Looking for a last minute Phillies-themed holiday gift? Well, allow me to assist. I bought myself a gift this past weekend because I just could not walk past this thing without buying it. It was too much fun.
Most of us are familiar with the latest Pillow Pet craze. They are everywhere. But now you can actually buy what appears to be a Pillow Pet on steroids (totally legal for stuffed animals, no urine test required).
Even better, this company is now making a Jumbo, 30″ Phanatic Pillow Pet. I found it at Modell’s sitting high up on a shelf. I asked a rather attractive male employee in his late 20’s to get the pillow off the shelf for me. And as he handed it over, he grinned and said, “Here is your new Mommy!” Yes, a grown man spoke out loud to a stuffed animal in a store full of people. My life is never dull.
In a show of great restraint, I managed to stop myself from telling him that there was room in my car for one more. Because sometimes, life should be just a little bit dull ;o)
So Jumbo Phanatic and I carried on alone, but not without amusing every person I passed by, watching me try not to trip over anything as I hauled this monstrous creature to the car. As you can see from the photo, it is a bit difficult to see around all the fluff.
Have you found any other fun Phillies holiday gifts? Let me know in the comment section below.
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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
After Saturday night’s NL East title celebration, both the Phillies and the fans came out a little sluggish on Sunday against the Cardinals. The crowd was quiet and so were the Phillies bats. After the late night champagne shower, everyone looked a little hung over.
A few bad pitches from Cole Hamels put the Phillies into an early 2-0 hole when Albert Pujols smacked a 2-run homer in the first inning. Hamels seemed to bounce back quickly after that, but the offense did nothing to help him. Then in the sixth inning, Hamels gave up another 2-run homer.
With only eight hits in the game, all of them singles, the Phillies did not have too many opportunities to score. But the few times they did have runners on base, they hit into double plays. Hunter Pence, Raul Ibanez and Ross Gload all hit into double plays, ending any possible offensive threat.
Three of the Phillies’ eight hits came off the bat of Chase Utley, which was one positive in the game. Utley has struggled to find his swing again since getting hit in the head with a pitch. That sort of shot would scramble anyone’s brain. But it appears that Utley has found all his marbles and got his timing back at the plate.
Down 4-0, the Cardinals padded their lead in the eighth with a solo shot off pitcher Joe Blanton. It was Blanton’s second appearance since coming off the DL and one he is sure to want to forget.
On the other hand, Justin DeFratus made his major league debut which was almost spoiled by Lance Berkman. DeFratus’ first pitch was destroyed by Berkman, but the ball landed in Shane Victorino’s glove inches from the center field fence. DeFratus managed to escape the inning without allowing a hit.
Slightly more exciting than the actual game was batting practice, where I spotted all of the newest members of the Phillies:
And even more exciting than that was the community mural painting which I participated in. The new Phillies Mural will be eight stories high, facing the Schuylkill River. It should be done by next summer. In the meantime, the Phillies are allowing fans to help paint with large chunks of the mural drawn out in pencil like a paint-by-number. Here I am painting part of the Phanatic:
Game 4 with the Cardinals starts tonight at 7:05pm. And here is the full Photo Album from the game, including pre-game ceremonies.
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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
This has not been a good couple of days in the injury department for the Phillies. Here is a quick look at the damage:
– Jose Contreras was placed on the disabled list for the second time this season with elbow inflammation. Lefty Juan Perez was called-up from the Triple-A Iron Pigs to take his roster spot. Perez played for the Pirates in 2006 & 2007 for a short time, but has spent most of his seven-year career in the minors.
– The Phillie Phanatic suffered an injury as well. While entertaining atop the first base dugout at an Iron Pigs game, the Phanatic was hit in the neck with a foul ball. For the Phanatic’s best friend Tom Burgoyne, the neck area was actually Tom’s face.
The Phanatic went to the hospital; I am not sure whether they called a doctor, a veterinarian or an environmental biologist, but the Phanatic will not be joining Contreras on the DL. He should be ready for the weekend series at CBP.
– And finally, Roy Oswalt was pulled from today’s game against the Cardinals after two innings where he allowed four runs. After about one out in the second, Oswalt began teetering sideways off the mound after his delivery. It got worse as the inning went on, where he began hopping and stumbling after pitches while grabbing his lower back.
Why no one else saw this is curious. I was screaming at the TV, but sadly, no one heard me ;o) Oswalt was left in to finish the inning and reports are that he has back spasms.
I suppose the spasms are no surprise; Oswalt has a history of back issues and has been on the DL once already this season with the same issue. In his last four starts, Oswalt has allowed 15 runs in only 21.1 innings.
As for the new bullpen piece, Perez pitched the seventh and walked two batters, but did not allow a run. Kyle Kendrick pitched the 3rd-6th innings and gave up two runs, adding to Oswalt’s four.
So with 6 runs, the Cardinals were ready to run away with the game as the Phillies offense was lulled to sleep. It did matter too much though as Danys Baez put the game well out of reach for the Phillies in the 8th inning. He walked in a run, gave up a 3-run homer and ended up with six earned runs handed over to the Cards. You could say he added insult to all the injuries.
The Phillies went down in flames by a score of 12-2. They travel back home tonight to go back to Interleague play. The Athletics are first on the schedule; Vance Worley will pitch at 7:05pm.
An NL East Update
This has been a weird week overall for the NL East. First, the Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez suddenly quit after the Fish went on a real bender, losing 18 of 19 games in the month of June.
Not to be outdone, the Nationals manager Jim Riggleman one-upped Rodriguez. After the Nationals WON 11 of their last 12 games, the opposite of the Marlins month, Riggleman gave the Nats an ultimatum. He told his GM in a meeting they needed to extend his contract then and there or he would not get on the bus for the Nats next game.
Riggleman quit, just like that. And just like that, he will probably never work in baseball again. Who in their right mind would hire a guy who just quits when he does not get his way? It was unprofessional and just plain stupid. I do not care how disrespected he felt that his contract was not extended sooner. If the team felt it should wait until the end of the year, then he should have just waited it out. Abandoning his team like that is just wrong. Nats fans should be livid.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
The Phillies celebrated the Phanatic’s birthday today. Afterwards, they got to celebrate a win as well. In a very close 3-2 victory over the Marlins, the Phillies saw their season record improve to 10-4 in front of the second largest regular season crowd since Citizens Bank Park opened in 2004.
All 45,716 people were treated to a birthday party for the Phanatic before the game began. Local Philly mascots and some mascots from other MLB teams joined the party too. The ZOOperstars also attended and yes, there was a cake made entirely of Tastycakes:
As for the game, Placido Polanco got the Phillies off to fast start with a solo homer off Marlins pitcher Anibal Sanchez in the first inning. A single by Raul Ibanez later knocked Jimmy Rollins in for a 2-0 lead.
And that is how the score would remain for five innings as Cole Hamels looked very sharp. He finally bent in the sixth, allowing two runs, but finished seven full innings without giving up a big inning.
Hamels’ performance was what kept the Phillies in the game as the hits were not coming easily. Polanco would up with three hits and Ben Francisco had two. That accounted for five of the Phillies eight hits total.
There were some odd and sloppy plays throughout the game by both teams. Ibanez made a spectacular running catch in the fourth inning (see photo below). But the next inning, he missed basically the exact same ball. And Shane Victorino stumbled while on first base and got picked off in the fifth:
The third run for the Phillies was courtesy of a Marlins goof in the eighth. Ryan Howard hit a fly ball to left and Logan Morrison somehow missed it as the sun appeared to interfere with his vision. Francisco took advantage and singled and then Ibanez moved Howard to third on a ground out. Carlos Ruiz put the RBI on the board with a sac fly, giving the Phils the 3-2 lead.
In the ninth, Jose Contreras did his best Brad Lidge imitation and scared the crap out of everyone in attendance with a circus-like save. He walked the first batter and a few ground balls moved the runner to third.
As if this were not frightening enough, Contreras then walked Chris Coghlan, who then stole second base. But Omar Infante then grounded out for the third out and Contreras got his third save of the year, although it was not pretty.
The Phillies split the 2 games with the Marlins as Saturday’s game has been rescheduled for 6/15. On Monday night, they begin a 3-game series with the Brewers. Game time is 7:05pm and Joe Blanton will pitch.
The full Photo Album from today’s game, including batting practice and the birthday bash, will be posted tomorrow afternoon. Check back for that.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
Have you ever wondered what goes on at Citizens Bank Park when the baseball season is over? While it is mostly quiet, there are still a few events going on. This weekend, the Phillies hosted their annual Holiday Sale with game-used items, books, DVD’s and Phillies collectables on sale. Much of the sale proceeds go to Phillies Charities.
Game-used merchandise on sale included bats, balls, batting helmets, cleats, locker name plates and jerseys:
Phanta Claus made an appearance, taking photos with Phans and their families. Phillies Ballgirls were also on hand to meet fans and assist with sales. Then late on Saturday, Jimmy Rollins lit the Phillies Christmas tree outside Citizens Bank Park.
While the sale rolled on, I wandered around the ballpark to check out a few other offseason activities. In the winter months, much effort s put into cleaning up the stadium. Seats are actually removed in order to power wash both the seats and the concrete pads they sit on. Notice all of the blank, grey areas where seats used to be:
Keep checking Phillies.com throughout the winter for other fun offseason events, including player appearances and big sales at the Majestic Clubhouse Store.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography except Rollins photo from Philly.com
Welcome to my annual Thanksgiving list! As you are spending time with family and filling your bellies, take a few moments to think about all we can be thankful for. I am very thankful for:
– Family, friends, food and fun!
– I am not a Washington Nationals fan
– A Phillies team that is filled not only with quality players, but quality people as well
– 4 straight years of October baseball
– Philly controversies, like the taser gun, for their sheer entertainment value
– This ESPN commercial; because it might be the funniest thing I have ever seen:
– Mets fans – because they make me giggle
– Sold out crowds every night!
– Umpires – because they make me feel really smart
– Seeing Roy Halladay pitch a playoff game no-hitter
– Other Phillies fans! Even the weird ones ;o)
– The 2008 World Championship! Because it will never get old :O)
This Thanksgiving, what are you thankful for? Leave your thoughts in the comment section.
And there is just one more thing to be thankful for; everything you see in this slideshow below:
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Rising ticket prices have become an annual tradition for the Phillies and 2011 will be no different. With a $2-$5 increase on all ticket prices, season ticket holders are going to be smacked with a $415 increase per seat. If you have 2 seats, that is $830 you probably did not plan on. Partial plans (17 or 14 games) will rise $70-$85 dollars for each seat.
With every game sold out in 2010 and a 123-game sell-out streak dating back to 2009, it is easy to see why the Phillies feel they can keep gouging fans for more money. But they are failing to see the long term effects. They are forcing out low-middle income fans and pulling in more corporations and those at the top of the proverbial food chain.
If the team stops winning in a couple of years as the talent ages or moves on to other teams, the higher-end fans, whom are usually the fair-weather fans, are going to drop off like flies. And there won’t be any low-middle class fans left to pick up the slack in ticket sales because they will not be able to afford the high prices. Of course, that is just my opinion. You may agree or disagree.
There are other ways to make money; all the Phillies need to do is look around and see what other teams are doing in terms of creative enterprise. Take a look at some of the fee-based services and opportunities the San Francisco Giants offer to their fans:
– Lou Seal-ebrity Ride of the Game: Allows Giants fans the opportunity to tag along with Lou (the mascot, like the Phanatic) for an inning.
– Lou Seal Appearance: The mascot will visit your party, take photos, etc… between innings or a your kid’s birthday party, etc…
– Steal Second: Tag along with the Giants grounds crew during the third inning and change out 2nd base!
– Slumber Party: Pitch a tent and sleep ON the field, overnight and then meet a player in the morning.
– Fantasy Batting Practice: Take a swing or shag a ball; for up to 30 people which includes a two-hour batting practice with Giants Alumni, lunch on the Club Level, a Q&A session with the Giants Alumni and tickets to the game that day. (I saw this event when I was in San Francisco last year taking a park tour and was SO jealous!)
And this is just ONE team. One team that has figured out how to please their fans and earn money at the same time. If the Phillies incorporated a few of these ideas into their plans, there would be no need to keep jacking up ticket prices. Fantasy batting practice? Can you imagine? That would be SOLD OUT every time! And fans would be willing to pay top dollar for such an opportunity…I know I would.
How about riding around with the Phanatic for an inning? That would be AWESOME! Have the fan paying for the experience sign a waiver that does not hold the team liable for any accidents and also has the fan pledge not to do anything stupid and…abracadabra! An easy money maker. Magic.
Hey Phillies, how about a little creativity? You will make more money and fans will be happier; it’s a win-win. Not to mention that offering these unique experiences is a great public relations move.
That is my rant for the day…feel free to comment below.
And in case you missed it, here is my 2010 Phillies Photo Tribute with pictures I took throughout the year:
Thanks for stopping by!
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography