The Phillies closed out their Grapefruit League play today with a 7-6 win over the Astros, and will now head north to prepare for Friday’s season opener against those same Astros. In addition to leaving behind sun and warmth (both of which seem to be in short supply around these parts), let’s hope they also leave behind the proverbial injury bug.
The Phils’ spring clubhouse seems to have suffered a heavy infestation – Domonic Brown is out following surgery on a broken bone in his hand; Chase Utley was sidelined the entire spring with a creaky knee, with no timetable for his return to action; and Brad Lidge is likely to go on the DL with pain in his shoulder.
Additionally, Jose Contreras missed a couple days with a scratched cornea, Placido Polanco hyperextended his elbow, and Shane Victorino and Roy Oswalt luckily avoided serious injury after running into Raul Ibanez, and being hit in the back of the neck with a line drive, respectively.
Enough already! Be gone, damn bug!
But “bug” is a vague word. Is the injury bug an insect-bug?
Or a bacteria-bug?
Do we need to call in an exterminator?
Or a vaccinator?
At the moment, I don’t care which it is, I just want this team healthy! Right now!
On Monday, the husband, kids, and myself attended the 21st annual Phillies Phestival at Citizens Bank Park. The Phestival benefits the Philadelphia chapter of the ALS Association, and raised over $800,000 this year. Click here and here for coverage on the Phillies website.
Although it was drizzling slightly when we arrived at the ballpark, it did not last long, and it turned into a pleasant evening. Since we had about an hour until the players would begin signing autographs at their booths, we decided to take a walk around the concourse and get something to eat, rather than stand in line while nothing was going on. Then again, we weren’t lucky enough to get tickets to the “big name” booths, i.e. Howard, Utley, Rollins, etc., so there was no burning need to get in line early.
First stop was Brad Lidge’s booth, as all three of us had this ticket. My husband feels no need to get autographs, and really, why would we both need one? So he is the designated bag holder while the kids and myself are in the lines.
So what brilliant thing did I blurt out as I was handing Brad a baseball to sign? “Hi, how’s the elbow?” Like he hadn’t heard that hundreds of times already! Duh! By the way, he said it was feeling great. As I thanked him and moved on, I overheard the guy behind me in line come up to the table – “Hi Brad, how’s the elbow?” I wonder if he got really tired of that question by the end of the evening.
My daughter had a ticket for the Kyle Kendrick/Ben Francisco booth, so my husband went with her while my son followed me around as I was taking pictures of the players at some of the other booths. He didn’t enjoy this part of the evening.
My next stop was the Cuban station, otherwise known as the Danys Baez/Jose Contreras autograph booth. Neither of them was particularly talkative – I can understand Contreras wouldn’t be, as he doesn’t speak much (any?) English and Baez usually acts as his “interpreter”. Maybe Baez wasn’t quite sure what to make of all of it.
My son had a ticket for the Placido Polanco station, but decided not to use it since he already had a Polanco autograph from the first Phestival I took him to about six years ago, during Polanco’s first stint as a Phillie. Since I also had a ball signed back then, I had Placido sign a photo of him that I had taken in Spring Training:
While I was doing this, my husband took the kids to buy some grab bags, and also go in the clubhouse store. My son wanted to buy a Polanco t-shirt, but being a male, can’t be bothered to look at the tag to see what size it is. So he held one up in front of him, asking dad if he thought he’d “grow into it”. Lord only knows if my husband was actually paying attention, because when we got home, he tried it on and it fit like a dress. I took a look at the tag and said of course it was too big, it was an adult extra-large. So yeah, he’ll grow into it, maybe by the time he graduates high school! So I guess it’s mine for now. 🙂
So here are some photos from the evening, of the players whose booths I could get to. Some were in locations where only people with tickets to those booths could get through, or were not easily accessible, such as Raul Ibanez, Jayson Werth, and Ryan Howard. Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay were in photo booths, which required purchase of a separate ticket.
Brad Lidge’s elbow was feeling great, hopefully he didn’t get writer’s cramp!
Chase Utley is much better looking without his hair all gooped back.
Kyle Kendrick has a really big forehead, which I never noticed with his cap on.
Ben Francisco was making his first Phestival appearance.
Why does Milt Thompson look so serious? Milt didn’t smile much in last year’s photo, and he still isn’t in this year’s version.
Since I had my camera turned vertically, J.C. Romero decided to turn his head, too. 🙂
Joe Blanton strikes a no-nonsense look.
Jimmy Rollins always looks like he’s having fun. Jimmy was one of several players on the DL who still chose to participate in the Phestival – kudos to them!
David Herndon signs a card for a fan.
I hope Ryan Madson’s toe was carefully tucked under the table, so no one stepped on it.
I warned Danys Baez I was going to take a picture, but he still doesn’t quite look ready for it.
Jose Contreras signs a baseball for me.
Team president and CEO David Montgomery was on hand to help out. He later walked past my husband while I was at the grab bag table with the kids, and thanked him (and us) for coming out.
Placido Polanco smiles for my camera.
Davey Lopes reaches for a ball from a fan. Davey also looks very serious all the time – he and Milt need to smile more often! 🙂
Jamie Moyer appears to be letting his hair get a little shaggier than usual.
Shane Victorino has a big grin – hmm, what is he up to?
J.A. Happ was another player on the DL who chose to appear at the Phestival.
Is there a rule that coaches don’t smile? Rich Dubee follows the lead of Milt and Davey.
Carlos Ruiz signs a jersey.
I felt kind of bad for Wilson Valdez. Paired with Ruiz at a booth, many people walked right past him without stopping. He’s even holding two pens, ready and waiting to sign something. His photo was in the program, people! He did light up with a smile when I called his name for a photo op.
Is it wise to hand your children over to Larry Andersen and Gary Matthews? And when did L.A. shave his beard?? He just looks so…so…different.
My daughter and I pose with the 2008 World Series trophy and the 2009 National League champion trophy.
Why are my son and husband grinning like that? Certainly not because they’re thinking about all the money we just spent on tickets, grab bags, food, and the gift shop (though it is going towards a good cause). No, apparently my daughter was sticking her fingers up in “rabbit ears” behind my head, unbeknownst to me.
Speaking of the gift shop, one of my purchases was the new Phillies coffee-table book, Phillies: An Extraordinary Tradition.
I’ve only just begun to casually flip through it, but it looks to be a real visual feast, with plenty of photos covering the entire spectrum of Phillies history.
You may have noticed that I haven’t had much to say about the Phillies actual play recently. Well, that’s because I haven’t been too happy with it. The offense again failed to show up last night, as they were shut out 8-0 by the (ugh!) Mets.
Though I may frequently spew negative comments to my family while watching the games, I don’t really like to commit such thoughts to the permanency of the internet. I may be forced to break this self-imposed rule if they don’t start scoring some runs and winning some more games pretty soon! Only three games separate the first- and last-place teams in the NL East right now. Please, Phillies, I don’t deal with stress very well – enlarge that lead or I will eat way too much junk food, and it will be all your fault!
Following in the footsteps (gurney tracks?) of Raul Ibanez and Scott Eyre, Brad Lidge became the third Phillie to have surgery this week. In addition to repairing his flexor pronator tendon, he also had a loose body removed from his right (pitching) elbow.
Oh, wait, wrong kind of body. Apparently “loose bodies” look a bit more like this:
A little piece of bone which has broken off and is now floating around inside the elbow joint, wreaking havoc and causing pain.
Given all this carnage that was going on inside his elbow, is it any wonder that Lidge’s season was a total suck-fest? Of course, many pitchers continue to pitch through injuries, so it’s hard to say with certainty that this was the sole cause of his problems this year.
According to phillies.com, he should be ready to begin throwing in about eight weeks. Though he may be a bit behind in Spring Training, the Phillies are optimistic that he will be ready to pitch by Opening Day. Let’s just hope that he returns to 2008 form, and does not have a repeat of 2009.
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Speaking of Spring Training…
I don’t know about the rest of you, but ever since I discovered the Phillies had posted their tentative Spring Training schedule online, I have found myself sitting and staring at it several times a day. Just…staring…at…it.
(Well, I’m sure those of you who are fans of other teams are staring at your own team’s schedule, not the Phillies’)
Will 2010 bring a return trip to Clearwater for me and the hubby? Hold on while I go plant a crop of money trees in my backyard :-).
In my last post, I threatened to inflict Hairy Eaps upon Brad Lidge by using my typographically challenged voodoo doll, unless he straightened himself out and stopped blowing saves.
Well, since then, he is two-for-two in save opportunities, with nary a baserunner allowed.
The threat worked!
So I got to thinking, maybe the threat of Hinnis Eebow would be enough to kick-start the Phillies’ recently anemic offense.
And in fact, since voicing this thought at dinnertime (when the Phils were losing 1-0 to the Giants), they have managed to eke out two runs.
OK, it’s a start. How about adding a few more? You don’t want to know what else the doll can give you!
[post-game update: make that three-for-three for Brad, though this time he allowed a single and a walk, and two (!) stolen bases, while saving the 2-1 victory for the Phillies]
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What you see above is what happens when you actually do this:
There! Just for the record, no foreheads were actually injured during this little experiment.
Now, Brad Lidge, even though I know you’re not reading this, I feel I must vent my frustrations with you.
Note to Brad:
Just because the other team’s closer blows a save in the top of the ninth, doesn’t mean you have to copy him and do the same in the bottom of the ninth! Remember, nobody likes a copycat!
I really don’t want to have to decapitate your bobblehead, like Jenn suggested in a recent post.
But Brad, this is now your ninth blown save of the season!! I know it’s a bit unrealistic of us to expect perfection two years in a row, but nine is a new career high (or should I say “low”) for you.
Please stop it right this instant, or I shall have to resort to drastic measures! Keep in mind, I own a voodoo doll (typographically challenged, but never mind).
You wouldn’t want to wake up tomorrow with a nasty case of Hairy Eaps or Importenci, would you?
If not for Ben Francisco’s leadoff homer in the top of the 12th, I would have been doing this today
as I sat writing about Brad Lidge’s seventh blown save of the season.
The Nose Knows
Things had looked bleak back in the sixth, with the Phils down 2-0. I was already envisioning doing the head-banging thing, as Rich Harden had been perfect through 5 1/3. But then Carlos Ruiz walked with one out. J.A. Happ then made a pathetic attempt at a sacrifice bunt, popping out to Derrek Lee and failing to advance Ruiz. So with two outs, Jimmy Rollins comes to the plate, and my husband announced he could “smell” a two-run homer.
Sure enough, Jimmy came through to tie the game!
The Phils went up 3-2 in the eighth, when Ryan Howard walked with the bases loaded. Thank you Ryan, for not striking out!
But darn it, Brad Lidge came on in the bottom of the ninth. Unlike last year, he has been anything but “lights out” this year. As mentioned earlier, he allowed the Cubs to tie the score, for his seventh blown save. Ready…to…tear…hair…out! Guess it’s a good thing Charlie doesn’t have too much of his own hair left, because if he felt like I did, he’d have been yanking it out by the handful.
Fast forward to the top of the 12th, and Francisco’s homer puts the Phils ahead. Heading into the bottom of the 12th, I commented that thankfully Lidge couldn’t come in again to blow another save. Chad Durbin entered the game and did what Lidge could not, preserve a one-run lead to get the save.
Give Me An ‘O’!
Today’s Inquirer had a good write-up about prospect Domonic Brown, who was recently promoted to AA-Reading. According to the story, Brown remains a shy prospect despite the recent attention cast on him by various trade-deadline rumors, and only recently informed the Phillies that they have been spelling his name wrong ever since he was drafted.
So I looked in the 2009 Media Guide, and sure enough it was spelled “Dominic”. I also noted that he had been drafted in 2006! A mere three years ago. Better late than never, I guess.
This Sunday we’ll be heading to Reading for the game, so I hope to get a good look at (and some good photos of) Brown in action.
“She’s mean and she’s evil, like that little old boll weevil…”
Yep, I’m feeling pretty mean and evil right about now. Despite hitting four home runs off Johan Santana, the Phillies fell to the Mets by a score of 6-5. Too bad three of the homers were the solo variety. 😦
I was hoping that the Phillies could take advantage of the Mets’ depleted lineup, what with Jose Reyes and Carlos Delgado out with injuries, and the bullpen without J.J. Putz. But the baseball gods apparently had other ideas last night.
“Doctor, doctor, give me the news…”
Brad Lidge has been place on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained right knee. According to this morning’s newspaper, recent MRI exams have shown no structural damage. Maybe he also needs to get his head straightened out?
To take Lidge’s spot on the roster, the Phillies have called up Paul Bako from double-A Reading. Here he was on a recent Sunday:
The Phillies are now Bako’s 11th team during his major-league career! The move will allow the Phillies to use Chris Coste as a right-handed bat off the bench, while having Bako available as a backup catcher.
“Hey now, you’re an all-star…”
The most recent NL voting update shows Raul Ibanez leading all-star voting for outfielders. Ryan Braun and Carlos Beltran are in second and third, respectively. I’m OK with that. But why is Manny Ramirez still hovering around at fifth?? What knuckleheads out there are actually voting for him?? I know voting began prior to Manny’s suspension, so I can understand some votes in the early going, but why would anyone cast their vote for him now??
Other Phillies currently leading at their positions are Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins. I’ll agree on Chase, but as much as I like Jimmy, he is definitely not having an all-star calibre year so far. (I know, Jenn, I should bite my tongue and/or fingers for speaking/typing such heresy)
I myself have not voted yet, I tend to be a last minute voter, but rest assured I will be casting my ballot(s) soon.
“More, more, more…”
More megapixels, that is. After suffering a prolonged case of pixel envy (even my son’s point-and-shoot had more megapixels than my Canon Rebel!), I have finally upgraded to the Rebel XSi, nearly doubling my resolution from 6.5 to 12.2 megapixels. More is better, right? I’m looking forward to getting out there next week and using it.
“I’ve been drivin’ all night, my hands wet on the wheel…”
Speaking of next week, my husband and I will be hitting the road for a much-needed vacation, while the kids spend some time at Camp Grandma (otherwise known as my parents’ house). Contrary to the line above, I plan to do our driving during the day. Tentative itinerary has us stopping in Baltimore on Sunday (6/14) to visit Camden Yards (haven’t been there in many years), spending a few days in Myrtle Beach, and then hopefully hitting Washington to check out the Nationals the following Saturday (6/20).
“But you don’t really care for music, do you?…”
You may have noticed that all my subheadings are snippets of song lyrics. I guess I was feeling a bit musical this morning. Do you know them all? If you do, you get… well, nothing, except the satisfaction of knowing that you know them. 🙂
(photo by me)