Friday, October 31, 2008

2008 World Champion Philadelphia Phillies

Move over 1980 Phillies, You've got company!

2008 World Champions

Boy that sounds great, And the Phillies earned it. They beat four worthy opponents
. First they won the NL East by holding off the Mets and 08 Free Agent Signee Johan Santana. Then they took on the Milwaukee Brewers and their hired gun CC Sabathia dismissing him in the 4th inning of game 2 of the NLDS. Manny Ramirez was on fire but couldn't carry the entire Dodgers squad when faced with a team effort from the Phils who got contributions from everyone in the 5 game NLCS. And Finally the Tampa Bay Rays who won more games then anyone in 2008 (105 including the Post Season).

The 08 Series may look lopsided, but 3 of the five games were one run games and Tampa Bay's win was by 2 runs. The Rays proved to be adept at playing small ball and getting runs when no run seemed possible. At the outset the Tampa Bay also pitched well in clutch situations, but eventually the Phils offense got to the Rays bullpen. Ultimately this was the difference in the series. The Phils batters did a good job of extending at-bats and forcing the Tampa Bay Pitchers to go deeper into counts. In the end this meant the Phillies batters getting more opportunties to see the Rays relievers. Oddly the deciding game may have been game 2 which Tampa actually won, of course they had to come up with 3.1/3 innngs of relief to do so and 78 more pitches to finish the game. Think about that The winning team threw 78 more pitches in that game alone - thats like throwing an extra 5 innings.

Yes it may seem like there is ample rest because so much time exists between games - especially in this series - which had time to rest within a game, however the Rays relief staff never recovered from game 2. After that with the exception of David Price pitching the final defensive inning of the Rays season in game 5, every time a Rays reliever, who had made a prior series appearance, appeared on the mound they either gave up a run or allowed an inherited runner to score. Howell and Balfour in game 3, Wheeler and Miller in game 4, and Balfour and Bradford in game 5.

This does not dimish what the Rays have accomplished as a team this season - As mentioned above they won 105 games total, this outpaced everyone including the Phillies who won 103. They are a good young ballclub: they have a fine rotation, they can run and they can hit. The defense looked a little sloppy during the World Series but I believe that may have been an anomaly - There may have also been some poor decisions made by players and some questionable moves made by Joe Maddon - both of which may be due to the pressure and the bright lights of the post season.

That being said, I leave a cautionary note to the 2008 Devil Rays and that is 1986 Mets. They won and everybody thought that Gooden and Strawberry would return to the fall classic repeatedly because they made what they were so young (21 and 24) and talented and they made it look easy. It is NEVER easy. Gooden would never play in another World Series, Strawberry would have to wait 10 years until he was a member of the 96 Yankees.

Enough of the Rays. The Phillies won this World Series and, as I noted above, the victory was well deserved. They got contributions from up and down the line up, the bench, the starting 4 and the bullpen. At some point each of the studs came up with at least one important hit (Utley, Howard, Burrell, Rollins). The remainder of the lineup all contributed big hits as well (Ruiz, Victorino, Feliz, Werth). While not always perfect the Phillies got fine play out of their defense and the infield exectuted several key
double plays. Eric Bruntlett and Geoff Jenkins were both key players off the bench - and who can forget Matt Stairs Homer in the NLCS that got the Phils into the Series. All four members of the rotation (Hamels, Myers, Moyer, Blanton) had quality starts and came up with clutch outs. And of course, The bullpen anchored by Brad Lidge simply said was outstading - Hat Tip J C Romero, Ryan Madson, Scott Eyre, Chad Durbin - Future Phils Trivia - J C Romero was the winning pitcher in 2 games of the 2008 World Series.

2008 World Champions

Can't say it enough.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Best Game....Ever!

It's late and I cannot express how happy I am personally and how happy I feel for the Philadelphia Phillies and their fans and the city of Philadelphia.

Hopefully sometime this weekend I will get the opportunity to sort through some pictures and get them posted.

Go Phils!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It ain't over till it's over

1959 Topps #180 Yogi Berra

This popular Yogism very much applies to the 2008 Rays-Phillies World Series right now. Prior to the beginning of yesterdays fifth game the Rays were facing elimination and Cole Hamels was looming. Many Phillies fans and possibly some Rays fans seem to think the Series was over. Well on Monday night Mother Nature had a say in the matter and tossed a monsoon into the 2008 World Series mix.

The game had to be put on hold after 6 1/2 innings due to the rains. The Phils and Rays found themselves in a 2-2 tie - with the delay till at least Wednesday, Cole Hamels is out of the mix.

This all generously tips the scales. The Phils still have 3 opportunities to win one game but with their ace no longer a factor in game 5 the advantage is no longer so lopsided - in other words "It ain't over till it's over". This applies to the series and it also applies to game 5 itself - which already as the first suspended game in World Series history automatically makes it the longest game in World Series history, as it will conclude a minimum of 48 hours after it started.

I was fortunate enough to get tickets to Game 5. I am not rich, I got the tix from a friend of a friend for a little bit over face, and was very very happy to get them. I must have snapped about 100 photos last night, but not many of them came out very well.

Here are a couple of interest though - This is Citizen's Bank Ballpark during the Rays BP.

And in this shot you can see the ground crew with the hose out. Yes they did hose down the field prior to the game - rather ironic ay? Those tents to the left in the rear of the shot is where Fox was shooting pre-game festivities with Jeannie, Brett Butler, and Kevin Kennedy.

Despite the way things ended in a total MLB flustercluck and dealing with all the rain and cold and traffic, I had a really good time. Yes it cost me a bundle of money and I got pretty soaked, but I was at a World Series game and that is all that mattered.

Go Phils!

Game 5 day 2 suspended again

Both NBC10 and FOX29 in Philadelphia are reporting that game five of the World Series has been suspended until at least Wednesday.

No offficial word from Major League Baseball or the Phillies

Monday, October 27, 2008

2008 World Series Rays V Phillies

I am too excited to put much thought into a posting right now so this will be short - Joe Blanton who I have had such little faith in comes up with a big outing and a big hit. That's why it's a team game, you need contributions from everyone. Phils certainly had some offense during game 4 although a lot of the runs came versus the Rays lower tier relievers.

Regardless hopefully they continue to hit - Scott Kazmir handled the Phillies pretty well in game one and I would expect a similar effort from the Rays lefthander tonight. Of course, the Phils will send out their own star southpaw tonight in the person of Cole Hamels. Hamels has pitched well in the playoffs to this point and I would love to see more of the same out of him tonight.

If Hamels pitches well and the rest of the Phils team stays focused, the game should take care of itself. The Phillies have put themselves into a good position and have been presented with a rare opportunity. Phillies fans everywhere are rooting for them to capitalize on this opportunity.

Go Phils!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

2008 World Series Rays v Phillies

2008 Topps All-Star Rookie AR73 Carlos Ruiz

You don't have follow baseball long to know that Post Season heroics come from the little guys. The Playoffs are about pitchers largely because, it is a sport where the defense controls the ball. If the Rays decide they don't want Ryan Howard to beat them, they simply will not pitch to him. It is a good sound strategy - trouble is at some point you have to pitch to someone. Last night that someone was Carlos Ruiz - he had one big blow into the Left Field stands and his second big blow went all of 40 feet. They each plated a run and both hits gave the Phillies leads, the latter gave them the win.

Contributions came from across the team for the Phillies in game 3. Jamie Moyer shook off a couple of recent poor outings to give the 6+ innings of quality pitching. Ryan Howard checked in with his first post season homer right after Chase Ultey had homered. Jimmy Rollins added a couple of hits including a lead off single in the first. Rollins would go on from there to score the games first run. Despite giving up a run created largely by B J Upton stealing his way around the bases, the bullpen looked pretty solid again.

There are still reasons for concern. Ruiz's 9th inning dribbler was the Phillies first RBI with men in scoring position. Thats 26+ innings of baseball to come up with two hits with RISP. There has been some sloppiness - Jason Werth got picked off on the bases again - Ruiz made an ill-advised pick off attempt allowing Upton to score. Evan Longoria could be heating up - He hit a potential homer that may have been blown back into play for an out. The Rays have done an exceptional job of scoring runs without a lot of hits.

In Game 4 Joe Blanton squares off against Tampa Bay's Andy Sonnanstine. Blanton has been better than I expected in the playoffs, Sonnanstine has pitched well. I would be happy if the bullpens decide this game. Once again it looks like a night where the Phillies are going to need 5 or 6 runs. Hopefully Ryan Howard continues his surge and the middle of the order gets some hits.

Go Phils

Saturday, October 25, 2008

2008 World Series Rays v Phillies

The Phillies poor clutch hitting continued to haunt them again in game 2. James Shields pitched well in those situations getting key strikeouts. Brett Myers also pitched well, but gave up ground outs that plated runners rather than getting those big Ks. That is a bit unexpected, as Myers is more of a strikeout pitcher then Shields who tends to put the ball in play.

The Phillies needed to get hits with men on and they didn't. Having 28 opportunities to hit with runners in scoring position in two games and getting ZERO runs out of that is almost unthinkable. Hopefully the Phils haven't squandered their series chances already. There is a realistic possibility that they will not get 10 ABs with men in scoring position in any one game the rest of the series.

The Phils normally steady fielding also uncharacteristically let them down. A strong argument could be made that Werth's misplay in the first inning cost the Phils 2 runs, all things being equal that was the difference in the game.

Tonight with Jamie Moyer on the mound the Phillies will need to play well in the field. Moyer pitches to contact and depends on his teammates to play well behind him. The Phils will also need to get some clutch hits - Moyer may give up 3 or 4 runs while hopefully giving the Phillies 6 or 7 innings. This means the Phillies will need at least 5 runs to get the job done. Big hits will be important. A couple of leadoff hits out of Jimmy Rollins will also help.

2006 Topps Bazooka #163 Jimmy Rollins

For a different angle on the game check out Fielder's Choice.

Go Phils!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

2008 World Series Phillies @ Rays

2008 Topps Highlights Relics HR-CU Chase Utley

Obviously the player of the game is Cole Hamels, Since we featured him yesterday today's nod goes out to Chase Utley for both his homer and the fact that he kept the pressure on by getting on base and stealing bags. Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge came in and shut door. All good for a 3-2 win.

that's the good

The flip side is P
hillies fans have seen game 1 before. Cole Hamels pitches a great game and the Phillies didn't hit. Hamels starts throughout the year have been a microcosm of the frustrating parts of the Phillies season. This is a team that one would think could hit it's way to wins, but instead it has been the pitching that has held them together - and no pitcher has been affected by their poor hitting more than Hamels. During the first four months of the regular season the Phils would have lost this game 2-1 - That is just the way Hamels good starts went.

The Phils had 14 batters reach via hit or walk and one addtional on the Kazmir/Pena error, yet only plated 3 runs -
Thats 11 stranded plus 1 HUGE out on the bases......

B J Upton throwing out Victorino at the plate.

The Phillies may have had Kazmir on the ropes then, with the heart of the order coming up and the bases juiced. I am all for being aggressive and realiize hindsight is 20/20, but I take my chances with Jayson Werth and make Kazmir throw more pitches.

Tonight the Phils face James Shields who has pitched well at home, conversely
Phils starter Brett Myers has pitched poorly on the road. On the upside I must mention that 5 of Myers last 6 road outings (all regular season) are quality starts. Regardless, I am not thinking three runs will do it for the Phils tonight - The Rays are going to get more than 5 hits and I m not seeing Upton & Longoria going a combined 0-8 again. As for the Phils offensive, if they are fortunate enough to get 15 runners on tonight they need to get a few more of them around the bases. Ryan Howard looked pretty lost last night but he did work 9 pitch walk at some point, The Phils need something out of him or Burrell. Some offense out of lead-off man Jimmy Rollins would also be a big lift.

And for some offensive Mojo and to add a little symmetry to this post we will go with a Ryan Howard relic from the same set as the Utley card above.

2008 Topps Highlights Relics HR-RH Ryan Howard

For a different angle on the game check out Fielder's Choice.

Go Phils!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Why the Phillies Will Win

There are many reasons why the Rays are a significant Vegas favorite. Playoff and World Series games are won on pitching and the Rays have got lots of that, They do everything well and have a well balanced line-up. They have played well through most of the playoffs, and are coming off a victory against a very seasoned team.

All that being said, the Phillies can win this series. The Phils starting pitching may not be as good as the Rays, but has done a good job of keeping the Phils in games. I think the one area where the Phillies may have an edge is in the Bullpen, although LHP David Rice may play a critical role for the Rays. The hitters I have as a draw, the Rays are more balanced but I am expecting some firepower out of Ryan Howard, who has yet to hit a dinger in the post-season. Someone like Pedro Feliz is going to have to come up w/ a big hit in this series for the Phils to succeed. Defensively I like the Rays outfield - boy can they cover ground - I like the Phils in the infield and up the middle. The Rays have more speed, however I think the Phillies can make better use of what speed they have, although Navarro is significantly better at gunning down runners then Ruiz.

There are other intangibles that I think mean very little - Phils have been off for a week this could hurt them, Rays are coming off a very emotional series conquering goliath, Rays inexperience, Maddon and Manuel's handliing of their pitching staffs, The Rays do have a home field advantage - the whole astro-turf/dome thing works for them, Historically this is the Phils 5th world series against the AL East - The Phils have lost the previous 4 series. the 100 season Philadelphia champinship drought etc etc. Yes this is all out there, but it is all just stuff for reporters to talk about during downtime prior to and between games. The game is won between the lines by the players on the field.

With this in mind, I pick the Phillies in 5

I like Cole Hamels in game one - The Phils need to win tonight - I do like the Phils hitters chances against Kazmir. I like Jamie Moyer to steal a game - he has not pitched well in the post-season, but he knows how to win. This leaves the Myers/Shields and Blanton/Sonnanstine matchups. The Phils hitters or bullpen will have to come up big somewhere to win one of those games. Then the Phils turn it over to Cole for game 5.

Finally, I pick the Phils in five because I am a fan - I don't believe in curses or destiny, I do believe these are two very good teams that play very hard and have earned the right to be here. This is a great stage to see some talented young players - Howard, Utley, Rollins, Cole Hamels, Shane Victorino, B J Upton, Longoria, Carl Crawford, James Shields, Kazmir, Navarro, Bartlett, Carlos Pena - They all deserve this series.

Mostly I am happy for guys like Pat Burrell, Jamie Moyer, and Rocco Baldelli. These are all guys I have laid down good money to see play at one time or another and they have busted their butts to make themselves better ball players - that is always worth seeing.

Philadelphia Phillies @ Tampa Bay Rays: Tropicana Field, St Petersburg FL Wednesday October 22nd 2008 8:35 PM

2008 UD Spectrum #73 Cole Hamels

Phillies World Series Teams - 1915 Grover Cleveland Alexander

2006 Phillies Toyota Wall of Fame Postcard

I know even less about the 1915 Phillies then the 1950 Phillies. I do know that they lost to the Boston Red Sox in five games. Yes you heard that right, The Bosox did win a World Series before 2004 and without Manny. Of Course this was all pre-curse, as a young Babe Ruth played for the 1915 Red Sox, but he only got one at bat. It was Ruth's first World Series, He grounded out in the 9th inning of game 1. It was the only game of the Series which the Phillies Won as they went on to lose the final four games.

Ok there you have it - the six Phillies World Series teams.

Phillies v Rays prediction later today

Phillies World Series Teams - The 1950 Whiz Kids

2002 Topps Archives #87 Robin Roberts
1961 Toppps #479 Jim Konstanty National League Most Valuable Player 1950

"Wheeze Kids" from the earlier post is actually a twist on the nickname for the 1950 Phillies. "The Whiz Kids" were led by reliever and NL MVP Jim Konstanty, and 20 game winner Robin Roberts. The offense was provided by outfielders Del Ennis and Richie Ashburn.

The 1950 Phils won the National League with a 91-63 record and earned the teams first trip to the World Series in 35 years. The seires trip did not last long. They faced the mighty Yankees who were in the middle of a string of five consecutive World Championships. The Yankees took each of the first 3 games by a single run, in games 2 and 3 the Bombers scored the winning run in their last at bat. The Yankees took the fourth game 5-2 to sweep the Phillies.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Phillies World Series Teams - 1980 World Champions - Happy Anniversary

28 Years ago Today...
1981 Fleer #645 Triple Threat Mike Schmidt Pete Rose Larry Bowa

The Phillies defeated the Kansas City Royals 4-1 in game 6 of the 1980 World Series.

Team Phungo is hoping that the 2008 Phillies will be joining them as the Phillies next World Champion.

Phillies World Series Teams - 1983

1984 Topps #210 Joe Morgan
1984 Fleer #27 John Denny

When I was a kid I was always fond of the 1983 team - despite having moved on from baseball to other popular teenage pursuits like girls and cars I found time for the 83 Phillies. I grew up in south central Pennsylvania which had divided loyalties in the early 80s. They were the Phillies and the Orioles, in 1983 the two teams met in the I-95 World Series.

The Phils took game one 2-1 behind the 5 hit pitching of the National League Cy Young winner John Denny. The Orioles went on to win the next four games.

The Morgan card is likely one of the few of him in a Phillies uniform. It is pretty representative of the 1983 Wheeze Kids also, they featured seven starting postion players at the age of 30 and over - this year the only starter over 30 for both teams may be Pat Burrell in some games. And Morgan is a former Red as were Pete Rose and Tony Perez who were also on the team.

John Denny was the other pitcher on the team - racking up a 19-6 record and winning the Cy Young while Steve Carlton paced the team in innings with 283 innings.

I am actually a fan of both clubs, primarily the Phillies, but I also follow whats going on down in Baltimore - I try and make it down to Camden Yards a couple of times a year and I like checking in at Orioles Card "O" the day for O's information.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Phillies World Series Teams - 1993

As you're well aware, the Phillies will be competing in their first World Series in 15 years. This week I am going to feature posts related to the five previous Phillies teams to compete in the World Series.

1993 Upper Deck Team Stars # 485

The 1993 Phillies simply are one of the most loved teams in Philadelphia History. And this great card sums them up. The 93 team flat out bashed the ball - sure they had Curt Schilling and a bunch of other solid pitchers but they won on their hitting. Thanks to guys like Dykstra and the Krukker they seemed to always have men on base and then Dauton and Hollins would drive them in.

The 1993 Phillies shocked the perennial NL Champion Atlanta Braves in a 6 game NLCS but would ultimately lose in the World Series, also in 6 games, to the Toronto Blue Jays.

Philadelphia fans get a lot of bad pub for how they treat their athletes - oddly, Mitch Williams has had a fairly unexpected post playing career. He has become an incredibly popular figure in Philadelphia. Williams consistently shows up on sports talk shows and with quality information and analysis while also giving his honest opinion. He also spends some time hawking is salsa. I haven't tried the salsa, but I do enjoy having Mitch around. It's a story that took a weird turn and has had a happy ending - A nice story for Mitch for the Phils and for Philadelphia.

If you want to see a great card related retrospective on the 1993 Phils check out this series of posts that was written earlier this year over at Capewood's Collections.

Bring on the Rays

2008 Topps Year In Review #YR110 B J Upton

B J Upton and the rest of the Rays have won the 2008 ALCS and will be facing the Philadelphia Phillies. I like this card because it mentions two of the Rays good young players Upton and Dioner Navarro and it is also commemorates a game where the Rays defeated the AL East Goliath New York Yankees. In the ALCS the Rays defeated the other AL East perennial champion Boston Red Sox.

The Rays are a well balanced team with good hitting, fielding, and pitching. They should present a formidable challenge for the Phils. Looking forward to the Series - just wishing it wasn't so far away.

For coverage of the Rays I will be checking in at Fielder's Choice. I am sure we will have much to talk about over the next two weeks.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Game 5 Phillies @ Dodgers

The first game 5 the Philadelphia Phillies ever won was the deciding game of the 1980 NLCS versus the Houston Astros. In 1980 the NLCS was only five games, and the Phillies v Astros match-up is surely one of the all-time classics. The series had everything - it featured future Hall of Famers Mike Schmidt, Nolan Ryan, Steve Carlton and Joe Morgan and also Pete Rose - The last four games all went to extra innings - Both teams blew 8th inning leads in the final game.

Since Game 5 was an all hands on deck game both teams played out their benches - and both teams had to send in starting pitchers in relief. I doubt many folks remember that the winning pitcher of the 1980 NLCS game 5 was starter turned reliever Dick Ruthven, who pitched two spotless innings after Tug McGraw had relinquished the lead in the 8th.

Tonight the Phils face the Dodgers in game 5 of the 2008 NLCS. This will be a whatever it takes game for the Dodgers, but if Cole Hamels goes out and gives the Phillies 7 or 8 strong innings it may not matter.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Brush Backs - Shane Victorino - Dickie Noles

2006 Upper Deck #750 Shane Victorino

There has been a little bit of inside pitching during the entire NLCS this year. The Phils need to pitch inside to hitters like Manny Ramirez and Russell Martin. Similarly the Phils have batters like Chase Utley who like to stand right on top of the plate and will find inside pitches coming at them.

During game 3 the Dodgers and Phils almost found themselves in a brawl when a ball was thrown near Shane Victorino's head. Victorino saved his best response to the purpose pitch for a crucial at-bat the following night - a game tying homer in the 8th inning. This homer turned around game four and was followed by Matt Stairs mammoth go-ahead home run a few batters later.

Head hunting is nothing new to Phillies Playoff Baseball. During the Phillies Royals World Series in 1980, Dickie Noles only got into one game, a loss in game 4, but he is forever remembered in Phillies lore as the man who knocked down George Brett. Yes, The Phils did lost game 4, but they would take games 5 and 6 to win the pennant. Perhaps it was Noles inside heat that fired up the Phils and pushed them on to the Series victory.

2004 Upper Deck Legends Timeless Teams #193 Memorable Moments - Dickie Noles

Monday, October 13, 2008

Phillies @ Dodgers Game 4 and 1993 NLCS clincher 15th Anniversary!

Today marks the 15th anniversary of the greatest game I ever saw - October 13th 1993 - NLCS game 6 Atlanta Braves @ Philadelphia Phillies. The Phils had taken a 3-2 series lead by winning two very tight games in Atlanta. They were returning home for game 6, which was one of the games I drew as a season ticket holder.

The Phils took a 4-1 lead in the 5th on a Dave Hollins Homer, Mickey Morandini tripled the following inning to stretch the lead to 6-1. Tommy Greene, who was at the end of his best season of his brief career, gave the Phils seven strong innings and left with a 6-3 lead.

1994 Fleer Flair #412 Tommy Greene
Mitch Williams pitched an improbable 1-2-3 Ninth for the save clinching the 1993 National League crown for the Phils.

Amazingly the pitcher that Tommy Greene out-dueled that night is now, 15 years later, a member of the team the Phils are facing in the 2008 NLCS - Greg Maddux.

1994 Fleer Ultra #446 Greg Maddux

The only proper way to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the greatest game I ever saw would be with another playoff victory. Hopefully the baseball fates agree with me.

Note 1 - You can't tell in the scan, but the price of the Phils NLCS ticket in 1993 was $30 - that was for a ticket in the last row of the old Vet. I am not sure what upper level tickets are going for this year but the lowers carry a face value of $120.

Note 2 - The Tommy Greene card is from 1994 Fleer Flair, one of my favorite sets. The dual photos on the front of these cards are usually very good and there is even a 3rd photo on the back. I particularly like the in action pitching shots like this one. The card stock is also very strong - it really gives you the feeling your holding a premium card.

Go Phils!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Game 3 Phillies @ Dodgers

1972 Topps #520 Larry Bowa
1979 Topps #290 Davey Lopes

Today the Phillies head out to LA to face the Dodgers in the enemy territory of Chavez Ravine. Davey Lopes spent the first 10 years of his Major League career manning 2nd base for the Dodgers. During that same era, Larry Bowa was playing Shortstop for the Philadelphia Phillies. Currently they have swapped teams for their post playing career work. There is some symmetry in their coaching postions too. Lopes has moved to the first base coaches box which is just to the left of 2nd base, while Bowa has moved to the right of shortstop and into the third base coaches box. I loved Bowa as a player but I am cheering for Lopes' new team this weekend. Hopefully Davey can help the Phils runner steal some bags just like he did for so many years at Dodger Stadium and come back to Philadelphia as a member of the National League Champs.

Sources & Links (added 2020 0108)
Larry Bowa Index

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Penn State @ Wisconsin

Quick nod to the Phils for going up 2-0 on the Dodgers Whoohoo!! Things are very happy in the Phungo Household today.

Now I would like to take some time on the Phils-Dodgers off-day to talk about Saturdays in the Fall.

2003? Wheaties Box Joe Paterno

I am not a Penn State alum, but my girlfriend is, this makes me a PSU in-law I suppose. Tonight we are hosting a party for the big PSU-Wisconsin game and I am Posting the Joe Paterno Box for a bit of good luck. Maybe these Wheaties can help Joe Pa get back on the sidelines for the game.

I had always been a casual fan of the Nittany Lions until I met my girlfriend, now we spend part of each autumn weekend watching some portion of the game. This was a little tough during the lean years - and always rough when they play Michigan - but PSU is looking a little more promising this season. It's hard to tell how good a team they are right now, because they really haven't faced much quality competition. Wisconsin hasn't faired well either but seem to have a competitive team every year. I fear tonights contest will be tighter than the #6 team in the nation visiting a team with an 0-2 conference record - Penn State will need to keep the mistakes to a minimum and play good football. If they can do that they will hopefully continue their winning ways.


Friday, October 10, 2008

Game 2 Dodgers @ Phillies

2007 Topps Heritage #90 Pat Burrell

Another big hit for Pat last night. As I have mentioned before, I feel that there is a chance that Burrell may be in his last year in Philadelphia. This means that if things don't go the Phils way in the next four games, today's game in Philadelphia might be the last one Burrell ever plays in front of the home fans. Of course, I hope the Phils manage to win several more games this year and we will get to see Pat Burrell play as a Phil in the World Series.

Los Angeles Dodgers @ Philadelphia Phillies, Citizen's Bank Ballpark Philadelphia PA: October 10th 2008 4:35 PM

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Game 1 Dodgers @ Phillies

2007 Topps #UH281 Classic Combo Cole Hamels & Russell Martin

Starting Thursday the Phils and Dodgers square off in a best of seven series to determine the National League Champion. Hopefully the tall guy from the card above has a good night, to kick off the series, and he can shut down the short guy.

The Photo from this card is from the 07 All-Star game in San Francisco. I like the classic combo cards just for the odd combinations you can get. Martin and Hamels are both good young players but I doubt they will share to many cards. In fact I wonder how many times they have spoken to each other outside of the moment captured here.

Los Angeles Dodgers @ Philadelphia Phillies: Citizen's Bank Ballpark, Philadelphia PA Thursday October 9th 8:22 PM Eastern.

Go Phils!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Dodgers vs Phillies: Rewind 1983

1983 Fleer #165 Gary Matthews

It has been 25 years since the Dodgers and Phillies last met in a playoff series. The Phils won the best of 5 series in 4 games behind the strong pitching of Steve Carlton and the offensive heroics of Gary Matthews. "Sarge" Homered in 3 consecutive games knocking in 8 of the Phillies 15 runs during the series and was named the NLCS MVP for his performance. The final game of that series occurred 25 years ago today. Hopefully one of the Phils will come through in this years NLCS they way that Matthews did in 1983.

Go Phillies!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

"Grand Canyon" and Roberto Clemente

2008 Allen & Ginter #144 Grand Canyon
1959 Topps #478 Bob Clemente

Recently I had a free HBO weekend and re-watched the 1991 Lawrence Kasdan film " Grand Canyon ". It's an interesting movie to watch again 17 years later. Grand Canyon is a reference to the vast void that exists between people due to differences in race and wealth. This territory has been covered by more recent films such as "Crash" and "Babel" - unfortunately part of this is because race money sexism and all the other -isms will probably always be part of our lives. This is another theme of "Grand Canyon" - Basically the Mack (Danny Glover) character makes an analogy to the Grand Canyon , The rocks are large, old, and timeless - they are just laughing at us mortals - they have been around forever and will outlive us and our issues for eons.

There are also some sports themes that run through the movie. The main character Simon, played by Kevin Kline, is a Pittsburgh Pirates fan - and named his son after Roberto Clemente. The movie opens at an LA Lakers games - Magic Johnson rumbles down the court - The release of the film happened not long after Johnson announced that he had been diagnosed as HIV positive - The game is watched by Simon's Son Roberto in a comfortable suburban home, while Mack's (Glover) Nephew watches the same game from his mother tiny home in a much more dangerous area of Los Angeles. On his way home from the Forum Simon makes a wrong turn and find himself in a bad section of town. Essentially this is how close Simon and Mack are to each other geographically, but because of their racial background there exists a chasm the size of the " Grand Canyon " between their lives.

Some of the films issues are timeless but one thing that has quickly evolved since 1991 involves Simon's venture into the rough neighborhood. His Mobile Phone symbolizes Simon as a man of wealth. Here we are less than two decades later and I recently left a cell phone on a SEPTA train - it ended up being returned to the lost and found.

There are a variety of subplots that keep the movie running at a quick pace and it is definitely worth a new look here in 2008. I also want to mention that the film contains Warren Zevon's classic "Werewolves of London" as well as a beautiful new (at the time) tune "Searching for a Heart".

Phungo Roberto Clemente HoF Profile

Sunday, October 5, 2008


2006 Topps Opening Day #117 Pat Burrell

and since as far as I know Joe Blanton doesn't have a Phillies card available yet I bring you this good guy Photo of Mr. Blanton signing autographs prior to a game earlier this season.

Nice Outing for Blanton. It is odd to think that the Phils made a minor move to get Blanton to patch a hole in their troubled rotation and today he advances in the playoffs while both CC and Rich Harden end up going home.

I am also happy to see Pat Burrell come through in a big game. He has struggled during the second half and his long tenure as a Phil may come to an end following 2008. Hopefully Pat and the Phils can extend the 08 season deep into October.

Go Phils!

Game 3 Phillies @ Brewers

1993 Upper Deck #800 Jim Eisenreich
1995 Fleer Ultra #203 Lenny Dykstra

Yesterday I never got around to putting up a post for game three of the NLDS and the Baseball Fates frowned upon the Phillies. My Bad.

The Phillies simply have not been hitting in the series and largely have capitalized on Brewer errors and a bad CC Sabathia inning. To help out with the Phils hitting woes, I am drawing on some of the 93 Phils lefthanded hitters. Eisy was a Phan Phavorite who never seemed to have a bad at-bat while the Dude Lenny Dykstra was an offensive spark plug getting one clutch hit after another. Phils needs some big hits out of current left-handers Chase Utley and Ryan Howard so they can come on home and get ready to face the NL West Champion LA Dodgers.

Philadelphia Phillies @ Milwaukee Brewers: Miller Park, Milwaukee WI Sunday October 5th 1:07 PM Eastern.


Thursday, October 2, 2008

C See Ya!!!

2007 Topps #372 Shane Victorino
2006 Topps #432 Brett Myers

Great game. Myers has trouble early gets himself out of a jam, and then in an absolutely key at-bat extends the 2nd inning by working a two out walk. This all leads to a Shane Vicotorino Grand Slam off of C.C. Sabathia.

Game 2

2002 Topps206 #411 Brett Myers

For good reason there has been a lot of talk about how well C.C. Sabathia has been pitching and how he is an old-school workhorse pitcher. Well Brett Myers may not be CC, and is wildly inconsistent, but he does have a lot of bulldog in him and can be pretty old-school himself. With that in mind I am posting this old-school retro-heritage style card in the hopes that the Baseball Gods will smile on Brett Myers today.

With some luck I will get to go to today's game. I have a friend pulling some strings for me and am hoping to get tickets. If it falls together I should have some pictures up tomorrow or over the weekend.

Milwaukee Brewers @ Philadelphia Phillies Citizen's Bank Ballpark, Philadelphia PA. October 2 2008 6:07 PM

Go Phils!!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


2002 Fleer Fall Classic #90 Steve Carlton
2007 SP Authentic #34 Cole Hamels

Presenting some playoff mojo cards - We're hoping Cole fairs better in todays playoff opener versus the Brewers than he did in his playoff debut a year ago - to help out the Phils current ace Lefty I am also posting Hamels card with a card of the Phils all-time Lefty.

Milwaukee Brewers @ Philadelphia Phillies, Citizen's Bank Ballpark, Philadelphia PA. October 1, 2008 3:07 PM

Go Phils!

a thousand words

a thousand words
2008 World Champions