October 2008

New Heroes

What a great feeling!  World Champion Phillies.

The 2008 Phillies have made their mark in our franchise history. A generation of fans has heroes that will last their lifetime.  Oh, the 1980 Champs won’t be forgotten but that club has fallen from the top.

You’ve read and heard all the news accounts.  No need to review that here.

If you haven’t had a chance, you must reach Shane Victorino’s blog. 

Cole on TV
Cole Hamels became the fifth player to win the MVP Award in both the League Championship Series and World Series.  He’ll be in New York tonight for the David Letterman Show.

Others who have won both awards include Willie Stargell (1979), Darrell Porter (1982), Orel Hershiser (1988) and Livan Hernandez (1997).

Red Sox Treat
“Congratulations on an amazing season!  Understanding that it’s a lot of work planning a celebration we are sending lunch from our organization,” Jahaan Blake, Manager of Fan Services and Entertainment for the Boston Red Sox, said in an e-mail today.

Lo and behold 58 pizzas arrived at the Phillies Citizens Bank Park offices at noon today.

“We treated the White Sox staff when they won in 2005, the year after we were World Champions, and wanted to extend the gesture to the Phillies,” she added. Very classy.

Congratulatory E-mails
“Congratulations to the Phillies for their hard work and dedication; the fans for their loyalty and patience and the owners and front office for building a world class organization. I’ve never been prouder to be a Phillie,” Steve Carlton.

“Congratulations to Charlie, the coaches and players. The Philly fans were fantastic. When a team wins the World Series, everyone contributes, including the fans. When does spring training start?,”  Robin Roberts.

“I would like to congratulate the Phillies on winning the 2008 World Series. It was very exciting to see my ex-teammates celebrating a championship victory. The Phillies were a courageous team during the entire season and they certainly deserve this title. Please express my joy to all the players, the organization and most specially the fans for waiting faithfully for so many years to celebrate this well deserved triumph,” Bobby Abreu. 


“The Phighting Phillies are the World Champions, the team of my childhood and my entire life.  The names and numbers on the uniforms change but somehow that name on the front of the uniform stirs our very soul,” Joe Bonsall / Oak Ridge Boys. (Born and raised in Kensington!!)

Among the other congrats that poured in: the Tampa Bay Rays, Ned Colletti (Dodgers GM), Juan Samuel, The Dave Matthews Band, Steve Capus (President of NBC News), Craig Shoemaker (comedian), Tom Brandi (professional wrestler), John Leclair (Flyers), Michael Volpe (the “free agent fan” who picked the Phillies in 1995) and Joe Giglio (one of the Four Aces).

Baseball Hall of Fame
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum will open an exhibit dedicated to the 2008 World Series and the Philadelphia Phillies’ World Championship in mid-November in Cooperstown, N.Y. The exhibit will feature a number of treasures donated by members of the Phillies and Rays to represent the 104th Fall Classic.

The items received from members of the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies:
Jersey from World Series MVP Cole Hamels worn during Game Five
Bat used by Ryan Howard during Game Four
Spikes worn by Jayson Werth throughout the Series
Cap worn by Eric Bruntlett during home games of the Series
Helmet worn by Carlos Ruiz
Bat used by Joe Blanton for home run in Game Four

Additional items received from the American League champion Tampa Bay Rays:
Cap worn in Philadelphia by manager Joe Maddon
Road jersey worn by Carl Crawford in World Series
Spikes worn by B.J. Upton during World Series

The World Series case highlights the Museum’s Autumn Glory exhibition, documenting the history of baseball’s postseason. The 2008 World Series case will remain on exhibit through the 2009 postseason.



Historic Game 5

Sorry I didn’t post yesterday. Just a very busy day on many fronts.  Plus, energy was one bar like a cell phone. 
We are about to witness baseball history tonight when Game 5 is resumed.  A suspended game in the World Series has never happened.  We will start a game without a National Anthem, first ball ceremony, introduction of starting lineups, etc.  Very bizarre.
The Rays have checked out of their Wilmington hotel and will head south after the game.  The Phillies came to the park with their personal bags packed and a Delta charter waiting for them at the airport.  Let’s hope the Delta aircraft returns to its Atlanta base empty tonight.
Trivia Answer
Forgot to provide the answer on Monday to Sunday’s trivia question: Who holds the Phillies record for most RBI in a World Series game?  Milt Thompson was the right answer with 5 (Game 4, Oct. 10, 1993, vs. Toronto).  Ironically, Ryan Howard tied the record on Sunday night.
Laura Managanello is the winner of the Milt Thompson autographed baseball.  Please contact me.

Comment Corner
A few comments about the 8:30 starting times.  That has been pretty much the same story this decade.  Prime time is the key reason.  Heck, I believe the NCAA championship game starts at 9 p.m.


Final Home Game

Tonight’s Lineup
Rollins, ss
Werth, rf
Utley, 2b
Howard, 1b
Burrell, lf
Victorino, cf
Feliz, 3b
Ruiz, c
Hamels, p

Batting 10th: passionate fans will fill Citizens Bank Park with electricity.  The emotion will start when Cole walks out of the dugout for the bullpen to start his warmups.

Unfortunately, it is so busy today that I’m unable to provide more than the starting lineup.  I know you understand.




Same Lineup

Tonight’s Lineup
Rollins, ss
Werth, rf
Utley, 2b
Howard, 1b
Burrell, lf
Victorino, cf
Feliz, 3b
Ruiz, c
Blanton, p

Batting 10th: noisy, towel-waiving fans.

Game 3
What a night.  Rain delay, home runs, stolen bases, mental and physical errors, a missed call by an umpire (proving again they are human), great pitching and a swinging bunt that trickles down the third base line for a 45-foot, game-winning hit.  The game had everything.

Everyone will remember the swinging bunt by Ruiz but years from now it will just be registered as his second hit of the game when you look at the box score. 

By winning, we got a couple of monkeys off our back.  We were 0-5 in Game 3 of World Series going into last night.  In World Series history, there are four teams that won the first game and when lost the next four.  We are two of the four (1915 and 1983).  Didn’t want to live through that one.  Media would have carried that for the next thousand years.

Check out Shane Victorino’s thoughts.

Robin’s Nest
Hall of Fame pitcher Robin Roberts offers his views on Game 3:

“If I told you I was at the ballpark until 2:30 in the morning, you may have worried about me.  You have to realize it was a World Series game and the home team won.  So, there’s no problem.

“Jamie pitched a strong game.  He didn’t get the win but he had things under control for most of the game.  The Phillies home run bats came alive with three reaching the seats.

“In the ninth, the Rays employed a strange strategy with five infielders and two outfielders but Ruiz dribbled the ball down the third base line and that was the game.  Longoria almost made a miracle play on the ball.

“B.J. showed when he considered one of the best young talents in the game.  A couple of hits, three stolen bases and a great catch. He’s a special talent.

“We’re up 2-1 and still at home for two more games. 

“Maybe tonight’s game will finish before midnight. Who cares if the home team wins.”

Kerfeld’s Korner
Charley Kerfeld, Special Assistant to GM Pat Gillick, provides a scouting report on Sonnanstine:

“Andy is not a power guy but a guy with a great feel for pitching.  Uses a five-pitch mix: sinking fast ball (87-91); slower curve (72-74), a cutter (86-89), change (79-80) and slider (76-80).  Cutter is his out pitch.  Doesn’t  throw the change much. He can throw all five pitches at any time.”

Sonnastine is 2-0 for 2 postseason starts, both on the road.  Beat Boston in Game 4 (ALCS) and won clincher (Game 4) against Chicago in the NLDS.  4-for-10 as a hitter over last 2 seasons. Facing Phillies for the first time.  Only Phillie to have faced him is Matt Stairs (4-for-12, .333).

Here and there
Tim McGraw, who delivered the ball for Steve Carlton to toss as the ceremonial first pitch, sprinkled some of Tug McGraw’s ashes on the mound.  Tug now as the distinction of having ashes on mounds at the Vet and Citizens Bank Park.  Prior to that, Lefty threw some BP to Tim in the Phillies indoor cages.  Hitting coach Milt Thompson joined the group: “Tim, can you get a runner in from third with less that two outs?” . . . Albert Pujols is the 2008 Roberto Clemente Award winner.  He received his award in the Media Interview Room and then went to the batting cage to chat with Ryan Howard about hitting . . . Phillies Alumni here tonight: Greg Gross, Jerry Martin, Gene Schall, Tommy Greene, Dallas Green and Jim Thome.

Game 3

Tonight’s Lineup
Rollins, ss
Werth, rf
Utley, 2b
Howard, 1b
Burrell, lf
Victorino, cf
Feliz, 3b
Ruiz, c
Moyer, p

Batting 10th: passionate Phillies fans.  Players looking forward to tonight as Shane Victorino reports in his blog.

Kerfeld’s Korner
Charley Kerfeld, Special Assistant to GM Pat Gillick, provides a scouting report on Garza:

“Fast ball range is 92-97, a little straight but he will move it in and out.  Has a hard 12/6 curve ball, 77-79 and a hard slider, 87-89.  Uses the slider mainly on right-handed hitters.  Likes to work quickly.  Will attack hitters with power stuff.”

Phillies WS Records
**Chase Utley became the first Phillies players to steal two bases in one WS game, Game 1 in St. Pete.
**Four steals in that game erased the club WS record for a single game, 2, Game 1, 1993 at Toronto. 
**Carlos Ruiz (Game 2) and Jayson Werth (Game 1) joined Bob Boone (Game 1, 1980) for having the most doubles in a game, 2.
**Eric Bruntlett became the first Phillies player to hit a pinch-homer in a WS game; the 20th player in WS history and first NL player since 1989 (Bill Bathe. San Francisco).

We’ve left 11 runners on base in each of the first two games.  Just to put everyone’s mind at ease, the WS record is 15, Angels vs. Giants, 10/22/2002.

Among the Phillies Alumni at the game tonight: Senator Jim Bunning, Steve Carlton, Ricky Jordan, Mike Rogodzinski, Mike Lieberthal, Joe Morgan, Gary Matthews, Danny Ozark and Mitch Williams.

WS Trivia
Who holds the Phillies record for most RBI in a World Series game?

First person to post the correct answer will receive an autographed baseball from the record holder.

Back Home

Ten buses took the team, family, club officials and front office staff after Game 2 last night to 2 different airports. Two Delta charters awaited the group, the team charter at the St. Petersburg-Clearwater airport and the front office charter at the Tampa airport.

The team charter touched down at the Philadelphia airport at 3:50 a.m., shortly after the front office plane had landed.  The bus parade took everyone to Citizens Bank Park, where three TV crews were waiting for the team.  By the time the luggage was unloaded, a drive to home and unpacking, it was time for good night or good morning.  The friendly alarm clock read 5:45 a.m.  I was told a long time ago if you want to be in baseball, you need to learn to sleep fast.

Game 2
Offense just couldn’t get the key hit or contact with runners in scoring position.  We were 1-for-15.  The Rays, meanwhile, scored 4 runs, 3 coming on outs during which they made contact with runners in scoring position.  That was the story of the game and now the series is 1-1.  Brett pitched well enough to win but he wound up with the defeat.

For a player’s viewpoint, check out Shane Victorino’s blog.

Kerwin Danley, working his first World Series game behind the plate, appeared to blow 2 calls against us.  Umpires are humans. There are good humans, bad humans, good umpires, bad umpires, good players, bad players, good blogs, bad blogs.  The absence of clutch hitting was the reason for the loss, not the ump.

A fan wanted to know why we didn’t protest the game.  You can only file a protest if there is an infraction in baseball playing rules.  You can’t protest judgment calls and in this case, both were judgment calls.

In 2 games against the Rays, we had 17 hits, 10 walks, 5 runs and 22 runners left on base.  We are now 8-3 in postseason games, having scored at least 3 runs in all 8 wins.  In the losses, we have scored 2 runs or less.

Bottom line, we are 1-1 going into our home.  We all know Phillie fans will be pumped for the next 3 games.  The noise will be loud because of all the passion the fans have for this team.  It will be louder in outdoors Citizens Bank Park than indoors Tropicana Field, best known as cowbell country.

We were 48-33 at home during the regular season; the Rays were 40-41 on the road.

Remember when Jimmy said before the season we would 100 games?  Well, Game 1’s win put us at the century mark.

Robin’s Nest
Hall of Fame pitcher Robin Roberts offers his views on Game 2:

“The Rays showed how solid a team they are.  They scored three runs on infield outs, including that squeeze bunt.  Shields was steady.  He has been that way all season. Like Cole, he has a very effective change-up. I was surprised he didn’t finish the sixth inning but Joe Maddon uses the bullpen quite like Charlie.  It sure has worked for both managers.

“We just couldn’t get any clutch hits at all.  It didn’t work out last night but let’s get to Game 3, Moyer against Garza.  Interesting match-up.  Bring out the towels.”

Both teams worked out at Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies from 3-5 this afternoon and the Rays followed.  Two reps for each team were in the interview room and clubhouses were open to the media.  Clubhouses are closed pre-game during postseason games.  It should be that way.

Mother Nature is threatening to interfere with a rainy forecast. 

Any decision involving the game is in the hands of Major League Baseball and not the home team.  MLB will monitor the forecast throughout the day tomorrow.

MLB has determined, IF, tomorrow’s game is not played, Game 3 will then take place on Sunday night; Game 4, moves to Monday night, and Game 5, if necessary, shifts to Tuesday night, which currently is a travel day for both teams.

For the latest news on the weather and the game, check in with phillies.com.


Dobbs DH

Tonight’s Lineup

Rollins, ss

Werth, rf

Utley, 2b

Howard, 1b

Burrell, lf

Victorino, cf

Dobbs, dh

Feliz, 3b

Ruiz, c

Brilliant pitching by Cole, Ryan and Brad did it.  The offense just couldn’t get a key hit which could have blown open the game. We especially had chances in the second and third innings to put some space between us.  In the end, pitching will tell and it told big time for the Phillies in Game 1.

Robin’s Nest
Hall of Fame pitcher Robin Roberts offers his views from Game 1:

“Great pitching and big win for Phillies.  Cole was very strong again.  His playoff performance has shown the baseball world what a solid young pitcher he has become.

“Brad was as good as he can be.  His slider is different from any other I have seen.  It must be a tough pitch to follow if you haven’t faced him before, which is the case for the Rays.

“I’ve seen the Rays play a lot of games this year on television.  They are an outstanding team.  They have come back to win many games.  Two right-handers with good stuff in Game 2, Myers and Shields.  It would be nice if the hitters pick it up a little but, on second thought, we will take another just like Game 1.”

Don’t forget Shane Victorino’s blog for more inside views.

Kerfeld’s Korner
Charley Kerfeld, Special Assistant to Pat Gillick, has scouted the Rays.  His report on Shields:

“Throws a fast ball in the 88-93 range with a ton of sink and life.  Has a good cut fast ball at 86-89, a slow curve at 74-77 and a slider, 80-83.  The slider is a small breaking one.  His best pitch is a change up.  He uses in tight spots.  He and Kazmir are two very good pitchers and very different type of pitchers.”

Returning Home
We leave on another Delta charter flight after the game and get in somewhere around 4 a.m.  Both teams will work out at Citizens Bank Park in the late afternoon.

Today is the 500th Phillies Insider blog.  Thanks for reading.  Only 50,000 more to go! 




Coste DH

Tonight’s Lineup
Rollins, ss
Werth, rf
Utley, 2b
Howard, 1b
Burrell, lf
Victorino, cf
Feliz, 3b
Coste, dh
Ruiz, c

Here We Go!
Well, all the hype over the Rays-Phillies World Series is about to take a back seat to an actual game.  Unless you just got back from a space mission to Mars, these two teams will open the Series tonight in Tropicana Field, which is a domed stadium in St. Petersburg.

Apparently we are headed for cowbell country.  Word has it that the place will test your ear drums tonight and tomorrow night.   Matt Garza, who started the clinching game against the Red Sox on Sunday night, had cotton in his ears to start the game.  Lefty, as in Steve Carlton, did that for years at Veterans Stadium.

We can handle the cowbells.  Question is, can the Rays handle the rally towel waving, noise-shattering fans at Citizens Bank Park starting on Saturday night.?  One can only imagine how pumped Phillies fans are.  Yes, there will be rally towels again.  We’ve ordered 350,000 for the Series.  Used 300,000 before getting to the Fall Classic.

While sitting on the front porch of our St. Pete hotel this morning making cell phone calls, Charlie parked himself in a chair behind me.  “Let’s go Baron.  Bear down dam it.  Get with it,” he barked.  He’s said that thousands of times to his players and others with the club.  At least Charlie didn’t give me a rubber duck.

Tonight will be the first time we’ve played on fake grass since we were in Toronto two seasons ago.  We are 2-4 in games at the Trop and 5-10 against the Rays in interleague play.  Tampa had the best home record in the AL (57-24); we had the best road record in the NL (44-37).

Take all records and throw them out because we are in a new season, a maximum of seven games.  According to , the Rays will win in four.  Guess what, we’ll still show up.

Kerfeld’s Korner
Charley Kerfeld, Assistant to GM Pat Gillick, offers the following scouting report on Kazmir:
“Has a very live arm. Fastball is 90-94 with some life up in the zone; a side-to-side slider (83-81) and the change is 81-80; change has fading action. If he is on you will know early in the game.  Has been wild up in the zone as of late.”

Alumni On Hand
Mike Schmidt, Marty Bystrom and Von Hayes will be in attendance tonight.

World Series facts
This is what has happed in the Phillies first games in their World Series history:
1915: Phillies 3, Red Sox 1, at Baker Bowl.  WP: Grover Alexander.
1950: Yankees 1, Phillies 0, at Connie Mack Stadium.  LP: Jim Konstanty.
1980: Phillies 7, Royals 6, at Veterans Stadium.  WP: Bob Walk.
1983: Phillies 2, Orioles 1, at Memorial Stadium.  WP: John Denny.
1993: Blue Jays 8, Phillies 5, at SkyDome.  LP: Curt Schilling.

Comment Corner
A reader picked on me yesterday when I wrote six buses of employees flew to Tampa for the Series.  “When we make it to the World Series they even give you flying buses.”

The reader was correct.  Guess I got carried away.  Last time I checked, buses didn’t fly.  Perhaps I have a tight butt and need a rubber duck!








Underdogs Again

Here we go again.  Underdogs, unappreciated, no respect.  Call it whatever you want. 

Vegas has the Rays winning.  ESPN.com poll, same results, 60-40 percent against us.  That’s not even close.

That’s OK.  We do well under the radar.

Whatever the media buzz, the Phillies don’t appear to be bothered.  They are hungry, focused and committed and odds makers/experts can’t factor that into predictions.  Difficult to measure heart.

Gillick chaired a meeting of his staff, the five scouts who followed the Rays and Charlie and his staff at the hotel today.  Meeting started in the a.m. and spilled over until the 2 o’clock bus.

We worked out again at Tropicana Field this afternoon (3-5) with Charlie and Cole doing the interview room prior to the workout.

Tonight, MLB is hosting a huge Gala for both organizations, sponsors and baseball executives.  The same event will take place Friday evening in Philadelphia.

World Wide
Through Major League Baseball International, the World Series will be broadcast in 13 different languages covering 229 countries and territories.  Plus, all men and women serving in the Armed Forces.  Imagine how thrilling that must be for a Phillies fan serving this country to be able to see or hear his/her team in the big dance.

Philly Media
27 writers from seven different papers, six photographers and 32 crew members from 5 different TV stations are here from the Philadelphia market.

MLB requests 600 seats for media and 75 still photo locations.

FOX has several hundred people credentialed. 

Don’t forget, Shane Victorino and the Phillies Ballgirls have blogs on this site.  Carlos Pena does on rays.com.

This Date

28 years ago tonight we won the World Championship.  Time to replace those heroes with new ones.


We're Here

We’re here!  Yep, downtown St. Petersburg, just down the road from Tropicana Field.

Four buses, accompanied by a police escort, left Citizens Bank Park late this morning for the airport in Philly.  A group of fans, led by Citizens Bank employees, were on hand for the send off.  TV cameras were at the park and airport.  We were in the air on a Delta charter at 12:30 p.m. and landed just over 2 hours later.

Charlie scheduled a 5:30 workout this evening at Tropicana Field and again Tuesday afternoon.  The Rays are also working out both days.

Tomorrow, six buses filled with sponsors and front office employees will be flying here.  They will be staying at various Clearwater Beach hotels.  Phillies always take their employees to two games of the Series.  We also entertain our major sponsors.  When the Series shifts to Philly, all our scouts and player development staff will be brought in for the games.

Looking Back
The final best-of-seven season starts on Wednesday.  Back on Wednesday, February 20, our players were fitted for new uniforms for the 2008 season before a morning spring training workout in Clearwater.  Eight months later, we are starting the World Series at Tropicana Field which is 16.89 miles from Bright House Field.  I guess you could say it took us eight months to travel 16 miles.

Phone calls, e-mails, text messages…..nearly everyone with the Phillies is being contacted for World Series tickets.  Some are people we haven’t heard from in years.  Phillies Fever is running a high temperature now and we understand the interest.

It reminds me of a Yogi Berra story.  Some 50 years ago, Yogi asked his mother if she wanted World Series tickets.  Her response, “Where are the seats.”  Yogi replied, “Mom, you are facing the field.”

WS Note
Came across this on a fan blog….we have played every American League East team in the World Series: Red Sox (1915), Yankees (1950), Orioles (1983), Blue Jays (1993) and now the Rays.  Don’t ask our record.