New Phungo Feature today - the PHUNGO 5. For each series during the Phillies 09 Season I am going to attempt to get a mini-interview of 5 questions from a card blogger related to the team which is facing the Phillies (Think "Daily Show" V1.0 with Kilborn)
The Phillies are coming off of winning the 2008 World Championship and as a reward they get to host ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball and the Atlanta Braves. This gives me the opportunity to pick the brain of the prolific DayF over at Cardboard Junkie. I am ashamed, I think he gave me his entire Braves preview. Dayf is his usual witty and insightful self and I am very happy with the results of the first Phungo 5.
1) This is the 2nd consecutive year the Braves have been on Opening night, Like it or Loathe it?
Love it. It's like Daytona for baseball, a big event. I don't even mind the crappy ESPN announcers. Bonus: Derek Lowe gets an extra start in due to all the off days from playing a day before everyone else. I just hope the weather isn't lousy up in Philly.
2) If I am a prospector what Braves cards should I be looking at?
You obviously are too late to jump on the Jordan Shafer bandwagon and pretty much everyone knows about Hanson and Heyward by now. Gorkys Hernandez too, to a lesser extent. Freddie Freeman is probably the best prospect still (sort of) under the radar. Huge 19 year old first baseman that mashes the ball. Also watch out for shortstop Brandon Hicks. He's raw, but he might end up converted to third base to take over for Chipper one day. Brandon is another guy who can hit the ball out of the park, but he strikes out too much. If he can learn how to make contact or at least figure out how to take a ton of walks like Adam Dunn he might be in the bigs one day. There's a whole mess of pitchers who could make an impact in a couple of years too. Kris Medlen, Cole Rohrbaugh, Julio Teheran and Jeff Locke. All lefties except for Medlen.
3) What three players will need to excel for the Braves to win the NL East?
Jeff Francoeur has got to remember how to hit. If he doesn't the Braves are in trouble and Jeffy will probably be on his way out of town. Mike Gonzalez is pretty critical. The bullpen is good but injury prone and Mike needs to lock down that closer role to keep the whole house of cards from collapsing like it's done so often in the past. The most important guy on the team right now is Brian McCann. He's an All-Star catcher, hits the daylights out of the ball and is picking up the Team Leader role now that Smoltz is gone and Glavine has gotten old. If McCann gets injured for any period of time, the Braves are in deep trouble. If Chipper goes down they could muddle through with some combination of Infante, Prado and Norton over in the hot corner. Behind McCann is David Ross and Clint Sammons. McCann has to stay healthy.
4) Favorite Phillies Braves Connection
My cousin Tim, a big Phillie fan who took me to a few Phillies/Braves games when I was a kid. I owned a Phillies cap before I ever owned a Braves cap if you can believe that. Got it at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium at a game he took me to. I don't know how the hell he managed to drive home after all of those beers he had at the game, but we did and it was a really fun time.
5) Dr Dirt or Mr Clean?
No contest. Mr. Clean.
1991 Donruss #744 Dr Dirt and Mr Clean (click to enlarge)
There it is, the Debut of Phungo 5 - We will give the Cardboard Junkie team a perfect 5 of 5 for their efforts - Hope you enjoyed it, We will be looking to Tulo Trader for a Rockies report later this week. If you are interested in representing your team in a future Phungo 5 leave a comment or email me - I have some folks in mind, but some teams are a little thin - is there a Nats Card blog out there?
As for me I am looking forward to watching the Phils defend the World Championship. The Phillies are facing long odds, No NL team as repeated since the 75-76 Reds 30+ years ago. Regardless, the Phils are a fun and likeable team. Tickets will be more expensive and harder to come by this season, but I am sure glad the season is here.