August 2010

Bastardo Back

Here’s a great note from Elias Sports Bureau:

“The Phillies have won the first game in each of their last 11 series at Citizens Bank Park. That matches the second-longest such home streak in franchise history. The Phillies won the opening game in 12 straight series at home in 1977 and 11 straight in 1889.”

Hope posting this isn’t a black cat jinx.

Postseason Meeting
About 25 front office members will meet today to begin postseason plans.  MLB provides a very thick manual that outlines procedures for the postseason including media, hotels, hospitality, Anthem singers, first ball tossers, security, ballpark signage, PhanaVision, publications, ticketing, finance issues, premium seating needs, television, radio and so forth.

Most difficult item is getting enough hotel space.  October is always a big convention month in Philadelphia. 

I’ve graduated from these meetings but still get involved in the ceremonial first ball tossers that involve the Alumni.

National TV
Thursday night, the MLB Network will carry the Dodgers-Phillies game, subject to local blackouts.

Sunday in New York is now 8:05 p.m. for a Sunday Night ESPN national telecast. Myphil17 was scheduled to televise that game in the Philadelphia market.  Instead, myphil17 will carry the Saturday night game, instead of Comcast SportsNet,

Roster Move
LHP Antonio Bastardo will be back in the bullpen starting tonight.  Following a stint on the DL, he’s pitched in 18 minor league games between Clearwater and Lehigh Valley.  He’s worked 16.2 scoreless innings and recorded 27 strikeouts.  Opponents were batting .123 against him.

This gives Charlie the benefit of having two lefties in the pen.

This Date
While the following note doesn’t apply to the Phillies, it was too good to pass up:

1944: Charles “Red” Barrett of the Boston Braves threw only 58 pitches to beat the Cincinnati Reds, 2-0, in a 9-inning game.

Didn’t know they had pitch counts in 1944.

Inside Alumni Weekend

Leftovers from Alumni weekend……

Perfect Meets Perfect
The Wall of Famers were in the Phillies dugout prior to the induction ceremonies on Friday.  Senator Jim Bunning spotted Roy Halladay seated at the far end of the dugout. He went down and introduced himself.  After Doc’s perfect game, Jim sent him a ball:  “From somebody who knows what it feels like, congratulations.”  But, this was the first time they had met.  Halladay is being honored by the Phillies pre-game on August 26 for his perfect game.  Senator Bunning will return to be part of the pre-game ceremonies. “I can’t wait.  It will be a pleasure to be come back for him.  He’s the best pitcher in baseball.”

Where’s Mike
Mike Schmidt was also in the dugout but then wandered into the batting cage and struck up a conversation with J-Roll.  Meanwhile, he was introduced on the field.  People went scurrying all kinds of directions looking for Mike, who ran from the batting cage to the field.  Talk about a grand entrance.

Lefty Talks
For most of his career, Steve Carlton didn’t speak, especially to the media.  Being that Darren was his last Phillies catcher and they are good friends, Lefty was asked if he would introduce and welcome Darren into the Wall of Fame.  “Be glad to, just give me a few pointers,” he responded.  About 30 minutes prior to the ceremonies, I handed Lefty a 5″x7″ index card with some suggested comments.  “This is great, except I can’t read the small type,” he laughed.  “Very large type and double-spaced, if you can.”  Mission accomplished.  When given the new larger version, Lefty went into the corner of the Media Room to rehearse, “Need to get these thoughts in my mind.” 

Mike Liberthal and Kevin Stocker were roommates early in their Phillies career.  They hadn’t seen each other for years until this weekend.  It was the first time Stocker had been to Citizens Bank Park.

Schmidt Photo
94-year-old Freddy Schmidt, who pitched for the Phillies 63 years ago, wanted a photo of himself and Mike Schmidt.  “Mike’s the wealthy Schmidt, you know,” laughed Freddy.

Pinch-Hit Photo
Three of the Phillies top four pinch-hit leaders were on the field on Saturday night, making a perfect photo op for the Communications Department: Greg Gross, the all-time leader with 117 pinch-hits, Tony Taylor (53) and Greg Dobbs (48).  Tommy Hutton ranks third (52).

Really Cool
Following the playing of the National Anthem on Saturday, Charlie and the 2010 Phillies and the Alumni intermingled.  It was really cool to see the current and past players shaking hands and hugging.  The Alumni were on the third base foul line for the Anthem; while Charlie and his troops were on the first base line.

Wandering the Park
Denny and Martha Doyle were at Citizens Bank Park for the first time.  They wandered around the main concourse after the gates opened on Sunday.  “This place is beautiful,” beamed Denny.  “This weekend has been terrific.  The Phillies are the best when it comes to caring about their former players.”  On Friday night, Doyle was one of a handful of Alumni that were assigned to autograph stations.  “”Give me a minute before we start.  I have to remember how to do this.  Haven’t signed an autograph in years,” he laughed.

Batting Challenge
Stocker and Ricky Bottalico were the winners in the three-team Alumni Batting Challenge on Sunday afternoon.  Each Alumni got 15 swings, balls in play resulted in points with a home run getting the most points, 10.  Stocker hit three into the left field stands which is one more than he hit in 259 at-bats in 1993.  Bottalico, once a catcher and a left-handed batter, hit one in the seats in right.

Dickie Noles, Jim Esienreich and Darren Daulton also went deep, leaving Mitch Williams as the only one who didn’t.  “Heck, I was just trying to get a ball out of the infield,” said the Wild Thing.  Noles, at 53 years of age, is the oldest to hit one out of Citizens Bank Park.

Darren was the last hitter and his homer came on his last at-bat.  “And, that was my last at-bat….ever.  This body can’t do it anymore,” he laughed.

Best batting challenge news….no one landed on the disable list.

Today, some of the Alumni are playing golf with our sponsors and advertisers.  Tomorrow, they return to their private world. 

Thanks to Mile Kennedy and Debbie Rinaldi, Alumni weekend is captured in photo galleries on this site




We Caught A Break

A normal game was rolling along and Roy-O was impressive.  Then, the ninth inning came along with some twists that were unusual.  In the end, we won on Chooch’s homer in the 10th.  Sometimes you need to get a break or be lucky.  Guess we were both last night.

Roy-O threw up some zeroes and was the Roy-O we know.  Unfortunately, the offense struggled.  In his last seven starts, the offense has produced a total of five runs while he is on the mound.

Top of the ninth…never saw this before.  All three outs by the Phillies were on the bases, Raul at home plate, Jayson picked off second and Domonic caught stealing.

Bottom of the ninth…third base umpire Bob Davidson made a judgment on a grounder down the line.  He called it foul; replays indicated it was fair.  If it was fair, the Marlins would have won. 

Point of interest: when we score four or more runs: 47-12.

Charlie had a different lineup again.  Gload batted third, the seventh to bat in that position: Chase, Polly, J-Roll, Jayson, Raul, and Ben.

Elias Sports Bureau Says
Ruiz, who had two doubles and his game-winning homer, is the first Phillies catcher to record three extra-base hits in one game since Mike Lieberthal had two homers and one double on Sept. 17, 2006 at Houston.

Wall of Fame Night
Earlier today, Darren’s bronze plaque was mounted on the Toyota Wall of Fame that is part of Memory Lane in Ashburn Alley.  He is right next to John Vukovich.  Vuk really admired Darren’s toughness.  Knowing Vuk, he is smiling and shedding a tear for Darren.

Among the rules for the Wall of Fame is a requirement that a player has to be retired for three years before he is eligible.  Next year, Mike Lieberthal and Curt Schilling are eligible.

Down the road, there are guys like Abreu, Burrell, Charlie, J-Roll, Ryan, Chase, Cole who should be Wall of Famers.  That should be fun.

Hey, A Road Winning Streak

Without Ryan anchoring the middle of the lineup, everybody is going to have to pitch in.  That happened last night as Kyle won his third in a row.  Offensively, everybody in the starting lineup but Wilson had hits.  Monday, the bottom of the order was big.  Last night, the top was big.

Domonic displayed his all-around skills and played a big role in the third straight win, something the Phillies haven’t done on the road since the middle of June.

Kyle was very good for the third straight game.  Defensive plays by Brown and J-Roll helped big time. 

Raul extended his hitting streak to 12 games, once shy of his career best with the Royals back in 2003.

Addition of Mike Sweeney gives the Phillies a veteran right-handed bat who can play first.  Will Charlie use him every day?  Or, will he platoon with Ross?  Sweeney will wear #5, the first player to wear that number since Burrell departed.  That will seem strange to see someone else in #5.  Then again, Pat is wearing #9 in SF and he looks strange in that number.

Team flies home after tonight’s game, due to land around 3 a.m.  Tomorrow begins 16 home games out of the next 19. 

Alumni Weekend
Out of town Alumni are arriving today and tomorrow. 

Tickets are still available for the meet and greet tent parties on Friday night (Kevin Stocker and Ricky Jordan) and Sunday afternoon (Mike Lieberthal).

Wall of Fame ceremonies tomorrow night (7 o’clock), Alumni introductions on Saturday (6:30 p.m.) and Alumni Batting Challenge on Sunday (12:30 p.m.).  Fans should plan on arriving early to catch all the action.



Look at it this way, we are 1-0 WTBP. 

What is WTBP, you ask.  Well, Charlie calls Ryan Howard “the Big Piece.”  With last night’s win, we are 1-0 Without The Big Piece.  Clever, I know.

From the world of hard to believe:
      **Doc won his first road game since his perfect game in Miami on May 29.  (He was 0-3, 6.75 before last night).
      **It marked the first time we won the first game of a road series since May 28, also in Miami.  (We were 0-8).
      **Our starting infield has played together 13 games this season.  We’ll be stuck on that number for a while until the Big Piece and Chase get back.

Bottom of the order came through big time last night, with Chooch leading the way.  Everybody’s going to have to pitch in until we get everybody healthy again.

Mayberry’s dad was a first baseman and John Jr. may wind up seeing some action there.  John Jr. hit .240 against RHP at Lehigh Valley; .319 vs. LHP.

Elias Sports Bureau Says
Halladay has gone at least six innings in each of his last 50 road starts, the longest streak by any major-league pitcher since Walter Johnson went six or more in 82 successive starts from 1911 to 1915.

Happy Birthday
Dallas Green, skipper of the 1980 World Champion Phillies, turns 76 today.




Did you buy some sod?

There was no game last night so have to write about something else.  So here goes a real classic post.

Want a piece of history? Yep, authentic game-used sod from Citizens Bank Park?  You can by this limited edition piece of memorabilia online.  It really is a piece of sod that was used at Citizens Bank Park up until 2010.  You aren’t buying a clump of crabgrass.  I can sell you that from my front yard.

This is the same sod that hosted two consecutive World Series, so it really is filled with historic value.

So, what is it like to be sod?  Did you ever wonder?

**What does it feels like when Ryan Howard plants his size 15 spikes on top of you?

**Do spikes cause pain?

**Are divots more painful than spikes?

**Does bubble gum get stuck in the roots like it does on shoes?

**Does sod laugh when a baseball is discarded because of grass stains?

**How did the sod respond when Lidge feel to his knees after his WS clinching strikeout?

**Can sod cheer or boo?

**How many worms live there.?
**How does sod react when it sees a Chase Utley home run ascends to the upper deck?  Can it see that far?

**Is it annoying that you are mowed 140 times a season?

**Does sod get in the Guinness Book of Records for hosting the first suspended World Series game?

**Does sod get intoxicated by too much rain?

**Can sod hear a concert even though it has been covered with a wooden surface and chairs?

Told you this was a real classic post.  Hope you chuckled and didn’t up-chuck.  Back to sanity tomorrow.  Promise.

Roller Coaster Ride Continues

Summer is the time for roller coaster rides. For the fifth straight weekend, the Phillies continued their up and down ride.

They lost three of four in Pittsburgh on the first weekend of July, then won all four from the Reds the following weekend, lost three of four in Chicago, swept four from the Rockies and yesterday, salvaged one win out of three in DC.

At times, the season has been promising; other times, painful. Yet, when you look at the standings today, the Phillies are in the race for the east and the wild card entry.

This despite an abnormal number of injuries. Raul and Ryan joined the lengthy list yesterday. Just think, Jayson is the only regular that hasn’t missed a game because of an injury. 

Nine weeks and 57 more games to go in the regular season.  Just have to keep battling.

Alumni Weekend
Well, next weekend, we’re back home against the Mets. 

Darren Daulton will be inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame on Friday night, Garry Maddox BBQ Challenge is on Citizens Bank Way on Saturday afternoon followed by Alumni night in which some 40 former Phillies will be introduced on the field and Sunday there is an Alumni Batting Challenge pre-game.  More on that later.

Alumni will be on hand for pre-game Tent Parties on Friday night and Sunday afternoon.  Kevin Stocker and Ricky Jordan will be there on Friday and Mike Lieberthal on Sunday.  The event includes a Q& A. And, each fan will receive an autographed photo. Tickets are available online.

Wall of Famers who will return for the Friday night induction include Senator Jim Bunning, Steve Carlton, Mike Schmidt, Greg Luzinski, Maddox, Tony Taylor, Dick Allen, Bob Boone and Dallas Green.  Ceremonies begin at 7 p.m.