It almost that time when we celebrate the begining of a new year
and invariably a new era in the successes of our teams. Before we jump forward
to what could be in 2011, here’s a small review of how my blog saw the Phillies
Here’s hoping you all have a very happy and safe New Year….
A picture I came across not long ago, reminded me of how close it was that maybe I could have become part of the evil empire, it wasn’t to be, I saw the passage to the good side and followed the light. In defense of the fact that I had managed to wear a Yankees hat without my head burning, it was sometime in the 80’s and I had yet to see my first Phillies game. It wasn’t long after this I was resident down the 1st base line at Veterans Stadium enjoying the sight of the Philadelphia Phillies playing the New York Mets. It was early in my understanding of the game, so I was more into why this or why that, than any rivalry.
The brief visits over the next 10 years gave me more of an understanding of the game and an increased passion for the Phillies, even though during those early years in my baseball life L’s were a premium for the Phillies and the W’s could be something of a rarity. I learned that wins and loses aren’t necessarily what get you hooked to baseball, it definitely helps to have a post season visit at some point in time, but right down to the last game before elimination there is still hope and the knowledge that any team could and at times does collapse giving way to the unexpected.
The National League East is definitely heating up, with both the Phillies and the Braves playing only teams within the division through season end, with a 3 game set against each other in Philadelphia next week, the season will end on a 3 game series in Atlanta between the two clubs. I say tighten your belts it’s going to be an up and down roller coaster final couple of weeks for both Braves and Phillies fans.
Some have already written the Cardinals off, but with a couple of shots at the sCrUBs and the Pirates in the final weeks and the Reds having to play double duty with the Brewers and the LOLstros, in my opinion they could be in for a bumpy season end, it only needs the Reds to continue at the 3-7 pace and the Cards to improve with a spurt of wins, after all this is baseball anything can happen and it could be that Texas is the only team that appears safe at the moment, but even they could collapse and make the final weekend full of games that shape the post season.
Useless stats 101 – The year I got the Yankees hat and ultimately became a Phillies fan, there were just 2 divisions in each league and the Phillies finished 26 games back of the Cardinals, in the NL, with a 75-87 record.
Something I haven’t heard for sometime, recently changed, when I heard one of my all time favorite sayings – “Time is something to prevent everything happening at once” The game of baseball is testimony to that statement, with 162 games over 6 months to figure out which teams will play into month 7, although sometimes it seems like it all happens in month 6, it is just an accumulation of outcomes from the numerous WTF occurrences that have taken place during the season.
August saw it’s share of those WTF moments, from coast to coast baseball gave us some gems and as with other months most of those came from the umpires, from early in the month right through to the end. They never seem to have favorites or teams they actually really dislike, although at times your team is always the one getting the brunt of their wrath. With the ability to replay, slow down, freeze frame every pitch, play and call that can affect the outcome of every game the umpires are constantly under the spotlight, so this will constantly produce WTF moments from umpires everywhere..
The month also saw a couple of teams position themselves for this award, not because of the outstanding achievements they had as a collective body, but because they found the need to act like unruly children, NHL players even NFL players. You could say the heated moment between 2 teams fighting for the lead of a division can at times be explained, and is there such a thing as equal punishment, since both teams could have acted more like baseball players and not NHL players. The confusion was in Florida, although this happened on the first day of September, I decided to use it for August just so that we keep the fights together and keep them away from the post season run. We had 2 teams fighting to end the season better than the Mets, fighting each other, this wasn’t heated because the season depended on it, this was simply senseless and a definite WTF moment, but I will not reward those that are teaching our youngsters criminal behavior.
On a high note of the year for at least one team, they started the season off as, in my eyes, the worst team in the National League, they seemed to continue on that same line. In July they made some trades and things seemed to change in August, they had one of the best records in baseball for August with 17 wins, the managed 3 sweeps, yes one may have been against the Pirates, but they also swept the Cardinals and the Phillies. The LOLstros have acted like the worst team in baseball, but WTF have they been drinking in August, okay no chance of post season play unless the Cards continue to meltdown and the Reds follow suit.
Talking of meltdowns, I almost included the San Diego Padres in this list, they have managed to get swept back to back to back, but it seems to me there WTF moment is still ongoing. It would feel right if I didn’t include Lou in this months list, cause lets face it WTF was he thinking (insert retiring or staying this long).
I finally settled on giving the award to a man who has acted like a gentleman through hardship and adversity. His team started of the month in a divisional fight and a literal fight. It was difficult to find anyone worthy enough to present him with this award, but eventually someone who’ll do anything for a shot at being in the spotlight jumped at the chance. The WTF award for August 2010 goes to….
….Albert Pujols, and so we had the chance for the POTUS to award the PUJOLS. Even though he has brought his game and played well enough to give him consideration as the NL’s MVP his team has let him down as they slowly loose contention and could possibly give the chance of the 2010 MVP award to his counterpart at the divisions winning team. A pending free agent at next seasons end, he hasn’t demanded movement to a club that could give him another WS ring, he’s kept smiling and playing the game like the true sportsman that he is, this to some may not be a true WTF moment, but to me its a WTF must he be thinking.
Useless stats 101 – In 2003 Detroit had the least amount of wins in a season during the last 10 years, and they were eliminated from the race by August 21st, the earliest of any team in the last 10 years, Mike Maroth a Detroit pitcher lost 20 games that season. On the bright side they weren’t the 1962 Mets.
It’s always that time of year when every game counts, early in the season
there is less emphasis placed on making every game count. When you look at the
games ahead and see 150 or 135 to play, you’re always thinking ‘plenty of time to
make that up’, the problem is come August it almost seems like it’s almost too late.
Every opportunity to gain ground on your opponent or to increase your lead on
the next placed team is important, which makes the thought that every game counts more
important all year long.
The biggest problem for teams, not just the Phillies, is loses to teams you
should really win. When errors or lack of offence is your downfall then all you
are doing is ‘BEATING YOURSELF’. It’s almost a foregone conclusion that if your
chasing a team in a close race the games you lose will coincide with a game lost
by the team your chasing, which makes the loss all the more disappointing, since
the idea is to win those so you catch the team ahead, or extend your lead on the
When ‘BEATING YOURSELF’ it can be a team effort, which will include some
talented errors, even some possible web gems, it’s when you can attribute an
above average amount to one player it becomes an issue. With the Phillies, early
on after the All Star break it was Wilson Valdez, who without fail would hit
into a double play. This however is now a benefit since they will walk a player
to get to Valdez, who in clutch moments is actually getting those hits now. On a
slow incline, since the All Star break, to become a clear leader these
days for the most assists in getting the Phillies to play ‘BEATING YOURSELF’ is
Jayson Werth. He has actually got some good numbers at the plate, but the
important stat that really helps the team win is where he has really su-cked of
late, ‘hitting with RiSP’. Hopefully he’ll get this out of his system and
September he’ll be hitting like Choooch.
Useless stats 101 – The Phillies 2010 starting line up has appeared in
just 6 games this season, those 6 game were all early in the season, tonight,
(8-24-2010) along with the ‘Chooch Bobblehead’ the Phillies starting line all
appear together again.
who has participated as an exhibitor at a trade show of some kind will be all to
familiar with ‘Tire Kickers’, although not specific to
trade shows, since it’s origin is from used car lots, it is where we have seen the most concentration
any given event over the years. I am sure, some will disagree and claim they have seen
more together in one place somewhere else. In the grand scheme of things, the fact that ‘Tire Kickers’ exist
everywhere is enough.
This time of year baseball has it’s own brand of ‘Tire Kickers’,
the front office people for some clubs transform into these at this time of
year. All the ranting and raving as fans will change none of
that, yes we are all armchair GM’s at some time and we all know what
is best for the teams we help through the season by cheering for them relentlessly
regardless of how they actually perform.
Not every team’s front office can legitimately transform, the Phillies
front office has transformed and can on occasion be seen ‘Kicking Tires’ in
places like Houston, Arizona, Pittsburgh, Washington, and rumor has it even
The Phillies of recent years have done relatively well by
‘Kicking Tires’ till the deadline makes them transform back to actual decision
makers, lets hope this year is Werth the wait. There are those Phillie fans who
think some players are Werth keeping, regardless of performance or contribution,
I think this year the Phillies should make a stab at a good starting pitcher to
assist the teams continued run at post season and if the offer a Werth-while
everyday player then so be it.
In an effort to curb some disdain by the fair weather booing fans, or just to
show they are action minded, they decided Milt Thompson should join the over
crowded list of unemployed in this country. In just the few days since this
occurred the ever drivelous incoherent commentator booth add on of Gary ‘Sarge’
Matthews has pointed out pertinent hitting features for players that apparently
weren’t there two or three days ago, after weeks of telling us what they were
doing wrong at the plate, yet insists he doesn’t want another hitting coaches
job. If you’ve been watching the Phillies for a number of years now you’ll all
remember similar style of added information from non other than Joe Kerrigan
when he was on the Comcast post game show, right before he weaseled his way into
the pitching coach job for Bowa.
Since I’ve missed a few days or more, the Phillies, after the
ASG break have….
….given 3 out of 4 to the sCrUBs and given 3 out of 4 to the
Cards, while on the road, back at home they currently have won the first 2 of a
4 game set against the Rockies with game 3 being played today at CBP. They actually
managed to knock Ubaldo Jimenez out of the game in 2 plus innings, but
today is another day and it all starts again, especially for JA Happ who is back
with the club, his last start was in April and has been on the DL, rehabbing and
just plain getting back into the swing of things.
Just a Thought:
If a player can have specific balls put into the game when
it’s his at bat, what stops teams from rotating balls in and out for home team
hitters and away hitters. I know a ball is a ball is a ball, but if the Rockies
can process their balls to reduce flight, why can’t teams do that for visiting
teams and process for increased flight for home hitters. I know many will
dismiss this as just another conspiracy with no substance, but isn’t anything
possible in this day and age, and won’t teams grab every advantage they can fair
or foul…. the big prize seems to cloud the judgment of people in and around
sports, no matter what the sport.
The National League managed an upset of the American League by taking the All Star Game victory, because of recent history showing the dominance of the American League this is a good way to move forward into the second half of the 2010 season for National League teams.
At the beginning of the season I laid out how I thought the season would progress and how teams would position themselves for October baseball, with just over half the games played it’s a good time to reflect and update my season ending visions.
The American League has shown some surprises, out West the Mariners have not faired as I thought so this has left the Rangers and Angels duking it out for a post season place. In the Central the Indians are not performing in the manor they could have been and in the East the top 3 are as expected, but the Jays are doing better than I had thought, as a mid way summary I now have the following possible outcomes.
Angels ……..88-93 wins
Rangers ……..86-91 wins
The A’s will hover around the .500 mark and the Mariners will finish below .500 with about 70 wins.
ChiSox ……..84-89 wins
Twins ……..81-86 wins
Tigers ……..81-86 wins
The Royals and the Tribe will fight, but fail to reach .500 this year.
Yankees ……..93-98 wins
Rays ……..92-97 wins
BoSox ……..90-95 wins
As you can see this could be any of these, I had considered the Yankees breaking 100 wins again, but recent history shows last time they had 56 wins in the first half they had a dismal second half with only 33 wins, so the Yankees number is a crap shoot, the Jays should end around the .500 mark and the O’s will probably break 64 wins, but no more than 70 wins.
The National League has also given us a couple of surprises, the Padres are the biggest one for me, kudos to them, I thought they would struggle to be a .500 team this year, but they proved me very wrong. The Pirates are more disappointing than anything, I really thought they could be a above .500 team this year, but not going to happen, the Reds are better than expected or are the Cardinals not as good as expected. The East is as expected a 3 horse race and will continue through season end.
Padres ……..85-90 wins
Rockies ……..84-89 wins
Dodgers ……..83-88 wins
Giants ……..79-84 wins
Arizona will struggle to reach 70 wins this year.
Cardinals ……..85-90 wins
Reds ……..85-90 wins
The Brewers and Cubs will struggle stay around the .500 mark on the year, the Pirates and Astros will have chance to play spoiler or helper in September as the Cards and Reds are on target to give us a game 163 this year, but as the Astros and Pirates play out the year they’ll both struggle to get over 65 wins.
Phillies ……..90-95 wins
Mets ……..88-93 wins
Braves ……..87-92 wins
Still a close 3 team race and could go to any of the 3, itll be up to the Nats and Marlins to play spoiler, since both those teams wont even be knocking on the .500 door.
So these are my mid-term visions as far as the divisions are set, as for Phillies players and that dreaded date of July 31st, where teams negotiate to the wire to get the best possible deal, or they think is the best possible deal. The past few seasons the Phillies have faired pretty good at the trading deadline, this year I would say look to see Jayson Werth end up with one of 3 teams, Astros, Pirates or even the Reds, also movers could include, Dobbs, Castro or Ransom and maybe even Kendrick or Happ, I do not think anything major will occur, it is possible we could get Oswalt, but no breath holding here, or even one of the Reds pitchers, it maybe that the Dodgers decide they can lose Broxton, so the Phillies can lose Lidge, but that’s as farfetched as a straight trade of Pujols and Howard, or Werth and Ethier, dream on people ESPN’s got no inside track and the second half is just beginning. So tighten that safety belt, keep your hands and feet inside the car at all times and enjoy the ride, don’t forget to scream and raise your arms at the appropriate times, but most of all have FUN.
The Phillies returned home yesterday and
took some rest, more like some, gather my thoughts time, and while some
players were probably reflecting on how best to ignite the offense, so they
don’t end up with a sell out ‘boo-bird’ stadium this weekend, others I am
sure were checking out the Rollins’ Basebowl Tournament, an event J-Roll
hosts every year, I just hope he played it safe with his calf injury and took no
The San Diego Padres are in town for the
weekend, it seems like the Phillies are
getting no breaks, they just got off a road trip, which put them in all the over
sized ball parks with hot teams and now they get home to host another hot
team in the Padres, if they can break
out of this, whatever it is, over the weekend then they will deserve
every run and hit they get against this Padres
team that is currently dominating the West.
Other news in baseball, it seems that Mark McGwire has been at it
again, yep you guessed it, this time he can’t deny it, cause there is no way in
hell a guy like him knocks up a chick like his wife and then she has triplets,
all girls on June 1st, yep gotta believe he was poppin’ the blue ones. On a side
note, that I didn’t pick up on at the time and haven’t seen mentioned anywhere,
yes I know Stephanie McGwire is his 2nd wife, but she was a pharmaceutical rep
when they met, is that weird or is it me.
The most important news from yesterday around MLB, was actually here
in the Blogosphere, not it’s not the fact that the Blogosphere’s
front page depicted the almost perfect game, but at the time chose not to depict
Roy Halladay’s actual perfect game, it isn’t the fact that the Blogosphere’s
front page went through a quick change to cover the retirement of "KG
Jr.", it wasn’t even the fact that after yesterday’s post I managed to
get through the day without having my blog cancelled by ‘The Man’ Mark Newman,
who’s really a nice guy, (sucking up), or the geeky guru powers at
his disposal within the Blogosphere… No people this event almost
got my WTF award for June, it is definitely still in the running, depending on
the rest of the month, this earth shattering event happened at none other than RSBS
– I hear you ask, what other than Jeff falling off a female sCrUBS fan in a
drunken stuper, could possibly be earth shattering at RSBS
– Well I have the proof in pictures, for all of you who are familiar
with the escapades of Jeff and Al, you’ll know that both try to alternate posts
on the blog, but it seems Jeff is the only one who knows how to comment, well I
have the proof…..
….that’s definitely AL’s handtyping, I have it on good
authority and if you want to see the evidence for your self just click the link
at the end and scroll down to the 5th comment…. click
Time to get ready for the Phillies vs Padres and hopefully the
next big news story will be the Phillies breaking out of this…
……what ever it is
Memorial Day weekend is now behind us, it was a time we honor those
that paid the ultimate price so that we may enjoy our
freedom. Some little known facts a place in Ohio, Ironton lays claim to
the longest running Memorial Day parade, they have been holding one since
around 1868, as far as I can find out, I wasn’t there then so I can’t confirm
it. Ironton sits on the Ohio river a stones throw from Kentucky
and West Virginia.
In Great Britain the last Monday of May is a different holiday, there
equivalent to Memorial Day is normally the second Sunday of November,
although a 2 minute silence is observed on November 11th, in remembrance of
those that paid the ultimate price. Many of my ancestors have been members of
the British military for as long as I know, my father was in the Royal
Air Force, which is the same branch of military I served my country.
I hope everyone had some good memories of this past weekend, we may complain
about the beer not being cold enough or it may have been the burgers over done,
or the weather stopped you from lighting that grill. I am sure many sat around
with a beer or 2 and righted all the wrongs in the world, some probably
disagreed with the current conflicts overseas, it’s your right, that’s the
beauty of ‘Freedom’ I trust you all remembered that if nothing else this weekend
and just maybe you did something nice for at least one person, you never know
what fruits it may produce in a world where the ‘pay it forward’ program mostly
comes naturally for those that enjoy the true free world.
It’s June we are as good as 1/3 of the way through the season, I was going to
evaluate the current standing with regard to how my predictions are working out,
but decided it’s not worth doing that till at least July, when teams start
dumping or finding players based on their chances for postseason. Since there
has been many conversations started and ended with the fact that Philadelphia
has more zero’s in May than a lot of teams see in a season, I thought I would
try and put some of it into perspective, even the Phillies
own analysts are starting to ask, where’s it end, when does it end. Well I say
it end’s now, this week, maybe not tonight, maybe not tomorrow night, but by
this weekend the Phillies will be either
back on top of the division or at worst by the time the weekend its over.
How do the Phillies compare to the rest
of baseball, in May they went 16-12, the best team in baseball went 20-8 in fact
2 teams did that and both those teams moved from the bottom of their respective
divisions to the top or almost.
top 2 teams of each of the American League divisions is the same on June
1st as it was on May 1st, those top 2 teams of each American League
division were on average winning between 15 and 17 games and losing
between 12 and 14 games, the only one of the 6 teams to have a losing record was
the Detroit Tigers they went 12-14 for the
The top 2 teams of each division in the National League saw 2 teams go from
top to bottom or almost anyway, the Giants
dropped down in the West and Mets in
the East, those 2 teams were replaced by the best 2 teams in baseball the
Dodgers and Braves
respectively. The Phillies had the same
record as the Padres, a better record than
the Cardinals, in fact on the 1st of May the
Phillies were a 1/2 game out of 1st place in
the NL East and on June 1st they are a 1/2 game out, before today’s game.
More of how the Phillies performed, from
the 17th of April to May 1st the Phillies
went 4-8 and from the 17th of May to June 1st the Phillies
have gone 5-9, yet for the most part they lead the division in both April and
May. How about runs I hear you say, well during the same time period April 17th
or May 1st, they went 38 runs for and 57 runs against, from 17th May to 1st June
they went 34 runs for and 54 against, so the numbers are similar again.
I’ll admit there were more zero’s on the board in May, but it’s wins and
loses that count, so if at the end of June the Phillies
are still putting up zero’s then maybe I will start to ask, what is going on,
how do we fix this, but at this moment in time it seems all the players have hit
that down turn at the same time, so as I said before when the bats wake up, even
some almighty, visible only in the mind of those that choose to have imaginary
friends in adulthood, won’t be able to help the pitcher of the moment.
It’s the end of the Month and since nothing really jumped right out at me and
said here this is it, I have to decide on the WTF Award
for the month of May.
As I reviewed things that came and went there were reasons why I held onto
the award this month. Some of the contenders that could have received it were….
Dallas Braden would be an obvious choice, for the perfect game
earlier this month. In all fairness to Dallas, he hasn’t done anything
before this event and the chances are he won’t do anything after this event,
other than be an average pitcher in the rotation of a ball club that struggles
to stay around the top when there being really good, but are normally fighting
to get off the bottom, in other words your destined to stay in Oakland
or at best move to Houston at some future
date when Oakland no longer wants you.
Actually the real reason is pure prejudice, I can’t give an award to anyone
The St. Louis Cardinals team were
contenders for this award, last month they were the first team to allow the LOLstros
a win and this month they actually allowed the LOLstros
to sweep them, not on the road in Houston,
but at home in St. Louis. The reality is if
anyone should have got the award for this event it should have been the LOLstros,
which eliminates the Cardinals from even
being a consideration.
The LOLstros for sweeping the Cardinals,
no couldn’t do it, just can’t give anything to a team that has Ed Wade
connected to it, yep call it sour grapes, call it prejudice, I don’t care, just
not going to happen, unless he wants Lidge back.
Andre Ethier of the Los Angeles
Dodgers, has been a contender for this award, no one can be out that
long with a little injury to your pinky finger, it’s like saying you’ve got to
sit the rest of the game out because your manicure needs touched up, and in his absence
they’re having a competition centered around Matt Kemp, you
can check this out courtesy of fellow blogger Crzblue’s blog, unfortunately
Andre is eliminated from consideration because he’s on the same team as Manny
Victorino and Jayson Werth were considered for their
togetherness in the out field while backing up the perfect game, but Jayson
had shaved, so I thought that news may have been leaked to them that I was still
in the hunt for a suitable candidate to receive the award, so I had to instantly
It was considered to go outside the world of baseball and give the award to Fox
News host Greta Van Susteren who thought it would be rewarding to
have uncontrolled people vote on her stupidity or intelligence or lack of it, Greta
the fact that you had to have a poll that pit you against a fan that sent
you ‘fan mail’ with a spelling error tells us who is really the one with intelligence,
then of course we have to consider how many college degree’s you need to get
your job, and calling someone out on spelling, doesn’t that make Fox News like
the kettle calling the pot black. (can I use that expression, my mum always
There were a number of other contenders, whom I could continue to ridicule as
I explain why they didn’t get it, but I’ll just get right to it. It is possible
that this is a little unfair, it is possible that there may be some bias
involved in this months award, but the award, I believe was given on merit, it’s
been given to a team who during the worst 10 days of this short season has been
shut out 5 times, a team that scored in just 1 inning out 50 innings, a team
known for home run hitting hasn’t hit a home run in 54 innings, a team that has
struggled to hit anything anywhere rallied behind their ‘ACE’ pitcher on
May 29th, 2010 to allow him to throw the perfect game, then went straight back
out there the next day to be shut out, yes my friends I give you the recipient
of this months WTF award Mr. Roy ‘The Doc’ Halladay of
the Philadelphia Phillies.
Due to other commitments I had to enlist some assistance in presenting the
award to Roy…..
….Joe was very helpful and seemed like a profession al
at the job.
Then later Roy got interviewed by Phillies
radio and tv analyst ‘Sarge’ on his great accomplishment….
….as you can see Roy was ecstatic on his great achievement.
Well done again Roy I am sure you will treasure this award, (if he knew about it), and keep it on prominent display, (if
there actually was one to display.)