Tagged: Milt Thompson

Holiday Sale 2009

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:

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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:

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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:cling film.jpg

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)


Wolf Devours Phils; Baseball 101 For Women

Since the game against our old pal Randy Wolf and the Dodgers was awful, let’s begin today with something fun!  Here is a recap of the Baseball 101 event for women held before the game yesterday:

P5133337 Werth.jpgThis now twice annual event included a behind the scenes tour, coaching from the Phillies staff, many guest speakers and an appearance by Jayson Werth.  Werth walked into the room and you would have thought it was Tom Cruise, judging from the reaction.  Women screamed and flash bulbs popped.  Werth talked openly to the group of 140 female fans and was surprisingly comical.  He talked about stealing home in Tuesday nights’ win over the Dodgers (turns out, it was all his idea and the 3rd base coach had no clue what was happening); Werth also gave us an overview of what it is like to travel as a Major League player, how he felt at the World Series parade, his baseball heritage and what it means to play as a team.  He was very impressive.

We also heard from Phillies broadcaster, Chris Wheeler, who walked us though his embarrassment of the strange dance he did behind Harry Kalas as he called the World Series win.  Wheels said he had no idea that he had actually looked that nuts until an hour and half later when he saw the replay.  Mitch Williams was also exceptionally informative, and very, very funny.  Williams should be a stand-up comic.  He had the room almost in tears as he discussed how we have not lived until we’ve seen John Kruk naked, how he (Williams) does not wear pants during his broadcasts and a variety of other topics.  And Larry Andersen, another former player and current broadcaster, was equally entertaining with his tales of Kalas and honest expressions of dislike for umpires.

Below, you will see Williams, Andersen and a very surreal moment as well; Tom Burgoyne, friend of the Phanatic, with the Phanatic!  A true “out of body” experience :O)


At one point, all the women broke into teams and travelled around the stadium, with stops in the bullpen, the batting cages and on the field to run the bases and work on throwing and fielding with the Phillies coaching staff.  Sam Perlozzo and Davey Lopes directed us on the field; Milt Thompson and Pete Mackanin let us swing away in the cages; and Rich Dubee and Mick Billmeyer let us throw pitches off the mound in the pen.  They gave us the inside scoop, just like we were real major leaguers.  My favorite coach comment of the day came when I asked what changes we could expect to see when JC Romero returns to the team.  Billmeyer chimed in immediately with, “We will get better!”  Well said :O)

And a first for Baseball 101 was the behind the scenes tour of the player areas:  the clubhouse, their kitchen and even the training room.  I can tell you several things from this experience.  First, Chad Durbin has a sweet tooth and likes crossword puzzles; some players seem to have a shoe fetish; Ryan Howard uses the same baby powder that I do; and doing laundry for the Phillies is a very interesting job!  Here are a few sights from the clubhouse:

I took tons of photos and was surprised by a few things I saw just “hanging” around.  I heard myself mutter as I peered into lockers, “Is that…(you fill in the blank)???  Oh my, yes it is.”  Use your imagination.  Nothing out of the baseball realm, but still a bit weird to see up close ;O)

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So after the all-day event which began at 8:45am, we sat down to watch the game which started at 7:05pm.  Sleepy, but it was worth it.  We had a good 3 innings and Jamie Moyer looked like he may knock out every Dodger that faced him, but come the 4th inning, the bottom dropped out and it all went downhill from there.  7 runs allowed in only 4 1/3 innings and Moyer still cannot find his 250th win.  However, I think that was the least of his worries last night.  With the struggles in this starting rotation, I would not be surprised to see some changes very soon.  Charlie Manuel has announced that JA Happ will start one of the games of the double-header on Saturday against the Nats; no word on what will happen after that.  Happ may be pitching that day for his chance to win a spot in the rotation.

On again to more pleasant things:  Here is the Photo Album from my day in baseball-land which includes the photos in this post and more.  And don’t forget to tune in to the game this afternoon, which is an early start of 1:05pm to finish the Dodgers series.  Hoping the Phillies can pull out a winning series!

Photos by Jenn

Hamels Drama

It seems the name Cole Hamels and the word ‘drama’ have slowly become best friends.  Controversy follows him wherever he goes.  From sounding off about the Mets being “choak artists” to his African baby adoption aspirations, we never run out of things to talk about.  Yesterday, at Phillies practice in Clearwater, many wondered why Cole was not on the field.  As it turns out, Hamels had left practice early on Saturday and was absent all day Sunday.  Ruben Amaro Jr. told me, “Cole had some personal issues to take care of.   But don’t worry, he’ll be back tomorrow.”  Well, tomorrow is today and we shall see if he is there.  I will give an update on that later.

I also spoke with Charlie Manuel about Chase Utley.  Asking if Utley would be ready for Opening Day, Manuel responded, “Yeah, he’ll be ready.”  So there you go; straight from the horses mouth.  Utley followed the same routine on Sunday as he did on Saturday, still not taking swings during BP, but I understand he has been swinging inside the complex in the cages.  Utley was left out of the frontwards / backwards around the bases drills, but did everything else. P2222138.JPG Good thing too, because Shane Victorino and batting coach, Milt Thompson got into it during the run which ended in Victorino nearly knocking Thompson to the ground by sticking his foot in the path of Thompson’s feet.  Everyone had a nice laugh over it.  Boys will be boys.

I also listened to Charlie respond to a fan who thanked him for being a “good guy.”  Manuel, it seems, does not like the term.  In his thick southern drawl, Manuel said, “Hey, don’t start with me with that ‘good guy’ stuff; I don’t like that stuff.  I’m serious, if they was giving out awards for some ‘good guy’ thing, well, I don’t want no part of that.”  Apparently, he’d prefer to be known as a winner.  Mission accomplished.


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Phillies Players – Strange, Fun & Unique Nicknames

It has always been a tradition in baseball to assign players a nickname.  Whether that be a descriptive one, a play on words, or just plain weird, most guys seem to get one at some point that winds up sticking with them.  I have compiled a list of nicknames for the 2008 Phillies that I could find and then other Phillies from years past.  I tried to avoid any media-given names and just stick to the stuff the players use amongst themselves.  I also put years by some of the older or more obscure player names.  Hope you enjoy it…have a Happy Holiday!!!

2008 Phillies Players

Brad “Light’s Out” Lidge

Carlos Ruiz – Chooch

Charlie Manuel – Chuck

Chase “The Man” Utley or The Model (given to him by J-Roll) or Chutley (ya know, like my Chutley Smurf :O)PA260205 Smurf.jpg

Chris Coste – Chris Clutch

Cole Hamels – Hollywood Hamels

Geoff Jenkins – Jenks or Brett Favre (he is his long-lost twin :o)

Greg Dobbs – Dober (he actually doesn’t like it, but everyone calls him this anyway!)

Jamie Moyer – Grand Pappy or Dyno (for Dinosaur – given to him by J-Roll)

Jayson Werth – J-Dub or Werewolf

Jimmy Rollins – J-Roll or Papa Smurf (I know this one is accurate because Jimmy told me himself that this is what he was called “back in the day.”)

Juan Carlos Romero – JC (did anyone even know his real name was Juan Carlos or did you read this and go, who is this guy??)

Milt Thompson – Uncle Milty

Pat “The Bat” Burrell

Pedro Feliz – Pete Happy (literal translation of his name)

Rudy Seanez – Action Traction (I have NO idea what this is about)

Ryan Howard – The Big Man or Rhino

Ryan Madson – Mad Dog

Shane Victorino – The Flyin’ Hawaiian

Previous Phillies Players:

Antonio Alfonseca – El Pulpo or The Octopus (because he has 6 fingers on each hand….seriously…I have photos)

Bake McBride (1973-83) – Shake n’ Bake

Bobby Abreu – El Comedulce – The Candy Eater

Chuck Klein (1928-44) – The Hoosier Hammerer

Curt Schilling – Schill

Darren Daulton (1983-97) – Dutch

Garry Maddox – The Secretary of Defense

Gary “Sarge” Matthews

Greg Luzinski – The Bull

John Titus – Silent John

Juan Samuel (1983-98) – Sammy

Kevin Saucier – Hot Sauce

Larry Bowa – Gnat (does this mean he is annoying?)

Lenny Dykstra – Nails

Mickey Doolan (1905-18) – Doc

Mickey Morandini – Dandy Little Glove Man (Is it just me, or is this like the gayest nickname ever?)

Mike Lieberthal – Lieby

Mike Schmidt – Iron Mike or Schmidty

Mitch Williams – Wild Thing and Mitchy-Poo (Harry Kalas coined that one)

Otto Knabe (1905-16) – Dutch

Pete Rose – Charlie Hustle

Plácido Polanco – Polly

Steve Bedrosian (1981-95) – Bedrock

Steve Carlton – Lefty

Todd Jones – Roller Coaster

Von Hayes (1981-92) – Five-for-One

Willie Jones – Puddin’ Head


And as always, feel free to add your own here in the comments :o)

Baseball 101 Clinic for Women

Yesterday I attended the Phillies Baseball 101 for women which was an all-day clinic where we were given the opportunity to meet with and be coached by the entire Phillies staff. 125 women took the field in Pat Burrell’s territory to stretch out before beginning the day. Then, we split up into smaller groups to work with the coaches in each of four stations: hitting, base running, fielding and pitching.

Jimy Williams and Milt Thompson awaited us in the Phillies indoor batting cages where each lady received personal instruction and got to take 5 whacks at the ball off the same tee that Chase Utley uses every day. Steve Smith gave lessons on throwing and fielding and was also happy to answer any and all questions we had about any of the players, no matter how personal or ridiculous. Have to say, I could write an entire 5 pages on all I heard from Steve, but I feel almost impolite about spilling the beans on him… From the more specific reasons Shane got moved to right field to how badly he misses Aaron Rowand (as a friend…don’t worry he still loves our outfielders!)…Steve is a fun guy to talk to :o) So skipping the details, on to base running! Looking quite well for a man recovering from prostate cancer, Davey Lopes literally took us around the diamond and talked about the do’s and don’ts of base running and then we had free reign of the base path to go wild, if we so chose. And finally, in the bullpen, the always entertaining Rich Dubee showed everyone how to throw a pitch, explained the ever elusive balk rule and then each lady tossed a few pitches at Ramon Henderson and Mick Billmeyer, who were brave enough to go it without the face masks.

After all the on the field fun, we had tons of guest speakers! – Michael Barkann of Comcast Sportsnet, John Clark of NBC, Tom McCarthy (broadcaster), Susan Ingersoll Papaneri (Director, Baseball Administration), Jen Utley (yes, Chase’s wife!), one of the ball girls, Ruben Amaro Jr., and the BIG speaker of the day, Greg Dobbs who stood RIGHT in front of me! Whooo hooo! I took a lot of video and will be posting as much as I can on my You Tube page in the next few days and a few bits here. First, let’s begin with the NBC 10 special which I promised to post. Now, 5 ladies, myself included were chosen for the special and told we were to be interviewed and filmed hitting on the field. Well, we did hit, we were filmed, but they never did the interviews (except some other lady later on) and they cut all but one of the ladies out of the final special. Not sure what that was all about except that the guy doing the interviews was kind of a knucklehead. You’ll see in the film…he makes fun of Ryan Howard, Jamie Moyer and Mitch Williams all in the span of like 3 minutes. We were all booing him in the background but they managed to cut out that part too. Well, you do see me for like 2 seconds at the beginning standing in the dugout and for like 2 tenths of a second after the one girl bats she hands me the bat. But, that’s about it. Here’s the piece just for posterity:

Here is a slightly more interesting piece. You’ll hear me asking a question to Assistant GM Ruben Amaro Jr. about Chad Durbin. You can see the rest of the Q&A session on my You Tube page. Ruben was surprisingly open and candid and answered a lot of very good questions.

And here is the question I asked Greg Dobbs as I had the video camera practically shoved right up his adorable little nose. Which, of course, Scott Palmer just had to point out. :o) The rest of the Dobbs segment will also be on the You Tube page along with segments from the Jen Utley interview, Harry Kalas meet and greet and other bits from the days events as I slowly get them uploaded over the next day or so. Pictures should be done tomorrow and I will post an update when that is done. So, here is Greg…

And this just in, Cole Hamels pitches a COMPLETE GAME SHUT-OUT!!!!!! WHOOO HOOO!!!!!!!!! You gotta love that!!!!! That’s picking up your team when they SOOOOOOO need it! Go Phillies!!!!!!!!!!!

UPDATE 5/16:  Baseball 101 photos have been uploaded!  Check them out.  And keep checking the You Tube page….more videos have been added there as well.