I noticed something interesting about my last two posts. On Tuesday, I happened to mention that I would like it if the Phillies’ offense were to give Cole Hamels a bit more run support than they had been recently.
Lo and behold, the next day they gave Cole 10 runs worth of support! And they needed it, too, after the bullpen gave 6 runs right back.
In my next post, I asked that the bullpen culprit please be kept away from the mound for the remainder of the season. Later that same day, Nate Robertson was designated for assigment!
Wow! Two wishes asked, two wishes granted. My lucky stars must be perfectly aligned right now!
Hmm. Coupled with the power of a birthday wish (mine just happens to be tomorrow), who knows what might happen? Let’s see, I wish that the Phillies win the rest of their games, and the Braves lose the rest of theirs!
OK, that might be a bit much to ask for.
I’ll start small. Phils win tomorrow, Braves lose, putting the Phils back into first. Is that too much to ask for? I think not.
Last night, I knew I should be up at the computer, doing some Actual Work. But I really wanted to watch just a little more of the Phillies-Marlins game. The Phillies were actually giving Cole Hamels some run support!
Maybe they saw my little note to them in my last entry.
When the score got to 7-0 in favor of the Phillies, I felt that it was safe to go to work. Cole was pitching really well, and the offense was putting up some crooked numbers. By the time he left the game, after seven shutout innings, the Phils were up 10-0.
Then Nate Robertson entered the game. The same Nate Robertson who had been released by the Marlins earlier this season after posting a 6-8 record in 19 games, with a 5.47 ERA.
Robertson managed to record only two outs before getting lifted, and gave up 6 runs! Yikes! Then again, what should I expect from a pitcher with a career 55-77 record and an ERA hovering around 5, who was apparently better known in Detroit for his gum-chewing than his pitching?
In 2006, the year of “Gum Time”, the Tigers made it to the World Series after quite a few years of ineptitude. Since the Phillies have their sights set on making it to the Series for the third year in a row, maybe they should use Robertson not as a pitcher, but as a “designated chewer”.
I’m sure he’s being paid enough to cover the ensuing dental bills.
(scan from Detroit Tigers Magazine – 2006 Season, Issue No. 3)
***Post-blog update! Robertson will not be near the mound anymore this season. As of yesterday afternoon, he had been designated for assignment. I am not upset about this.***
Before I get into the random photos portion of this blog entry, I must note that today is the first day of school for my offspring. I’m ecstatic; they’re not. I need to pause to celebrate.
<gets up and does a little dance>
I’ll actually be able to compose this entry without being interrupted umpteen times.
In no particular order, then, here are some of my favorite summer baseball photos:
Baseball and hot dogs – a classic, timeless combination. An army of Diggitys stands ready for battle in the Lehigh Valley IronPigs clubhouse store.
Speaking of clubhouse stores, one of the oddest items I’ve seen was at the Wilmington Blue Rocks’ store. The Blue Rocks have two popular mascots, Rocky Bluewinkle and Mr. Celery:
I’m not sure what celery has to do with baseball, but nonetheless a large stalk of celery runs onto the field to celebrate after every run scored by the Blue Rocks. This, however, is apparently what would be created should these two ever be able to mate:
My daughter had to buy it, and she calls it “Rocky Celwinkle”. Since both Rocky and Mr. Celery are ostensibly male, I’m not sure how this would actually occur.
In Reading Phillies game action, this Trenton Thunder baserunner is out at first by a step, as R-Phils first-baseman Matt Rizzotti makes the play. Rizzotti finished up the season at triple-A Lehigh Valley.
“My ball is bigger than yours!” Members of the Wilmington Blue Rocks bullpen seem to be comparing sizes. This photo just screams out for some sort of suggestive caption. Send me your best – if it makes me laugh I’ll put it in my next entry.
Cole Hamels has been pitching really well lately, though you wouldn’t know it from his 9-10 record. In July, I took my daughter to the last game before the All-Star break, and saw Cole get a 1-0 victory over the Reds.
**Note to Phillies offense: Please give Cole some run support!**
Attack of the 50-foot Phanatic!!
Rocky Bluewinkle makes sure that home plate is sparkling white, though I’m not sure if it’s minty fresh.
After a head-first slide into third with a triple, Blue Rocks infielder Rey Navarro needs to make a few, um, adjustments.
Most of my summer baseball viewing was spent not on the Phillies or any other professional team, but on my son’s team. This was the first year he tried out for a summer team, and let’s just say it’s quite a time commitment. After a brief respite during August, it’s back to baseball as he has decided to play fall ball and forego football this year.
Which is OK with me.
(all photos by me)
That man is Scott Barry, who was the third-base umpire in last night’s Phillies-Astros game.
I hadn’t watched the first nine innings of the game, having been occupied with other things. Once again, the Phils gave Cole Hamels very little run support, though they did actually score one run for him, which was better than the previous 25 innings Hamels had pitched. But then Jimmy Rollins tied things up with a ninth inning homer.
As the kids were finally heading to bed, I turned on the TV to see if the game was still on. It was, in extra innings with the score tied 2-2.
So instead of sitting down to write a blog entry, which had been my plan, I ended up watching the 11th inning, and then the 12th inning, and so on, until finally it was the bottom of the 14th. With two outs and runners on first and second, Howard came to the plate. Mind you, he’s been absolutely sucktastic since coming off the DL, but I suppose it takes a while to get back in a groove.
Anyway, Barry rules that he went around on a check swing for strike two. It was close, but he probably did. Howard looked upset, as much at himself as at Barry. Barry, however, pulled an attitude, glaring at Howard with his hands on his hips (see above). After a pitch in the dirt moved the runners to second and third, and brought the count to 1-2, another checked swing was ruled a strike by Barry, ending the inning.
This one wasn’t even close. It was so obviously NOT a swing (watch the replay, and decide for yourself). Howard flipped his bat, and Barry tossed him.
Ultimately, the Phils ended up losing 4-2 in 16 innings.
OK, so it’s not like this play directly lost the game, but with a runner on third, any base hit would have scored the winning run. Secondly, the Phils were out of position players, so Roy Oswalt ended up in left field, with Ibanez moving to first.
What annoyed me, in addition to Barry copping an attitude on the field, is that it turns out he’s not even (some would say) a “real” umpire, rather he’s a minor-league replacement ump! He hasn’t earned the right to have an attitude yet!
Next time, someone please toss him out of the game! Or at least send him back to triple-A!
I was very negligent in my blogging this summer. Sure, I was busy with a lot of non-baseball things, but I’m sure the rest of you were, too. So I don’t really have a good explanation. Nonetheless, I’ll try to post a few recaps of what I’ve been up to, in no particular chronological order.
Earlier this month, my children talked us into going to the August 3rd Reading Phillies game in an attempt to get the most highly anticipated giveaway of the summer – the Ryan Howard Garden Gnome.
Note that the gnome is for the first 2,500 adults. So even though my children wouldn’t be receiving gnomes, (hypothetically) Mom and Dad would each get one. A close look at the game listing reveals several issues that would end up conspiring against this plan.
1. The change in time of the game and gate openings. Normally, a weeknight game would start an hour later, with gate openings an hour later than listed here. Since my husband has an actual job, we were limited in how early we could get to the ballpark.
2. Unknown numbers of senior citizens would be entering the stadium at 4 pm for a pre-game Q&A, presumably receiving gnomes in the process.
3. Happy Hour and a pre-game concert were going on in the Classic Cafe, which opens an hour before the main gate.
Due to my husband’s aforementioned job, the best we could do was to arrive shortly before the main gate opened at 5 pm. Considering my previous experience with the Webkinz giveaway, I figured this should be fine.
The Webkinz hadn’t been hyped out the wazoo by ESPN and MiLB.com.
We arrived about 10 minutes before 5, only to be greeted by a line that stretched from the main gate behind home plate, all the way down the street and past the left field corner. This did not look good for our gnome chances.
While my husband and kids kept our spot in line, I strolled up toward the gate to check on the status of things, and to see if by chance there was a different line for those with e-tickets (which we had), rather than physical tickets (which it seemed like most other people had). At this time I learned from one of the stadium personnel that all the gnomes were already gone!!
How was this possible? Look back at numbers 2 and 3 above. I doubt there were 2,500 senior citizens inside, but there were apparently a lot of people who came early to drink and get gnomes, and then left before the game even started! We started to notice numerous gnome-carrying people heading back to their cars.
As we shuffled forward toward the gate, which had now opened, I spotted two slow-moving women walking towards their car, carrying gnomes. For the briefest of moments, I fantasized about knocking them down and running away with the gnomes, but there were way too many potential witnesses waiting in line with us.
Gnomeless, we went inside, got something to eat, and waited for the first game to start. Due to the fact that it was only a seven-inning game, between-inning events occurred earlier than they normally would.
The Crazy Hot Dog Vendor ran out after the first inning, and suffered a slight malfunction during his routine, leading to a stray dog incident.
My son and I were watching throughout the game to see if anyone would step on it before it was picked up. This Trenton Thunder batter came closest of anyone during the first game, but the dog made it through seven innings unscathed.
R-Phils first baseman Matt Rizzotti seems to be impersonating Sandy Cheeks, or for the older generation, Rocky the Squirrel.
Not to be picking on Matt, but later in the game he looked like he took a wrong-way swing, though he was just getting out of the way of an inside pitch.
The R-Phils staged a dramatic bottom-of-the-seventh comeback to win game 1, 6-5.
We never did see if the stray dog lasted through the second game, because we ended up leaving after the first game. There was a half-hour break between games, and both kids and my husband were ready to leave. I wasn’t, but I was outnumbered.
Gnomeless, we headed home.
Guess I’ll have to look for gnomes on eBay. Quite a few have been sold already, with the highest one so far going for $81. I’m not about to spend that much on a gnome, even if it does (sort of) look like Ryan Howard. Maybe by next year the price will come down.
(hot dog and Rizzotti photos by me; Sandy and Rocky came off the internet)
Phillies team yearbooks never fail to provide sources of amusement for me. There isn’t usually a whole lot of substantive writing in them, but lots of color pictures of the players, along with their answers to a number of banal questions regarding favorite things, places they’d like to visit, and so on.
Last year, we learned that Cole Hamels is a fan of the Twilight series of novels. *snicker, snicker*
This year, one of the questions is “What famous person would you like to trade places with for a day?”
While most of the responses were other athletes or musicians, both John Mayberry Jr. and Carlos Ruiz would like to be President Obama for a day.
Juan Castro, however, is shooting straight for the top.
Of course, this begs the question of what would he do with his God-powers for one day? Perhaps heal all the Phillies that are on the DL?
Or, seeing how he has since been released by the Phillies after batting an uninspiring .198 in 54 games, maybe he should start by upgrading his own baseball skills.
(page scanned from Philadelphia Phillies 2010 Yearbook)
OK, I know I haven’t been here in awhile. Maybe you’re wondering what I’ve been up to all summer. Or maybe not.
A sizable chunk of my time has been devoted to keeping the peace between my offspring, ages 9 and 12, and preventing them from causing bodily harm to each other. Once they are back in school (my mental countdown has already begun!), I’ll have time to sit and compose a longer entry.
A while back, I mentioned that the Philadelphia Inquirer had implied that there were 32 major league baseball teams.
Now they would have us believe that the Brewers, Astros, Rays, Padres, and Rockies have, at some time, actually won a World Series:
I’ll assume that what they were trying to say was that those three teams have never even appeared in a World Series, but really, don’t newspapers employ people to check these kinds of facts before they print them?
I seem to have been suffering from premature jubilation in my last post, when I got all happy just because the Phillies finally won a game. The next night, Roy Halladay went out and pitched a perfect game, which of course I’m really happy about, but he almost HAD to be perfect to get the win, because once again the anemic offense only scored one run.
Since then, the Phils have reverted to their dreadfully suckish, suckingly dreadful ways, with the offensive offense spiraling further and further down the drain of ineptitude into a stewing cesspool of baseball bullsh*t.
It’s a good thing I’ve been too busy lately to sit down and write a full-blown rant, because it wouldn’t be pretty. If I see one more inning-ending double-play, I may hurl something at my TV (or maybe just hurl).
After dropping the final game of the series to the Marlins, and then getting swept by the Braves, the Phillies are off tonight. Hallelujah, I’ll celebrate that.
Just in time for the start of the holiday weekend, the Phillies scoreless streak has ended, as they beat the Marlins 3-2 last night. The Delaware Valley rejoices!! I can begin the three-day weekend with a happy frame of mind.
Hope you all have a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend!