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Posted by beelove at 2:49 pm ET 178 Comments

Dear Ruben,

By and large I am happy with the decisions you have made. Trading Cliff Lee, as you’ve said, seemed like the only way the acquisition of Harry Leroy Halladay III was possible. A perfect game is all the proof the detractors need, to say nothing of the consistency we expected and he’s delivered. Placido Polanco was a shrewd move, and he’s certainly proven the Chone Figgins camp wrong. Jose Contreras for $1.5M? Brilliant.

But look at this team right now. The monthlong funk is marching into the Interleague portion of the season which the Phillies always dread. Things seem really tense, Charlie seems uncharacteristically troubled, and the team is mired in second place with only the occasional sign of life. Something has to give, and that something is probably Greg Dobbs. But the point is this:

Domonic Brown deserves to be on the Philadelphia Phillies right now. I don’t want to hear a thing about his service time and team management’s contractual policies. In the face of this slump, that is nonsense. Call up Domonic Brown, and now.

Look around the National League — it is a rookie feeding frenzy. Right here in our own National League East, Jason Heyward has become a contributing insta-star in Atlanta. In the past week alone in New York, Ike Davis hit a walk-off homerun, and Jonathon Niese pitched a complete game, one hit shutout. The Marlins? Maybe you caught that 6’5″ fella in rightfield the last few days, the guy who had three hits in his MLB debut, right here in South Philly. What’s that other team in the division? The Expos? I believe I heard something about an impressive rookie in Washington.

Jason Heyward will not be of legal drinking age until August 9th, yet he has become a star in his hometown. If memory serves, he greeted his first chance against his division rival Phillies with a two-out, ninth inning homerun to tie the game.

Ike Davis is 23 years old. I thought the Mets were foolish to not re-sign Carlos Delgado, but after Tuesday, it’s going to be hard to ignore this guy. Jonathan Niese is also 23, and he’s already solidified himself in a five-man rotation in Queens.

Mike Stanton is 20 years old. He had more homeruns (21) than his age already this season when the Marlins called him up this week.

Stephen Strasburg? He’ll be 22 on July 20th. He’s going to be making plenty of visits to Citizens Bank Park — starting in August. And he’s also important enough that the Phillies’ scheduled national broadcast on Sunday against the Red Sox has been bumped; TBS deems Strasburg’s start in the otherwise highly sought after Nationals-Indians ticket takes favor over a matchup featuring two of the last three World Series champions.

And for what it’s worth, Mike Leake is 5-0 with a 2.68 ERA in Cincinnati. He’s 22. If it wasn’t for Ubaldo Jimenez, Cardinals rookie Jaime Garcia would be leading the National League with his 1.47 ERA. He’s 23.

There is a youth movement assailing baseball’s gentry. With the team struggling so mightily, especially from lefthanders off the bench (Dobbs? Schneider? ugh), there is no reason whatsoever the Phillies should not get in on the action.

Domonic Brown will be 23 in September. Raul Ibañez is 38 and has $23M left on his contract. There have been more than a few recent reminders that Jayson Werth is a free agent to be. They could both use a couple days off — and maybe a little fire under their asses. Chase Utley and Ryan Howard were stuck behind Placido Polanco and Jim Thome, and I think we can agree they’ve proven themselves worthy of replacing their predecessors. But they also each got a late start.

Why not let Domonic Brown do his thing now? He was the one blue chip you would not part with. He’s already older than Heyward, Stanton and Strasburg. Let him prove you right.

This team needs an injection, something to rally and get excited around. The fans are getting restless, too. And you know as well as I do that Reading is not where Domonic Brown belongs. Nor Allentown.

Every single other team in the division has a star rookie in the making. Why can’t us? The season is practically already sold out — give the fans something else to look forward to, a little positive boost in this streak of ugliness. Think of the jersey and t-shirt sales. Think of the left handed bat off the bench not named Dobbs and Schneider. Think of the run production. And the excitement. And the buzz.

Come on, Rube. The time is now. Call up Domonic Brown.

Posted by beelove at 8:23 pm ET 31 Comments

PLEASE NOTE: This post has very little to do with the Phillies, but as it’s an off day, and we all have our memories of this dude who just retired, I thought I’d share some thoughts from the Pacific Northwest.

June 2nd, 2010. Ken Griffey Jr has finally reached the sunset he’s been riding into for the last ten years. And wouldn’t you know it? After a career in which there was always something grabbing just a little more headline than him, his retirement from the game in which he was so loved was second-tier news, after umpire Jim Joyce blew (and later apologized for) a call that cost Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga his perfect game. Poor Junior.

The last time he passed through Citizens Bank Park, in June 2008 with the Cincinnati Reds, he was sitting on 599 homers. In the four game series against the Phillies, he had one hit, a double, in six at bats. No big milestone for Junior in South Philly — he got #600 the next series out in Florida.

Despite the fact it’s been over a decade since he was at the top of his game — he was at the top of the game — it’s hard to not be just a little nostalgic. Griffey is only 40 — his former teammate Jamie Moyer is seven years his senior and still takes the mound every five days for the Phillies — but his retirement has been long coming. Many fans, not least the popular blog, were surprised the Mariners brought him back for the 2010 season. His return to Seattle last year was triumphant insofar as it brought fans back to the stadium the Mariners built for him, as the team struggled out of the basement they occupied the year before. He only hit .214, but he did collect 19 homeruns. When his teammates carried him off the field after the final game of the 2009 season, it seemed like the end of an era.

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Posted by beelove at 10:55 am ET 12 Comments

“You’re pretty good Taylor, but you’re no Halladay!” “Aw, man.”

Greetings from the Pacific Northwest, Fightins Fans. Me, I’ve been fine, thanks for asking. The Portland spring’s been in bloom since mid-February and the beer is outstanding, but I must concede it’s been a little tough to watch the Phillies kick off the 2010 Halladay Campaign on, knowing my season tickets are being used by someone else.

Portland’s days as a baseball town are dwindling, sadly. Though the AAA Beavers (ha ha, BEAVERS) have been here since 1903, and though they’ve been playing in downtown’s PGE Park (née Civic Stadium, where the Phillies’ AAA affiliate played from 1983-86) since 1924, they’re being evicted for Major League Soccer’s expansion Timbers next year. And people seem to be really excited by this. It’s a shame, too, because for a brief time, the Expos and Marlins each considered moving here.

Anyway. It’s no Citizens Bank Park, but it’s not a bad place to spend a few Thirsty Thursday evenings ($3.75 local beers, $2.50 Miller products), including last night’s opener against the Sacramento River Cats. I’m surprised the A’s didn’t start Michael Taylor in Oakland, considering their outfield depth includes Rajai Davis, Ryan Sweeney, Travis Buck and an injured Coco Crisp. But they didn’t, and one of the two big chips the Phillies sent the Blue Jays for Roy Halladay opened his Athletics career last night with a 2-for-4, including a triple that missed being a homerun in center by about four feet.

Taylor’s tenure with the Phillies ended with a franchise Minor League Player of the Year plaque (which he received with Kyle Drabek and his Pitcher of the Year in September the night Cliff Lee CG SHO’d the Nats). He earned the club distinction that Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and Pat Burrell have all earned in the past 12 years after a .320/20/84 combo between Reading and Lehigh Valley, with 21 steals for good measure.

I imagine most of us wish the man good fortune in Al Davis’ hideous Coliseum, where I’ll bet most fans don’t recognize that the elephant on their uniforms is a reference back to Connie Mack’s Philadelphia A’s. (John McGraw, manager of the hated New York Giants, said that manager Mack and owner Ben Shibe had a “white elephant on their hands” when the A’s began play in Philadelphia, thinking that the American League would never succeed.) I was kinda sorry to see Taylor go, and said as much, and he replied, “it’s all good, just part of the business.”

Nice fella, that Michael Taylor. According to Baseball America, he’s the A’s #2 prospect behind only Chris Carter, who finished the night 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. The River Cats creamed the Beavers 6-2, by the way.

Posted by beelove at 1:47 pm ET 47 Comments

With a week to let the sting of the World Series wear off — I still have a hard time accepting the World Series MVP being a goddamn designated hitter, even if that Shemp-looking dude killed us — I’d like to present to ye Fightins fans my third annual Phillies Year In Photos. If you’re into such a thing, the 2007 NL East Team To Beat is HERE, and the 2008 WFCs are HERE. This year, the 2009 National League Champs are a The Fightins Dot Com exclusive.

The reason for this is . . . well, my site, Philly Skyline Dot Com (no relation), has been put on the shelf; in less than a month, I’m trading in my Phillies season tickets for the green hills of Portland, Oregon. (Don’t worry, I’m not going to start rooting for the Padres’ AAA Beavers.) I’ll still tune into Franzke and LA on the MLB At Bat phone app and religiously read The Fightins and Beerleaguer and The 700 Level, but I’m going to really miss going to games and getting annoyed with Tom McCarthy’s nonstop chatter on TV and just generally getting wrapped up in Phillies baseball.

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Posted by beelove at 11:50 am ET 30 Comments

Hey Fightins Fans (and you, DMac), how’s it hangin’? After taking in Game 5 down at the ballpark on Wednesday, we had a few days to soak up the fall weather and wait for the Yankees to finish off the Angels. When it became apparent Saturday’s game in The Bronx was a washout, me and my buddy All Proper Mark, five year season ticket partners in the front row of Section 236, decided to make an alternate baseball day of it in the Delaware Valley.

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Posted by beelove at 2:15 pm ET 17 Comments

Son of a bitch. This “rough spell” is like an expanding tar pit and the Phillies are getting stuck in it one by one like sabertooth tigers. I laughed when I saw Chamo’s tag but jesus god that was two weeks ago and it’s still true: DEAR GOD THIS IS BRUTAL.

With the Phillies all of a sudden having one of the farm systems most stacked with future stars, there has been plenty of alternative to watching the Frightenin’ Phils an hour and a half’s drive away in Reading and Allentown. The R-Phils are 45-33, good for second in the Eastern League’s southern division. Their rotation is loaded with Joe Savery, Kyle Drabek and now Yohan Flande, and Michael Taylor is mashing it to the tune of .349/15/59, with 14 stolen bases for good measure.

Up in the Lehigh Valley, the IronPigs are 39-40, trying to push above .500 for the first time in the franchise’s short history. Jason Donald is looking to return from knee surgery and maybe light a fire under J-Roll’s ass. Lou Marson is biding his time as the everyday catcher until Ruben Amaro realizes that two backup catchers in their late 30s should not be on the roster of the defending champions. Drew Carpenter is playing off that one ugly pro start with a 7-1, 2.75. And this guy?

He’s settling in. Carlos Carrasco was the #1 Phillies prospect in 2007 and 2008 according to Baseball America, and this year he’s 2nd, behind only Dominic Brown (who is nursing a fractured pinky in Clearwater).

The 22 year old Venezuelan was, along with JA Happ and Chan Ho Park, one of the finalists for Phillies fifth starter coming out of spring training, and with Antonio Bastardo injured (and probably not going to stay in the rotation anyway), he was strongly considered for a promotion to start tonight’s game against the Mets. His IronPig teammate and former Oriole/Rockie/Padre Rodrigo Lopez got this promotion, though, so Carrasco pushes onward in AAA till he gets the call.

Last night he shut down the Syracuse Chiefs (Nats affiliate) for his fourth straight victory after a glaringly shaky start to his season. The only major mistake he made was hanging one over the plate to former Bucco Brad Eldred, who smoked one into the woods beyond Coca-Cola Park. Otherwise, Carrasco was solid, scattering five other hits and striking out four over six innings, despite getting drilled in the ankle with a line drive. His fastball had good movement and hovered around 93 all night. His run support was good with a five-run outburst in the fourth inning, Miguel Cairo missing a grand slam by about five feet.

As the post-game fireworks were exploding overhead, the feelgood evening came to a screeching halt when we turned on the radio for the drive home, just in time to hear Ryan Madson’s latest meltdown. Goddamn.

beelove (a/k/a R. Bradley Maule) is the proprietor of the fantastic Philadelphia photography/architecture site, He went to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs game. He reported. He took pictures.

Some photos from the evening — IronPigs 5, Chiefs 1 — after the jump.

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Posted by beelove at 6:37 pm ET 8 Comments

While Greg Dobbs was taking a third strike right down the pike against the most irritating, obnoxious, and even more irritatingly, best, closer in baseball, righty Jason Anderson celebrated his 30th birthday by nailing down a save of his own for the Reading Phillies. In doing so, he preserved the win for Kyle Drabek, his second in his two starts with the R-Phils.

In spite of Hurricane Schwartz’s warnings of red radar blobs over Reading, it was a beautiful night in Berks County for some AA baseball. Drabek wasn’t in tiptop form, but he wasn’t horrible, either. While he scattered seven hits and five walks over five innings, he worked out of several jams. His bullpen picked him up too, including one Mike Zagurski who was consistently in the mid-90s and, at least once, hit 96. A three-run first-inning cushion on a homerun by third baseman Neil Sellers didn’t hurt matters.

Michael Taylor DH’d in the 5-4 win over the Yankees’ AA Trenton Thunder, laying an 0-for-4, but he’s still sporting the Reading triple crown at .346/10/41. It seems like only a matter of time before he’s bumped up to Lehigh Valley where, presumably, the 6’6″ 250lb righthanded slugger would share the outfield with a 6’6″ 235lb righthanded slugger called Big John. And for what it’s worth, the 6’5″ 205lb lefthanded outfielder Dominic Brown has put up a .299/9/28 in 51 games at Single-A Clearwater.

Anyway, last night was a truly beautiful evening at First Energy Stadium, one for drinking the Stoudt’s APAs and Yuengling Lagers each brewed less than an hour away, one for catching a preview of a future Phil on the hill, and one for watching a pink and purple sunset over the third best Minor League Baseball stadium — best in AA — according to Baseball America.

beelove (a/k/a R. Bradley Maule) is the proprietor of the fantastic Philadelphia photography/architecture site,  He went to the Reading Phillies game.  He reported. He took pictures.

More pics from the game, after the jump.

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Posted by beelove at 10:39 am ET 10 Comments

This just in from the Adam Eaton watch: did you know? He helped the Phillies get to the playoffs!

“What went wrong?” Eaton asked. “A lot of things went wrong, but a lot of things that went right, too. I helped them get to the playoffs two years in a row, and obviously we won the World Series last year. That’s a big thrill of mine, but obviously I still want to compete in that World Series atmosphere. That’s what I aim to do.”

What the fuck World Series atmosphere is that? The one where you played 0 postseason innings because you weren’t on the active roster, after sucking in the minor leagues so bad that you bought your teammates a steak dinner to show off your $8M salary? Or the one where you weren’t even INVITED to the parade down Broad Street? And we remember how well you helped us in 2007 too, fuckface, when you were the only player on the entire team we booed at the rally at City Hall. (Well, the only one we booed worse than Rod Barajas.)

Let’s see just how well Eaton helped get us into the playoffs during the 2008 run, using team pitching stats from Baseball-Reference

The Phillies had the 4th best ERA in the National League at 3.89 with Eaton. Check out the before and after stats:

2008 WFC Phillies with Eaton:
IP: 1,449 2/3
ER: 627
ERA: 3.89, fourth best in NL, behind the Dodgers, Brewers and Cubs

2008 WFC Phillies without Eaton:
IP: 1,342 2/3
ER: 558
ERA: 3.74, second only behind the Dodgers’ 3.68

That may seem like more math than it’s worth, but this is Adam Eaton we’re talking about here, the guy we’re going to pay $8.5M to go suck for Baltimore, and the guy whose last effort as a Phillie was to sneak into that portrait of Ryan Howard … right before Big Brown elbowed him in the goatee and said get the fuck out of my photo shoot and off my team.

beelove (a/k/a R. Bradley Maule) is the proprietor of the fantastic Philadelphia photography/architecture site, He had something he had to get off his chest concerning Adam Eaton; I gladly gave him the space to do so.

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Written by beelove


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