‘Tis the season to buy lots of crap! Black Friday, Cyber Monday….here we come! The Phillies began shopping early when they signed Kevin Frandsen earlier this month to a 1-year, $850,000 deal. If Frandsen plays the way he did last year, that small chunk of change could wind up being the bargain of the year.
But the Phillies have a much longer shopping list than that. Unfortunately, even on Black Friday, not everything is on sale. Even if Ruben Amaro Jr. camped out in front of All-Star Josh Hamilton’s house all night, I am pretty sure someone with more money would be camped out in front of him in line. Fold up the tent, Ruben, and let’s work on a more realistic shopping list.
– The first item on the list should be a centerfielder. I hear our old pal Shane Victorino may come at a descent discount. But the Phillies seem to be more focused on B.J. Upton, who could rival Ryan Howard for strikeouts. They both strike out around 30% of the time and neither hit for average. Regardless, this team needs to shop for an outfielder!
– Bullpen help is needed….badly. Maybe the Phillies need to look back at a few guys they previously tossed in the trash? Here are some oldies, but goodies: Our old pal Chad Durbin had a 3.10 ERA for the Braves last season. And how about Jason Grilli, who was with the Phillies minor league system until they dumped him…he went on to record a 2.91 ERA for the Pirates last season. But my #1 oldie would be Ryan Madson. He is coming off Tommy John surgery so the bidding for him should not get too high.
– Third base: Personally, I feel a combination of Frandsen and a drug-free Freddy Galvis can handle the hot corner. But if you are the type who MUST buy during holiday sales whether you need to or not, here is who might deserve a look: Kevin Youkilis will be 34 in March, but the guy can still hit for power. At 36 years, Michael Young is not exactly young anymore….but he would be a solid veteran to keep the spot warm for a much younger Cody Asche in 2014.
– While the team is stocked with starting pitchers, maybe a few small upgrades could help? You know…get Roy Halladay a bionic shoulder to replace the bum one. Buy Kyle Kendrick an “All I Want For X-Mas is You” tee-shirt to keep his confidence high. And for Cliff Lee, donate to his favorite charity and make a pledge to get him more than 6 wins this year.
– Buy baby-faced Darin Ruf a pair of big-boy pants and put him on the big-boy team. That gamble may really pay off. What have they got to lose? And J.C. Penney has a great Black Friday sale on pants right now…
– And the final big purchase for the Phillies should be a stand-up comedian. When things start to go downhill for the Phils, the comedian can jump in and tell jokes between innings to keep spirits high. Because as a fan base in 2012, we have all lost a bit of our sense of humor. You cannot blame us though…losing is just not funny. Help us all remember how to laugh and smile again! And if the wins start coming, you can trade the comedian to a more needy team.
Happy shopping, everyone!
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Amaro photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
If someone had told me that by the end of June this season, Carlos Ruiz would be leading all of baseball in batting average, I may have checked to see if that person was running a fever. Chooch has always been a good player; but he has never been .361 with 10 home runs-good. The 10 homers, including one in last night’s 5-4 win over the Pirates, is a career high. And it is only June…
So yes, Chooch leads everyone in batting average with .361. That is better than past MVP’s Joey Votto and Josh Hamilton. Ruiz has also outhit fellow catchers and All-Star voting leaders Yadier Molina and Brian McCann. Soooooo….VOTE FOR CHOOCH! We have until Thursday to get him to the All-Star game!
But even if that fails, manager Charlie Manuel told reporters yesterday that he plans on calling Tony La Russa, the NL All-Star team manager, to plead the case for Chooch. Manuel always sticks up for his players, but especially in this case, Ruiz really deserves the honor.
Chooch put his stamp all over last night’s win. He went 3-for-4 with a homer and 2 RBI. And while catching, Ruiz saved two runs from scoring by blocking the plate and tagging out the runners.
The biggest of those plays came in the 7th inning after starter Vance Worley got into a real jam. With no outs, 2 runners on base and 1 run already across, Worley was removed and rookie Michael Schwimer took over. Schwimer coaxed a ground out and then a short fly ball to left. One the fly ball, John Mayberry Jr. made a great throw home, which Ruiz caught and tagged the runner for an inning-ending double play.
That play kept the Phillies lead intact and Chooch’s subsequent homer added to that lead. The home run he hit in the 8th turned out to be a game saver as closer Jonathan Papelbon struggled in the 9th, allowing a solo homer. But the Ruiz blast made the difference in the 5-4 win.
The Phillies have now won 2 of the first 4 games against the Pirates, which is great news; because tonight’s 7:05pm game is going to be started and finished by the Phillies bullpen. The rainout on Friday forced a juggling of the pitching staff, leaving them 1 starter short this week. So Raul Valdes will start the game and likely pitch 3 innings, passing the ball on to the rest of the pen after that.
And while you are watching the game, do not forget to VOTE FOR CHOOCH!
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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
The St. Louis crowd loves Ryan Howard. But when Albert Pujols made his entrance, the fans officially went nuts. Both sluggers were favorites to win the 2009 Home Run Derby; Pujols playing for the Cardinals and Howard, a St. Louis native, both had a lot of support going into the contest.
The first round results, which put Pujols into a swing-off with Joe Mauer and Carlos Pena, ended with both Pujols and Howard making the second round along with Prince Fielder and Nelson Cruz. Pujols ended round #2 with 11 total homers and Howard wound up hitting 15. Cruz stepped in for his turn and out-did Howard by just one home run for 16 total. Howard’s last hope was that Fielder, the final batter in round 2, would not surpass his 15 homers. Sadly for Phillies fans, Fielder wound up hitting 17, knocking Howard out of the contest. Ryan seemed relieved though, as exhaustion set in and he was likely happy to be done.
It was a nice effort all around, although not as exciting as last year’s derby where Josh Hamilton put on a show that will probably never been repeated. Hamilton hit 28 homers in the first round, many of which disappeared from sight in old Yankee Stadium. Although he went on to take 2nd place to Justin Morneau, those of us who witnessed the amazing display of power and grace will not soon forget it. I had a feeling this year’s derby would pale in comparison, but how could it not?
But the derby is always an entertaining event that I look forward to seeing every year. And the 2009 champion is Prince Fielder, who hit 6 in the final round to Cruz’s 5. Congrats to Fielder!
Tune in for the All-Star Game tomorrow night at 8pm on FOX. Tim Lincecum will start for the NL and Roy Halladay for the AL. As for your Phillies, Chase Utley gets the start at 2nd, Raul Ibanez in left and Shane Victorino in center. Howard and Jayson Werth will be available on the bench.
My predictions for the game are as follows:
– The NL will finally break the curse of 11 straight AL wins (plus 1 tie) and win the game!
– Chase Utley will look FABULOUS, even if he strikes out multiple time. I guarantee it.
– Tim Lincecum will be asked by at least 15 fans if he is the teenage son of one of the other players.
– St. Louis fans will chant “RAUUUUUUL!” even if they do not know why they are doing it.
– The broadcasters for FOX will screw up simple facts at an approximate rate of 2.3 times per inning.
– The FOX broadcast will also be boring, redundant and completely void of any redeeming value…sorry to have to break it to you. But, enjoy the game…with the volume turned down :O)
Photos by Jenn
The off-season is really starting to drag for me. The more bored I become, the stranger the things are that pop into my mind. I spend hours contemplating life’s mysteries. See for yourself; Here is Jenn’s 25 Things To Ponder:
1. Why are brown Labrador retrievers called “Chocolate Labs”? Is this like Easter bunnies? Are you going to eat them?
2. Why do commercials and other advertising media portray penguins and polar bears in the same setting? They live on totally opposite poles of the earth and in real life, would NEVER come in contact.
3. Also in real life, if penguins did encounter polar bears, the polar bears would eat them, not pass them a Coke.
4. When the Phillies signed Cole Hamels, why was there no, “Thou Shall Not Speak In Public” clause in his contract?
5. Why is every public restroom out of toilet paper? Have we not cut down thousands of acres of rainforest each year? Perhaps I should wipe with a chinchilla; they are endangered also. And soft as well…
6. Why does the phone only ring when I am in the bathroom?
7. If the plural of goose is geese, then why isn’t the plural of moose, meese?
8. If I walk and chew gum at the same time, am I some kind of genius?
10. Why are farts funny?
11. If the “Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you” thing is correct, then why, after numerous relationships, am I still flat broke?
– PS: In case you were wondering, the bank is closed.
12. If you are playing charades and you have a real heart attack, how long will it take for someone to dial 911?
13. The odds of catching a baseball at a Major League Baseball game are 776 to 1. The odds that your child will be a genius are 265 to 1. Odds that you will marry a millionaire are 200 to 1. I have caught many baseballs; this is good news for my kids, but where is my millionaire???
14. Why does it only rain when you have forgotten an umbrella?
15. And snow, when you do not have a shovel?
16. Am I the only person on the planet who wants to smack Miley Cyrus?
17. Why does this photo make me laugh until I cry?
18. Why does alcohol make everything happy? Or is it just me?
19. What exactly are the “Natural Flavors” in my Snapple Peach Iced Tea? If they didn’t just call it “peach,” it has to make you wonder…
20. Why is there a warning on a can of Lysol that says “Don not spray in eyes”?? Duh.
21. Why do packages of peanuts say “Warning: May contain nuts”? Well, if it doesn’t contain nuts, I’d like my money back.
22. How is it possible that I have 600 channels on TV and can’t find anything to watch?
23. Why does my cat think that my feet, while moving, would be a suitable place for a nap? And why is it, after hundreds of times nearly killing myself, that I never see this coming? Is my cat a criminal master-mind?
24. Why do celebrities spend thousands of dollars on a single suit or dress and then talk about starving kids in Africa, while wearing the expensive outfit? Guess how many kids you could feed with 1 dress? Hmmm….
25. If you scream in the forest and there is no one around to hear it, perhaps you should have stopped to ask for directions?
And for the football fans, I have also started a Miami Dolphins page, The Dolphin Pod! All Dol-Fans, and anyone else who wants to say hello is welcome!
Remember also to check out our homepage My Team Rivals and our Phillies, Flyers, Eagles, Billy Penn Curse, Reinstate Pete Rose, Phillies Mets Rivalry, Phillies Marlins Rivalry, and Phillies Braves Rivalry pages!
Where to begin… First let me say what a thrill it was to return to Yankee Stadium again! I still can’t believe they are going to tear it down. There will never be another one like it. Anyway, as for today’s report, no photos yet as I am far too exhausted to lift the camera to upload them yet…will try to sift through the mess sometime tomorrow I hope. However, here is a recap of what I have done the last 2 days…
How about that Home Run Derby last night? Wow! Josh Hamilton put on a show unlike anything I have ever seen before and, I imagine, will ever see again. 28 home runs in one round, with the longest going 518 feet. From inside the stadium, many of them appeared to leave the park, but after further review (a’la cell phone call home to get the TV call), it was determined that they bounced off the white fencing and did not quite clear the stadium. None the less, it was an eye popping event. The chants of “Ham-il-ton!” echoed throughout the stadium and everyone was on their feet cheering. It was disappointing that he did not win; apparently, by the last round, he had just run out of gas. Pretty understandable after what he did in the first round, but still sad that he could not pull out the win.
As for our boy Chase Utley, he did not make it past the first round, but did hit 5 homers and as always, looked good doing it 🙂 Although he of course defended his man Mick Billmeyer afterwards, I can tell ya, a lot of the pitches he threw to Chase were very low and inside and he was getting jammed. Of course, you don’t have to swing at all of them, buy you can’t just stand there all night either. Poor Mick looked a bit nervous. Actually, Evan Longoria ran into a similar issue as his pitcher kept throwing at his head! Honestly, I did not see Chase winning this thing, but I think he could have gone a bit longer with some better pitching, so that was a shame.
Some other fun at the Derby was the batting practice before the actual contest and just watching the players interact on the field with each other. Manny Ramirez brought his kids and his son kept trying to tackle other players…another Manny in the making. Mariano Rivera’s kids shagged balls in the outfield. David Wright followed Chase Utley around like a lost puppy. Well, to be fair, everyone wanted a piece of Utley! He was very popular and kept getting dragged from one person to the next, but smiled the whole time in very un-Utley like fashion and for once, did not seem to mind the attention.
Earlier that day, I went to the DHL Fan Fest at the Javits Center and took in as much as I could, but there was definitely enough to do that I could have stayed for several days. With limited time though, I chose to do whatever had the shortest lines :o) For instance, there were free autographs from Hall of Famers like Tony Gwynn, Goose Gossage and Paul Molitor; but the line for that was FIVE hours long…NO exaggeration. So, I was totally skipping that. Instead, there were some very nice ladies from the All American Girls Professional Baseball League (remember the movie “A League of Their Own?) also signing in another room…no line in there! Got two autographs and a free picture from Dolly Brumfield White and Shirley Burkovich. The line to have yourself put on an official Topps baseball card was VERY long, but to get your photo on the not-so-official Taco Bell baseball card was empty…guess which one I got? Mmmmm…taco’s! Also got a free photo of myself with a Derek Jeter stand-up for signing a pledge to wear my seatbelt. Picked up lots of other freebies along the way….a DVD of the history of Yankee Stadium, buttons, posters, etc…
There were a lot of interactive displays too…computers, video games, batting cages, pitching cages, trivia centers…too many to mention…I’ll post a photo later of the event board. There was an awesome display of the All-Star Clubhouse as well, with uniforms of many of the players on display. I managed to get a photo of Utley’s locker which I will also post later. I also attended one of the many clinics held at Fan Fest. This one was a Pitch, Hit and Run Clinic hosted by Yankee captain, Derek Jeter. Now I love Mr. Jeter as much as the next girl, but I have to say, I have never seen so many grown women go nuts like that in all my life. Wow. You’d think they had just seen Elvis, back from the dead. So aside from the screaming, the clinic was well done and the kids all had a good time. In all, Fan Fest was well worth he price of admission…I only wish I had more time and shorter lines!
The Red Carpet Parade today was a blast, aside from the scorching heat and having to stand for 4 hours straight :o) Seriously, it was worth it to see all those Hall of Famers in one place…a truly historic event. The highlight for me though was when Chase drove by, doing his generic smile and wave but, when he spotted me in the front row, the only Phillies jersey in a sea of Yankees with my #26 hat on, he lit up, pointed to me and yelled out, “Hey! How are you?” Got a great photo of him saying hi to me. Everyone around asked if he knew me…funny stuff. Actually, whenever I see Chase, he gives me that same greeting and the same big-eyed look…I figure at this point he probably does recognize me as he sees me so often with the camera in his face. I am like his own personal stalker…and I mean that in the nicest possible way :o) I yelled out to Brad Lidge too and got the wave from him as well. He looked very happy to be there.
Ok, I think I am all typed out for now…I need sleep! Soooooo tired! Did not get to bed until 2:30am yesterday and got up again to go to the parade at 7am. So, I apologize if my writing is not as sharp as usual…I am still a bit fuzzy and exhausted :o) Well, going to watch the game now…hoping to see Chase have a good game and maybe see Brad get some action!