The Fightins » Dash Treyhorn http://www.thefightins.com R.I.P. Harry Kalas Sun, 03 Jul 2011 13:14:20 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.0.1 Wilson Valdez Does Not Care For Your Paper Money http://www.thefightins.com/tr-pierce/wilson-valdez-does-not-care-for-your-paper-money-2/ http://www.thefightins.com/tr-pierce/wilson-valdez-does-not-care-for-your-paper-money-2/#comments Thu, 16 Jun 2011 14:14:50 +0000 Dash Treyhorn http://www.thefightins.com/?p=15743 Brace yourselves, Phillie fans, because this morning we got a cot-damn bombshell, brought to you by our dear friends from Philly.com.

Phillies infielder and one-time pitcher Wilson Valdez is making $560,000 this year but tipped only 50 cents on two drinks he paid for with a $100 bill for him and a pal just before last call at Time (1315 Sansom) after last Thursday’s late-ending game against the Cubs.

*gasp*

People, Wilson Valdez is barely making above the league minimum this season. He earns less money than Kyle Kendrick. He’s practically poor, in baseball money. If he was a normal person like the rest of us, and was relegated to pushing papers from nine to five, he’d be earning like $24K a year. That said, let us not cast out the baseball player who is trying to cut loose after dropping a game to the Chicago Cubs.

Besides, who is to say that this waitress didn’t have it coming? Maybe she insulted his throwing arm, or better yet, I bet he ordered one drink, but she gave him two because “I hear you like double plays.” Is that the way you treat the future shortshop of this fine organization? Come on, 22-year-old bartender who refers to herself as “a model,” you know better.

Personally, I’d feel honored, not insulted, if The Man With The Golden Goatee stiffed me.

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The Futile Utility of Kyle Kendrick http://www.thefightins.com/tr-pierce/the-futile-utility-of-kyle-kendrick/ http://www.thefightins.com/tr-pierce/the-futile-utility-of-kyle-kendrick/#comments Thu, 12 May 2011 20:20:49 +0000 Dash Treyhorn http://www.thefightins.com/?p=14688 Let’s be honest: A lot of us don’t like Kyle Kendrick. I’m talking about Kyle Kendrick, the pitcher, and not Kyle Kendrick, the person, who I assume is a pretty swell guy with a pretty wife who lets him pose in awkward and embarrassing photo shoots like this one.

But this is not about Kyle Kendrick, the person-slash-model-slash-perennial prankee. This is about how he manages to succeed, in some capacity, at a sport in which he is not considered to even be an average player.

Wednesday night, in a tie game against the Florida Marlins, in a game that is as important as a game can be in May, Kendrick was charged with pitching, at the time, the biggest inning of the game – bottom of the eighth, tied at three. This all in light of the fact that there were no fewer than three pitchers who were not only better, but available, and that he had to snake his way through the middle of the Marlins lineup, which, if you’re keeping score, is pretty damn good.

Even today, knowing the outcome of the inning and the game, I’m still beside myself because I can’t quite comprehend how we got to the point where Kendrick, he who is without an outpitch, is a semi-important cog in the bullpen.

Sure, he won so many of us over with this delightful 2007 debut, but he got rocked in 2008 and thusly spent most of 2009 in the minor leagues. Then he grew some facial hair (in an attempt to absorb some of Roy Halladay’s awesomeness through a process known as beardmosis), and ended up making 31 starts in 2010 because every starter not named Roy or Cole got hurt, much to the chagrin of one Rich Dubee and in spite of the fact that he can’t strike anyone out to save his life.*

*Stat time: Of pitchers who pitched at least 150 innings in 2010, only one pitcher had a worse K/9 rate than Kyle Kendrick’s 4.18: Minnesota’s Nick Blackburn, who struck out 3.8 per nine. Predictably, he had an ERA of 5.42. That is not a coincidence.

Anyway, back to last night. After the Phillies tied the game in the top of the eighth, Charlie Manuel opted to send Kyle Kendrick to the hill in the bottom half of the inning, even though both Michael Stutes and Antonio Bastardo – two guys who will never be confused for Nick Blackburn – were not only available, but they were warming up in case Kyle got into trouble, which is about as far from a vote of confidence from your manager as you can get.

But by some miraculous feat, Kendrick was not only able to put up a zero, but he was also the pitcher of record and earned the win because the Phillies scored a pair of runs in the top half of the next inning. All this, despite the fact that he walked the leadoff hitter, gave up a single, and, in most impressive fashion, threw only four of his 12 pitches for strikes – that’s 33% –  but he still  managed to squirm out of trouble thanks to a very timely double play ball off the bat of John Buck that ended the inning.*

To recap: Roy Halladay allows one earned run over eight, gets the loss. Kyle Kendrick escapes trouble in spite of himself, gets the win. Baseball!

At this point, and in light of the events that occurred last night, I almost feel like it is time for us to embrace Kyle Kendrick as not only a bonafide Major Leaguer, but also a key component in the bullpen. After all, it takes some kind of skill to be able to do what he does (Pitch to contact, not strike guys out) and still come out smelling like a rose (3-2 record, more wins than Cliff Lee, 1.42 ERA).

So, I guess what I am saying is that Kyle Kendrick has a secret. And that secret is magic.

(Only known photo of The Kendrickorn, courtesy of Where’s Weems?)

Behold…The Kendrickorn!

Berthed in the mountainous regions of the state of Washington, The Kendrickorn can befuddle opposing hitters with a mix of mediocre sinkers and sliders while confounding them with a changeup that, while not offering any sort of deception or movement, will be wildly successful in confusing the opposing hitters while they and their wide eyes swing for the fences, only to ground out weakly to the second baseman. The Kendrickorn cares not for strikeouts, as he finds them to be the tools of the weak, for only a true Ace can have the stones to willfully allow his opponents to put the ball into play, with confidence so abundant that it literally alters the path of the ball in mid flight or bounce, thus rendering the argument of BABIP (which The Kendrickorn refers to as nerdagra) utterly and irrepressibly useless in it’s employment and design.

The Kendrickorn is your new Ace. The Kendrickorn is the new hotness. The Kendrickorn is that feeling in your gut that tells that you that it’s going to be just fine, even in the face of doom. The Kendrickorn is the last french fry lodged in the bottom of the bag. The Kendrickorn is the spoiler to every movie you’ve ever seen. The Kendrickorn is what makes cell phone technology possible.

The Kendrickorn is all of us.

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Announcers Complaining About Citizens Bank Park? You Don’t Say! http://www.thefightins.com/tr-pierce/announcers-complaining-about-citizens-bank-park-you-dont-say/ http://www.thefightins.com/tr-pierce/announcers-complaining-about-citizens-bank-park-you-dont-say/#comments Fri, 06 May 2011 15:00:23 +0000 Dash Treyhorn http://www.thefightins.com/?p=14409 They say that the only things guaranteed in life are death and taxes. Of course, that only holds true if you’re not also a Phillies fan, because you can then add “incessant complaining about the park dimensions from opposing play-by-play announcers.”

That was certainly the case on Thursday night, when Nats radio play-by-play guys Charlie Slowes and Dave Jagler just had to make a comment about the size of Citizens Bank Park following Shane Victorino’s third inning home run. I swear, it’s like these guys are contractually obligated to bitch and moan about the teeny tiny ballpark that the Phillies play in, because it’s not as if though the other team – in this case, the Nationals – also get to take advantage of the same dimensions.

After Vic’s homer, which he hooked just inside the foul pole and about five or six rows deep over the fence in left field, they unfurled this little nugget:

“Here, Houston, a few parks that you can see a hitter just basically pops it up down the left field line and it lands in the stands for a home run” and later on “…just a little pop fly.”

No word on whether or not they had similar things to say about Raul Ibanez’s fifth inning bomb that landed in the front row of the second deck, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they blamed the super-secret fly ball jetstream that only the Phillies hitters have access to during the games.

You know, maybe I’m taking this to personally, which is silly, because really, who cares what other announcers think? It’s almost as if their opinions on the Phillies are informed by nothing but comments on blogs as opposed to actual information. You’d swear that these guys think that the walls move in when the Phillies come to bat or something.

Of course, a quick look at MLB Park Factors have shown that The Bank isn’t the exxxtreme hitter’s park like some make it out to be. It’s not a park where fly balls go to die, like Petco Park in San Diego, or where home runs leave at a ridiculous rate like U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, either. It gives an advantage to the hitter, sure, but it’s not like Little Leaguers could go deep within the confines.

And is it possible that the reputation that The Bank has garnered has less to do with its dimensions and more to do with the fact that they’ve had some pretty prolific home run hitters come through there in the last seven or so years? I mean, if they had a lineup of Abe Nunezes and Chris Robersons as opposed to Ryan Howards and Chase Utleys, The Bank wouldn’t have the reputation it has, nah mean?

Regardless, perhaps the Washington Nationals announcers should withhold their judgment of The Bank’s porch in left field, which is between 329 down the line and 334 as the wall juts in as it heads toward left-center.

I guess they do have a point, as 334 feet isn’t that great a distance, especially compared to left field at Nationls Park, which sits at…336 feet.

Oh. Well.

I guess if I had to watch 162 Nationals games a year, I’d be pretty bitter, too.

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On Baseball And History: Osama Edition http://www.thefightins.com/tr-pierce/on-baseball-and-history-osama-edition/ http://www.thefightins.com/tr-pierce/on-baseball-and-history-osama-edition/#comments Tue, 03 May 2011 02:06:12 +0000 Dash Treyhorn http://www.thefightins.com/?p=14297 As some of you know, I can be found over at NBCPhiladelphia.com on a daily basis to their aptly named Phillies blog, Philthy Stuff. For the most part, I spend my days reacting to the Phillie news of the day, doing recaps and other fun stuff. Sometimes, I get to react to things that extend far past the baseball diamond. The breaking news of Osama Bin Laden’s death durin Sunday night’s Phillies/Mets game was no exception. If you’re so inclined and don’t mind reading 800 or so words from yours truly about how real life intersects with sports, then click on through. Thanks, all. [Philthy Stuff]

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Pitching Robot: Friend or Foe? http://www.thefightins.com/tr-pierce/pitching-robot-friend-or-foe/ http://www.thefightins.com/tr-pierce/pitching-robot-friend-or-foe/#comments Wed, 20 Apr 2011 01:39:05 +0000 Dash Treyhorn http://www.thefightins.com/?p=13766 Tomorrow morning, I’ll be making the 90 minute trek down the turnpike to head to my most favorite place in Pennsylvania: Citizens Bank Park. It will be my second game this season, and my first time seeing Cliff Lee in person. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to some afternoon baseball, as most of us would if it meant not having to sit in an office all day while the more fortunate got to sit in the sun and watch the glory and splendor of American’s Pastime.

Then I saw this:

Huh, I thought. A robot that can throw a baseball? How quaint. Here I thought they called those “pitching machines,” and I used one of those in high school, but whatever. But being the ever curious person that I am, I wanted to know more. I loved robots growing up, and I one day dreamed about having a robot best friend or something.

Needless to say, I got a little more excited. It’d be like a real life Transformer, I thought. Then I tracked down this column, and it was then that I realized just how wrong I was.

They started with a Segway, gave it a robotic arm and added a third wheel. They also gave it a pneumatic cylinder, which delivers a burst of compressed carbon dioxide to power the pitch.

Do you see? It started out as a Segway. You know, those fancy scooters that lazy hipsters cruise around in? Only it added a cannon, an arm, and a third wheel. It evolved. But it only get’s worse.

“The robot’s computer brain can be tweaked to change pitch velocity and trajectory.”

Robot computer brain. It has the capacity for thought.

This is it, kids. The age of the machines is nearly upon us. First, they made that computer that could win at chess. Then there was the one that did really good at “Jeopardy.” If dominating at a game show wasn’t bad enough, they’ve now come for baseball. And it won’t stop there. Soon, they’ll learn to bunt. Then they’ll learn how to change tires. And then what?

Remember that episode of “The Simpons” when the robots at Itchy and Scratchy Land became self aware and took over the park, leaving our heroes in peril? That wasn’t fiction. We’re being warned. Think about it, every movie about robots inevitably takes the route of them growing a soul and deciding they want to enslave the human race. Even the “good” robots – Johnny Five, Bender, that goofy bastard from “Lost in Space” – they all went mad, drunk with robot power.

If you think I’m joking, guess again, chuckles. Remember the “Terminator” movies? They practically wrote the book on the machines taking over. And you know how “judgment day” is the day that the machines become self aware because of an intuitive learning program called SKYNET? Guess what day that goes online? April 19th. Today. Two days after, the attacks start. You say it’s science fiction, I say it’s just the future. After all, fiction only just informs on reality, and not the other way around.

Really, I just want to know why the Phillies hate us so much. I mean, we pack the stadium every night so they can afford the Cliff Lees of the world, and they do this? Oh, you think it’s for our benefit. Hey kids, look at all the science! But really, they are doing little more than ushering in the era of human-robot conflict. This is how it begins.

Anyway, I’ll be at the ballpark for Wednesday’s game. If you’re there, come and say hello. I shouldn’t be too hard to spot, after all, because I’ll be the only guy carrying around a sandwich board with “SHOULD OF SPARED HUMANITY.”

If you all don’t hear from me on Thursday, you can assume that I was one of the first of many casualties in the never ending struggle for mankind against the machines.

Or maybe I just took the day off. Either one.

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That Didn’t Take Long http://www.thefightins.com/tr-pierce/that-didnt-take-long/ http://www.thefightins.com/tr-pierce/that-didnt-take-long/#comments Tue, 16 Nov 2010 21:55:38 +0000 Dash Treyhorn http://www.thefightins.com/?p=13557

Either the Phillies had this made up last week, or someone on the payroll works really, really fast. Personally, I like to think that they made a half-dozen of these things last December. Courtesy of the official Twitter account of the Philadelphia Phillies.

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Breaking: Roy Halladay Wins 2010 National League Cy Young http://www.thefightins.com/tr-pierce/breaking-roy-halladay-wins-2010-national-league-cy-young/ http://www.thefightins.com/tr-pierce/breaking-roy-halladay-wins-2010-national-league-cy-young/#comments Tue, 16 Nov 2010 19:11:16 +0000 Dash Treyhorn http://www.thefightins.com/?p=13551 In what should be a surprise to no one, Roy Halladay has been named the 2010 National League Cy Young in a unanimous decision. This comes on the heels of a terrific season, his first in red pinstripes, that saw him go 21-10 with a 2.44 ERA in 33 games. His 250.2 innings pitched led the National League, as did his sparkling 7.30 K/BB ratio, nine complete games, four shutouts and 30 walks.

Despite stiff competition from St. Louis’ Adam Wainwright and Colorado’s Ubaldo Jimenez, Halladay ran away with the decision by collecting all 32 first place votes.

From BBWAA.com

In his first season in the National League, Roy Halladay of the Philadelphia Phillies won the Cy Young Award to go with the American League trophy he won with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2003. Halladay became the fifth pitcher to win the award in each league and the 16th multiple winner.

Halladay was the 13th unanimous choice in NL voting as he received all 32 first-place votes from two writers in each league city to score a perfect 224 points, based on a tabulation system that rewards seven points for first place, four for second, three for third, two for fourth and one for fifth. The BBWAA expanded the Cy Young Award ballot from three to five pitchers this year.

Roy’s first season out of the American League East was as great as advertised, as he had an immediate effect on the team in spring training, with his vaunted workout regiment rubbing off on other members of the team. He set the tone on Opening Day with a command performance against the Washinton Nationals and bookended his award-winning season with a complete game shutout in D.C. to clinch the fourth consecutive division title for the Phillies, with a perfect game on May 29th against the Florida Marlins, just for kicks.

His regular season dominance carried over into his first ever postseason start, when he threw a no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds in a 4-0 win in game one of the National League division series. Despite being bested by Tim Lincecum in game one of the NLCS, he took the hill in game five to keep the Phillies alive with a six inning, two-run performance despite pitching the final five frames with a pulled groin.

And guess what, Phillie fans? We get to watch him for at least another three seasons.

It is the second career Cy Young for Halladay, who won his first award in 2003 while with the Toronto Blue Jays. He is the first Phillie to win it since Steve Bedrosian in 1987, and the fourth overall, joining Bedrosian, John Denny (1983), and Steve Carlton (1972, 77, 80, 82).

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Phillies Agree To Two-Year Contract With Jose Contreras http://www.thefightins.com/tr-pierce/phillies-agree-to-two-year-contract-with-jose-contreras/ http://www.thefightins.com/tr-pierce/phillies-agree-to-two-year-contract-with-jose-contreras/#comments Mon, 15 Nov 2010 21:44:18 +0000 Dash Treyhorn http://www.thefightins.com/?p=13547 According to MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, the Philadelphia Phillies and pitcher Jose Contreras have come to terms on a two-year contract worth $5.5 million with a club option for a third year.

Contreras was one of the best relievers on the team in 2010, his first as a full-time reliever. He went 6-4 with a 3.34 ERA and four saves in 56.2 innings. Although multi-year contracts for relief pitchers can be precarious (Danys Baez, for instance), the deal for Jose isn’t cost prohibitive.

With Jose back in the fold, and rumors circulating that the Phillies are in talks with former Mets’ pitcher Hisanori Takahashi, it appears that the early priority for Ruben Amaro is to bolster the back end of the bullpen.

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Breaking: Phillies Hire Juan Samuel http://www.thefightins.com/tr-pierce/breaking-phillies-hire-juan-samuel/ http://www.thefightins.com/tr-pierce/breaking-phillies-hire-juan-samuel/#comments Thu, 11 Nov 2010 19:10:30 +0000 Dash Treyhorn http://www.thefightins.com/?p=13533 Via Todd Zolecki: “The Phillies announce they have hired Juan Samuel as their third base coach. Sam Perlozzo moves to first base coach.”

Not a surprising move, but it is curious that Samuel, who stole a base or two in his day with the club, is being brought on to coach third, and not first, which will now be manned by Sam Perlozzo, who moves across the diamond. Regardless of who coaches first, the big question is going to be how much impact Sam has on the Phillies’ running game, which has been among the tops in the league under recently departed Davey Lopes.

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Some More Jayson Werth News http://www.thefightins.com/tr-pierce/some-more-jayson-werth-news/ http://www.thefightins.com/tr-pierce/some-more-jayson-werth-news/#comments Thu, 11 Nov 2010 16:46:56 +0000 Dash Treyhorn http://www.thefightins.com/?p=13526 More fire for the hot stove, this time from ESPN’s Jayson Stark

Here’s one Phillies source on the odds of his team finding a way to keep Jayson Werth: “No chance. None. Zero.” In the end, it might not even be the annual dollars that will force the Phillies to move on. It’s their unwillingness to go beyond three or four years for a player who will turn 32 next May.

The above quote shouldn’t surprise anyone whose been following the path to free agency that Werth walked during the last season, from his unwillingness to comment on his future with the team during Spring Training, to the report that he turned down a mid-season extension, to his post-season press conference that felt like a denouement more than anything else.

But even in light of Stark’s piece and the Phillies “source” who made the comment, let me say one thing: This business happens every single offseason. There is always an unnamed source or a mystery team or an early report that Player X wants to play where it’s warm or that Player Y won’t accept a trade to Team Z. Hell, that’s what happened with Roy Oswalt earlier this season, and lookie what happened there. Point is, take everything you hear with several grains of salt.

Is there a chance that Werth re-signs with the Phillies? Of course there is, just like there is a chance that Cliff Lee signs with the Nationals. It’s not a particularly good chance, but let’s remember that it’s November, and we shouldn’t get caught up in every last rumor/blurb/report that crops up, else it’s going to be an even longer offseason.

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