November 2008

Shut Out

I guess it comes as no surprise that Brad Lidge and Charlie Manuel were shut out of the first two NL postseason awards, Cy Young and Manager of the Year. 
But, it was surprising that Brad got so few votes (fourth place, 10 total points).  He truly was “Lights Out” Lidge, clearly the best closer in the NL. 
Charlie took a back seat to Lou Piniella, who guided the Cubs to the best NL record before going home after three playoff games.  Yes, all voting is done by Baseball Writers Association of America members prior to the start of the postseason and that’s the way it should be. 
The Phillies have had three Cy Young winners, Steve Carlton (first to do it four times, 1972, 1977, 1980, 1982), John Denny (1983) and Steve Bedrosian (1987).  “Bedrock” was our closer in 1987 and he won the award that fall in the closest balloting ever: 57 points to 55 for Rick Sutcliffe (Cubs) and 54 for Orel Hershiser (Dodgers). 

Steve was the first Phillie to ever lead the majors in saves (40).  He had 48 save opportunities.  At one point that season, Bedrosian set a then major league record with 13 consecutive saves.  Brad finished the regular season in 2008, 41-for-41.  Can’t do any better than that.
We’ve only had one BBWAA Manager Award winner, Larry Bowa in 2001.
But, Brad and Charlie have something coming that is more prestigious, a World Series ring.  Everyone knows they would not trade that ring for an award.
The one NL award still to come is the MVP.  It will be announced next Monday afternoon.  Ryan Howard climbed into the mix with his torrid September.  Was it enough for a third straight MVP trophy for the Phillies?
The Phillies are one of three area teams to be recognized as the Pride of Philly Award winners at tomorrow night’s Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame banquet.
Joining the Phillies are the Philadelphia Soul (Arena Football League champions) and the Mount Saint Joseph’s Academy basketball team (PIAA Class AAA state champions).  The award is given annually to those “having represented the Philadelphia area with dignity, determination and class through athletic achievement.”
Phillies Hall of Fame outfielder Ed Delahanty (1888-89; 1891-1901) is being inducted posthumously at the banquet, the fifth annual by the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame.  Accepting the award will be a great nephew of Ed, Thomas Delahanty of North Royalton, OH.

Blog Notes
Through November 6, Phillies Insider ranked 18th among blogs on with Down the Line by the Phillies Ballgirls in 10th place.  Shane Victorino’s blog during the postseason was second.  Shane did a great job during Octxober.

If you haven’t had a chance, check out the Phillies Ballgirls for a different perspective.





Plenty to do

Ruben Amaro Jr. is settling in his new office, just down the hall from his old quarters.  Pat Gillick’s former office is Ruben’s new home, a larger, corner room on the Hall of Fame Club level.

This week is pretty full:  interview candidates for his assistant, round out the coaching staff, negotiations with Jamie and Eyre, continue talking with his staff about off-season needs and the Burrell situation.  Pat, too, is a free agent. 

Clubs can negotiate with their own free agents through Friday.  Then, hunting season officially begins.

Ruben is ambidextrous.  Good thing.  He has a lot to do and can use both hands.


Ken Hussar is a long-time Phillies fan, retired teacher and someone who writes offbeat humor, professionally and as an amateur.  He e-mailed the following, which I thought was worthy of sharing with other Phillies fans.  One of his disclaimers: “Use only in well-ventilated areas.”

Phrom Ken Hussar

Phew! Phinallie, Phreezing Phillies Phans Phrollic on Broad Street,
These Phillies phanned the phlames of victory, what a phantastic pheat!
Super-closer Brad Lidge, phinished it all in phlawless phashion,
Phreeing the demons of seasons past,
Unleashing phrenzied passion.
Phantastic, phenomenal, and now phorever phrozen in time,
We, the phans, are phloating on air with a pheeling so sublime.
Pat Gillick and Ed Wade phormed this phormidable phorce,
And skipper Charlie Manuel steered the ship, keeping it on course.
This pheisty, phabulous phraternity is phirst in our hearts,
and Philly’s pheeling phine,
The World Series Championship phlag will now phly over
the Citizens Bank Park’s skyline.
It’s time to phorget phrustrations, seasons of suphering,
and the phickle phinger of phate,
And to phocus on this wonderful team that makes we Phillies phans pheel great.
Ryan, Chase, J-Roll, Pedro, Carlos (the killer zees) and Chris Coste.
Jayson, oh so werthy, the Phlyin’ Hawaiian, Pat the Bat,
to you we raise a toast.
King Cole, Kyle, Jamie, Brett, and Joe, phashioned brilliant starts,
And the relieph that Brad, Chad, Ryan, Scott and J.C. delivered was truly off-the-charts!
Bruntlett, Jenkins, Taguchi, Stairs and Dobbs,
Phlexed their bench muscles and phlourished in their jobs.
This team phound the phenomenal phormula phor a winning philosophy,
Euphoria is a phitting pheeling for this Phillies Phamily!


Perfect At Home

It was an historic World Series in that Game 5 was the first game ever suspended by weather.

It was even more historic, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.  The Phillies are the first team to go undefeated in seven postseason games at home.  Prior to this fall, the 1999 Yankees and 1987 Twins shared the record at 6-0. 

Passionate Phillies fans created electricity at Citizens Bank Park last month and the players rode the emotion unlike any other team in baseball history.

More Congrats
“I’m so happy for he Phillies “Family”, of course the players deserve and will get all the credit, but from my view starting with Bill Giles, David Montgomery, Pat Gillick and their supporting staffs, to Larry Shenk and all the front office, the grounds crew, stadium help, security, and so on, no group of people are more deserving of a Championship. They work tirelessly year round and its wonderful to see the smiles on all their faces,” Mike Schmidt.

“I congratulate the Philadelphia Phillies on winning the 2008 World Series. As a former player in the Phillies organization I could not be more proud than I am today. There are no fans in baseball more passionate about their team than the good folks of Philadelphia. It has been a long time coming, but thanks to the hard work of management and the players the fans can finally celebrate again,”
Jim Bunning, United States Senator.

TV Appearances
Cole Hamels and Shane Victorino will be on the Best Damn Sports show tonight.

Pat Gillick is being inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in Toronto tomorrow night . . . Jimmy Rollins is being inducted into the Arizona Fall League Hall of Fame in Phoenix, AZ, also tomorrow evening.  Rollins, who played for the Maryvale Saguaros in 2000, is the first Phillies player in the AFL Hall.

Luncheon Menu
24 hours after he was named GM, our lunch room’s main entre today: Rubens.

Ruben Takes Over

The business phase of the baseball calendar got started this morning when Ruben Amaro Jr. was named our new GM.

This is a great story as Ruben has Philadelphia written all over him.  He was born and raised here, played here and worked here as an assistant GM the last 10 years.  He knows and understands Philadelphia.

Continuity and stability are very important for a successful organization and he continues both.

Hard to believe I remember when he was born in 1965.  Hard to believe I’ve seen him grow up.  Hard to believe he was on the field when we won the World Championship in 1980 as a bat boy and last week he was on the field again during the World Series trophy presentation.

When he was a youngster, he was around the clubhouse.  Same as Robby Wine, later Ryan Luzinski, three Boones, Pete Rose Jr. and other sons of Phillies I’ve missed.

When asked when Ruben got his first baseball glove, his mother, Judy, who joined him for today’s announcement, responded:  “We got him a left-handed glove and a right-handed one because he was ambidextrous.  He was the only kid on the Pee Wee (7-8 year olds) team that could catch and throw both ways.” 

Once he took off the uniform and put on front office gear, he became a student to some great teachers, Ed Wade, Pat Gillick, Paul Owens, Dallas Green, John Vukovich and his dad, Ruben Sr. Dad is an excellent evaluator of talent and an excellent teacher.  During Ruben Jr.’s first spring training, Ed assigned certain major league clubs in Florida for him to scout.  Ed also assigned the Pope to mentor Ruben on the finer points of scouting.

In his first announcement, Ruben said Gillick will remain with the Phillies, serving in an advisory role going forward.  Pat helped teach Ruben and that teaching will continue. 

Ruben is a well-educated young man (BS degree from Stanford University in human biology) who speaks three languages, English, Spanish and French.  Wonder if he will increase the scouting staff to include France?

His late grandfather, Santos Amaro, was a star baseball player in Mexico who never got a chance to play major league baseball.  Somewhere, Santos is smiling because his grandson has a chance to run a major league baseball team. 

Euphoric Epidemic

By now, I’m sure you’ve digested everything about the parade and celebrations yesterday.  And I’m sure you are not tired about reading it again or seining it again. Game 5 was played and suspended in the rain but Mother Nature provided a perfect sunny day for the parade.

Before I go any further, a salute to the Philadelphia Police Department.  They did a spectacular job the entire day.  Managing the crowd was a massive job.

Estimates are 2 or 2.5 million.  Which ever number, that’s how many smiling faces there were. 

I thought the 1980 parade would never be topped, being that it was the Phillies first one.  Yesterday blew away 1980 by a wide margin.

There were people everywhere, in trees, leaning out of windows, on ledges, on top of signs, City Hall roof, two men halfway up the side of a skyscraper cleaning windows, children on shoulders of parents, teenagers on the shoulders of teenagers, young, old, small, large, all races.  One man had no teeth (remember, it was Halloween.)

Signs were every where.  Corporations hung banners on their buildings, a small pizza shop had two “Go Phillies” signs in the windows.  One deli had its windows covered with photos of the clinching World Series moment.

Fans had signs, thousands.  One said: “Flew in from Oklahoma for this.”  My favorite: “Mets fans are working today.”

The World Series trophy was on float #2.  Whenever someone on that float lifted the trophy above their heads, the crowd roared.  During one pause in the parade, fans chanted” Thank you Pat, Thank you Pat” as Gillick raised the trophy.

Cameras were everywhere, small ones, large ones, video cams and of course, cell phone cameras.  Didn’t see those in 1980.

Nearly every person wore something relating to the Phillies.  Red was the dominant color. Two fans made their own World Series trophies.

Planning the parade and ceremonies at Lincoln Financial Field and Citizens Bank Park was a major task.  Once we got in the World Series, the wheels of motion began churning, but very slowly.  The baseball operations department didn’t want to hear anything about a parade.  You don’t talk about it but you can’t wait until the last minute to pull it off.  A very delicate balance.

Three-four people in the organization headed the planning, which heated up with when went up 2-1 and got hot when we went 3-1.  Yet, the word parade was never used.   Having one day between the clincher and the parade was huge because it allowed everyone to polish the details and distribute the tickets.

Not knowing how many fans would swarm to the Sports Complex, the players and front office were given directions to park elsewhere. Buses would be at three locations to take everyone to the staging area.  There were eight floats with players divided among three of them.  A handful of Phillies employees didn’t get to experience the awesome parade because they were needed at Citizens Bank Park.

Today, players began returning to their winter homes, filled with memories that will last their lifetimes. Spring training is only three-plus months away.

Baseball is a game and a business.  We’ve just finished the game portion and now the business aspect takes over. 

We have 10 players eligible for arbitration and two potential free agents, Burrell and Moyer.  We need a new general manager as Gillick’s three-year contract expired yesterday.  GM’s have their annual week-long meetings in California starting tomorrow; the baseball winter meetings are in the second week of December. The NL MVP Award will be announced November 17. 

Requests are streaming in from various organizations wanting to honor the World Champs. Everyone loves a winner, something that was obvious yesterday.