The day began so promising for the Phillies. The sun was shining, people were smiling and the Home Opener was upon us:
The festivities continued with the traditional patriotism, Leap Frog jumpers falling from the sky and team introductions. Retired Phillies Mike Schmidt and Dickie Noles joined their former rival from the 1980 Phillies-Royals World Series, George Brett on the field for some pre-game pitches. All was well with the world…
And then the game started.
The Phillies actually looked like the World Series champs of old for about 4 innings. Domonic Brown and Erik Kratz hit home runs; Chase Utley and Ryan Howard were hitting; and by the end of the 3rd inning, the Phillies had a 4-0 lead.
And then it all went downhill….fast.
Kyle Kendrick, who was solid to start the game, began getting hit hard by the 5th inning. By the 6th inning, Kendrick was out of gas and pulled from the game. But not before the Phils intentionally walked Billy Butler to load the bases with 2 outs. This may have been the one call that sent the game into a real tailspin.
Because once the bullpen took over, all hell broke loose. All 3 of those runs scored, thanks to Jeremy Horst. Additional damage was done by the pen later, as the Royals scored in every single inning from the 5th on.
Ben Revere got called out when he looked safe (see photo)…Brown dove for a ball in the outfield and missed…it was a total disaster.
By the 8th inning, fans were scurrying to the exits like a herd of deer running from a hungry cougar. It was ugly.
With this 4-13 loss, the Phillies have now dropped 3 of their first 4 games, allowing 29 runs in those 3 losses. They seriously need a win tonight.
John Lannan makes his Phillies debut tonight at 7:05pm. Best of luck to him…he’ll need it.
And here is the Photo Album from the game.
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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
Throughout most of the year, Roy Halladay has not gotten a great deal of run support from his teammates. Today, he had a rough time against the Mets, allowing 2 runs in the first inning alone to put the Phillies in a quick hole. Halladay seemed off but he did pitch 7 innings; on 9 hits and a walk, he allowed 5 runs while striking out 10 batters.
But the offense did not let Halladay down this time. After a Jimmy Rollins 1-out double in the 3rd, the Mets short stop Jose Reyes committed a fielding error that allowed Placido Polanco to reach base. From there, a rally was born. Remember yesterday when mascot J-Roll Smurf put the voodoo hex on Reyes? Coincidence? Well, who cares…it worked, whatever it was.
The Reyes error sent the Phillies on a huge tear; Ross Gload singled, which scored Rollins. And then the super-hot Raul Ibanez extended his hitting streak to a career high 16 games with a 3-run homer. Later, a Brian Schneider single scored Jayson Werth for the 5th run of the inning. Werth had also homered the inning before. Here are a few shots of the home runs and subsequent celebrations:
The effort was all around for the Phillies. Not only did the offense score 6 runs for Halladay, they played solid defense as well. Halladay kept running into trouble, but some good pitches, a double play and a few diving grabs helped him out. Gload especially gave a great effort at first base filling in for the injured Ryan Howard. Here are a few more action shots from the game:
Another huge positive to come out of this 6-5 win was the back-end of the bullpen. Ryan Madson played “Bridge to Lidge” in his former excellent fashion, shutting the Mets down in the 8th. And then Brad Lidge, with his usual tense moments, did finally get the save with only a 1-run lead. Both pitchers have been up and down so it was nice to see the pen work the way it is actually supposed to in a tight game.
There was positive news before the game as well. Both Chase Utley and Shane Victorino were out running around and playing Frisbee on the field. This is meant to be a conditioning exercise, and Utley was quite serious about getting the job done.
Victorino, on the other hand, while still getting the job done, looked more like a kid playing in his back yard than a professional ballplayer. He even raced someone’s kid at one point. Nothing wrong with a little fun ;o) Victorino was running very well and it looks like he may be activated soon. He will start a rehab assignment on Tuesday and may be back by next weekend.
Also before the game, the Alumni Batting Challenge took place with 3 teams; Kevin Stocker with Ricky Bottalico, Jim Eisenreich with Mitch Williams and Darren Daulton with Dickie Noles. Stocker and Bottalico took home the prize. You can see many photos from the even in the full game Photo Album.
The Phillies have a day off tomorrow before the Dodgers come to town. Kyle Kendrick will start Tuesday’s game which is scheduled for 7:05pm.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
The match-up of Cole Hamels and Johan Santana tonight had potential to be a very tight pitcher’s duel. And that is exactly what happened; the two pitchers were fairly even through 6 innings. Santana did not allow a hit until Placido Polanco broke through in the 6th with a single. Hamels scattered 6 hits but also struck out 11 batters. The only scar on the line for Hamels was a solo homer from Jeff Francoeur in the 7th.
Hamels reached 99 pitches by the end of 7 and was pinch hit for in the bottom of the inning. Chad Durbin pitched the 8th and had a very scary outing. With the bases loaded, he nearly walked a run home. Luckily for the Phils, Francoeur was done with the home run hitting. He went fishing for a high fastball that would have been ball four and struck out.
With the score still 1-0 in favor of the Mets going into the bottom of the 8th. The Phils had an exciting inning with a few singles and a walk. But with the bases loaded and 2 outs, Ross Gload grounded out after a very good battle at the plate.
In the 9th inning, the Phillies still could not get anything done. They ended up with only 5 hits in the loss, went 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position and left 9 men on base. While it was a disappointing loss, overall it was a good game because of the pitching. Hamels was outstanding so it hurts to see him not get the win…again. Poor guy.
The final game with the Mets is tomorrow afternoon at 1:35pm. Roy Halladay will pitch :O) The Alumni Batting Challenge will also take place before the game with 3 teams; Kevin Stocker with Ricky Bottalico, Jim Eisenreich with Mitch Williams and Darren Daulton with Dickie Noles.
I will return with photos from both the pre-game event and the Halladay domination of the Mets – yes, I fully expect Halladay domination. J-Roll Smurf, our official Phillies Phollowers mascot, says it will be so. He is in charge of the voodoo and I believe him. J-Roll Smurf has been practicing his voodoo bat attack all day long, so expect results. Go Phillies!
Reyes and Smurf photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
This past Tuesday, the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame hosted their 4th annual Golf Classic at the Huntingdon Valley Country Club. The Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of Philly sports history which inducts new members annually.
The golf event was attended by many Philadelphia stars, including former Phillies, Flyers, 76ers and Eagles, along with broadcasters and other special guests. I was asked to be the photographer for the event, which was in honor of the memory of Harry Kalas. This is a tribute table with a few of Harry’s belongings and memorabilia:
The day included a putting contest, lunch, shotgun golf round, live and silent auctions, a million dollar hole-in one contest and the “High Hopes” reception and dinner. Much of the time was spent by chatting with VIP guests as well as enjoying the golf course. By the way, former Phillie Darren Daulton promised me the Phillies would be snapping out of their current funk very soon. I am holding him to that.
From top to bottom, left to right, here is Darren along with Greg Luzinski, Terry Harmon, Andy Ashby, Tyler Green, Mike Mamula (former Eagle), someone I do not know and Dickie Noles. If you know who the mystery guest is, feel free to let me know ;o)
Other sports were represented as well. This next photo collage includes former Eagles coach Dick Vermeil, former Eagles player Chuck Bednarik who was showing me his bent finger, former Eagles Eddie Khayat and Vince Papale and former Flyer, Bernie Parent, possibly the most entertaining man on the planet. If you have never met Bernie, you are missing out on a real treat. The man is a ball of energy and funnier than most professional comedians:
I have tons of other photos which show many other big stars from the day and all of the events that went on. Feel free to check that out. Thanks to the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame for inviting me! It was a memorable day.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
On Monday night, the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association held their 106th annual awards banquet in Cherry Hill, NJ. The PSWA honors athletes in every sport around the Philadelphia area. The event is usually hosted by the great Harry Kalas, but sadly, he is no longer with us. This same event last year was the last time I spoke with Harry. This year, the PSWA invited his son, Todd Kalas, who spoke with great affection and admiration about his father. I have video of the speech that you can watch below.
The tone of the banquet was still very upbeat and in usual PSWA style, many great athletes and coaches from the area were honored in grand fashion. The Phillies were awarded “Team of the Year” which was accepted by Charlie Manuel and GM Ruben Amaro Jr. accepted the award for “Executive of the Year.” Former Phillie and current advisor, Dickie Noles was given the “Humanitarian” award and Von Hayes was there also as a guest.
The next set of photos are of Charlie Manuel, Ruben Amaro Jr., me with broadcasters Scott Franzke and Tom McCarthy and Phillies PA announcer, Dan Baker.
The following video shows speeches from Todd Kalas, Amaro and Manuel. Note the “jokes” about the Cliff Lee trade; Amaro playfully blamed it on Charlie. Sorry Ruben, I fail to see the humor. Ok, don’t get me started on that…here’s the video:
There were plenty of other sports icons in attendance, including the 76ers Willie Green who got the “Good Guy” award, Eagles head coach Andy Reid and Eagles player Brent Celek who was named the “Outstanding Professional Athlete” of 2009:
We also heard from Andrew Bailey who was given the “Native Son” award; Bailey grew up in the Philly area and won Rookie of the Year for the American League in 2009 as the closer for the Oakland A’s. Ruben asked who his agent was and tried to steal him away…no success I’m afraid.
The MVP of the Army Navy Game, Ricky Dobbs, was also honored as well as Jay Wright, head coach of Villanova basketball, Fran Dunphy of Temple basketball , the 1960 Eagles and many others. The full list of honorees can be seen at the PSWA web site. I also put together a Photo Album from the event which shows many of these people as well.
The highlight of the night may have been comedian Joe Conklin who does impressions of his favorite Philly sports figures. His Cole Hamels impersonation is hysterical. Take a look:
And finally, here is clip of a program that will air this Thursday at 11pm on 6-ABC Philadelphia. The show is about the Phillies Off-Season and will include some photos that I took during the 2010 Phillies Cruise last month :O)
If you live in the Philly area, set the DVR or tune in at 11pm on 2/4/10.
Photos by Jenn
The Phillies held their annual Holiday Sale this weekend at the ballpark and as usual, it was an interesting event. Phillies Charities holds the event each year, selling game-used merchandise, autographed items, left over programs and books, photos, etc… Although, this year was not nearly as crowded as last year because of the World Series loss.
This means less money for Phillies Charities, which is sad. In fact, the people selling many of the charity items were actually haggling to get rid of merchandise. A Scott Eyre signed jersey marked $125 went for $100 after the buyer decided $125 was too much and decided to walk away. Now that is something I have never seen in all the years I have attended. But plenty of other items raked in big bucks, like game used bats, balls, street banners and empty Champagne bottles from the playoff celebrations.
I picked out a locker name plate grab bag for $30 and wound up with Carlos Ruiz, Miguel Cairo and Mick Billmeyer (bullpen coach). The Ruiz plate was worth the $30, so I was happy with that. I have also been working on a collection of signed 2008 World Series balls and am trying to get every player on the team. But some players who have gone, like So Taguchi, may be impossible to get now. So I decided to try to buy a Taguchi signed regular ball, which they had a box of there, but by the time I got up front in the line, they were sold out. Yes folks, an entire box of Taguchi signed balls, gone. Did everyone else have the same idea I had or are there just huge numbers of Taguchi fans out there that I do not know about? I can tell you, he was not popular here in Philly at all, so I thought that was a bit weird. Maybe because they were only $5 people didn’t care who signed it ;o)
While there were not any players there, everyone did have a chance to meet with broadcasters Tom McCarthy and Chris Wheeler, who was signing his new book, “View From the Booth.” I think Dickie Noles was there too, but I did not see him. And Milt Thompson was scheduled to sign copies of a hitting DVD he put out later that day. I ran into Tom in the clubhouse store and chatted with him for a while, then got my book signed by Chris. Here I am below with Wheels, plus a shot of a Holiday tree and Phanta Claus, who was entertaining the kids:
It was a dreary day outside, which may have kept some shoppers home. Rain, slush and snow also dampened the Philadelphia Santa Claus parade, which made its way around the ballpark with fire engines, sirens and bright lights, although the only people silly enough to be outside were those of us waiting in line to get into the Holiday Sale. Not sure if the Phillies tree lighting went off as planned as I cut out early, but here is a photo of the tree taken from inside the Hall of Fame club:
I also walked around the concourse a bit to see what the off-season ballpark looked like. Turns out, they wrap the mobile concession stands with giant tubes of Saran Wrap. This is either to protect them from the elements, or the stands have been put on some weird plastic wrap weight-loss plan:
Maybe they can shrink the prices while they are at it? Just a thought ;o)
So, did anyone else go to the sale? What did you think about it? Feel free to comment below :O)