Friday, October 30, 2009

Another Pitching Duel

Twice this postseason Pedro Martinez has pitched very good, and twice this postseason, the Phillies have lost, squandering excellent starts by the old goat. You gotta feel bad for the guy, what with having the best offense in the National League behind him failing to put up any runs.



Of course, the reason the Phils were silent at the plate was A.J. Burnett. The guy was just filthy last night, the best I've ever seen him. A pitcher who has been notoriously wild in his career had pinpoint control last night, and his sharp curveball was giving the Phillies fits last night. Hats off to A.J. last night. He put forth an incredible outing. Now go fuck yourself, A.J.

Prior to last night's gem, Burnett had struggled in the playoffs, posting an ERA somewhere around 5. And with 37-year-old Pedro starting in cooler weather, most people expected a game full of runs. Game 1 was supposed to be the pitchers duel, which of course it was, while game 2 was supposed showcase the two potent lineups, with fireworks galore. Funny how things work out, isn't it?

It was evident from the first inning that both pitchers had brought their A stuff. Burnett set down the Phils 1-2-3 and was pounding the strike zone. There was nothing wild about his performance. Pedro simply starting things off by striking out Derek Jeter, then Johnny Damon and finally getting Mark Teixeira to pop out. I had a good feeling the old goat was going to dig down deep and come up with a big performance. And in the second inning, when Raul Ibanez dropped in a two-out ground rule double by poking another nasty Burnett pitch into left and Matt Stairs followed with a single to drive him home, I thought the Phils had gotten to Burnett, that the big righty was ready to unravel, lose his command and let the Phils break things wide open. He did not.

Instead, Burnett didn't let a bloop hit off the end of the bat by Raul or the single by Stairs that went right under Alex Rodriguez's glove slow him down. Not one bit. Nope. Burnett went out there and showed why the Yankees paid so much money for him, showed that nasty stuff that is as good as anyone's. He was on last night. The Yankees needed a big performance from Burnett, and they got it.



The fact that a guy who reminds me of Kid Rock pitched so damn well against the Phillies angers me, but such is life. A.J. showed up big time. A big key for his success came in the 3rd inning. Already trailing 1-0, Burnett walked Jimmy Rollins with one out. Then Shane Victorino grounded out for out number 2, but Burnett followed that up by walking Chase Utley. Perhaps the wildness was finally getting to him. Up stepped Howard with two on and two out. This is the spot the big man has been relishing this postseason, the spot where he has come through time and time again. But not this time. Burnett, with his filth, got Howard on strikes, a familiar occurrence last night. Howard finished with the golden sombrero, and it couldn't have come at a worse time.

Still, things were going reasonably well. No one really thought one run would hold up against the Yankees, but Pedro was dealing. Through three innings, he had shut down the Yanks, striking out 4 and commanding the strike zone. Pedro looked like the Pedro of old again. But he wasn't getting any help from his offense. Burnett was keeping the Phils at bay, and he was killing them by getting strike one to just about every hitter. Finally in the 4th, however, the Phils got their leadoff man on via a Jayson Werth single. That rally was killed quickly when Werth inexplicably wandered too far off first base and got picked off by Jose Molina on a snap throw to first. It was pathetic and inexcusable. At least once every few series, Werth does something stupid like that. The World Series is no time for such brain cramps. And for fuck's sake, Jayson, why didn't you slide? It probably doesn't matter anyway, because Molina had you dead to rights, but damn. That was awful.

To make matters worse, the Yanks tied it in the bottom of the inning on a home run by Teixeira. Looking for a changeup, Teixeira launched one that was down and outside into the center field bullpen. Honestly, it wasn't even a bad pitch by Pedro. It was on the outer half of the plate and down. Teixeira just got the better of him on that one. That's not good. Tex has been struggling at the plate in his normal October fashion. Hopefully that's not the swing that wakes him up. We could use more slumping out of him. And did I mention that I hate Teixeira's douchey face? No? Well mark this down, I hate Mark Teixeira's douchey face.



The thing about this Phillies team is that whenever the other team pushes, the Phils seem to push back. And in the 5th, it looked like they were about to do that. Carlos Ruiz got things going with a one-out double, bringing the top of the lineup to the plate. This was Jimmy's chance to get the Phils back on top and put the pressure back on the Yankees. Instead, Jimmy struck out swinging on a low, inside curveball, the same pitch he had been swinging at and missing all night. It was a good at-bat until that point, working Burnett to a full count, but Jimmy couldn't lay off a pitch that everyone in my house knew was coming. And that's bad baseball. All night long, Burnett had been putting Phillies away with two strikes by throwing that nasty curve. Against Jimmy specifically, he kept throwing it down and in, almost on his toes, and Jimmy kept chasing. Instead of adjusting like a good hitter is supposed to do, Jimmy flailed at it again, this time in a huge spot. That at-bat is the killer at-bat playing over and over in my head. Shane failed to pick Jimmy up, popping out, and unfortunately, it looks as though Shane's big loop is back in his swing. That's never a good thing.

From there, it was Pedro and Burnett matching each other pitch for pitch. The question was, who would make the first mistake? Unfortunately for Phils, it was Pedro. Martinez was cruising along, striking out Teixeira and A-Rod to lead off the 6th, and then getting ahead of Hideki Matsui 0-2. Could he strike out the side this deep into the game? Yes, please. Well, no, he couldn't. Pedro threw an offspeed pitch down at the toes, and Matsui dropped the head, sending it deep into the right field bleachers. 2-1 Yanks. It's hard to kill Pedro, who pitched an excellent game, but there's no question he missed his spot there. My roommates and Tim McCarver were saying how he golfed it out off the ground, hard to blame Pedro. Bullshit. Matsui, and a lot of lefthanded hitters, love the ball down and in so they can drop the head right on it. The pitch was supposed to be away. That's where Ruiz was set up. But Pedro yanked it and it went inside. Then it went out of the park. It was a mistake pitch, and it was costly. Still, one run wasn't going to cut it anyway.

When Ibanez and Stairs both went down looking to begin the 7th, I was getting pissed. Burnett had been going to the curveball all night with two strikes. How the fuck could both of them get frozen on it? Seriously, had they not paid attention to what A.J. was doing all game? What the fuck? Get your head out of your asses, guys. If I know what pitch is coming, you definitely should. It's kind of your job. I'm not saying you would have done anything with it, not the way Burnett was tossing and how nasty that thing was, but damn, don't just stand there and watch it. Pathetic.

As far as Charlie's decision to send Pedro out there for the 7th, I was in 100 percent agreement. I really was. Pedro was dealing. He got hurt on two pitches, the same way CC had in game 1, but was otherwise motoring along. Of course, Pedro gave up two hits and then came out, and that extra run came across, making the game almost out of reach against Mariano Rivera, but Charlie had to send Pedro back out there. He just had to.



The real move that will be second-guessed to the end of time is his decision not to start the runners on a 3-2 count with one out in the 8th. Let's face the facts, you aren't going to get many opportunities to get to Mariano Rivera. Just not happening. The guy is the greatest closer to ever roam the earth and as close to unbeatable as they come. But last night, the Phils had their chance in the 8th inning, when Rivera came in with a 3-1 lead for the two-inning save.

After Chooch grounded out, Rollins worked an awesome at-bat, getting Rivera, the man who never walks anyone, to walk him. Then Shane followed with a single through the hole on the right side. The tying run was on first with one out. When you get the chance to get to Rivera, you have to take it, because you never know when your next chance will come. Chase worked himself to a 3-2 count, and Tim McCarver said the Phils had to start the runners. Everyone seemed to agree. Charlie did not, and Chase, who never grounds into double plays, grounded into an inning-ending double play. Replays showed Utley actually had beaten it out and should have been safe, but the Phils also got a call go their way earlier, on the double play Howard caught but didn't actually catch. Doesn't excuse the umpiring, but it certainly brings to light that the Phils should have been running on the play.

With the fastest guys on the team, Rollins and Victorino, on the base paths, you just had to start them. Had to. In his postgame press conference, Charlie said he didn't start them because a) Chase doesn't ground into double plays, b) he didn't want Jimmy to get thrown out at third because Posada had a clear shot to third with the lefthanded Utley at the plate, c) he didn't want Chase to line into a double play and d) he wanted Howard to hit. Here's the problem with those things. For starters, Chase doesn't swing and miss often, so getting Jimmy at third would be tough, especially since Posada throws like a girl. As far as Howard hitting, I get that, but I'd take Jayson Werth with the bases loaded as well. And the line drive thing, well, you have to take some risks, and Buck Showalter said it best: the Phils were already up 1 game to none, so why not be aggressive and go all out? I agree with all those sentiments. Though to be fair, Chase was safe at first, which means he really didn't ground into a double play. And Charlie let the reporters know it, telling them that Chase was safe.

Either way, if he had started the runners, there would have been no chance at a double play. The umpires wouldn't have even come into play. Such is life, I guess. From there, Rivera shut the door and the series is all tied up at one apiece. A successful split, coming back to Citizens Bank needing just three wins, but another wasted good outing by Pedro leaves a bitter taste. A 2-0 lead would be looking mighty nice.

Really, the highlight of the night for the Phils, besides Pedro, was this catch by Raul in the 2nd. Other than that, the bats were silent and the Yanks simply refused to go down 0-2. A.J. earned this one. And I hate him for it.

The good news is the Phils have stolen home field advantage, and coming back to Philly tomorrow just three wins away from another parade sounds good to me. I think they got three more in them.

LET'S GO PHILS!!!!!!!!!!!

BallHype: hype it up!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The CC Show

Cliff and Chase that is. For all the talk about CC Sabathia and his oversized jersey, it was the Phillies’ killer Cs that were the story. Chase Utley continued to show the Phils simply own CC Sabathia in the playoffs.



Unlike last year, CC didn’t come unraveled. Quite the contrary. After a skirting around some trouble in the first inning, the big man settled down and got things going. His command wasn’t sharp, but he wasn’t getting hit. Except for those two mistakes he made, the two to Utley. And that was all the Phillies would need, because Clifford Phifer Lee is the greatest man who ever lived.

In his first career World Series start, it was simply more of the same for Lee this postseason. Against the vaunted Yankees lineup, Lee threw a complete game 6-hitter, striking out 10 Yankees while walking exactly 0, giving up just one unearned run in the 9th inning. Take away Derek Jeter’s three hits, and Lee’s line looks that much better. The guy is just damn good, and he made everything look easy out there.



From the onset, things looked good for the Phils. After Jimmy and Shane both got out in the first, Chase worked a 6-pitch walk, and Ryan Howard followed with a double down the right field line. When he hit it, I was yelling for Chase to score, but in the small confines of the new Yankee Stadium, not even Chase could score from first. When Jay Werth worked a 6-pitch walk to load the bases, I was certain the Phils were about to get to CC nice and early, just as they had in last season’s NLDS against Milwaukee. And they should have, at least, they should have gotten on the board. CC was wild, clearly struggling with his command, meaning Raul Ibanez had no reason to help Sabathia out. But he did. After taking the first pitch for a ball, Ibanez started his bat and fouled one off on a check swing. It would have been ball 2. He should have never even taken the bat off his shoulder. He should have been taking until he saw a strike. Instead of up 2-0, the count was 1-1, and that’s a huge difference.

Still, Raul worked the count into his favor at 3-1, however, on that 3-1 pitch, he grounded out weakly. It was a terrible at-bat for Raul, especially since he could have walked to force in a run. And on a 3-1 pitch, you should be locked in to your pitch, driving it somewhere, not weakly grounding out. The Phils missed a golden opportunity to jump out to the lead.

No matter. Clifton was on the mound, and he came to kick ass and take names. He proved that immediately, striking out Derek Jeter on three pitches to start the game. Then he got Johnny Damon to ground out on three pitches and Teixeira to go down swinging on five pitches. Three batters, 11 pitches, two strikeouts, three outs. 1-2-3. The Yanks were in for a long night.

From then on, it was all Cliff Lee. Utley capitalized on CC’s mistake in the third, on a ball that looked like a lazy fly ball off the bat. Chase clearly got under and didn’t get it all, but in the mockery that is Yankee Stadium, the ball went out. Works for me. Of course, in the 6th, Chase crushed one to put the Phils ahead 2-0. Chase Utley, you are the man.

Meanwhile, Cliff Lee was dominating, making the Yankees look foolish. He finished with 10 strikeouts, and completely owned the potent, dangerous heart of the New York order. Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada, the Yankees’ three, four and five hitters, went a combined 1-for-12 with seven strikeouts. Teixeira and Posada each went down on strikes twice, and the red-hot A-Rod went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. 0-for-4. For A-Rod. Supposedly the most dangerous hitter of the postseason. Ryan Howard, who went 2-for-5 with two doubles and an RBI, has something to say about that.



Even though the game was just a 2-0 game, I felt 100 percent confident. Even against this Yankees lineup. That’s how locked in and unhittable Cliff Lee has been, how incredibly awesome he was in this game. The Yankees were baffled hitting against him, and the way he was commanding his pitches, I don’t think the Yanks could have hit a beach ball off him. It was a thing of beauty.

Of course, more runs wouldn’t hurt, and the Phils, as they’re wont to do, smelled blood and pounced. Not even the Yankees could avoid the smell of fear the Phils feast off of against their opponents, not even up in New York in the World Series. These guys are just too good. Sensing a chance to put the game away, Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino worked back-to-back walks off the most fraudulent fraud who ever frauded, Phil Hughes, to lead off the 8th. I was certain Chase would get a hit, given he was 2-for-2 at the time with a walk and two solo home runs. He did not. Instead, Utley went down looking on strikes to Marte.

No problem. Ryan was up, and the big boy was ready to put the game out of reach. On the second pitch he saw, Howard ripped one to right field. Off the bat, I was sure it was a hit. Howard hit it hard and put a great swing on it. But it was right at Nick Swisher in right, out number 2. Suddenly it looked like Lee was going to have to remain untouchable, which was fine by me, but more runs would have been nice. And more runs the Phils got. With a righty in, Jayson Werth walked on four pitches, and up came Raul for the second time on the night with the bases loaded and two outs. In the first, he failed to come through, and in the game to that point, he looked awful at the plate. He was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and that first-inning weak ground out up until that point. But this time, Raul came through, poking a seeing-eye single through the hold on the right side, plating Rollins and Victorino to give the Phils a 4-0 lead. Game safe.

With a 4-run lead now with just 6 outs to go, Cliff Lee looked more relaxed than ever, nonchalantly stabbing a come-backer by Robinson Cano behind his back and throwing out the Yankee second baseman. Then he struck out Nick Swisher, who sucks by the way, and got Melky to fly out, 1-2-3. When the Phils tacked on two more in the 9th thanks to a double by Carlos Ruiz, who was driven in by Shane Victorino, and a double by Howard to plate Jimmy Rollins, the 9th inning was nothing more than a formality.

The Yanks did manage back-to-back singles to lead off the 9th by Jeter and Damon, and a throwing error allowed Jeter to score, but Lee was unfazed. He simply plowed through the heart of the order again, getting Teixeira (who is another fraudulent fraud who sucks balls in the postseason) to ground out, then striking out A-Rod and then Posada to end the game. 6-1, Phils win. 1-0, Phils lead. The Yanks and their fans suddenly aren’t so confident. Yeah, the World Fucking Champions are here, and they’re three wins away from another title.

Three more wins.

LET’S GO PHILS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I Got a Fever

And the only prescription is the World Series. Seriously though, after feeling a bit better yesterday, I'm down for the count again today. The fever has returned, so there may not be much in the way of posts here today. But rest assured, I will be all over the game tonight and crank something out tomorrow.

In the meantime, head over to Ed The Sports Fan and check out my guest post on the World Series. Big thanks to Ed and Kenny.

Four more wins.

LET'S GO PHILS!!!!!!

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The Day We've All Been Waiting For

Sixers opening day! Just kidding, obviously. Tonight the World Series finally begins as the defending champion Philadelphia Phillies take on the New York Yankees in the new Yankee stadium. And yes, the Sixers do begin tonight as well, taking on the Orlando Magic in Florida to kick off the 2009-10 season, the first under new coach Eddie Jordan.



But who cares about that? Tonight's not about the NBA. Not by a long shot. Tonight is about CC vs. Cliff Lee. Ryan Howard vs. Alex Rodriguez. Mariano Rivera vs. Brad Lidge. It's Phillies vs. Yankees, first team to four wins gets to hoist the crown. Frankly, I can't wait.

Honestly, this is such an even matchup that any real predictions would be foolhardy. Both teams blew through the first two rounds, and both teams can win any way possible. It should be a great series. I have no idea how many games this thing will go, but something tells me the Phillies have four more wins in them. Four more wins.

LET'S GO PHILS!!!!!!!

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sick as a Dog

I'm pretty sure I have the flu and feel like death, so I'm going to do an incredibly lazy overview of the Eagles-Redskins game last night. I'm so sick, in fact, that I fell asleep before it was even over. I never do that. I hope it's not the swine flu.

Anyway, DeSean Jackson is all sorts of good, but he did come up gimpy. That sucks, but it doesn't suck as much as Brian Westbrook getting knocked the fuck out. His concussion certainly isn't a good thing, but hopefully LeSean McCoy can step and carry the load in Westbrook's absence (and start securing the ball a lot better). Oh, and Will Witherspoon is way, way better than Omar Gaither or any other Eagles linebacker for that matter. Excellent first game for that guy.

And in summation, the Redskins are terrible, and even though the Eagles won easily, they didn't look so good themselves. At least the Phillies are good.



LET'S GO PHILS!!!!!!!!

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Monday, October 26, 2009

The Weekend, in Video Form

I'm pretty busy at work, so if I get some time later, maybe I'll get a little more in-depth. Maybe not. But for the time being, here's some video of the weekend.

Penn State manhandled Michigan for the second straight season, and it felt all sorts of good:



The Flyers beat the Panthers behind two goals by Danny Briere, and Mike Richards knocked David Booth the fuck out:



The Flyers then got trounced by the Sharks last night, as Manny Malhotra was too much for Philadelphia to handle:



And the Yankees won the AL pennant last night, earning the right to face the World Fucking Champions:




LET'S GO PHILS!!!!!!!

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Friday, October 23, 2009

A 95-Yard Goal? Yes, Please

Check out this goal by Southern Methodist University freshman defender Ryan Rosenbaum:



Not only was it an awesome goal from 95 yards out (horribly played by the goalkeeper, by the way), but it also turned out to be the game-winner in a 3-2 win for Southern Methodist over Tulsa AND it was his first career collegiate shot. Wow.

BallHype: hype it up!

SEPTA Makes Me Angry Links

Oh, how I loathe you SEPTA. So very much. Last week you force me to cram on a train so filled with people that no one could move. Sure, I could have waited for another train, that surely would have been just as crowded, but I had already waited 15 minutes and couldn't afford to wait another 15 and still hope to get to work at a reasonable time.



Then, today, you decide to pull out your worst. At first, you were doing so well. When I got on the el at the Girard stop, the trains were running on time and not remotely close to overcrowded. It seemed like I was destined for a smooth ride to work. Oh how you fooled me again, SEPTA. Because between 8th and 11th street, you stopped, mid-tunnel, for no good reason. Then finally, the train inched toward 11th, finally getting there … and sitting. A solid 5 minutes, with the conductor announcing anyone looking to get to 30th street should get off at 11th or 13th and get on the trolleys. Then another 2 minutes wait before getting to 13th, where the el stopped again. Waiting a minute, the conductor then said anyone looking to get to City Hall should get off here, at 13th street. Fuck. I transfer at City Hall to pick up the Broad Street Line, a free interchange. It's not free coming from 13th. So I had to walk, haggle with the guy in the booth to let me on without costing me another token because, fuck that noise, tokens cost money. It's not my fault SEPTA sucks and dicked me over from getting to City Hall.

Thankfully he agreed, but it took some convincing. Good thing about a dozen or so other angry Philadelphians were directly behind me to corroborate my story. My reward for this entirely too long and inconvenient journey? A full day of work. I hate SEPTA.

Links …

-We Run L.A.



-Who was dumber last night: Mike Scioscia or Joe Girardi?

-What each NFL quarterback leads the league in.

-No matter what you feel about these guys, this video is awesome:



-I hate the Lakers, but this is funny:



-Lil Penny would be proud:



-Some love for Marreese Speights, via TrueHoop:

1. Marreese Speights, Philadelphia - 13.5 Diamond (15.9 mpg, .537 Win%)
Of our 10 top prospects, Speights' Diamond Rating is just eighth. That's partially because he did see regular action off the bench for the 76ers last season, playing more than 15 minutes per game between both frontcourt positions. However, what lifts Speights atop this list is his combination of productivity, youth (he was 21 as a rookie) and physical talent. These are reflected in the impressive comparisons SCHOENE offers for Speights--LaMarcus Aldridge, Al Jefferson and Shawn Marion top the list. Speights' campaign is off to a solid start. So far during the preseason, he's averaging 24.5 points and 14.8 rebounds per 40 minutes.


Then again, Louis Amundson is on this list, so take that for what it's worth.

-Hilarious:



-Cool list of college football players related to past college football players, via The Wiz. Stunning to me: Paul Posluszny's brother plays at Notre Dame. Needless to say, he's nowhere near as good as Poz.

-Penn State plays Michigan in the Big House this weekend. The Matador says Penn State will win. I hope he's right.



The Big House hasn't treated Penn State too well, but there's no doubt in my mind the Nittany Lions are the better team. Evan Royster, Stephfon Green, Derek Moye, Andrew Quarless, Graham Zug and Chaz Powell provide formidable weapons for Daryll Clark and the offensive line has been steadily improving every game since the loss to Iowa. Defensively, Michigan hasn't face anyone as deep or talented as Penn State. I expect Jared Odrick and Ollie Ogbu to clog up the middle, and for Bowman, Lee and company to keep the running game in check. That will put all the pressure on Tate Forcier, a freshman prone to mistakes going against a terrifying front 7. I think Penn State should win. And win rather easily. Yet I am terrified of this game. Because it's Michigan. And it's in the Big House. And things just don't normally go our way out there. Let's change that this season.

-Apparently, Mike Richards and the Philadelphia media do not get along.

-The race of the Calder Trophy is going to be "bizonkers", and yes, James van Rimesdyk gets a mention.

-I cannot get enough Mottrams in my life, even if they are dirty Redskins fans and hate Philadelphia. This is why.

-Daulerio kinda, sorta emerges from his silence, but not really. I don't know, but even if, as he stated, "shit went kaplooey" yesterday and he is out today, he should have found a way to show up on Deadspin the past two days, especially after all the ruckus that was going on. Just my opinion. But hey, good to see you're still alive.

-This made me laugh:



God damn, I hate Russell Martin.

-I pretty much love any any commercial with Jeff Van Gundy:



-The NBA season is coming. Here's an interesting, thought-provoking look at the maturation of an NBA fan and his anticipation of growing older with another NBA season and the changed perspective of his appreciation of the game. Or something like that.

-Joe Posnanski's article on Joe Paterno is awesome.

-Chan Ho Park is happy to finally be going to the World Series:



-Five reasons the Dodgers lost to the Phils again in the NLCS:

5. The better team won again: No matter what Kemp's pride tells him, there's no shame in losing to this Phillies team. They're nowhere near a flash-in-the-pan and Dodgers GM Ned Colletti would be well served to see how Pat Gillick and Ruben Amaro turned a great homegrown core into a team with a shot at winning back-to-back titles.
But if there's anything for Dodgers fans to be bitter about, it's over the fact that the Phillies dominated the between-NLCS improvement battle. Give me Lee, Raul Ibanez(notes) and Pedro Martinez(notes) over Hudson, Padilla, Randy Wolf(notes) and Jim Thome(notes) any day.


You're true, 'Duk. You're true.

-Nova players got dunks:



-I enjoyed this article by Bob Ford, especially this part:

Just as they did in 2008, the Dodgers took the five-game dismissal with a cool aplomb, which partly explains why they keep getting dismissed. Back home, where the fans are already more interested in how Kobe will blend with Andrew Bynum, there's no retribution from the town that put the LA in la-di-dah.
What would fans in Philadelphia call a good team that kept getting close but never reached the final goal? Oh, that's right. The Eagles.


Oh, snap!

-Man, talk about a rough week for Dionte Christmas. First, he gets waived by the Sixers (should have kept him and gotten rid of Willie Green). Then, he gets arrested:

Christmas was stopped by Highway Patrol Officers Dave Marcellino and Ivan Rosado on Nedro Avenue near Broad Street about 7:30 p.m. for driving erratically in a car with heavily tinted windows, said Highway Patrol Capt. Michael Cochrane.
Christmas was driving without a license, and the officers found a Hi-Point 9mm semiautomatic handgun under the driver's seat, Cochrane said. The weapon was loaded with seven rounds.
Christmas was taken to the 35th District's headquarters, at Broad Street and Champlost Avenue in Ogontz, where he was expected to be charged with a felony weapons offense, police spokesman Lt. Frank Vanore said.
Police later learned that the car Christmas had been driving belonged to Sixer forward/center Marreese Speights, Cochrane said. The 9mm apparently also was registered to Speights, he said.


North Philly is rough, don't get me wrong, but does Marreese Speights really need to be carrying those guns? He can't possibly live up there, can he? And why was he letting Dionte drive his car, especially without a license? Talk about a shitty week.

That really sucks for Dionte. I'm a big fan, and I always like to see good things happen for the Temple guys. Unfortunately, that's not the case right now for Dionte. Best of luck, and I really hope everything works out for the guy.

As far as the weekend goes, well, there's not a whole lot. The World Series doesn't start until Wednesday, and let's be honest, that's the only thing that really matters at this point. Thankfully, we are spared from watching the Eagles until Monday night, so we can all relax a little on Sunday. There are two Flyers games, both home. On Saturday night, they take on Florida and follow up with San Jose Sunday.

But the most important matchup of the weekend is Penn State at Michigan. Arkansas Fred is making the trip out to Ann Arbor to take in the game. Hopefully he will report back to me on it, if not actually post something. But I doubt it. He's a busy man now that he's no longer free.

The Nittany Lions are the superior team talent-wise. It all comes down to execution. It'd be nice to finally get back-to-back wins against the Wolverines, something Penn State hasn't done in forever. Hopefully they'll make it happen.

And as always, LET'S GO PHILS!!!!!!!

BallHype: hype it up!

Claude Giroux: Good at Hockey

Due to my Thursday night kickball league team having its first game last night, I didn't get to watch anything beyond the first period of the Flyers game. But on our way home, we listened to the overtime and shootout in the car, and the Flyers actually won the shootout. How? Because Claude Giroux is awesome.



BallHype: hype it up!

It's Friday, Time to Dance

No words, just dancing.



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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Back to the World Series Links

What we are witnessing right now is, without question, the greatest run in franchise history. The Phillies have never gotten to back-to-back World Series. Correction, the Phillies had never gotten to back-to-back World Series, past tense. Because now they have.



We are watching the greatest shortstop, greatest second baseman and greatest first baseman the Phillies have ever fielded. And without question, it's the best collection of talent, 1-8, starters to bullpen, this city has ever seen. It's the golden age of Phillies baseball. This is history. Time to really put a stamp out it with four more wins.

World Series links …

-You want stats? WSBGM's got stats.

-As per usual, go to The Fightins, who I'm sure will be updating all day with outstanding work and videos for me to steal. Like this:



And Brett Myers getting denied, which I saw and thought was hilarious:



First Charlie, then his own wife. Must be rough. Don't hit her, Brett.

-Of course, go to The700Level too for all their awesome stuff, like this:



Joe Torre is a classy, classy guy. Russell Martin and Andre Ethier are scumbags who deserve nothing but the worst. Oh, and how does Russell Martin have a gold glove? Chooch would have blocked at least half those wild pitches he let get away. What I'm trying to say is, Russull Martin sucks. And I hate him. Enjoy the offseason, you slimy bastard. Shane will be playing the World Fucking Series.

And this:



-Yep, even jerk Red Sox fans are on our side:

On a positive note, I can say with a straight face and in all sincerity that I am really happy for Ryan Howard who proved that quitting steroids doesn’t mean you have to become  a shell of your former self like Manny did.  Just look at Alex Rodriguez.  I would also like to congratulate Cliff Lee for once again looking like a Cy Young winner simply by moving down to the minor league level of professional baseball.

I guess that's a compliment. Still bitter from the Red Sox sucking balls in the playoffs, but yeah, the minor league level of professional baseball has produced the World Fucking Champions. Keep hating, we'll keep winning.

-If you haven't been reading Jayson Stark, you better start. The guy is a god damn poet:

And then, on a gorgeous Wednesday night in the third week of October, the 2009 Phillies arrived at a place where no Phillies team before them had ever been.
Just 12 months after winning one World Series, they are heading for another World Series. No Phillies team before them had ever done that. Not a one.



Before last October, this team had won only four postseason series in the history of the franchise. And now it's won five series in a row.
It wasn't so long ago that this franchise had played in two World Series in its first 100 seasons of existence. And now it's about to play in its second World Series in 12 months.



"It's been pretty cool to see the staying power of these guys," said injured pitcher Jamie Moyer. "It would have been really easy, after winning the World Series, to come in this spring and set the cruise control and say, 'Hey, we've already won. So we'll go play and whatever happens, happens.' But this team never did that. You always go through ups and downs in any year. But with this team, the attitude was always, 'We're going to win. And whatever happens, we're going to find a way to win.'"
For years, for decades, the Phillies teams that came before them never thought that way. For years, for decades, the fans that had to watch those teams had zero faith they would ever again see a group of players who ever felt that way.
But now, whether they win another World Series or not, these men have changed everything -- everything -- about baseball in the town they play in.
"We've gone from being doubters to being contenders, on both sides of the ball -- fans and team," said Werth, nontendered by the Dodgers less than three years ago, and now the No. 5 hitter on the best team in the National League. "It's been awesome to be a part of."
But the journey of the 2009 Phillies isn't over. And these men are well aware of that, too. Just because the mission may have been successful doesn't mean it's been accomplished.
"It's hard to say where that mission ends," Werth said. "Maybe when my career is over, I might be able to answer that. Or maybe, when I'm not a Phillie any more, I might be able to answer that. But not right now.
"Right now," said Jayson Werth, "we've still got four more games to win."


-Yes, ladies and gentlemen, We're looking at the best Philadelphia team of all time.

They are going to the World Series. Again. They earned the right with a five-game domination of a very talented Los Angeles Dodgers team. Again. They have won by first-inning pounce and by last-inning gut check, by laugher and by squeaker, by flashy long ball and by gritty small ball.
10-4. Over and out.


-Bill Lyon sets the scene last night.

-Ryan Howard is a beast:

We all know what kind of player he has been in September during his career. But this October, especially, has been the official taking of the next step. Last night's game was the first of the postseason in which Howard did not have an RBI
(although he did walk twice and score a run), but that isn't it. For the record, his 2009 postseason numbers so far, through nine games: .355, with two homers and
14 RBI.


-The Phillies are hitting. A lot. And they're beating the opposition doing it:

Before this series began, Dodgers manager Joe Torre said his team was better equipped to play the Phillies because of a deep bench, better bullpen and starters he thought he could depend on.
"We gave them a fight," Torre said. "They just wouldn't back down. Certainly, they're a better team now. I think just the experience they went through, the confidence that came from that, and the presence they had through all their ups and downs this season."


-David Murphy has an outstanding game story:

"When I woke up this morning, I felt like we were going to win,'' Werth said as he stood on the playing field late last night, an empty bottle of champagne in his right hand and a National League Champions hat on his head. "I didn't say that I was going to have a big game or do anything special, I was just saying that we were going to win. That was my mind-set all day. Driving to the park, when I got here, on my way in, walking down the ramp into the clubhouse, the vibe was good, and everybody was on the same page.''
One year and 6 days ago, the story was the newness of it all, the aforementioned split second of realization - Holy hell, we're going to the World Series - carrying well into the next morning.
Last night? Last night was something different. Last night was a prize fighter who already had withstood the best his opponent had to offer, already had endured the 35-degree chill of Denver and the 90-degree heat of Los Angeles and the three-run rally by the Rockies in Game 4 of the NLDS and the flame-throwing closer protecting a two-out lead in Game 4 of the NLCS.


-You don't have to be from Philadelphia to appreciate this team:

Finally, here's a big hand for ol' Charlie Manuel, Ruben Amaro Jr. and Pat Gillick, the trio who put the whole thing together, not just for championship-starved Philly fans, but for every baseball fan who enjoys watching a team that's as easy to root for and like.
The World Series, of course, is up next and the four required victories will be the hardest of the whole title defense. But for a few moments, let's appreciate what a big deal it is for the Phillies to even reach that opportunity. These types of chances don't come along every day and Philadelphia has some sort of special team to get the job done. 


-Another non-Phillies fan giving them their propers.

-Some observations and thoughts from last night. My favorite? This one:

I wonder if Albert Pujols is going to complain about Ryan Howard being named NLCS MVP.

-Yet another non-Phillies fan, Ed the Sports Fan, stating the obvious: The Phillies Are Off The Chain.

-Clearly, TBL has not watched the Phillies once all year. I really don't know why I check out that site anymore.

-Ruben Amaro done good.



Raul, Cliff, Pedro. Well done, sir. Well done.

-Oh, and not Phillies-related, but Omar Gaither is out for the year. Good thing the Eagles got Will Witherspoon, huh? Like anyone cares right now.



Four more wins, fellas. Four more.

LET'S GO PHILS!!!!!

BallHype: hype it up!

'You're Gonna Win Those Games. You're Goin to the World Series'

Last season, after the Phillies defeated the Dodgers in Los Angeles to advance to the World Series for the first time in 15 years, Charlie Manuel relayed the story of the final conversation he had with his mother before she passed away during the playoffs. June said, "Charlie, you're gonna win those games. You're going to the World Series." I think Charlie and his team may have thought she meant the Phillies were going to win those games and go to the World Series forever, because that's what they've done ever since, now two years in a row.



This season has been a rocky road to say the least. Then again, so was last year. Yeah, in 2008, Brad Lidge was perfect and the bullpen was awesome, but lest we forget, the No. 2 starter in the postseason was sent down to the minors, the shortstop was injured and the starters were shaky. Oh, and Adam Eaton was on the team. But the Phils put it all together, got on a run and won the World Series. In a season where the shortstop was in a major slump, their No. 2 starter went down to injury, the bullpen imploded, the closer was the opposite of perfect and the ace regressed, the Phillies find themselves four more wins from another parade down Broad Street. These guys just know how to win, and they know how to put teams away. They proved that again last night.

Last postseason's golden boy, Cole Hamels, was on the mound for the second straight year with a chance to eliminate the Dodgers and send his Phillies to the World Series. Unlike last year, Cole didn't didn't dominate. Far from it. In fact, Cole couldn't even get through five innings, and I think it's officially time to state the obvious: the 2009 version of Cole Hamels stinks. I'm tired of hearing about how close he is, how he's just a few pitches off, how unlucky he is. The numbers don't lie, and his numbers aren't good. They haven't been all season. Sometimes you have to call a spade a spade. You are, as they say, what you are. And right now, Cole Hamels is a bad starting pitcher. Even worse, he's a dumb starting pitcher.



The first-inning home run he surrendered to Andre Ethier came on a horrendous pitch — a pitch he should have never thrown. Hamels was ahead of Ethier 1-2. He threw a changeup and a curveball to get those first two strikes. Then he pumped Ethier five straight fastballs. Five. On the fifth, Ethier sent it to the bleachers. Repeatedly in the at-bat, Hamels shook off Ruiz, who I can only assume was calling for that disappearing changeup at least once or twice with two strikes. The changeup is Hamels' putaway pitch, his strikeout pitch, his best pitch. And he refused to throw it. He's refused to throw it ever since Manny hit that three-run bomb in game 1. Instead, he thought it was a good idea to pump fastballs to Andre Ethier. Horrible, horrible pitching.

Then in the second, he gave up another home run on a 1-2 pitch, this time to James Loney. Guess what kind of pitch it was … yeah, a fastball. Instead of, again, going to his strikeout pitch, his swing and miss pitch, Hamels tried to sneak a fastball by Loney high and inside. He did not. Loney was all over it, crushing it to right field. The most maddening part was it was very similar to the pitch Loney hit out against Hamels in game 1. What I'm trying to say is, Cole is stupid and sucks. He went out and got himself a hat trick, giving up a third solo home run to Orlando Hudson in the fifth. And guess what, it was on a fastball up in the zone. All season long, Hamels has been getting burned on fastballs up in the zone, yet he continues to pump his straight, 90-93 mph fastball up and over the plate. Major League batters feast on those pitches, and that's why Cole Hamels has sucked this year. It's why he's sucked in these playoffs. But hey, both games he started, the Phils won. Still, I don't want him anywhere near that Yankees lineup in the World Series (assuming they get there). He better not be the game 2 starter. I think Pedro Martinez has earned that right, while Hamels has squandered it away.

Luckily for Hamels and all of Philadelphia, the offense wouldn't let it bother them. Right after Hamels gave up a run in the 1st inning, the Phils answered. Chase Utley worked a two-out walk to tie Boog Powell's record of reaching base safely in 25 straight postseason games. Then, finally tired of seeing Ryan Howard terrorize LA pitching, Vicente Padilla pitched around Howard, walking him on four pitches to get to Jayson Werth. Not a bad idea, considering Howard has been killing it while Werth, Ibanez and Feliz have struggled. But clearly, Werth was offended. Intentionally walk someone to get to me? Intentionally walk this.



What a great at-bat, and when he hit it, I was trying to will it out. Out it went, and off I went on Padilla, screaming, "YOU FRAUD! I KNEW YOU WERE A FRAUD! FUCK YEAH!" among other things. Boom. Game over. Sure, the Dodgers answered with Loney's home run, but this game was over right then and there. When these Phillies smell blood, they pounce. Sure, Loney answered. So fucking what? Pedro Feliz, who looked more lost at the plate than balloon boy in this postseason, smoked a liner the opposite way and into the right field seats to get that 2-run lead right back. Welcome to the playoffs, Pedro. Nice to have you. After an uneventful third, the Phillies pounced again. Jayson Werth, who simply is the man, led off with a single, and Raul followed with a double to drive him in, putting the Phils up 5-2 and chasing Padilla back to his rightful spot among shitty starting pitchers. You can fool people for a while there, Vicente, but we all knew you couldn't possibly be this good. And you're not. At least not in Philadelphia, in that ballpark.

Before it was all said and done, Shane Victorino was getting hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and before they even knew what hit them, the Dodgers found themselves in a 6-2 hole. After Cole surrendered the home run to Hudson and finally left the game after giving up a double to Rafael Furcal, cutting the lead to 3, the TBS announcers were at it again. A three-run lead is nothing in this ballpark. The Dodgers had gotten to the Phillies bullpen. Now they had a chance. Seriously, have these assholes watched this series? That supposedly weak Phillies bullpen has been pretty damn good. And last night they were awesome.

After Happ walked a guy and got one out, Chad Durbin finished off the 5th. Then the 6th, breezing through all four batters he faced — getting Manny to ground out, Kemp to strike out, and Loney and Martin to ground out. He did a phenomenal, phenomenal job. And how did this great, incredible, unhittable Dodgers bullpen react? The same way this overrated, overhyped set of arms has all series. They wilted under the pressure, showed their fear and gave up runs.

In came the untouchable Clayton Kershaw with his great stuff. Buck Martinez said his stuff was so good, his fastball so good, that Kershaw didn't even have to make great pitches. He just needed to throw it over the plate. The Phillies hitters would have a hard time catching up. Really? Have you watched this team once all season? Hell, have you watched them at all this series? If I recall, some guy named Jimmy Rollins smoked a pretty damn fast fastball the game before:



Really, you think pumping fastballs to a team that absolutely annihilates fastballs is a good idea, Buck? Well, how'd that work out for ya?

Chan Ho Park then came in and pitched a brilliant 7th, and skating around bases loaded trouble caused by Park and his own doing, Ryan Madson regained his dominant form, getting three straight batters with the bases loaded and no out to limit the damage to 1 run. The Phillies relievers, who had to pitch four and two-thirds, gave up one run combined. Meanwhile, the remarkable, outstanding, cannot-be-scored-upon Dodgers bullpen pitchers surrendered four runs by three different pitchers. Yeah, the pen is mightier. The Phillies pen.



Jayson Werth added another home run to his already insanely awesome night, and the Phils tacked on another for good measure in the 8th to go up 10-4. Then Brad LIdge came on for the 9th and showed once again, without a shadow of a doubt, that he is back, striking out Mark Loretta, popping up the eternally overrated Rafael Furcal and getting Ronnie Belliard to fly out to end the game and the series, sending the Phils back to the World Series:



Back-to-back National League Champions. Back-to-back World Series. These guys are good. Really good. I went out and celebrated with silver fox, downing a few beers and closing out the bar while taking it all in. The Phillies are in the World Series. Again. Four more wins from another title.

And Ryan Howard, for the first time all postseason, failed to drive in a run. He won the MVP anyway. Dude is a monster.



The coolest thing for me was watching the interview on Comcast with Ruben Amaro by Michael Barkann and Ricky Bottalico. They asked how Ruben was so calm, so reserved, at least considering. Ruben's response was priceless. He said he was proud of the great accomplishment, reaching the World Series again, but he said, just like the players, he truly believes and they truly believe there's still one more step. That they still need four more wins. Something tells me they'll get them. Four more wins. Four more.

Oh yeah, and did anyone else happen to flip to Fox's coverage after the game for the gathering on Cottman? Well, there was a girl who flashed her tits, and it was right on the live broadcast. And it was awesome. Nice boobs, lady. Nice boobs.

LET'S GO PHILS!!!!!!!!!!!!

BallHype: hype it up!

Guess Who's Back

Back again to the World Series. More tomorrow. I'm off to get drunk. I love these fucking guys. Four more wins.

LET'S GO PHILS!!!!!!!!!!

BallHype: hype it up!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Beat LA

It's no secret that Cole Hamels hasn't quite been himself this season, and he certainly hasn't duplicated his incredible performance last October this time around. Such a feat would be difficult to replicate, but tonight, Cole does have a chance to do what he did last year: Simultaneously send the Phillies to the World Series and the Dodgers home for the winter.



Forget about what happened this season. Forget about what happened against Colorado. Forget about your struggles in game 1 of this series, which you did pick up the win in, by the way, and just go out and dominate. You don't want to go back to Los Angeles anyway.

The Phillies have a chance tonight to get back to the World Series, to defend their World Fucking Championship. And they have the chance to avenge their loss in game 2, a game Vicente Padilla, the former Phillie, started — a game in which Padilla pitched 7 and a third of four-hit, one-run ball, effectively shutting down the Phils. Something tells me they won't let Padilla dominate them again. Call it a hunch.

So tonight, let's have a clean game, one that resembles game 3. No errors. No poor at-bats. No chance for the Dodgers to even get an ounce of confidence. Go out there and finish them off, quick and painless. After all, the champagne will be ice. You wouldn't want all that ice to go to waste. Five more wins.

LET'S GO PHILS!!!!!!!!!!

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I LOVE THESE F---ING GUYS!

Those were the words that came pouring out of my mouth when this happened:



I still can't believe it. I really can't. Nothing is impossible with team. Nothing. They may be down, but they're never out. Ever. The Dodgers were the better team for 26 outs. They didn't commit any errors. They got clutch two-out hit after clutch two-out hit. The Phillies didn't. They threw a ball away again. They left runners on base. They failed to get the big hit after an explosive start. Until it mattered the most. Then they struck, and they just obliterated any chance the Dodgers had at avenging last year's NLCS. This god damn team is amazing.

For five and half innings last night, I was a miserable prick. Sure, things started off great, with Ryan Howard sending a missile into the right field stands to put the Phils up 2-0. Right then and there, I thought the game was over. Former Phillie Randy Wolf got a little squeezed in the at-bat and was clearly upset. Then he made a mistake to Ryan Howard, who did what he's done all postseason, putting the Phils ahead right from the start for the second straight night. Howard now has at least one RBI in all eight games the Phils have played this postseason, and he tied Lou Gehrig's record for most consecutive playoff games with an RBI.

When he hit it, I started losing my mind, screaming at the time of my lungs, "YOU ARE A FUCKING MONSTER, RYAN!!!! A FUCKING MONSTER!!!!" In my mind, the game was already over. Joe Blanton came out dealing, breezing through the first three innings, retiring the first 10 batters he faced. But then in the 4th, a one-out walk to Matt Kemp completely changed the complexion of the game and the tempo of Joe Blanton.



Whether it was working out of the stretch or losing rhythm with a runner on, Blanton wasn't the same pitcher the rest of the way. After Andre Ethier flew out, Manny followed with a two-out single, then Loney made it back-to-back hits to plate Kemp, and the walk hurt him, bringing LA within a run. The damage wasn't done. Blanton then walked Ronnie Belliard and gave up another single, this time to Russell Martin, to tie the game. Both runs scored with two out. I was pissed, barking at Blanton that you can't walk people, especially with a lead.

To make matters worse, Wolf settled in and rebounded from his tough first inning. He didn't let the home run to Howard shake him, and he certainly showed he spent considerable time in Philadelphia, refusing to let the crowd rattle him. This is why Joe Torre opted for Wolf to pitch in Citizens Bank. He knew he could handle the bright lights and the raucous crowd. And he did, retiring 12 straight Phillies after that first-inning bomb, giving his teammates new life.

I was starting to get nervous, and the roommate I despise walked in the house. I was in no mood to deal with him. He has no knowledge of sports, and he sucks at living. I wish he'd just go away. My other roommates were at the game, so I had no buffer from this stupid fuck, and my patience was already wearing thin. Shortly thereafter, Matt Kemp sent a towering drive to centerfield, and Shane couldn't reach over the fence and get it. Home run, with two outs again, 3-2 Dodgers. Fuck.

As the Phils were going down in the bottom of the 5th, though finally getting a baserunner in the form of a Carlos Ruiz walk, this fucking asshole comes in the room and says to me, "I cleaned up all the recycling and sorted all the beer cans and bottles from the weekend, you think you can get the dishes and take care of the dishwasher?" I turned to this dumb fuck and said, "The Phillies are on," and left it at that. Here's a fucking note for you there, retard roommate: I didn't ask you to clean up anything, you did that shit on your own. Don't fucking ask me to, especially when I clean up after myself all the fucking time. And die. Like, today. In the most horrifying, embarrassing way. I'm not even kidding. Go away. Forever. Fuck I hate him.

Seriously, the Phillies were down a run, I'm an awful human being during playoff baseball games and then this. And things were about to get worse. The normally sure-handed Pedro Feliz led off the 6th by making an errant throw to first, one in the dirt on a short hop that Howard couldn't quite pick, and Ramirez was safe, E-5. The errors are beginning to get out of hand, no? It was a ball that handcuffed Feliz a bit, and he had to back up on it, but he should have known he still could have set his feet and not rush the throw. Manny was running, and we all know he doesn't always run the hardest.

As they have all series, the Dodgers made the Phillies pay, capitalizing on the error. Though for a moment, it looked like Joe was going to get out of it. He got Loney to fly out, then gave up a single to Belliard, but struck out Martin for out number 2 with Casey Blake up. Of course Blanton was going to get Blake, he's been the least intimidating hitter in the series this side of Pedro Feliz. But no, Blake got a two-out single to right to score Ramirez, and the Dodgers led 4-2, scoring all four runs with two outs. Fuck. Ing. Gay.



Intermittently, my roommate would walk in the room and say something stupid regarding the game. I ignored him, and I was fuming. Thankfully, Shane got me a little more excited with his one-out triple, and when Chase drove him in, I was pumping my fist and yelling, "Fuck yeah, Chase. Fuck yeah." After Howard walked to put runners on first and second with one out, Torre sent Wolf to the showers. The second the game went to commercial for the pitching change, my roommate turned to me and, I shit you not, asked me, "So, how was your day?" ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS?!? The Phillies are trailing 4-3 in game 4 of the NLCS and you're trying to make small talk? Seriously, die. I didn't even turn to look at him and simply said, "Dave, I'm not in any kind of mood to talk right now." He shut the fuck up the rest of the night and left me alone, disappearing to his room for the most part. Sadly, I don't think he died in his sleep. What an asshole.

The tension of this game was killing me. In came Belisario, sawing off Jay Werth's bat and getting him to ground into a fielder's choice, getting Howard out at second. Runners on first and third with two outs. In came Kuo to face Raul, and all the Phils needed was a base hit to tie it. When Ibanez hit a scorching line drive to left on the first pitch he saw, I was ecstatic … until somehow, some way, Manny Ramirez came in on it and made a shoestring catch. Off the bat, I thought for sure that Ibanez had come through. It looked like a clean single, if not more. But then Manny, one of the worst fielders in the history of the game, made a tremendous shoestring catch. If he had been literally one step slow, the ball would have rolled by him and the Phils would have had the lead. Instead, it was out number 3, and the Phils still trailed 4-3. I couldn't believe it. And I was pissed. I had the same reaction as Ryan Howard, which they replayed from the dugout — utter joy and excitement when it came off the bat, and stunned silence when it was miraculously caught by Manny. It was a crushing blow.

The Dodgers were making all the big plays, getting all the big hits. And even though it was a one-run game, it just seemed like the Phils didn't quite have it, while the Dodgers were determined to get this thing back to Los Angeles. Plus, you know, that whole Dodgers bullpen is great, Phillies bullpen is garbage thing that we keep hearing so much about.

Speaking of that awful Phillies bullpen, Chan Ho Park came in and had an easy 8th, getting Furcal to ground out, striking out Kemp and then after walking Ethier, allowing Curbball to throw him out at second trying to steal. You'd think runners would stop testing Ruiz back there, at least until Brad Lidge takes the mound. He is deadly accurate and has a ridiculously strong arm. Andre Ethier found that out the hard way.

In the bottom of the 7th, I was begging guys to come through with a hit. Of course, Feliz struck out. And Chooch, with all his heroics, couldn't muster anything up, grounding out. In came Ben Francisco, and on a mighty cut, I thought he may have gotten a hold of one. He didn't, flying out to left center, and my emotions were just about drained … but there still was hope. If Madson could get through the 8th, the top of the lineup loomed, meaning a golden opportunity to get this thing back tied or to take the lead. Madson did his job, and up came the Phils.

After a ground out by Jimmy, Shane was hit on his back foot by a George Sherrill pitch. Then he walked Chase Utley and I was beginning to have visions of game 1. Here we were, runners on first and second with one out and Ryan Howard at the plate. The way he has been going, you had to like their chances. But Sherrill made some excellent pitches to Howard and struck him out with a high and tight fastball. With that whiff, I thought the Phils had just lost the game. I really did. And Jayson Werth's fly out to right off closer Jonathan Broxton, who came in after Sherrill retired Howard, cemented that feeling. I was furious, miserable and silent. The Dodgers had simply outplayed the Phillies, I thought. They earned this win, evening up the series at 2-2. And I hated every second of it.

I don't know why I ever doubted these guys. I guess it's just my nature, our nature. In Philadelphia, we've been programmed to expect the worst. Even last season's World Series title couldn't wash away a lifetime of that feeling. But really, with these guys, I should have known better. We all should have.

Scott Eyre began the 9th by getting Orlando Hudson to foul out. Then he gave up a single to Furcal, a speedy runner who could get in scoring position with a steal and give the Dodgers a chance at adding an insurance run, especially since Charlie lifted Eyre to bring in Lidge, who can't hold runners worth a shit.



It didn't matter. Lidge was going to take care of the hitters himself, runner be damned. His slider was back, filthier than ever, and he struck out Matt Kemp. Sure, Furcal swiped second to get in scoring position, but so what? And yeah, he moved to third on a wild pitch. Big deal. Lidge got ahead of Ethier and dropped in a perfect, filthy, unhittable slider for a called strike three. It was a long half inning, but the Phils got out of it still within a run … and Broxton was left sitting in the bullpen mulling over this Phillies lineup.

Broxton didn't seem fazed at first. He got Raul to weekly ground out to second, and the Phils were down to their final two outs. That's when Matt Stairs came to the plate to hit for Feliz. Before the series started, hell, during the regular season, I heard Broxton say numerous times that he'd like a chance to face Stairs again, to redeem himself. Bullshit. Broxton wanted no part of Stairs, walking him on four pitches that came nowhere near the strike zone. Surely, he was scared to death of this:



Matt Stairs struck fear in the heart of Broxton, the supposedly unhittable closer that would be the difference for the Dodgers. Stairs was lifted for pinch-runner Eric Bruntlett and the very next pitch, Broxton plunked Ruiz. Uh, oh. You just gave this team life. Big mistake. Though I wasn't so confident. I was begging Greg Dobbs to get a hit. If ever there was a time to regain his 2008 form, this was it. I couldn't tell you the last time Dobbs has had a big hit for this ball club. It's been that kind of year for him. This was his chance. But he didn't get it done, hitting a humpback liner to third for out number 2.

That was that, I thought. Series tied 2-2. The Phils were down to their last out, and Broxton seemed like he could get one more. Except he couldn't. Jimmy sensed that fear, looked for a pitch to drive, and on the third pitch he saw from Broxton, a 1-1 fastball in, Rollins roped one to the right-centerfield gap. The second he hit it, I jumped up off my chair and starting screaming/laughing/yelling/screaming some more. I knew not only was Bruntlett gonna score, but Chooch was too. I just knew. And I as I saw him coming into home, I screamed at the tops of my lungs, "I LOVE THESE FUCKING GUYS!!!!!!!!" I was losing my mind, running around the house, to the back door and running right into it. Then out the front door, running up and down Girard screaming. I couldn't believe it. I still can't. In an instant, I went from despondent, depressed and pissed to overcome with joy. In an instant, the Phils went from a 4-3 loss to even the series at 2-2, to an improbable, impossible 5-4 win to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. This team is un-fucking-real.





Honestly, un-fucking-real.



That was, without question, one of the most dramatic finishes in the history of playoff baseball. This team just has no quit. They aren't satisfied with one World Series. They want to keep winning, again and again and again. Five more wins. Just five more wins.

LET'S GO PHILS!!!!!!!!!!!

BallHype: hype it up!

You'll Always Remember Your First Time, Part 30

They say you never forget your first time. And with October upon us, the vivid memories of my first time witnessing a professional Philadelphia franchise win a championship are ripe in my head. Even with football underway, I find myself wandering back to that glorious month of October, 2008. It's something I want to relive again and again. In fact, that's exactly what I'm going to do, republishing my feelings during the wild ride to becoming 2008 World Fucking Champions. View part 1 here, part 2 here, part 3 here, part 4 here, part 5 here, part 6 here, part 7 here, part 8 here, part 9 here, part 10 here, part 11 here, part 12 here, part 13 here, part 14 here, part 15 here, part 16 here, part 17 here, part 18 here, part 19 here, part 20 here, part 21 here, part 22 here, part 23 here, part 24 here, part 25 here, part 26 here, part 27 here, part 28 here and part 29 here.

Today is part 30, the final part in the series, which culminates beautifully with a word from the patron saint himself, originally posted Nov. 3, 2008:

The Patron Saint Speaks



Well, actually, he writes. Seeing as this is my first day of work since last Wednesday, I have quite a bit to catch up on. So, I turn over the writing duties to none other than Doug Glanville, who wrote about his experience during the Phillies World Series victory.



Here it is in its entirety:

Series of Dreams

By DOUG GLANVILLE
Published: November 1, 2008

For Game 5 (Part 1) of the Philadelphia-Tampa Bay World Series, I had the pleasure of bringing out the ball for the first pitch, to be thrown by former Phillies great and current United States Senator Jim Bunning. The world did not know what I knew at that moment: The Phillies were now ordained to win this game, no matter how many days it took. Because in my world, that moment was the convergence of all the magic in my life.

When I came out on the field, I had the trifecta of my childhood dream. I was at a World Series; the Phillies were primed to win; and John Oates was singing the national anthem.

I knew no one could lose with all that power.

The closest I would ever come to a World Series as a player, as it turned out, was when the last out was recorded in Game 7 of the 2003 National League Championship Series. It would also be my only playoff experience.

Most players never get that far. My friend and former Phillies teammate Mike Lieberthal spent a dozen years as a major leaguer and never enjoyed a playoff experience, even though he was a Gold-Glove winner and an All-Star. It is not easy.

For me to attain that playoff bullet point on my resume, it took a middle-of-the-night trade from the Texas Rangers, who were in last place, to the Chicago Cubs, who were contenders. (Even though I began my career as a Cub, that playoff year I was essentially on loan from the Rangers. I was not an original Cubs family member from day one.)

I played five years with the Phillies, but then fought and scrapped my way out of town as a free agent. I was like a defiant teenager who had the world figured out at 18 and, much to the dismay of my Phillies “parents,” escaped to sign with the Rangers and be their starting center fielder. The Phillies were trying to hold on tight to one of their sons, but I needed to explore the limits of my abilities (even though, like “The Alchemist,” I searched and explored only to find out that the lessons of my journey would bring me back home — with new eyes).

Well, I did end up back home. In 2005, I signed a one-day “exploding contract” just so I could retire as a Philadelphia Phillie (as did Mike Lieberthal in 2007, after spending his last year as a Dodger). My World Series appearance this past week, although not as a player, was the giant cherry on top.

The Phillies are a family and it doesn’t matter if you are a popcorn vendor or a fixture like Vince, who handled dugout security, or Jimmy Rollins, the reigning M.V.P. — you all might as well be wearing the uniform.

I suppose this was something that I was drawn to as a young fan of those Phillies teams in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Year after year I saw the same players wearing the uniform. Maddox, Schmidt, Carlton and others played in the organization until body parts fell off, and I could count on cheering on my favorite players year in and year out.

And when I joined the Phillies family, I found out that this was also true for everyone from parking lot attendants to announcers. When you are in, you are in. You are a Phillie for life whether you like it or not, and that family loyalty is a tone set by the group of families that owns the organization. And the owner and leader I understand and know the best is David Montgomery, president and C.E.O.

A little insight into the man (with whom I share an alma mater, Penn) tells you a lot about the organization’s philosophy: it is a “through thick and thin, in sickness and in health” theme. In the ‘70s and ‘80s glory years it was hailed as genius, though when times were tough (many of those years when I was there), it took some criticism because the organization “stuck with people too long.” But they have been consistent.

When my father passed away at the end of the 2002 season, there were 10 Phillies’ representatives at his service. David Montgomery led the way. When I got married, three years later, once again David and his wife made the trip to Asheville, N.C., alongside of their community relations director, Gene Dias, and a slew of former teammates. They have been supportive and dependable through every phase of my life.

So, one morning not long ago, I received a text message from Mike Lieberthal: “Are you going to the World Series? I am going to all the games!” I wrote back saying that I hadn’t planned on it, but if the team had a ticket for me, I would see if I could get out there last-minute.

Within hours, I had a long e-mail from the Phillies’ former P.R. director Larry Shenk. He invited me (and my family) to town and said the Phillies wanted to give me the honor of bringing out the first pitch for Game 5. Of course, it turned out that first pitch was the beginning of the game that brought the first World Series title since 1980 to Philadelphia.

Once I arrived at the stadium, the red carpet never stopped rolling out. I met with former teammates, chatted with U.S. senators, reunited with my favorite security guards, kicked back with Mom and, naturally, spent time John Oates. And that was all before I got on the field to bring out that first pitch.

At 8:25 p.m., it was time. Time to walk out that first ball in front of frenzied, towel-waving Philadelphia fans. It all came together: a passion, a pastime, a love, the music, my family, my friends and in some respects, my life’s commitment...all on one canvas. A true homecoming of the greatest kind from a tough city that still has big love in its heart.

As Brad Lidge kneeled in celebration after tossing that final strike to clinch Game 5, the Phillies family kneeled with him. A prayer of thanks, a prayer for the city.


Well done, Mr. Glanville. Well done. I would like to thank my sister for sending this along, even if she is a New Yorker now.

BallHype: hype it up!