Just a Random Quickie…

Time for a quick blog, choosing the subject was a challenge, there have been a few recently. So it was a pick out of the hat between, John Smoltz and some sarcastic banter about the Cards recent addition, last nights performance by Cliff Lee, which is already covered plenty of times and opportunities will keep arising,  my verdict or lack of on Pedro Martinez, Brett Myers fight to get out of a car or Yankees/Boston and the Rays chance to take over Wild Card.

and the winner is…….

Pedro Martinez, my verdict….

What has Pedro done for us lately, well unfortunately his recent start against the D-Backs was shortened, so we were unable to see if he could go beyond 5 innings and if he would give up any more runs as he tires, so I guess the verdict is still out on that subject….

But still, since it was Pedro Martinez that was chosen lets review what he brings or could bring to the Phillies…

We all know he’s a 3 time Cy Young winner, but his last one was 9 years ago

so he’s a 7 time All Star, again last one was 4 years ago

how about a 5 time player of the week, yep, 7 years ago

he’s an innings eater, yeah okay, highest ranking was ’98 and ’04 when he was 6th in the AL

How about he was an All Star MVP, that’s true 10 years ago

Here’s one, he won  ‘MLB.COM ODDITY OF THE YEAR’, and that reflects on what exactly? – Oh I see he found it amusing that the sprinklers came on at Shea, while he was pitching for the Mets.

So he’s a comedian, a clown, someone fun to be around, well the Phillies have there fair share of those guys, I guess the question will be….

Is Pedro going to be the CLOWN…

or will he turn out to be just another side show…

Only time will tell…

…for me there hasn’t been enough time or action to determine. This weekend he is scheduled to start against the Mets at Citi Field, we’ll see if his old club comes out and destroys him or if he manages to destroy them. Based on the Mets current state of affairs I would have to say the advantage is Pedro’s going into the game, but we’ll see. Truth be known I would like to see him face the Marlins, but that probably isn’t going to happen. Till the next time when I hope there will be more action and evidence to show if Pedro’s involvement is worth the hype or not…

Tonight Blanton goes to the mound, and we’ll see if the Phillies offense can support him and clinch a sweep of the D-Backs.

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Rain Delay, Howards Homers and a Phillies Win in Atlanta…

Well it looks as though
it’s going to be a busy week, but I’m going to try and keep up with
stuff. This one will be a quickie, since it’s already really late.

Last night we had a rain
delay and eventually a ball game of which JA Happ pitched a solid
outing giving up just 1 run on 3 hits, he did manage to walk 6, throwing
117 pitches through 7 2/3 innings.

 Howard’s Homers was on
display yet again, after the longest dry spell for Howard, he has
now hit 4 bombs in as many games, 2 of which came last night, it must be
all that meditating he does before he leaves the dug out for the on deck
circle.

His swing was almost
identical for each homer, even though the pitches were in completely
different parts of the strike zone.

It was one of those events
that could have bought a tear to the eyes of anyone…

My guess though is he was
just wiping away the sweat from all the hard work swinging the bat.

Since they were up by 3
runs, they took a little time to amuse themselves in the dugout…

What could these guys be
finding so hysterical…

So many choices what is a
closer to do!!….phew!! a 1/3 of an inning gotta get that right…

Tuesday will be here soon
and the Phillies host the D-Backs for a 3 game set at CBP, we’ll definitely
be looking to move above the .500 mark at home again….


MLB Clubs, Liars, Cheats and Thieves…

Since yesterday was a day off for the Phillies, I decided to do a little research on various aspects of going to a ball game. At times this may get complex and hard to follow, but I will try and make as easy as I can, hopefully, and as short as I can, which maybe a problem.

Some of the comments from different team websites, indicated that fans were un-happy with what the club has been doing by way of trades etc., in most cases the clubs are promoting the fact that they have to run the club like a business, so money is a deciding factor and a large contributor to that is the volume of fans visiting the ballpark. Obviously there are a number of other factors that allow clubs to generate income, but it seems a number of fans saying ‘if it was cheaper to go to the game then we would’.

Personally I think a number of clubs are pricing themselves to high, considering the city they represent, especially during this economic environment. I believe a lot has to do with the way a club is marketed, and the way the clubs evaluate the methods of income. 

The safe, comfort zone type income to assessed gross required, has been and still is, done by looking at how much income the club needs to generate from seating, looking at the history for the quantity of fans that come to games during a season, the different seats that are purchased, then from this they calculate the amount they need to generate from that specific seat. This is obviously a simplified methodology for, what I call ‘comfort zone marketing’.

It is my belief that it is time for some clubs to look at new (to them) innovative methods, to get fans to visit the ball games, and go for lower seat prices and work off generating a higher volume of visitors. I tried to see what different clubs were doing to encourage fans to the ball park and it seems, some of the struggling clubs use high dollar incentives on a less than regular basis, instead of lower cost incentives on a regular basis.

In doing this research I also ran into some other questionable information, with regard to the claimed numbers of attendees at ball games, this to say the least seemed to be very creative by some ball clubs, of which I will highlight later on in this post.

Below is the information I was able to gather, I can only assume the information is accurate with regard to attendances, the seat prices were taken from each clubs online website, some were easy to obtain others made it a lot more difficult to determine how much you would pay if you came on game day to buy a ticket. The low prices reflect, the cheapest seat or standing ticket I could find and the high price reflects being able to sit as close to the end of the dug out as possible. All prices are US Dollars.

The attendance numbers are through the first 50 home games of 2009, where a team hasn’t played 50 home games they had played sufficient to estimate to that number. All attendance numbers are in millions.

AL ————–Attd.——-Low——-High———NL ————Attd——-Low——-High

NYY               2.27           14             375             PHL              2.20          18             60

BOS              1.89           12             325             FLO              0.90          14            100

TB                 1.20           10              85               ATL              1.47           6               40

TOR*            1.18            9               62               NYM             1.96          23           450

BAL               1.20           8               55              WSH              1.19           5              75

DET              1.50           5                52               STL              2.03          21            115

CWS             1.37          23              57               CHC             2.01          20             230

MIN               1.42          10              52               HOU             1.49           7              39

CLE               1.13          9                70               MIL                1.99          8               48

KC                 1.20           7               43                CIN               1.23          5               72

LAA               2.02          21             200              PIT                 0.98          9               35

TEX              1.39           11             115              LAD              2.22          11            285

SEA              1.39           8                65               COL              1.62          15            100

OAK              0.89          9                 95               SF                 1.74          25            110

                                                                               ARI                1.28           5             145

                                                                               SD                 1.22          10             55

 

*Toronto prices are Canadian Dollars.

I reviewed a number of playback footage from different games to try and evaluate the accuracy of attendance numbers at different games, tried to get a feel for visiting fans and home fans, so the following is probably going to be the mother of all assumptions, but I am going to lay it out anyway.

 

Liars and Cheats:

They are so easy to pick on, and I probably shouldn’t, but I can’t help myself.

Yankees- I tried to be fair about this, but having reviewed a number of games it is clear that the attendance numbers are somewhat generous. Where they show near sell out crowds it is clear on the replays that there is an abundance of empty seats especially in the high dollar sections and yes at a number of games believe it or not the visiting fans seemed to out number the home fans. The other noticeable thing at the Yankees new stadium was the visiting fans seemed to occupy the majority of the high dollar sections. Especially for the games they played against the Phillies and Red Sox. So are they cheating the visiting fans, we know it’s a ball park visitors would attend, the city has other attractions plus the city is one of the easiest, if not easiest to visit, so why not cheat the visiting fans.

Mets- Although in some respects they appeared to portray much the same results as the Yankees they were not quite as bad, but then the overall attendance at the Mets games were lower than the Yankees, even for visiting fans.

Braves- You will also find them under thieves, simply because i don’t believe all the field seats by the visiting dugout are sold out for the season. They are cheating the fan base here because of what they were and not what they are now.

 

Thieves:

This one was kind of a tough one to ascertain, but I have to say those that I placed in this category it is basically for the same reasons.

Indians- They have the most expensive ball park to visit within the central division, the city does not have huge alternative attractions and the ball park is not that easy to get to by any mode of transport. The Cleveland airport sucks, directions from major highways/interstates suck, local signage to get to the ball park sucks, and parking is expensive for the area. Does not encourage or attract many visiting fans and there is not much in the way of encouragement for local fans to attend games. This is bad especially as it’s a NFL town 1st and an NBA town 2nd, leaving the Indians in a weak 3rd spot.

Marlins- Yes the club is doing well, but attendance is very weak, the low priced entry is reasonable, but the higher priced seats are to much for the stadium, it’s hot there, the concessions seem high in price, again not so easy to get too, its more expensive to get to since its vacation season most of the time, so area prices are geared to tourists. The club should have better incentives to attract more home and visiting fans, the visitor fans normally out number the home fans.

Cubs- Lots of visiting fans, although home fans do out number the visiting ones, the problem here is Wrigley is a well known ball park and they play on that, high prices for the name.

Braves- This one was had me concerned, for one I couldn’t get close to the seating area I wanted unless I was a season ticket holder, which confused me since the attendance there sucks. That or there driving visiting fans as far away from the field as possible so as too encourage home fans to buy the more expensive boxes.

 

Fair and Reasonable:

Well everyone will accuse me of being biased, so we’ll get this out of the way first.

Phillies- Seat prices all around are reasonable, home fans definitely out number visiting fans, the ball park is easy to get to, parking is easy, food and concessions are quality and reasonably priced.

Rays- Easy to get to via car or air, lots of parking around the stadium, nice enclosed stadium, considering they are reigning AL champions, pricing is fair, even high value seats put you right where you expect, concessions are reasonable. It is somewhat of a confusion as to why they don’t draw more attendance, some visiting teams will out number the home fans, but that depends on the team.

Pirates – Royals – Astros – All these clubs exhibited the same elements and have to be the best 3 clubs for visiting fans to attend. These have to be the cheapest ball parks to visit, they appear to be fan friendly for both home and visiting fans. These 3 clubs definitely get 5 stars as value for money ball clubs.

All other clubs- Seemed to be fair to both home and visiting fans, with no major distinguishing benefits that would make them great or make them a part of the Liars, Cheats and Thieves lists.

If you managed to read all this and follow it all, you probably have more patience than most.

~peter~

If you think that any numbers I have displayed here are grossly inaccurate let me know and I will do my best to verify the findings and correct any errors which may or may not be present. I will not however change my assessment of the way I  see the ball clubs, this is purely my opinion of how I see the club representing itself to home and visiting fans.


D-Backs Freeze Phil’s Bats….

It was another hot night in Phoenix, with the news of the days trading activities that brought Cliff Lee and Ben Francisco into the Phillies organization, it was an opportunity for the team to show the new arrivals how good they really are with a sweep in Arizona.victorinodive.jpg Unfortunately this was not to happen, Petit who started this game for the D-Backs was 0-5 on the year, but to watch him pitch tonight you would think he had been 5-0, he kept the Phillies hitters off balance and swinging wildly at the plate, the only 2 Philly players that even was remotely succesful off him was Howard and Ibanez, both picking up 2 hits off him.

Victorino, was shut down completely, in a rare shortened game for him. The bottom of the 1st inning with a runner on first Victorino made an unbelieveable diving catch in the outfield, somewhere it appeared a spike got caught, then his glove under victorinopain.jpghis body, regardless he held onto the ball for the 2nd out of the inning, however as he started to come to his feet you could see some pain showing in his expression. As with team mates Werth came over to check him out, but Shane was definately walking with a slight limp as he moved back towards center field. He would leave later in the game and is now listed as day to day.

The very next hitter, Upton, launched a ball to left field just clearing the fench and missing Ibanez’s glove for a 2 run home run. That was all Happ would allow the D-backs for the 6 innings he pitched, Happ may not have
victorino-werth.jpgbeen the winner today, but showed maturity and quality with every pitch after the home run holding the D-Backs to just 1 more hit.

The Phillies bullpen also gave up 2 runs, giving the D-Backs a 4-0 shut out over the reigning World Series champions.

The Phillies head to San Francisco for a 4 game set and to meet up with their new team mates, it was reported yesterday on MLB Network, from other media sources that Lee would wear #34, since Lopez had the #31 shirt, but who knows that could change and Francisco would wear the #10, they also reported that Lee would start Saturday, but as yet that is unconfirmed, as reports say Charlie hasn’t decided yet.

In other news, the AP are reporting that New York is offering free airline tickets to anywhere in the world for homeless people, there are obviously some provisions attached, I am just speculating but could this seriously affect the Mets fan base, or this an attempt by the Yankees to try and strong arm the Mets team out of New York, only time will tell. AP further reports that this practice has been going on since 2007 and some 550 families have been sent somewhere else in the world, because their homeless and New York would rather they weren’t in New York…. Watch out Florida, they may be sending some new Marlins or Rays fans your way…


Hamels ‘A’ce Game Returns…

With the trade deadline approaching, and more people are asking is Hamels the Ace we all wanted or was he a flash in the pan. Last night he showed everyone why he has been the Ace of the Phillies pitching staff. On a night more than any other this year he needed his ‘A’ game and he delivered.

The Haren vs Hamels game had been headlined as a make or harenhit.jpgbreak for Cole, days before, the Philly fans are looking to see if management delivers another Ace to the starting rotation, the fans were also looking to see if Cole could deliver them a sign that he is the Ace.

The first inning Hamels gave up, what became a complimentary homerun to Roberts, from then on he pounded the strike zone through 8 innings, he threw a total of 112 pitches, 79 of them for strikes. He gave up a hit to his counterpart, Haren, who singled in the 3rd inning. Since Cole out pitched Haren he certainly didn’t want to be out done by him at the plate, so in the 5th inning Hamels returned the favor, only instead of a single Hamels
hamelshit.jpgcrushed a double to left center, splitting the gap in the outfield, Hamels cruised into 2nd standing,eventually Hamels crossed the plate to break the tie and put the Phillies in front, and from there they never looked back.

Victorino, had tied the ball game with a solo homerun in the 3rd inning keeping his hot streak alive and well.

The D-Back errors didn’t start until the 5th inning last night, it was like boredom set in so the players just lost concentration. Rollins hit a ball hard, causing a miss play by the D-Backs, Utley’s smart base running to 1st base caused an error on a throw to home plate, mix in some other miss plays and the D-Backs had another game of errors turns into opposition runs.

You had to feel bad for Haren, he pitched very well, with almost any other defense behind him he would have probably won that game, there was more than once you could tell from the look on his face, he wished he were somewhere else. The Phillies offense really did well last night working the count and getting Haren to throw as many pitches as they could, he ended up throwing 117 pitches in 5 innings of work.

The only real shadow of doubt for the Phillies last night was the 9th inning, Lidge with a save opportunity came in to close out the game and ended up giving up 2 runs, before finally finishing off the D-Backs, I for one am glad it was NOT a 1 run game.

It all happens again tonight with Happ going against Petit, if he hasn’t been traded by then of course, if Happ is on the mound, here’s hoping Happ has recovered from his first loss and puts on another dynamic display of pitching.


Phillies Take D-Backs to School….

Philadelphia, Phillies showed the D-Backs how to play professional baseball last night in Arizona.

Yes, this may seem harsh, but the Phillies took a clear advantage of the D-Backs errors, errors which would have been hard to find in a triple ‘A’ game, and there was Jamie Moyer, who pitched himself into trouble twice in the first 3 innings,
moyer.jpgloading the bases at one point, with nobody out, his experience, his self control and excellent defence, from his infield that knows no limits and definately knows how to support their team mate in times of trouble got him through the struggles.

Moyer, moved on from his struggles and pitched with control and poise through another 3 2/3 innings, shutting the door on the D-Backs. In total Moyer pitched 6 2/3 innings, giving up 6 hits, 4 walks and striking out 5, giving him his 256th career win and closing out July with a 3.30 ERA his best month this year.

Side Bar: During this ‘will he, won’t he’ couple of weeks on Halladay, it has been noted that a number of people have been commenting on blogs, calling for Moyer to retire, last night was just another reason why he shouldn’t, right now he’s pitching very well, and he’s got 10 wins on the year, giving him 13 seasons with double digit wins, I know wins dont mean anything in a pitchers stats, but as I’ve said before, it’s wins that get you to the post season. (end side bar).

D-Backs defense for 8 innings looked like a group of guys on a Sunday morning throwing a ball around not really caring where it went, or if someone could catch what was thrown at them. With Feliz on 1st, (now you have to understand Feliz has 0 (zero) stollen bases this year), the pitcher, Garland, is acting like it’s J-Roll or Victorino over there, so he ends up throwing the ball past the 1st baseman which ultimately puts it up the right field line, Feliz, who seemed like a diferent person on the bases last night, ended up going from 1st to 3rd. Another one was, Utley on 1st a base hit fumbled in the shift off of Howards bat, allowed Utley to get to 3rd, after beating the 3rd baseman in a foot race to 3rd base, that should have been a double play or at least got Howard at 1st. There were other simple plays in the infield that should have resulted in outs that didn’t and although the Phillies played hard last night, those infield mistakes are the main reason for 4 extra runs the Phillies scored. Of course the ‘Howard Homer’, a 2 run shot in the 4th was all Howard.

So having seen all that go on imagine the surprise when in the top of the 9th a bloop hit, which had it been earlier in the game would have scored 2 runs, is caught by Roberts with a spectacular dive to end the inning.

The Phils bull pen went to work in the 7th inning Park came into the game in releif of Moyer and got the 1 guy he faced, 8th inning Madson came in, experienced some struggles, gave up a couple of runs on 3 hits, and struck out 2. Lidge was set to come in for the 9th, a non-save situation, so there was obviously a few nerves, but Madson had struggled so maybe Lidge would be okay, well he was, 3 up, 3 down, with a strike out thrown in there. Phillies end up taking the first of three from a struggling Arizona, 6-2.

Room for thought:  Why did Charlie use Bruntlett in the 9th and not Dobbs, that confused me, tonight we do it all again Hamels vs Haren, now I know Haren has a pretty good contract with the D-Backs, but could it be possible when the Phillies go to San Francisco that Haren goes with them…..