The post-game shaving cream pie to the face has become a celebratory Phillies tradition over the years. One reader wanted to know where it all began. In my own experiences, I have been able to trace the practice as far back as 1993 where it happened on a semi-regular basis. Here are a few shots from 1993 where Mitch Williams pied Andy Ashby. You can see the pie in mid-air as Ashby tried to avoid contact during his post-game interview with Harry Kalas:
Usually when a player gets a game winning, walk-off hit, they can expect to get pied. However, sometimes this prank is also carried out following any outstanding performance. For instance, on June 2, 2002, pitcher Robert Person hit two home runs in a game against the Expos, the first of which was a Grand Slam. The result? 7 RBI for Person, a win for the Phils and yes, a pie to the face.
In the 1990’s, the pie incidents were sort of random. But when Tomas Perez joined the Phillies in 2000, he became the “official” Pie Guy and for the next 6 years, he did not miss a beat. Perez pied everyone. And his teammates loved him; Perez was riot in the clubhouse, keeping things loose and fun. And for me personally, Perez was the nicest, most approachable player I had ever met. I always stood in the same place before games and Perez took notice. All I had to do was wave at him, and he would run right over. We spoke before many games and I got countless autographs from him.
The day the Phillies released him in 2006, we had a conversation about his tenure in Philly during batting practice. I told him how glad everyone was that he was still with the team and that his smile always brightened my day. Literally, ½ an hour later, he was released. :O(
Not only was I devastated, but so were Perez’s teammates. Ryan Howard said after the game, “I will miss the pies in the face.” And catcher Mike Lieberthal, another frequent pie’ing victim, added, “He is one of my favorite players I ever played with. He was not only a good player, but he kept everybody loose and is one of the best personalities I have ever been around.”
With the departure of Perez, the torch was passed to Shane Victorino who became the new Pie Guy and has been basically in charge of the prank ever since. Although, Jimmy Rollins, Greg Dobbs and others have been known to help out on occassion. And these days, no one is safe from the Pie Guy:
In fact, some pie pranks are not even reserved for the playing field. This pie attack occurred during an interview with Brett Myers and Kyle Kendrick on NBC’s Today Show. The attack starts at about 2 minutes, 45 seconds into the video:
And some players even get double teamed; check out Carlos Ruiz:
There are some varying opinions on the pie pranks. Some players think it is funny; some are not so thrilled about it. As for the fans, I have heard everything from how funny it is to how stupid it is. One fan told me it is annoying because it ruins the post-game interview. Others wonder if it could be dangerous. And yet others look forward to it and find it entertaining. What do you think? Feel free to comment below.
What I can tell you is this; the Pie Guy is a Phillies tradition that does not appear to be going away any time soon.
Photo credits: Ibanez, Howard, Perez by Jenn; Ashby & Williams by Diana Dickerson; Rollins: NY Daily News; Victorino: CBSsports.com; Lieberthal: http://www.usat-rockymountain.org
Is it bad luck or bad baseball? It looked like luck may have been in the Phillies favor when Red Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka was sent to the DL minutes before the game started today. Dice-K beat up the Phillies in their last meeting, so this must be good news. Scott Atchison, a career minor leaguer who also played in Japan, made his first career major league start in place of Dice-K. Again, this seemed like good news, right?
Wrong. Because absolutely nothing has gone well for the Phillies lately, and this game would be no different. Joe Blanton has been as bad as he could be since coming off the DL in early May. By the 2nd inning of this game, Blanton had given up 34 runs, 11 homers and 11 walks in 45 innings pitched this year.
And the damage did not end there…Blanton allowed 9 runs total, matching Jamie Moyer yesterday, on 13 hits and a walk by the time he was done, after 4 pathetic innings. His ERA is now 7.28.
Blanton loaded the bases in the 2nd inning, right after the offense scored two runs for him. He then threw ONE pitch to rookie, Daniel Nava, who in his first major league at-bat, hit a grand slam! Unbelievable. It looked like the Phillies had morphed into a black cat with a #13 tattoo, under a black cloud standing on top of a broken mirror, sprinkled with spilled salt. But was that bad luck or just Joe Blah-anton?
Blanton needs to go. Obviously, no one will want him with his gigantic 7.28 ERA and gigantic salary, so what are the options? Put him back on the DL or send him to the minors. Brett Myers did this voluntarily back in 2008 and came back to help them win the World Series. The Phillies can bring back Nelson Figueroa or someone else from the minors. I would rather see a rookie get raked for 9 runs than a veteran who is not living up to his end of the deal. How about Nate Bump? He has some experience and was recently clocked at 103mph. Go get him!
The Phillies have made a lot of mistakes this year and last, many of which have been overshadowed by the acquisition of Roy Halladay. Letting Myers go was clearly an error in judgment. I said it before, but because most people have a personal dislike of Myers, most were happy to see him go. For the Astros this year, Myers has not allowed more than 4 runs in any game, has not pitched fewer than 6 innings in any game and his ERA is a very respectable 3.18.
And do not even get me started on Cliff Lee. Because the Mariners are not doing well, Lee will likely be traded before the deadline and it looks like he may wind up in the NL East. Imagine this: Lee goes to Mets or the Braves who make the playoffs, leaving the Phillies in the dust. You want to throw up right now, don’t you?
And remember signing a 36 year-old Raul Ibanez, now 38, to a 3-year contract? It looked like a good idea for ½ a year in 2009; now, not so much. Raul, we still love ya, but things are not going well. Ibanez is hitting .247 and is getting slower in the outfield.
The Phillies also extended Blanton’s contract this off-season, giving him 3 more years and $24 million dollars. They noted his “consistency,” which I have never agreed with, and his ability to pitch many innings as reasons for the extension. Well, all those innings have taken their toll as evidenced by Blanton’s current ERA plus the pre-season injury and DL stint.
By the way, the Phillies offense died after Blanton dug a huge hole for them. The managed only 7 hits and 3 of those came from back-up catcher Brian Schneider. The Phillies went on to lose the game by a score of 2-10.
I could go on, but I think that is enough for one day. The Phillies have now slid from 1st place to 3rd place in the NL East and if the Marlins keep winning, they will be in 4th place shortly. I mentioned holding off on hitting the panic button last week; well, it is now time. Let the panic begin. This past month may be a foretelling of the horror to come.
Photoshopping by Jenn
The Phillies reclaimed their spot in first place last night after an 11-5 win over the Mets. Let us begin with the Tale of Two Teams: Before the game, people like Ryan Howard and Shane Victorino had their game faces on. Jimmy Rollins, still on the DL, was relaxed and posing for me and Jose Reyes was busy fixing his hair. A foretelling of things to come perhaps?
As for the game itself, most of it can be summed up in two innings. In the first inning, things did not look good for pitcher Jamie Moyer and the Phillies. Moyer got the first two outs but after allowing a few singles and then a home run to David Wright, he was in a big hole quickly.
Moyer’s performances this year have had one huge flaw; he always seems to have one bad inning where he gives up a bunch of runs. In the top of the 4th, he allowed 2 more runs on a Rod Barajas homer. Barajas has done serious damage to the Phillies every time he has played his ex-team. Although, Placido Polanco did manage to tag Barajas out going to third:
But the bottom of the 4th inning blew the game wide open for the Phillies. The Mets ace, Johan Santana, had been mowing down Phillies batters, except for solo homers from Polanco and Howard in the 1st. After a Chase Utley double, Santana got the next two batters out, but things then spun wildly out of control.
Raul Ibanez singled to score Utley and Carlos Ruiz walked after that. The bases were loaded with 2 outs for the pitcher, Moyer. You had to imagine Moyer would just make the last out and that would be that. But once Moyer ran the count 2-0, the crowd exploded with anticipation of what might happen next.
On their feet and screaming, “Johan! Johan!” the fans rattled Santana and Moyer, will amazing discipline at the plate, drew the walk to force in a run. Everyone began having flashbacks to Game 2 of the 2008 NLDS when Brett Myers and the crowd did the exact same thing to pitcher CC Sabathia. And who should step to the plate but the same hero from that NLDS game, Shane Victorino.
Back in October of 2008, Victorino followed up the Myers walk with a Grand Slam. Last night, history repeated itself as Victorino, with the crowd cheering him on, hit another Grand Slam! It was the 2nd of his career and I have been present for both of those slams. Shane may want to send me some tickets as it appears I am his good luck charm ;o)
But the inning did not end there. Polanco singled and then Utley homered; and with that, Santana was finally run out of the game. The Mets bullpen gave up one more run after that making it a grand total of 9 runs in the inning. Santana was responsible for 8 of those, which is more runs that he gave up in the entire month of April. And the 10 runs total marks the most runs ever allowed by Santana in a single game for his career.
The Phillies batted around plus 4 in the inning and the outburst seemed to give Moyer new life on the mound. He pitched two scoreless innings after that and even got a hit in the 5th inning. Chad Durbin pitched the 7th and 8th innings without allowing a hit and Danys Baez, feeling comfy with a 6-run lead, closed out the game.
Here is the full Photo Album from the game. Tonight, the Phillies will begin a new series against the Cardinals with Joe Blanton finally returning from the DL. Game time is 7:05pm. Best of luck to Blanton in his season debut!
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
After another solid start from pitcher Kyle Kendrick on Thursday against the Astros, the competition for the 5th starters spot is getting more interesting by the day. Kendrick pitched 5 2/3 innings allowing just 1 earned run on 5 hits and 2 walks. His spring ERA stands at 1.37.
Jamie Moyer has only pitched in one “A” game so far and a bunch of “B” games, but he will face the Yankees tonight in his final bid for the 5th spot. Moyer’s one regular spring outing ended with a 1.80 ERA for 1 run over 5 innings of work. Tonight’s game then will likely be the deciding factor.
If Moyer does well, it looks like the spot may be his. However, if he gets beat up by the Yanks, he still may get the nod anyway. Although Kendrick has more than earned the spot and personally, I feel it should be his, the Phillies will probably go with experience over youth. Poor Kyle has all kinds of factors working against him; his youth, Moyer’s huge $8 million dollar salary and the fact that Moyer has never been a bullpen pitcher.
Moyer did work from the pen a little last year when Pedro Martinez arrived, but only for extended innings, like after rain delays. So essentially, he was still being used more as a starter than a bullpen piece. Manager Charlie Manuel seemed very hesitant to put Moyer in for only a few batters which tells you that they were not confident about his ability to pitch out of the bullpen.
My prediction is that the Phillies will go with Moyer and put Kendrick in the pen. After Moyer has a few bad outings, they will probably switch, just like Chan Ho Park and JA Happ did last season. Then again, as with most predictions, anything can happen.
The Phillies were reunited yesterday with former teammate Brett Myers who was the starting pitcher for the Astros. Myers made Philly his home for 11 years, with the same team who drafted him.
Seeing him another uniform was strange. Then again, considering how many ex-Phillies are with the Astros, including Myers, Pedro Feliz, Jason Michaels, Michael Bourn, and Gary Majewski, maybe we should all be Astros fans too? Or maybe not…
Myers left the game early with a strained left groin, but it appears to be minor. Afterwards, Myers spoke about the Philly fans saying, “I felt appreciated when I came out of the game and they all stood up and clapped for me. That was very respectful. Philly fans get a bad rap, but they’re loyal to the guys that played there and have done things for the organization. I really appreciated that. That was classy.” Myers will be missed by many Philly fans and we wish him well…unless he is playing against the Phillies, of course ;o)
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Photos by Jenn
The big news out of Phillies camp this week was Roy Halladay throwing live batting practice to a few of his teammates yesterday. Although they were only tracking pitches, it did give Chase Utley and Raul Ibanez a chance to see Halladay in action. Another player who stood in was outfield prospect Dominic Brown. Brown told the media afterwards that because he was almost traded for Halladay, he felt compelled to take a few hacks off him. He did not have much success, but it may be safe to assume it was a personal victory for the young player.
It appears also that besides Jamie Moyer and Kyle Kendrick, there is one more competitor for the 5th starters spot in the rotation. Ryan Vogelsong, 32, began his big league career with the Giants in 2000 and was then traded to Pittsburgh the following year. In his 6 years floating between the majors and minors, Vogelsong’s record stood at 10-22 with a 5.86 ERA in the majors with 315 innings pitched. After leaving the Pirates in 2006, he travelled to Japan in an attempt to improve and make a few dollars. Vogelsong grew up in the Philadelphia area and played ball at Kutztown University so he is thrilled to put on the Phillies uniform. His chances of making the team are likely slim, but as in baseball and life, anything is possible.
As Spring Training progresses, a sign that games are not far away is the Phillies annual Phan Fest, which will be held tonight at Bright House field in Clearwater. If you are in the Clearwater area, be sure to check out this event. Gates will open at 5:30pm and admission is free. There will be 2 sets of players there to sign autographs. The cost is only $15 per table for three players. The first table will have pitchers Kyle Kendrick, newcomer Danys Baez and the runner-up for Rookie of the Year, JA Happ. The second table has another newcomer, catcher Brian Schneider plus outfielders Ben Francisco and John Mayberry Jr.
Having attended Phan Fest for the last two years, I can tell you it is well worth the trip. Aside from the autograph tables, there is a play area for kids, a photo booth which will be with Darren Daulton this year, a silent auction, opportunities to buy game-used merchandise, the Phanatic and a fireworks display to end the evening. Last year, a few of the players including Ryan Madson, Chad Durbin and Brett Myers, brought their kids to the event and sat on the field to watch the fireworks. Of those three, only Chad was there for the autographs; the others came on their own to spend time with their families which was very touching to watch.
And the countdown continues…
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Photos by Jenn
The Phillies found a back-up catcher today when they signed Brian Schneider to a $2.75 million, 2 year deal. Schneider spent the last 2 years with the Mets and the previous 8 seasons with the Nationals/Expos. The best news here is that Schneider was notorious for being a Phillie killer; pitching to him has been a 10 year nightmare. Overall, Schneider is a .251 hitter and should fit nicely into the back-up spot vacated by Paul Bako and Chris Coste before that.
And in a very odd twist to the situation, Coste has just been signed by the Mets! Coste started the 2009 season with the Phillies before being tossed and subsequently picked up off waivers by Houston in July. The self-proclaimed 33-year old rookie is now in enemy threads which is sure to send shockwaves throughout Philadelphia. Coste was well loved in Philly and many were unhappy with his departure. Not to mention, many would rather see him retire than play in a Mets uniform. It is a sad, sad day for Coste fans. But look at the bright side; at least we will get to see him a lot next year :O)
As for the other holes in the line-up, like third base, no word yet except that midnight tonight is the deadline for all teams to offer salary arbitration to their free agents. The Phillies are likely to offer arbitration to Chan Ho Park as they have stated they want him back next year. Park may decline and decide to look around for a starting pitching spot as several teams have seemed interested in him. If he accepts, he will be with the Phillies for 2010 and probably get a raise. As for the other free agents, Bako and Eric Bruntlett are out of the picture with their replacements already signed in Brian Schneider and Juan Castro. Brett Myers has already been shown the door, as has Jack Taschner. Pedro Feliz, Pedro Martinez, Matt Stairs and Miguel Cairo are also unlikely, although Stairs and Cairo may be offered minor league deals.
So, have we all looked at our season ticket invoices yet? This is not a huge shock, but Phillies ticket prices went up again this year by $2- $4 per ticket. Not only that, but some season ticket holders received worse seat assignments. Someone I know got bumped backwards 2 rows in the same section. So, we are now paying more for less? While 2 rows is not earth shattering, traditionally, season ticket holders have been rewarded for their loyalty with better seats from year to year, not punished.
So yes, the World Series win in 2008 plus the return trip in 2009 do affect the prices, unfortunately. But that does not make it any easier to swallow. The money does not go towards improving the team or free agency; it is just more in the pockets of the owners. And with the team winning now, they do it simply because they can.
Prices over the recent years have increased tremendously. A seat that cost $42 in 2004 is now $58 for 2010. The last year of the vet for the same seat was $26. What I am wondering though is what happens when the team sucks again? Do we become the Nationals with a stadium that is only 25% full? I follow the team win or lose, but I will not pay those prices to see them lose when I can do that at home for free. Then again, maybe they will never suck again…one can dream ;o)
So, did anyone else get there ticket invoice and wonder what happened? Did you get the same seats or did you get bumped back? What do you think about the prices? Let me know in the comment section below.
Coste photo by Jenn
Oh yes, here we go again… It is only mid-November and the Roy Halladay rumor mill is already in full swing. While the Phillies were unable to strike a deal with the Blue Jays in July for the star pitcher and instead wound up with Cliff Lee (and we are all ok with that, of course), the Jays may still be looking for a chance to get Halladay off their payroll.
If the Phillies can manage a deal for Halladay, odds are they will have to pay much less for him than they would have in July since now he is only good for one potential post-season instead of two. But the Jays are probably still interested in the Phillies top prospect, Kyle Drabek, whom the Phillies are unlikely to part with. In an interesting twist however, it has also been rumored that the Jays might be willing to take Cole Hamels. Can I get a Hallelujah and an Amen to that possibility?!!
Although Hamels is six years younger than Halladay, he had a terrible season for the Phillies and most fans are sick of his emotional issues, media faux pas and lack of composure on the mound. Odds are, not many people would be sad about such a trade. Sadly, if this were rumored last season, there may have been riots in the street full of angry fans unwilling to let the World Series MVP go. But now? Not so much…
Besides upgrading the pitching staff, it appears the Phillies now need a third baseman as Pedro Feliz did not have his option picked up. The Phillies can still sign him as agree agent if they come to an agreement, but it looks more likely that the Phils will look elsewhere.
Feliz had a decent season, but I think he really screwed himself in the playoffs where he hit only .167, made unproductive outs in crucial situations and hit into double plays that killed rallies. Plus, he is 34 years old, which does not help his case.
The top prospects for third base right now are Chone Figgins, Adrian Beltre, Mark DeRosa and former Phillie, Placido Polanco. Figgins would be the best choice, although fans loved Polanco when he was here and many were upset when Chase Utley took his job. Hind sight, as they say, is 20/20.
Back in 2005 when Polanco went to the Tigers, many Phillies fans felt he should have been moved to 3rd base to keep him on the team, myself included. As it turns out, had the Phillies done so, Polanco would likely still be with us. Up to that point, he had moved back and forth from 2nd to 3rd base for years. But after going to the Tigers, it was 2nd base all the way. The question then with Polanco is, could he transition back to 3rd after more than 4 years steady at 2nd? That may be too big a question for the Phillies to consider taking him.
So, third base is wide open right now and several other Phillies have filed for free agency; Chan Ho Park, Matt Stairs, Paul Bako, Pedro Martinez and Miguel Cairo. The Phillies will not likely sign Martinez again, as he will command too hefty a salary and they need a more consistent arm. Park is a possibility, Cairo and Bako will probably not be back and Stairs I am not too sure about. My feeling was that he might retire, but since he has filed, I now do not know what is on his mind. But this leaves the Phillies with the need for a back-up catcher, a right handed bat off the bench and a variety of pitching needs.
As for our walking wounded, both Scott Eyre and Raul Ibanez had successful surgeries yesterday and are expected to make recoveries before Spring Training. Eyre may or may not decide to retire so his future is uncertain. Ibanez, we hope, will be back to 2009 first-half form. Brad Lidge will have surgery tomorrow. What exactly is wrong with him will be an interesting revelation. We should have more information in the days to come.
Feliz photo by Jenn