Thursday, August 28, 2008

2008 08 27 Mets 6 @ Phillies 3 - Payback

2008 Topps #305 Carlos Delgado

The New York Mets defeated the Phils 6-3 on Wednesday night taking first place back from the Fightins. Carlos Delgado led the Mets offense hitting his 29th and 30th Home Runs of the season. The two homers extended Delgado’s record for career home runs by a Puerto Rican born player to 461. I would have to say that Delgado is a borderline Hall of Fame candidate.

The Mets and Phils split the two game series, with the Mets giving up the lead in the 9th inning of game one and the Phils returning the favor in the 8th of game two.

Plus - Free tickets from our dear friends Susan n Dave! Kyle Kendrick holds his own versus Johan Santana. This year’s edition of Sam Adams October Fest is out at the ball park.

Minus - Phils cannot manage any key hits after dingers by Howard and Werth in the first two innings. Phils don't acquire Mark Kotsay.

Meh - Parking $10, Turkey BLT Wrap $10.50, Beers $20, Pretzel 3.75. So our night at the ballpark with free tickets still amounted to cost $44.25.

Welcome Aboard – Drew Carpenter made his major league debut for the Phillies last night. Carpenter was ranked ninth among Phillies prospects by Baseball America prior to the 08 season. He pitched a scoreless top of the 9th keeping the Phils within three runs of the Mets.

BlogBlogBlog – In other prospect news the Arizona Fall League rosters have been posted. The Phils will be sending their US Olympic team members, Catcher Lou Marson and Second Baseman Jason Donald, out to the Grand Canyon state. Other Phils on the way to the AFL are Pitchers Carpenter, Joe Bisenius Sergio Escalona, and Patrick Overholt as well as Outfielder’s Quinitin Berry and Jeremy Slayden. The Phils will play for the Mesa Solar Sox squad who count Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg as a member of their coaching staff.

2007 Topps '52 Rookies #88 Joe Bisenius

Around the League - Preliminary 2009 MLB schedules have been leaked and according to the New Jersey Star Ledger the NL and AL East will each play each other. The Phils are expected to visit the New Yankee Stadium in 09.

In more schedule news the local A-10 Basketball teams all released their slates for the upcoming season:
LaSalle St. Joe's Temple

Off the Diamond - The LPGA is thinking of requiring that it's members speak English - I find this odd as there are moments after I have done something wrong, bad, or just plain dumb I find that I wish my favorite Lady would stop speaking English.

Useless Info – Phils set a Citizen’s Bank record with there 45th sellout of the season. Last night was potentially the final game the Phillies will ever play without instant replay.

On Deck – It will most likely be the Mets again. Team Phungo has scheduled a farewell trip to Shea Stadium on the first Saturday in September to catch one more Phils vs Mets contest. In the interim the Phils embark on a road trip to Chicago and Washington.

Scoop – By losing the Phils fell out of first place, which puts them in position to block any waiver claim made by the Mets. This could potentially relate to a potential move for Rockies closer Brian Fuentes.

And finally right before it got ugly I took this photo of what I call the baseball card inning. This is one is sponsered by Upper Deck. As far as I know this is not a design used on any of their cards. They just make it appear like a UD Card. As for the ugly part look at the scoreboard. This picture was taken when thing were still happy. The Phils were still leading in the bottom of the 7th but you can also see doom lurking. On the right it is noted that Greg Dobbs has already pinch-hit for Scott Eyre, foreshadowing the appearance of the games eventual loser Rudy Seanez. Then look to the left. We can see that The Mets #3 hitter for the upcoming inning is Carlos Delgado who will hit the game tying homer that will extend the fateful 8th inning.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Baseball Tonight All-time Franchise Players - Phillies Edition

The BBTN crew on ESPN has been running a daily piece on the all-time franchise players for each major league team.

Last night they featured the Phillies. Three players from each team were picked by an ESPN panel and then the three players selected via an internet fan poll were recognized.

The BBTN crew picked Mike Schmidt, Lefty, and Robin Roberts.

1975 Topps #70 Mike Schmidt
1976 Topps #355 Steve Carlton
1958 Topps #90 Robin Roberts

No surprises here, the best hitter and the Ace of the Phils Sole World Championship Team. Robin Roberts won 234 games as a Phil, of which twenty were for the 1950 Whiz Kids who won the NL Pennant.

I was however surprised by the fan voting which also named Schmidt and Carlton and one of these two.

1967 Topps #450 Dick Allen
1957 Topps #70 Richie Ashburn

I thought for sure Ashburn would be the pick, however Dick Allen was voted in by the fans.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

2008 04 07 Dodgers 2 @ Phillies 9 - Offense finally comes up big for Hamels

In a mid-August showdown of potential playoff teams the Phils beat the Dodgers 9-2 on Saturday. Cole Hamels gave the Phils 7 quality innings, giving up only two runs which occurred in the third when Hamels gave up a double to James Loney followed by a Home Run by Russell Martin on back to back pitches. Pat Burrell paced the offense with a 5 RBI day including a 3 run homer off Dodgers rookie prospect Clayton Kershaw. It appeared that Kershaw was having trouble locating his off-speed pitches most of the game and the Phils were able to capitalize when he had to throw fastballs for strikes.

Plus – Phils offense pounds out double digit hits for second consecutive day. Perfect weather! Fairly quick game ended in 2:41. There was a pre-game Barbecue hosted by Garry Maddox for his Youth Golf & Academics Program, a charitable organization set up support children in troubled city neighborhoods. Chowing down on some great BBQ for $10 towards a charitable cause was much better than the customary ballpark prices.

The Phils pitchers managed to hold Manny Ramirez to only a single in the game. This is a photo of Manny batting in the 9th inning.
Minus –

Meh - $27 ticket, Beers and Parking covered by Friends, $8 Parking. $35 total

Around the League – Mets Lose. Phils pull to within 1.5 games of first place.

Useless Info – So Taguchi, uniform #99, flew out versus Joe Beimel, uniform #97 in the 7th inning. This has to be one of the highest uniformed number hitter-pitcher combinations to ever face each other (196)

On Deck – The Phungo travel team is hopefully headed back to Baltimore this week to catch Jim Thome and those Chicago White Sox.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Tim McCarver @ Barnes & Noble - Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia PA

Tim McCarver is currently in Philadelphia to cover the Dodgers Phillies Saturday game for Fox. While in town he took some time to pitch his latest book "Diamond Gems" at the center city Barnes & Noble Location. The audience consisted of about 30 baseball fans mostly middle aged perhaps slightly older. It was obvious that there were supporters of not just the Phillies but also the Mets, Bosox, Cardinals, and Yankees.

“Diamond Gems” is book culled from interviews of more than 70 current and former major leaguers on “The Tim McCarver Show”. The subjects are grouped by position and include such greats as Larry Doby, Cal Ripken Jr, Willie Mays, Mike Schmidt, Jim Palmer, Lou Piniella, Yogi Berra, Sandy Koufax and many others.

McCarver chose not to read any passages from his book co-authored by Jim Moskovitz and Danny Peary. Instead he read from a forward written by
George Will. According to McCarver, Will returned the forward a mere three hours after the request was made. Immediately following this brief reading McCarver monitored about an hour of Q&A. By my estimate 7 of 10 questions were more like statements that the audience wanted McCarver to validate. Regardess of question or statement McCarver attempted to address the subject with some illuminating information. The topics covered included McCarver’s playing days with both the Cardinals and the Phillies, The Cardinals World Series Teams of the 70’s, Free Agency and Curt Flood, Steroid Use, the current Phillies team, Bob Gibson and Steve Carlton, The 2004 ALCS (Bosox comeback v Yanks), The Yankees and Hank Steinbrenner, and issues regarding the state of the game today.

Among the opinions that McCarver was most vociferous about were that Manny Ramirez, also in Philadelphia for the Dodgers series this weekend, has committed the equivalent of “baseball extortion” by not playing to his potential to orchestrate a trade out of Boston. McCarver stated that there is a dearth of good catching in the league and that many Latin players are moved to catcher in order to rush them to the major leagues. He also believes that pitchers do not pitch enough and that team practice needs to be emphasized more, specifically outfield practice. He backed up the later statistically by stating that outfield assists are at their lowest level in decades. He also defended Alex Rodriquez, noting that in a critical situation he would prefer A-Rod to bat over Derek Jeter.

One of the best questions asked of McCarver was regarding a previous book “The Perfect Season: Why 1998 was Baseball’s Greatest Year”. The 1998 season was the year that McGwire broke Roger Maris single season Home-Run Record along with Sammy Sosa. Obviously one would not consider that season perfect anymore. McCarver said that he and the rest of the baseball media are at least partially culpable for ignoring the signs that players were using steroids. He also went on to mention that there are great stories from that season other than steroid inflated Home Run numbers. That was the season the Yankees won a then record 114 games en route to what would be their first of three consecutive World Series championships.

Following the Q&A McCarver signed books and was also gracious enough to autograph memorabilia and have his picture taken with fans. He took the time to talk with each fan personally and made it a point to remember each person and refer to them by name.

It was a fun and entertaining night and if Fox’s “A” team is in your town covering a game I would encourage you to check to see if an area bookseller is hosting a McCarver signing.

Here are the cards that Mr. McCarver was good enough to sign for me.

Friday, August 22, 2008

2008 08 21 Nationals @ Phillies Series Summary

Phils take 2 of 3 versus the lowly Nationals. This is the second series the Phils have won, but these are 6 games against Washington and San Diego, both of which are poor teams at best.

Plus - Brett Myers is allowed to complete a game and puts up a shutout. Phils get contributions from the bottom of the order to help score some runs. Pedro Feliz returns.

Minus - Rollins hits the ball hard but fails to break out, 1-12 in the series no walks - thats fine lead-off work. Phils waste another good outing by Jamie Moyer.

Meh - It appears that Jayson Werth may have taken over full time duty in right as he is now getting multiple starts versus right-handed pitching.

BlogBlogBlog - West Virginia Cards has come up with an interesting idea for card-forwarding and trading - look it up if your interested in trading cards.

BlahBlahBlah - Taking a look at Rollins numbers....In my opinion J-Roll 08 is the real model and the 2007 MVP Rollins is the anomaly. This year is a lot closer statistically (.261/.326/.421) to his career averages (.276/.331/.440) than last year (.296/.344/.531). Presently his BA OBP and SLG combine to be 39 points off of his career numbers - 2007 is the anomaly when he was 100 points his career numbers. one oddity to note, with all the talk about the Phils striking out to often, Rollins may be striking out to rarely. His BB/K ratio is by far the best of his career (39/42). Maybe 2008 is a growing year for Rollins where he tries to cut down his Ks at the expense of some power - Perhaps this will yield some dividends in the future.

Around the League - The Mets have gone off and swept the injury depleted Braves, So despite winning a series the Phils fall a game further behind New York in the East and are now 2.5 games out of the lead.

On Deck - Los Dodgers come to town for a 4 game set. The phils will get a look at Manny Ramirez for the 2nd time this season. Team Phungo is trying to get down to the ballpark for a game this weekend but not so sure how the ticket sales will go.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

2008 08 18 - Red Sox 6 @ Orioles 3: Great Starts - Bad Pens

The Orioles lost a 6-3 game to Jon Lester and the Bosox Monday night. Both Lester and Orioles Starter Jeremy Guthrie pitched very well. neither the Orioles nor the Bosox Bullpens pitched real well. Thus a tight 2-1 game after 7 ended up 6-3. And despite having two starters pitch very well, the newest Red Sox Jason Bay (J-Bay take that Man-Ram) was able to go 3-5 with a pair of homers and 4 RBI's while Aubrey Huff had a 3 RBI night with a dinger for the Orioles.

Plus -
No JD Drew

Minus -
I was not the 50 Millionth fan in Camden Yards History - thus losing out on my chance to
win 5 years of O's season tickets and $50,000. Of course Red Sox Nation was out in force in Camden Yards and may have comprised 50M fans by themselves.

BlogBlogBlog - SCU has a quality essay on juxtaposing two different types of collectors - GU/Auto Collectors v Set Builders. I am a returning Joe Collector and consider myself a happy member of both camps.

Around the League -
Mets bullpen blows up again I've been falling behind on series summaries - lets just say the Phils had a rough trip out west and my ambition for the next 6 weeks is to keep my weight below the Phils post-break batting average.

Useless Info -The always observant Tim Kurkjian noted that during the 2nd inning of the Bosox-O's game last night J-Bay and Jason Varitek became the first pair of Jason's to homer in an inning in something like 10 years.

Scoop - Orioles Prospect/Fredrick Key Jake Arrieta threw 6 innings of shutout ball guiding the US team to an easy 9-1victory over China in the Olympics on Monday.

On Deck - Team Phungo is hoping to catch a game of the Dodgers Phils series this weekend.

Game Summary

2008 08 18 Red Sox 6 @ Orioles 3: W-Lester L-Guthrie S-Papelbon HR-J Bay (2), A Huff

Expense$ - Ticket $20, Parking $8, Beer $7, Gatorade $3, $ Lost in Soda Machine $1 - total $39.
Game Rating - The great pitching performances plus getting a chance to see J-Bay playing for the Bosox and having a bangout night put this game in the Minor Hero Range - Just like this 1981 Topps card of Garry Maddox.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

2008 Allen Ginter First Pack

Made a Hobby shop visit recently to pick up supplies and random singles. Also picked up a couple of packs of the newer releases - one Allen & Ginter, one Goudey, and one Jumbo pack of Topps 08 Football. First off we will take a look at this years Allen & Ginter:

Not a bad pack, I like Halladay Liriano and Young. Getting Berkman as the mini works and I am happy getting my first non-baseball card (Serena Williams) in this pack. but wait that's only 7 cards - the packs says 8?!?!

Sure enough there is an 8th card!

Alex Rios Autograph. Sweet!

And that will also keep me from whining about the absence of Phillies in the pack.

Rios' numbers are down a little this year but he is still a fine young player. Most likely he would be a lot more well known if he played in a different market.

This Pack would probably get a solid B grade but the Auto boosts it up to an A easily.
Plus Auto
no Phils
Cost $5.30 (incl tax)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Thorzul Trade!

I asked Thorzul if he could help me out with my want list and he was very accommodating.
I have made a pretty good dent into Spectrum and he sent me five cards from my want list along with a couple of UD Masterpieces.

I have been sporadically collecting both of these smaller UpperDeck sets from 07 and 08. Thanks to Thorzul I am down to my last 25 Spectrum cards. The Masterpieces I haven't gotten quite as far into - but i really like the set. The cards above feature two players traded at the deadline - and they are both players I like, hopefully they can get to the post-season and contribute to their new squads. If your interested I have a somewhat messy version of my Want and Trade Lists in my links and over here.

Here are some of the Phils involved in the trade:

In the midst of the Phils recent freefall, Rollins and Howard found time to go on "The Best Damn Sports Show" and rip Philllies fans. I wasn't fond of the Goudey's after getting a fairly pedestrian first pack last year - consequently I have very few Phillies, this Howard card and an Utley Card that Thorzul sent are both very nice additions to the Phungo collection.

The remaining cards Thorzul sent were a nice mix of Phils Past and Present such as the Jim Thome and Eric Milton cards above and other Phavorites including Ricky Jordan, Mickey Morandini, Wes Chamberlain and John Kruk.

You can check out the Brewers sent over to Thorzul here.

Thanks to Thorzul for these great cards and keep up with the quality posts and fun contests.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Cards that Never Were

When one enters Citizen's Bank Ballpark via the Centerfield gate, you can find the games lineup on Gigantic Baseball cards. An oddity is that the Phils have not bothered to update the card template since 2006. This has resulted in some huge cards that never were. The Photo above is of the cards for Eric Bruntlett, who was with the Astros in 06, and Kyle Kendrick who was still in the Phils minor league system at the time.

2008 08 10 - Pirates @ Phillies - Alumni Weekend

Philllies take 2 of 3 games from the lowly Pirates this weekend. The Sunday game was largely won because of poor play by the Bucos as the Phils meager offense failed to generate much offense.

It was also Alumni Weekend. This weekend the Phils Inducted Juan Samuel into the Wall-of-Fame and Robin Roberts was also honored.

Samuel will be getting a plaque added to the Phillies Wall-of-Fame. Here is Roberts plague.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Bernie Mac - Mr 3000

I am sure you have heard by now that Bernie Mac has died due to complications of pneumonia.

I know little of Bernie Mac's career, but have always loved this promo card from the Mr. 3000 movie.

The reason I posted the back is because it's pretty obvious the person that made the card knew little about baseball - well at least they did not know how to calculate a batting average. See below - the second column of numbers is ABs and the fourth column is hits. It may not be obvious on the 1993-1995 lines but one can easily tell that the 2004 line is wrong - I am pretty sure that 0 for 103 is not a .352 batting average.

Berine Mac - Bernard Jeffrey McCullough (1957-2008)

Friday, August 8, 2008

8-8-8 Olympics

Tonight the Olympics open in Beijing. In addition to rooting for the USA I will also be pulling for Thailand. The two pictures below were taken on a trip to Thailand this past winter.

Both of the photos are of a temple in Ayutthaya. Much of Ayutthaya was burned down by the Burmese in during a 18th century conflict. These temples are among the ruins that remain from that conflict.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

2008 08 06 Marlins @ Phillies - Yahtzee!!!

Yes, I did patiently and politely stand with all the kids hoping for a Cole Hamels Autograph and he was good enough to sign this card for me. Wednesday was the annual Police Athletic League Night. PAL sponsers programs for area kids and brings thousands of them out for one Phils game each year - Several Phils were out signing autographs for the occasion including Joe Blanton, Geoff Jenkins, and of course Jamie Moyer.

In Wednesday night's game starter Kyle Kendrick, Chad Durbin, and Ryan Madson shutout the Marlins on five Hits. Kendrick got himself into a couple of jams but was able to pitch out of them. Ryan Howard had a homer and doubled off the top of the wall to pace the offense and the Phils got good glovework out of Eric Bruntlett and Jimmy Rollins.

Plus - I have always been a big "Goodfellas" fan and last night I was presently surprised to get to see Paul Sorvino perform the National Anthem. And he did a phenomenal job, in addition to being an actor he is also an accomplished opera singer, and it definitely showed.

Milestones - Congrats to Mike Cervenak - the 31 year old rookie got his first hit last night - a single through the left-side and he got an RBI on that hit also.

Minus - NONE - A Win, Auto, Pauly, Mets Lose - there are no minuses here.

BlahBlahBlah - On the same day that Gio Gonzalez make his major league debut, news comes out that the Phils were scouting the one-win wonder Freddy Garcia, whom the Phils had recieved for Gonzalez in a trade prior to the 07 season. It does not appear Garcia would be available this year - In much happier news Kris Benson had another good start last night for the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs.

Around the League - Glad the Yankees don't need that guy that threw 7+ perfect innings for the Bucos on Wednesday.

Off the Diamond -
Thailand's first shot at a gold Medal will come in the Women's weightlifting, which by my calculations will be occuring at 9p on Friday night.

Useless Info - Team Phungo pulls back to even (4-4) in Phils games this year.

On Deck - Hoping to catch the Dodgers and their new left fielder for a game the weekend of August 22nd.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

2008 04 07 - Phils 8 @ Nationals4: Nationals Park, Washington DC

Once again it was a hot sticky day for the annual Baseball trip. This year's edition featured a trip to Washington DC and their brand new ballpark. The Phils completed a 3 game sweep of the lowly Nats. Kyle Kendrick pitched well and got the win. Jayson Werth and Jimmy Rollins both had home runs.

Plus -
As Expected Nationals Stadium is another great new ballpark - With all the amenities, a beautifil field, and great views. The subway drops you off a short block from the Nationals park and gives you a dramatic view of the Stadium entering from beyond center field. The concourses were quite large, but this may have been an illusion due to the less than capacity crowd. The concourses were also nice and bright. For some reason Citizen's Bank seems pretty dim behind the plate area and up the baselines.

Minus -
The neighborhood is yet to be developed, so all the excitement was in the park - it appears that there is a lot of construction going on currently and the ballpark area will be significantly different in the coming years. National Stadium really does not cater to the SRO crowd. This is a nice benefit of CBB, that I instantly notice when it is lacking in other ballparks. Regular Joe's like me have no behind the plate access as this is restricted to the Big Spenders. Also there are no ledges for the SRO crowd to set drinks or food on. perhaps they would prefer fans not to linger.

Shenanigans -
It appears that part of the original design was to have a view of the Capitol over the left field skyline - but of course that is now obscured a brand new office building near the park.

Meh -
I am not sure if there is a signature food in DC. perhaps it was the "Ben's Chili Bowl" - but in late July it is just to hot for chili. Ballpark food and drink prices are always steep - and in DC is right up there with domestic beers at $7.50 and Hot dogs $4.50.

Off the Diamond -
DC was a lot of fun. The Phungo Crew gives a thumbs up to the Newseum and a fine Tapas restaraunt in Georgetown called Bodega. As expected driving in DC is a bit of a mess - all those circles and triangles - but Team Phungo survived.

Useless Info
- Mark Texiera getting traded out of the league, unfortunately ends his season for my rotisserie squad - which also most likely ends my run at a pennant.

On Deck - Weather permitting I would like to squeeze in a game during the big Marlins @ Phils Series this week.

A view from the cheap seats:

The obligatory picture of the scoreboard displaying baseball card.

a thousand words

a thousand words
2008 World Champions