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.

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Thome TRADED!

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My third Hall Of Fame Autograph (soon)

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports is reporting that the orioles and Phillies have reached a deal to trade Jim Thome!

Announcement to be made after the game…

UPDATED
Thome was traded to Baltimore for minor league RHP Kyle Simon and C Gabriel Lino

A Major Difference with the Minor League Fan’s Mentality

For the last two weeks, Jim Thome, Michael Martinez and then Chase Utley have been playing rehab games with the High-A Clearwater Threshers. The Philly papers and bloggers were HORRIFIED that these glorious Major Leaguers could be booed and heckled by their own farm team’s fans.

A year ago, even six months ago, I would have shared this sentiment.

Things changed when we moved to Clearwater/Dunedin permanently. I’ve gotten to know quite a few of the Threshers’ season ticket holders. After listening to them, to their point of view, I have to say I’m starting to understand them…Don’t get mad, don’t click away…Keep reading and you might get where we are coming from.

The minors are where young guys or “The Kids” as the season ticket holders lovingly call them, work, grow and do everything they can to make the Bigs. For them, every single game could make a difference in not only their progression as a player but could make a difference in their entire career. Every game is important. This could be the night where all the instruction the coach has been giving them clicks and it can all change.

This is what the season ticket holders love. Watching these guys playing every game like it might be their last or it might be the next step to their dreams. These “Kids” play because if they don’t, they’ll never have the change to make all their dreams come true. It’s a hunger like no other.

Then one of these Major Leaguers come down to rehab and for every game they play, one of the “Kids” has to take a seat. They have to sit and nothing happens for them. Not only that, the rehabbers hold a roster spot that as they move up in their rehab, keeps a deserving “Kid” from taking the next step.

It’s different when they play in the Extended Spring Training games or the training for the Short Season team or Gulf Coast teams. In those games, they bat first every inning and they do not count. They take batting practice during these games but no one has to sit or miss out on an opportunity to show what they can do.

So when the MLB players take a roster spot from a “Kid”, a 41 year old taking a job from a 21 year oldit’s a little easier why some of the people who are fully invested in these “Kids” get a little testy.

I’m not saying that I, myself, heckled Thome or Utley. I didn’t. I reserve my “razor wit” for the umpires. 😉 What I am saying, is that I can understand the frustration of those who live and die every with every play of every game of their “Kids”.

With the plethora of injuries that are plaguing the Phillies this season, Clearwater is looking to be a “Nursing Home” rather than a development league this summer. For those who love our “Kids” its just a little rough to watch. That’s all. It’s not hatred of the players, just an expression of frustration.

Chase Utley dressed and on the field at extended spring training

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Pulled up to extended Spring Training today and got here just in time to see Utley bat. Afterwards he went to sit and I noticed Jim Thome (in shorts and a T-shirt) watching his friend.

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Utley is running the bases. He is looking good, no hitch in his run…doesn’t seem to be in pain
You can watch him run here

Chase Utley running

*edited to correct link to Chase running on youtube

Thome Heckled

Tonight I witnessed something I’ve never seen before. A home town player being cruelly taunted, heckled and just chewed out by SEASON TICKET HOLDERS.

I know the ticket holders and they are some of the most faithful and loyal of fans, my only guess is that they are not fans of watching rehabbing, older major leaguers and would rather watch the young “kids”. I don’t know but it was brutal.

This is just a sample of what was shouted at Jim Thome:

“Need help holding the bat up, OLD MAN?”

“Why don’t you just retire already?”

Thome looked back at the hecklers which prompted:

“If you can’t take it why don’t you just LEAVE!”

Thome managed to smack a ball and he ran as best he could to first. The 2ndbaseman made an error and it allowed Thome to make it safely. To which the head heckler shouted:

“Way to make it to first on an ERROR, FAT BOY!”

I was kinda embarrassed. It was beyond the usual ribbing you might give an opposing player, let alone one of your own. I was really taken aback by the viciousness of it all.

For the record, Mario Hollands who was called up from Lakewood, had five hitless innings but was pulled based on his pitch count. He was relieved by Brody Colvin and the game closed out by Hector Neris. The Threshers went on to win 5-1.

I hope Thome had some extra padding around his ego.

A Dolphin Tale at the Ballpark

It was a whale of a time, ok a dolphin of a time at the park tonight. It was Winter the Dolphin night at Bright House. A portion of the night’s ticket sales was donated to help Winter and her friends at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

For those of you who are pop culturally deprived, Winter is the dolphin showcased in the movie “A Dolphin Tale” that came out last summer. It features Harry Connick, Jr and Morgan Freeman telling the story of Winter, a dolphin whose tale was caught in a crab trap and severed from her body. Winter was brought to the Clearwater Marine aquarium where she not only survived but thrived. There was only one problem, without her tail fluke, she wasn’t able to swim properly. A renowned maker of limb prosthetics for humans became involved and made Winter a new tail. (She only wears it a few hours a day while she does her physical therapy.)

I happened to be there last week and let me tell you, it’s a moving experience to see her. To know that our ticket money will help her and her other friends at the aquarium does one’s heart good.

Winter the Dolphin

Back to the ball park, as part of “Winter Night” at the ballpark, this was one of the COOLEST giveaways I’ve ever seen….

Winter the Bobbletail

A Winter the dolphin BOBBLETAIL!

Tonight was also important because it was the first rehab appearances of Jim Thome and Michael Martinez.

Jim Thome first rehab appearance
Michael Martinez rehab appearance

It was good to see them back on the field but the game was a hard one to watch. Clearwater went down to the Palm Beach Cardinals 4-1.

Clearwater can be so frustrating sometimes. Some games you watch and you think they have turned the corner and are on the road to becoming a cohesive team and the next game, not so much. There’s one or two pieces that need tweaking but I think there is promise there.