Tagged: Voodoo

Full Team Effort Produces Series Win

Throughout most of the year, Roy Halladay has not gotten a great deal of run support from his teammates.  Today, he had a rough time against the Mets, allowing 2 runs in the first inning alone to put the Phillies in a quick hole.  Halladay seemed off but he did pitch 7 innings; on 9 hits and a walk, he allowed 5 runs while striking out 10 batters.

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But the offense did not let Halladay down this time.  After a Jimmy Rollins 1-out double in the 3rd, the Mets short stop Jose Reyes committed a fielding error that allowed Placido Polanco to reach base.  From there, a rally was born.  Remember yesterday when mascot J-Roll Smurf put the voodoo hex on Reyes?  Coincidence?  Well, who cares…it worked, whatever it was.

The Reyes error sent the Phillies on a huge tear; Ross Gload singled, which scored Rollins.  And then the super-hot Raul Ibanez extended his hitting streak to a career high 16 games with a 3-run homer.  Later, a Brian Schneider single scored Jayson Werth for the 5th run of the inning.  Werth had also homered the inning before.  Here are a few shots of the home runs and subsequent celebrations:

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The effort was all around for the Phillies.  Not only did the offense score 6 runs for Halladay, they played solid defense as well.  Halladay kept running into trouble, but some good pitches, a double play and a few diving grabs helped him out.  Gload especially gave a great effort at first base filling in for the injured Ryan Howard.  Here are a few more action shots from the game:

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Another huge positive to come out of this 6-5 win was the back-end of the bullpen.  Ryan Madson played “Bridge to Lidge” in his former excellent fashion, shutting the Mets down in the 8th.  And then Brad Lidge, with his usual tense moments, did finally get the save with only a 1-run lead.  Both pitchers have been up and down so it was nice to see the pen work the way it is actually supposed to in a tight game.

There was positive news before the game as well.  Both Chase Utley and Shane Victorino were out running around and playing Frisbee on the field.  This is meant to be a conditioning exercise, and Utley was quite serious about getting the job done.

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Victorino, on the other hand, while still getting the job done, looked more like a kid playing in his back yard than a professional ballplayer.  He even raced someone’s kid at one point.  Nothing wrong with a little fun ;o)  Victorino was running very well and it looks like he may be activated soon.  He will start a rehab assignment on Tuesday and may be back by next weekend.

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Also before the game, the Alumni Batting Challenge took place with 3 teams; Kevin Stocker with Ricky Bottalico, Jim Eisenreich with Mitch Williams and Darren Daulton with Dickie Noles.  Stocker and Bottalico took home the prize.  You can see many photos from the even in the full game Photo Album.

The Phillies have a day off tomorrow before the Dodgers come to town.  Kyle Kendrick will start Tuesday’s game which is scheduled for 7:05pm.


Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography

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Voodoo And A Series Win

Scoring runs against the veteran pitcher Andy Pettitte of the Yankees is no small feat.    The Phillies did a descent job hitting him tonight, although they let several opportunities pass by.  A Ryan Howard single scored Shane Victorino in the 4th inning.  Then in the 5th, Victorino hit a 2-run homer.

Things looked promising in the 7th inning as well while the Phils loaded the bases with only one out.  But scoring runs has been the Achilles heel of this team for an entire month now.  Placido Polanco grounded into a fielder’s choice which erased Carlos Ruiz on his way home.  Then Howard struck out on another low and outside pitch, something he seem to make a habit of.  All the offense could do was pray that this inning would not come back to haunt them.

Kyle Kendrick stepped up to the challenge of pitching against the veteran Pettitte and kept the team in the game.  Through 7 innings, Kendrick allowed one run on 4 hits and 2 walks.  Despite getting himself into a multitude of bad situations, Kendrick kept his composure and did not fold under the pressure.  That, more than his pitching, was the most impressive part of his game.

Utley voodoo.jpgNot as impressive is the still struggling Chase Utley, who went hitless.  Yesterday, Utley resorted to voodoo magic to try to jump-start his swing.  He laid out a pattern on the clubhouse floor using bats, Red Bull and a variety of fruits.  Then today, batting coach Milt Thompson reportedly built a shrine to Jobu, the voodoo doll used in the movie Major League.  Can you say, “desperation”?  Oh my.

I have also been known to practice baseball voodoo from time to time.  However, I am not a major leaguer so if my readers think my noodle has slipped, no one really cares, least of all me.  Normally, I reserve the voodoo J-Roll Smurf magic for the National League East.  But with the Phillies recent struggles against everyone, and in light of Utley’s acceptance of such practices, I made an exception before today’s game.  I think it may have helped:

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The voodoo did seem to work.  The Phillies scored again in the 9th inning after a Ruiz double and a Wilson Valdez single.  Then they loaded the bases and scored two more runs on sac flies by Polanco and Howard.  Then Raul Ibanez smelled the burning Jobu / Smurf incense, woke up and hit an RBI single with two outs.  Ibanez did run into some bad luck after that, getting nicked in the foot with a hit ball.  Apparently, the umpires did not see it, as nothing was called until the Yanks complained.  So they called him out anyway to end the inning.

The defense got a spark earlier as well.  Polanco helped Kendrick get out of a rough inning by diving on top of the rolled up tarp and catching a foul ball that was inches into the stands.  And Jose Contreras snagged a bullet off the bat of Curtis Granderson in the 8th inning to save a hit.  The Phils entered the bottom of the 9th inning with a 7-1 lead. 

Contreras stayed in the game for one more batter; then with one out in the 9th, JC Romero was called in to end the game.  Romero ended it quickly and the Phils won both the game and the series, 2 games to 1.

The Phillies will head home now for a weekend series with the Twins.  They are without lefty Antonio Bastardo who is now on the DL with left elbow ulnar neuritis.  Scott Mathieson was called up to take his spot on the roster.  Mathieson looked like his career might be over after two Tommy John surgeries in 2006 and 2008 but his recovery has been remarkable.  Look forward to seeing him pitch very soon!

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Chase Utley    Ryan Howard    Raul Ibanez    Placido Polanco

Carlos Ruiz    Jayson Werth    Shane Victorino    Jimmy Rollins

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A-Rod photo by Jenn Zambri Photography; Voodoo bats by Getty Images/CSN Philly

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Lidge Hits The DL / Draft Day Is Here

Having blown six saves already this season amidst various complaints of a sore knee, Brad Lidge recently insisted that his knee troubles were in the past.  However, he was placed on the 15-day DL today, which will be retroactive back to June 7th.  Does this explain his 7.27 ERA?  Maybe.  But placing him on the DL may very well be a combination of the knee issue plus his bad performance.  Perhaps the knee, which may well be feeling better, threw off his mechanics and now he needs time to straighten things out.  Lidge was looking better his last few outings, but is still not the Lidge of last season. 

Ryan Madson will take over the closers role in Lidge’s absence and a new face was added to the club to fill the hole.  Paul Bako, 36, has been called up from AA.  Bako is a catcher who hit .357 in 10 games so far this year with the R-Phils.  One can only assume he will be used as an additional bat off the bench, as we do not need two 30-something year old catchers (Coste), plus a starter (Ruiz).  This still seems an odd choice though, as Bako bats lefty.  I would love to look into my crystal ball to see what the Phillies are thinking here.  Then again, if I could read minds, I would be making a lot more money ;O)

Draft Day

The draft is upon us and word has it that the Phillies will take a high school prospect for their first pick (75th overall).  They had a first round pick, but that went to the Mariners in the Raul Ibanez deal.  We are all fine with that though, I assume :O)  The draft kicks off at 6pm.

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Mets Voodoo

Yes, it is back.  The Mets voodoo is ON!  J-Roll Smurf and friends have prepared the hex for this 3-game series which kicks off tonight at 7:10pm.  Power of the mind, people – get out your pins and take a stab to help out J-Roll Smurf!

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Photo by Jenn

Whipping Our Pitchers Into Shape

The horrendous commencement to the season for the Phillies starting pitching staff has left many wondering, what can be done to turn it around?  However, the last two outings from Joe Blanton and then last night from Chan Ho Park have given Phillies fans hope.  How did Charlie Manuel and gang get these guys to turn things around?  The threat of losing their jobs may be a big factor, but I suspect a few more creative measures may be in play.

Did Manuel whip out the Spanish Inquisition?  Nobody ever expects that…

Or maybe he pulled out the Comfy Chair.  NO!  Not the Comfy Chair!

And in an even more diabolical scheme, I also suspect the starting rotation was tortured further with the Slapping Fish:

Whatever the device, I fully support them.  If these guys need a fishy slap in the face to wake them up, then so be it!  Jamie Moyer will take the mound tonight and try to continue the improvement of the rotation.  But after last night’s loss, despite the great performance of Park, I feel a little extra help may be needed.  And so, again I give you the Smurfy Mets voodoo:

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Yes, J-Roll Smurf and friends are back with their voodoo magic!  The Phillies no longer have any excuses.  They must beat the Mets tonight!  Go Phillies!

Photo by Jenn

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Strange Baseball Superstitions

The Definition of Superstition:  is a belief or notion, not based on reason or knowledge. The word is often used pejoratively to refer to supposedly irrational beliefs of others, and its precise meaning is therefore subjective. It is commonly applied to beliefs and practices surrounding luck, prophecy and spiritual beings, particularly the irrational belief that future events can be influenced or foretold by specific, unrelated behaviors or occurrences. (Latin superstitio, literally “standing over”; derived perhaps from standing in awe; used in Latin as a unreasonable or excessive belief in fear or magic, especially foreign or fantastical ideas, and thus came to mean a “cult” in the Roman empire)

So, are the following weird baseball superstitions just plain strange or is it a case of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?  You decide:

Chris Coste smells his bat after hitting a foul ball – he says it is part superstition and partly because he likes the smell of burning wood.

Ron Wright always shaved his arms, believing it helped him hit.  He was called up to the majors in Seattle in 2002 after 8 years in the minors:  In three at bats, he managed SIX outs with 1 strikeout, and then grounding into a triple play, then a double play his final at bat.  He was sent to AAA never to be seen in the Majors again.  I don’t suggest anyone try the arm shaving anytime soon.

Wade Boggs (1982-1999) earned the name “Chicken Man” because he religiously ate a whole chicken before every game.

Turk Wendell (a former Phillie) use to chew exactly 4 pieces of licorice while on the mound and then brush his teeth in between every inning.  He also liked to wave at the centerfielder before pitches – whoever was out there must have really been wondering about Wendell.

Mark (The Bird) Fidrych (Tigers, 1976-1980) used to talk to the ball after each pitch.  I wonder if it ever spoke back?

Kevin Rhomberg (Indians, 1982-1984) had some serious issues.  He was obsessed with having to touch a person back if they touched him.  He did this everywhere; the clubhouse, the dugout and even on the field.  If he was tagged when he was on base, Rhomberg would wait until the end of the inning and then chase down the infielder and touch him before he reached the dugout.  Someone please fetch Dr. Phil…

– Barry Bonds always kissed his gold cross necklace after he hit a home run.  Maybe he should try this strategy in court?

– While with the Yankees, Roger Clemens always visited Monument Park to touch the head of the Babe Ruth statue before he pitched in Yankee Stadium.  He also gave all of his children names that began with the letter K.  Maybe now he should send them all to law school.

Frank Viola (1982-1996), a three-time MLB all-star pitcher and former Cy Young winner, would clean the mound before every inning, kicking up the dirt exactly four times. However, if something went awry, he would try three or five.  Whatever it was, it worked!

Mel Stottlemyre, the Yankees’ longtime pitching ace (1964-1974), did not like stepping on the foul line.  One day, after a coach teased him about it, he went ahead and stepped on the line.  Immediately following, he gave up 5 runs in one inning.  He never stepped on a foul line again.  Greg Dobbs, current Phillie, once admitted to having this superstition.  He may have been joking at the time, but I was not about to ask.  I would have felt awfully bad if I embarrassed him by insinuating any silliness on his part :o)

– Pitcher Jose Cuellar (AL, 1964-1977) had many superstitions.  He would not allow anyone to throw him the ball to start his warm-up pitches or between batters.  He insisted on picking it up off the ground.  Teammates would roll him the ball and if they didn’t and threw instead, he’d move aside and let the ball drop.  Cuellar also had a ritual of eating Chinese food the night before any game he was going to pitch.  And on the day of that game, he showed up to the clubhouse dressed in all blue – suit, shirt, tie, socks and shoes; all blue.  He even drove a blue car.

Bobo Newsom (NL & AL, 1929-1953) would never tie his own shoes on a day he was scheduled to pitch.  He literally stood around until someone did it for him.  Really, I think this is just plain laziness J

Lou “The Mad Russian” Novikoff (NL, 1941-1946) insisted that anytime he batted, his wife Esther, was to taunt him mercilessly from the stands.  Apparently, the shouting of insults from his wife made him angry and he hit better when he was angry.  Marriage counseling anyone?

Kevin Elster (Mets) discovered in 1988 that sleeping with his bat was the key to success.  Once the hitting began, he even took the bat out to lunch with him.  Separation anxiety, perhaps?


 – Houston Astros Craig Biggio does not wash his batting helmet for the entire season.  Yuck!

– Former pitcher Charlie Kerfeld (1985-1990) had a lucky “Jetsons” T-shirt.  After winning 6 or so games while wearing it, he decided to wear it every day until the magic wore out.  I am guessing players tried to avoid him in the clubhouse…peeww!

 Dion James (Braves, 1988); during a 16-game hitting streak, James decided not to wash his underwear for fear that it would break the streak.

Vida Blue (pitcher, Athletics) believed that the same baseball cap he had worn since Opening Day in 1974 had special powers and brought him good luck for 3 straight seasons.  By the time 1977 rolled around, it was so dirty and faded that umpires refused to let him wear it any longer.  Blue burned the hat on the field and then proceeded to lose 19 games, a league high that year.


– Tito Fuentes (Giants, 1965-1974) liked to spray “voodoo juice” on his glove, arms, hands and feet.  He also carried a pouch with an eagle’s claw and turtle shells in his back pocket.

Steve Finley / Darin Erstad; as teammates on the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in 2005, both players have worn a small leather pouch containing a mysterious concoction of minerals around their necks to ward off injury and slumps.  The pouch was given to Finley by Craig Counsel who then passed it to Erstad in his “time of need.”

Jenn, your happy Phillies blogger: 
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Yes, it is true that I believe Smurfs have magical voodoo powers.  And damn if I wasn’t right!  J-Roll Smurf and friends (photo) beat up on the NL East opponents all year and sent the Phillies straight to a World Series victory!  Yes, J-Roll Smurf takes full credit

And no list would be complete without the old standards in Baseball Superstition:

Sports Illustrated is a bad magazine to have your picture on apparently.  In a 2002 study, it was found that 37.2 percent of the time (913 out of 2,456 covers to that date), something bad happened to the cover subjects. That includes nearly 12 percent that suffered injuries or death.  The very first SI cover was of Eddie Matthews of the Milwaukee Braves; shortly after the cover ran, Mathews injured his hand, missed 7 games, and the Braves fell out of first place.  Spooky or coincidence?  Hmmm….

The Curse of the Bambino: Sox owner Harry Frazee sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees and it took the Sox 84 years to overcome the curse.  The Red Sox won the 2004 World Series, ending a lifetime of “bad luck.”

The Curse of the Billy Goat, a curse on the Chicago Cubs: Tavern owner William “Gus” Sianis was angered when his pet goat was not allowed into a World Series game in 1945. Sianis then announced that Wrigley Field would never see another World Series.  Apparently, this curse is still in effect today.

The Curse of William Penn on the city of Philadelphia:  Supposedly, when Philadelphia City Hall was built with a statue of William Penn (founder of Pennsylvania) atop it, there was an agreement that no building in the city would rise above the Penn statue.  But in March 1987, a modern steel-and-glass skyscraper called One Liberty Place opened three blocks away which was 397 feet taller than City Hall, thus enacting the curse.  No Philadelphia professional sports team had won a major Championship after that, until just this past October.  It took 100 sports seasons and 25 years to get a win, but the Phillies did it by winning the World Series on October 29, 2008.  And so, the curse is over.  Philly fans everywhere can rest easy.


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The Voodoo Returns…

In light of the Phillies recent loss to the Tampa Bay Rays and the terrible absence of offense for the Phils, I have decided to take drastic measures.  Yes, I have dusted off old J-Roll Smurf and he is back to doing what he does best:  Voodoo magic on the opponent.  
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But this time, his has a partner in crime.  Chutley Smurf, although smaller in stature than J-Roll Smurf, carries a bat that is proportionately larger to his body size than that of J-Roll Smurf. 
J  He is a pint-sized warrior!  And so together, these Phillies-lovin’ Smurfs will conquer the enemy – The Rays.  This is the World Series: this is no time for the meek.  Crush those squirmy fish!

J-Roll Smurf (Rollins) is batting only .191 so far in the post-season with just 2 RBI.  Not too Smurfy so far…  It is our hope that he will break out of this slump tonight in front of the friendly, Smurf-Lovin’ crowd.  Chutley Smurf (Chase Utley), on the other side of 2nd base, has done slightly better, but certainly not what anyone expected.  He has 7 RBI, is batting .250 and has hit 2 home runs.  Clearly, both players are in need of an injection of Magical Smurf Juice to get them kick-stated in the right direction.  I think the home crowd will be just what the doctor ordered.

The Rays, while they are undersea creatures, are not used to stormy weather and they are sure in for some this weekend.  The pampered players from Tampa Bay will certainly miss the climate and weather controlled deep-sea environment of the Dome they normally play in.  Look for the weather to play a part in the games tonight and maybe Sunday.

In the event of a rain-out tonight, all games will be pushed back one full day.  Therefore Game 3 would be Sunday night, Game 4 on Monday night and Game 5 on Tuesday, which was originally a travel day.  But so far, it is game on!  I will be there tomorrow night if the rain holds up with Chutley Smurf in tow, attached to my backpack.  J-Roll Smurf gets a much needed day off as he has outgrown my backpack. J  If you see me wandering around, please say hello or toss Chutley Smurf a ball!  And stay tuned for more World Series Smurf adventures, coming your way soon!  And for those reading who are wondering if I have gone off my meds, then you may be in need of a humor injection.  Go find yourself a stuffed toy and give it a great big hug!  I promise you will feel much better J  Go Phillies!

Read more at MY OTHER HOME PAGE!  Phillies Phollowers has joined forces with Phightin’ Phils Phorum!  Please check out our new site and bookmark it.

And for the football fans, I have also started a Miami Dolphins page, The Dolphin Pod!  All Dol-Fans, and anyone else who wants to say hello is welcome!

Remember also to check out our homepage My Team Rivals and our Phillies, Flyers, Eagles, Billy Penn Curse, Reinstate Pete Rose,  Phillies Mets Rivalry, Phillies Marlins Rivalry, and Phillies Braves Rivalry pages!

Kendrick Gets Smacked Around In LA

Kyle Kendrick did not fare so well in Hollywoodland last night as he got beat up by the Dodgers in 3 1/3 innings, giving up 7 earned runs on 9 hits.  Manny Ramirez,
P7143277 manny cr.jpgas anticipated, did major damage, picking up 2 RBI’s on a double in the 3rd off of Kendrick.  The rest of the line-up followed suit as Kendrick was unable to stop the bleeding.   And as adorable as I find Manny, I am afraid that J-Roll Smurf is going to have to perform some of his voodoo magic again and STOP Manny from beating up on my Phillies!  This is just unacceptable.  Maybe Manny should spend the entire game in the bathroom, and not just the 9th inning?  I am all for that idea…

Despite the early pounding by the Dodgers, the Phillies offense did battle back and came within 2 runs, losing 8-6 by the end.  They had 2 men on with 2 outs in the 9th for Ryan Howard who meekly grounded out to second to end the game.  It was a valiant attempt at a comeback, but they fell just short.  Howard did manage to reach the 100 mark in RBI’s for the season though.  He is only the second player in Phillies history to reach 100 RBI’s with at least 30 homers in three straight seasons.  Chuck Klein did it also: 1930-1932.

So, good news, bad news I guess.  Bad they lost the game…good the Marlins & Mets also lost, so no ground lost in the standings.  Another positive is that Wes Walrond had a good outing on the mound, going 2 2/3 scoreless innings.  Perhaps a sign that he may wind up being useful in the pen after all?  He does have a wicked scary breaking ball that seems to really fool hitters.  Let’s hope he can be of some use.  Another positive note was that the offense never gave up, even after being down by as many as six runs in this game. 

Cole Hamels will try to bounce back tonight after missing out on his 10th win, yet again on Thursday.  Another late one – 10:10pm EST; get out the toothpicks and prop open your eyes J  Go Phillies!