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Phillies Nation Podcast 24: Victor Rojas

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, January 13, 2010 06:29 AM Comments: 2

Welcome to the Phillies Nation Podcast!

Victor RojasPat Gallen is joined today by Victor Rojas of the MLB Network just hours after the Mark McGwire interview in which he admitted to using performance enhancing drugs during his career.

Victor sheds some light on the situation, saying that his candor was self-serving because of his new job with the St. Louis Cardinals.  On the flip side, he thinks Big Mac left the door open on too many issues and had an opportunity to close them by simply saying he took them to get an edge over the competition. Until players are completely open, Victor says, there will always be questions surrounding players who dance around the topic without hitting it head on.

As far as the Hall of Fame is concerned, Victor isn’t sure much will change with this confession.  He does believe that more and more retired players who are linked to steroids will follow suit to try and save face and win some people back.  Victor does believe Pete Rose should be in the Hall, and that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have an asterisk or plaque symbolizing those who may have cheated.

Rojas is one of the lead anchors for the MLB Network, both as a studio host and play-by-play voice.  Before joining the new baseball-only network, Rojas was a voice for both the Texas Rangers and Arizona Diamondbacks.  Before taking his skills to the booth, he was the GM for the Newark Bears of the Atlantic League.

Click here to listen Phillies Nation Podcast – Episode 24

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Nicole Brewer of CBS3.com Interviews Pat Gallen

Posted by Brian Michael, Fri, October 23, 2009 08:18 PM Comments: 0

Click here for the videoToday our own Pat Gallen was interviewed by Nicole Brewer of CBS3 for her segment Behind The Blog: PhilliesNation.com.

What’s your favorite blog of all time?
My favorite blog of all time is probably Truehoop, which is now part of ESPN.com. It was actually the reason I got into blogging, because I love what Henry Abbott does on his site. It’s actually an NBA blog, which is how I got started, by doing my own basketball blog.

What’s the best blog post you’ve ever written?
I’d like to think that each time I write, that it’s the best I’ve done because I’m learning new things everyday, and still learning the craft of being a writer. If I had to pick one though it would probably be the piece I put up after the Phillies Game 4 win against the Dodgers, when J-Roll won it in the 9th. It was basically a breakdown of my day and just how insane it was at the ballpark. I think it captured what it’s like to be a true fan at the game.

Read more and watch the video at CBS3.com

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Phillies Nation growing through Web site

Posted by Brian Michael, Fri, October 09, 2009 07:14 PM Comments: 2

Delaware County Daily Times
By TIMOTHY LOGUE

They can be found in Denver pubs, the cafes of Rome and in the sports bar at the Gen. Patton Barracks in Heidelberg, Germany.

And Brian Michael will tell you their numbers are growing.

“You can go to pretty much anywhere and you will find Phillies fans,” said Michael, the 28-year-old founder of PhilliesNation.com

Thanks to Michael and his 10,000-plus subscribers, those fans have had a place to share insights, frustrations and love of all things Phillies since the site went live a few months after Citizens Bank Park opened in 2004.

“I grew up in Philly and had moved away to Washington, D.C.,” Michael said. “I was finding it hard to get all my Phillies information, so I decided to put it all in one place.”

In addition to offering game stories, columns and podcasts, Phillies Nation subscribers also get together for road-trips to New York, Washington, D.C., and Clearwater, Fla., charity events and tailgates.

“I’d say 60 percent of our subscribers are from Philadelphia and the outlying counties,” Michael said. “But we also have guys on military bases in Germany, people who have moved to Texas and nuns from Philadelphia.”

The closest thing to a Phillies Nation mission statement can be found in the “About” section of the site, which says, in part:

“Although there are certainly other sites out there that deal with the Phillies, this one is written exclusively through a fan’s perspective. Stats and algorithms have their place in analyzing baseball, but if a player sucks, Phillies fans don’t require quantitative proof. We smell failure a mile away. We boo first, ask questions later.”

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Michael is one six writers on the site, which also features his sister Julie, a 2005 Villanova alum, and columnist Nick Staskin, who moonlights/daylights as a beer man down at Citizens Bank Park.

While the Red Sox Nation is a brand name known throughout the country (the team even sells certificates to prospective members), Michael said his operation is a little more parochial.

“It’s a little different than the Red Sox,” said Michael, whose girlfriend, Laura, is a huge Yankees fan. “A lot of people find it easy to be in Red Sox Nation, but to be part of Phillies Nation, I think you almost have to be born and raised with it.

“The Yankees and Red Sox have the international cache. Maybe if we win a couple more World Series, we’ll be there.”

Michael, who describes himself as “a hardcore Phillies fan from birth,” made his first trip to the Vet with his father in 1987.

“I remember Ozzie Virgil hit a home run,” he said. “That’s about it.”

Hardcore Phillies Nation members would know he was referring to the May 13, 1987, game where Virgil, then a member of the Braves, homered off reliever Wally Ritchie, or the May 14 game, where he smacked two solo shots off starter Kevin Gross.

With the exception of the 1993 pennant winners, there was little for Michael or any other Phillies fan to cheer about until the current nucleus of players started to contend.

“My parents always planned their vacations around where the Phillies were playing when I was growing up, and I’ve followed them ever since,” said Michael, whose site features an Ashburn Award, given to the most valuable player from the previous game, and asks fans to contribute their favorite memories of Harry Kalas.

Thursday morning, he was hosting a Phillies Nation tailgate outside Citizens Bank Park. A “game-watching” party is scheduled for Saturday night at McFadden’s Restaurant & Saloon, the popular pub that’s attached to the ballpark. More than 150 people have already signed up for the event.

In addition to social and charity functions, Michael, who works for a political consulting firm in Arlington, Va., attends as many Phillies games as he can. “I have a six-pack plan from the Phillies and I probably made it to 20 games this year, home and away.”

For buying a block of tickets for Phillies games in Washington, D.C., the Nationals recognized him and other “group leaders” before a game at Nationals Park.

“They brought us all down to the field and I was wearing a Phillies hat,” Michael said. “They asked me to take it off, which was fine with me. … I didn’t want to embarrass them any more.”

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Day games leave Phillies fans desperately trying to sell

Posted by Brian Michael, Wed, October 07, 2009 11:57 PM Comments: 4

By Patrick Lester
OF THE MORNING CALL
October 7, 2009

The baseball gods threw hard-working Phillies fans a buzz-killing curve this week.

But they sure were smiling on those with free afternoons or a propensity to fake a sniffle in the heat of a pennant race.

The defending world champions play the Colorado Rockies today and Thursday beginning at 2:37 p.m., a time slot that has created a rare buyer’s market for the opening round of the Phillies’ latest playoff march.

Ticket-holders with job commitments are scrambling to sell. The ticket-less with time off or no qualms about playing hooky are capitalizing.

In one case, 10 — count ‘em, 10 — tickets were available for $75 a pop, a bargain compared with those going for hundreds.

”My friend and his family were supposed to go, but because the game is so early they can’t,” said Lisa Moise of Philadelphia, who advertised those 10 tickets on Craigslist for a friend who was stuck in the office Tuesday. ”Literally, no one can get off. And I know they’re not the only ones.”

That appeared to be an understatement. Tickets that have been hard to come by all season — the Phils broke an attendance record this season by selling out 72 of their 81 home games, including the final 41 — suddenly are ripe for the buying.

During lunch hour on Tuesday, StubHub.com had 1,096 seats available for today’s game and nearly 1,200 for Thursday’s game. Prices were starting around $51 and went up to $2,000.

One shrewd Craigslist poster was looking to take advantage of the unexpected supply: ”Don’t have a lot of cash so looking for best ticket at lowest price.”

For some, the early start times were a sobering blow to business.

Take Gino Capobianchi. Following last year’s title run, the Philadelphia man bought season tickets for this year, specifically to sell them and make some money. He also guaranteed himself playoff tickets, which normally translate into a big payday on the open market.

Capobianchi, who is 48 and unemployed, put a pair of tickets up on Craigslist for $400 apiece Saturday. By Tuesday, the asking price was down to $280 and heading south.

”So far, nobody called because it’s a bad time,” Capobianchi said. ”I’ll just lower the price until somebody calls.”

He finds himself in an enviable win-win situation . If he doesn’t sell, he’ll make the 20-minute trip to Citizens Bank Park for the game. ”I can still go,” he said. ”When you’re out of work like half the city, you don’t have a schedule.”

Brian Michael, the 28-year-old founder of http://www.philliesnation.com , has a schedule he has to keep. He had to reluctantly turn down offers for tickets to today’s game because of his job as a Web site manager and political fundraiser. He said some Phillies Nation followers were voicing their displeasure over Major League Baseball’s perceived mistreatment of the Phillies.

”Obviously, because people can’t go, they feel the Phillies have been disrespected as the defending world champions,” he said.

Faust Ruggiero, executive director of The Phillies Fan Union, a fan club that says it has 140,000 members, said he was getting mixed reviews on the game times and ticket sales.

”Most of our members feel that the reigning World Series champions should have a prime time start for the first game,” he wrote in an e-mail. ”We’re not hearing that very many are selling their tickets, though. Phillies fans tend to be more hard-core than that.”

Mike Smith, a 25-year-old banker from Wilmington, Del., has eight tickets for today’s game and put six up for sale, four on StubHub.com and a pair on Craigslist. As of noon Tuesday, he sold one pair for $70 apiece — face value was $50 — and was expecting to get more bites on the others.

”I couldn’t find any friends to go because they’re all working,” he said, adding he made more money on last year’s tickets. ”Whoever is making the decisions is making the decisions based on viewership in the whole United States. I don’t think [the Phillies] deserve anything better just because they’re the World Series champions.”

So what happens if sellers don’t get any takers?

”I have no idea,” Moise said. ”We’ll probably start giving them away.”

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Implications of the Death of Phillies Fan, David Sale

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, July 28, 2009 08:15 AM Comments: 62

Recent history has made it a joyous time to be a Phillies fan.  Beyond the 2008 trophy, this year’s team has rallied from an average start, catapulting themselves back into the elite class.  This weekend, the Phils took two of three from a very respectable St. Louis Cardinals team.  But after the Phils won Saturday’s game, a young life was taken.  The beauty mark of a World Championship quickly turned to the black eye of a senseless death.

We’ve seen insolent and vulgar behavior before at sporting events in Philadelphia – probably experienced it first-hand.  Yet the unfortunate actions of few have become synonymous with many.

After David Sale Jr., 22, of Lansdale was beaten to death outside of Citizens Bank Park on Saturday, the parallels were made immediately.  This city is filled with rude, despicable creatures and we were all lumped into the boat.  Plus this is not something the national media forgets; nor should they.  Colin Cowherd spat his fury and vitriol, blaming it on lack of education.  Just blame it on ignorance.

Although the whole story has not been revealed, Sale was jumped and beaten to death after an altercation over a spilled beer inside McFadden’s, which carried over to the parking lots outside of the stadium.

It’s foolish to think these kinds of things won’t happen.  Alcohol fuels the inner testosterone and, with the backdrop of an intense sporting event that credits winners, not losers, turns men into meatheads.    Three men, if we can call them that, believed that by beating a man repeatedly, they would win.  Now everyone has lost.

As part of Phillies Nation, I’ve experienced the passion of Phillies fans in many new ways.  I feel I am now one with the team, the city, and the fans, more than ever. The stain of a murder on the grounds of our park affects us all to an extent.  We should not downplay the loss the family of David Sale now must endure.  Here at Phillies Nation, our condolences go out to his family.

As a fan base, we have found solace and reprieve from everyday life in what trades will be made, which prospects are being watched, and whether or not J.P. Ricciardi is losing his mind.  Someone who enjoyed the same pastimes – one of our own – is now gone.  It hurts me deep because I think of the ballpark as a cathedral, a place where we can go to worship the baseball gods and pray for a run, or a win, or a championship.

Many of us did not know David Sale, but I believe there is an easy way to remember his life: by being a proper fan.  By proving the pundits wrong that pounce on Philadelphia’s every error. Whether we like it or not, it is you and I, and millions of other Phillies fans that will gain the reputation of three immature, cowardly cretins.  I think we all should rally around the spirit of Brotherly Love, giving our Phillies the fan base they deserve. It something we need to do.

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J-Roll charity bowl on sale today

Posted by Brian Michael, Tue, April 14, 2009 05:35 PM Comments: 0

From the Daily News

Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins will host the Fourth Annual Jimmy Rollins Celebrity BaseBowl Tournament at the Lucky Strike Lanes (1336 Chestnut).

Rollins and many teammates will bowl with fans July 23. Last year’s event sold out months in advance, so we’re letting you know about this now. The event benefits the Rollins Family Foundation and the Arthritis Foundation. Individual bowling spots are $1,000 (good for bearer and one guest) and available today at PhilliesNation.com.

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Listen: Tim On Behind The Mike Tonight

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Sun, March 15, 2009 01:56 PM Comments: 0

Want more spring training talk? Visit Behind the Mike tonight and listen to yours truly on the Behind the Mike Show with Joel Michaelec. We’ll be talking about your world champions as they prepare to defend their title in 2009.

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Philadelphia Sports Stars: Where Are They Now?

Posted by Brian Michael, Fri, February 27, 2009 02:31 PM Comments: 0

Philadelphia Magazine – March 2009

Von Hayes

Phillies, 1983-’91

Last summer, when the Atlantic League’s Lancaster Barnstormers came up shorthanded, first-year manager Von Hayes activated himself, signing a $1 contract and releasing himself the same night. Fittingly, he’s most famous as a Phillie for an oddity: being the first major leaguer ever to hit two home runs in the first inning. “I was, like, one-for-18,” Hayes says of his shining moment on June 11, 1985. “I told my manager if I led off, I could get up more, get my hitting back. So for the first time in my career, I hit leadoff. And I hit a home run in the first inning, and we batted around, and the next time I came up, the bases were loaded, and I hit a grand slam.” The Phils won, 26-7. Hayes, now 50, isn’t sure why he remains a hot topic on Phillies sports blogs (in January, PhilliesNation.com was musing on his nickname, “The poor man’s white Darryl Strawberry”), or why local rock band Von Hayes named itself after him. (“I doubt I’d go out of my way to hear them.”) But there’s something very Philly about Hayes: “I wasn’t someone you read too much about, on or off the field. I’m just a regular guy.”

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Philadelphia Metro

Posted by Brian Michael, Wed, October 15, 2008 03:25 PM Comments: 0

Philadelphia Metro – From the blogs…
October 15, 2008
p36

Philadelphia Metro

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Ups, downs with Stairs

Posted by Brian Michael, Tue, September 02, 2008 09:38 AM Comments: 0

From the Philadelphia Inquirer, 9/2/2008 – Page D2

Not impressed
The Phils acquired left-handed OF Matt Stairs from the Blue Jays, presumably for a bucket of clean batting-practice balls. I guess he takes Geoff Jenkins’ slot in the lineup for now and eventually plays the role this year that Russell Branyan played last year: occasional pinch-hitter who does nothing but uppercuts for the fences or strikes out.

- notitlessince83.blogspot.com

Keep Pat the Bat?
According to Ken Rosenthal in his newest Full Count video, the Phillies feel there’s better than a 50 percent chance they can keep Pat Burrell in 2009 and beyond. He says the Phils would like him back, and Burrell obviously feels the same.

Burrell would command $14-$17M per season in a new contract, according to Rosenthal. Considering Brad Lidge’s $12M salary for 2009, Adam Eaton’s $9M for 2009, and arbitration for Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels and Shane Victorino, among other targets, it would be hard to re-sign Burrell and dabble in free agency unless the franchise enlarges its wallets. Still, I like that they want to re-sign Burrell. There isn’t anything like Burrell’s production out there, and there’s certainly nothing like it in the minors.

- philliesnation.com

Reliable source?
Make of this what you will, but there is a yet-to-be- confirmed rumor floating out there that Tom Brady’s foot injury may be worse than he’s been letting on. Like, “out for four games’ ” worth. From NFL Juice:

“This just in.

“We’ve received news from a reliable news source, that would like to remain anonymous (initials E.B.), that Tom Brady will likely be missing between two and four weeks of the regular season.”

Apparently the last tip this guy gave was [right] on, so now I don’t know what to believe. And while this may be true, it’s equally plausible that NFL Juice came up with this simply to mess with the guy holding the number-one pick in their fantasy draft.

All I know is that the last time I took a tip from a guy named E.B., I ended up buying a worthless gold claim in a fledgling South Dakota mining community.

 - deadspin.com

No more Morelli
Okay, so it was only Coastal Carolina, but you must admit, it was nice to see some well-thrown passes from a Penn State quarterback. It had been a while since fans were treated to quality play at the position.

Which brings us to last year’s man at the helm, Anthony Morelli. In case you missed it, he made SportsCenter’s top play the other day. Well, sort of. Turns out the former PSU fan favorite overthrew (shocking, I know) his receiver against the Denver Broncos, only to have a fellow rookie, DB Jack Williams, grab it and zigzag his way to an 89-yard pick-six. Tackling was never one of his strong suits either.

Sadly, and much to everyone’s surprise, Morelli was cut by the Cardinals.

- pennlive.com/pennstatefootball

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