Last night’s NLCS Game 4 was just a little too stressful for my tastes. After jumping out to an early lead in the first inning via a Ryan Howard long ball (which I missed, by the way, while helping my young procrastinator finish a school project which was due today), the Phils’ bats went silent as Randy Wolf found his groove for the next several innings.
Joe Blanton, on the other hand, started out strong, but then began to falter the second time through the Dodgers’ lineup. The Dodgers took a 4-2 lead, and I began to resemble this:
Yep, I was giving some serious hairy eyeballs to the Dodgers, particularly when ManChild, oops I mean ManRam, was for once not “being Manny” in the outfield, as he ran in to make a shoestring catch on an Ibanez liner to end a Phillies scoring threat.
The Phils did manage to cut the margin to 4-3, but the Dodgers still held a one-run lead heading into the bottom of the ninth. But now it was payback time. Last Friday, it was the Phillies who blew the one-run lead in the bottom of the eighth to lose, 2-1, when their pitching began to unravel.
Jonathon Broxton, last night was your turn.
Broxton retired Ibanez for out number one. Matt Stairs came in to pinch hit, and worked a walk; Eric Bruntlett came in to pinch run. After Carlos Ruiz was hit by a pitch to put two men on base, Greg Dobbs came in to pinch hit and was retired on a humpback liner to third.
Two outs, I’m starting to imagine how bad my mood will be today.
Up to the plate comes Jimmy Rollins, who was only hitting .167 so far in the NLCS (not good, Jimmy). Miraculously, Jimmy smoked a liner to the gap in right to score both Bruntlett and Ruiz. Happiness ensued! I felt like doing this:
but unfortunately I don’t live near a beach (must change that situation!).
In the postgame interview, Rollins looked like he was doing his best Etta James impersonation:
Love the look, Jimmy – I hope we see it again this season!
The Joy of the NLCS Schedule (she says sarcastically)
So why is it that during the regular season, teams can play eight, nine, even ten games in a row, but come the postseason, they can’t seem to play more than two days in a row?? Why exactly do we need an off-day in the middle of the three games being played in Philadelphia? I’m sure it has something to do with TV and advertising revenues, but I don’t like it.
The Joy of Technology
It seems that StubHub experienced an “email glitch”, and accidentally sent messages to fans of the Mets that said,
“Be there alongside your New York Mets as they chase baseball immortality. Go to StubHub, where you’ll find a fantastic selection of tickets to every playoff game — so you experience the championship chase live and in person.”
Hee hee! I wonder if there were any dimbulb Mets fans who got confused and actually tried to order tickets?
Apparently fans of a few other non-playoff teams also got erroneous messages (see full story here), but I always take secret glee in the travails of Mets fans. Sorry, but I can’t help it :-).
Last night, the Phillies apparently put Friday’s painful Game 2 loss out of their minds, and set about administering a good old-fashioned butt-whuppin’ to the Dodgers, winning 11-0. Game 2 saw the Phils’ bats stymied by former Phillie Vicente Padilla (gotta admit I didn’t expect that), as they mustered only one run on Ryan Howard’s solo homer. In Game 3, they exploded for 11 runs!
And I wasn’t even wearing the lucky shirt! Mind you, it had been washed since Game 2, hopefully removing any bad luck remnants. But prior to the game, I’d been so busy helping my son with a school project, that I didn’t even think about changing shirts. So I sat down to watch the game still wearing my Penn State sweatshirt, and my Eagles not-so-lucky garment that didn’t do any good at all for them yesterday. And still the Phils won! So maybe I can just wear whatever I want for the rest of the series.
Random thoughts on Games 2 and 3:
– Talk about temperature extremes! Friday’s game was played under bright blue skies with temps in the 90’s; last night’s game had mid-40’s temps with windy conditions. Given my choice, I’d much rather the conditions in L.A., and besides, everything is better with palm trees!
– Cliff Lee once again pitched a gem for the Phillies, going eight shutout innings. So far this postseason, he is 2-0 with a miniscule 0.74 ERA.
– Pedro Martinez also pitched a gem on Friday, going seven shutout innings, but ended up with no decision in the 2-1 loss.
– Ryan Howard hit a two-run triple in the first inning last night. Now there’s something you don’t see every day, as Howard is obviously not known for his speed. Howard has now driven in at least one run in seven straight playoff games, setting a new record for a single postseason. Way to go, Ryan!
– Carlos Ruiz is quietly having a great postseason so far, hitting .429 with 7 RBIs. He doesn’t get the same amount of attention as the rest of the lineup (except possibly Pedro Feliz), but he’s been very productive batting in the number 8 spot.
The Nose Knows
Speaking of Pedro Feliz, not sure what was up with his nose last night, though I’m assuming this was a Band-aid, and not his attempt to impersonate Rudolph:
I would’ve assumed that there were products available for people with darker complexions, but surprisingly I can’t find any such thing on the internet. But there are lots of fun products out there for more interesting situations.
Celebrate a birthday:
Let the other team know you’re watching them:
Let the other team know you think they’re toast:
And since Halloween will only bring Game 3 (yes, this year’s postseason definitely goes too late into the fall) of the World Series:
Shocking TV Scheduling!
In a real surprise, the Yankees/Angels game is on at 4 pm here on the East Coast, and the Phillies/Dodgers game gets the prime time spot. What gives? Has the world tilted on its axis? Has hell frozen over? Steinbrenner wants to watch the Yankees and can’t stay up that late anymore?
Whatever the reason, I’ll be watching Game 4 tonight from the cozy comforts of home. If anyone has tickets they don’t want to use, I’d be more than happy to brave the elements! 😉
(Feliz photo by Mary Schwalm/MLB.com)
…to keep the Phillies out of the NLCS! After a very stressful pair of games (for me, anyway) against the Rockies at tundra-like Coors Field, the Phillies have a repeat engagement with the Dodgers for the National League Championship.
I will admit to missing the end of Game 3. I just could not keep my eyes open, and around 1:30 or so, turned the TV off in the middle of the eighth inning with the score still tied. Sacrilege, I know. My husband was already snoring by this time, and I was not feeling terribly optimistic and did not want to stay up even later if they were going to lose.
Then, I dreamed that they had won the game. Imagine my delight to wake up the next morning and find out they really had!
Game 4 thankfully came on earlier, so I didn’t have to worry about nodding off. The Phils took a 2-1 lead into the eighth inning, but it looked like things were about to implode after the Rockies scored 3 runs in the bottom of the eighth. I couldn’t bear to watch, so I again turned it off and proceeded to get the kids to bed.
Before settling down (glumly) to watch The Big Bang Theory – which is a really funny show, if you haven’t seen it yet – I had a few extra minutes and decided to check to see if the game was over, and to my shock saw Ryan Howard driving in the tying runs!
Me (to husband who is coming down the steps): Oh my God, Ryan Howard just hit a two-run double to tie the game!
Him: You’re kidding!
Me: No, I turned it on just in time to see it!
So of course we watched the rest of the ninth, saw Jayson Werth drive in the winning run and Brad Lidge get the final out, and went to bed happy that night.
The First Key to Victory
After many years of watching the Phillies, I’ve come to the realization that quite a few of their winning rallies coincide with my (or my husband’s) act of turning the TV off. Maybe there is a connection! While it results in our missing a lot of the excitement, I’ll try to stick with that plan for the NLCS.
The Second Key to Victory
L.A., meet my lucky shirt…
I realized that I was wearing this very shirt during all three Phillies victories (or at least the parts of them I was awake for), but not during the dreadful Cole Hamels debacle of Game 2. Where was it then, you ask? Well, it was (gasp!) in the laundry. I will not make that mistake again! I will only wash it on off days during the NLCS, which by the way, there are too many of, but that will lead me into a whole new rant.
Game 1 is tomorrow, so I better get started on that laundry!
[blogging note: You may have noticed a lack of entries from me since last week. That’s because when I am very tense about the games, I have a tendency to think not very nice things about the other team. So as everybody’s mom always said, “If you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all.” Hence my silence.]
The Phillies are getting on my nerves. After Tuesday’s exciting win over the Dodgers, which included Jayson Werth’s steal of home, they dropped the next two games by scores of 9-2 and 5-3. The offense has looked particularly uninspired in the losses.
Jamie Moyer, who started Wednesday’s game, is starting to look like a 46-year-old out there. Moyer gave up seven runs in 4 1/3 innings. The offense was only able to muster one run off of L.A. starter Randy Wolf, who is not exactly a flame-thrower.
On Thursday, Cole Hamels pitched well, giving up two runs over seven innings (one earned, one not), but got little run support. The Phillies rallied to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth, but lost the game in the tenth.
Just for fun, I decided to take a look at the starting pitchers’ ERAs. Egads! The lowest of the bunch is Brett Myers, with an ERA of 4.81. Not exactly stellar. After Brett, in order of crapitude, are Cole Hamels (5.04), Chan Ho Park (6.00), Joe Blanton (6.82), and Jamie Moyer (8.15).
I will let those numbers speak for themselves.
To be fair, Hamels’ and Park’s last two starts have been vastly better than their earlier efforts. If only I could say the same about the remainder of the rotation.
Moving on, the Phillies are in Washington for a weekend series against the Nationals, which includes a day-night double-header on Saturday to make up the rainout from the beginning of the season.
The Phillies are also making their rescheduled visit to the White House today, which is probably occurring at this very moment, as I am typing.
I’ll close today with one of my better photographic efforts from last season, just because I think it’s a good picture, and I haven’t had a reason to use it in any other posts. And I didn’t have a blog last summer, either.
Taken during a game on July 27, Braves shortstop Yunel Escobar slides home just ahead of the tag by Chris Coste. The Phillies ended up winning that day, 12-10. If only I knew a way to digitally remove Joe Blanton from the picture!
(photo by me)
“I guess he was feeling frisky”
Thus spake Charlie Manuel last night, after Jayson Werth stole home in the seventh inning, for his fourth steal of the night. Manuel was taken by surprise just as much as the rest of us. I have to admit, I was staring right at the TV and almost didn’t realize what was going on, as Werth came flying into the screen and under the tag.
Werth took advantage of catcher Russell Martin’s casual lobbing of the ball back to relief pitcher Ronald Belisario. Martin had pretty much ignored Werth as he was on third, so once the opportunity presented itself, he took off.
Werth’s four steals in a game tied a team record, shared by Garry Maddox and Sherry Magee.
What’s your name?
You may notice in the above picture that Russell Martin’s jersey has his name as “J. Martin”. What’s up with that, my husband and I wondered. A little internet searching turned up an article on the Dodgers website that sheds light on the matter. The J. stands for Jeanson, one of Russell’s multiple middle names, and also the maiden name of his mother. Using the J. is his way of paying tribute to his mom.
In case you were wondering, Martin’s full name is Russell Nathan Jeanson Coltrane Martin.
Quite a mouthful, but still one name short of this beauty:
Calvin Coolidge Julius Ceasar Tuskahoma McLish, aka Cal McLish. Cal pitched for seven teams over the course of his career, finishing with the Phillies from 1962-64.
Gimme some tongue
It seems everywhere I look these days, there are more pictures of players with their tongues hanging out. What is going on here? This image was found on the Philadelphia Inquirer’s coverage of last night’s game, showing Orlando Hudson caught in a rundown:
I’m surprised no one ends up biting their tongue (literally) while doing this.
On Monday morning, I found this little gem, also featured by Jane Heller. Somehow, it looks R-rated (or at least PG-13):
Grammar/music/history lesson for the day
No, I did not make a typo, “spake” is actually a word. It is the past tense of speak, though it is an archaic form. It also reminded me of the Richard Strauss composition, Also Sprach Zarathustra, which is sometimes translated into English as “Thus Spake Zarathustra”. You may recognize its introduction as the memorable musical theme from 2001: A Space Oddysey. Zarathustra, also known as Zoroaster, was an ancient Iranian prophet and religious poet.
So, am I likening Charlie Manuel to a prophet? Absolutely not. It just sounded good.
(Werth/Martin photo and Ruiz/Hudson photo by Ron Cortes for the Philadelphia Inquirer; Yankee tongue photo by Rob Carr/AP)
If you read my last post, you’ll recall that I was in Los Angeles. Two days later, the second leg of my business trip took my husband and I to Denver, home of the Colorado Rockies. Whereas our experience at Dodger Stadium had been sunny and warm, our visit to Coors Field turned out to be anything but that. However, it was a great night.
We were apparently following the Dodgers, as we would see them take on the Rockies on September 17, 1996.
This picture is the only one from our visit to Coors. It was not taken the night of the game we went to – note that the sky is beautiful and sunny. Less than 24 hours prior, it was dark, rainy, and cold. So rainy that I didn’t even try to take my camera to the game, which is really unlike me.
So why did we go to a rainy night game? Because this was only the second season for Coors Field, and it was still pretty hard to get tickets. I’d ordered the tickets in advance once I knew we’d be in Denver, and was only able to get Rockpile seats for the game. Still, we had the tickets and wanted to use them, considering our flight home left the next afternoon.
It hadn’t actually been raining all day, though it was looking threatening. And having just come from L.A., we didn’t have anything warm to wear. So a few hours before game time, we ended up in a Gap in downtown Denver, buying jackets with fleece linings in them.
As we left our hotel for the walk to the stadium, it was raining lightly. Once we got to the stadium it continued to rain. Game time comes, and guess what? Rain delay!
Ultimately a two-hour rain delay. Lord only knows why we waited it out, and didn’t just go back to the hotel. But we walked around and around the concourse, and eventually it was announced that the game would start. We made our way to our seats.
Not only were they in the Rockpile, the farthest section from the field, they were only a few rows from the very top of the Rockpile. But because of the delay, there were a lot of empty seats, so after an inning or two we moved down to the front of the section.
It never did really stop raining; it just sort of drizzled and misted most of the night. And even though we had our brand new fleece-lined jackets, I still froze my *ss off!
Eventually we made our way over to the first row or two of the left-center field seats. While we were there, we saw a home run hit by the Dodgers’ Tim Wallach bounce off some guy’s chest, only to be claimed by another guy sitting a few rows in front of him. The first guy tried to argue that the ball should be his because it hit him first, but to no avail.
The Rockies didn’t do much that night, losing to the Dodgers 9-0.
So what, you ask, was so great? Hideo Nomo had just pitched a no-hitter at the most hitter-friendly park in the major leagues. And we had witnessed it!
The next day was, of course, beautiful, but we had a late afternoon flight to catch. We walked around the stadium area, so I could take the above picture. A man walking down the street asked us if we wanted two tickets to that afternoon’s game, as he couldn’t use them. We said “no thanks”. After walking another block we could have kicked ourselves, having just realized that we could have gone in at least for a few innings, even if we didn’t stay for the whole game. As they say, hindsight is 20/20.
Postscript: we still have the jackets we bought in Denver, and I often wear mine during the winter. And believe it or not, the price of Rockpile tickets is still the same as we paid almost 13 years ago – only $4!
Trivia Tid-Bit! Can anyone tell me what was unusual about this game? (yes, I know, but I want to see if you do)
Up next, The Ballpark In Arlington.
My original plan was to write about Fenway Park yesterday, and Dodger Stadium today, so they would be separate entries. But my son commandeered the computer last night to work on a school project. I begrudgingly admitted to myself that that was more important than blogging. Since he didn’t finish until 10 pm, and I don’t think too clearly after that, I decided to just combine the two today.
I also want to give a little shout-out to The Ken (that’s what it says in the “Read About Me” section) over at How About Dem O’s, Hun! I “borrowed” the idea of the stadium travelogue from some of his recent entries about parks he’s been to – check it out!
Our stadium quest picked up steam in 1996, with eight new parks visited in a two year span. The first on the list was Fenway Park.
A friend of mine who had once worked in the cubicle next to me had moved to Massachusetts, and we decided to go visit her for a long weekend. While there, we thought it would be fun to check out the storied home of the Red Sox, Fenway Park. So we asked her to order some tickets to a game, since in 1996 there weren’t as many easy options for buying tickets online as there are today.
So on April 27, 1996, we made our visit to Fenway. We got a later than expected start that morning, and just missed one train and had to wait awhile for the next. Once we got to the stadium, we didn’t have any time to wander around and explore Yawkey Way or any of the surrounding areas, and had to find the will-call window to pick up the tickets.
After we made our way to our seats, we realized that one of the many support beams that hold up Fenway was directly in our field of view (note to self – in the future, always order your own tickets). And because we were in the shade and it was only April, it was a little chilly.
I hate to admit that I really don’t have too many memories of the actual game. Nothing notable happened, and the Sox got blown out 10-0 by the Kansas City Royals. Future Sox (and Yankee) centerfielder Johnny Damon was patrolling the outfield for the Royals that day.
Here are a couple pictures I took of the field:
This one shows the Green Monster before seats were added on top of it:
The only benefit of this lopsided score was that many fans left early, so we moved to a vacant area of the right field seats that was in the sun, and therefore much warmer. Here’s a photo of a warmed-up me, with a lot more hair than I currently have (I’m the one on the left):
We will definitely need to make a return trip to Fenway one of these days!
Our next stop was later that year, when I had a business trip to Los Angeles. Since my site visit was on a Monday, I decided to go out early and spend the weekend, so my husband could accompany me. So on September 15, 1996, we went to see the Dodgers play the Cardinals at Dodger Stadium.
One of the unusual things about Dodger Stadium is that it’s easy to miss if you don’t know exactly where you’re going. Whereas most stadiums are rather large and easy to spot from afar, Dodger Stadium is sort of nestled in between some hills, and not visible from Sunset Boulevard, the road we took from our hotel. Having actually been there several years earlier with a friend, I knew this.
On my first visit, my friend and I were also driving down Sunset, and unknowingly drove right past the stadium, even though the concierge at our hotel told us to “drive down Sunset, and you can’t miss it on your left.” Well, we missed it and pretty soon were driving into a rather seedy-looking area of L.A. We turned around and did eventually find it – you would think there would be a large sign saying “Dodger Stadium” with an arrow, but no, all we saw was a tiny square sign on the side of the road with a stadium-shaped symbol on it. So this time I was ready.
[This may not be the case anymore, but at the time I thought they would have better signage.]
We got there without an unintended side trip, parked the car and went to buy tickets. The weather was beautiful – warm sun, comfortable temperature. We were in the first row of the upper deck, just to the first base side of home plate, with a great view of the field.
Looking back at the box score of that game, what is pretty amazing is that at that time, the previous four N.L. Rookies of the Year were Dodgers – Eric Karros (1992), Mike Piazza (’93), Raul Mondesi (’94), and Hideo Nomo (’95). Also on the field that day was Todd Hollandsworth, who would later be named N.L. ROY for 1996. Though Nomo was not pitching that day, Karros, Mondesi and Hollandsworth were all in the lineup. Piazza came in as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the eighth, and was called out on strikes to end the inning:
The Dodgers held on to win the game, 6-5. All in all, an enjoyable day at the ballpark. Dodger Stadium is another ballpark that I would like to make a return visit to in the future.
Up next, Coors Field.
(all photos mine)