Category Archives: Philadelphia Phillies

Predicting the Division Winners …… Oops!

And we're off to the races again!

Last March I wrote a blog entitled “2011 Postseason Predictions” and I’m here to say with all my opinions and wisdom in the world of baseball , I was able to correctly predict two teams, one from the National League and one from the American League.    That’s 25% folks, I say as I’m looking for those wet noodles and a carton of eggs to slather around my face.

I mean, who knew?  The only two teams that I predicted to win that actually won were the Detroit Tigers and the Philadelphia Phillies.  The Phillies, of course, were a no-brainer, but I was very proud to stick my neck out in prediction of the Tigers.  So be it.

If you were lucky enough to catch one or both of the games last night you were in for a real treat!   Whatta thrill!  Down to the wire!  Reminds me of last year’s Giants – Padres game, the 162nd game, 9th inning and last out.   I still get goosebumps remembering the thrill of it all.

In case you’ve been in a coma these past 24 hours or otherwise indisposed, here’s the 2011 Division Winners:

American League 

  • New York Yankees, East
  • Detroit, Central
  • Texas, West
  • Tampa Bay, Wild Card
National League
  • Philadelphia, East
  • Milwaukee, Central
  • Arizona, West
  • St Louis, Wild Card
So here we are six months later in post season.   Predictions?  I think I’ll wait a bit and get back to you on that……it’s hard to write with a bunch of egg on my face. 

Garlic Fries and Baseball: The Book

Update:  Now available at Amazon as Book and Kindle.

Finally it’s here!  My book’s been in the works since February and  it’s being published today.  It’s available for sale here first, and will be available on Amazon.com early next week and in Kindle form  soon thereafter.

The book’s a compilation of some of my favorite blogs, some in expanded form, with a few little ditties added in and formatted in such a way you’ll hardly recognize it!  I have to admit ~ writing a book is a great experience, but it’s much easier writing a blog!

Let me know what you think but please be kind.   This is my debut you know ♥   Ronni

Umpire Changes his Mind….. Who Knew?

Video:   Umpire Changes Call   Take a look at this MLB video.  I wasn’t able to post the video, so posted a link to the video instead.   

The Lonely Umpire

What’s interesting here is the umpire originally called the play as a “foul ball” but when the catcher showed the ball to the umpire, the call was changed immediately to “out”.  This was all split-second timing so that’s why it’s important to watch the video. 

The commentators were critical of the catch because he could have thrown the ball to first and had a double play, but catcher Eli Whiteside explained later his main concern was trying to convince the umpire, who’d already made the foul ball call, that it should have been an out. 

I like this little ditty because umpires have been having a pretty tough go of it lately and this helps reinforce the fact that even though they have the toughest job in baseball, they’re  still pretty darn awesome!

MLB Standings vs MLB Payrolls …. How do they measure?

Okay, so we’re maybe 25% through the 2011 Major League Baseball Season.  How is your team doing?  How is your team doing in relation to their total payroll?  In other words, are they getting what they paid for?

Here’s an interesting article published by Hayes & Taylor recently.  I’m always amazed at the amount of work some of these guys put into their daily blogs;  I mean who has time for this stuff?   In any event, this is a great chart and one of the better blogs and I wanted to share it with you.

“The Cleveland Indians are in first place in the AL Central. They have the fifth lowest payroll in all of baseball. Which got me thinking, how do the other teams in the MLB rank in the standings relative to their payroll. It turns out that the Indians aren’t even the best example right now.

The Tampa Bay Rays have the second lowest payroll in the majors. The are currently in first place in the power packed AL East. Ahead of the number one payroll in baseball the Yankees, the number three payroll in Boston and numbers 19 and 24 in Baltimore and Toronto. The Royals, Marlins and A’s are all over .500, and are all in the bottom ten payrolls in the league. Not to mention all are very alive in the playoff races.

If the season ended today, four of the eight playoff teams would come from the bottom eleven in payroll (Rays, Indians, Marlins, Reds). On the other side, only three would be coming from the top eight in payroll (Angels, Phillies and Giants).

What does this all mean? Talent wins in baseball and not always how much you pay for that talent. If money was how you win, the Yankees would win every year, but they don’t. That makes me very happy. I love to see underdogs win. I love the fact that some of the lower payroll teams won’t be trading away all of their talent this season to teams who will pay whatever it takes. Baseball is stronger than ever right now.

Click here to link to a chart that shows  where all 30 teams in major league baseball rank in payroll and where they are currently in the standings. Is your team over or under achieving?”

Phillie Fans Show Support for U S A!

It’s  USA   USA   USA  In Philadelphia!

I don’t usually agree with the Phillie Phanatics on anything, but this time I think they got it right!   On hearing about Osama Bin Laden’s death, and seeing the scoreboard read 9 – 1 – 1 , the crowd erupted into chants for the USA.  It was the 9th inning and the score was 1-1.  Eerie huh?

2011 Postseason Predictions!

The off-season flew by this year didn’t it?  When you’re playing into November, it doesn’t take long for Spring Training to arrive, and now here we are counting down to the season opener in two days! 

My friends over at “Diamondhoggers” have a little contest going to see who can come the closest to predicting the 2011 World Series winner!   Here’s my contribution to the cause.  Why not play along and see how you compare .  For sure I’m not making any wagers on my predictions since last years turned out to be a bust!    Maybe I’ll have better luck this year.  Good luck on yours!

AMERICAN LEAGUE:

  • East Division Champions ~  Boston Red Sox *
  • Central Division Champions ~ Detroit Tigers
  • West Division Champions ~ Oakland A’s
  • Wild Card ~ New York Yankees

NATIONAL LEAGUE:

  • East Division Champions ~ Philadelphia Phillies
  • Central Division Champions ~ Cincinnati Reds
  • West Division Champions ~ San Francisco Giants *
  • Wild Card ~ Colorado Rockies

WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS ~ SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS OVER BOSTON RED SOX!

 

 

Roy Oswalt ……. Luck of the Irish (Scots?)

Oh no!   Not Roy Oswalt!  This video just shows how close these guys are to disaster with every pitch!   This is scary stuff!   As you’re probably aware, Roy’s one of the Phab Four for the Phillies this year and expectations are high for them and also for the Phillies.    Back in the old days,  dad always said a pitcher was supposed to be ready to field after the delivery.  Get yourself  right back in position with your mitt in front of  you to protect from this very thing.   But back in the 40’s and 50’s, I doubt very much the pitchers were throwing with the same intensity and velocity they are today.   Who has time to do that; get back into position I mean?  Baseball’s changed.   They may have thrown just as fast back then, but the players now are huge in comparison and my thought is their reflexes are not as fast as the smaller pitchers.  I don’t know, I’m just saying, there’s a reason those old fashioned rules don’t seem to apply anymore.  Pitchers now aren’t expected to play the entire nine innings like they routinely did back in the old days.   They give it their best shot, and a reliever comes in to continue where the starter left off.   And then in comes the closer!   So I doubt very much dad’s thinking would apply now.   

Last reports are that Oswalt is doing well,  and except for the baseball-sized welt on the back of his neck he should be able to start the regular season as scheduled.   He’s lucky.   His teammate Chase utley is facing surgery after his bout this spring with tendinitis in his knee, and most likely will miss a good part of the season, after missing a majority of 2010.  Heartbreaking for the players and heartbreaking for the fans. 

Spring training!   A must for getting back into shape and letting the players gel with each other.  But what a price to pay for these guys!    The Giants closer, Brian Wilson, suffered a strained oblique muscle, and is looking at possibly sitting out just the first couple of regular season games, if he’s lucky.   It could be much more and Cody Ross caught what appeared to be a routine fly ball yesterday, only to limp off the field with a calf strain.   A visit to an MRI center resulted in a walking “boot” and crutches for Ross.  It’s anyone’s guess how long he’ll be out.  Here’s a list of a few other incidents this spring:

  • St Louis Cardinals starting pitcher, Adam Wainwright had Tommy John surgery last week and will most likely miss the entire 2012 season.
  • Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher, Shaun Marcum, suffered a “tight shoulder” after his last outing.  Whether he’ll be sidelined for the beginning of the season is questionable. 
  • Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher, Zach Greinke, broke a rib in a “basketball game” and remains on the disabled list this spring training.  (Okay, okay, probably not entirely related to spring training!)
  • Los Angeles Angels First Baseman Kendry Morales was sidelined with a broken foot for the majority of 2010, and spring training hasn’t been able to help Morales get back on “foot” still.   Looks like more rehab time for him before he’s back in the regular season.
  • Yankees lead-off hitter, Brett Gardner, is back in the line-up after suffering a bruised shin during spring training.

The list goes on and on.  But wait!   Believe it or not, there’s actually some good news for the rest of us.   The 2012 Regular Baseball Season begins next week!   So it’s time to clean up the barbecue, get out those scorecards, stock up on popcorn and hotdogs, and get out the gear.   Makes me all emotional just thinking about it.  

And cross your fingers for all those guys on the disabled list so they’ll be able to join us soon.   Let’s face it.  It’s just not the same playing a game with one or more of your guys sitting on the bench with a disability!   Too bad we can’t just go from post season to regular season and skip the Spring Training!    Save us all some headaches!

Spring Training Odds & Ends ……

David Letterman’s Top 10 List of  Things you Don’t want to hear During Spring Training!

Pablo Sandoval "Before"

I’m not a huge fan of David Letterman, but still ……. this was kinda sorta funny.   I’ve been following Spring Training this year,  more than in the past and I’m seriously thinking about running down to Arizona next year to see what all the fuss is about!    One of the things that struck my funnybone this year was all the

Pablo Sandoval "After"

hubbub that’s going around about Tim Lincecum‘s In ‘n Out Burger runs.  When one of the  analysts asked him today if he took the Panda with him,  Tim assured him he always went solo, at least during spring training.  Panda, if  you’re not from the Bay Area, refers to Pablo Sandoval who, at the end of last season, weighed in around 289 pounds much to the dismay of management.   At the threat of being sent back to the Minors this year if he didn’t get back into serious shape, Panda Pablo managed to drop 38 pounds, while adding some muscle,  and looks and acts fit as a fiddle.  Good news for Giants fans, that’s for sure!   But the conversation about Timmy’s lunch relates to his daily routine of three double-decker burgers, two orders of fries and a vanilla/chocolate combo milkshake.   That’s about 3,400 calories just for lunch each day and Tim only weighs 165 pounds!    Sure would be great to have a metabolism that could burn that off!

Luis Salazar

One thing that always bothers me about spring training is how many players get injured.   I’m pretty sure the reason for spring training is to get back in shape after the three months “vacation” from regular and postseason.   One of the injured this year is Chase Utley, who’s always been a powerhouse for Philadelphia.   But a real casualty this year happened not to a player, but to a spectator.  Actually, he’s  Luis Salazar,  a Minor League Manager for the Atlanta Braves and he was hit in the face by a line drive during a Spring Training game on March 9.  Salazar, 54, was leaning up against the railing on the top step of the dugout when Brian McCann slammed a foul ball directly towards Salazar, who didn’t see it coming.  He ended up losing his left eye, a real tragedy in any ballpark.    I know, I know, accidents happen, and this was indeed a tragic accident, but it’s still really sad when we hear about them.    We still have a few more weeks of Spring Training left and let’s cross our fingers we can get through without any more casualties.  A big hug and a “get well soon” to  Luis!

Those Phooey Phillies ….. Just Won’t Go Away!

Well, to be honest with you, I’ve always liked Roy Halladay, even if he is a Phillie!   I saw this video for the first time today and wondered if all Major League pitchers feel the same way about their catchers as Roy feels about his.   I can see Lincecum and Cain showing Buster a little love, but all bets are off when it comes to Wilson.  Can you just see Brian Wilson in the kitchen, making pancakes while  discussing the morning with a balloon replica of Buster Posey? 

I saw an interview  with Buster Posey after the season was over, and as I recall, Buster said at one point he started to go out on the mound to talk with Wilson, took one look at those dark green eyes glaring off into space, promptly turned around and went back behind the plate.  Later he explained, he just thought it was something he should do, not that Wilson wanted it or needed it.  Posey didn’t say he was intimidated, but that was the implication.

One can only hope  Roy Halladay spends a lot of time in the kitchen talking to blow-up dummies for the next  six months.   Is it post season yet?

An Overdose of “Philly-Itis”…….

Hank Aaron, Wikipedia Image

Philly Schmilly …….Don’t you just love it when someone in the know has the guts to speak what’s on his mind instead of jumping on the eternal pundit bandwagon?   That’s just exactly what Hank Aaron did yesterday.   Hank’s predicting a 2011 World Series between the Giants and Red Sox.   Whew ~ where did that come from?  Hasn’t he been listening to the pundits and bloggers and baseball experts? Could it be that Henry knows something the rest of the baseball world doesn’t?   Could it be these so-called experts have fallen into the same trap they did last year and have totally overlooked the obvious?  In other words, they didn’t learn a thing.  I’m not talking about the regular season.   I mean, for pete’s sake, I’m a Giant’s fan and there’s no way I would have imagined, say, in August,  the Giants would end up taking their Division.  So what do you think Hank Aaron might possibly be thinking?  

For one thing, Aaron’s predicting 2011’s going to be  a hitters year, unlike the pitcher’s year of 2010.   Well if that’s true  it sure takes the wind out of the sails for that $120 Million contract the Phillies signed Clifton Phifer “Cliff” Lee to in the off-season.   I’ve never understood the reasoning that  the Phillies are now unbeatable, invincible, the next undisputable World Champions, just by virtue  of having Cliff Lee on their roster.    Uhhh, seems to me the unbeaten Cliff Lee was beaten TWICE by the Giants in this year’s World Series.   So please tell me what Cliff Lee has done recently that would make him now “unbeatable”?   It just doesn’t make sense.     He was unbeatable last season and the Giants whooped the stuffing out of him, not once, but twice,and now he’s wearing a Phillies uniform, and he’s once again unbeatable?  

Is it possible the Phillies might be able to pull it off and win the Division?  Oh sure.  Is it possible they might go on and win the World Series?  Maybe.  But it’s not a foregone conclusion.  Thank you,   Hank Aaron,  for bringing some good old fashioned  common sense to the subject.   It’s a lot more fun letting the teams play out the season instead of  letting the self-proclaimed pundits and experts crown the Philadelphia Phillies  the anointed ones in February.   It’s obvious the only reason Cliff Lee signed with the Phillies is he sees it as his only chance to vindicate himself from the embarrassment he obviously felt (or should have felt) of not only being outpitched in the World Series, but of being so “mouthy” about it before hand.  

Philly Phanatic

 To say the Phillies might be my least favorite team is probably a huge understatement.  Go ahead, ask the teams and  players who’ve had to endure the wrath, anger and profanity of the Phillie phanatics on and off the field.  I’m just saying, when it comes to baseball, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is definitely NOT the city of brotherly love. 

Top Baseball Players of Past 59 Years!

“2010 Baseball Players Mathematical Study, written by Don Davis, Department of Mathematics, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA., and printed here with his permission.”

(GFBB Note:  I found this  information fascinating and posted the 2009 study last August.  This is the 2010 updated version with a few variations.  You can view the entire study here:  http://www.lehigh.edu/~dmd1/baseball.html    It explains the  criteria used and the history behind the study as well as a wealth of other information related to it.  You can contact Dr. Davis directly for more information regarding the list@ dmd1@lehigh.edu )

Pos’n First team Second team Third team Fourth team Fifth team
P,1 Roger Clemens, 266.0 Tom Seaver, 181.1 Bob Gibson, 140.4 Juan Marichal, 107.9 Phil Niekro, 84.9
P,2 Randy Johnson, 202.1 Warren Spahn, 167.5 Sandy Koufax, 137.8 Gaylord Perry, 102.8 Johan Santana, 84.6
P,3 Greg Maddux, 197.5 Bob Feller, 157.6 Robin Roberts, 136.5 Fergie Jenkins, 87.2 Roy Halladay, 84.1
P,4 Pedro Martinez, 187.5 Steve Carlton, 143.5 Jim Palmer, 133.2 Curt Schilling, 85.1 Nolan Ryan, 83.7
C Johnny Bench, 112.9 Yogi Berra, 94.9 Gary Carter, 77.3 Mike Piazza, 76.6 Ivan Rodriguez, 72.7
1B Albert Pujols, 158.9 Jeff Bagwell, 99.9 Eddie Murray, 91.6 Willie McCovey, 88.4 Harmon Killebrew, 80.8
2B Joe Morgan, 140.6 Rod Carew, 100.5 Ryne Sandberg, 94.8 Jackie Robinson, 93.8 Roberto Alomar, 81.1
3B Mike Schmidt, 184.1 George Brett, 120.9 Eddie Mathews, 112.2 Wade Boggs, 110.5 Brooks Robinson, 105.1
SS Alex Rodriguez, 151.9 Cal Ripken, 121.6 Ernie Banks, 97.6 Robin Yount, 88.2 Derek Jeter, 83.4
OF,1 Barry Bonds, 270.7 Stan Musial, 208.6 Frank Robinson, 141.2 Al Kaline, 119.2 Reggie Jackson, 111.5
OF,2 Willie Mays, 243.2 Mickey Mantle, 208.3 Rickey Henderson, 138.4 Ken Griffey, 117.1 Pete Rose, 99.4
OF,3 Ted Williams, 219.8 Hank Aaron, 201.3 Carl Yazstremski, 131.8 Roberto Clemente, 112.1 Tony Gwynn, 97.1
DH Frank Thomas, 101.0 Paul Molitor, 58.8 Edgar Martinez, 53.4

 

The Best Team Didn’t Win! Oh Really???

“You can judge the dog in the fight, but you can’t judge the fight in the dog”.   Mitch Williams, MLB TV after the Giants won  this year’s World Series.

Mitch Williams

Mitch Williams MLB TV

Mitch Williams also made  another statement in almost the same breath, “the best team didn’t win, but the team who played the best won”.    Really?  I thought it was a ridiculous statement, but chalked it up to the obvious media bias against the Giants throughout the entire playoffs.  It’s only logical the best team wins.  How else can you measure who the best team is?   So imagine my surprise as I’m watching a rerun of  the post game interviews after Game 5 of the World Series, and Brian Sabean, General Manager of the Giants, says, “The best team may not have won, but the team that played the best won.”    Wow!  Where did that come from?   Who’s side is he on anyhow?   Well, I’ll tell you what.  I’m now totally convinced the “best team” is whatever team you want it to be on any given day.   It’s all in the perspective folks.  It’s

Brian Sabean & Bruce Bochy

in the perspective of the media, players, fans, relatives, girlfriends, boyfriends, and on and on.   On any given day during the 2010 season any one of the teams could have been called the best team in major league baseball ~ on that one particular day.  And depending on the form of media you’re paying attention to, a bias is going to come through.   And that bias is more than likely going to slant your thinking in whatever direction they plant the seeds to go.

I didn’t really want to get into this right now because I’d like to write an entire blog on “awards” later, but take, for example,  the Manager of  Year Award in 2010.   Since the year for baseball ends after the regular season,  and doesn’t include postseason, I guess you could give an argument that the San Diego Padres coach is a viable candidate.  I mean, his team held first place for most of the season, not by much, but still.  But what about the Colorado Rockies coach who scraped and scrapped til the very end and almost pulled it off.   Wow!  That was some coaching job.   But to me the ultimate coaching job, scratching and clawing for every win, right up to the very last game of the season, has to be Bruce Bochy.  I didn’t agree with half of his managing decisions, but, hey, what do I know?  In the end he almost always made the right decision.   This was particularly evident when dealing with his pitching staff.   Who knew?  He moved the bullpen around with such regularity you didn’t know from one pitch to the next who’d be on the mound.  But it worked.  So I’m not quite sure about the “best manager” criteria, but on appearance, it’s possible some of these awards  might be a little more about popularity and politics than actual performance.  So be it.  Not so, about an entire team.

Take a look at a headline on the front page of the local paper  this week.    “IN THE HUNT.  NINERS A GAME OUT OF FIRST PLACE.”  The ridiculousness of this headline is the Niners are actually in the cellar, last place,  Won 3 Lost 7!   But leave it to the good old NFC West – the reporter’s right!  There are four teams in the NFC West, and Seattle and St Louis are tied for 1st  and Arizona and SF are tied for last.  Good Grief!   You think the writer might just be a little biased towards the Niners?  You think?

So for what it’s worth, in my humble opinion, here’s the bottom line.   The best team always wins!  Always!  Maybe not yesterday and maybe not tomorrow ….. but today,  on that particular field, with those particular teams, umpires, weather, and a hundred other ridiculous criteria, the best team wins!   Like they did in the 2010 World Series. Put it in the books fellas!