Monday, June 29, 2015

Meet & Greet during Defeats

It's finally here, Meet & Greet V: The Return of the Wriz. The annual event that Phillies fans long for. It used to be up there with Opening Day. Now? Not so much. It was a star studded event, The Netfather, CJ Hood, Diamond Girl and Jay Wrizight. Right up there and surpassing Wing Bowl as the premier event of the year. Bands like AC/DC and the Foo Fighters taking the stage in front of a raucous crowd. Today someone may have a radio on in their car. Oh how the mighty have fallen. Our organizer, Robin, ran a wild event with a megaphone and a bull whip. Gourmet food, craft beers flowing, and world class entertainment. Throngs inside the K Lot and scores more trying to get in. This morning she will say, "Park over there, I think I have a bag of Doritos in my trunk".


And the stars have fallen on tough times. At one event in years past, The Netfather parachuted in and was swarmed by a bunch of dancers from Cheerleaders. I heard he can't make it this year, he's in the middle of his 7th divorce and he can't leave the state of Arizona. Judge's orders. CJ Hood was appearing on The Late Show with David Letterman. He was a headliner in the same breath as Chris Rock and Dane Cook. I hear he is hosting the Open Mic Nite at the Chuckles in Scranton. He's there the second Tuesday of the month from 6 to 10. His career has taken the same trajectory as Louis CK's tv show. What happened there? That brings us to Diamond Girl. She was dating 'The Man' Chase Utley. She was competing with Kendra Wilkerson and Heather Mitts for the title of  'It' girl of the city. Well...3 restraining orders later, she can't come within 1,000 feet of Citizens Bank Park. Against the advice of counsel she may appear at this year's event. We will see. Last but not least, our fearless leader, Jay Wrizight. Who am I kidding, he's like Bernie Parent in this town. He can't go anywhere without a fan asking how the lil' Wrizlets are doing? 

Like the Phillies, the Meet & Greet may have seen better days. We can look on the bright side, the Phillies found a stud in Maikel Franco, maybe Phillies Bunts have a star in Erik Whitacre. I can't believe The Wriz is making him watch every Phillies game, talk about hazing the new guy!

Keep It Classy Philly!

DB29

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Why?

So Long Suckas!
 
Why would Ryne Sandberg, the manager of a big league ball club, “resign” mid-season? 

He has to know this means he will most likely never get a chance to manage in the big leagues ever again. Any General Manager now has to see him as an unreliable guy who may leave them hanging when the going gets tough.  How comfortable would the players on a team with a losing record feel with him as their manager?

Could be he would wanted leave on his own terms rather than being unexpectedly fired like his predecessor Charlie Manuel. Ryne’s big day came at the same time Phillies Favorite Uncle Charlie was blindsided.

For a manager to quit mid-season is a clear lack of respect to the leaders above him.  Maybe Ryne wanted to let Ruben know exactly what he thought of him.  Sure, Ruben hired him but afterwards what did he give him?  All Sandberg has had since he took the job is a disaster of a roster.  No manager could win with this group of players.

It had to be frustrating when The Big DomBrownski was promoted from a lackluster minor league showing to being the right fielder again.  It’s pretty clear, Ruben is determined to prove Brown is an everyday player.  Ruf demoted and Brown promoted.  As a manager with no say over the team he fields, this had to be infuriating.

(Did you see the end of the Friday night game? Way to be a coachable player Dom!  Mackanin, please bench him for Sundays game. I have tickets)

It’s possible the final straw was being forced to start Phillippe Aumont.  Everyone said the same thing when they heard he was being promoted to the big leagues again – Seriously!?!?  He has never produced in the Majors and his performance in the Minors has been underwhelming to say the least.  This guy is not and will never be a Major League Ballplayer.  Admit it was a bad trade and move on.  The fans and Sandberg knew when he was named the starting pitcher the game would result in a loss and an unnecessary burden on the bullpen.

Or maybe...

As a Hall of Fame player, from the Chicago Cubs, who endured many losing seasons he got to see firsthand what a manager losing respect of the club house was like.  It is more than reasonable to assume that Ryno saw the players no longer listening to him and playing their way rather than his.

Anyway...

It was pretty clear Sandberg would not be back next season as manager.   It was more than possible he would have been dismissed before the end of the season.  With rumors of Andy MacPhail being hired, changes are sure to be made.  First move would hopefully be a new General Manager immediately followed by a change at manager.

But....

No matter what the reason, Ryne Sandberg is a great baseball man.  He is a Hall of Fame player who worked his way from the lowest level of the Minor Leagues to realize his dream of managing a big league ball club.  Good for him.  How many people his age and with his resume are willing to start on the bottom and work their way to the top. 

At this point, the only R(h)yno my son will ever care about is the villain from the Spider-Man comics but I hope he gets the same drive and determination as the Hall of Fame Second Baseman.

Who will be the next full time manager of the Phillies?  I am still predicting Chase Utley will be filling out the lineup for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies.

I will watch the Phillies so you don’t have to!

Erik Whitacre  @erikwhitacre

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Good, The Sad and The FIRE RUBEN

The Good, The Sad and The FIRE RUBEN.

At this point it is obvious there will be no playoff baseball for the Phightin Phils this season.

There has been some good.  Not a lot. Just some.

Mikael Franco is finally here.  He brings something the team hasn’t had in a long time – Personality. He looks happy when they are winning and mad when they are losing.  It’s a big change for the “baseball is a business and show no emotion” team we have watched the last few seasons.  Franco has a ton of potential. If he lives up to the hype, he is going to be the new favorite player for many Phillies fans.

Get your Franco T-shirts or jerseys and wear them to the games.  Don’t boil your kids hot dogs for lunch make them Phillies Francos. 

Cole Hamels looks great every time he takes the mound.  He is the definition of an Ace.  When he is pitching the Phillies have a chance to win.  It’s a shame the offense refuses to score any runs for him.

Remember in the 90’s when Curt Schilling was pitching lights out baseball every fifth day and the team wasn’t scoring?  Had they scored a few runs and added some wins to his lifetime record he would have easily been a first ballot Hall of Fame player.  He should have been elected first try anyway and it’s just wrong the he still missed on his second try.

When Hamels retires, and voters are on the fence about his career, the way he has pitched these last few seasons won’t be remembered but the losses will be.

On the rare occasions Papelbon gets the ball, there is confidence he will get the job done.  The Pirates loss wasn’t his fault.  He hasn’t even done or said anything stupid in a while.

Asche looks like he is ready for his opportunity to be the everyday left fielder and do his best with it.  He is a Phillies player to follow and root for.  He loves the game and works hard at it.  That’s a guy who could be exciting to watch over the next few years.

There has been plenty of sad.

Back to Cole Hamels who will miss his Friday night start with a strained hamstring.  It isn’t certain if he will need to go on the disabled list.  What a hit to his trade value if he goes on the DL.

One wild thought - is he is being shut down while some negotiations take place over the weekend? Doubt it but have we seen the end of an era?  That truly would be sad.

Utley and Howard are still every day players in Sandberg’s line up.  It is time for them to sit more than they play.  The Phillies will owe them both huge salaries next year no matter what happens for the rest of this season. If the team really is trying to see what young talent they have to build around for the future it is time to stop worrying about hurting feelings and letting someone else try to get a hit.

Darin Ruf was sent back to the minors to work on the game he was never allowed to work on in the majors.  What a shame.  He should have been given the opportunity to play every day to see what he could do.  Mike Schmidt is a big fan of Ruf and spoke of this on every Saturday and Sunday home game broadcast.

The Big Dom Brownski was called back up to the big team to take his place.  It seems pretty obvious at this point his six week tear last season was primarily due to big league pitchers not knowing how to pitch him.  As soon as teams got an accurate scouting report, pitchers and defenses made adjustments, his numbers decreased and he became the below average player we all know he is. Dom Brown is a 3 time loser – 1) He took his time reporting to the minors because he was upset he wasn’t going to be with the Phillies.  2) He is a Cowboys fan and not afraid to let Philly know it. 3) HE CAN”T HIT!  How many opportunities will this guy get? 


There has been plenty of FIRE RUBEN

Ruben needs to be fired before the trade deadline.  The opportunity to move Hamels, Papelbon, Francouer, Harang or anyone else who can bring a return of some young talent is too important to be lef to a GM who has proven beyond a reasonable doubt he doesn’t have a realistic strategy or vision for the future of this team.

The great GM’s have a strategy.  Billy Beane finds a way to get young players with massive potential. Because the A’s have a low budget he plays them until they are on the verge of costing too much and then trades them for more low priced young players and starts all over. The A’s may be in the AL West basement but Oakland fans have confidence it will only be a matter of time before they are contending for the division again. Are there any Phillies fans who think Ruben has the skills to build a team this way?

Jeff Luhnow (who replaced Ed Wade) and the Astros have built a team from the ground up. They are young, fun to watch, and have a real chance to hold on and win the AL West.  Do any fans think Ruben has the skills to build a contender in the next few years via the draft? With the Phillies unwilling to bring up young players, it might take 10 years.

Remember when the Red Sox had a fire sale of high priced players and finished last in the division only to be followed by a rebuild that led them to a World Series the following year?  The Red Sox knew when to unload their high priced players while they still had something to offer.  Do any fans have confidence Ruben could turn a team around in 1 season?  (To be fair the Red Sox tried to do an extensive rebuild again and this time it looks like they made some bad choices. Pablo and Hanley should have stayed out west.)

Not only has Ruben failed to make one trade this season he has created a massive jam for the outfield position.  The remainder of June and all of July should be Asche in left, Herrera in center and Brown (because it obviously won’t be Ruf) in Right.  Let Francouer play once or twice a week as a gift to the fans who don’t want to watch Brown underwhelm every night.

It was a smart move to release Sizemore.  He never added anything to a team in a rebuilding mode and not many fans were buying tickets just to see him.

Revere needs to be traded for someone with potential. There is no future for him in a Phillies uniform.  Ruben should have looked for a trade in the off season when he actually had value. He hit well last year and on a team that could use a fast center fielder who can slap the ball he might have been worth a decent player. 

Sandberg was Rubens pick for manager.   All time Phillies fan favorite Charlie Manuel was fired mid-season to give Ryno his shot.  Hiring the right manager is just as important as choosing the right players.

When Ruben goes Sandberg needs to immediately follow.


Let Larry Bowa manage the team for the rest of the year.  He will sit the players who aren’t playing and light some fires under the ones who need to be doing more.

The Phillies need to do something to show the fans they care.  The longer Ruben stays in charge and continues to underwhelm the more fans they will lose.

If you stopped watching this team don’t feel bad about it.  The bandwagon has been destroyed.  It’s not being a fair weather fan to have given up at this point. The players have given up on us and the GM thinks we are idiots!  When the wagon is rebuilt and ready to roll again there will be plenty of room.

Yes, I’m still watching the Phillies so you don’t have to! 

Ugh!

Erik Whitacre 
@erikwhitacre

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Birthday Musings

View From the Left Coast from a Lefty:  Birthday Musings
 
I woke up today feeling a bit sad. Today, I qualified for Medicare. If that's not enough to shake your tree then phuck you; you have no soul. I fully expected the Phils to automatically comply with my wishes and kick some Rockies ass. But no, it's like.....hey Bill, hell with your bday we're gonna play like crap. Damned if they didn't.
 
I have no illusions people. I've been a Phillies fan since 1958. I've seen better and worse. If you didn't live through 1972 you missed the low and high(Carlton Cy Young 27-10 when Phils were 59-103). Today's Phillies are merely a step towards the future. For the most part, I like the future even though our farm has been bad mouthed. I like Franco, I like Cody in LF, I love Odubey. Whoever put Revere in RF needs to be shot. RF is where your best outfielder and arm belong. I know this because that is where I played and also batted 3rd. Enough of this here, I verifed myself lol.
 
We were all giddy when they won 6 in a row. Now it's -7 on the other end. Folks, this is to be expected from a team projected to be under .500. I hate having to write about a team that sucks but guess what, it's what we were dealt. I'm not happy either. To Erik: I'm glad you watch them so I don't have to because they basically make me sick. No fundamentals whatsoever, take fastballs down the middle and swing at low inside breaking stuff, on and on. I've said before half this team could not have played for my high school coach because we were taught better than they were. So where does the blame belong?
 
Mr Wriz not sure how much longer I can do this. Maybe Medicare has sapped me of all potential hope. Or maybe it's Rube. Whichever, I'm quickly approaching DB29 or DGirl status and I apologize. Maybe I'll feel better in the morning but chances are prolly not. At least I don't have to work  in the morning and may only spend 4 hours at the SSA. Excuse me while I try to wade through all that bullshit and see where I land tomorrow. At least it's only 1 more day
until the Stanley Cup Finals.
 
                                                Bill S aka/netfather

Monday, May 18, 2015

How Sweep It Is!

Hoodwink’d                       by cj hood
How Sweep It Is!
 
 
 
IT SAYS RIGHT HERE ‘REMOVE ASCHE & REPLACE WITH FRANCO’
 
Oh snap!  Don’t look now, but someone rang the CB Park’s doorbell and left a Swiffer Sweeper
right next to the Mike Schmidt statue.  My goal here is to pen this piece, email it to the Wriz and get it on da blog spot before this glorious win streak ends!  Our legion of Buntamaniacs didn’t think O’Sullivan could deliver a win, but low & behold you ‘doubting Thomaseses’ he did!  A 5 game win streak including a sweep of the D*Backs!  Granted the two Pirate wins were our faux Aces vs their duds and the D*Backs play like d*bags, but irregardless (not a real word) we got it diz-one!!!  Now off to Colorado where the mountains are high and so are their residents.  Will the streak hit 6?  Will there be another sweep?  Or will Ryan ‘Lloyd’ Braun get higher than Snoop Dog at a Denver Pot CafĂ©?  Time will tell, but with Galvis’ hot bat and Franco ‘Everything But’ American on our side…the sky is the limit.  (Assuming the sky is like my man cave ceiling #6fttall).  But next week, when T*Mac announces the Phillies Star of the Week, he won’t be doing it with tongue planted firmly in cheek.  This week was real, almost parade worthy.  For a team still sitting in last place we need to appreciate the small stuff, so let’s celebrate good times…come on….


 
YOU KNEW THIS PIC WAS COMING.

-Why do they call Francoeur ‘Frenchy?’
-I hope they gave Cody Asche one of those whiffle ball bats before he left.
-They were about to rename this team Amtrak prior to this win-streak.
-The thrill is forever gone.
-Why did I just here about the Schmitter?
-I went to Weather Day just for Sheena Parveen!
-DB29 is 5 pounds away from never having to tuck a shirt in again.
-Chase is still the man!
-How ‘bout my man Howard!!!
-Remember Wriz Wednesdays. #flashbackmonday
-Did Rioter win the Preakness?
-The Marlins will collapse in T-Minus 3, 2, ……
-The ‘Dad-bod’ is now in! Where was this 20 years ago?
-Congrats Pap!
-Don’t throw the ball to someone unless they’re looking.  #LittleLeague101
-The Kardashians have more ‘Daddy issues’ than the Skywalkers.
-My Phillies Mt. Rushmore:  Schmidt, Carlton, Chase, Pete Rose. #comeatmebro
-Remember Netfather Bill.  #throwbackmonday
-Wonder if the Poop Bandit has a Bunts tshirt?
-My son got up at 6:30am on a Saturday to do homework.  Waiting on paternity test.
-Meet & Greet V is one month away….let’s get ‘Bunted!!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A Different Black and Yellow

THE PIRATES ARE NOT THE PENGUINS OR THE STEELERS

The Phillies and the Pirates meet for four games this week at Citizens Bank Park.  While the best case scenario is the Phillies win the series, it is then O.K. to begin rooting for the fans of Pittsburgh to hope their hometown Pirates regroup and begin their journey to an N.L. Central Championship.

Besides the Pirates basically owning the Phillies over the last several seasons there is no real rivalry here.

Flyers vs. Penguins, now that is a hope for multiple 5 minute majors, a few misconducts and Flyers must win rivalry.  Sidney Crosby is the most irritating Canadian to come to the USA since Caillou.  If you have kids and watch hockey, you can appreciate why they are both awful, lame and should be deported!!

Eagles vs. Steelers, this is an every few season match up where Philly fans hope we win so we don’t have to hear and be jealous about their 6 Super Bowl rings.  Enough! We Know!  We all watch and enjoy Terry Bradshaw, the greatest Steelers quarterback ever, on Sunday mornings and his countless ridiculous commercials.  Have Pittsburgh fans taken notice of the Eagles best quarterback ever also working for Fox?  Never mind.  Let’s hope they haven’t.  Keep reading.

Who else is there to cheer for in the Pirates division?

Does anyone really want to see the St. Louis in the playoffs again?  Ever since that horrible 2011 October night with the Chris Carpenter shut out and the awful Ryan Howard Achilles injury the Cardinals have to be among the most hated teams for Phillies fans.  Let’s not forget J.D. Drew deciding against signing with Philadelphia to go on and become an underwhelming over paid Cardinal. Not enough reason for ya?  ROLEN!! (I was a big Scott Rolen fans so I won’t rip him)

How about the Cubs? The only thing in Philly more irritating than meeting a “life-long Cubbies fan” is a Red Sox or Dodgers fan. Sure, the Cubs are finally building a team that will eventually contend for a series but rooting for a Pennsylvania team is way better than a team from IllAnnoy.

The Reds are fine.  They do a good job of trying to win every year but boring is boring and the Reds are boring.  Griffey left years ago and they’re still in search of a personality. (Homer Bailey is the best name in baseball and one time he did get me a free Dominos pizza with his no-hitter.)


Who is left?  Oh yeah, the Brewers.  Eww.  Ever since Burger Prince Fielder went to the Tigers this team has gone from “I don’t care” to “Nobody outside of Wisconsin cares”  Ryan Braun used to be a great player and an even better role model until he got outed as a cheater and now the Brewers shouldn’t win anything until he retires.  Once again – Eww!!

Let’s be honest – the Phillies are tough to watch. 

There is still a lot of great baseball being played around the league. The Pirates started off a bit slow but are picking things up and have a real chance to be the National League representatives in the 2015 Fall Classic.  Root for them.  If you have the chance watch them.  They are an energetic team that loves playing baseball.  Remember when the Phillies were like that?

The Pirates have great uniforms and the second most awesome stadium in the league. AAARGH!!!

Chances are this won’t be a Red October so why not cheer for Black October?

On a related note – Phillies fans have not jumped off the bandwagon.  While the fan turnout at Citizens Bank Park is not overwhelming, each night it looks similar to many other teams around the league.  The White Sox, who are hoping to win the A.L. Central, played to an almost empty stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The Phillies rank 19th in the league for fans in the stands. Washington and New York average about 4,000 more a game and the Braves about 4,000 less and the Marlins 6,000.

Every fan that has attended a game this season knows the organization goes out of their way to make it a great time and even with a last place team it is a fun night at the park. 

If you haven’t been to a game this season, get some tickets.  Even if it is just for the Phillies Bunts Meet and Greet on June 28th. If you want I will sign your ticket and you can show it to your friends and they can make fun of you!

I will watch the Phillies (and Pirates) so you don’t have to!!Erik Whitacre



@erikwhitacre

Friday, May 8, 2015

Best Ticket in Town

FRIDAY NIGHT BASEBALL IN PHILLY

If you’re only planning to watch one Phillies game this season make it Friday Night.

Phillies. Mets. Citizens Bank Park.

 Cole Hamels. Matt Harvey.

Forecast is for a perfect night.

 
The best pitcher in Phillies recent history versus the best pitcher in all of New York.  This has the makings of a one hour fifty five minute duel for the ages.

Sure, Hamels has had his ups and downs so far this season but against the rival Mets he is sure to bring his A Game. The biggest problem Cole has had this year is losing focus and making the mistake pitch. For those of you who have been watching, his mistakes have been big ones.  When he’s not making mistakes, he looks like a legitimate ace.  For most teams in the league, he is better than their current opening day starter.  His name is mentioned daily on MLB Network Radio as the top available pitcher who will be traded this season.  This week they’re thinking Red Sox or Blue Jays but knowing he can and most likely would decline a trade to Toronto, they are predicting Boston as his landing spot.

Matt Harvey, coming off Tommy John surgery, is 5-0 and has to be considered one of the best pitchers in the game so far this young season. Last week he outdueled the 200 million dollar man from the Nationals. He is legit and a lot of fun to watch. A New York without Derek Jeter is looking for a fan favorite and I predict Harvey will be the newly crowned King of New York Baseball by seasons end.

The best chance either team has to win this game is to take advantage of a mistake and hit the long ball.

Hopefully, the Phillies will realize this and start all their power hitters.  Sure, there haven’t been many long balls this year but Howard is starting to heat up while Ruf and Francouer have the ability to pop one at any time. Utley will be back from his benching and you can rest assured he will get at least one hit. This is a guarantee.

It is going to be a long summer for Philadelphia baseball fans. The opportunity for a great game won’t come around that often which is why this Friday night should be Baseball Night in Philly!!

Let’s Root Root Root for the Phillies!!

On a side note – even though we hate the Mets and hope everything they do turns out poorly they should be commended for their salute to the fallen NYPD officer on Tuesday Night.  Brian Moore, a lifelong Orioles fan (so much cooler than being a lifelong Mets fan) had tickets for the Tuesday game. His family attended for him.  The Mets flew all flags in the stadium and half-mast, wore NYPD hats during batting practice and a moment of silence for Officer Moore took place before the game. Some things are bigger than baseball and good for the Mets for being a class act and honoring a fallen hero.

I will watch the Phillies so you don’t have to!! Even though you should watch the Phillies even if it’s just this one time.

Erik Whitacre   

@erikwhitacre