183 Days Until ’16 Opener
The big, square Sherwin Williams clock in center field at Citizens Bank Park said 5:37 when Giles ended the Phillies season with a strikeout. Not the same emotion as seven years ago when Lidge ended the season with a World Championship strikeout. The Phillies faithful of 21,734 were on their feet applauding when Giles tossed the final pitch.
All game long, the fans cheered as sunshine finally replaced dreary wet, cold days. Buchanan got a standing ovation when he exited the game in the seventh inning. He waived and tossed his cap into the stands. He didn’t get the win but goes home fresh from four starts in which he had a 2.49 ERA. Much better than his 0-5 beginning. Ending on a positive note is huge.
They cheered when Altherr’s triple cleared the bases to give the Phillies the lead in the seventh inning. They cheered when the Phanatic took off his shirt and gave it to a lucky fan. They cheered pre-game when Ruiz was saluted for catching four no-hitters. He received an oil painting from Phillies artist Dick Perez depicting the final out of each no-hitter.
They cheered when prizes were given away between innings, the biggest cheer and prize being a new, red Toyota Camry.
For most of the season, there wasn’t much to cheer about. Gloom was predicted and at the All-Star Game the Phillies were last in the world 29-62, on their way to perhaps breaking baseball’s record for most losses (120). A 34-37 record the second half showed some hope for the future. What made the second half record more impressive was the fact Hamels, Diekman, Papelbon, Revere and Utley were traded during that period of time, putting more emphasis on young players.
Following the last out the players one-by-one left the field, tossing their hats to the fans. Some took off their jerseys and tossed them. In the clubhouse, it was time to pack and say good-bye. Players receive first class airfare to their homes. If they drive, they receive a check covering the amount of a flight. Some will be playing winter ball. Some will be back, some won’t. Two coaches weren’t invited back, Mizerock and Nichols.
More changes will be forthcoming. Soon Andy MacPhail assumes the role as president. A new general manager is in order. They’ll plenty of news this winter.
A 162-game baseball season is played in 182 days. Only 183 days until opening day in Cincinnati. Can’t wait.
Alumni in Postseason
The postseason races and berths have been decided. Wild card games are first and followed by the Division Series, League Championship Series and World Series. Phillies Alumni will be sprinkled throughout baseball this month:
Los Angeles Dodgers, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley . . . Texas Rangers, Cole Hamels, Jake Diekman . . . Toronto Blue Jays, Ben Revere . . . Kansas City Royals, Ryan Madson . . . Pittsburgh Pirates, A. J. Burnett, J. A. Happ, Anthony Bastardo, Joe Blanton.
Saw an LA Times story on Saturday that the Dodgers may go with a rookie at shortstop, Seager. “I’m OK with it,” Rollins was quoted saying. “Obviously, no one is ever happy. I mean, you want to be out there playing, especially this time of the year. But like I said in my meetings, it isn’t about the name on the back, it’s about winning baseball. So if that’s the lineup that is best for us to win, let’s go with that.”
(Phillies Insider will be moving into an off-season mode. Will post every Tuesday and Thursday and on other newsworthy occasions. Thanks for hanging in this season. Hope you will continue to follow the blog).