Archive for April, 2005


Posted by Brian Michael, Thu, April 28, 2005 10:59 PM Comments: 0

Wow, its been a busy week keeping up with the Phillies down here in DC.  After three straight low scoring games the Phils evened up the season series with the Nats.  The 4:35 start of yesterday’s game made for some interesting shadows.  We know it’s important to factor in the sun’s path across the sky when building a ball field, but you should also keep it in mind when picking seats.  Wrigley was freezing behind the plate in the shade and swirling winds; how I envied the bleacher bums sitting smugly in their sun.  Yesterday, it was a similar situation but I was fortunate to have friends sitting in centerfield - not that I didn’t have my pick of centerfield seats at cavernous RFK.  Nonetheless the Nats budget stadium is a great place to take in a game.

More Phillies games to follow: I’ll be there Saturday night versus Florida.  Who wants to party?!

Check out the new links:

Photos from Holy Family University night at Citizen’s Bank Ballpark last year.  My mom threw out the first pitch. 

Jayson Stark reiterates my frustration in:  Phillies still laboring under great expectations.


Phillies vs. Nationals – RFK Stadium

Posted by Brian Michael, Wed, April 27, 2005 12:29 AM Comments: 0

Click for slideshow


A Close One

Posted by Brian Michael, Mon, April 25, 2005 11:33 PM Comments: 0

The decision to carry only 4 outfielders was justified a bit more tonight. Placido Polanco made his first career start in left field tonight in place of the injured Pat Burrell. So while Burrell and Lofton were both nursed leg injuries, the Phillies outfield read Polanco-Michaels-Abreu (and their boxscore read 3 for 14). But it was a division win against a team they should beat. The decision to bring in Wagner, as always, was a good one. His inning and a third was the best pitching in the game, despite earning the 5-4 save with a man on third. Tomorrow the Phils look to take further advantage of my lucky presence as ace Jon Lieber takes the mound opposite the Nats John Patterson. They need to get hot for their weekend series home against the Marlins.

P.S. Watch how shallow David Bell and the rest of the team plays against Christian Guzman. It’s embarassing.


Can you feel it?

Posted by Brian Michael, Mon, April 25, 2005 12:35 AM Comments: 0

So I spent the weekend at home in Philly and unfortunately my friends and family confirmed my earlier suspicions – the frustration is real. Even before getting swept by the Braves you could feel it. It feels exactly like last season, and the ones before that. I wish there weren’t an offseason, that way I wouldn’t forget what this feels like.

In Fever Pitch Nick Hornsby describes Arsenal during similar low points as, “Never be bad enough to go down, but never good enought to win anything, and the statis made you want to scream with frustration.” Have we reached this point? If this were soccer would the Phillies have been relegated long ago?

The only way to shake this gut wrenching feeling is to have the Fightins’ climb out of the basement after this series with the Nationals. I’ll be there for all three games — RFK is only a two beer walk from the house.

In other Phillies news, The Floyd Brothers, like the rest of the Phils, didn’t have the best of weeks. Elder brother, Mike was traded to Houston on Saturday and a day later superstar Gavin was demoted to AAA Scranton in favor of Geoff Geary.

Lenny Dykstra has been accused of taking steroids and gambling on games during the ’93 season. Lance Pugmire of the LA Times reports allegations of Dykstra advising a man “to bet thousands of dollars with a bookmaker on selected Phillie games in 1993.” Nails of course denies the claim, but it really wouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

It looks like it’s gonna be a long summer.


Six Degrees of Charlie Sheen

Posted by Brian Michael, Thu, April 21, 2005 10:24 PM Comments: 0

The Phillies evened their record at 8-8 today with a win over the Rockies to split the two game series.  Paradoxically, Thome hit his first dinger of the season and Lieber improved to 4-0 – both good news nonetheless.  Former Phil Desi Relaford accounted for all Colorado runs with a home run and RBI single.  The three earned runs bring the season runs allowed total to 86, the most in the division.

The other J-Mike, Jason Michaels hit his third double of the season reaffirming Manuel’s decision to platoon the centerfield spot.  Don Bostrom of Allentown’s The Morning Call wrote today on how the two have co-existed in harmony with spectacular results.

Entering Wednesday’s game with Colorado, Lofton had a .387 average, eight runs scored and an on-base percentage of .457. Michaels owned a .400 average and a .519 on-base percentage. Combined, they had a .392 average and .492 on-base percentage.

I’ll be honest: I never liked the prospect of either of them patrolling centerfield.  I’d prefer investing time and training in Marlon Byrd or another young prospect.  Now I’m usually an advocate of the platoon system, but the centerfielder plays a unique and crucial role on a baseball team. It is not a two man operation.  See how Juan Pierre, Andrew Jones and Carlos Beltran catalyze their lineups with consistent speed and power.  Despite the early season success of Lofton and Michaels it is unlikely there will be a successful future with this setup.



Posted by Brian Michael, Mon, April 18, 2005 11:31 PM Comments: 0

I remember the second (or was it the third?) game of the year when Tim Worrell blew his first save, Larry Anderson said you can’t get on the bullpen; they are the strongest aspect of the team.  Well, that can be argued but it’s about time to start asking questions – even Wagner looked shaky this weekend.  Again, the pitching staff cannot rely on large leads, it’s about pressure and being able to hold a lead.  This bunch has not shown an ability to do that.  But…they held on tonight, so rejoice!

I also wanted to take this opportunity to briefly introduce a few new everyday players for the Phillies this season.  Marc Bombard, the new first base coach, joined the Phillies in 1997 as manager for the Red Barons Scranton/Wilkes-Barre until last season.  A former Reds pitcher, he filled in for John Vukovich in 2001.  Across the diamond, Bill Dancy will play the third base coach spot.  He has managed at all levels of the Phillies farm system for the past 27 years.  The Phillies preferred to keep it in-house this time around.


Nice win

Posted by Brian Michael, Sat, April 16, 2005 06:43 PM Comments: 0

What great finish to today’s game. After Lieber pitched an eight inning gem, Wagner got the save and Kenny Lofton made a catch in deep centerfield. Chase Utley proved why he is the Phillies’ future, his three inch height advantage over Polanco may have saved the game as he dove to record the game’s last out. I thought Manuel was going to keep Lieber in but it was a great decision to bring in Wagner in the 9th, if not obvious. In the Nationals home opener Frank Robinson almost blew the game when left Livian Hernandez a three-run home run too long. Speaking of which, we just saw him use a cell phone in the dugout tonight, that’s a first for me. I wonder if it was for a call to the bullpen that would be an interesting new technological breakthrough in baseball. Maybe they will put earpieces in the catcher’s ear so the manager can call the game from the dugout. Signals have worked for 150 years but the NFL has had success with adopting this practice. It will be interesting to see how MLB integrates technology on the field past Questec. Anyway, the only downside of this afternoon’s game was that Pat Burrell snapped his ten-game winning streak.


Phils Stay On Top of Florida

Posted by Brian Michael, Mon, April 11, 2005 10:38 PM Comments: 0

The Phillies continued last year’s late season success against the Marlins as they won 4-1 tonight. Pat Burrell continued his offensive explosion with a 2 run tape measure shot in the 2nd and Billy Wagner recorded his first save of the year. Burrell was named this season’s first NL player of the week, and that’s awesome. As for my past week, the last few days were spent in Chicago, more specifically Wrigleyville. Beautiful weather for Cubs Opening Day, Ryne Sandberg threw out the first pitch and sung “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” along with Ernie Banks and Ron Santo. Wrigley’s great and it will be the first non-Phillies addition to the Photo Gallery. It’s not quite ready yet so enjoy these shots from inside Citizens Bank Ballpark. This was the tour I was talking about from Easter last year before the park opened.


Our Centerfielder?!?

Posted by Brian Michael, Thu, April 07, 2005 11:30 PM Comments: 0

Well fans, what year is it? Did they stop playing baseball in 2004, or is this just a continuation of last year? This just proves why everyone hates Ed Wade. He can not just keep feeding us the line that this is a championship caliber team, becuse he can not really believe that. The only way this is a playoff (not even championship) calibur team is if everyone on the team has career years! That my friends does not make a championship calibur team, that makes a mediocre team. I mean our bullpen, a supposed strength of the team, could not hold two leads in the 8th inning in the past two games against the Nationals of all teams. I bet your wondering why I titled this post “Our Centerfielder,” well let me get to that. As you all know Kenny Lofton was awarded the infamous Steve Jeltz award last night. Well let me be the first to nominate him again if only for his quote to the media after today’s loss. A reporter asked him why he has not been playing a deeper centerfield considering how much room there is at “The Vault?” Well his answer was (and I am parapharasing here), “Listen guys its only the third game of the season, its not like I am going to go out there and risk myself by running into walls or anything!” Are you kidding me, can anyone say Ricky Waters, “For who, for what?” One last thing, if this team tanks early…and I am not going to start calling a tank job until 25 games or so in…they have NO chance of turning it around. So note to Phillies players (especially Kenny Lofton) you better play games 4-20 like they were games 124-140!


Phils News

Posted by Brian Michael, Wed, April 06, 2005 09:31 PM Comments: 0

MLB.com: Phillies Update

Phils Trade Rumors

Trading Floor at Metsblog.com


Inquirer Phillies News

Phillies Transactions

Phillies Free Agent Tracker

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