March 7, Must Be World Series Manager Day

As a Phillies fan, I consider myself lucky that I have met both World Series winning managers, Dallas Green and Charlie Manuel. Here’s the funny part I met them exactly one year to the day apart.

Last year on March 7, Dallas Green was having a book signing of his book, The Mouth That Roared. It was held on the concourse at Brighthouse before a game. Ross got a great picture of Dallas laughing at a story I told him of how I told my mom I was “sick” on the day of the World Series celebration parade so I could stay home and watch it on tv.

  
He laughed heartily when I asked him not to tell my mom I “faked being sick.”

Today, exactly one year later, I finally met Charlie Manuel.

  
I think March 7th is a good day. I’ve been trying to get a picture with Charlie since 08 so I’m one happy fan.

Day 5 Spring Training 2016

Today was beautiful, it was 79 and sunny. It was almost hot with how intense the sun was, but if the weatherman is right, by Thursday we will be missing it as it’s expected to only 61.

So I found a few places in the sun and observed today’s action:

 

Coach Ernie Witt talks with Logan Moore and Cameron Rupp

 
Edubray Ramos in a pitching drill

  
Pitcher Jimmy Cordero covers first

 
Aaron Nola
 

 

Chris Leroux
 
 
Brock Stassi practices at first on the half field
 

JP Crawford takes practice on the half field

 
Newcomer Angelys Nina during infield practice on the half field
 

  

Mike Schmidt (red hat with neck cover) and Charlie Manuel (in red windbreaker) watch JP Crawford hit

  

Pete Mackanin comes in to watch BP
Roman Quinn takes the field to shag flies during BP

 

Odubel Herrerra

With that, that’s all from sunny Clearwater. Back at it tomorrow.
  

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly–Phillies Style

I just don’t know what happened to this season. I don’t. While I never expected the amazing-ness of recreating the 2008 season, I certainly expected that we’d do better than we did.

May be I’ve become spoiled. I mean, had this happened in the late 90s it would have been the norm, what was expected, but since the miracle of the 2008 season, all the seasons that we’ve been in the hunt, a threat to contend with, this season came as a smack to the face.

What or whom is to blame? The injuries? Trades? Lack of production/effort? Bad management?

Does it matter?

There is so much blame to go around. Rabid Ruben Amarro, Jr., Uncle Chuckles…the injury bug…I could go on. So much of the 2012 season with the Phillies was so ugly that I don’t think I can ever look at the season without putting a metaphorical bag over its head.

We all know what made the season Ugly (and I do mean to use the capital U, it was THAT ugly) and over the next four months every pundit will claim to know the cause of this years’ debacle. So why should I rehash it?

The Bad? Hmm. There were some things that I would say were bad, but did not merit being called ugly. Not many because I feel like 2012 was such a craptastic season that almost all the negatives were so strongly negative that really there wasn’t much bad for me, it all turned Ugly. Top it with the cherry that was Ryan Howard breaking his big toe. Does a year any more Ugly than that?

Bad, trading players to other teams…and then they  made contributions for their new teams. Shane Vicotrino, Joe Blanton, Hunter Pence, Scott Posednik and Rich Thompson were traded away.

I liked Posednik and Thompson. I’d watched the two of them last year in Lehigh Valley. I got to talk to Pods in Spring Training and he seemed like a nice guy. Thompson had been with the IronPigs from the beginning and to see him traded away was like a kick in the teeth, especially when they traded away Pence and Victorino just a month later. Thompson at least got traded to his hometown team, but he might have been good to keep here, he’s a decent fielder and considering his salary was considerably lower, it would have given us some more space under the cap to try to find someone for third base.

Bad was Freddy Galvis coming out to a hot and roaring start…giving hope that may be the season could at least be decent…only to have him sidelined by not only a back injury but a fifty game suspension for PEDs.

Bad was also how the front office kept inflating the attendance numbers to try to keep the “sold out” streak at CBP going. I mean any fool with eyes could see the large areas of empty seats. You can’t tell me that THAT many people purchased tickets then didn’t go. I’m sorry. Talk about “massaging” data!

The good. Hmm…when it comes to the big boys, frankly there’s not a lot for me. I look at Darin “Babe” Ruf…that makes me happy. I look at Tyler Cloyd…that’s another bright and shining star. What do these guys have in common? They’re young and offer promise…may be that’s what the big Phils need…HOPE…not another older player signed for a year or two to fill in a gap. Hope can go a long way in inspiring a team to do better.

For me…the things I’ll remember about the 2012 season all had to do with the minor league levels. Granted, I had a lot of contact with the players at this level…but that’s what will shine for me. This year, frankly, I want to forget the majority of the Big Phillies year and focus on the guys who give me hope that may be once management decides to give the younger guys a chance to play that may be, we can become great again.

I look at Jesse Biddle, Austin Wright, Adam Morgan, Tyler Knigge Cody Asche, Tyson Gillies, Darin Ruf, Tyler Cloyd, Jake Deikman and think…that we might just have something there…we have a massive amount of talent and potential that THEY are our future..THEY are the ones to help pull this team up.

This is what keeps me going, the hope that may be these guys that I’ve watched this summer and in some cases, several summers, that these guys can get us to the big game…whether Rabid Ruben and Uncle Chuckles give them the chance before any of them are old enough to qualify for social security remains to be seen.

 

As I read over what I had written, I realize I sound bitter. As a fan who live and dies with her teams, this year has been so hard to take. So much potential seemed to have been squandered. Personally, I lay a lot of the blame with management who seems stuck on bringing in and then keeping in older guys who just don’t seem to be getting it done on a regular basis…which would be understandable, IF there weren’t some kids in the farm system that might just have the potential to get the job done, as well as the veterans are but would also give hope to the future. That’s what makes me bitter.

I’ve said it before and I’l say it again, I’d rather lose because we have younger players learning to play at the Major League level than losing because the players we have are at the end of a great career and can’t manage to keep playing everyday at that same Major League Level.

Now…that I have that rant off my chest…I’ll start blogging about the Fall Instructional League…and my lists of “BEST OF” for this year….so keep reading…I’ll be back soon

 

 

Elevator Day–What can it mean?

It’s a day of moment in the pharm system. Some going up, one coming down. Jordan Whatcott, Frank Gailey and Ryan Duke were all promoted from Reading to Lehigh Valley. Pat Misch was sent from Lehigh to Reading.

So what does it mean?

Personally, between trading Thome (especially without consulting Manuel, who was quoted as saying that he didn’t know that they had traded Thome until after the game) the rumors rabidly circulating that they are looking to deal Cole Hamels to the Rangers OR that the Reds, Dodgers and Yankees are all interested in Shane Victorino and now, all these moves….

I think they are floundering, they are desperate and hopelessly flailing, trying to find something, anything to staunch the bleeding.

As much as I’ve questioned Amarro’s actions over the last year or two, this is the most concerning to me. He obviously knows that his job is on the line. He bet everything that the veterans on this year’s team would be able to pull him through. He spent every dime he could on older players, making a team for now, but the problem is that he over paid and gave older players long term contracts that keep them tied to the franchise. The contracts are also so large that very few teams could afford to inherit these contracts IF we could convince them to take them in a trade.

I’ve come to think of Ruben as “Rabid Ruben”, foaming at the mouth and running around and biting at anyone and anything trying to find something to work. In the meantime, the team is floundering, foundering and nothing will get better until Rabid Ruben is “cured”. By cured, I mean excised like a cancerous tumor.

At this point, it’s OBVIOUS that he’s grasping at straws, throwing in not only the towel but every other piece of laundry in the basket too. Let’s stop the cancer from growing, excise it now, get someone else in there and stop the damage before it gets any worse. Why not do a wholesale housecleaning at the top and also replace Manuel with Hall of Famer, Iron Pigs’ Manager Ryne Sandberg?

They need to keep Hamels. We do not have enough pitching talent for next year without him. I think we have pitchers coming up that might be ready in the future, but not this year and not next year.

As far as Victorino, I like the guy, BUT as I’ve written before, we are flush with young talent that could grow into the position, Derrick Mitchell, Tyson Gillies, Jiwan James, Steve Susdorf, Domonic Brown (if he ever gets healthy) and those are just the guys I can think of off the top of my head. We have to look to these young, talented guys for the future; Rabid Ruben’s habit of looking outside the pharm for senior talent obviously isn’t working, let’s use the talent we’ve home grown and let them lead us into the future and stop looking back.

Frustrated doesn’t begin to describe it.

I can’t even find the words to describe how I feel right now. I’ve always been known for my loquaciousness and for me to be speechless is beyond the pale.

There are so many problems, where can I start?

1. Injuries. The Phils weren’t hit by the injury bug, it’s more like a plague of injury locusts. Howard, Utley, Thome, Martinez, Galvis, Halliday, Stutes, Nix when will it end? At one point, we had NINE guys on the DL.

2. Age. I’m starting to think they might go faster on one of those Hove-arounds you see advertised on TV… You can go, go, go in your Hove-around! Ok, I’m kidding, but age does contribute to reason #1.

3. Lack of Consistency. Not just on the field, but also in the clubhouse. On the field, Uncle Chuckles keeps changing the line up. How can anyone get into a groove when they never get to bat in the same position? In the club house, with all the injuries there’s never the same guys in the line up so again, how can they get into a groove?

4. Contract Uncertainty. Hamels and Victorino’s contracts are up. With the problems we’ve been having with Blanton, Kendrick and the floating fragment in Worley’s elbow can we afford to let Hamels go? No. The problem is that to keep Hamels and stay under the luxury “tax” payroll limit, there has to be some concessions made…and it looks like Hamels importance will outweigh Victorino’s so unless Vic is willing to lessen his demands; we will have to let him go.

That being said, if Vic goes, there are plenty Pharm Hands willing and capable of stepping in: Derrick Mitchell, Domonic Brown, Steve Susdorf, Tyson Gillies, Jiwan James, they’re all just waiting. I know they are lacking in experience, but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; I’d rather lose some games as part of a learning curve rather than because Amarro went to a fire sale and picked up the first over 40 player he could find.

5. Attitude Adjustment Needed. Antonio Bastardo had to miss games because he threw a temper tantrum and punched an exercise machine which ironically punched him back. Now he’s got stitches, swelling and as Uncle Chuckles mentioned today, an infection to boot. Wonderful.

Shane Victorino also seems flat. I swear it seems like he’s given up. This goes right back to #4.

This bad attitude just seems to be spreading like a cancer.

I’m at such a loss. Sadly, there’s nothing we as fans can do. It’s so hard to sit here and watch our beloved Phightins suffer. Will it get better?

We’ve lost so much, players, games, spirit, I’m not sure that getting Howard, Utley or anyone else back will do enough to change our failing season.

I just don’t know and frankly I’m not sure that Manuel or Amarro do either.

Wanted!

I wish I felt like commenting about today’s game, but I can’t, I really can’t.

They are so erratic. One day you think they might be working out the problems, the next, it seems worse than before.

There’s so many things going wrong at the moment and while I have never been a big “Cholly” fan, I think the fact that he keeps juggling the line up like a jester at a renaissance faire isn’t helping either.

I look at the team and most of the guys are over 30 and like all high-caliber athletes of this age, injuries become an issue, a part of their daily life. It’s expected. HOWEVER, the answer to this is NOT to go out and get MORE older players.

They have some really good players in the Pharm system. While yes, there would be a learning curve by bringing any of these younger guys up…but would you rather lose some games due to a guy getting used to the Show or because he forgot his BenGay that morning?

Freddy Galvis is a prime example. No one talked about him, or even gave him a second thought until Chase Utley got hurt. Then it was a mad scramble to find someone to fill his place. Guess what? You took a guy you’d been developing and plugged him in and guess what…IT WORKED! Sure there’s been a few oops! moments…but Freddy has stepped up and grown into the position. He’s doing the job.

Look at the hole in the outfield, this is the one position that really gets me steamed….Raul Ibanez is gone, so do they get a young guy? No they get Juan Pierre. Pierre is a nice guy, don’t get me wrong, but he’s shown that his wheels just aren’t as fast as they used to be or frankly, as fast as they need to be to be successful. They’ve given hardly given John Mayberry Jr a shot, but what about all the other outfielders in the system? Domonic Brown, Derrick Mitchell, Tyson Gillies, Jiwan James and may be Steve Susdorf as well. Granted, none of these guys has yet to see regular season action in the Bigs, but instead of just “shuffling the line-up” or just suffering with what is already there, why not give one of these guys a shot? It can’t hurt. Give some of these young guys a chance, there may be some “learning curve” but look at Freddy, he’s doing better than most.

Additionally, with Ryan Howard out, Nix, Wiggington, Thome and Mayberry have been platooning first base. How is anyone going to get into a rhythm throwing to first when any one of FOUR different guys could be standing there? Frankly, Nix and Wiggington aren’t doing so hot there and they’re not hitting. I love Thome, but he slid into 2nd yesterday and pulled his back. He spent the spring sitting on a step stool to take ground balls because his back wouldn’t let him bend over repeatedly to field them. Mayberry might grow into it but how can he when he is never left to play there long enough to really get the feel?

I look at it this way, we are having problems, there’s no offense, may be if you give a younger guy who’s hungry, who wants to show what he can do, a chance, he may surprise you. At least give them a game or two to try. May be they can at least hold their own in the field and may be give a little pop to the bats or in Mayberry’s case, let him play every day for a while and see if he develops.

If what Cholly’s doing now isn’t working so well, what could it hurt to give some of the other, younger guys a shot? They might find someone like Galvis, who can come in and shake things up.

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Isn’t that what Cholly’s doing? Every day he shakes up the line up with the same set of old players and nothing really changes. STOP THE INSANITY! Try something else!

I feel for the pitching rotation. They’ve put up a solid fight, but no matter how good the pitching is, you can’t win without runs and with the line up we have right now…we just don’t have the runs.

May be it’s the fatigue talking, may be it’s my repeated disappointment in the losses, but I look at the Phillies and the Pharm system and keep thinking they have got to be able to do better…don’t they?