It Must Be A Sign!

With Game 1 of the NLCS just hours away, I fetched my mail from the mailbox and flipped through my newly arrived issue of Rolling Stone. This photo caught my eye:

rs omen.jpg
He’s wearing a Phillies shirt!

And then I read the caption – the photo was taken in San Francisco!

I’m not really a fan of the Kings of Leon, and the picture is from 2003, but I’d like to think of it as a happy coincidence. An omen, if you will, that the Phillies will prevail!

Ewww!

While trying to keep myself amused during the interminable wait until the start of the NLCS on Saturday, I came across this little tidbit online

Huff’s underwear providing inspiration

SAN FRANCISCO — With the playoffs now in full swing, it’s only fitting the Giants’ most valuable article of clothing gets its just due on the national stage.

Welcome to the big show, Aubrey Huff’s rally thong.

Since Aug. 30, the Giants first baseman has worn a red thong in hopes of rallying San Francisco to its first postseason appearance in seven years. When Huff first graced the clubhouse with his thong’s presence, the Giants were 72-59 and six games behind first-place San Diego in the National League West.

Huff predicted the Giants would go 20-10 with the rally thong and, wouldn’t you know it, that’s exactly how they finished the season en route to being crowned division champs.

After a run like that, Huff’s thong isn’t going anywhere.

“It’s just something to kind of loosen the guys up when it started, and it turned out to be kind of a nice run,” Huff said before Friday’s Game 2. “I couldn’t stop and I’m wearing it right now, if you’re interested. Kinda get used to it. You know what I’m saying?”

He’s been wearing a thong?

Well, let’s just file this one under “Things I Wish I Didn’t Know”. I’m still trying to rid my mind of the unpleasant images this has conjured up:

man thong.jpg

I’m now about to veer dangerously close to “Too Much Information” territory, but personally I don’t see how this can possibly be comfortable while playing baseball. In my opinion, thongs aren’t even comfortable while standing still, let alone running or batting. It’s total butt floss! And how could a thong possibly provide enough, uh, “coverage” for a man?

And it’s red! Hey Aubrey, red = Phillies!

Hmm, Aubrey is one of those unisex names; maybe he’s a little confused? Or he wants to make sure he doesn’t have any visible panty/brief lines during the game. :-)

Wonder if he uses Sisqó’s “Thong Song” as his at-bat music?

 

[for the record, I do NOT know the man in the photo - this is a random dude in a pic I found doing a Google search]

The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

After the Giants beat the Braves last night, the Phillies now know who their opponent will be in the NLCS, which doesn’t start until Saturday. Granted, the Phillies made quick work of the Reds, sweeping them in three games; the Giants needed four games to dispatch the Braves. Even if both series had gone a full five games, the divisional series would have ended on Wednesday. Why do we possibly need two full days off between series???

Initially, I thought I wanted the Braves to advance, because I felt the Phillies had a better chance against their pitching. On the other hand, those two teams had already met 18 times during the regular season (with the Phils winning 10), so there was a certain amount of familiarity. The Giants and Phillies have only played each other 6 times, which I’m sure has it’s own set of pros and cons.

At least now I won’t have to hear that annoying (and some would say politically incorrect) Braves chant during the games, and as far as I know, the Giants don’t have any sort of mass chanting from their fans.

Flip side is, I’ll have to watch Tim Lincecum and his girlie hair.

Random NLDS Musings

Since my last post, following Roy Halladay’s no-no, the Phils took the next two from the Reds, though in rather opposite ways. In Game 2, the other Roy wasn’t quite so sharp, and in fact, Oswalt later admitted that he had felt a bit rusty. The Reds took advantage and jumped out to a 4-0 lead after 4 1/2 innings. But then the Phillies started to chip away at the lead, and the Reds let the game slip through their fingers. Literally. The Reds committed four errors in this game, and their pitchers hit three batters (more on that in a bit). Bottom line, Phillies won 7-4, though only two of the runs were earned.

Game 3 was a much more polished affair, as Cole Hamels went the distance for a complete-game shutout as the Phils won, 2-0. For the Phillies Phaithful, it was only fitting that the final out was a Scott Rolen strikeout.

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Which leads me to Rolen, or as one local sports talk-radio guy calls him, “Lemon Face”. [the following photo is actually not from the NLDS, but earlier in the season]

scott-rolen-lemon-face.jpg

(photo by Ed Wulfstein/Icon SMI)

Lemon Face had an atrocious series, going 1 for 11 with eight strikeouts! He also committed two errors! Hee hee! You may recall Rolen’s demands to be traded near the end of his tenure with the Phils, saying that the Phillies management and ownership weren’t committed to winning. Looks like the Phils have been doing pretty good lately, doesn’t it, Scott?

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oscars.png

Chase Utley, for his starring role last Friday in “Chase’s Excellent Adventure Around the Bases”. First, Utley was (maybe) hit on the hand by Aroldis Chapman; next, he (maybe) was safe on a close play at second; and finally, he (maybe) touched the base while rounding third. He was definitely safe at home.

I had to laugh at this Utley quote regarding the hit-by-pitch: “I felt like I thought it hit me, so I put my head down and I ran to first.”  O-kaaay, Chase, whatever you say. ;-)

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John Mayberry, Jr. may have been surprised to learn that he was also hit by a pitch in that game, because he is not on the postseason roster!

mayberry hit by pitch.jpgI’ve often wondered if the sportswriters actually watch the games. It would seem the answer is no, because if they did they would know that it was Ben Francisco who was nearly decapitated when the ball went off the brim of his helmet.

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Listening to the TBS announcing duo of Brian Anderson and Joe Simpson was enough to make me catatonic, given that they collectively seem to have as much personality as my pinky toe. And they clearly need some lessons in enunciation - one of them (I’m not sure which, they’re both equally dull) kept saying “Utley” in a way that made it sound like “Ugly”.

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The funniest moment of the series had to be in Game 3, when Rich Dubee was being interviewed during the game about the renaissance of Cole Hamels. With Dubee unaware of what was going on behind him, Roy Oswalt was ducking from the dugout into the clubhouse. He apparently couldn’t resist the temptation to grin at the camera on his way past:

oswalt dubee.jpgHubby, son and I were in hysterics. This team is definitely loose and having fun!

Let’s go, Phillies!

Like A Surgeon

A postseason virgin, Roy “Doc” Halladay pitched with surgical precision last night on his way to no-hitting the Reds in his playoff debut.

physician_throwing_scalpel_.gifAll I can say is, “Wow!”

After Doc mowed down the Reds in the first few innings, I began to think “Wouldn’t it be cool if he threw a perfect game?” Of course, I think this every time a Phillies pitcher retires the side in order for three innings or so. Perfect it would not be, though, as a walk erased that thought. But the no-hitter was still intact!

Due to the rather inconvenient starting time of 5:07 (who comes up with these things, anyway?), I missed portions of the game while picking up the kids from CCD. We also needed to eat dinner, but I left the TV on so we could at least hear it while eating. I was thankfully able to sit down and properly watch the final two innings, as history unfolded across my screen.

Game 1 to the Phils! Hooray! No game tonight; Roy Oswalt will take the mound tomorrow in Game 2.

Random Thoughts on the NLDS so far:

- Just like last year, the lousy sound on TBS is going to drive me crazy! Would someone please get them some better microphones? The crowd always sounds muted and tinny, like it’s at the end of a long metal tunnel. It would have been nice to get a sense of the excitement in the ballpark over the broadcast, instead of having to take the announcer’s word for it.

- There are no former Reds on the Phillies’ roster, though the Reds have three former Phillies on theirs: Arthur Rhodes, Miguel Cairo, and Scott Rolen. No deep meaning, just an observation.

- Speaking of Scott Rolen, does that man ever smile? It’s one thing to be intensely focused on the game (i.e., Roy Halladay), but Rolen looks like he’s either constipated or plotting mass murder.

cranky rolen.jpgOK, so that photo is from last season, but that’s pretty much the way he looks whenever the camera happens to show him. Yo, Scott, there are millions of men who would love to trade places with you to play the game they love for a living, so could you at least look like you’re having a little bit of fun??

Just What The Doctor Ordered

Doc Halladay must have known I needed something to get me excited about the playoffs, so he went out tonight and no-hit the Reds, allowing only one baserunner on a walk. Wow, talk about making a splash in your postseason debut!

So I have now officially caught the playoff Phever!

And I am now officially over Cliff Lee. I can scrap my cloning plans from last year – with H2O, it’s better living through chemistry!

[longer post tomorrow, when I have more time]

A Disturbing Realization

The other day, I was thinking about the fact that I don’t seem to have the same anticipation, the same glee, the same “phever”, regarding the upcoming playoffs as in the past couple years. Don’t get me wrong, I was very happy when the Phillies clinched the NL East last week. And now that Game 1 of the NLDS will be upon us in just a few hours, I’m feeling the stirrings of excitement.

Or maybe it’s just gas. :-)

Just a few years ago, it would have been unthinkable, nay, unbelievable that the Phils would capture the division four seasons in a row.

But now they have.

And therein lies the crux of my problem – the sustained success of these Phillies has led me to a point where I now expect excellence from them.

Excellence.gifExpecting excellence on a yearly basis? Good grief! I can only come to one conclusion.

I feel as if I’m becoming like…..like……a (gasp!) Yankees fan.

Break Out Your Brooms…

…as the Phillies completed a three-game sweep of the Braves last night! The Phils now have a six-game lead over the second-place Braves, and their magic number to clinch the division now stands at 4. :-)

Happiness abounds!

Hubby and I were fortunate enough to be at Monday night’s game, thanks to our friends Carrie and Ed, who had two extra tickets available. We met up with them by the third-base gate and headed into the ballpark. Upon entering, were greeted by the sight of 20 statues of the Phanatic, painted in various themes by local artists, and currently being auctioned off for charity.

 

bell phanatic.jpgCarrie and I posed with one painted to look like the Liberty Bell.

 

phrankenstein.JPGJust in time for Halloween, it’s “Phrankenstein’s Mascot”! This one is among the four currently up for bids. Bidding ends later today, and apparently there are a lot of people with way more money than they know what to do with! The current high bid for this one is just under $10,000, and another is over $15,000 (!).

 

beer vendorrrr.JPGMillerrrrr Light, anyone? This friendly (?) beer vendorrr was working the stands prior to the start of the game. Aaargh!

 

worley backpack.JPGPoor rookies! Pitcher Vance Worley makes his way to the bullpen with his Fancy Nancy backpack.

 

braves backpacks.jpgMy daughter would have had a field day in the Braves’ bullpen, with all these beauties to choose from!

 

 
hamels 20Sep.JPGCole Hamels was in fine form, giving up just one run over eight innings of work.

 

werth1 20Sep.JPGThough he hit homers on Sunday and Tuesday, the “dirty hawt” Jayson Werth did not hit one this night.

 

werth2 20Sep.JPGContrary to certain people’s opinions (I’m talkin’ to you, Patti), this is just not at attractive look.

 

victorino1 20Sep.JPGBrandon Beachy, making his first major league start for the Braves, made several throws to first in an attempt to hold Shane Victorino close to the bag.

 

victorino2 20Sep.JPGAll was for naught, however, as Shane successfully stole second, and evaded the tag with this slide.

 

valdez 20Sep.JPGWilson Valdez has been more than capable defensively while filling in for the injured Jimmy Rollins – he has a gun for an arm, and helped turn two double-plays for the Phillies. The Phils had a total of three DPs this night in support of Hamels.

 

ruiz 20Sep.JPGCarlos Ruiz has been having a fine offensive year for the Phils, contributing an RBI double in this game.

Brad Lidge came on in the ninth to get the save. The rally towels were waving so furiously, all the little white lint particles flying around looked like snowflakes! Well, sort of. Anyway, Brad had a 1-2-3 inning, and the Phils won 3-1!

I was waving my towel with gusto as well, hence no photos of Brad. :-(

After three tight games (3-1, 5-3, 1-0), the Phillies are off tonight with a much-deserved break. They’d best be resting up for the Mets, who come into town Friday for the last regular-season home games. Let’s go Phillies!

(all photos by me)   (well, not exactly, my husband took the one with me in it)

Jayson Werth Goes To The Dark Side

Looking skeevier than ever, Jayson Werth’s two-run walk-off blast capped off a dramatic ninth-inning comeback for the Phillies yesterday. Here he is getting a man-hug from Charlie Manuel:

hairy werth.jpgThere are apparently those women out there who actually find his look attractive, or, as a friend who shall remain nameless put it on Facebook, “dirty hawt”. I personally do not count myself among these women. I think he looks like he just spent 40 days amongst the wolves.

Nonetheless, today comes word that Werth has switched agents, leaving Jeff Borris for the devil himself Scott Boras.

borasdevil_display_image.jpgWith free agency looming after this season, what tiny hope there may have been that the Phillies would be able to re-sign Werth seems to have just gone from infinitely small to totally non-existent. Raul Ibanez and Shane Victorino are both under contract for 2011, and Werth’s likely replacement, Domonic Brown, is also a Boras client. I can’t see Boras making much of an effort to deal with the Phillies, when he can probably get Werth a big payday elsewhere, and also get Brown a shot at the starting lineup next year.

Oh well.

To end on an upbeat note, I will be at the game tonight! The Phils open a 3-game series against the Braves, so the atmosphere at the ballpark should be playoff-like. Cole Hamels will be on the mound, so Phillies, remember…

RUN SUPPORT, PLEASE!

Your Wish Is Granted!

jambi.jpgWell, my birthday wishes came true yesterday – the Phillies DID win, and the Braves DID lose, so the Phils are atop the NL East. For the moment, anyway.

Now that three blogs’ worth of wishes in a row have been granted, I think I’d better stop while I’m ahead!

 

Clash of the Crustaceans

Saw this little news item on the Phillies website. Over the weekend, the Phils’ single-A affiliate, the Lakewood BlueClaws, won their South Atlantic League semifinal series over the Hickory Crawdads.

blueclaws logo.jpg
crawdads logo.jpg

Based on the mascots, I would definitely pick Pinchy the Crab in a mascot smackdown over Conrad the Crawdad. Pinchy just has a more determined look about him, and besides, Conrad is hiding behind a giant ‘H’.

The BlueClaws will now face the Greenville Drive for the Sally League title.

For the most part, minor league team names and mascots are a source of great amusement for me. But “Drive”? What kind of team name is “Drive”, anyway? Don’t the execs in Greenville realize that a catchy team name and mascot will provide multitudinous marketing opportunities, with cute little mascot bobbleheads and stuffed mascots for sale in the team store?

Whatever.

Good luck, BlueClaws!

What Should I Wish For?

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!

lucky stars copy.jpgHmm. 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.

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