Tagged: Mike Schmidt

Farewell to The Big Piece

The Phillies did right by Ryan Howard on Sunday by honoring his 13 years in Philadelphia before the final game of the season.  Everyone entering the stadium received Howard’s head on a stick for full participation in the ceremony.  Mike Schmidt also made an appearance.
2016.10.02 Howard

This all had the potential to be quite awkward considering Howard still has an option left on his contract which it is obvious will not be picked up.  But the Phillies and the fans did a great job honoring the former MVP and All-Star.  Howard spoke to the crowd and got pretty choked up; a lone tear could be seen streaming down his cheek as he realized his time in Philly was done.
2016.10.02 Howard heads

Howard did not have the final game he envisioned, though.  He went hitless in the game, but the Phillies still beat the Mets so I am sure that made his final goodbye a bit easier.  Several guys went hitless as well, but Maikel Franco and Andres Blanco finished strong with 4 and 3 hits, respectively.
2016.10.02 hitting

Plus, Jerad Eickhoff pitched very well, allowing only 1 run over 6 innings.
2016.10.02 Jerad

So the Phillies finish a very up and down season in 4th place with a record of 71-91.  The Phillies offense finished dead last in all of baseball with only 610 runs scored.  As such, and as is seemingly a Phillies tradition, Phillies hitting coach Steve Henderson got the ax right after the game.

There may be more fallout in the days to come.  In the meantime, here is the full Photo Album from the game and pre-game ceremonies.

 

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Photos by Jenn Zambri

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Phillies Bats Provide Thunder Before the Rain

Everyone entered the ballpark on Sunday worried about a wash out.  Huge, violent storms were predicted to start close to game time.  But instead of rainstorms, the Phillies provided thunder with their bats in the final game against the Brewers.

It was another Retro Night at the ballpark, so the Phillies wore 1970’s uniforms.  They also brought Mike Schmidt and Greg “The Bull” Luzinski to toss first pitched in honor of the 70’s.  And of course, no 70’s revival is complete with the streaking Phanatic.
2016.06.05 pregame

Aaron Nola started the game and, despite getting into some rough spots, he pitched very well.  Nola did not allow a run over 6 innings, striking out 9 Brewers.  The defense pitched in, as well, to keep runs off the board.
2016.06.05 Nola

And then the Phillies bats suddenly came to life.  Odubel Herrera had his 4th 4-hit game of his career.  The only Phillies position player without a hit was Freddy Galvis, but he did collect an RBI on a sacrifice.
2016.06.05 offense

In the 5th inning, things really heated up.  Tommy Joseph hit what appeared to be a 3-run homer, which was called back as a double due to fan interference.  Here are the three idiots who nearly ruined a good inning, celebrating as they got tossed out:
2016.06.05 idiots

For the record, real fans do not risk losing runs for their team just to snag a baseball.  Rant over…

Luckily, newcomer Jimmy Paredes took over and hit a no-doubt-about-it 3-run homer.  Not to be left out, Cameron Rupp smashed a solo shot right after that.  The Phillies scored 5 runs in the inning, which is their highest total in an inning this year.
2016.06.05 Homers

The Phillies went on to win the game easily by a score of 8-1.  They were able to split the 4-game series with the Brewers, which is great considering how sluggish this offense has been lately.

Here is the full Photo Album from the game.

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Photos by Jenn Zambri

Jimmy Rollins: Phillies All-Time Hits Leader with 2,235

Congratulations to Jimmy Rollins who broke Mike Schmidt’s record to become the Phillies hits leader with 2,235 hits.  It is a well-deserved honor.  In celebration, here are some of my favorite J-Roll photos / moments from the last decade.  The top photo is a poster I made in 2007 that Jimmy signed for me.  And for those who regularly follow my blog, you know that J-Roll Smurf is the official blog mascot so he appears here as well.  When Jimmy met his mini-me, he told me that “back in the day” people called him “Papa Smurf.”  Just a fun fact for you.

Congrats, Jimmy!  Here’s to many more hits to come…

Jroll hits leader

 

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

I’m Back – Can the Same Be Said for the Phillies?

After a very long vacation from blogging, I’m back. I have just a quick list of excuses for my absence. For starters, I have experienced a complete life “do-over.” After some hair-raising experiences including the deaths of 3 friends/family, I changed jobs, relationships, bought a house and am going back to school to work on my Master’s degree. Change is good. Trust me on this one.

Change for the Phillies thus far this offseason, however, has been minimal. It was less change and more resurrecting history when the Phils signed Marlon Byrd, Bobby Abreu (minor league deal), Larry Bowa (bench coach) and Charlie Manual, rehired as an advisor. Not to mention dumping Chris Wheeler and Gary Matthews in favor of Matt Stairs and Jamie Moyer in the broadcasting booth. And don’t forget Mike Schmidt on air for Sunday games. It’s a reunion!

Did you realize there are now no less than 4 Phillies managers back with the 2014 team? The current manager, obviously, is Ryne Sandberg. Former managers on staff also include Manual, Bowa and Dallas Green (front office). That is incredible. If you want to be with a team for life, sign with the Phillies!

With all of these blasts from the past, the season will at the very least be interesting to watch. But my initial impressions so far in watching Spring Training games are not too encouraging. The offense is still in hiding, as it has been for about 3+ years now. Ok, I know it is only Spring Training, but the Braves have no problem putting up 8-9 runs a game right now so why can’t the Phils? Also, many pitchers, like Cole Hamels, are already or still hurt. But hey, the defense looks pretty good J

Of the few moves the Phillies did make this offseason, I actually like the return of Marlon Byrd. He did well with the Pirates last year, he has been open about his previous suspension and above all, he has something to prove. I love his attitude so far and he appears to have at least brought some smiles back to camp.

Beyond that, not much stands out. Ryan Howard has proclaimed his perfect health. That is nice, but we will have to wait to see if results follow. Howard will be under even more pressure this year now that he and the team are adamant that he is 100%. If he falters early, I shudder to think of the reaction from the press and the fans. They will tear the Big Piece into little pieces. I do not envy his position.

I have begun counting the days until the first real pitch of the season to see what this team really has to offer. Is the winning team back or just a rerun of last year? More thoughts on Spring Training to come…stay tuned.

Home Opener Disaster for Phillies

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

Magic Moments of Phillies Spring Training

The first official Spring Training game for the Phillies will take place on Saturday.  I am excited for baseball!  But there is also a little sadness that I cannot be in Clearwater this year to enjoy the first crack of the bat under the warm Florida sunshine.  If you are lucky enough to be heading south, enjoy it!

Spring Training is a magical moment in time where players are generally happy, relaxed and having a good time.  The fan-friendly atmosphere and nice weather draws big crowds each year.  And while the games are interesting, they really don’t mean much.  The real reason to head to Clearwater is to mingle with other fans, chat with players, get autographs and photos and, most importantly, get a closer look at how major leaguers behave when their guard is down.

You may notice a lot of smiles, laughter and silly hijinks.  To demonstrate, and also to get you in the Spring Training frame of mind, here are some of my favorite photos and moments from years past in Clearwater:

First up, the normally quiet and reserved Chase Utley laughs out loud and on another occasion, poses and smiles for me:

Jimmy Rollins waves hello and later attempts to play golf with his bat and ball:

Phillies alum Mike Schmidt has some fun with Reggie Jackson; Charlie Manuel jokes around with his players:

Remember Fan Fest?  For some reason, the Phillies have cancelled this annual tradition of meeting players and getting autographs.  But it was amazing while it lasted.  Here are Chad Durbin and Kyle Kendrick signing and posing for me:

I attended a few Team USA games while in Clearwater.  The most memorable moment was watching Jimmy Rollins and Derek Jeter of the Yankees field balls side-by-side during warm-ups.  The second photo is Chooch, Carlos Ruiz, making an odd face at batting practice:

Here we have the Big Man, Ryan Howard, yucking it up on the field and later doing his impersonation of an airplane (or maybe he was just playing 1st base?):

And finally, just me and my camera hanging out by the field before batting practice.  You can see how close fans can get to the field:

Are you ready to pack your bags yet?  Wishing I was….sigh.  Maybe next year :O)

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

Howard’s 300th; One Win and a Loss Against the Braves

The Phillies won their 4th straight game Friday night in the opener against the Braves that included a pre-game salute to Chipper Jones.  Jones will retire after 19 years with the Braves after this season.  The Phillies gave Jones a painting of one of many home runs he hit in Citizens Bank Park.

Jones received a number of salutes while the Braves traveled to away games this year.  And to thank the Phillies, Jones went 0-for-4 in the home teams’ 6-2 win over his Braves.  Thanks, Larry.  And Happy Retirement ;o)

However, the tables were turned on Saturday afternoon.  The Braves found their bats and Roy Halladay hit another brick wall.  Clearly, not all is well with Halladay as he claims.  He has had only a few good starts since coming off the DL; the rest have been very un-Doc like.

This afternoon, Halladay did not even make it through 2 innings.  His final line had 7 earned runs in 1.2 innings on 5 hits and 3 walks.  It was ugly.  Charlie Manuel looked on in disbelief before he finally ran out to the mound to lift Doc from the game.

With the Cardinals win today, the Phillies could ill afford any more losses.  But the offense was weak today against the Braves pitching.  The only excitement came when Ryan Howard hit a milestone home run; it was the 300th of his career, putting him in 2nd place behind Mike Schmidt all time for the Phillies.

Howard has now hit a home run in 4 straight games.  Seeing his bat wake up again is a pleasant site.  However, the Phillies are still in a dire situation as far as the playoffs are concerned.  The loss today knocks them back to 4 games out of the Wild Card behind 3 other teams with only 10 games to go.

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Howard head shot by Jenn Zambri Photography