Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I Don’t Think Phoebe would be Proud

In much like the way I am amazed that adults without children visit Disney World or go to see Toy Story 3, I am stunned by the Phillie Phanatic’s popularity. This morning I was surprised to learn not only is the Phanatic getting sued, but he is the MOST SUED mascot. Really? People actually sue the Phanatic? I didn’t know you could sue someone for being an asshole.

Wait. What?

That’s right. I said it. The Phillie Phanatic is an ASSHOLE! 

There are any number of reasons I could give you why I hate the Phanatic.  That he uses the same boring routines game in and game out.(i.e. smashing the opposing teams batting helmet, the “Rocky” fight or the weightlifting skit) or the way T-Mac giggles like a retarded bowl of Jell-O whenever the Phanatic is on TV. Or the way he tries to force himself on unsuspecting fans by trusting his pelvis into their faces. Hey, I understand people can make their own sexual choices, but no means no even if you are a 300 pound green furry thing.  But the real reason, I hate the Phanatic is much more personal.

I didn’t always feel this way. I remember when I was little begging my mom to buy me the weekly Phanatic figurine at Acme. We musta been really poor because they were like 99 cents, but I really had to beg.

When I was in high school, I took one of those aptitude tests. It said I was best suited for a career in sports management. My school passed this information along to the Phillies, who invited me to be part of their Explorers program. It was awesome. Every week for ten weeks I went to the stadium and learned about what goes into the day-to-day operations of the Phillies.  As a special treat for completing the program, I was given tickets to a game, but told I need to be there at a specified time before the game. Much to my surprise and delight when I arrived I was informed that all those in the program would be taken out onto the field and announced to the crowd. One by one, we were announced as our name was on the scoreboard and our face on Phanavision. For some reason, the Phanatic singled me out. When I was announced, Wham! A smack to the side of the head. I mean it wasn’t like a Tyson blow to the dome, but not suspecting it; it was hard enough to foster resentment towards the tongue-hurling freak.  But it doesn’t end there.

Four years later, I take this girl I had just started dating to a Phillies game. About the sixth inning, a commotion starts in our section. The Phanatic is at the top of the concourse. As my luck would have it, she loves the Phanatic. I start telling her the story and POW! That motherfucker does it again. I mean what are the chances. Do I look like some dickhead in the Galapagos Islands or something?  So now it’s gone beyond resentment and is now full-blown hatred.

I hope the Phillies don’t settle out of court, and I end up on that jury. I do my damnedest to make sure the poor arthritic little old lady who just wanted to watch a baseball game gets every penny she DESERVES.

BTW any one know the statute of limitations of a civil case involving assault?

Jay Wrizight

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All of the proceeds the DPF blog receives from the sale of these shirts will be donated to charity, so please go on and order a few! Also check out Bark Tees awesome lineup of other sports themed T-Shirts!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Random Past Phillie: Darrel Akerfelds

Name: Darrel Wayne Akerfelds
Position: Relief Pitcher
Born: June 12, 1962 in Denver, Colorado
Acquired: From the Texas Rangers for cash on March 31, 1990
Phillies Debut: April 12, 1990
Final Phillies Game: July 2, 1991
Uniform Number: 35
Career Elsewhere: Athletics (1986), Indians (1987), Rangers (1989)

About Darrel Akerfelds: You see it all the time. A guy is a high draft pick. Doesn't really pan out, bounces around for a while. Then suddenly, the right opportunity presents itself, and he starts to realize his potential. It can be a springboard to a productive career. Or it could just be lightning in a bottle, and that player never comes close to duplicating his career year. The latter would be the case for one Darrel Akerfelds, a former first-round draft pick who in 1990 became a surprising fixture in the Phillies' bullpen, but was never able to build off that one solid season.

A graduate of Columbine High School nearly two decades before it would become a household name in the worst way imaginable, Akerfelds went on to the University of Arkansas and was eventually selected by the Seattle Mariners with the seventh overall pick in the 1983 Draft. Despite the high selection, Akerfelds was traded to the Oakland Athletics along with reliever Bill Caudill for pitcher Dave Beard and catcher Bob Kearney following the '83 season. Akerfelds would make his way to Oakland in 1986, appearing in two games for the A's. The following season, he was shipped to the Cleveland Indians in a deal that sent infielder Tony Bernazard to Oakland. Akerfelds appeared in 16 games for the Tribe, including what would be the only 13 starts of his career, going 2-6 with a 6.75 ERA. After spending the 1988 season in the minors, Akerfelds was selected by the Texas Rangers in the Rule 5 Draft. He didn't make the Rangers out of Spring Training, but stayed in the organization as the Indians declined the return offer from Texas. Akerfelds would appear in six games for the Rangers in '89, going 0-1 with a 3.27 ERA. He would return to the Rangers for Spring Training in 1990, but was the victim of a numbers game. The Phillies decided to take a chance with Akerfelds, and on March 31 of that year, acquired him from Texas for cash considerations.

At the time of his acquisition, Darrel Akerfelds was pretty much a forgotten failed first-round pick who'd had little more than a cup of coffee with three MLB teams. Given an opportunity with a Phillies team coming off two consecutive last-place finishes, however, Akerfelds flourished. Though not possessing pinpoint control, he was unscored upon in his first 13 appearances, and the Phils were a surpise themselves, spending much of the early going at or near the top of the NL East standings. A sinkerballer who also threw a knuckle-curve, Akerfelds would eventually work himself into a setup role for closer Roger McDowell. While his scoreless streak would come to an end, Akerfelds kept his ERA in the low-to-mid twos for the duration of the first half. The Phillies themselves tapered off, but still managed to hover around the .500 mark for a good portion of the season. Unlike setup men today, Akerfelds was often called upon to work multiple innings, which may explain why he seemed to wear down in the second half. He would end the 1990 season with a 5-2 record, three saves, and a 3.77 ERA in 71 appearances.

With a full MLB season finally under his belt, it was hoped Akerfelds would be able to build off his performance in 1991. It didn't happen. For Akerfelds, the '91 season was a continuation of his late '90 struggles. He would go 2-1 in 30 appearances, but with a 5.26 ERA, walking 27 batters in 49 and 2/3 innings. The Phils sent Akerfelds to the minors in early July, and he would never make it back to the big leagues. Cut loose by the Phillies after the '91 season, Akerfelds spent 1992 bouncing around the organizations of the Baltimore Orioles, Rangers, and Pittsburgh Pirates, before heading to the Toronto Blue Jays in 1993. After sitting out the 1994 season, Akerfelds returned to baseball in 1995 as a replacement player for the California Angels. After the strike was settled, the Angels sent Akerfelds to the minors, in what turned out to be his final pro season. He would return to MLB as the bullpen coach for the San Diego Padres in 2001, a position he still holds today.

Personal recollection: Darrel Akerfelds was another one of those guys who came out of nowhere, looked like maybe we had something, and then was gone just like that. I remember the raves about his knuckle-curve when the Phillies first got him. I guess that kept hitters off balance for a while, but they eventually figured it out.

I also remember going to Photo Night one year, and as is customary, Akerfelds joined his teammates in chatting with fans, posing for pictures, shaking hands, etc. He seemed happy to be doing it. Then he got up to one kid and went to shake his hand. The kid pulled his hand back and asked him if he knew when Ricky Jordan would be out. Now, Jordan was my favorite player back then, but I can assure you that wasn't me. I don't remember how Akerfelds responded, but I felt pretty bad for him. I guess it didn't affect his performance on the mound too much that night, because he ended up getting the win after a late homer by Darren Daulton put the Phils on top to stay. So I guess that kid got his in some way.

That's my story on Darrel Akerfelds. Feel free to share any of your own

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Do you have what it takes?

Groucho Marx once said, “I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members.”

Many times people have told me they weren’t Drunk Phils Fans because they weren’t sure they belonged. Horseshit! For the most part, we’ll accept anyone… unless of course you are or were a Mets fan. In which case, you have a cursed soul. There is no hope for you and you will burn in the lowest fiery depths of hell. But back to my point If you don’t take my word for it; I have compiled a sort of checklist to determine if you qualify.

Standard Members:

You like the Phillies.
You like some sort of booze.
You know who Whitey is.
You enjoy the company of others who like the Phillies and booze.
You’ve heard the song “High Hopes”
You have gotten Phillies tickets in the past.

Gold Members:

You love the Phillies.
You love the sauce.
You know who Domonic Brown is.
You tailgate with people who share the same interests as you.
You know the words to “High Hopes”
You have some sort of season ticket plan.

Platinum Member:

You can’t imagine a world without the Phillies.
Your only problem with booze is that you drink is never full enough.
Last week, you debated that Tyler Green was better than Tommy Greene.
The last time you tailgated with Lindsey Lohan, she told you, “For the last time, stop snatching my beer. I’m not done and cooler is only 2 extra feet away.”
You can gargle High hopes while pounding a beer.
You have gotten tickets while at the Phillies game…Drunk and Disorderly tickets.

So feel free to join, invite your friends of let us know what you think.

See ya down at the game.

Jay Wrizight

Monday, June 14, 2010

You're My Boy Blue!

It only took a fraction of a second. In the time it took Jim Joyce to throw his arms up calling Jason Donald safe instead of ringing him up, Armando Galaragga lost his chance to become the 21st pitcher in the history Of Major League Baseball to throw a perfect game and Jim Joyce tarnished his reputation forever. It may also change the history of baseball.

Joyce had a reputation for being one of the best umpires in the business, but that has gone by the waste side.  I went to the Phillie’s game this past Sunday. When there was a close play at 3rd that didn’t go the Phil’s way, “Joyce blew another one!” could be overheard, but nonetheless Joyce was working the first base bag.  I’ll give him credit though.  He handled the situation about as well as humanly possible. He personally apologized to Galaragga, admitted he blew the call and showed genuine remorse afterwards.

Galaragga, too, responded unbelievably well given the circumstance.  He spent time in the minor earlier in the season, so to be so close to baseball immortality to only have it taken away by a bad call, he could have went postal and I think anyone could have understood. He just seemed to laugh it off. When asked what he will tell his son, he said he see the game and know his father pitched a perfect game. Galaragga will have to settle for the most famous one hitter in MLB history.

Many fans were calling for Bud Selig to overturn the call and give Galaragga his perfect game. Selig stated this would not be done.  This increased demands for instant replay to be looked at or expanded.  Baseball has long be opposed to replay and only instituted it on a very limited basis last year. Home run calls only. In all my years watching baseball, its probably the area where I think its least needed.  Baseball purist insists that replay will take the “human element” out of the game.

Ok. To put it simply, I don’t want replay…. AT ALL! Certainly, I feel for Galaragga, but I’m sure if you go back in history there are a few other milestones or feats that might have been accomplished if a call could be looked at again. But I think baseball umpires blow far fewer calls than NFL, NHL and NBA officials combined. The current process for replay, in my opinion, takes too long.  If any change should be made, it should be to the “human element.” If an umpire sees a blown call he should overturn the call.  I spent some time as a hockey referee in a previous life and it was always “courtesy” to stick up for your fellow ref so I understand this thinking. I, also, understand this may be flawed thinking.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Cure for the Slump

People have been pointing fingers at different reasons for the recent Phillies slump. First I will break it down just how bad the offense is in comparison to the rest of the league. The Phillies are ranked in the following way: Runs 18th, Hits 23rd, HRs 12th, RBIs 18th, AVG 16th, OBP 15th. There are 30 teams in MLB, so we rank in the bottom half in 5 out of the 6 categories. So what does Manuel or Amaro do? What is the answer? Is there in fact a magic bullet? I will explore these questions and more as we move on.

I will dispel the rumors that are floating around out there about the crux of the slump. It is not because Rollins is not in the lineup. Rollins has been a subpar leadoff hitter since his MVP season. I know all about his swagger and what he means defensively, but let’s be honest, he is like Kiko Garcia with the bat. Sure he is an upgrade from Valdez and Castro, or whatever other horseshit Latin American player they toss out at shortstop. Rollins hit .250 with a .296 OBP last year. Folks, he is not the answer.

There is also a nasty rumor floating around that Milt Thompson is toying with too many players batting stances. People such as Howard, Werth, and Ibanez. Leave Howard alone. Let this dude hit .260 and drop 40-50 bombs a year. Right now he is hitting .286 with 41 RBIs, but his power is way down. We are two months into the season and he is stuck at 9 HRs. Extrapolate that out and this monster is going to have only 27 HRs. He had 27 at the All Star break a few years. Werth just isn’t the guy we thought he was. He had a career year in 2009. He will never duplicate those numbers. See Rollins in 2007 please. Ibanez is brutal. His bat speed it brutal and we got lulled into thinking he was a stud because he carried this team for the first two months last year. He is hitting .230 this year and only .214 since he was injured last year. This brings me to the two-fold answer to all the problems.

First, I would like to introduce Raul and Dobbs to three simple letters. DFA. Designated for Assignment. Cut your loses and get rid of these squids. You either bring up Mayberry .268 BA 9 HR 33 RBIs or Brown .313 BA 10 HR 33 RBIs. You then replace Dobbs with Cody Ransom 12 HR 37 RBIs. Ransom could provide the RH pop off of the bench that Phils desperately need.

Finally I would urge the Phillies need a slumpbuster. Baseball players believe that by having sex with an unattractive female, they can end their slump. Therefore a slump buster is the unattractive female that they have sex with, in hopes of busting their slump. Now I understand that Chase and some of the other guys have wives who are very attractive, etc. I will guarantee you that one night in a NE Philly bar like Fluke’s on State Road will provide more than enough unattractive women for the entire team. So there you have it. My advice to the Phils is to saddle up to the bar, down copious amounts of Jameson, look across the bar at the unattractive women (it shouldn’t be too hard, it is NE Philly), whisper a sweet nothing (such as Wanna #%$^?), and watch the wins pile up.

Random Past Phillie: Tony Barron

Name: Anthony Dirk Barron
Position: Outfielder
Born: August 17, 1966 in Portland, Oregon
Acquired: Signed as a free agent on November 1, 1996
Phillies Debut: July 22, 1997
Final Phillies Game: September 28, 1997
Uniform Number: 53
Career Elsewhere: Expos (1996)

About Tony Barron: When Andy Warhol made his claim that everyone will have their fifteen minutes of fame, it's doubtful he had Tony Barron in mind. But for many Philadelphia Phillies fans who suffered through the lean years of the mid to late 1990s, it's hard to forget Barron's shining moment. A 30-year old rookie just two years removed from being a replacement player, it took five games for Barron to make a name for himself among Phillies fans. In the fifth inning of a game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Veterans Stadium on July 31, 1997, Barron made one of the greatest catches in franchise history, a fully-extended diving grab of a Gary Gaetti liner, holding on to the ball while slamming face-first into the unforgiving Vet turf. The Phils went on to win that game, 2-1 in ten innings. Barron would play just 57 games in a Phillies uniform, but for those who saw that catch, he definitely made a lasting impression.

For a long time, however, it didn't seem very likely that Tony Barron would make an impression anywhere as a Major League Baseball player. Selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the seventh round of the 1987 Draft out of Willamette University, Barron spent seven seasons in the Los Angeles system and despite putting up solid offensive numbers nearly every year, never advanced beyond AAA. Granted free agency after the 1993 season, Barron moved on to the Seattle Mariners. Splitting the 1994 campaign between AA and AAA, Barron hit .295 with 20 home runs in 110 games. With MLB players out on strike as Spring Training began in 1995, it was decided that replacement players would be used until an agreement was reached. Seattle made Barron one of the replacements. The regular players would eventually return, and Barron was sent back to the minors, but he wasn't long for the Seattle organization, who released him just nine games into the season. Barron found work in the Montreal Expos organization, where he spent the remainder of the '95 season. He'd return to Montreal in 1996, and at long last, Barron made his MLB debut on June 2 of that year, striking out as a pinch-hitter against the San Francisco Giants. As it turned out, it would be Barron's only at-bat as an Expo. Shortly after the '96 season ended, Barron was cut loose by the Expos and signed a minor league deal with the Phillies.

The first half of the 1997 season was a disaster for the Phillies. They were 32 games out of first place AT THE ALL-STAR BREAK, and their record was an embarrassing 24-61 at that point. It seemed as though the team would challenge the 1962 New York Mets for the worst single-season record ever as they sunk to 30-72 as the trade deadline loomed. On July 21, mainstay Darren Daulton approved a trade to the eventual World Champion Florida Marlins. To fill his roster spot, the Phils called on Barron, who was hitting .328 for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre at that point. Barron would collect just one hit in nine at-bats over his first five games as a Phillie, but the aforementioned catch may have loosened him up at the plate. He would collect four hits in his next game, and would go on to hit a very respectable .286 with four home runs and 24 RBI at the MLB level, while settling in as the starting right fielder for the Phils over the season's final two months. In the offseason, the Phillies added Bobby Abreu and Doug Glanville to the outfield, meaning Barron would have to battle Ruben Amaro, Jr. for a roster spot. The spot ended up going to Amaro. Barron was sent back to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he would spend the entire 1998 season. He would never return to the majors. Out of baseball in 1999, Barron headed for Mexico, where he suited up for five different teams between 2000 and 2002.

Personal recollection: When it comes to Tony Barron memories, it obviously starts with the catch. If anyone has any footage of this, feel free to share it. Describing it really does no justice. It is right up there with Aaron Rowand's crash into the fence in 2006 among the greatest I've ever seen by a Phillie. Also notable about that catch was that Curt Schilling was on the mound. As you're well aware, Schilling never hesitates to offer his opinion on any subject, and made his dislike for replacement players known in no uncertain terms. I don't know if Barron's catch swayed him at all, but I guess it couldn't hurt. I was at the game the night after Barron made his catch. Waiting for the gates to open, there were a couple Cardinals fans in front of me. They remarked that Barron's catch was the best they'd ever seen in person. Coming from fans who saw Ozzie Smith on a daily basis for fifteen years, that's no small compliment.

Aside from the catch, Barron was a pretty decent hitter. Not a lot of power or speed, but he made solid contact. I remember attending a game against the New York Yankees at the Vet, and some Yanks fans gave a derisive "Tony Barron? Who?" when he stepped to the plate. Sure enough, Barron homered off Hideki Irabu shortly thereafter and shut 'em all up. That was the first year of Interleague Play, when the Phillies swept the Yankees in a pretty memorable series. As a matter of fact, Barron won the final game of that series with a walkoff walk. Another thing I recall about Barron is that he didn't wear batting gloves, which isn't something you see too much of anymore. Even though he was a little up in years, I was surprised Barron never caught on anywhere else. I guess the replacement player stigma is a tough one to shed. Oh well, we'll always have The Catch.

That's my story on Tony Barron. Do you have one?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Don’t Mock Me

Seriously, things have gotten so bad for our boys; I actually had a nightmare that we fell behind the Nationals in the standings. I stopped calling them the Fightings’ and now simply refer to them as the “Passive Aggressives.”  I’ve gotten used to these team wide hitting slumps but this has become ludicrous.  But back to this nightmare, it was so realistic my eyes nearly popped out of my skull when I awoke and my heart was racing so fast I NEEDED to check the internet just to calm myself down. 

I’m not one of those who usually try to analyze dreams for some deeper meaning, but I just had to look further into this one.  When I went to the computer I was able to relax slightly when I saw the Phils were only trailing the Braves in the NL east, but I did find the source of my trouble. The HUGE influx of talent the Nationals will be getting. Roy Oswalt was requested a trade and the Nationals have stated they were interested in acquiring him.  Steven Strasburg, last year’s first overall pick, will be joining fell top ten selection, Drew Storen, on the National’s pitching staff.  Many baseball experts have had the same reaction to Strasburg’s ability as a prepubescent boy finding his daddy’s porn collection. And then there is the most interesting one of all, Bryce Harper. Harper will undoubtedly be the first overall pick in this year’s draft. Harper is just 17. He left high school to get his GED so he would be draft eligible this year. He has been called “the Lebron James of Baseball” by Tom Verducci. He played at Southern Nevada Junior College this season and so far in 63 games he batted .442, hit 29 home runs and drove in 89 runs.  And by the way, the conference Southern Nevada plays in uses wooden bats.

Maybe my fears are a bit premature; I mean it will be a few years before he is major league ready, right?

And just to ramble on a little more about the draft. Last year, the draft was on the MLB Network and they talked about what needed to be done to make it more exciting like the NFL or NBA draft.  It was suggested that the potential draftees needed to attend. I hate to tell this to the big wigs at MLB but your draft, like the NHL draft, will never come close to become as popular as the NFL or even the NBA draft. First, the talent pool is mostly unknown. College baseball popularity is nearly nonexistent, and the only time College baseball does see any recognition is the College World Series which is a few weeks AFTER the draft. And who can keep up with the high school players? Secondly, the draft is in Secaucus, NJ. I can’t see that be a major drawing card to entice kids to go. And Lastly, the only the rare exceptions will play on a major league roster within a year. Most need to spend a few years in the minors. And the best thing about the draft is there is no Mel Kiper Jr.

The following number one overall picks are honorary Drunk Phils Fans:

Pat Burrell
Josh Hamilton
Darryl Strawberry

And I’m pretty sure Matt Bush IS a member.

Remember mock the baseball draft is fun but mocking Mets fans is better!

Jay Wrizight