Monday, August 24, 2009
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
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
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.
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
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.