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!
Good question. Bet you thought it was Jamie Moyer.
Hah! He’s only 47. Not even close to this guy:
That’s right, it’s Jose Molina! And here you thought Bengie was the oldest Molina brother.
If the Toronto Blue Jays Spring Training program is to be believed – and why would they lie? – Jose is about to celebrate his 215th birthday in a couple of months.
Hey, Jose, how about sharing some of your longevity secrets with the rest of us mere mortals?
[special thanks to my husband for spotting this gem]
Special Programming Note:
You may have noticed that I have not really said much about the Phillies so far this season. Well, they were off to such a good start, that I was afraid to say anything and possibly jinx it. It seemed too good to be true. But, like all Philadelphia fans, I am genetically predisposed to expect the worst, and last night it happened.
Kyle Kendrick pitched masterfully through eight innings, and the Phillies entered the ninth leading the Braves 3-0. With two outs, Madson allowed a two-run homer to Troy Glaus, followed immediately by a solo shot from Jason Heyward. Game tied, save blown.
Jose Contreras gave up the winning run in the tenth, another solo homer to the supremely annoying Nate McLouth, but really, the main culprit here is Madson. This game should have been over, with one more notch under the “W” column for the Phillies.
Ryan Madson can NOT close games!!!
Madson’s ERA last year in non-save situations: 2.56
His ERA last year in save situations: 5.82!
No one ever said the sweet smell of success would be a mixture of sweat and beer. But for Shane Victorino, that’s exactly what it was last night.
While catching a fly ball off the bat of the Cubs’ Jake Fox in the bottom of the fifth, a fan threw a beer, cup and all, at Victorino. The beer and the ball arrived at the same time; amazingly, Victorino managed to make the catch.
[I of course do not condone throwing objects at players. I must note, though, that the perpetrator had impeccable accuracy in aim and timing.]
As for the actual game, the Phillies made it two straight against the Cubs, winning 12-5.
As is so typical for the Phillies, they broke out of their recent offensive malaise with a good old butt-whuppin’, in a game that featured an eight-run explosion by the Phillies in the top of the fourth.
Pedro Martinez made his much-anticipated Phillies debut, lasting five innings and giving up three runs. Not really that much of an improvement over a typical Jamie Moyer start, but it was good enough to get the win last night. And quite frankly, at this point in the season, I don’t care how they get the wins, but just that they get the wins.
Speaking of Jamie Moyer, he is apparently not all that happy with the Phillies over the decision to move him to the bullpen. But really, what other option was there? J.A. Happ has been pitching well, new Phillie Cliff Lee has been fantastic so far, and although Cole Hamels has been inconsistent this season, the team is not going to send their (supposed) ace to the bullpen. Joe Blanton has a 2.46 ERA since late May, as opposed to Moyer’s 4.40 ERA in the same time frame.
So who’s the obvious choice? Unfortunately for Moyer, he’s the odd man out.
Tonight I take in my first-ever professional football game. Okay, it’s just a preseason game, but still it should be fun. The Eagles will take on the New England Patriots at the Linc in their first preseason game this year.
Through channels I’m not knowledgeable about, my son’s football team got free tickets. Coincidentally, or not, they are also called the Eagles. Face value for these tickets is $95.00 (!!!). Yikes! Seems like a lot for a preseason game.
Woo hoo for free tickets! Everybody keep their fingers crossed that the rain holds off!
(Victorino photo by Tom Cruze/Chicago Sun-Times)
Today’s entry is going to be a short one, because right now I’m developing a wicked headache. I’m not sure if I’m getting a cold, or my allergies are acting up, but all I know is that my sinuses are doing something which is resulting in post nasal drip, which is causing me to sneeze and cough. The coughing is now unfortunately giving me a headache.
Anyway, a few quick thoughts from the holiday weekend.
Phils Take 2 of 3 From Yankees
Brett Myers pitched well on Friday to lead the Phillies to a 7-3 win, which I recounted in my last entry.
On Saturday, J.A. Happ went 6 innings and would have been in line to get the win, as the Phillies were up 4-2 going into the bottom of the ninth. Then Brad Lidge entered the game and all hell broke loose. Johnny Damon walked to lead off the inning, and then with one out, A-Rod homered to tie it up. Robinson Cano then singled and subsequently stole second, so that Melky Cabrera’s bloop into short center allowed him to score the winning run. Yanks win, 5-4.
The way the Yankees reacted, you’d have thought they just won the World Series. Heck, even a come-from-behind-in-the-ninth win should be old news for them, as they lead the majors with 17 come-from-behind wins, with nine of those coming in the final at-bat.
Sunday, Cole Hamels allowed two runs in six innings of work. The Phillies had a slim 3-2 lead going into the bottom of the ninth, and once again, Brad Lidge blew the save. This time the game went into extra innings, with Carlos Ruiz knocking in the game-winning run in the top of the 11th, giving the Phillies a 4-3 victory.
John Mayberry, Jr. Makes His Debut
Mayberry made his major-league debut in Saturday’s game, and made a splash by hitting a 3-run homer for his first big-league hit. He also added a double, to go 2-for-3 on the day.
Why, just last Tuesday I saw John taking some big cuts at the Lehigh Valley IronPigs game:
What Is Up With Lidge?
Brad Lidge blew two consecutive save opportunities this weekend. Is his knee more of a factor than he and the Phillies are letting on? Is the pressure of living up to the expectations that resulted from last season’s perfection getting into his head? Is it something else entirely? Whether the issue is physical or mental, I hope the Phillies and Lidge soon figure out what is wrong, and please, please, please take steps to remedy the problem. We need a healthy and effective Lidge!
Monday of the Marlins
Other than Ryan Howard, the Phillies offense was lackluster yesterday in a 5-3 loss to the Marlins. Howard provided all the offense, with a two-run homer in the first, and a solo shot in the sixth. Jamie Moyer allowed 4 runs, with three of them coming on a home run by Wes Helms in the fourth, after Moyer walked the first two batters of the inning. Helms went 3-for-4 on the day with 4 RBIs.
Hey Wes, how come you never had games like that when you were a Phillie?
The Phillies and Marlins meet again tonight, with Joe Blanton facing off against Andrew Miller. Come on, guys, let’s get back on the winning track!
(photo by me)
As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog entry, my sister and I rooted for opposing teams during our formative years. I was, of course, phaithful to the Phillies, while she rooted for the Mets only because she had a crush on Lee Mazzilli. As sisters so often do, we made fun of each other’s choices – the best way for me to get on her nerves was to refer to the Mets as “Mutts.”
Well, judging from this photographic evidence, maybe I wasn’t so far off. Here’s last night’s starting pitcher, Mike Pelfrey, with a little tongue action going on:
Not wanting to miss out on the fun, David Wright joins in on the tongue-wagging:
Kind of like pound puppies, hoping to find a loving home. Well, keep looking, you’re not welcome in my house!
Anyway, the Phillies once again did not heed my advice and administer a butt-whippin’ to the Mets. They were swept in a short two-game set.
In the first game, Chan Ho Park took the mound for the Phillies, looking for a decent start after being pretty dismal so far this year. As Johan Santana was pitching for the Mets that night, all logic seemed to indicate that this game was a lost cause.
Miraculously, Park matched Santana through six innings, before being lifted for a pinch-hitter in a scoreless game. Six innings, one hit, 2 walks, and 5 stikeouts! Way to go, Chan Ho! Who’d of thunk it? Unfortunately for Park, his ERA is still a less than stellar 6.67.
The Mets plated an unearned run in the bottom of the seventh, as Carlos Delgado was able to score all the way from first, on a bad throw by Pedro Feliz that sailed past Ryan Howard and into the outfield. Jayson Werth may have had a play at the plate, but he hesitated before throwing.
Need I remind these guys what happens when you hesitate?
That lone run would be enough, as the Mets won, 1-0.
In the second game, Jamie Moyer pitched like you would expect from a
relic 46-year-old, giving up 7 runs in 2 1/3 innings. Props go again to the bullpen, for pitching 5 2/3 scoreless innings and giving the Phils a chance to stay in the game.
And they did try their darndest to come back once again. Ryan Howard launched a bomb to the deepest part of the field; too bad there was no one on base. Jayson Werth hit a 2-run shot to left. After being down 7-1, the Phils managed to get as close as 7-5, but there would be no miracle.
The Phillies are back home now for a weekend set against the Braves. Despite the two losses, they still hold a slim 1/2 game lead over both the Mets and Marlins. Let’s not let it slip away!
(both photos Julie Jacobsen/AP)
Should Chan Ho Get The Heave-ho?
On Friday morning, I asked the Phillies to go out and kick some Met butt that night. Apparently none of them read my blog, and therefore did not get the message.
Chan Ho Park had a crappy start (the wrap-up on phillies.com generously called it “mediocre”), giving up 7 runs on 8 hits and 6 walks, with only one strikeout, all in the span of 4 2/3 innings.
So far this season, in four starts, his record is 0-1 with an 8.57 ERA. The only reason his won-lost record isn’t worse is because the Phillies came from behind to actually win in his previous three starts. But you can’t count on that happening every time.
Kudos to the bullpen for pitching scoreless baseball the remainder of the game.
I know he pitched great in spring training, beating out J.A. Happ for the fifth starters spot, but when will we see some quality pitching from Park when it counts? On Wednesday, Park is scheduled to pitch against the Mets again, this time at Citi Field.
So far, there have been no discussions on removing Park from the rotation. According to Rich Dubee, quoted in this morning’s Philadelphia Inquirer:
“He’s getting the ball,” Dubee said. “We’re confident.”
Well, Mr. Dubee, I’m glad you are, because I’m certainly not. Then again, you’re the pitching coach, and I’m certainly not.
A “Walk”-off Win
OK, Saturday was a new day, and another chance for the Phillies to kick some Met butt. But instead of the Mets getting their butts kicked, I saw the Mets getting their butts slapped:
Ramon Castro is congratulated by third-base coach Razor Shines on a solo home run. [Why the butt-slap? Would it be so hard to give a congratulatory hand-slap, back-slap, or shoulder-slap?]
This is not what I meant, guys!
Yes, the Phillies did get the win, eventually. They jumped out to an early lead against Oliver Perez, who gave up 4 runs in just 2 1/3 innings. It’s so nice to see other teams get crappy starts from their pitchers, too. Jamie Moyer pitched well for the first five innings, but then things came unraveled in the sixth, allowing the Mets to tie the game at 5 runs apiece.
The score remained tied through nine, but in the bottom of the tenth the Phillies loaded the bases. Shane Victorino then drew a walk from reliever Sean Green to “drive” in the winning run, for a 6-5 Phillies victory.
Not exactly a butt-whipping, but I’ll take it.
Here Comes The Rain Again
The deciding game of this three-game set ended up being postponed due to rain on Sunday. Blech! No date has been announced yet.
It’s Monday morning now, and it’s still raining. As the heading for this section is also the title of a Eurythmics song, here are a few of my other favorite rain-themed songs:
“Rain” – The Cult
“Purple Rain” – Prince
“Fool In The Rain” – Led Zeppelin
“It’s Raining Men” – The Weather Girls
“Mary Sunshine Rain” – Dada
Hope at least some of you are having a sunny day today.
The Phillies are in St. Louis tonight, taking on the Cardinals. Please, no rain!
(first two photos by Tom Mihalek/AP; CBP photo from AP)
Woo hoo! What a weekend for the Phillies in South Florida!
After coming from behind with a ninth-inning rally on Friday night, the Phils pulled it off again on Saturday, tying the game in the ninth and then going ahead in the top of the tenth by a score of 6-4. Brad Lidge came on in the bottom of the tenth, and while somewhat shaky, held on for the save. I had to listen to all this on the radio while driving, as we had been visiting with out-of-state friends who were in the area for the weekend. The combination of Lidge loading the bases with two outs, and concentrating on the road at the same time, is a bit more stress than I need! Thankfully disaster was averted – the Phils won, and we arrived home in one piece. 🙂
In contrast, yesterday’s victory was a good old-fashioned butt-whuppin’ which the Phillies won in dominating style. Jamie Moyer continued his mastery of the Marlins, getting his third win of the season. Lifetime against the Fish, Moyer is 12-1!
Things weren’t too far out of hand for the Marlins through the first six innings, with the Phils up 4-1. But then Marlins relievers Hayden Penn and Kiko Calero gave up 7 and 2 runs, respectively, to put the Phils up 13-1.
With the game out of reach, the Marlins decided to save their pitchers, and brought in outfielder Cody Ross to pitch the top of the ninth. To his credit, he retired the side without giving up any runs, giving up only an infield hit to Jayson Werth. The Marlins scored once in the bottom of the ninth, to make the final score 13-2. Phils win!
OK guys, enough of the come-from-behind nailbiters. Let’s have a few more blowout games like that, please!
The Marlins have now been swept in successive series by the Pirates and the Phillies, and dropped to an 11-7 record. The Phillies improve to 9-8, and are now in second place, 1 1/2 games behind the Marlins.
Is Cody admiring the new-found talent in his hands, or just thinking that he needs a good manicure? Enquiring minds want to know!
Up next for the Phillies is a three game set with the Natinals/Nationals. My husband is going to the game tonight, as he and his partner were invited by a client. I, on the other hand, will be watching on TV as I try to put up with this unseasonable heat for just a little longer (I admit to just a wee bit of jealousy). Things are supposed to cool off by Wednesday, and I can’t rationalize turning on the AC for just two more days, in April, no less! So after the kids are in bed, I will retreat to the subterranean coolness of my basement (finished), with a refreshing gin and tonic in hand.
(photo by me)