Results tagged ‘ Ben Francisco ’

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]

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(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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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!

Phun At The Phestival

On Monday, the husband, kids, and myself attended the 21st annual Phillies Phestival at Citizens Bank Park. The Phestival benefits the Philadelphia chapter of the ALS Association, and raised over $800,000 this year. Click here and here for coverage on the Phillies website.

Although it was drizzling slightly when we arrived at the ballpark, it did not last long, and it turned into a pleasant evening. Since we had about an hour until the players would begin signing autographs at their booths, we decided to take a walk around the concourse and get something to eat, rather than stand in line while nothing was going on. Then again, we weren’t lucky enough to get tickets to the “big name” booths, i.e. Howard, Utley, Rollins, etc., so there was no burning need to get in line early.

First stop was Brad Lidge’s booth, as all three of us had this ticket. My husband feels no need to get autographs, and really, why would we both need one? So he is the designated bag holder while the kids and myself are in the lines.

So what brilliant thing did I blurt out as I was handing Brad a baseball to sign? “Hi, how’s the elbow?” Like he hadn’t heard that hundreds of times already! Duh! By the way, he said it was feeling great. As I thanked him and moved on, I overheard the guy behind me in line come up to the table – “Hi Brad, how’s the elbow?” I wonder if he got really tired of that question by the end of the evening.

My daughter had a ticket for the Kyle Kendrick/Ben Francisco booth, so my husband went with her while my son followed me around as I was taking pictures of the players at some of the other booths. He didn’t enjoy this part of the evening.

My next stop was the Cuban station, otherwise known as the Danys Baez/Jose Contreras autograph booth. Neither of them was particularly talkative – I can understand Contreras wouldn’t be, as he doesn’t speak much (any?) English and Baez usually acts as his “interpreter”. Maybe Baez wasn’t quite sure what to make of all of it.

My son had a ticket for the Placido Polanco station, but decided not to use it since he already had a Polanco autograph from the first Phestival I took him to about six years ago, during Polanco’s first stint as a Phillie. Since I also had a ball signed back then, I had Placido sign a photo of him that I had taken in Spring Training:

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While I was doing this, my husband took the kids to buy some grab bags, and also go in the clubhouse store. My son wanted to buy a Polanco t-shirt, but being a male, can’t be bothered to look at the tag to see what size it is. So he held one up in front of him, asking dad if he thought he’d “grow into it”. Lord only knows if my husband was actually paying attention, because when we got home, he tried it on and it fit like a dress. I took a look at the tag and said of course it was too big, it was an adult extra-large. So yeah, he’ll grow into it, maybe by the time he graduates high school! So I guess it’s mine for now. :-)

So here are some photos from the evening, of the players whose booths I could get to. Some were in locations where only people with tickets to those booths could get through, or were not easily accessible, such as Raul Ibanez, Jayson Werth, and Ryan Howard. Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay were in photo booths, which required purchase of a separate ticket.

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Brad Lidge’s elbow was feeling great, hopefully he didn’t get writer’s cramp!

Chase Utley is much better looking without his hair all gooped back.

Kyle Kendrick has a really big forehead, which I never noticed with his cap on.

 

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Ben Francisco was making his first Phestival appearance.

Why does Milt Thompson look so serious? Milt didn’t smile much in last year’s photo, and he still isn’t in this year’s version.

Since I had my camera turned vertically, J.C. Romero decided to turn his head, too. :-)

 

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Joe Blanton strikes a no-nonsense look.

Jimmy Rollins always looks like he’s having fun. Jimmy was one of several players on the DL who still chose to participate in the Phestival – kudos to them!

David Herndon signs a card for a fan.

 

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I hope Ryan Madson’s toe was carefully tucked under the table, so no one stepped on it.

I warned Danys Baez I was going to take a picture, but he still doesn’t quite look ready for it.

Jose Contreras signs a baseball for me.

 

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Team president and CEO David Montgomery was on hand to help out. He later walked past my husband while I was at the grab bag table with the kids, and thanked him (and us) for coming out.

Placido Polanco smiles for my camera.

Davey Lopes reaches for a ball from a fan. Davey also looks very serious all the time – he and Milt need to smile more often! :-)

 

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Jamie Moyer appears to be letting his hair get a little shaggier than usual.

Shane Victorino has a big grin – hmm, what is he up to?

J.A. Happ was another player on the DL who chose to appear at the Phestival.

 

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Is there a rule that coaches don’t smile? Rich Dubee follows the lead of Milt and Davey.

Carlos Ruiz signs a jersey.

I felt kind of bad for Wilson Valdez. Paired with Ruiz at a booth, many people walked right past him without stopping. He’s even holding two pens, ready and waiting to sign something. His photo was in the program, people! He did light up with a smile when I called his name for a photo op.

 

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Is it wise to hand your children over to Larry Andersen and Gary Matthews? And when did L.A. shave his beard?? He just looks so…so…different.

My daughter and I pose with the 2008 World Series trophy and the 2009 National League champion trophy.

Why are my son and husband grinning like that? Certainly not because they’re thinking about all the money we just spent on tickets, grab bags, food, and the gift shop (though it is going towards a good cause). No, apparently my daughter was sticking her fingers up in “rabbit ears” behind my head, unbeknownst to me.

Speaking of the gift shop, one of my purchases was the new Phillies coffee-table book, Phillies: An Extraordinary Tradition.


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I’ve only just begun to casually flip through it, but it looks to be a real visual feast, with plenty of photos covering the entire spectrum of Phillies history.

You may have noticed that I haven’t had much to say about the Phillies actual play recently. Well, that’s because I haven’t been too happy with it. The offense again failed to show up last night, as they were shut out 8-0 by the (ugh!) Mets.

Though I may frequently spew negative comments to my family while watching the games, I don’t really like to commit such thoughts to the permanency of the internet. I may be forced to break this self-imposed rule if they don’t start scoring some runs and winning some more games pretty soon! Only three games separate the first- and last-place teams in the NL East right now. Please, Phillies, I don’t deal with stress very well – enlarge that lead or I will eat way too much junk food, and it will be all your fault!

I Give My Thanks to Ben Francisco

If not for Ben Francisco’s leadoff homer in the top of the 12th, I would have been doing this today

BangingHeadAgainstKeyboardStreetSig.gif Banging Head on Computer Keyboard image by TheKen08

as I sat writing about Brad Lidge’s seventh blown save of the season.

The Nose Knows

Things had looked bleak back in the sixth, with the Phils down 2-0. I was already envisioning doing the head-banging thing, as Rich Harden had been perfect through 5 1/3. But then Carlos Ruiz walked with one out. J.A. Happ then made a pathetic attempt at a sacrifice bunt, popping out to Derrek Lee and failing to advance Ruiz. So with two outs, Jimmy Rollins comes to the plate, and my husband announced he could “smell” a two-run homer.

Sure enough, Jimmy came through to tie the game!

The Phils went up 3-2 in the eighth, when Ryan Howard walked with the bases loaded. Thank you Ryan, for not striking out!

But darn it, Brad Lidge came on in the bottom of the ninth. Unlike last year, he has been anything but “lights out” this year. As mentioned earlier, he allowed the Cubs to tie the score, for his seventh blown save. Ready…to…tear…hair…out! Guess it’s a good thing Charlie doesn’t have too much of his own hair left, because if he felt like I did, he’d have been yanking it out by the handful.

Fast forward to the top of the 12th, and Francisco’s homer puts the Phils ahead. Heading into the bottom of the 12th, I commented that thankfully Lidge couldn’t come in again to blow another save. Chad Durbin entered the game and did what Lidge could not, preserve a one-run lead to get the save.

Give Me An ‘O’!

Today’s Inquirer had a good write-up about prospect Domonic Brown, who was recently promoted to AA-Reading. According to the story, Brown remains a shy prospect despite the recent attention cast on him by various trade-deadline rumors, and only recently informed the Phillies that they have been spelling his name wrong ever since he was drafted.

So I looked in the 2009 Media Guide, and sure enough it was spelled “Dominic”. I also noted that he had been drafted in 2006! A mere three years ago. Better late than never, I guess.

This Sunday we’ll be heading to Reading for the game, so I hope to get a good look at (and some good photos of) Brown in action.

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