Tagged: Ruben Amaro Jr.

Amaro is OUT – Finally!

Apparently, the Pope’s impending visit to Philadelphia has already brought blessings upon us.  In preparing the proverbial landscape for the Holy Man’s visit, the Phillies finally released GM Ruben Amaro Jr.  It is a papal miracle!  I was tempted to go back to being a practicing Catholic after hearing the news, but the whole “thou shall not do anything fun” is still kind of in the way of that transition 😉

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While I am thrilled that the Phillies may be making an attempt to move into the correct century with their baseball operations logic, I feel a little bit sorry for Amaro who spent practically his entire life with the team.  He grew up in the area, his Dad played for and coached for the Phillies; Ruben also played for the Phillies and was even the bat boy as a youngster.  That is a lot of time spent in one place.

But my sympathy has to end there.  He made so many bad, disastrous moves over the years that it is hard not to rejoice at this news.  Remember the Cliff Lee trade in 2009?  What a mega-disaster that was!  The Phillies probably would have gone the distance in 2010 if they had both Lee and Roy Halladay in the rotation.  Instead, Amaro squandered that opportunity and got 3 horrible “prospects” who contributed nothing…except a cocaine arrest (Tyson Gillies) and multiple tantrums when they did not get their way (Phillippe Aumont).

The HUGE, ridiculous contracts given to Ryan Howard and Jonathan Papelbon were just a few other terrible moves Amaro made.  Not to mention letting Ryan Vogelsong go in 2010 (he is now a multiple World Series champ) and trading Hunter Pence for next to nothing (he is now also part of the Vogelsong / Giants dynasty).  And don’t even get me started on the $12 million he threw away on Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez who has been so bad in the minors that the Phillies finally took him off the 40-man roster.  This year, he spent most of his time on the DL and in the lousy 5.2 innings he did pitch in Triple-A, he ended up with a 14.29 ERA.

Sure, he had some good moves over the years.  But ultimately, Amaro ran this team straight into the ground.  They now sit in last place in all of baseball with little sign of improvement in the near future.  Assistant general manager Scott Proefrock will fill in for Amaro until the new GM is chosen.  Let us all hope the Phillies are smart enough to find a modern GM, instead of another blast from the past.

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Photos by Jenn Zambri

Circling the Drain

Remember was back a few weeks ago when the Phillies won 7 games in a row?  Ah, memories!  And it does seem like a very distant memory now that the Phillies have just lost 7 games in a row.  They were swept by the Rockies today, losing the 3rd game of the series by a score of 1-4.

So just how bad is this team?  Let us count the ways…

Before the game started, Cole Hamels tried to convince Kyle Kendrick to come back; Kyle thought this was very funny.  Odubel Hererra could not decide on a thumbs up or down for his team, which is sad.  And the Phanatic had to bring a Panda friend to the game to stop all the children from crying as the game got worse and worse.

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But seriously, the Phillies were already down 0-2 only 5 pitches into the game.  This was not a good sign.  Jerome Williams has been struggling for a while now and today, he gave up 4 runs in only 5 innings.

2015.05.31 Williams

The Phillies managed only 7 hits in the game, with Cody Asche scoring the lone run.  And this is just how bad it got: In the 7th inning, the Phillies managed to load the bases with no outs and then Cameron Rupp, Darin Ruf and Ben Revere all proceeded to strike out to end the threat.  There were not many people left in the stadium at that point, but those who were there boo’ed loudly.

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Actually, the attendance was bad even before that.  It seems like people are still coming to games for two reasons only – to get free giveaways for their kids or to get really, really, really drunk.  I unfortunately had a close encounter with some of those very drunk people today.  Two girls and a guy behind me were yelling, cussing, bumping into me and generally being such a nuisance, I was actually ready to call security.  Then one of the girls proceeded to throw up – everywhere.  Luckily, I heard it coming and moved, but the ground beneath me was puddling up with vomited beer, forcing me to find another seat.  And that, folks, just about sums up your 2015 Phillies.  A stomach churning, vomit-inducing mess that no one wants to clean up.  Yup…nailed it.

And yet, much like seeing an accident on the highway, I can’t stop watching.  I keep waiting for the next disaster.  Like sending Asche to the minors for two weeks just to piss him off.  And then letting Grady Sizemore go when they could have just done that in the first place and let Asche learn left field in the majors.  Then Ruben Amaro Jr. bites the hand that feeds him by saying Phillies fans don’t understand the game.  By the way, a few days later, I got a call from the Phillies thanking me for being a season ticket holder and offering to upgrade one of my next games for free.  Thanks, Ruben!  I’d also like free food at my games so maybe Ruben can go on TV again and call fans stupid a few more times…thank you in advance.

So you see where this is all going right?  Straight down the proverbial toilet.  But before you flush, at least try to enjoy the view 😉

Here is the full Photo Album from today’s game.

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Photos by Jenn Zambri

The Phillies Night Before Christmas 2014

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Twas the night before Christmas, when all over the field,

Not a player was stirring, as the 2014 season had been sealed.

The bats were stacked in the clubhouse with care,

In hopes that a winning season soon would be there.

The Phillies were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of trophies danced in their heads.

And Ruben without a contract tucked under his cap,

Had just settled down for a long off-season nap.

When outside of his house, there arose such a clatter,

Ruben sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window he stumbled, half asleep,

Having woke from a nightmare of a 2014 repeat.

The man in the moon stared down in discontent,

As he wondered why nothing good came of all the money Ruben had spent.

When what to his weary eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh filled with many kegs of beer.

With many little pint glasses, so shiny and thick,

He knew in a moment, this would do the trick.

More rapid than the trade deadline, forward the new recruits all came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

“Now, Trout! Now, Stanton! Now, Kershaw and Hernandez!

Hey, Dodgers! Hey, Red Sox! Please trade us some talent!

To the top of my wish list! To the top of them all!

Now sign away! Sign away! And play some Phillies baseball!”

And then, in a twinkling, Ruben heard, “You are one crazy man!”

From the shouting of drunken All-Star players who have better plans.

As he drew in his head, and was turning around,

Down the chimney, Pat Gillick came with a bound.

He was dressed all in pinstripes, from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.

With a bundle of money he had flung on his back,

He looked like an interim president, ready to go on the attack.

Gillick spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

Cleaning up Ruben’s mess, who has been such a jerk.

And with thunderous joy, the fans clapped their hands,

Only one more year of Ruben means soon there might be a better plan!

Gillick then sprang to the sleigh, and to his team gave a call,

“Hang in there everyone, soon we will have better baseball!”

But they heard him exclaim, as he drove out of sight,

“Happy Holiday’s to all and to all a good night!”

 

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Photo from http://www.csnphilly.com/

Final Game of 2014 – Mirror Image of Entire Season

The Phillies season ended today in the same fashion they played throughout the year.  There was no offense to be found and lackluster effort.  The Phillies were 1 run away from a win with the 2-1 loss to the Braves; pitcher Cole Hamels was 1 win away from double-digit wins for the season; and Ben Revere ended the season 1 base short of 50 stolen bases on the year.  Jimmy Rollins spoke before the game, telling fans, “Before we’re done this year, we’d like to say thank you for showing up.  We know it was rough, but hopefully we made you guys smile.”  Etch that on a tombstone and you have the Phillies 2014 eulogy.
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As is tradition for the last home game of the year, today was dubbed “Fan Appreciation Day.”  Players signed autographs and jested with fans cheerfully and prizes were given away.
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But I’ll tell you when I will feel truly appreciated; when the tickets prices go down to a level worthy of watching a last place team.  Don’t worry; I won’t hold my breath.

After all the happy exchanges, the game began and it was more of the same.  Poor Cole Hamels did not get even 10 wins this year thanks to an absent offense.  Adding insult to injury, Hamels had a team-leading 2 hits in the game but no one could drive him in.  He even got whacked on the face with a batted ball and suffered a minor bloody lip.  That about summed up his season.

The offense was so bad, players were literally throwing their bats away.  Chase Utley, Maikel Franco and Braves pitcher James Russell all tossed their bats mid-swing at different points in the game.  I guess they weren’t really using them anyway.
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And so ends a dreary Phillies season with little hope for quick recovery.  Oh sure, they fired Assistant GM Marti Wolever.  But all that really means in Ruben Amaro Jr. keeps his job.  And I guess more heads are going to roll, which is appropriate.  But how much difference will it make and when?  I hope to take a guess at answering some of those questions in the weeks to come.  In the meantime, here is my final 2014 Photo Album.  Here hoping for a happy off-season!

 

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

A New Staff Ace for the Phillies?

Is Jerome Williams for real?  After 3 starts with his third team of the year, Williams has 2 wins for the Phillies and a 1.77 ERA.  He has out-pitched everyone on the Phils starting staff, including Cole Hamels.  And on top of that, he even laid down a perfect safety squeeze in the 2nd inning, collecting only the 2nd RBI of his major league career.  Williams has officially resurrected his previously dead career.  And the Phillies went on to beat the Cardinals by a score of 7-4, taking 2 outs of 3 games in the series.
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Another bright spot in this otherwise miserable season has been Ben Revere.  All the Revere haters have now been silenced.  Despite his weak arm, Revere worked hard and has improved his defense and is also now batting .314.  He is in a 1st place tie for the best average in the National League with Justin Morneau.  Although he can be frustrating at times, I had faith in Revere because he is a positive guy who always hustles and gives his best effort.  The same cannot be said all of the Phillies outfielders.  Keep it up, Ben!  I am rooting for you!
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Speaking of the outfield, can anyone tell me WHY Domonic Brown is still starting?  Have we not yet seen enough?  Whether he feels he is or not, Brown appears lazy and distracted in left field.  His batting average is down to .226.  It is time to give someone else a shot…it has been time for a while now.   You have to wonder who is really calling the shots with the line-up; Ryne Sandberg or Ruben Amaro Jr.?  If it is Sandberg, I have to seriously question his judgment.  If it is Amaro, then Sandberg needs to stand up and explain to his GM that this is HIS team to run.  Because this is getting very old.

Aside from that annoyance, the Phillies offense finally put some runs on the board, which was a nice change for a Sunday afternoon.  Everyone except Ryan Howard had a hit and Jimmy Rollins smacked a 2-run homer.
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The Phillies start a 3-game series with the Nationals Monday night.  Maybe they can spoil the Nats 1st place fun?  In the meantime, here is the Photo Album from today’s win.

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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

It’s Official – This Team Sucks

I hate to state the obvious, but this Phillies team just plain sucks.  This fact has been made plainly evident after the Phils lost 4 of 5 games to the Mets in spectacularly bad fashion.  The secret is out.  When I was at the game on Sunday, the only reason I did not hear crickets in the stands was because of all the Mets fans there.

I cannot think of a single strength on this team.  The pitching is impossible to predict, the defense is awful, base running seems like a mystery to these guys and the offense is practically non-existent.  Even the attitudes suck.  Just in the last week, we have witnessed veteran players making mental mistakes, lazy play, especially in the outfield, and a lot of “that’s baseball” comments after games.  This team seems to have accepted that they suck and that is exactly how they are playing; like a defeated group with no hope of recovery.

I do not think the Phillies stand a chance this year.  Still, they need to make some moves to, at the very least, appease what fans they have left.  First, send Domonic Brown to the minors and bring back Darin Ruf to play left field.  Brown has been lazing about in left and needs a reality check.  Ruf deserves a shot.  It doesn’t matter that his defense is not great because, really, where is this team going anyway?  Nowhere.  So give this guy some playing time.

Please send Phillippe Aumont back to the minors.  Or better yet, give him away to another team for free.  He does nothing but walk guys and give up home runs; last night’s grand slam was the final straw for me.

There are many other moves I would like to see, but some are just not possible.  I still hear chants of “trade Ryan Howard.”  To those people I say, good luck with that.  No team would want him with his salary.  I’d like to see the Phillies play a centerfielder better than Ben Revere, but who exactly would that be?

There are a few guys in the minors that may help at some point (Ken Giles, Maikel Franko), but why bring them up before they are ready?  The team will still suck either way.  And you then risk exposing them to what appears to be a negative clubhouse environment where older players are setting very bad examples for younger ones.  Do you really want Franco to learn how to play with a total lack of urgency and swing at every pitch regardless of circumstance or location?  How about teaching him to get thrown out on the base paths?   If this is what you want him to learn, bring him up!

The last thing I’d like to see…fire Ruben Amaro Jr., his staff and all the scouts and START OVER.  This team needs a serious reboot with a NEW approach to the draft and scouting.  The same old, outdated approach has run this team into the ground.  They need to start pouring sabermetrics on top of their traditional scouting cereal for breakfast and get with the times.  I am not discounting traditional scouting nor touting sabermetrics as the savior, but a nice combination could maybe get things going in the right direction.  And frankly, what do the Phillies have to lose?

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Charlie Manual Out; Ryne Sandberg In

This just plain sucks.  The firing of Charlie Manual was announced this afternoon at a 2:30pm press conference.  Apparently, Manual was told he was out before Wednesday’s night game in Atlanta.  He managed his last game in a Phillies uniform knowing his fate was already sealed.

GM Ruben Amaro Jr. actually cried as he made the announcement.  But I do not think anyone in that room or anyone watching at home felt sorry for him.  Because much of the demise of this team can be directly linked to many bad moves Amaro has made over the years.  While no one was placing blame, some moves speak for themselves.

Manual was offered a job, presumably in the front office, but he had not made any decision on that.  Getting canned with only 41 games left in the season seems harsh, so maybe that will weigh into his decision.

Hearing Charlie talk about how he loves coming to the ballpark every day and how he does not know what he will do now when he wakes up in the morning was tough.  It was very difficult to listen to and my heart aches for him.

What’s done is done and Ryne Sandberg is the new manager.

But Charlie will always be #1 in my heart!  He brought this team out of the darkness and into the light; 1 World Series Championship; 2 NL Pennants; and 5 Division Championships…it is hard to picture this team without him :O(

We love ya, Charlie!

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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography