Oct 26, 2009

A New York State of Mind (World Series Preview)

Ok so now that the Yankees have finally dispatched the Angels from the playoffs we can finally start talking about the upcoming world series. Its funny, just like so many other philadelphians I  eagerly waited in the wings for the Phillies eventual foe, it just seemed like an odd event watching the ALCS as the Angels gave up every ounce of baseball they had only to fall short. Dont get me wrong, we all knew it was going to be the Yankees, but it was nice to see an underdog try to fight their way back into it. (a little bit of nostalgia).

With the beginning of the World Series only two short days away we have a lot to discuss and as the series goes along I will go through and analyze each aspect (pitching, positions, hitting even the dh). As I look at this I think the first thing we need to look at is the starting pitching. This has become one of the strongest points of debate and should set up alot of the pace for the series itself.

As assumed the Phillies are going to go with a four man rotation similar to that of the NLCS, where as, the Yankees are hoping to get lucky sticking with a three man rotation (truthfully they cant field a four man rotation because they don't have a fourth starter).

Game 1; Cliff Lee v. C.C. Sabathia

The way game one of the series is set up the Phillies will send out Cliff Lee in an attempt to enter guns blazing and try to get the series set off with a good pace. Opposing Lee is going to be the Journeyman C.C Sabathia, who just like Lee was recently a member of the lowly Cleveland Indians. Before I begin, I just want to remind Phillies fans of the last time the Phillies saw Sabathia in the post season.

Now I am not saying this is going to happen again. With full rest C.C. Sabathia is one if the most dominating pitchers in baseball this year and I figure if the phillies get crushed, (which may happen seeing as they are playing on a t-ball field in NY), it could get ugly. So lets look at the stats for the two starters so far this year. 

ERA- 3.37
W-L- 19-8
SO- 197
Whip- 1.15
BAA- .233

Basically he is an animal. The Phillies are hitting .255 against him (note that Ibanez and Rollins are the only players to have more then 10 ab against C.C.). The thing that scares me is the fact that Sabathia has been dominate against lefties this season, (which the phillies have an abundant amount o,f.) and lefties are only hitting .198 against him this year. Also Sabathia has controlled his zones this year and is not a pitcher that goes deep into counts. Which is disheartening because long counts have been one of the phillies strong suits into getting to pitchers. They have had an uncanny ability to work pitchers into long counts and getting high pitch counts early in game. Phillies fans, this may be an interesting tidbit of knowledge, Sabathia has not been in a 3-0 at any point this year, he attacks opposing batters and does not walk many batters. But as dominate as Sabathia has been the Phillies have done a pretty fine job with their ace on the hill this season as well.

Cliff Lee

ERA- 3.22
W-L- 14-13
SO- 181

Lee has been the shining star for the Phillies since he was acquired from the Indians this season. He started off his career in Philadelphia 5-0 and recently has been exhibitng an incredible post season era of .74. As incredible as Lee has been we all have to accept that he is no longer facing the Rockies or Dodgers and even though he is the reigning AL Cy Young winner he has had troubles against the Yankees in his career.

When you look as the Yankees hitters you think of three names: A-Rod, Derek Jeter and Mark Teixiera. This is exactly what scares me. All three batters have been strong against Lee and none has hit below .333 against Lee. If Cliff is going to have success he will have to deal with the three headed monster that is the Yankees infielders with patience and selective pitching.

Lee only has an era of 3.00 against the Yanks and he does have a strong career at Yankee stadium (1.05 era). So in this case this pitching match-up could be a wash. I am not worried about Lee or the lack of hitting the Yankees have, its the dominance that Sabathia has shown that worries me.

Game 1 prediction- If Sabathia pitches 6 or more innings Im going to go for the Yankees, but if they can make C.C. take an early stage right the Phillies will cruise.

Game 2: A.J. Burnett v. TBA

I say TBA because I don't even think Charlie Manuel knows who is going to pitch in game two. Its going to be a toss up between Cole Hamels or Pedro Martinez. With this said I really dont think this will matter because, frankly, A.J. Burnett is terrible. The only thing the Phillies have to worry about is if they do pitch Pedro. I say this because as we have seen in history Martinez has been the Yankees bitch and if he gets rocked early it could be a rough outing.

Take this into account: no Yankees is hitting over .300 against Pedro which is a positive but that is throughout his long career. It is just a scary thing to think of Pedro in Yankees Stadium being pelted like a home run derby. The only thing that concerns me about Martinez is that he hasn't pitched in the World Series in a long time, but at the same time this could also be a good thing. As long as he can forget the terrible outings he had in Yankees Stadium as a young pitcher he could flourish, but honestly their aren't enough stats to support this one.

Just a side note: As I was thinking about Pedro against the Yankees I had to watch this video again because it is one of the best miss-match bench clearing fights in sports history thanks to Pedro Martinez.

Next we have the case of the two Cole Hamels'. It seems that Cole is either on another planet or he is having a public temper tantrum because he is no longer the Phillies ace. Hamels has struggled in his past three outings and has had a history of early exits. On paper this is a bad match up for the power hitting Phillies, especially in a hostile environment like Yankee Stadium.  If, by some grace of god, the old Cole Hamels shows up (remember he was last years World Series MVP) then all worries are gone, but this is something that I am reluctant to think of.

On the other side we have A.J. Burnett who as a 7.50 era against the phillies this season and is a perfect candidate to become a whipping boy for the Fightins due to his record with long counts. Basically this will boil down to the fact that Burnett is terrible and unless he has an 0-2 count will loose it. Basically he is a Broadway Cole Hamels.

This game could turn into a bull pen battle (which the phillies will loose) and that is why there really is no clear decision on this game. It's one of those outings that you just roll the dice and hope for the best.

Game 3: Country Joe Blanton v. Andy Pettitte

 This game is essentially a bulldog against a greyhound. Andy Pettite is one of the most respected post season pitchers of all time, but it has to be noted that most of his wins where under his juicing era where he was pumping in more estrogen then Lou Ferigno. Pettitte is a tough pitcher but very beatable. Just like most pitchers in the series, he can be handled easily by the Phillies. The Fightins are only hitting .233 against Pettitte lifetime with lefties hitting .282.

The upside is that Pettitte is weak in the middle of batting orders. He tends to get into trouble when it comes the middle of orders during games when he pitches over 5 innings. (I know that should like an odd stat but let me break it down). Batters hitting in the 5 and 6 spots are hitting .689 and Pettitte has allowed over 50% of his home runs to those two hitters in games where he pitches less than 7 innings (i.e.Jayson Werth beastliness).

On the other end is Joe Blanton. If you are a Phillies fan you have to love Joe Blanton. This guy is like a beaten dog who we give a bone every once in a while. (odd philly coincidence but i like it). Seriously think about this. Blanton was one of the most productive phillies pitchers yet he kept getting pushed back in the rotation. With the additions of Pedro and Cliff Lee he was left to wait and he never bitched. Hell he never flinched in his bullpen role during the NLDS or CS. Yet, when we need him we are bringing the old dog out for a shot and you better bet hes gonna show up.

He's gonna pitch at home against a fan hungry crowd on a day that everyone in the city is out for N.Y. blood. Right before Blanton takes on the Yanks the Eagles will finish with the Giants at the linc, and even though they are different sports you better believe that will motivate a guy like Blanton. He wants to succeed and does not care how he gets it. Also we will be back in a NL ballpark without a DH and for Joe Blanton that means one thing and one thing only.......

After game three it is really doing to be an assessment of the teams successes and failure so far in the series. What I mean by this is the fact that the Yankees are going with a three man rotation and could send C.C. Sabathia out three times with only three days of rest each time out. This could be a terrible melt down for the Yankees. If Sabathia is strong in game one, he should have a strong shot at winning game four. On the other hand it is funny that A.J. Burnett is pitching at all and the fact that hes pitching on three days rest is a joke. For this I chalk up two automatic wins for the Phillies. Which means all they need is get to Sabathia once and Pettitte once. And for me that is not a bad bargain.

The key to this series for the phillies is to work counts. Other then Sabathia the other two fold like small children when it comes to longer stretched at-bats and if they get lucky the bullpen match ups can be a wash accept for the closer situation. Listen I would love to see Rivera get a ball rocked into the stratosphere as bad as the next guy, but, he is the second all time career save leader for a reason. If it is a close game in the 8th or 9th inning the Phillies don't stand a chance. They have to get to the starters early. This series is going to feature a lot of long balls because both of these teams have probelems manufacturing runs, this is a fact that we just have to accept. The only question is who can draw first blood and how long it will last.

Side Note: I know were all excited about the World Series but at the same time the Sixers are opening their season against he MAGIC................... Any takers...................................................................... I thought not. Oh well.

Sixers preview to come tomorrow, not that anyone who reads this (and at this time it's only me).

Also congrats to my Millersville Fighting Marauders who won their third game of the season in a monsoon in double OT.


Oct 22, 2009

Werth It......

  Ok so if you look at my pre-game prediction I was close to perfect. Cole Hamels only got through 4 1/3 innings and gave up some HUGE homers. I would compare Cole Hamels recent performance to a gaping wound and no one being able to find a truncate. The Phillies got lucky that the Dodgers couldn't hit with runners in scoring position or that game could have been a lot closer. But hey the Phillies won and they now get to play baseball for the next two weeks. On the other hand I was right on a few things. The biggest key was getting to the Dodgers pitching.

If you watched the way Padilla pitched you could tell that by the second inning  his shoulder was bothering him. He lowered his release and allowed a lot of his pitches drift to the middle of the plate and boy did the Phillies capitalize. You could tell that it was all hands on deck for the Dodgers when they brought in Kershaw and they were desperate. Hell Torre would have pitched if he thought it would get through and inning.

Ryan Howard was not the factor I thought he was going to be but I really think that his presence helped alot. Because of the towering presence that Ryan Howard casts it gave Jayson Werth a lot more pitches to see and he capitalized with those two monumental home runs, the first of them was with two runners on (another product of getting to the pitching and working the counts). Jayson Werth should definitely get the game ball. He played out of his mind tonight and made a huge case for him to be nominated for not only gold glove but other post season accolades.

CHOOCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thats right ladies and gentlemen, our amazing Panamanian catcher was the key and the life of this game. He controlled Cole Hamels and kept the wounds to a minimum. He caught a great game and kept the balls out of the strike zone and helped the pitchers work the zone and helped frame a lot of pitchers in clutch situations that really helped the phillies get out of some serious bases loaded jams. This guy deserves to start and made a case for him to be taken care of as a full time starting catcher.

So what's next for the Phillies. Well if you looked at the post game celebration (if thats what you call it) we now know that its all about business and going after another one. This team amazes me every game. I mean I was excited but if you watched the end of the game all you saw was a team that knew what was next and that is an uphill battle with one more goal to achieve. You cant not love this team and the way they make things happen. There is not a weak spot in the batting order and they make sure you know it. People say "what are they going to do when the meet Sabathia" well I saw, "exactly what they did last year, light him up" bring it on Yankees cause the Phillies are in a New York state of mind and have one purpose and one goal and that is to have another parade down broad street and give the people of Philadelphia something more to believe in...............

- b chan

Oct 21, 2009

Closeout Wednesday

Tonight Cole Hamels will attempt to close out the NLCS for the Phillies and give them an opportunity to defend their 2008 World Series Championship.... Does this worry anyone else but me. Cole is a mental liability and has looked terrible in his last two outings. Luckily enough the Philadelphia bullpen has had some time to recoup but if the phillies are to win this game they need to do three things.

1. Play Small ball
If the Phillies can manufacture runs by getting men on base and working counts it will help. They are facing Vicente Padilla, who does not do well when he is stretched into counts and goes into the mid 90's overall when it comes to pitch count. Get to him fast and early, get foul balls and work "Flortilla" until he makes an early departure and then they can breeze.

2. Ryan Howard

In case you haven't noticed he is the most important man is baseball right now. He has the hottest bat and has really been the strongest rallying cry for this team and this series. If Ryan Howard can come out strong and get some early hits it will help. What has been really beneficial is how Ryan has altered his batting stance. Yes he still has the low crouch but he has lessened the swoop on his swing and has been swinging for doubles (or on occasion legging out triples). A-Rod who... this is Ryan Howards stage and its his time to shine.

3. Carlos Ruiz

I am not talking about his bad (which has been really important so far) I am talking about the way he is working towards an overall game manager. The pitchers trust him and he knows what he is doing. Let him work with Cole and take all the decision making out of his head. Chooch has been the strongest defensive player so far this season and doesn't get the credit he really deserves.

If the Phillies can do all of these things this game will be done early and we will be waiting in the wings to see if the Yankees can get some more calls so we can meet them in the World Series. Best of luck phills and Philadelphians please don't start a huge riot. We should save that for a few weeks.

post to come after the game.


What is going on in sports. My 3 strike policy

      Ok I know I have not posted in a while but after the events of last night and in the past week its really time for this nonsense to end. It is a human fact that everyone makes mistakes but sometimes in life there is a point where you have to say enough is enough. If you don't know what I am talking about already I am speaking of the recent debacle that is the mlb playoffs. If I didn't know any better I would swear that baseball was the professional league working with replacement officials. I know there are many rumors about a conspiracy within baseball to help the Yankees succeed and I am not going to touch on this but there has been a lot of foul play going on in baseball. I think that baseball needs to seriously consider taking a look at the way they officiate games and how its is SEVERELY affecting the outcome of games.

      Personally I think that I have come up with a policy that may help baseball with this situation and it is one that the league and the game has had for years and it is the three strike and your out policy. Its easy, take the referee crew and give them three strikes, if as a crew they have three blatant blown calls they should be put on probation. Take their entire work in the playoffs and judge them.

      We all know in baseball that as much as we try this is the Yankees league. They are the most historic franchise in baseball and sometimes they get calls their way. They even said the other day about how because of his placement in baseball and how much he is respected in baseball that Andy Petitte gets away with a blatant balk style pick off move that would ring up any young pitcher in baseball, but because he happens to play for the Yankees that he gets a slide. This and a various amount of other reasons I wish to suggest to Bud Selig and the higher ups in professional baseball to make a change in wither the workings of the way they review calls and also the officiating crews they use in the playoffs. So just like an proposition I now submit into evidence for the proof of the people my case.

Item 1.A - also known as Strike 1 - Phil Cuzzi stares at fair ball.
Date: Oct. 9, 2009 (Game 2: ALDS)

      As you can see from the above video. A left field umpire who has perfect placement to make a clear foul or fair decision on a ball hit by Twins catcher Joe Mauer, blatantly misses a call that directly affected the outcome of the came and essentially the entire 2009 ALDS between the New York Yankees and the Minnesota Twins. This video shows inconsequential evidence of a blown call by the officiating crew and could be fixed by the implication of reviewed calls by MLB and their umpiring crews.


Item 1.B - also known as Strike 2 - Swisher picked off

      Scott Kazmir, who even though he pitched a horrible game against the Yankees last night had an amazing pick off play early in the game as he sued a slide step to pick off Yankee Nick Swisher. As you can see in the accompanied photo Swishers hand is blocked from tagging the bag due to the strong coverage by Eric Aybar. On this specific play umpire Dale Scott clearly had a strong placement on the call and once again missed a clear out call and gave a blatant to the Yankees.


Item 1.C - also known as Strike 3 - Double occupancy of third Base

      In the fifth inning Yankees catcher Jorge Posada was at third base after a fly ball to the outfield. Posada stationed himself between third and home and because of the threat of the throw from the outfield decided to return to third base. This caused a complication because Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano decided to advance on the play and was already stationed on third base. At this time Angels catcher Mike Napoli noticed this mistake and proceeded to tag both men out who were stationed at third creating a double play.... Right? Wrong. As you can see in the attached evidence Napoli clearly tage both men who are not occupying the bag. Yet the third base umpire claimed that only Posada was out because Cano had clearly tagged that bag.... Ladies and gentlemen I submit this piece of photographic evidence to prove my point.

      Both men (neither of whom are occupying the bag) are clearly tagged out by Napoli causing the Yankees another opportunity to get away with an inexplicably bad call.

      So in this instance I submit this as the third strike and there fore a clear and present case of one sided officiating in the favor of the New York Yankees and a blatant case of one sided case of favoritism by the MLB officials.

      Those are my three strikes and Im sticking to them.

STRIKE 3 YOUR OUT..............................................


      If these three instances do not convince you. Here are two other small instances that may sway you either way.

Item 2.A - The spitball theory.

      Yankees closer Mariano Rivera clearly spits on the baseball after looking to either of his sides to see if the umpires are watching him. It is a clear case of doctoring the ball and therefore cheating

Item 2.B - The Phantom Tag. (conclusion of item 1.B)

      Nick Swisher, the defendant in item 1.B proceeded to advance to third base after a walk to Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter. After this there was a sacrifice fly to the outfield. And like it normal protocol Swisher is required to tag on third base before he proceeds to score. In this case after Swisher tags and proceeds home the third base umpire reversed his decision and makes the correct call. (this piece of evidence of the possibility of correct officiating by umpire Tim McClellon).

So in conclusion it is proven in this defensive proposition that correct officiating can be made. (Even though it proceeded another terrible call), it is seen that the umpiring crew assigned to the 2009 ALCS cannot adequately preform their job up to the standard required by MLB. These offenses are all allowed because of the teams in question and the fact that 4 out of the 5 items of evidence are committed during a blowout by the New York Yankees (which was assisted by the terrible play calling).

      So at this time I check these items into evidence and leave it up to the higher courts to decide. And if not leave it up to sports talk radio.


Oct 13, 2009

Philadelphia is offically a baseball town.

For all of those people in the Philadelphia area that claim that our beloved city is a true football town were recently silenced because of the phillies continued playoff run. With a bit of pre planning the start of the November 1st Eagles / Giants game has been moved from the mid day 4:15 start to the earlier 1 pm start. Just think there is a chance that the Phillies could clinch the World Series just as the Phillies tramp all over the Giants...... O that would be a day.

Phillies Walk Back In Time

If you've lived under a rock that last few days then I will briefly update you to the present state of philadelphia sports. After a drawn out and cold series the Phillies are now preparing to play a shell of their former selves in the NLCS the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Phils are sending out Cole Hamels in game one of the series on Thursday and he will face former Philly and Hamels former farm club teammate Randy Wolf. Randy Wolf will be a part of a 4 man rotation in Los Angeles that will feature another former experiment in Broad Street History, Vicente Padilla.

Fandom will remember these two players by some of the most memorable fan sections in all of 700 level history. The Randy Wolf "Wolfpack" and the Vicente Padilla Flortilla Tortilla. Ah the days of the fan section.

Two Players that had short lived and rather dismal careers in philadelphia will face members of the new ball club that in some cases replaced them. Its funny when I hear these names because after the rotations were announced I glanced over at the Dodgers roster just to refresh myself for water cooler fodder and a couple more philly ties stuck in my mind. We all know about the travels of Larry Bowa after he left the phillis bench, a short stint in New York and his departing as a part of Joe Torres changing of the guard but also another name stuck out to me. Phillies fans should remember Mariano Duncan. Duncan who was drafted by the Dodgers in the early 80's spent some of his most successful years with the Phils in the early 90's. Duncan was a strong utility player on the 93 squad that made it to the series.

It will be interesting how the NLCS will go down but hey no matter what we still have baseball in October so in my mind we have a success.I doubt we will be doubting our passing ups of the Padilla and Wolf contracts but hey stranger things have happened. And god knows if it does happen the radio waves will jump ship once again.

Its funny listening to the radio fodder going on in philadelphia right now. Do not get me wrong I love this city and all of its people but either everyone has amnesia or are just dumb. You hear the same fans screaming like we are on the titanic as it was sinking after the phillies game two loss to the Rockies. Its like were in a one and done situation in this city. No one has patience and for some reason we all think we know exactly what the problem is and how they are the only one that knows how to fix it.

I loved the celebrations going on in the city last year but it seems that for every life long phillies fan 50 more have somehow come out of the woodwork as soon as we get some hardware. It must be tough I don't know how much farther the band wagon can go.

But back to the upcoming series. This team is very beatable and could give us a possibility to go for a back to back title. Then again that is the same thing we said about the Rockies two years ago. Never underestimate a hot team. You never know who will show up any night but I have to say that I feel a lot more optimistic about thing with the quality of small ball this team has been playing lately. Last night was the first time that I saw Ryan Howard swing for contact and not and try to knock the ball into the stratosphere.

Game 1 and 2 in L.A. with two former phillies players as opposition and the statistical chance of Cliff Lee, who has been the biggest shining star for the phillies this year and could get Ruben Amaro mentioned for exec of the year, to start 3 games if it comes to it makes me think the Fightins chances are alot better then last year. Phillies fans just remember. We all lived in those years of terrible baseball and we still wore our caps everyday. So be grateful for what we have right now because the mets have had their locker room cleared out for the last two weeks. so all and all this year is a success. Well just have to see how the series goes.

b. chan

A coming of age tale

I sat up last night watching an otherwise normal Monday night football game and I realized something. Sports is evolving just as we are, its evolving right in front of us and we are just mere observers.  I am not talking about the Darwin esque evolution or even things like the wildcat offense I am talking about the essence of the game. Usually the New York Jets taking on the Dolphins wouldn’t draw my attention but seeing a game starring players that I can distinctly remember watching throughout their careers was something very odd for me to deal with. I mean I guess at 23 years of age this was bound to happen but it was an odd feeling.

  When I was a kid I watched teams like the 93 Phillies and thought of them as these older wiser figures and left it at that. What I realized last night was these players in the game, the up and comers, are the same age as I am. These are kids that, in certain cases, I have followed since they were 16 and 17 year old high schoolers. In one weekend of football I saw Matt Ryan, the Exton native and Penn Charter grad, create one of the strongest new tandems in football with Roddy White. Then a mere four hours later I see Chad Henne take the spotlight. This makes me think of being 16 and reading stories in the Inquirer of a kid named Henne creating high school records at Wilson High School is suburban Harrisburg, PA. 

I mean before these guys went pro I had another similar story. As a graduate of Coatesville High School I had the privlage of watching Richard Hamilton craft his game before he headed to UCONN. I was lucky enough to see a game between him and a young pre draft Kobe Bryant play head to head. But I never really felt the connection because these guys we so much older then me it just seemed like a lucky tale and it was at a point that I wasnt really pulled into the world of sports then.

    I don’t know why it took until last night to realize this but I think it has a lot to do with my current transition from college to the real world. It’s the transition everyone has to make, when you take your first step towards real world goals and look at the world you are stepping into.  Its strange to no longer look at athletes as these larger then life individuals then people that most of the time I am not more educated and older then. Its a real big step in fandom when you can clearly remember most of a players career. I look at this years phillies lineup and i think of the days that I saw Ryan Howard to Cole Hamels in the Phillies farm system and how they have become some of the most elite players in the game of baseball.

Its just interesting to look at I mean Cole Hamels is only 25 years old, just two years older then me, and he has already achieved so much. I mean the man was a world series mvp and just ushered in his first child into the world. its just funny to look at how sports has grown, and as much I have grown up with it.

So if there is anything I can say to the up and coming sports fans is pay attention to your high school because you never know when they will make it to the bigs and then youll have a real nice bar stool story.

Its just weird that I have now caught up with the world of sports that I love. Maybe in a few years I can use terms like "back in my day" or whipper snapper. anyway just a small tidbit but look for a phillies preview soon.

Oct 12, 2009

Phils take the lead and look to close it out...

GAME 3 NLCS: Phillies 6 Rockies 5

We all know its truely playoffs when everyone breaks out the new era ear muff cap and huddles around the heater. Just like most phillies fans I was half asleep during last nights game but luckilly enough the phillies found something more beneficial then hand warmers in their 6-5 victory last night at Coors Field and its called small ball. Thats right the team that lead the league in road home runs and ranked second in the league in dingers managed to manufacture runs and play like a well oiled machine. Once again that pitching was a odd mixture of potential starters and an oddly productive Brad Lidge. But hey who am I to be greedy, they won and now its time for the Fightins to close it out.

The funniest thing that i remember from last nights game was a :30 quip about the heaters in the dugout and how Vinny Castilla, the former Rockies slugger and present special assistant to the gm (bs position they gave him so he would retire) galavanting around the dugout chasing after an intern with a gas heater. I mean I would expect this from maybe a player of the Marlins or Rays but not from a guy that spend a good part of his career in the mile high area.

Tonight Charlie will send out the Phillies true ace Cliff Lee to try and finish of this series and get ready for another meeting with the Dodgers. Lee was on point in his last outing going a complete game allowing 1 run on 3 hits. Its this type of pitching that the Phillies have been in desperate need of in the ladder end of this season.

Gametime is set for 8:08 pm with  expected filed temperature of 41 degrees. So looks like were going to be muffin it up this evening. (sorry it sounded funny)

On another point, I watched the end of the Red Sox game yesterday and came to a realization that I guess I had forgotten to comprehend. Once a team looses a series now thats it. Its all over. I assume that because of the World Series celebration last year I ignored the inevitable nature of this fact. We are coming to that sad part of the year that baseball will be over and we still have 4 months till we hear pitchers and catchers report to spring training.

Last night one of the most memorable stadiums in baseball closed it doors, so here is my little homage to the Metrodome. Yes you were a shit hole of 80's construction. The memorable multi purpose stadium such as Three Rivers or Veterans stadium. You were old, weird and had the weirdest and the most painful right field fence of all time. I mean come on people it looked like plastic rap over a wooden scaffolding. But you gave baseball some memorable calls and even better players. So for this Thank you for "Well see you tomorrow night" and for the name Kirby Puckett, you were exactly what your city and their people stood for. Weird and abnormal but quirky all together. Best of luck in Target Stadium next year (wow we have really sold our souls now). Heres to 2009......

Anyway best of luck to the Phils tonight ill write tomorrow.


Oct 11, 2009

Weekend Sports

It was a very eventful weekend in sports. We had Flyers, Sixers, Eagles and in about two hours we have some Phillies. It weird having all four sports intersect it keeps you really busy. You would think that these four tidbits of sport would be what was sticking in my mind but it was actually a college football game between Samford and Tenn Chattanooga.

Not many people saw this game but amazingly enough this weekend I got paid to watch the Bulldogs play the Mocs. Before I get to the game maybe I should give some background. I have never really explained myself or what I do so maybe this will help. I recently graduated college in may and after a long summer of busting my ass interning for the Philadelphia 76ers I spent that last few months unemployed until I recently procured a job as a sports stastician for an independent wire service. So as the new guy I get paid to watch the games that noone wants to bet on an update the scores.

 Don't get my wrong its the best job I have ever had and it makes me feel that I am finally working in the world of sports, Not that I didnt love broadcasting for millersville for the last four years or working in the athletic department but there is just something about working in a professional atmosphere that really makes me think that all of these dreams that I have seem possiable. But anyway before I start let me explain why I was picked to work this stunning exhibition of athletic prowess...... well pretty much because im the new guy.

I compare my job a lot to that of boiler room, the 2000 era wallstreet esque flick. If you know this movie I am essentially the trainee making $150 a week. I am learning the ropes and doing the games that no one else wants to do. but you know what it beats the hell out of waiting tables so at this time ill take it.

For those of you that don't know about boiler room the moves works like this. A kid named seth wants to get into a world of money. He isnt sure of where or how but wants in. He doesn't want the cushy job he wants his start. (the sad reality is he chooses a company that sells fake stock for a fake and helps steal millions of dollars) but other then that its really a perseverance tale.

So back to the game. Why did I choose this game out of the 4 or so that I was assigned, well it was not the game (btw Samford lost to Tenn Chattanooga 14-7). The reason I think about this was because of Samford's coach. For a lot of you out there that don't follow SOCON football ill tell you who it is. It is no other then 1971 Heisman Trophy winner and former Auburn quarterback Pat Sullivan. Now Sullivan had a moderately successful career in the NFL with short stints with Atlanta and Washington but what I really appreciated was how he looks as like with a very optimistic approach that many would see as a failure.

Many people in the world of sports would think of this as a failure, they would say "why is a former Heisman trophy winner coaching low level DI football" and the answer is for the love of the game. See I look at this and feel a mild connection with Sullivan. I know that I am no where near a Heisman trophy winner seeing as I am neither a player nor an athlete but I did work in college sports for the last four years and do feel that I have made a very strong start towards what I want in life.

So as I watch this game I try to think about Sullivan and what he imagined his life being like after Auburn: NFL stardom, a plaque in Canton and maybe even a cushy job at ESPN, but sometimes in life that doesn't happen. When i saw this i thought... "well here is a guy that gets it". Its not about the cushy job or the primetime paycheck its about working in an industry you love and knowing that everyday you wake up and do what you love.

A wise man once told me that the day you begin working in a career you love you never have to go to work ever again. And this stuck with me. This is a man that loves the game of football and enjoys being a part of it.

I guess I think about this because as a post graduate I knew that I would be starting out in a non ideal job. But I have recently began to appreciate the smaller things in life, like Samford football. Like Seth in boiler room (before the whole illegal activity) I am just happy that I finally have a chance to get in, to be a part of something. Anyway above anything that is what stuck out most to me about the weekend of sports. And not that you or anyone would ever read this. Coach Sullivan I say "thank you" for showing me what the world of sports is really like, so best of luck to you and your Bulldogs next week against Furman your 3-3 and could be a shocker in the SOCOM . Maybe ill be watching.

Until next time.


Oct 9, 2009

Baseball and a little basketball too.

So i guess that I should stop procrastinating and start working on this whole blog thing. Its crazy time goes by so fast is weird to think that it is already October. And with the onset of fall comes two very important things in the world of sports and those are hockey and basketball. Its crazy because we philly fans have been so spoiled in the last three years with October baseball that we forget to realize that its now time for something else other then the fightins. Don't get me wrong this is nothing better in life then waking up at noon, watching two hours of sportscenter then going straight into three back to back games of good quality baseball. Even though they lost yesterdays phils game was exactly what we have come to expect from this team, down to the wire quality baseball.

I listen to the onslaught of ignoramus on wip and how they constantly want to bitch about Cole Hamel's and his control and how he had a rough outing today. Personally i don't think it was a bad day for Cole. Yes seven hits on 83 pitches isn't spectacular but you try to concentrate on baseball when your wife is waiting to have your first child. (btw on a side note CONGRATS). The thing that baffled me during that game was the use of the bullpen. I could see using Blanton or Happ as a backup to eat up innings but why both. not to mention you use Eyre and Madson. We still need to win two more games to move on and i cant think of who they will use as a started after Pedro pitches Saturday. its one of those classic ideas that when it comes to a bullpen if it works then the manager is a genius (crosses fingers) but if it fails then you become the Mets.

Anyone off that note now its time to talk about the real reason I wanted to write this and that is the upcoming winter sports season. I have been so interested in baseball that I completely forget that hockey season was starting. Now I am not a huge flyers fan and i think its cause i cant relate due to the fact that I cant ice skate. (which is odd cause I'm 5'8 and love basketball). I felt bad cause the only thing i really remembered about hockey and the flyers this season was that they were playing in the winter classic at fenway and for some reason thought that was going to be the start of the season. but hey look at those flyers they start our 3-0 with a new goalie that fits the perfect Philly stereotype. (angry, a felony conviction and a bad attitude) AWESOME. I did finally get down to watching a game and it was last nights game against the penguins.

I really only did that is cause katies family loves pittsburgh and it would have given me good fodder to joke with her dad (its just sad to make so many pirates jokes its like poking a stranded jellyfish with a really pointy stick). But i gotta say the flyers played well. I mean yes we are exactly what the flyers should be: old, angry and above all else scrappy. Infact i actually think I saw someone bite someone else at the end of the game. (mike tyson anyone). If this is the way the hockey season is going to go then hey bring it on its time for some hockey. (btw it was nice to see them beat the caps, i really dont like ovechkin). So with one season beginning now its time for the real fun to start.

I know what your saying, how bout that ufl...... j.p losman and weird uniforms. I think not. No really people there still is another sport out there and its called basketball.

Its finally time for sixers basketball season. Just like the other 5000 people that actually paid attention to the sixers last year its actually exciting for me to see some new basketball games in philly. I think it helped that i spent the summer enthralled in everything comcast and sixers so i guess i am part biased. But seriously guys this team could be really good.

The Sixers made the playoffs and pushed the eventual Eastern Conference champs to a very tough opening series and even though the team hired probably the dumbest coach in NBA history this team has a chance. (as long as this give up on the whole Princeton offense nonsense, i mean guys come on we saw how well it worked in Washington). The team has talent and have actually fixed some of their only problems from last year (accept for the fact that SamuelDalembert is still a sixer but that is a rant for another day.)

The sixers had two main probelms last year: Post play and three point shooting.

The sixers made only 31.8% of their threes last year and most of those were made by Igoudala who should have been the only person shooting the ball last year anyway. So to fix this problem the sixer bring in Jason Kapono who shoots a career 45% from three. So in this aspect Ed Stefanski made a smart move (brace yourself its the only time ill probably ever say that). One problem solved one more to figure out.

Post Play: In comes a hopefully healthy Elton Brand. The 14 million dollar machine will hope to play an entire season with bruising his surgically repaired ankle. If healthy this could be exactly what the sixers will need. The only fault i see what this is that we all know Brand will not play every minute so there will be times that there will have to be other post players in the game, your options: Jason Smith or Dalembert. On this one ill choose the white kid.

Now ive met Jason he is a really nice guy and at 7'0 he could be a promising young post player. We really dont know what he has to bring to a pro game seeing as he was injured all last season but as we have seen in the sixers past philly has a may to make 7'0 guys look productive (todd mccullough!).

So in this sense I really thing the sixers can do something this year. Heck they made the playoffs and at 41-41 last year the teams has no where to go but up. I mean if you start average and are coming off an average year and you add and average coach and average players how can you not expect to become average. Anyway that all i got for now.

Maybe ill update during the phils game on saturday.