, 2008 NLDS, 2008 NLCS, 2008 World Series
“Take Me Out To The Ballgame” Rollins and Howard
Last Out of No-Hitters
Jimmy Bunning 1964 Perfect Game
Rick Wise 1971 No Hitter
Terry Mulholland 1990 No Hitter
Tommy Greene 1991 No Hitter
Kevin Millwood 2003 No Hitter
Larry Andersen Sprays on Fake Hair

Phillies Memories: The Greatest Moments in Philadelphia Phillies History
is a must own for all Phans of the Philadelphia Phillies. The memories, the moments, the history of our beloved Phillies belongs in your dvd collection. You will not regret it.




Phillies Memories: The Greatest Moments in Philadelphia Phillies History -

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Why getting Cliff Lee is just as good as Halladay, if not better.

What a great day in Phillies baseball. Ruben Amaro Jr. has pulled off an amazing trade for the 2008 American League Cy Young Award winner, Cliff Lee for Jason Knapp, Carlos Carrasco, Jason Donald and Lou Marson. Also included in the trade is Ben Francisco a much needed righty off the bench. This deal is nothing short of a steal for the Phillies. First, we landed last year's AL Cy Young; second, we landed a right handed bat to come off the bench and we did not have to give up Kyle Drabek, J.A. Happ or Dominic Brown.

So Phillies Phans are disappointed that we didn't get Roy Halladay, but there is nothing to be disappointed about. Halladay was the best "available" pitcher during this trade period, but he came at a steep price. For some reason, Lee, who won the AL Cy Young last year, in the same league as Halladay. Halladay last won the Cy Young in 2003, but Halladay has been consistent for the Blue Jays. But, Halladay has been on the DL for shoulder problems in the past and spent time on the DL this past June with a groin strain. Ironically, the Blue Jays were visiting Citizens Bank Park when Halladay was put on the DL. But, that is not enough to keep me from wanting to see Roy Halladay in a Phillies uniform.

But, again the price was too high. As I have mentioned in previous posts, the team is built to win for a long time. Cliff Lee is the caliber pitcher that will get us the wins we need down the stretch and in the Postseason. Plus looking forward, next year's starting rotation could be Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton, J.A. Happ, and Kyle Drabek. That is a pretty solid rotation, combined with the best 1-7 starting lineup in Major League Baseball. But, enough about the future, our rotation for the rest of the season is solid. Hamels, Lee, Blanton, Happ, Moyer, and possibly Pedro Martinez. We now have insurance should something happen to one of the starting 5. Another thing to consider, is that by keeping Happ, Amaro could deal him or another pitcher in the next day and half for more bullpen help. I don't think this will happen, but it could.

What also could happen, in a perfect world is that Amaro pulls the trigger on the Halladay deal. As a Phan, could you imagine a rotation of Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Blanton, Moyer or Martinez. I know, I know, I am reaching here, but a Phan who has sat through losing season after losing season can dream right?

But in all seriousness, this was an incredible trade for the Phillies. We got the ace we needed for the stretch run, we got another decent bat for the bench and we didn't have to give up our 3 best prospects to do it.

Thank you Ruben. Let's Go Phils!!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

More thoughts on JP Ricciardi and a possible Roy Halladay trade

Halladay, Halladay, Halladay, that name has dominated Major League Baseball since before the All-Star break. Roy Halladay is on of the top 5 pitchers in all of baseball and he could be the difference beat making the playoffs for many teams and could be the missing piece to winning a World Championship for others. For weeks, our beloved Philadelphia Phillies have been considered the front runner in the Halladay sweepstakes. But I am not writing to further discuss the potential trade and how it would impact the Phillies if the got him or how it would hurt the Phillies should someone else land him, I am writing today to share my thoughts on J.P. Ricciardi.

Ricciardi is playing hardball with the future of the Toronto Blue Jays and many teams interested in acquiring the services of Roy Halladay. Ricciardi's price tag for Halladay is so high, that he risks not dealing the Cy Young Winner before the deadline. Halladay's trade value is at it's highest at the moment and will only decrease in value as time goes on and if the deadline comes and goes with Halladay staying in Toronto, Ricciardi will have only hurt his team.

Halladay has made it perfectly clear that he will test the market at the end of the 2010 season and he intends to sign with a team that will contend for a World Championship. Unfortunately for Ricciardi, the Blue Jays are not one of those teams that will contend in the near future. So by holding on to Halladay, yes, he keeps one of the best pitchers in baseball in a Blue Jays uniform, but he is on borrowed time. Say the deadline comes and goes, an off-season trade for Halladay will not get the caliber prospects being offered at the time being. Should Halladay not be traded in the off-season, come July 2010, a Halladay trade will get almost nothing compared to today's value. What team in their right mind will give anything of significant value to rent a player for 3 or 4 months?

Ricciardi needs to strike while the iron is hot. Ricciardi needs to do what is best for the future of the Toronto Blue Jays. Ricciardi needs to trade Halladay now before his value drops. Ricciardi needs to stop playing games and having sources "leak" things to the media. Trade discussion between teams are normally kept quiet till the deal is done, but apparently Ricciardi loves to see his name in print and hear his name on TV. As a phan, I was annoyed that Ricciardi told the press of his formal price tag for Halladay. Ricciardi is not stupid, he knows Phillie Phans believe Halladay will bring us that much closer to winning back to back championships, but little did he know that Philadelphia isn't willing to gamble on the future by selling the farm for one player. This tactic only forced the Phillies to play the media game as well and formally reject the Halladay offer. My message to Ricciardi, you can keep Halladay, we don't need him that badly. Yes, having a pitcher like Roy Halladay would be an incredible addition to the World Champion Phillies, but let's not forgot one important thing. We are the "WORLD CHAMPION" Phillies.

This championship team has hardly changed since last year's championship season. In fact, I believe we have only gotten better. Yes, some of our pitching has struggled, but things are coming together. This team has one of the most potent lineups in baseball. Just look at the caliber player we have 1-7. Jimmy Rollins is getting his swing back, Shane Victorino is having an All-Star season, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard are doing their thing, we add All-Star Raul Ibanez who had been a great addition to the team, Jayson Werth is having an All-Star season, Pedro Feliz is batting around .300. This lineup is has protection all the way through. You can not pitch around anyone because the next hitter is just as good as the one before. Then we have our pitchers, who have struggled a bit, but are pitching well as of late. This rotation can get the job done without Halladay. Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton, Jamie Moyer, JA Happ, and a resurgent Pedro Martinez have the talent to get us back to the World Series. Our bullpen is starting to pitch well again and in August might get a huge boost with Bret Myers possibly coming off the DL. A healthy Myers gives us Ryan Madson in the 7th, Myers in the 8th, and Brad Lidge to close out the 9th.

Would I like to see us add another pitcher, sure I would. Do I feel that we are in trouble if we don't, absolutely not. This team was built to win and that is what they are doing, winning. In closing, I haven't given up hope on a Halladay trade to Philadelphia. As I mentioned either, Ricciardi is not stupid, he knows the value of Roy Halladay is at it's highest and I don't blame him for wanting the best players possible, where I do fault Ricciardi is for playing the media game, it is just not necessary. There is no reason to "leak" information to "sources" to great people riled up.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Week in Review 7/26

Another exciting week in Phillies Baseball. The Phightins continued their hot streak at home taking 2 of 3 from both the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals and beating the San Diego Padres in between. The Phillies bats scored an amazing 52 runs this week, while the Phillies pitching staff only gave up 27 runs. The Phillies are having an incredible July winning 17 of 22 games. This torrid streak has given the Phillies their largest division lead this late into a season since '93.

Besides the Phillies being on fire, the week was dominated by trade news revolving around the most wanted player Roy Halladay. As of the moment, Halladay is still a Blue Jay and according to sources, no one is close to landing the coveted pitcher. We saw on the Blue Jays make an official ask on the Phillies for Halladay. The Blue Jays set the price at Kyle Drabek, JA Happ, and Brown, which I believe to be to steep a price to pay to secure a pitcher for a year and half. I cover the topic in yesterday's entry: Getting Closer to a Deal? Apparently, the Phillies management too thought the price was too high and formally regretted the outrageous deal.

The brings this week's news to a close. The Phillies are on their way to Arizona for a 3 game set with the Diamondbacks and then off to San Francisco for a 4 game series with the Giants. Hopefully the Phillies will continue their hot streak on the Road. Heading into this week's road trip, the Phightin' Phils are 29-15 on the road.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Getting Closer to a deal?

With only a few days to go before the July 31 trading deadline, it appears as if the Phightin' Phillies are still the leader in the Roy Halladay sweepstakes. We learned at the tail end of the week what the asking price for Halladay is: Kyle Drabeck, JA Happ and Dominic Brown. For weeks I have been hoping for the Phillies to land Halladay, for weeks I have felt that Hallaway gives us the best chance to repeat as World Champs, but now, I feel that this price is too high. Drabeck is the Phillies top pitching prospect and Brown is our best position player prospect. As a life long Phillies Phan, I do not want to sell the future for a pitcher, a GREAT pitcher that is planning to test the market at the end of next season. Sure Halladay gives us the best possible chance to repeat as World Champs and even does as far as a Phillies Dynasty, but this price tag is too steep. But some good news was traveling the MLB tradewinds in that the Blue Jays sent a scout to watch Carlos Carrasco pitch. Ideally, I would much rather see Happ or Drabeck and Carraso in a deal then Happ and Drabeck.

The only flip side to this argument of not selling the farm is that for years, the Phillies have seen their top prospects fizzle out. How many of us remember how high we were on Gavin Floyd and Brandon Duckworth and so on? Yes those guys might not have been the same caliber as Drabeck or Happ, but there is never any certainity with young developing players.

Barring an injury, we know Roy Halladay is the real deal, a proven winner and will give the Phillies the best possible chance to repeat as World Champions since the New York Yankees 3-peated in 1998, 1999 and 2000. The question the Phillies and us a loyal Phans have to ask ourselves which is more important gambling on a proven winner to help take us back to the World Series or passing on the now and gambling that our future propects will turn into great pitchers of themselves.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

10 in a row!!!

Another great game for the Phightin' Phils. Jimmy Rollins got the Phillies on the board with a solo shot, with was the only run scored until the 13th. In the bottom of the 13th with Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez on 1st and 2nd, Jayson Werth belted a home run to left center field giving the Phillies their 10th win in row in walk off fashion. The highlight of the game was an incredible double play in the 9th inning when Brad Lidge heel kicked a shot to Jimmy Rollins, who stepped on second and threw to Howard at first for a double play...truly incredible. Hopefully it will appear on youtube and I will post it here.

In addition to this great win, the news of the Day was out Toronto when Blue Jays general manager, J.P. Ricciardi said:
"A deal must be in place before July 28 and "at this point, it's probably unlikely that we'll trade Doc. As you get closer and closer to the deadline, no one's really stepped up yet, and at that point, I think time starts running out on you. We've got to be highly motivated to move him, so we haven't been highly motivated yet."


I believe in Ruben Amaro and trust he will do what is best for the Phillies and by this time next week, Roy Halladay with be on the Phightin' Phillies.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Week in Review 7/20

What an exciting week of Phillies Baseball, the scorching Phillies entered the break winning 9 of their last 10 games. All weekend long, news was swirling that the Phillies looking for pitching help, we looking to bring in former Cy Young Award winner, Pedro Martinez. The break arrived and it was time for the Stars to shine. Monday brought about a less than entertaining Home Run derby. Ryan Howard just made it to the second round, where he got into a grove on his 9th out, but it wasn't enough to get him to the finals this year. On a side note, I thought it was a classy move to bring in his High School coach to pitch the derby to him in his home town. This probably cost him the derby, but it didn't matter because Ryan was giving back.

Which brings us to the All-Star game. What an exciting game. I truly enjoyed watching this year's Mid Summer Classic. Ryan Howard came up short in a crucial part of the game, by striking out with men on that could have given the NL its first win since back in Philadelphia in 1996 (I was there ;-D)

As the game was ending, there was a story posted on that Wednesday, the Phillies were hosting a news conference to announce the signing of Pedro Martinez. Like most people, I had my reservations towards this signing, until I saw the terms of the one year deal, $1 million for the remainder of the year. Not a bad deal, we have wasted more than that on players like Adam Eaton. Let's face it, a health 37 year old Pedro is probably better than Rodrigo Lopez or Antonio Bastardo. I am looking forward to Pedro and you should too. Personally I can't wait for Pedro to face the Mutts and show them he's still got it.

In addition to Pedro news, trade rumors were flowing in regards to the year's trading deadline jackpot...Roy Halladay. A topic in which I cover in post: Gearing Up for Second Half. Basically, I feel the Phillies need to do whatever they can to land Halladay. Even if it includes, J.A. Happ. I like Happ, especially with the streak he is on, but is Happ another Hamels or Kendrick. I would rather trade a Happ and risk a future CY Young winner to land a proven winner in Halladay. As Pat Gillick told fans years ago, this team was being built to win for years to come. A pitcher like Roy Halladay could be the piece that starts a Phillies Dynasty. In this day and age, repeats are extremely hard to come by and dynasties are virtually impossible, but again as Gillick said this team was built to win and with Halladay our chances of repeating are greatly increased.

As the break came and went, the Phillies started a 4 game series against the 2nd place Florida Marlins. What an exciting series that was. The Phillies continuing the torrid streak and went into Florida and swept the Marlins in the rain shorten 3 game series. That sweep gave the Phightin Phils their largest division lead this late into a season since 1993. Bringing the Phillies end the week winning 12 of their last 13. Truly an exciting week in Phillies Baseball.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Gearing up for the second half

Well, first we didn't we the All-Star game yet again. Ryan Howard had the chance to become the NL Hero, most definatily game M.V.P in his hometown, but couldn't deliver. Oh well, that is behind us, the road to the post season begins tomorrow.

Which leads me to the news of the day, we signed Pedro Martinez, which most people knew was only a matter of time. This has sent the Phillies Message Boards, Facebook Discussion Lists, and blogs buzzing. Phans are split on this decision. Some think this is another in a long line of stupid moves in Phillies history, others excited about having a pitcher of Pedro's caliber on the roster. I am one of the ones that sees nothing but upside to this deal. Pedro is signed for one year at $1 million with incentives of $1.5 million. What is the worst the can happen, we lose a $1 million. How many pitchers have come and gone at a much higher price tag? Adam Eaton anyone? Another plus is that Pedro has something to prove, he wants to prove that he has the stuff to help win a championship. Let's face it, a 37 year old Pedro is probably going to be more effective than Rodrigo Lopez or Antonio Bastardo.

So here we are, on the eve of the second half of our road to the post season. We have an outfield filled with All-Stars, we have an infield of incredible player who know how to deliver in the clutch. Hopefully, the rest did Jimmy Rollins some good, we need him to perform in the second half if we want to win another World Championship. This team has the best shot of repeating for the first time since the NY Yankees of 1998-2000.

Which leads to my last thought, can you imagine if the Phillies win the Roy Halladay sweepstakes? This team would be unreal. Let's for a minute look at the possibilty of landing Halladay. First from the rumors on the internet, the contenders the Phillies, Yankees, Red Sox and Rangers. The Blue Jays are short time away from truly contending in the East. Sending Halladay, who is 32, to the Sox or Yankees who have more than enough money to keep, would hurt there chances of contending. In my mind, that excludes them. The we have Roy Halladay's comment that he will waive the his full no trade clause to play for a contender, well that's not the Rangers. That leaves the Phillies as the front runner for Roy Halladay. But Halladay will come a cost to the organization, price that this Phan is willing to pay. In this day and age, repeats are virtually impossible and dynasties are unheard of, but this team has been built to win for years to come. A pitcher like Roy Halladay moves us that much closer to the dynasty we have been told for years we were building. Halladay doesn't guarantee another Championship, but it gives us a great shot. What a rotation we would have: Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Jamie Moyer, Joe Blanton, and Pedro Martinez...WOW. That rotation combined with All-Stars: Chase Utley, Raul Ibanez, Ryan Howard, Shane Victorino, and Jayson Werth; along with guys who have been struggling but will get their act together in the second half in Jimmy Rollins and Brad Lidge will make this squad tough to beat. Hopefully we will be celebrating deep into the night again this October.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Phans have spoken!!!

Great job Phans! We are sending another representative to St. Louis for the All-Star. Thanks to a late voting surge by the Phans, Shane Victorino, the Flyin' Hawaiian, will be the 4th representative of the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies at 80th Mid Summer Classic. Hopefully the National League will end its losing streak and finally give us home field advantage in the Fall Classic.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Remembering my greatest Phillies Phan moment

For my first blog of Phillies Phan, I wanted to take a moment to reminisce about October 29, 2008. Before I get started let me preface with I have been a Phillies Phan all my life. My first game was the Phillies vs the Reds at Veterans Stadium. Mike Schmidt was still belting homers and Pete Rose was a player-manager. It wasn't easy growing up a Phan. I grew up in Central Jersey, right in the heart of NY Mets and Yankee ground, but I always defended the Phightin' Phils.

Then in 1993, my family decided to buy season tickets. What an incredible year that was to be a Phan. I was lucky enough to be a Game 6 of the NLCS and wittiness our first World Series birth in 10 years. What an incredible feeling, a feeling that would go unmatched till last October...(I was at Schilling's Game 5 masterpiece as well)

That brings me to Monday, October 27, 2008. It was cold, rainy, and flurries were in the air. But something else was in the air, confidence and excitement. The Phans through out the stadium knew that today would be the day we had been waiting for. For some it had been 28 years, for others like me who were either to young or not born yet, it had been a lifetime. But, we knew that on this night, all the pain of the last 28 years was going to come to an end. Little did we know that we would have to wait through a two day period before our moment would come. As the game started and Shane Victorino got us on the board with a 2-run based loaded single to left, the Phans had there feelings affirmed that today would be the today. As the game progressed and the rain got harder and the field became a slip and slide. Tampa Bay tied the game at 2 and the at end of the top of 6th the game went into a rain delay. We tried to keep warm in the men's room along with countless others, getting shelter from the wind and rain...it was COLD!!! Finally, Dan Baker came over the loud speaker and announced that the game was suspended till further notice and the game would resume when conditions allowed. So Phans left Citizens Bank Park cold, wet, and wondering our day would come.

2 straight days of pouring rain finally subsided and Game 5 resumed on Wednesday, October 29. I got to the stadium and the energy in the park was unbelievable. Phans were even more lively than at Game 5, part I. It was awesome, even thought we were tied at 2 with with 3 and 1/2 innings to go, we knew that by the end of the night, we would be World Champions. With all the excitement in the air, the Phightins' took to bat and Geoff Jenkins smacked a double, got the crowd even more crazy than we already were. That double lead to us scoring yet again putting us ahead in would could have been the final game. Then in the top of the 7th, Tampa Bay tied the game at 3, but no one got discouraged, we knew that this team would score again and sure enough we did. Pat the bat led of the bottom of the 7th with a double. Pat was replaced by pinch runner, Eric Bruntlett, who was brought home by a single by Pedro Feliz to give us the lead again at 4-3. What a fitting end to Pat Burrell's up and down career in Philadelphia by getting the hit that led to the winning run of the World Series.

The crowd never stopped screaming, chanting, and clapping the whole time, we were ready for our first championship since 1980 and only the 2nd title in the long history of the Phillies. Which brings us to the top of the 9th, Phillies up 4-3 and our closer, Brad Lidge enters the game. Lidge who was 41 for 41 in save situations in the regular season and a perfect 6 for 6 in the post season was in to bring home the win. In typical Phillies fashion, the 9th was not an easy one. Lidge gave up a single and a stolen base, putting the tying run on 2nd base. That brought up Eric Hinske. Lidge quickly got two strikes on Hinske, which brought us to the moment that will live in my mind and heart forever. The crowd was going nuts, we knew it was going to happen, we knew we were about to become World Champs. Then at 9:58 PM, it happened. There is only one way to described what happened next. I will let you relive the word of the late, great Harry Kalas:

One strike away, nothing-and-two to Hinske... Fans on their feet, Brad Lidge stretches... the 0–2 pitch...Swing and a miss; struck him out! The Philadelphia Phillies are 2008 World Champions of baseball! Brad Lidge does it again and stays perfect for the 2008 season, 48-for-48 in save opportunities... And let the city celebrate! Don't let the forty-eight hour wait diminish the euphoria of this moment and celebration! Twenty-five years in this city that a team has enjoyed a world championship and the fans are ready to celebrate. What a night! Phils winning, 4–3, Brad Lidge gets the job done once again!
- Harry Kalas calling the final out of the 2008 World Series


Watching it all unfold was the greatest sports moment I have ever been a part, right above winning the World Series in our Township's Little League in my final season of eligibility. It was unreal, it was euphoric, it AWESOME! I lost it. As you can see in my youtube video of the moment posted below. (Yes, that is me screaming OMG! OMG! OMG) I was in sports Phan Heaven. All the years of losing, all the years of having to hear how bad my team was, all comments about 10,000 losses disappearing with that strike out. We were finally WORLD CHAMPIONS and I was there to see it all unfold.

The Phillies have been a major part of my life since I was a child and they will always be a part of my life. I am going to take great pride in this blog and my website that is in construction, www.phillieswinworldseries.com. The site will be filled with video and pictures from the 2008 Post-Season and my other Phillies experiences, as well as other things having to do with the greatest franchise in baseball, the Philadelphia Phillies. In closing, I am proud to say that I am a Phillie Phanatic and I do not need a big green suit to call myself one. Thanks for reading and come back soon for updated blogs and website status and hoping by the end of October we will be celebrating a repeat!



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