Alumni Weekend for the Phillies is something for fans to look forward to each year. Players of the past come back to be celebrated and adored once again. This year, Brad Lidge retired as a Phillie; Curt Schilling was inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame; and the 1993 NL Championship team was honored on their 20-year anniversary.
The following is a photo diary of Sunday’s events and, unfortunately, a few not-so-fun happenings from the Phillies 1-4 loss to the Braves.
Here is a photo of 1993 manager Jim Fregosi signing my championship pennant and another of the joining the celebration:
Players of old joined current Phillies players at their respective positions prior to the game as the National Anthem was played. Having the 1993 and 2013 players together was a very nice touch. And Darren Daulton got a standing ovation for the 3rd consecutive day. Surviving brain cancer surgery and being able to walk out onto the field with his friends was worth at least that, and much more. It was great to see Dutch still fighting.
But the fun ended there. Unless of course, you count the following events: The top photo shows a camera man focusing in on Kevin Fransden’s rear-end. And I can tell you, he lingered there for quite a while. I want that job.
And the photos below the Frandsen camera-rape episode show that Dan Uggla still has a serious man crush on Chase Utley as he tries to get as close to him as possible during the game. Remember my shocking 2008 All-Star photo of Uggla goosing Utley? In case you do not, I of course included it here for your enjoyment:
And then there was the rest of the game, which was horrible. The only events worth mentioning are the 2 times Braves players were caught in a rundown. One ended peacefully, with Carlos Ruiz applying the tag. The other was not so nice. Total jerk Jason Heyward, rather than take getting picked off like a man, decided to ram Frandsen, sending him flying into the air. I had nothing against Heyward (beside him being a Brave) until that moment. That was completely unnecessary, especially with a 3-run lead and the Braves about to sweep the series:
If a picture paints a thousand words, then these shots speak volumes. Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley look downright infuriated by the team’s current situation. And manager Charlie Manual just looks defeated:
Defeated is a good word; it covers all of angles of this team. They have been defeated literally, figuratively, emotionally and any other way you can think of. The suspension of pitcher Antonio Bastardo today was just adding salt to the wound.
This is about as ugly as one can imagine for the Phillies. The only thing they can hope for now is maybe to find some new, young talent in the coming weeks. And perhaps they are also hoping for a quick end to this painful season.
Here is the full Photo Album from Sunday’s events.
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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
Seriously? As if losing 13 of their last 14 games in spectacularly horrid fashion was not bad enough, another bomb dropped on the Phillies today. Multiple sources are saying that lefty Antonio Bastardo has been suspended 50-games for violating baseball’s performance enhancing drug policy. Come on, man! Can Phillies fans get a break already?
Apparently not. So let me get this straight…I submitted myself to 9-innings of torture filled, late night baseball on Sunday night after ESPN, the geniuses they are, changed the afternoon game to 8:05pm. I then took my near 2-hour drive home while half asleep, arrived home at 1:00am and then had to wake up at 5:30am today to go to work. I am and tired, sick to my stomach and trying to distract myself on my lunch break by reading the news…
And then THIS is what I read! Bastardo, suspended! My day is officially ruined.
This is all so disappointing. It is just one more crushing blow in an already depressing season. I am at a loss for words beyond that.
On a slightly more upbeat note, check back here later tonight for game photos from Sunday and the Alumni Weekend’s tribute to the 1993 NL Championship team.
Well, at least it was not steroids. Still, the news that the Phillies’ beloved catcher Carlos Ruiz has been suspended 25 games for violating the league’s drug policy does sort of feel like the end of the world may be upon us. Is the Phillies 2013 season already going down in flames? Oh Chooch, say it ain’t so! I am so depressed…
The stimulant Ruiz took was Adderall, which is an amphetamine used to treat ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). College students use it to improve focus and stamina. For ADHD, it helps alleviate symptoms and allows patients to behave “normally” (if there is such a thing as normal).
Many major league baseball players are prescribed this type to drug for ADHD and they are granted an exception from MLB. A good example would be our old pal Shane Victorino, who has struggled with ADHD since childhood. He even wrote about it in his book that was released last year, “Shane Victorino: The Flyin’ Hawaiian.”
Another Phillie, Kevin Frandsen, was suspended in 2011 for a different amphetamine, Ritalin, while in the minors. These pills have become more common over the years among athletes looking for a “mental” boost instead of a physical one, like steroids. There is much debate over whether or not amphetamines really offer any serious edge, but Ruiz’s numbers this past year do seem suspicious. He had career highs in many categories including batting average, home runs and slugging percentage.
Know what else is a stimulant? Caffeine. So can players just drink jugs of coffee before games to get a similar effect? And how about energy drinks, like 5-Hour Energy or Monster? While these are not nearly as strong as Adderall, it does raise some interesting questions. Does feeling more “awake” enhance baseball performance? And if so, how much?
There have been a number of studies which can be found in scientific journals, but the results are varied and, therefore, inconclusive. An article at LiveScience.com reviews a journal entry by six scientists from top universities who advocate the use of amphetamines by healthy people. But the review serves to show an opposing view, noting the dangers of drug dependency and side effects. So even scientists cannot seem to agree on the subject.
Whatever the individual opinion on the subject, the end result is the same. There will be no Chooch for the first month of the season. Worse, players are only given a suspension for use of amphetamines after their second failed test. This means Ruiz knew he was to be retested, and still did not stop taking the drug. Chooch, you are killing me, man! What the *%*^@!!??
This is a crippling blow to the Phillies, who are already in a tenuous situation as this team continues to age. The window of opportunity for wins with this core group of players is closing fast. Of course, Erik Kratz will be there to fill in, but with so many questions going into the 2013 season, this is a huge setback. Will Chase Utley be healthy? How about Roy Halladay? Can the team sign a solid outfielder? And the list goes on…
I need a stiff drink right about now. Spring training has not even begun, and I already feel the weight of impending doom upon us. Hey, isn’t the end of the world nearly upon us? December 21, 2012 is less than a month away and, according to the Mayan calendar, we are all as good as gone. Is Chooch the first sign of the apocalypse or do the Phillies just have a black cloud over them in 2012? And could the Angels signing of Ryan Madson, who the Phillies should have gone after this offseason, be apocalypse sign #2? I officially hate the Mayans for prompting this silly discussion.
Let us all hope that 2013 has better luck in store for all of us.
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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
There were many positives for the Phillies in last night’s 7-2 win over the Rockies. Cole Hamels returned to form and pitched extremely well. John Mayberry Jr. continued his hot streak with 2 extra base hits, including a homer. And Carlos Ruiz had 3 RBI and 2 hits, also including a homer. Even better, the Phillies finally got through a game without committing an error.
But all those positives were overshadowed by some overwhelming negatives. First, the lost of injuries for the Phillies keeps getting scarier. Laynce Nix had a setback in his recovery, possibly reinjuring the same leg. David Herndon underwent Tommy John surgery and is out for the year.
However, the biggest bomb dropped when it was announced before the game that rookie infielder Freddy Galvis would be suspended 50-games for violating the MLB drug policy. He apparently tested positive for a trace amount of clostebol, an anabolic steroid.
Between this year and last, the Phillies have gone from first to worst. They have seen their All-Star players and important role players decimated by injuries. This is simply not what this team needed to hear right now.
To say this is disappointing is an extreme understatement. Galvis was the one bright light in an otherwise dreary season for this team and now, that has been taken away as well. I suppose the good news is that he can serve the suspension now, while he is in a back brace on the DL. He probably would have missed at least 50 games anyway.
I do not pretend to know whether Galvis is innocent or guilty. Although, you would think if he was juicing he would have hit a lot better than .226 with 15 doubles, 1 triple, 3 home runs and 24 RBIs. We will probably never know for sure.
There are several reports in reputable medical journals that say this steroid can show up in urine in trace amounts after ingesting contaminated meat or after having “relations” with a woman who was using a particular cream for a “female condition” that contains clostebol. In other countries, cattle are injected with this drug to “beef” them up, literally.
Even chicken are sometimes injected with steroids. Studies in that area produced similar results, showing trace levels of the drug in those who consumed the meat.
So I suppose you have to be a vegetarian, Catholic priest with some mad baseball skills in order to avoid a false-positive test result?
And this is why I say we will never know for sure. There are too many variables as we have seen in previous cases where athletes tested positive after taking a tainted substance. Former Phillie J.C. Romero is a good example. He won a law suit against the company who made supplements that were laced with a banned substance which was not on the label. But even though MLB now acknowledges this issue, Romero still had to serve the suspension and will forever be judged unfairly in public opinion.
This by no means exonerates Galvis, but it does, once again, call into question the legitimacy of MLB’s drug policy. A more recent example is Ryan Braun of the Brewers, who got off on a technicality involving the “transport” of his sample.
Now that MLB has made announcement about Galvis, we know that either there was no appeal or he already lost the appeal. It is MLB policy to wait until that process is done before making the official announcement.
Regardless of what did or did not actually occur here, Galvis’ reputation is now mud. And that is a real shame for a kid with so much potential. And it is especially a shame for a fan base that has been desperately searching for a small glimmer of hope for this stumbling, last place team.
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Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
The news out of Phillies spring training thus far has been basically what we all expected…kind of boring. Everyone returning from injury says all the right things; “I feel great,” “I am ready to play!” and things of that nature. The coach and the GM also say all the right things, “Such & such…looks good…ready to play, etc…”
Then we hear all kinds of conflicting reports about recovery times. Like Ryan Howard will return to the line-up in April… or May, June or after the All-Star break. Chase Utley will hit 20 home runs…or 10 or maybe none. But hey, reporters gotta eat too, right?
I get that part of the charm of spring training is wading through all of the great “unknowns” and speculating on the “what might be’s.” But wouldn’t it be refreshing to hear someone respond with, “I have no clue. I am not a psychic nor do I own a crystal ball. Next question.”
Here, I’ll go first: When will Howard return from injury? – I have no clue. I am not a psychic nor do I own a crystal ball. Next question.
That was very cathartic. I already feel like a weight has been lifted. ;o)
So just for fun, here is a nice list of questions I thought of to ask major league ball players that would be highly entertaining, but have zero chance of ever being asked or ever receiving an honest answer on:
– If given a choice between a machine calling balls and strikes or a live umpire, which would you prefer and why?
– Do you think that Ryan Braun’s overturned suspension, due to what appears to be a technicality, casts doubt upon the efficacy and accuracy of MLB’s PED testing program?
– (Not that this will ever be a reality but…) Would you agree to a pay for performance structure throughout baseball instead of the current guaranteed contracts? Why or why not?
– Who got voted to or picked for the most recent All-Star game that did not deserve to go?
– Which teammate, current or former, do/did you dislike the most and why?
– In a fight between Bud Selig and Satan, who wins and why?
Spring training would be way more fun if only we could get a few real answers ;O) But since that is never going to happen, those reading can feel free to answer any of these questions in the comments below. The best answers may be featured in a future blog!
So, what is YOUR opinion? Go for it…
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Even though the Phillies lost, again, to the Marlins yesterday, a loss by the Cardinals gave them home field advantage for at least the first round of the playoffs. They will face the Rockies starting on Wednesday in Philly. The Dodgers get the Cardinals.
Despite the loss, a few good things came out of the game yesterday.
· Jayson Werth now stands at 99 RBI for the season with 1 game left.
· Antonio Bastardo, who was with the team earlier in the season but got hurt, is now back and pitched a scoreless 7th inning. Bastardo is a lefty, so this may be good news for the pen.
· Brett Myers pitched a scoreless 6th inning and felt no pain since the hip surgery and shoulder injury.
· Ryan Howard blasted home run #45 for the season.
· Miguel Cairo went 1 for 3 and is making a good case as a bench player on the post-season roster.
· Brad Lidge looked like he may have his mojo back – he pitched a 1-2-3 9th inning and looked sharp for the first time in a LONG time. Maybe it was the change in music? Lidge dumped Drowning Pool’s “Soldiers” in favor of Linkin Park’s “No More Sorrow” as his intro song. I’d say that is fitting.
JA Happ will pitch today in the final game of the regular season and try for lucky win #13 to make his case for Rookie of the Year. Game time is 1:35pm.
Congress & Steroids Revisited
Yesterday, I posted some information on a CBS article that covered a possible Congressional inquest to see whether the regulations on dietary supplements should be revised by Congress. Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter was made aware of the issue because of JC Romero’s suspension when he took a supplement that was illegally tainted. Some felt that Congress should not worry about such issues and here is my response:
Senator Specter was made aware of the issue because of baseball, which is always in the limelight, but that is NOT the big picture. This is beyond baseball. It is about innocent people everywhere going to stores like GNC, which is in almost every major shopping mall in the country, and buying their vitamins and supplements and getting more than they bargained for. I am one of those people.
I take a variety of vitamins and supplements which my doctor advised for various medical conditions. These pills are not properly regulated by the FDA, which means you cannot know for sure what you are taking. We all try to buy from reputable sources, but the bottom line is, companies can and will taint their products with illegal and dangerous substances either to save a buck or get you hooked so you will buy more. I hope the only thing in my Vitamin C pill is Vitamin C, but do I know that for sure? No.
These companies are putting people’s lives at risk. Personally, I do not want steroids or anything else that could hurt or kill me in my supplements, do you? So while the steroid issue in baseball may have been the catalyst for looking into the matter, it is not the main issue. Congress does have plenty of issues to tend to, but regulating these drug companies is important as well. Remember that the next time you take some Ginkgo Biloba, Glucosamine and Chondroitin or any other supplement which is unregulated.
The Phillies went down in flames last night against the Marlins, who are officially out of the post-season race. While the Phils have already clinched, home field advantage is still up for grabs but the team has been playing like they are not worried about home field. They looked tired and lifeless in a 2-7 loss last night. The team does play well on the road, with a 48-33 record this year. However, nothing beats the 10th man advantage at home.
Ryan Howard gave the Phils their only jolt of energy in the 1st inning when he blasted a 2-run homer. But pitcher Joe Blanton had a bad game, allowing 4 runs in the first 2 innings, which seemed to put the team right back to sleep. Overall, Blanton allowed 5 runs in 6 innings and took the loss. Several relief pitchers got some work and looked pretty good; Chad Durbin, Clay Condrey and Scott Eyre did not allow any runs in their outings and all 3 are recently recovered from injuries, so that is good news.
On the other hand, the rookie lefty Sergio Escalona, did not do well. He allowed 2 runs on 3 hits in 1 inning and now has a 5.25 ERA for the year. Escalona was the only lefty possibility out of the pen besides Eyre now that JC Romero is hurt. JA Happ may wind up in the bullpen as a result, because at this point, the Phillies cannot afford to put Escalona on the post-season roster.
If the Phillies can win their final 2 games, home field may still be possible. They own the tiebreaker over the Cardinals, but not the Dodgers. The Dodgers would need to lose their final 2 games. So at 4:10pm today, the Phillies will try to beat the Marlins and then tomorrow at 1:35pm. I will be at the last game and return with photos!
Congress & Steroids
Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter is looking into a possible Congressional inquest to see whether the regulations on dietary supplements should be revised by Congress. The inquiry is a result of over-the-counter supplements being tainted with steroids and illegal substances and Specter became interested in the subject due to JC Romero’s 50-game suspension this year.
Romero took an over-the-counter supplement after getting approval from the Major League Baseball Players Association but the supplement was illegally tainted. Romero sued the supplement manufacturer, but MLB refused to over-turn his ridiculous suspension. The CBS article on the topic goes into greater detail, but essentially these companies need to be held accountable. They are putting people’s lives at risk and it needs to stop. Best of luck to Senator Specter!
Photo by Jenn