Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dollar Dogs Hold the...

You know its September when the Rally Towels first see the light of the stadium lights at Citizens Bank Park.  It has become the norm to see the ushers handing out the white rags who’s lint works wonders for my allergy overcome nasal passages.  I had tickets for Sunday and Monday’s games. As I left the house on Sunday, I thought about how that day’s game would be kind of passé as Monday the “playoffs” versus the Braves would begin.  Sure, Sunday’s game was special with Werth’s walk-off, but the difference to the atmosphere on Monday was night and day or day to night as the case may have been.  Monday, the crowd was in rare form. Going nuts on double plays. Standing on 2 strike counts begging Hamels to strikeout the Braves batter.  But one thing was missing. Something that has that been there since 2006… “M-V-P! M-V-P!” chants.

The last time the Phillies didn’t have someone finish in the top 3 in MVP voting was the 2005 season when Pat Burrell finished a distant 6th. Injuries have played a major factor as former winners Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard and perennial candidate Chase Utley all spent considerable time on the disabled list. So I ask the question: who is the Phillies 2010 MVP?

Halladay, Hamels and Oswalt have all been spectacular. Phillies writer, Todd Zolecki, wrote a column asking if they are the best top 3 in team history. It shows a lack of Phillies history to even ask this question.   But they are starting pitchers and only pitch every fifth day. (Oswalt’s prowess in Left earns him a few more points but his time in Houston is a deterrent.)

Ibanez and Werth have both put up decent numbers, but ho-hum numbers compared to what they are capable of or what we expect from them. The Bullpen has had its moments both great and disastrous. There are no candidates there.  Polanco has been Polanco (i.e. consistent, and dependable.)

Which leaves us with Ruiz and Valdez and I don’t say that like it’s a bad thing. Ruiz has always be recognized for the way he handles the Phillies pitching staff and his ability to make the relievers, especially Lidge, confident he will block any ball in the dirt.  I always thought the 08 World Series MVP trophy could just as easily be sitting on a mantle in Panama. Then again in 09, Senor Octobre proved he is a playoff BEAST!  2010 has proved Ruiz can produce offensively in the regular season as well. He has hit .296 with 8 homers and 50 runs batted in despite spending a stint on the DL. Once again, Ruiz has demonstrated he is a clutch hitter and thrives when the game is on the line.

Valdez’s production has made people, at least in Philadelphia, think Wilson not Exxon. Merely a signing to fill out the Iron Pigs roster, it took injuries to Rollins and Juan Castro to get Valdez in the line-up. Valdez responded by providing excellent defense and some timely hitting. He has more than doubled his career totals in hits, doubles, homers, and RBI’s. If he gets one more triple or stolen base, you can include those categories as well.   That is career TOTALS not career bests. He played so well the Phillies cut Castro and he has also stepped in to fill in at second and third as well. 

I’d give the edge to Valdez because the Phillies have gotten so much more from him than they ever expected, but if you say Chooch I won’t argue either.  Maybe on Saturday, at the last Drunk Phils Fans’ regular season outing of the year, an “M-V-P” chant can get going for Wilson and maybe one for Chooch as well.

See ya at the ballpark!
Jay Wrizight

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Cliff Lee Love Affair

If last year I told my buddy Jay Wrizight "Cliff Lee is great and all but I think they can unload him and get Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt" He would have told me "Your trashed, and don't do anything stupid like running on the field and getting tasered."

Here we are, that exact scenario has played out. The Phillies are in the best position to win a World Series since this run has started. H2O or Trip Aces or any other nickname you can think of are about to take us deep into October. Everything could not be better right? Why must I see Cliff Lee's name on every blog about the Phillies? As much as I appreciate everything he did for the Phillies last year they are better without him. Here is why.

There is only one reason Cliff Lee is no longer a Phillie....MONEY! Ruben Amaro has been obsessed with Roy Halladay for a long time now. It was well documented last year when Halladay was the main focus for the Phillies at the trade deadline. Cliff Lee was 'Plan B'. Ruben still wanted Halladay this off season and got him. Amaro told the world the Phillies traded Cliff Lee to replenish a depleted farm system. Biggest lie since "Weapons of Mass Destruction." It was all about the $9 million Cliff Lee will earn this year. For all the Cliff Lee Homo's who say they should have Lee and Halladay, Amaro never had that option available. The Phillies ownership group gave him a $140 million dollar budget to work with. Lee or Halladay was his choice, not both. Since Roy Halladay will probably win the NL Cy Young he made the right decision. Halladay will also be a Phillie for at least the next 3 years, Cliff Lee will go to the highest bidder this off season.

Adding Roy Oswalt only makes the decision to let Lee go more solid. Oswalt is 7-1 since joining the Phillies with an ERA under 2.00. The Phillies are 9-1 in games he's started. Now the Cliff Lee fan club say we should have all three, Lee, Halladay and Oswalt. The Phillies never would have made a play for Oswalt if they had Lee. Compare Oswalt's numbers to Lee's since Oswalt has arrived and Amaro got it right again. Lee was 1-6 in August with a +5 ERA. This whole run against Atlanta may never have happened if we had Lee and not Oswalt. Ed Wade is paying most of Oswalt's salary this year. Thanks Ed, you are doing more to help the Phillies win now than when you were GM. And the final nail in the coffin in the Lee or Oswalt debate, Oswalt is signed for next year and the Phillies have an option for 2012. Cliff Lee will probably be wearing pinstripes next year and not the Phillies variety.

Can we get over Cliff Lee people? This is the greatest run in the teams 127 year history, enjoy it. The Fightin' Phils are 41-15 since the All Star break and 15-3 in September. They have a great chance not only to get back to the World Series but win it. I don't care that the three prospects we got for Cliff Lee stink. If we have another parade they can rob a liquor store and I'll drive the get-a-way car.

"I wish Judis didn't trade Jesus for those gold coins."

Keep it Classy Philly!


Friday, September 10, 2010

Justice…Drunk Phils Fans Style

Jimmy Rollins once said, “We’re the team to beat.” But what I want to know is have the Phillies become THAT team? I don’t mean the team to beat, that much is obvious. But have the Phillies become a team that people hate for the sake of hating? I hate the Yankees for no better reason than “Just Because.” The Phillies have no real rivalry with them. It is difficult to say if other cities feel this way about our beloved Fightins but let’s take a deeper look.

Exhibit A: We get any player we want.
Comparison: Yankees sign Sabathia and Teixeria.
Analysis: Sure, in the past few seasons, we have gotten the top pitcher available on 3 separate occasions. The major difference here is that the Phillies have used their abundant minor league system to make trades as opposed to just throwing money at free agents.
Verdict: Not Guilty.

Exhibit B: An unsightly coach
Comparison: Bill Belichick’s ratty sweatshirt.
Analysis: While Charlie’s penchant to have a hand in his pants is somewhat uncouth, the man has survived a heart attack, quadruple bypass surgery and cancer. I think he has earned the right to enjoy himself. Where as I’m sure some NFL approved apparel company could produce a sweatshirt comfortable enough to be donned on the sidelines without the assistance of a pair of scissors.
Verdict: Not Guilty.

Exhibit C: BinocularGate
Comparison: SpyGate
Analysis: The Phillies were only given a stern warning as opposed to a heavy fine and forfeiture of a first round pick which was bestowed upon the Patriots. Obviously, there is no definitive proof of cheating on the Phillies part, but their batting average is 24 points lower, runs are down over a run per game and home runs are also down after the scandal unfolded.
Verdict: Guilty.

Exhibit D: The number of “Phillies” Fans in opposing cities.
Comparison: The number of Yankees or Red Sox Fans in opposing cities.
Analysis: It has always been a pet peeve of mine when people who were born and raised in Philadelphia root for any team from a different city. Since the Phillies won the World Series, the number of “Phillies” fans in attendance for road games seems out of control. I know that Phillies fans have always traveled well and it makes sense it would increase somewhat after winning, but without fail there more than a few Phillies jerseys and caps whenever you see a camera shot of the stands. I wonder if the accessibility of top notch (or camera friendly) tickets thru sites like Stub Hub have just made it seem this way. I saw Scott Fischman, a poker pro, sport a Phils cap during a tournament. I came to find out he was born and raised in the area.
Verdict: Hung (like BL Chris) jury.

Exhibit E: High Profile Girlfriends
Comparisons: Arod and Kate Hudson; Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen
Analysis: Hamels and Kendrick both are in relationships with former Survivor contestants.
Verdict: Guilty as sin.

The Overall Verdict: Deadlocked Jury.
Right now I’d say the fact the Phillies have over 10,000 professional losses and only 2 World Championships in their history they get the benefit of the doubt, but we are only another World Series berth and a Jimmy Fallon movie from being on par with the Red Sox.

See ya at the Ballpark.

Jay Wrizight

Monday, September 6, 2010

Keep Your Hands To Yourself!

I know we have had a few articles about pet peeves at the ballpark but I have to say something. What is with fans touching balls in play? For what seems like the 100th time a moron tried to catch a ball in play tonight. The sad part is it was rolling on the ground and the guy (an adult with a glove) couldn't come up with it. An adult with a glove at the game is a violation but we will give him a pass since he was right on the rail in shallow left. Since it may be the first time at a ballgame for many of these knuckleheads maybe a review of umpire techniques for fair/foul calls is in order. If the 3rd or 1st base ump puts his hands straight up he is going to call it foul. If he points to fair ground he is calling it fair. Seems simple enough. The possible home run ball is more difficult to determine. Simple rule would be if you have to reach over the rail the ball is in play. Can we follow these easy rules people? If you really need a ball for your kid there are some ways to get one.

Batting Practice. Gates open in left field at 4:35 for 7:05 games. If you get their when the gate open the Phillies will be starting BP. Get against the rail with your kid and you should have a good chance of snagging a ball. My sons record for BP balls for one game is 5. The 'Adult with a glove' rule is waived for BP since Jayson Werth may kill you if you don't have a glove. Jayson Werth is a BP beast, it doesn't always carry over to the game. The next best way to get a ball is to get seats near the ball girl. Go to a game when Kyle Kendrick is pitching, she will get the balls fans throw back when the opposition hits their bombs and she will hand it to a kid in her section.

The lazy method is to buy one in the Majestic store. They are $14 and they come in a case.

We have shown in the last few years we are some great fans with all the sellouts and road support, lets show we can let balls in play stay in play.

Keep it Classy Philly!


Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Worst Strike of All

There is a good chance the 2011 NFL season could be in jeopardy.  I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right.  Jay Wrizight doesn’t give two shits about football. But one comment made me think.  Brandon Marshall said if there is no football he simply will take his talents to the NBA.  After I finished clearing my nose of the hops and barley I shot through it as I couldn’t contain my laughter, I pondered what the Fightins would do if baseball went on strike.
Charlie Manuel.  Uncle Cholly would go into retirement and enjoy every minute he could have his hands down his pants in peace and quiet.
Carlos Ruiz. He’d open a Baskin Robbins franchise in his homeland of Panama, but his “taste tasting” will severely hurt profits.
Danys Baez. He’d make gay porn. He’s great at sucking.
Jayson Werth. He’d become an ambassador of Locks of Love. I think he has a hair fetish.
Darren Daulton.  Regardless, strike or no strike, Dutch is trying to use up his frequent tanning card before 2012.
Wilson Valdez. The Phillies handyman would open his own Handyman business. His gimmick would be a 2 for 1 special also known as the “Double Play Special”
Chase Utley. Everyone knows he’s tough as nails and a competitor in every sense, so a move to MMA seems natural. He will get caught in an armbar, but refuse to tap. Of course he will return to the cage before his scheduled timeline.
Ryan Howard. Unfortunately, Ryan will fall back on his Subway endorsements. Jared will get jealous. Things get heated. Jared is a pussy. Ryan gets 15 to life.
Jimmy Rollins.  He’ll continue his relationship with Red Bull, and become the Travis Pastrana of the black community.
Cole Hamels.  The time off allows him and Heidi the time to adopt African children.  It will take Heidi 12 years to realize Cole has no interest in doing this.
Roy Halladay. He’ll become the most famous cricket player ever. EVER.
Shane Victorino. Shane returns to Hawaii and open a baseball academy…when he’s not sporting his Silver Star shirt and rooting for Chase Utley in the cage.
Mick Billmeyer. He’ll drink and chase broads. Kinda like BL Chris of the Drunk Phils Fans.
Jose Contreras. He will make his money in appearance fees on the talk show circuit as he comes clean and reveals that he is actually 63 years old.
Tom McCarthy. I refuse to dignify this one as it would mean I actually give a shit what would happen to him the second he is no longer a Phillies announcer.
Reuben Amaro.  He will work security at Citizen’s Bank Park. He will have his hands full as his old friend, Ed Wade, will continue trying to take anything Phillies back to Houston even if it’s done illegally.

Of course, I’d much rather have the Fightins fighting on the diamond than in the ring or commercial sets but if this does happen I’ve already told  Brad Lidge to stop by and take my belts and shoelaces.  He’s a good dude.
See ya at the ballpark.
Jay Wrizight