Results tagged ‘ Chase Utley ’
Now that baseball season is over till next year, it’s time to get back to thinking randomly, something I do well. In my last entry, I said I’d be back “tomorrow” – well, that ended up being four days later. I should know by now never to give a concrete time frame, as real life tends to interrupt my blogging on occasion.
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Chase Utley hit five home runs during this year’s World Series, tying the record set by Reggie Jackson, aka “Mr. October”.
Since Derek Jeter is already “Mr. November” (thanks to his heroics in the 2001 World Series), and Chase’s homers occurred in October and November, does that make Chase “Mr. Octember”?
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Is there any rational explanation for having Alanis Morissette sing the National Anthem before Game 5 in Philadelphia last week?
She’s from Canada, and lives in neither Philadelphia nor New York. Besides, I thought she was into hockey players, not baseball players (rumor had it her hit song “You Oughta Know” was about her relationship with an unnamed hockey player).
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Speaking of singing, for those of you who couldn’t get enough of Tim McCarver during the World Series, here’s an item for your Christmas wish list:
Tim McCarver Sings Selections From The Great American Songbook, available as a download for a mere $8.99 at Amazon.com ($9.99 on iTunes)! Based on the 30-second preview snippets, all the songs are equally cringeworthy. Whoever thought this was a good idea should be forced to listen to it ad nauseum until baseball season starts anew!
The shocking thing is that of the 12 listener reviews on Amazon.com, eight gave it 5 stars (!). Could they be relatives of McCarver, using fake names? Or are there really that many people out there with tin ears?
Until next time, I’ll be thinking random thoughts, and making sure to share them with you!
(Utley and Morissette photos: AP)
Ya know, I fully intended to write this post well before now. Didn’t happen. Better late than never, though!
Last Wednesday, I attended the Phillies’ Baseball 101 for Women event, held at Citizen’s Bank Park. This was the fourth year the Phillies have held this event. The first year, 2006, only had a May session, but each year since then has had a May and an August session. Needless to say, every one has been a sellout! I’ve attended one each year, so this was my fourth visit to Phillies Heaven.
I made sure I left my house extra-early, just in case of traffic problems. As my family and friends know, I am not a morning person, so anything that gets me out of bed wide awake at 6:30 in the morning is a minor miracle!
Once we were there and checked in, there was time for a light breakfast. Bagels, muffins, and the like were available, as well as juice, tea and the all-important coffee. Gotta have my coffee! There was also time for a photo op with the World Series trophy before the day’s activities began.
Unlike the last time I was near the trophy, my kids were not present. No need to worry that my offspring might accidentally knock it over while fighting with each other.
About 150 women were in attendance, and for the morning’s sessions, we were divided into four “teams”. While waiting to get our team photo taken, we got a quick visit to the Phillies’ clubhouse.
Upon entering the clubhouse, we were greeted by this guy, whose job at the moment involved sorting the socks. Though you can’t see it in this photo, we were prevented from getting too close to the table by a red rope; otherwise, who knows, a few garments may have vanished as souvenirs :-).
Though we couldn’t get up close to the lockers in the back half of the clubhouse, we did get a good look into the lockers of Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Shane Victorino, among others. Actually, maybe a bit too much is on display in Chase’s locker.
Here is Ryan’s locker. Not too messy – he actually has a second one next to it. Apparently the big-name guys (Utley, Howard, Rollins) are afforded this little perk.
Shane Victorino’s locker is actually quite neat and tidy.
Even the clubhouse guys get World Series rings! Alas, he didn’t let any of us try it on.
Once we were done in the clubhouse, we made our way to the seating area behind home plate for a session with the guys who run Phanavision, the large video board in left field. Of course, all the video clips, in-game entertainment, music, etc. are computerized, with a small army of people working to make sure everything runs smoothly.
This same group is also responsible for producing many of the video spots promoting upcoming games and events. We got to see some outakes of Shane Victorino recording a spot for Jewish Heritage Night. It took Shane more than a few tries, and lots of laughing, to finally get the pronunciation of “chutzpah” right.
The four teams then split up for coaching clinics with the Phillies’ coaches. Rich Dubee talked about pitching, and we all got a chance to throw a few pitches in the bullpen. Milt Thompson and Pete Mackanin instructed us in proper hitting technique, and we had a chance to bat (off a tee) in the indoor batting cages. Davey Lopes discussed baserunning, and Sam Perlozzo talked to us about fielding. [no pictures of all this, it wasn't feasible to carry my camera during this portion of the day]
After a break for lunch, we had a Q and A session with J.A. Happ.
He explained that even though his printed name is two initials, proper pronunciation is “Jay” (J.A. stands for James Anthony, in case you were wondering).
Happ answered all kinds of questions for us, though he was a bit reticent about divulging any inside secrets. He admitted to having pregame rituals, though he wouldn’t say what they were. At one point, someone asked about his time with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. At this, host Scott Palmer produced a J.A. Happ bobblehead that was given away at an IronPigs game. Here’s J.A. coming face to face with his bobble likeness.
After J.A. left to a standing ovation, it was time to head to the Media Room for our session with Charlie Manuel.
Though Charlie has a reputation for not being a very eloquent speaker, he seemed pretty comfortable and at ease answering our questions, though when asked which was more intimidating, facing a roomful of reporters or a roomful of us, without hesitation he replied, “A roomful of women!”
Other topics included keeping the team focused on this year’s pennant race and not resting on last year’s laurels, the use of instant replay on disputed home run calls, and Brad Lidge’s problems this year.
Next came a session with umpire Laz Diaz.
Though it may look like Laz is signaling for a touchdown, he is in fact doing his impersonation of Shane Victorino’s arm-flapping in centerfield prior to being ejected from a recent game. As expected, there were many questions asked about why Shane was ejected, and why the home plate umpire would even be paying that much attention to a fielder (answer: the centerfielder is in direct view of the home plate ump, and all that arm waving is showing up the ump, therefore grounds for ejection). He was also asked what, if anything, catchers and batters talk about, and if there are any sure-fire ways to get ejected from a game.
Finally, the radio broadcasting duo of Scott Franzke and Larry Andersen talked about their experiences covering the Phillies. Here, Scott is apparently having a hard time believing something that Larry has just said.
Though not everyone agrees with me, I have always enjoyed L.A. as a broadcaster. Franzke is slowly growing on me, and these two have a great rapport. Their personalities complement each other very well, and in person you can really see how they play off each other.
Then it was on to our pregame patio party, with complementary food and beverages, and of course a visit from the Phanatic.
Then it was game time! As an added bonus, it was also Brad Lidge bobblehead night. I was just praying that Brad didn’t have to come into the game and possibly blow a save – who knows how many bobbleheads may have been thrown on the field if that had happened!
Cliff Lee was facing Dan Haren and the Diamondbacks. Lee had a great game; Haren on the other hand did not, giving up 6 earned runs in 5 innings of work. The Phillies bats were alive, with home runs from Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and two from Jayson Werth. The Phillies won, 8-1!
All in all, a great day! I’ll be looking forward to next year’s event so I can do it all over again!
(all photos by me, except obviously the ones with me in them; those were taken by a fellow attendee and one of the ballgirls, using my camera)
Phils Take 3 of 4 From Reds
After Monday’s offensive explosion resulted in a 22-1 demolition of the Reds, as I expected, the Phils sputtered and lost the next game, 4-3. But they bounced back and took the next two, by scores of 3-2 and 9-6. Last night’s victory even included an inside-the-park home run from Chase Utley. He scored standing up, no less! Not even a close play at the plate. Hooray for the Phils and for Chase!
Shane Victorino will be going to the All-Star Game, having overtaken Pablo Sandoval on the final day of voting. Shane will join Raul Ibanez, Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard as the Phillies’ representatives next Tuesday in St. Louis. Hooray for Shane!
I’m Going to the Game Tonight!
I get to go to my first Phillies game of the season. Hooray for me! They will be hosting the Pittsburgh Pirates, who are currently in the cellar of the NL Central. Hopefully that translates into a win tonight. Even if there are no offensive fireworks during the game, we will be staying for the fireworks after the game. Though I have to say, tickets for four of us (me, husband, two kids) cost a small fortune – I informed the kids that they’d better enjoy the game no matter what, and there was no way we were leaving early. I demand that I get my money’s worth!
What a Weiner!
And finally, a little tidbit I saw in yesterday’s newspaper, though I don’t think it’s breaking news. The head of the player’s union next year is going to be a real weiner.
Actually, not that kind; his name is Michael Weiner, and judging by this article on ESPN.com, he sounds like a likeable, qualified guy. But you just know that name is going to lead to some really bad puns at some point.
In between folding laundry and preventing the kids from seriously maiming each other, I periodically checked the Phillies/Mets game last night. Suffice it to say that Cole Hamels was not sharp. I mean, giving up a lead-off double to the pitcher?? Of course, this led to a run being scored. Thankfully, Chase Utley tied it up in the next inning, with a solo home run.
OK, so far I’m pretty calm. But then Hamels immediately gives a run, and more, right back, by allowing the Mets to score three runs in the bottom of the fourth. Now I’m not a happy camper, and with apologies to CCR, I felt a bad mood on the rise.
Lo and behold, the Phillies tie the game back up with three runs of their own in the top of the seventh. My mood was beginning to brighten. After scoreless eighth, ninth, and tenth innings, who should be leading off the 11th but Chase Utley. In answer to the prayers of Phillies phans everywhere, he obligingly deposited another ball in the right field seats to give the Phils a 5-4 lead. Ryan Madson, in his new role as closer of the moment, recorded a 1-2-3 bottom of the 11th for a save.
Like SpongeBob says, it’s sweet, sweet victory, yeah!
(OK, I’ve got two kids, I’ve seen waaay too much SpongeBob)
A fool and his money are soon parted
Is there actually a Mets fan out there who has $35,000 lying around that he/she doesn’t know what to do with? We’ll find out in two days, when bidding ends on eBay item 290322027654, the Shea Stadium Wrecking Ball.
Just how does one display a wrecking ball in their home? There are so many better things to do with $35,000 – they could always just send some to me, I would put it to good use!
So how many songs did you know?
Kudos to Julia, who identified all the songs my subheadings came from yesterday. For the record, they were:
“She’s mean and she’s evil, like that little old boll weevil…” – Little Sister, Elvis Presley;
“Doctor, doctor, give me the news…” – Bad Case of Lovin’ You (Doctor, Doctor), Robert Palmer;
“Hey now, you’re an all-star…” – All-Star, Smashmouth (an easy one);
“More, more, more…” – I was thinking of More, More, More by Andrea True Connection (yeah, I used to listen to disco back in the day) but my husband pointed out it could have come from Rebel Yell by Billy Idol (a college favorite, so I’m surprised I didn’t think of that myself);
“I’ve been drivin’ all night, my hands wet on the wheel…” – Radar Love, Golden Earring;
“But you don’t really care for music, do you?…” – Hallelujah. There are several different artists for this one. Leonard Cohen wrote it and recorded it first, though I prefer the version by Jeff Buckley. There is also a version by Rufus Wainwright, which appears in the movie Shrek.
“She’s mean and she’s evil, like that little old boll weevil…”
Yep, I’m feeling pretty mean and evil right about now. Despite hitting four home runs off Johan Santana, the Phillies fell to the Mets by a score of 6-5. Too bad three of the homers were the solo variety.
I was hoping that the Phillies could take advantage of the Mets’ depleted lineup, what with Jose Reyes and Carlos Delgado out with injuries, and the bullpen without J.J. Putz. But the baseball gods apparently had other ideas last night.
“Doctor, doctor, give me the news…”
Brad Lidge has been place on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained right knee. According to this morning’s newspaper, recent MRI exams have shown no structural damage. Maybe he also needs to get his head straightened out?
To take Lidge’s spot on the roster, the Phillies have called up Paul Bako from double-A Reading. Here he was on a recent Sunday:
The Phillies are now Bako’s 11th team during his major-league career! The move will allow the Phillies to use Chris Coste as a right-handed bat off the bench, while having Bako available as a backup catcher.
“Hey now, you’re an all-star…”
The most recent NL voting update shows Raul Ibanez leading all-star voting for outfielders. Ryan Braun and Carlos Beltran are in second and third, respectively. I’m OK with that. But why is Manny Ramirez still hovering around at fifth?? What knuckleheads out there are actually voting for him?? I know voting began prior to Manny’s suspension, so I can understand some votes in the early going, but why would anyone cast their vote for him now??
Other Phillies currently leading at their positions are Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins. I’ll agree on Chase, but as much as I like Jimmy, he is definitely not having an all-star calibre year so far. (I know, Jenn, I should bite my tongue and/or fingers for speaking/typing such heresy)
I myself have not voted yet, I tend to be a last minute voter, but rest assured I will be casting my ballot(s) soon.
“More, more, more…”
More megapixels, that is. After suffering a prolonged case of pixel envy (even my son’s point-and-shoot had more megapixels than my Canon Rebel!), I have finally upgraded to the Rebel XSi, nearly doubling my resolution from 6.5 to 12.2 megapixels. More is better, right? I’m looking forward to getting out there next week and using it.
“I’ve been drivin’ all night, my hands wet on the wheel…”
Speaking of next week, my husband and I will be hitting the road for a much-needed vacation, while the kids spend some time at Camp Grandma (otherwise known as my parents’ house). Contrary to the line above, I plan to do our driving during the day. Tentative itinerary has us stopping in Baltimore on Sunday (6/14) to visit Camden Yards (haven’t been there in many years), spending a few days in Myrtle Beach, and then hopefully hitting Washington to check out the Nationals the following Saturday (6/20).
“But you don’t really care for music, do you?…”
You may have noticed that all my subheadings are snippets of song lyrics. I guess I was feeling a bit musical this morning. Do you know them all? If you do, you get… well, nothing, except the satisfaction of knowing that you know them.
(photo by me)
What is going on here? I’m beginning to think someone is using one of these on Cole Hamels:
Either that, or it’s the *gasp!* SI cover curse.
First it was the sore elbow in Spring Training, then he was hit by a liner off the bat of Prince Fielder last week, forcing him from the game. Last night, he turned his ankle while fielding a bunt by Washington pitcher John Lannan, and again had to leave the game. Just when he was starting to look like the Hamels of last October, too – pitching 4 1/3 scoreless innings with 4 hits and 4 strikeouts. His velocity and control were back last night, as well.
Fortunately, x-rays were negative and the injury was deemed a “mild sprain.” With tomorrow’s off day, there will be an additional day between starts, so the team is optimistic that he will not have to miss a start.
The Phillies won the game, 7-1, with Chase Utley hitting two home runs, and Pedro Feliz and Raul Ibanez each adding a homer as well.
Back to that voodoo doll. If some evil person out there (probably a Mets fan) is using one on Cole, they obviously have a better doll than I do. For example, if I wanted to give, say, Johan Santana a sore elbow before his start today, all I’d succeed in giving him would be this:
If I wanted to sully the image of Grady Sizemore or Jacoby Ellsbury, to the consternation of many of the female bloggers, I could try to give them hairy ears, but end up giving them this:
Or if I wanted to attack Manny’s manhood, I’d have somewhat the opposite effect:
For the record, I bought this doll many years ago in the BK days, while strolling through the French Market in New Orleans. If you’ve never been there, the French Market is a sort of open-air farmer’s market/flea market. Of course, I decided I needed a voodoo doll (doesn’t everyone who visits New Orleans buy one?) but obviously didn’t look at it too carefully. It wasn’t until later that I noticed it was filled with typographical errors. I guess there was not a lot of proofreading or quality control going on where this was made.
As I promised in yesterday’s comments, here is the other “fishy” picture of the Marlins, taken mere moments before Cody Ross gazed lovingly at his hands.
Note how the other players are dutifully stretching, while Dan Uggla is doing Lord-knows-what to Ross’s butt. Something needed adjusting? Was there a little TP hanging out? I’m just going to stop right now.
(all photos (except SI cover, obviously) by me)
In what has become a disturbing trend so far in this season for the Phillies, starter Brett Myers gave up 3 runs to the Marlins in the first inning tonight on a 3-run homer to Dan Uggla. Cripes, guys, what’s with all the long balls? I’m getting a little tired of it, as I’m sure pitching coach Rich Dubee is, too.
The Fish retained that 3-0 lead through eight innings. Things looked bleak for the Phillies heading into the ninth, as Ryan Howard was retired to start things off. But then Jayson Werth doubled, Raul Ibanez walked, and Matt Stairs singled to drive in a run. Lou Marson walked to load the bases, but then Eric Bruntlett struck out. Next up was Jimmy Rollins, who walked to force in another run, making it 3-2. Shane Victorino picked an opportune time to have his bat awaken, as he then hit a grand slam to give the Phils a 6-3 lead. Chase Utley would add a solo shot of his own for good measure, to make it 7-3.
Ryan Madson took over in the bottom of the ninth, and though he allowed a walk and a double, he retired the side with no further scoring. Phillies win!
No crotch shots in today’s newspaper – darn! Two worthy captions for yesterday’s photo were submitted, they appear below.
“No, if you cover it up like this no one can see the stain”
- OR -
“Hey, get that away from my best friend!!!”
(photo by Steven M. Falk/Philadelphia Inquirer)
In typical fashion, after scoring big in Tuesday’s victory over the Brewers, the Phillies have now dropped the next two games, by scores of 3-1 and 6-1. Alright, this doesn’t happen every time the Phillies have a big game, it only seems that way.
Anyway, I don’t have much to say other than, we lost.
And since it’s been a long day, and I’m not feeling very imaginative, this will be one of my shorter entries.
On the lighter side, for the second day in a row I was greeted in my morning paper by a photo that shows what a tough week it’s been to be a ballplayer’s crotch.
Yesterday it was this little gem:
“Nope, my cup is bigger than yours”
Some of you were feeling creative, and left some caption ideas in the comments. After polling a random group of one (me), the favorite entry came from Julia of Julia’s Rants. Her caption appears above.
Today’s sports section had this image of Chase Utley tagging Ryan Braun in a delicate spot:
“Hey Ryan, that’s a crappy arabesque – get that leg higher!”
Again, let your imagination run wild, and leave your best creations in a comment. Make me laugh over my coffee tomorrow morning!
(Murphy/Molina photo: Bill Boyce/AP; Utley/Braun photo: Steven M. Falk/Philadelphia Inquirer
Aah, Wrigley Field, one of the most hallowed of major-league ballparks. After our extra-inning night in Milwaukee, we attended a day game in the Friendly Confines on August 22, 1997.
And what a day – beautiful, sunny, comfortable, a great view from the front of the upper deck:
What’s not to like? The outfield ivy was in full greenery. The hand-operated scoreboard in center field showed that this was the only day game going on at the moment:
We saw Harry Carey doing his traditional rendition of “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” during the seventh inning stretch:
Little did we know that we were lucky to be there in 1997, as sadly, Harry would pass away during the off-season, on February 18, 1998. There is now a statue honoring him outside the ballpark:
Oh, yeah, there was a ballgame going on that day. The Cubs were playing the Montreal Expos. Dustin Hermanson was on the mound for the Expos, and pitching for the Cubs that day was the Human Rain Delay, Steve Trachsel. Oddly enough, this game clocked in at a relatively brisk 2:31.
Sammy Sosa hit a two-run homer for the Cubbies in the seventh. Doug Strange hit a solo shot for the Expos in the eighth. [Strange - ha! Another name that could provide ample opportunity for merciless teasing during childhood.] The Cubs would tack on an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth, and hold on to win 3-1.
Also playing for the Cubs that day was Doug Glanville, who would later become a Phillie. Doug is shown here waiting on deck with Shawon Dunston:
In actuality, this should have been our second visit to Wrigley, rather than our first. In 1994, we were visiting friends in Chicago and had tickets to see the Cubs play the Phillies on September 10. How perfect! Except a little thing called the players strike, which began August 12, got in the way of my plans. Here we are in front of Wrigley holding our useless tickets, instead of seeing a game:
Oddly, my husband looks happy about this. One of the ticket windows was open, so at least we were able to get our money back that day.
We have been back to Wrigley since, to see three games (out of a four game series) between the Phillies and the Cubs in August 2006. We decided to try out three different seating areas of the ballpark.
For the first game, August 21, we gave the left-field bleachers a try. The bleachers in Wrigley are totally separated from the rest of the seating areas, and there is even a separate entrance:
The view from the bleachers is pretty nice. This photo was taken in the top of the first – it seems that there were a lot of late arriving fans that night:
This game featured home runs by Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley for the Phils, and Jacque Jones for the Cubs. This is also the game when Aaron Rowand broke his ankle after colliding with Chase Utley on a fly ball to shallow center field.
The Phils held on to win 6-5. Jon Lieber got the win, and Arthur Rhodes the save. Rich Hill took the loss for the Cubs.
The next night, August 22, we had seats in the lower level behind home plate. This is probably the only area I wouldn’t want to sit in again – the seats are really tight together, there are those annoying support beams that all old ballparks are blessed (cursed) with, and on a hot, humid night the air under there is very stagnant.
Jamie Moyer was making his first start for the Phillies – here is a shot of his first pitch:
No home runs this night, though Jimmy Rollins did hit a triple. The Phils would win 6-3, with Moyer getting the win and Ryan Madson the save. Ryan O’Malley took the loss for the Cubs.
The next night, August 23, we were again in the upper level to see Brett Myers take the mound for the Phils, and Angel Guzman for the Cubs. Here is a photo of Myers that night. He has a weird habit of not looking towards the plate as he releases the pitch:
Homers were hit by Ryan Howard for the Phils, and Matt Murton for the Cubs. The Phils would win again, this time by a score of 2-1. Myers got the win, and Geoff Geary got the save this night. Three saves, three different pitchers. Bob Howry would end up with the loss.
We would leave Chicago the next day, and thankfully not see Cole Hamels give up nine (!) runs in only two innings of work, though only five were earned. ;-) It would later be revealed that Hamels had cut the index finger on his left (pitching) hand with a Swiss Army knife while trying to cut a plastic zip tie in the days prior to the game, and he was unable to properly grip his change-up.
Note to Cole: stay away from cutting implements! Let Heidi do all the cutting!
Coming up next, Turner Field.
(all photos mine)
Yeah, today dawned rather gray and dreary looking, but barring unforeseen circumstances, the Phillies equipment truck should be making its way towards Clearwater even as I write. I would so love to be a stowaway on that truck!
Sunshine, palm trees, beaches – what’s not to love about Spring Training? Where else but Spring Training can you arrive at the ballpark when the gates open, and it looks like this:
but by gametime it looks like this? (Florida weather in March can be pretty fickle!)
Where else but Spring Training can you see synchronized fielding during the pre-game warmups?
Where else but Spring Training can you see Chase Utley and the rest of the Phillies looking more like Christmas Elves than baseball players on St. Patrick’s Day?
Where else but Spring Training can you stand next to Jon Lieber’s monstrously huge truck?
I wonder if he’s still driving that behemoth, considering he’s currently unsigned.
And where else but Spring Training can you sit on top of the dugout after the game is over, and not get shooed away by security?
Yes, my friend does actually have a face, but I didn’t know if she wanted her picture posted on the internet, therefore the homemade smiley.
We have been fortunate enough to take a trip to Clearwater to catch some Spring Training games four times, in 2000, 2002, 2003, and 2007. As much as I would love to make it number five in 2009, the prospects of that happening are currently not looking too good. Our finances resemble the country’s economy (pretty stinky). And now that both our children are school-age, it’s much harder to schedule, what with the kids’ activities and trying to convince the grandparents to stay at our house for an extended period to make sure the kids get to school on time, homework done, etc. So unless I win the lottery, or suddenly find a money tree growing in my backyard, I’ll just continue to dream about it.
Hopefully for some of you this spring your dreams will come true!