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May
06
2011
Posted by at 11:00 am ET 28 Comments

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.

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]

Apr
19
2011
Posted by at 9:39 pm ET 23 Comments

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. Read more »

Nov
16
2010
Posted by at 5:55 pm ET 43 Comments

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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Nov
16
2010
Posted by at 3:11 pm ET 39 Comments

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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Nov
15
2010
Posted by at 5:44 pm ET 39 Comments

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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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.

Nov
11
2010
Posted by at 12:46 pm ET 136 Comments

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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The National League Gold Glove winners were announced today, and Shane Victorino was the lone representative on the Phillies to take home a trophy. It is his third straight award for defensive excellence. Chase Utley, who is perhaps the best defensive second baseman in the league got shut out again, as did Jimmy Rollins, although his lack of playing time due to injuries likely played into that.

Other winners included: Bronson Arroyo (P – CIN), Yadier Molina (C – STL), Albert Pujols (1B – STL), Brandon Phillips (2B – CIN), Scott Rolen (3B – CIN), Troy Tulowitzki (SS – COL), Carlos Gonzalez (LF – COL), and Michael Bourn (CF – HOU).  [Zo Zone]

Nov
10
2010
Posted by at 12:33 pm ET 42 Comments

Today over at the Philly Daily News, columnist Rich Hofmann broaches a subject that many of us dare not speak of: Could Cliff Lee signing in Philadelphia somehow be a bad thing?

At first blush, that notion seems like nothing more than the fodder of a bored columnist, but it’s an interesting piece, and not completely out of school, as I (and others) have thought the same thing. Should Cliff Lee wind up with the Phillies again in 2011, and assuming that Halladay, Hamels and Oswalt are healthy, then does the blessing of four bonafide Aces become a curse of personal gain and hubris? After all, professional athletes are just like us insomuch as they are people with wants and needs and desires are not above feeling jaded or jealous.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve no doubt that Roy, Cole, Roy and Cliff would be professional in dealing with the slotting order of the starters (and really, I think the whole “Opening Day starter” thing is way overblown), but Hoffman makes a good point: What happens in October?

Sayeth Rich:

But here is the question I ask: which one is the fourth starter in the post-season?

What if Halladay were the one who looked the most gassed as October approached? There is no way on earth that Charlie Manuel would be able to call him into the office and tell him that he’s the fourth starter. The same with Lee, who will have signed the longest, biggest-money deal if he were to return. All of which would leave Oswalt and Hamels locked into a competition for which neither of them ever would have signed up if given the chance — oh, and Hamels, when all is said and done, is the guy who is going to be here longer than any of them.

Hofmann goes on to clarify that he’d prefer the cash is spent on the rest of the roster, like the lefty-heavy lineup and the bullpen, but his take on having four Aces does pose a valid concern, but one more akin to “Do you mind if your diamond shoes are too tight?” rather than “Would you rather walk 10 miles in a foot of snow or a foot of mud?”

Still, if this is the biggest problem facing the team when the 2011 playoffs roll around, we can all agree that we’ve got it pretty good.

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