Archive for February, 2008

Talk to Pretty Girls Who Love Baseball

Posted by Brian Michael, Thu, February 21, 2008 12:19 AM Comments: 5

Tonight night at 6 pm 77 the Buzz Internet Radio will feature the fabulous Phillies ball girls. If you have seen the latest Phillies Home Companion “Goosebumps” then you know that the latest crop of ball girls do a lot more than just shag foul balls. So tune in and pay attention – you might even get a date out of it.

Talk to Phillies Ball Girls


Phils Tix On Sale Now! Buy! Buy! Buy!

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Wed, February 20, 2008 01:13 PM Comments: 7

Since yesterday, Phillies tickets have been on-sale for previous internet customers. But Matt Cerrone over at MetsBlog is already getting his friends on the bus by providing a link.

So here’s the link sent for tickets. Buy! Buy! Buy!

I bought tickets to the Sat. April 19 game against the Mets. MetsBloggers are too. Go Phils!


Neel: We’re No. 1!

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Wed, February 20, 2008 12:02 PM Comments: 0

Eric Neel of ESPN.com Page 2 has ranked the Phillies No. 1 on his MLB preseason power poll.

Of course, it’s a complete joke, but hey, we’re No. 1!

“All hail the classic punking of young pitcher Kyle Kendrick. And why are things so loose and optimistic in PhillieLand, you ask? Could it be the Valentine’s Day signing of Anna Benson’s husband to a minor league deal with Philadelphia? Yeah, he’s a long shot to make it all the way back from last season’s rotator cuff surgery, but you’ve got to love his, er, her, uh, clubhouse potential.”

The top-five:
2. Mets
3. White Sox
4. Tigers
5. Twins


Burrell Faces ‘Man Or Machine’ Year In 2008

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Tue, February 19, 2008 06:03 PM Comments: 3

There was considerable focus on Pat Burrell from the media today, as he gave the press corps a 30-minute junket. Let’s take a look:

Obviously, the big headline from the meeting was that Burrell wants to stay a Phillie.

Ken Mandel, Phils beat writer at MLB.com, had plenty to write about, as Burrell went into everything from his dog, Elvis, to being taken out late in games for defensive purposes.

“Any time you deal with adversity and go through some of the things I have, you have two choices: You can let it beat you up or build from it and go forward. Not only do you become a better player, but a better person, more understanding. You always see certain players struggle. Sometimes, you feel like you’re alone out there. Everybody who has played long enough has been through times where things aren’t going right. It can be a good thing.”

The positive Burrell wants to remain that kind of player in Philadelphia.

“One hundred percent I want to stay,” Burrell said. “I’d love to come back. It’s really got more to do with the guys on the team. This group of guys is going to win for a long time.”

While both Todd Zolecki and David Murphy expect Burrell will be fashioning another pair of pants next season, I’m not completely sold that he’s outta’ here. The Phils have had chances to trade him — though that no-trade clause has been sticky — and have never done the deal.

“There were times I thought I might not be here. I wasn’t sure if there was something going on in the offseason. Through it all, my mindset has always been Philly’s always treated me great.”

And Mandel doesn’t go as far as to saying the Phillies are striking Burrell out of the 2009 roster plans.

“Burrell has said in the past that he’s open to remaining in Philadelphia, so he would likely be open to an in-season extension. The Phillies, on the other hand, might wait until the season ends to explore that avenue,” he writes in his newest mailbag.

As for 2008, Philadelphia Will Do, the Philadelphia Weekly blog, has this quote from Mike Schmidt about Burrell:

“I’ve often times said Pat reminds me of myself… I would say this about Pat Burrell. The Phillies have one, two, three — three, is it? — solid MVP candidates and I believe Pat Burrell could be the fourth this year.”

Big words from a great player. So what can we expect from Burrell in 2008? Buster Olney of ESPN.com tackled Burrell at the right time, using scout evaluations to carve an opinion of the slugger. For the most part, the evaluations are sound — Burrell is close to a Three True Outcomes player, and if he doesn’t pull all the time, he could do damage at the plate.

What ’08 comes down to, according to Olney, is the kind of player Burrell will look to be — a home run-happy slugger who pulls for 35-40 HR (Man), or a sound hitter who continues his second half ’07 surge for strong overall numbers (Machine).

If Machine is the case, expect the Phils to be much higher on Burrell for 2009. And something tells me 2008 will be a monster year for Burrell, the kind Schmidt is talking about. I can see 34 HR, 120 RBI and a .305 AVG. Honestly. Plus, something has to be said about Burrell’s demeanor. Once considered a hermit, Burrell took charge as the pumped-up fireball of the second half. Add to that his long and candid conversation today, and Burrell becomes a bit more attractive for 2009.

So would the Phillies pony up the dough for another couple years of a Machine?


Listen Up

Posted by Brian Michael, Tue, February 19, 2008 11:51 AM Comments: 0

On Sunday I sat down with the guys from Gorrilla News Radio for a lively and lengthy discussion on several interesting topics including Chase Utley’s chance at MVP, the starting rotation, the Santana trade, Clemens on Capitol Hill, and why Mets fans are clueless. Have a listen, I come on around the 15-minute mark and stick around for the rest of the hour and a half long show.


Video: Victorino Pies Myers On ‘Today Show’

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Tue, February 19, 2008 11:45 AM Comments: 0

Hat tip to Beerleaguer on this one: Brett Myers and Kyle Kendrick were on NBC’s Today Show speaking about the Japan Prank. They did a nice job here — though Matt Lauer had to play stupid good guy for a moment — and then Shane Victorino performed the ol’ pie in the face on Myers.

Dig that chemistry.

Jimmy Rollins has reported to camp, according to Todd Zolecki. No word on a reaction to Carlos Beltran; honestly, there’s no need.


Helms: Early Homer Drought Spoiled Season

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Mon, February 18, 2008 08:41 PM Comments: 3

On a rainy and windy Monday in Clearwater, Wes Helms was the subject of considerable media attention. With the signing of Pedro Feliz, a numbers game has taken shape in the Phillies infield. Rumors have Helms being shopped around, and after his poor 2007, he’s arguably most likely to be cut from the 25-man Opening Day roster. Todd Zolecki recorded the mini press junket with Helms.

On signing Pedro Feliz and how he’s looking at playing time:

“It definitely put a damper in the playing time and all, but … I don’t look at it that way. If it comes down to being on the team or being the backup, then that’s so forth.”

On a potential deal that could benefit his playing time:

“In this game you’re loyal [to] the team you’re on. But when it comes down to your career, you want to play. That’s the only way you can go further. If they have a deal on the table where it benefits me and them, then yeah.”

On his offensive struggles in 2007:

“I had a good Spring Training and everything went great. I think when I didn’t hit the home run right away I started hearing it in my ear … it just messed my whole year up. I’ve always had a short —a short, compact swing. I would be the guy if I had 500 at bats, maybe I’d have 20 home runs but I’d have 40 doubles.”

On playing multiple positions in 2008:

“I’m thinking of myself first and third, because when it comes down to it, if there is something that comes down to a trade … that benefits me.”

On where he expects to be on Opening Day:

“I don’t know. That’s something that pans out when it does.”

I find it very interesting that Helms says he was most affected by the fact he couldn’t hit a home run early in the season (his first came on June 13). He blamed, more or less, peer pressure on his struggles. Obviously baseball is a mental game, but how does a guy not go with his strengths, especially when he’s performing so poorly?

I wouldn’t be upset to see Helms get dealt for something, maybe cheap pitching. While he could show to become a .280 hitter with moderate power, his inability to correct himself over an entire season is incredibly poor.


Commentary: Phils-Mets Rivalry Gains Character

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Mon, February 18, 2008 07:04 PM Comments: 0

Not even a week into Spring Training, and baseball already has its first big storyline of the 2008 season (that doesn’t involve performance-enhancing substances).

The Phillies-Mets rivalry is in full swing.

Last year, Jimmy Rollins’ quote about the Phillies being “team to beat” (now Wikified) sent shockwaves throughout the NL East, but really, Rollins was merely voicing energy for his team. It was a rallying cry, a fresh opine from the mouth of someone who chose to be the leader of his team. Remember, before Rollins’ “team to beat” statement, the Phillies were non-descript, a team many pegged as led by Bobby Abreu and Pat Burrell, soft-spoken (or non-spoken) men who rarely sought attention.

And look what 200 days can do. Between the Abreu trade and the Phillies division-clinching win, the team seemed to show a splendid cohesiveness. Team leadership focus switched from Abreu and Burrell to Chase Utley, Aaron Rowand and of course, Rollins. Last season, despite all the curveballs (injuries, early struggles, the 10,000th loss hoopla), the team never seemed phased. Nobody was thrown under a bus, even though it would’ve been easy to brand Wes Helms, Jose Mesa or Adam Eaton as absolute failures. Heck, even when Brett Myers called a reporter a “retard,” nobody flinched. When Charlie Manuel pow-wowed with the team after the 4-11 start, nobody flinched. If you remember, Helms said it was — for lack of better words — a constructive dressing down led by Manuel and pitcher/wiseman Jamie Moyer.

Clearly the Phillies are a focused and friendly team. But in the last week, as the Phils have descended upon Clearwater, Fla., they’ve taken even greater strides to show their camaraderie. The “Man or Machine?” T-shirt is a classic boy’s club joke; that was topped in spades by the Kyle Kendrick Japan prank, which has received international attention. Cruel prank? Nah. Kendrick’s reaction — along with the awesome reactions from the Phils playing along — showed these guys are completely comfortable and there’s nowhere else they’d want to play.

It brings up a question debated throughout the offseason: Would Aaron Rowand’s loss cost the Phillies in clubhouse leadership? Many fans I spoke to actually took this factor most seriously when mulling losing Rowand. If the first week of camp is any indication, Rowand’s leadership won’t be hard to fill.

Simply put, Utley is the unspoken leader. He may not talk a big game — instead he straddles company line and presents himself like a polished role model — but his stick leads the charge. Ryan Howard also leads with his bat, but manages to sneak his childish heart into the scene. Rollins is the vocal leader, always one to project the team’s goals in bright lights. Even Burrell has become somewhat of an aging fireball, much like Todd Helton in Colorado.

Then there’s Myers. While he won’t strike any of us as a Pulitzer Prize-winner, he seems to be outstandingly comfortable in giving his opinion. His reaction to Carlos Beltran’s “team to beat” rebuttal, while smacking of some bullying, does have worth.

Yes, Beltran came out with his big words Saturday. To me, it seems like a casual chance to be funny, maybe even arrogant in the face of the Phillies. Beltran knew what he was saying, and while it shouldn’t be taken as a big deal, it should be seen as a shallow belch in the middle of the NL East chow line. Rollins, meanwhile, said he thought the Phils were the best team “on paper” in the division. It wasn’t a personal shot, it was a rally.

Who knows how 2008 will advance, but one thing’s for sure — the Phillies have the chemistry and talent to do greater damage. The Mets have the talent. We’ll let the play progress as it should.


AJC: Braves ‘Under The Radar’

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Mon, February 18, 2008 12:18 PM Comments: 0

While it’s easy to get caught up in the growing Phillies-Mets rivalry …

… you can’t forget that other good team in the NL East.

David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution says the Braves are glad they’re flying “under the radar” while the Phils and Mets gain the headlines for their “heated” barbs.

O’Brien says the Mets and Phillies each have their faults, and the Braves have questions as well. He slips in an Albert Pujols/Brad Lidge dig, but honestly guys, can we cut that out? That’s tired shtick.

The Braves are a team to fear, and should be just as competitive as the Mets and Phils in 2008. Their rotation has more upside than the Mets’, but it also has more risks than the Phils’. Mark Teixeira should have another fantastic season, but will they get protection from Brian McCann, Mark Kotsay and Chipper Jones?

In the New York Daily News piece, Victorino says not to forget the Braves. And regardless of questions, the Braves are no doubt in the picture with the Phils and Mets, and we shouldn’t forget that going into 2008.


Video: Kyle Kendrick Getting Punk’d

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Sun, February 17, 2008 10:54 PM Comments: 3

Comcast Sportsnet has the full video of Kyle Kendrick being punk’d by Brett Myers and Co. Long story short: Kendrick is duped into thinking he’d been traded to Japan.

How elaborate is this: Myers got Ruben Amaro Jr., Charlie Manuel and Kendrick’s agent in on the joke. They set up a news conference in the locker room and had a trade contract prepared. Meanwhile, CSN got the whole thing on video.


Unbelievable. I felt really sorry for Kendrick when Manuel broke the news. But you have to give it up to everyone — they somehow held it together through the whole prank.

This team is getting easier and easier to love.

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