What The ___ ??

Go ahead and fill in the blank with whichever word you prefer which best expresses your feelings about the Phillies’ 1-3 start. ;-)

PNC Park = House of Horrors

Why, oh why, is PNC Park such a House of Horrors for the Phillies? After Doc’s gem gave the Phils an Opening Day win over the Pirates, they proceeded to drop the next two contests in painful fashion by giving up the winning run in the final frame. Since its opening in 2001, the Phillies are a paltry 14-24 in that venue, which is one of their worst records in any road park (if not THE worst).

Yet it looks so nice. And this is the Pirates they’re sucking against – they of the 19 straight losing seasons. Again, what the …? Chalk it up as one of life’s mysteries.

 

Who’s On First, Indeed?

Last Thursday, the Philadelphia Inquirer published a Phillies Preview under this banner:

An apt question, since the Phillies have used four different first basemen in the first four games – Ty Wigginton, Laynce Nix, Jim Thome, and John Mayberry, Jr. Hopefully as the season progresses, some sort of continuity will be established, rather than the current revolving door approach.

Ryan Howard, pamper that Achilles and hurry back!

 

Slumbering Lumber

I have a feeling I’ll be using this image frequently this season, or at least in the early going, until Chase Utley and the aforementioned Ryan Howard are back in the lineup.

Currently the Phillies have a collective .198 batting average, ranking them 24th of the 30 major league teams. Yes, it’s only been four games, and yes it’s early in the season, but the Phillies need to start hitting more, and sooner rather than later, or it’s going to be a mighty long season if they dig themselves too big a hole already.

 

A Poetic Game

At first thought, poetry and baseball would seem to be two things which don’t necessarily pop into one’s head together. Yet, in days gone by, iconic baseball writers such as Grantland Rice were famous for their poetic prose in writing about the game.

A well-turned double play can be described as poetry in motion.

And of course everyone is familiar Ernest Lawrence Thayer’s poem, “Casey At The Bat”.

Or, almost everyone.

And then there’s my son’s eighth grade poetry project. As you can imagine, poetry and 13-year-old boys (at least this particular one) get along about as well as dogs and cats, or oil and water, or Mets fans and Phillies phans. You get the idea.

The project involved making a poster using four poems related to a theme – two published poems and two of their own. Of course my son chose baseball as his theme. :-) Their original poems needed to use some of the poetic devices they had been learning about, such as personification and onomatopoeia (I had to refresh myself on what these meant). Though short, one of the poems he came up with – all by himself! – wasn’t too bad.

Baseball
by Son of RRRT

A screaming line drive whizzes by
Right after the crack of a bat.
The roar of the crowd
As the ball sails into left field
Unlike a lazy fly ball.

Yeah, I know, really original title there. ;-) And of course, he didn’t sign it that way, I’m just not using his real name in case any friends or relatives are reading this (you know who you are). Just to be clear, this must NOT ever be mentioned to him, or he will be absolutely mortified, and probably not speak to me for a very long time.

Then again, given his current teenage attitude, that might not be so bad. :-)

Phillies At The Flower Show

Since the theme for last week’s annual Philadelphia International Flower Show was “Hawaii – Islands of Aloha”, it seems only natural that there was a Phillie-themed display inspired by Shane Victorino:

The display, entitled “The Phillies’ Flyin’ Hawaiian”, won an award for outstanding blue ribbon winner in the mailbox classes for the Garden Club of Philadelphia.

It also got me even more impatient for the start of Games That Matter. Spring training games are great if you’re there in person, but watching them on TV just doesn’t cut it for me. Bring on the season!

Musical Musings

In case you missed it earlier this week, a minor kerfuffle arose in the Boston media when the Dropkick Murphys stated that Jonathan Papelbon was no longer welcome to use their song “Shipping Up To Boston” as his entrance music. Later in the week, Papelbon announced that he hadn’t been planning to use that song anyway.

Well, duh.

Why would he? It wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense to use a song with Boston in the title when he’s pitching for Philadelphia, now would it? Papelbon apparently already has a song in mind, but isn’t saying what it is.

So what would be a good song? If he wanted to stay with the city-of-employment theme, the pickings are pretty slim when it comes to songs with Philadelphia in the title.

There’s Bruce Springsteen’s “Streets of Philadelphia”:

A little too mellow. He needs something more upbeat, maybe Elton John’s “Philadelphia Freedom”:

Nah. Too disco-y. Don’t know about you, but Elton John performing on “Soul Train” just seems like a really odd combo.

Speaking of “Soul Train”, how about a song that was once the “Soul Train” theme? Here’s “T.S.O.P. (The Sound of Philadelphia)”:

Way too disco-y. J-Pap might be tempted to do The Hustle on his way in from the bullpen (not a sight I want to see).

On the other hand, so many closer songs all sound similar – AC/DC, Metallica, etc. If we widen our titular horizons (and no, that’s not a naughty word!) to Pennsylvania in general, we could go for a Big Band sound with Glenn Miller’s “Pennsylvania 6-5000″:

Or for something really different, how about “The Pennsylvania Polka”, from America’s Polka King, Frankie Yankovic:

In case you were wondering, he is not related to Weird Al.

One song that would definitely NOT be a good choice, “Bad Nite In Philly”, from Philly’s own Public Service?!:

Certainly not a good idea for the closer’s song to foreshadow a blown save. For the amount he’s being paid, Pap better not have any “bad nites” in Philly. ;-)

So what to choose? Well, Papelbon does say that it will probably be a hard rock song. He also has that whole “Cinco Ocho”, alter ego kind of thing going on, so how about “21st Century Schizoid Man” (here the original by King Crimson, also covered by April Wine and Ozzy Osbourne):

I’ve Got Credit!

After my last post, in which I discovered three clones of my Mike Stutes photo being used on various websites, I started to wonder if there were any more photos of mine floating around out there in cyberspace, uncredited. So I spent a morning googling again.

Lo and behold, I happened upon Freddy Galvis:

Domonic Brown:

and finally a non-Phillie, Mets farmhand Eric Niesen:

I can kind of understand a Mets site not really being too keen on the idea of giving photo credit to a Phillies blog. :-)

The funny thing is that the photos of Stutes, Brown, and Niesen all came from the very same blog post. Must have been a popular one. :-)

I finally decided to contact the websites in question about their use of my pictures. I’m happy to report that all five got back to me right away (some of them within mere minutes!), and have added a photo credit to me on their sites. Many thanks to all of you for handling this so quickly!

Seeing Quadruple

While creating my last blog post, I wanted to check some information on Mike Stutes’ college career. So I did what everyone does these days, and googled “Michael Stutes”. In the results for images, I noticed one that looked very familiar:

This was a photo I took in August 2009, and used in a subsequent blog post. But when I hovered my cursor over the photo, I noticed it wasn’t from my blog, but from a site called Bleacher Report. So I clicked on it and found this:

I also noticed an option to search by image.

I was a bit surprised to find two more sites that were using the same picture. Here it is on Phuture Phillies:

And here on phillysports.com:

The curious thing is that my photo first appeared in 2009, and all three of these posts are from 2011. I have to imagine that there were other/newer (better?) pictures of Stutes out there for scavenging.

Nonetheless, they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so I suppose I should be flattered that these three sites liked my picture enough to use it. I just wish at least one of them would have given me/my blog proper credit!

A Phemale Phan’s Baker’s Dozen

Once again, it’s that time of year when I stoop to objectifying the male posterior in order to provide entertainment  for my female readers (see here and here for last year’s installments of eye candy).

While scouring my meager stash of photos from this past season for the ideal buns, I recalled the Baked Goods Rating Scale, hereafter referred to as the BGRS. The BGRS was devised by a very good friend who shall remain nameless (just in case she doesn’t want her name linked in public to my admittedly juvenile undertaking). I hope I’m remembering it correctly.

The BGRS ranges from Crumbs….

…all the way to Kaiser Rolls (with Pancakes, Biscuits, and Buns in between).

[OK, men, the pictures of food are over, so if you want to stop reading now, that's fine.]

I’m happy to report that most of the Phillies fall within the ideal Biscuit/Bun range, with only one veering dangerously close to Pancake territory.

See if you can identify this baker’s dozen of buns:

Texas buns

2nd Generation buns

Beaver buns

Rule 5 buns

Free Agent buns

Rookie buns - ♫ isn't he...pretty in pink… ♫

Fragile buns

"They're ba-a-a-a-ck!" - Returning buns

Departing buns?

Ace buns

Underperforming buns

Not Quite buns

Razorback buns

Just in case you were wondering, no, I don’t stalk the players around with my big lens. :-)  These are cropped from normal pictures that I took from my seat.

So how many do you know? Let me know in the comments section!

Not A Trivial Mistake

Last year, we had one of those page-a-day calendars, chock full of Phillies trivia, sitting on the windowsill above our kitchen sink. I think somebody had given it to us as a Christmas gift the previous year.

During periods of time when things get busy and hectic, I tend to forget to rip off the pages each day, and end up with a backlog of a week or two to tear off all at once. And so it was at the end of December, what with the holidays and the related holiday shopping, decorating, eating, etc. Still, I would read each page as I tore it off to catch up, hoping to fill my mind with yet more useless knowledge.

And there, on the page for December 15, I found this:

Huh??? Well, the answer is right, but the question is all wrong!

Obviously, the people who wrote the questions for the calendar were not Phillies fans, or they would have known that Eric Hinske struck out swinging to end any hopes the Rays had in 2008. The last time Carl Crawford had been anywhere near the plate was in the top of the 8th, when he led off with a single.

So how do they mess this stuff up? It’s not some obscure thing from the dawn of time, er, the 1900’s. It was only three years prior. Now I’m wondering about the veracity of the information for the other 364 days of the year. Thankfully, no one gave us one of these for this year, so my mind will not be led astray with misinformation.

Then again, mistakes like this provide more grist for this blog. :-)

Will Jimmy Find What He’s Looking For?

As expected, Jimmy Rollins became a free agent on Sunday, along with fellow Phillies Ross Gload, Raul Ibanez, Brad Lidge, Ryan Madson, Roy Oswalt, and Brian Schneider. The Phillies are in discussions with Rollins’ agent, but it may be tough to reach an agreement that gives him what he’s looking for:

Yep, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, he’s not a seeking a five-year contract, but a five-year contact.

I’ve heard of extended wear contacts, but they seem to top out at 30 days, making 5 years seem a bit extreme.

Good luck with that one, Jimmy!  ;-)

Meh

Yep, that pretty much sums up my feelings about the World Series so far. I really don’t care. I admit that I haven’t even watched any of it, other than any highlights that happened to be shown on my local news coverage. Following the LCS and WS games in the newspaper would have been difficult, as well, since all but one or two games have “ended too late for this edition.” Reading about it the day after the day after just isn’t the same.

Apparently the Inquirer’s editors have as much enthusiasm for it as I do. ;-)

That being said, if I absolutely had to choose a favorite or be threatened with bodily harm, I suppose I’d go with Texas. Why, you ask? Well, a few reasons:

  • Texas has never won a World Series; St. Louis has won 10 (OK, not exactly a Yankee-like  number, but still more than every other team that is not the Yankees).
  • Prior to last year, the Rangers had never even been to the WS; this year marks the Cardinals’ 18th visit to the Fall Classic.
  • I know people who live in Texas; I don’t know anyone in St. Louis (or even all of Missouri, for that matter).
  • Tony LaRussa and his micromanaging ways really annoy me.
  • Joe Buck really, really annoys me, and even though he was actually born in Florida, he’s basically from St. Louis.
  • A Wild Card team should not win the World Series. It just shouldn’t.

Currently up 3 games to 2, Texas could win it all tonight. I’ll try to muster a little interest, and perhaps sneak a peek at the game. Or not.

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