July 2007

Savery Aboard

July 19, 2007

Joe Savery is now a Phillie, well, technically a member of the Williamsport Crosscutters, our team in the short-season New York-Penn League. http://philadelphia.phillies.mlb.com/news/press_releases/press_release.jsp?ymd=20070719&content_id=2095934&vkey=pr_phi&fext=.jsp&c_id=phi

He was a two-way star at Rice University, pitcher and first baseman.  With the Phillies he’ll pitch.

Matter of fact, he was quite a high school athlete at Lamar in Houston.  Career numbers there: 20 homers, 24-5 record.  He was a first-team all-district quarterback and punter, 1,950 total yards and 23 touchdown passes.

Savery joins Larry Christenson, Larry Andersen and Kyle Kendrick who were quarterbacks-pitchers in high school.

When he puts on a Crosscutters uniform jersey, he will be wearing a different uniform number than he wore at Rice, #20.  While getting a tour of the Hall of Fame Club at Citizens Bank Park, Joe noticed a painting of Mike Schmidt.  “Guess I won’t be wearing number 20,” he laughed. Scouting Report 

Hoops Anyone?
At 6-foot-3 Savery is one of four who will have to be the point guard on the Crosscutters basketball team:

RHP Chance Chapman (6’4”)
RHP Drew Naylor (6’4”)
RHP Carlos Pena (6’4”)
RHP Joe Rocchio (6’4”)
1B Michael Durant (6’5”)
1B Matt Rizzotti (6’5”)
OF Dominic Brown (6’5”)
OF Michael Taylor (6’6”)
RHP Paige Dumont (6’8”)
RHP Matt German (6’8”)

One of the 6-foot-3 athletes is 18-year-old OF D’Arby Myers.  His cousin is Shaquille O’Neal.  Do you think Shaq can make this team?

Feast or Famine

July 18, 2007

Since the second half of the season has started, it has been all or nothing for the Phillies.  They’ve won three laughers and lost two nightmares.

Sixth-three hits produced 38 runs over the three victories.  The two debits: 5 runs on 16 hits.

As mentioned earlier, this trip has the Phillies facing the # 1 and 2 pitching staffs in the NL, San Diego and Los Angeles.  After last night, the Phillies, leaders in runs scored in the NL, took over the top spot with a .277 team average.

Seemed strange seeing Mike Lieberthal in a Dodger uniform.  His catching, batting stance and swing are the same but the uniform made him look so different.  When his playing days are over, he certainly is a candidate for the Phillies Wall of Fame at Citizens Bank Park.

Burrell Milestone
Last night Pat hit his 200th home run, making him the seventh in club history to reach that milestone:  Mike Schmidt (548), Del Ennis (259), Chuck Klein (243), Greg Luzinski (223), Cy Williams (217) and **** Allen (204).

Pat has been getting heat because of his performance. Nobody wants to succeed and win as much as Pat. 

When I was a kid, fans always seemed to be on Del Ennis, who was a slugger and run-producer like Pat.

TV Twice
This afternoon’s game is live on Comcast SportsNet and will be aired again on that network at 7 o’clock tonight. 

The Phillies and CSN are going to be replaying five other afternoon games at night: July 26 (Nationals), August 2 (at Cubs), August 23 (Dodgers), August 30 (Metws) and September 5 (at Atlanta).

“Ratings for Phillies’ games on Comcast SportsNet this year are up 13%  from 2006, so the demand for our games on TV is strong.  Re-broadcasting these games in prime time makes sense as an added service to our fans,” explained David Buck, Senior Vice President Marketing and Advertising Sales.

Who’s Hot?
Who’s hot in the Phillies minor league system?  Check out the weekly report:

Closing the Book

July 17, 2007

Thanks to those who took the time to comment on the 10,000 loss milestone blog. 

Phillies fans do have passion and that is appreciated. Sometimes that passion comes in the form of “booooo” but it is passion.

One person mentioned bleeding Phillies red.  Tommy Lasorda is always blowing off about bleeding Dodger blue.  I once told him, “Tommy, I guarantee you will bleed Phillies red and not Dodger blue when you cut your finger.”

Another reader lamented the lack of being in the playoffs.  Well, we share those feelings.  We are as frustrated as you are.

Another reader referred to the blog as “Finally, some uplifting news.” Yet, another reader questioned some of the points that were raised, which is fine.  This reader admitted he had to vent.  That is fine, too.  We all need to vent.

I was just trying to offer a different perspective than the jolly news media.

Another basically said the heck with 10,000 and the past.  That person is right on.  The book is now closed!

Thank You, Fans

We’ve just reached a milestone, our 10,000th loss, also known as a defeat, setback, debit, downfall, stumbling block, or withdrawl.   

Just as Ed Delahanty, Davey Bancroft, Puddin’ Head Jones, Mike Schmidt, Jim Eisenreich, Jimmy Rollins, Richie Ashburn and Harry Kalas are part of Phillies history, so are 10,000 losses.  We can’t change the past, only move forward in our never-ending drive to bring another World Series title to Philadelphia.

There are those who think we should celebrate.  We’d be criticized whether we do or don’t.

I don’t know of any other team that celebrates losses, other than the Washington Generals who played zillions of games world-wide against the Harlem Globetrotters.

Established in 1883, the Phillies are the oldest, continuous, one-name, one-city franchise in American professional sports (although the team briefly used alternate names in some years).  That is quite an accomplishment.

When the Phillies joined the National League in 1883, there were eight teams.  Only three other franchises have been in the NL since 1883: Chicago, New York (now San Francisco) and Boston (twice moved, Milwaukee to Atlanta).

We are seventh in games played, ninth in wins and first in losses, with five other franchises over 9,000 defeats.

We’ve been a Philadelphia institution longer than Temple University, Philadelphia Suburban Water Co., Sunoco, Inc. and Goldenberg Candy Co., just to name a few.  We’ve outlasted the Philadelphia Athletics, five newspapers in the city, numerous radio stations, a handful of TV stations and thousands of other businesses. 

Heck, we’re as old as the Brooklyn Bridge. 

Because of our longevity, we have played more games, won more games, lost more games and drawn more fans than any other sports franchise in this city.  No one will catch us.

We, most likely, were the first baseball team to lose 5,000 games.  If that was the case, it occurred on July 24, 1945, at Wrigley Field in Chicago.  In checking an old, musty, dusty scrapbook, there was no mention of that milestone in either the Inquirer or Evening Bulletin articles.  Not a word the day before, day of, or day after.  Media coverage over the 10,000 losses has been of blizzard proportions.

Looking back, much of the damage was done a very long time ago:

            **Between 1918 and 1948, there was one winning season.

            **During the first 63 seasons, there were 13 100-loss seasons; during the last 62, one.

            **28 percent of the setbacks came in a three-decade period, 1920s, 1930s, 1940s.

            **Starting in 1938, we lost 105, 106, 103, 111 and 109 games in consecutive seasons.

I can’t imagine what the e-mails to the front office would have been like in those years. 

The numbers aren’t all suffering ones:

            **In 124-plus years, we have won more home games (4,820) than we’ve lost (4,556).

            **Games at Veterans Stadium and Citizens Bank Park rank 1-2 in winning percentage among the ballparks we’ve called home.

            **During the last 31 seasons, there have been two franchise-record 101-win seasons, six Eastern Division titles, three NL championships and one World Series Champion.  We have been in the post-season during the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

            **During the same time frame, the Phillies were frequent inductees into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown: players Bancroft, Sam Thompson, Chuck Klein, Robin Roberts, Schmidt, Ashburn, Steve Carlton and Jim Bunning; two broadcasters, By Saam and Kalas, and three writers Allen Lewis (Inquirer), Ray Kelly (Bulletin) and Bus Saidt (Trenton Times).

            **We have a winning record this decade, which could wind up as the third-best in our history.

            **Since Citizens Bank Park opened in 2004, the Phillies’ overall record is 305-272.

Oh, my, I almost forgot… 29 seasons ago the world was invaded by Phillie Phanatic, the best mascot in sports.

When you get down to it, Phillies baseball is more than win-loss numbers.  Yes, that’s how sports franchises are measured and it will always be that way.  Embrace winners, despise losers.  Only the Cubs, who haven’t won a World Series since 1908, are referred to as lovable losers.

Phillies baseball is about people playing a game for people.  The people for whom the games are played are you, the fans.  Fathers and sons connect, women become fanatical followers and kids dream of being a Phillies player. 

I’ll never forget the first game I saw.  My dad took me to see the Red Sox and A’s at Shibe Park. Some guy named Ted Williams was playing.  Do you remember your first game?

Fan dedication has been awesome, over 116 million in the team’s history.  More than 10 million of those have been to games at Citizens Bank Park which means the park, the game and the players have appeal.  To the more than 116 million who have supported the franchise through thick and thin, we say an enormous THANK YOU for your Phillies passion. 

We live in the Internet age in which fans can connect like never before.  During the 2006 calendar year, phillies.com had more than 120 million page views.  Last month, over 16 million.

One of the beautiful aspects of baseball is that many more fans are connected by radio and television. For six months out of every year, Phillies broadcasters are invited into the living rooms of millions.  Gene Kelly, Saam, Bill Campbell, Ashburn, Kalas and the current crew are household names.

There are blind people who don’t miss a game on the radio.  My 91-year-old dad doesn’t miss a TV game, although he tapes the late-night ones.  An elderly woman confessed that after she lost her husband, she was left with three loves in her life, her two sons and the Phillies.

The lives of ill and crippled children are brightened by the games and the players.

Ed Deal, a Phillies game-day employee, said it best: “The Phillies are my grandfather’s team, my father’s team, my team, my sons’ team and my grandchildren’s team.”

That, my friends, is Phillies baseball.

Heading West

July 15, 2007

Tonight’s Lineup
Rollins, ss; Victorino, rf; Utley, 2b; Howard, 1b; Rowand, cf; Burrell, lf; Dobbs, 3b; Barajas, c; Eaton, p.

Why 6:05?
ESPN’s Sunday night telecasts normally begin at 8:05.  Because of the ESPY Show on ESPN tonight, the game was moved up to 6:05 p.m.

It actually helps the Phillies who will leave after the game for a seven-game series in southern California, three in Los Angeles and then four in San Diego, the top two teams in the NL West.

The Phillies charter flight is scheduled to land in LA at 1:15 p.m. (PDT). 

Vs. the West
So far, the Phillies are 6-11 against the West after going 19-13 a year ago.  It will be a tough trip.  The Padres have the lowest ERA in the NL (3.16) and the Dodgers are second (3.80).  Offensively, the Dodgers are second in team batting, the Padres last.

The Dodgers and Padres make their Philly visit in August, 21 through 26.

Welcome, Old Friend
Readers are starting to offer comments to this blog.  An old friend even got into the act, former Phillies right fielder Glenn Wilson.  Great to hear from Glenbo.

National TV

July 14, 2007

Today’s Lineup
Rollins, ss; Victorino, rf; Utley, 2b; Howard, 1b; Rowand, cf; Burrell, lf; Helms, 3b; Ruiz, c; Hamels, p.

Photo Day
Fans were allowed on the field to take close up photos of the players from 2:05 to 2:35.  Because of the event, both teams took batting practice in the indoor cages.

Greg Dobbs will wear the in-game microphone this afternoon.  Jose Mesa will introduce the Phillies lineup at the beginning of the game and pitching coach Rich Dubee will be a live in-game interview.

Standing room tickets for today’s game went on sale at 9 this morning and were all gone by 2 this afternoon.  Less than 5,000 tickets remain for tomorrow night’s series finale.  The ESPN Sunday Night telecast tomorrow has a special 6:05 start.  Ashburn Alley opens at 3:35 tomorrow afternoon; other gates, one hour later. 

Chase Utley is hitting .492 in his last 16 home games . . . Shane Victorino hasn’t been caught stealing (26 consecutive) since April 12 . . . Phillies are 37-10 in Sunday games in the history of Citizens Bank Park . . . Since the park opened in 2004, the Phillies overall record is 303-271.

Hall of Fame Visitor
Steve Carlton was a visitor at Citizens Bank Park last night, dining with some of the suite holders.  He, along with Mike Schmidt and Robin Roberts will be back for the Phillies Wall of Fame induction ceremonies (August 10) and Phillies Alumni Night (August 11).  More on those events will be posted here next week.

Friday, the 13th

July 13, 2007

Tonight’s Lineup
Rollins, ss; Victorino, rf; Utley, 2b; Howard, 1b; Rowand, cf; Burrell, lf; Dobbs, 3b; Ruiz, c; Kendrick, p.

Friday, the 13th
Yep, today is a supposedly unlucky day.  At my age, I awoke this morning which is terrific.

Over the course of Phillies baseball, starting in 1883, we are 46-44-1 on Friday, the 13th.  This friendly statistical note is the courtesy of Skip (Memory Lane) Clayton, a Phillies research artist.

National TV
Tomorrow, FOX is carrying the Phillies game as one of three national telecasts.  Thom Brenneman and Eric Karros will behind the microphone.

Sunday, a special 6:05 ESPN Sunday Night telecast with Jon Miller and Joe Morgan.

Phillies Show
Just a reminder, the weekly, 30-minute W. B. Mason Behind the Pinstripes Show that airs before Sunday day games on CW 57 can now be seen on this website.  Just click on the Fan Forum and look for the “Phillies Show” on the right side of the page.

Among the features is Brett Myers visiting the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and an interview with All-Star second baseman Chase Utley.

Thanks, Fans

July 12, 2007

Hello Again!

Back from a brief break and ready for the second half.  There was a flury of responses to the previous edition of Phillies Insider and that’s great. 

2-4 on the last road trip could have been completely turned around except for a missed umpire call and an inconsistent bullpen.

First base umpire Lance Barksdale made a bad call on a game-ending double play that would have given the Phillies a win. Please be aware that umpires are reviewed annually.  Supervisors also attend many games checking out the quality of umpiring. Umpires are human and we all know humans make errors.  I agree with one of the readers that instant replay doesn’t belong in baseball.  There’s nothing more boring in an exciting football game than a break for instant replay. 

Bigger than the 2-4 record was the Phillies humanitarian display of helping the Rockies struggling ground crew during Sunday’s frightening rain delay.   The wind-blown tarp was a lethal weapon and thanks to the Phillies, potential injuries or worse was avoided.  It was the most amazing thing I’ve seen on a baseball field. 

Seeing the replays over and over made the rescue even more meaningful. 

We received numerous e-mails and letters from proud Phillies fans around the world. 

Among the comments:
**“Class act.”
**“Fan for life after seeing that.”
**“Proud to be a Phillies fan.”
**“I will now always root for the Phillies unless they are playing my favorite team.”
**“I am a very casual sports watcher, but I just felt compelled to write and say that I have never felt more proud of a hometown team than I do right now.”
**“When the team ran on to help the crew with that tarp, I got chills.”
**“I was very touched.”
**“To come to the aid of others is what is really is all about.  Their actions gave me more reason to stand by my team.”

To all of the fans who reached out to the team, we thank you very much.  We welcome fan feedback.

Finally, one of the readers offered some “reasonable items” and some “unreasonable items” (personnel moves).  Yes, one or two quality bullpen horses is a “reasonable item.”  Unfortunately, it may not be realistic.  There just aren’t bullpen horses available.  More about the search for pitching at a later date this month.

On Break

July 3, 2007

The combination of the July 4 holiday, the team being on the road and next week’s four-day All-Star Game break is giving PHILLIES INSIDER a break.   I’m going to attempt to bronze this beefy body at the beach.  (Sorry, pictures will not be available).

All-Star Trio

July 2, 2007

This is the third consecutive year the Phillies have three players on the NL All-Star team. 

How were Chase Utley, Cole Hamels and Aaron Rowand informed of their honors?

Major League Baseball calls each General Manager, who notifies the players just prior to yesterday’s game time.  Frank Coppenbarger, Director of Team Travel and Clubhouse Services, then presents each player with an All-Star Game packet explaining transportation, hotel, tickets, hospitality events, etc.

Chase, Cole and Aaron will head for San Francisco after Sunday’s game in Denver, while the rest of the team scatters for a four-day break.

Chase is the first Phillies second baseman to be a starter twice.  Other Phillies starters at that position: Emil Verban (1947), Granny Hamner (1954), Manny Trillo (1982) and Mariano Duncan (1994).

The Phillies surpassed 116 million in attendance since 1883 with yesterday’s sellout . . . The win boosted the Phillies’ Sunday record at Citizens Bank Park to 37-10 . . . Shane Victorino has stolen 23 consecutive bases, 12 shy of Jimmy Rollins’ club record set in 2001 . . . Chase Utley hit .400 during the homestand; Gregg Dobbs, .391 . . . When scoring 3 or more runs, the Phillies are 41-18; 3 or less, just 1-21 . . . Phillies are in Houston to start a three-game series tonight. The Astros are 20-19 at home; the Phillies 20-19 on the road.  Something has to give.

Clubhouse Scene
What is the scene in the Phillies clubhouse post-game? 

Under Major League Baseball rules, the clubhouse is opened to the media 10 minutes after the last out.  First, Charlie Manuel goes to the Media Room to answer questions.  The herd of media then heads for the clubhouse.

Yesterday, there 52 media members, ranging from writers to TV crews to radio reporters.  Kyle Kendrick, the starter and winner, is made available in the middle of the clubhouse.  With the volume of media it is more convenient for Kyle, the media and Kyle’s locker mates, to do it in the middle.

After he was finished, All-Star Cole Hamels took center stage.  A few followed Kyle to his locker for more questions, Shane Victorino had radio types taping an interview, Gregg Dobbs was at his locker with a small group of media, Chase Utley showered and then faced the mass at this locker (he did a few waves of media), a handful gathered around Ryan Howard, two reporters were chatting with Jamie Moyer and Aaron Rowand wrapped up the media session with another center stage interview. 

Meanwhile, clubhouse workers are carrying player equipment bags, bags of bats, bags of batting helps, medical supplies, and other equipment to a truck which will take it to the airport.  Over three and one-half tons of equipment and personal luggage is norm.

“Bus 5:20” was posted on the eraser board in the middle of the clubhouse.  Frank Coppenbarger, the Town Crier, came through the clubhouse and reminded everyone “five more minutes for the bus.”  When the bus departure is listed as 5:20, that’s when the bus leaves, not a minute earlier or a minute later. 

Kendrick had taken some treatment in the trainer’s room and hustled to make the bus, following Frank out the door. 

The itinerary: two buses to carry the traveling party to a Delta charter airplane, a 3 hour-30 minute flight to Houston and another bus ride to the hotel.  Another game tonight.