First came the elaborate prank in Spring Training of 2008, when Kyle was fooled into believing that he’d been traded to a team in Japan.
Then came trips to the minors, trips to the bullpen, and being left off the postseason roster.
Most recently, he was the odd man out when the Phils signed Cliff Lee, giving them six starters to fill five rotation spots.
Now comes this indignity:
Really, Inquirer, you couldn’t find a picture of Kendrick that didn’t have the ball over his face?
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!
The past week was a really busy one for me. In addition to seeing three different levels of Phillies (AA, AAA, and majors), my son had two baseball games, and the cold water valve in my laundry room broke, sending a geyser of water all over, and down through the floor vent into the finished basement. Fortunately, it broke while I was in the act of turning it on, instead of when I was unaware and off doing something else, so I was able to find the main shutoff valve without too much panicking and minimal water damage. On the plus side, the floor behind my washer and dryer is now cleaner than it’s been in years!
This entry is going to be a bit long, so please bear with me.
Tuesday, May 4 – Lehigh Valley IronPigs vs Indianapolis Indians
The IronPigs held the first of two Education Days scheduled for this month. Education Day just means that the game starts at 10:35 am, and there are lots of school groups in attendance. My own children were, in fact, at school that day; we just had lots of other people’s kids surrounding us.
As they were last year, the IronPigs player head shots were drawings by local school students:
Leadoff batter Rich Thompson looks very serious in this rendition. In need of a little Prozac?
Luis Maza, on the other hand, looks quite happy.
Has John Mayberry been getting the Michael Jackson treatment? He looks a bit pale.
This artist even included Andy Tracy’s stubble.
Not a bad likeness.
Neil Sellers could be forgiven for going 0-for-4 today, since it looks like he might have trouble seeing straight.
Paul Hoover looks rather demonic. Hoover has just been called up to the parent club to replace backup catcher Brian Schneider, who is currently on the DL.
Brian Bocock, that is not a good batting average!
Drew Carpenter, hitless so far this year (he didn’t get one this day, either).
Dewayne Wise needs a neck reduction!
The IronPigs were hosting the Indianapolis Indians, AAA affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Drew Carpenter started for the ‘Pigs, giving up one run in six innings, striking out five:
Carpenter was opposed on the mound by Daniel McCutchen (no relation to Andrew – obviously). He makes pitching look almost painful with this expression:
Paul Hoover is out at second, but the throw from Indians shortstop Argenis Diaz was not in time to turn the double play:
No IronPigs game is complete without the Pork Racers – Hambone, Chris P. Bacon, and Diggity:
John Mayberry is safe at second on a steal attempt:
Mike Zagurski came into the game in relief of Carpenter. I recall listening to the radio broadcast of his major league debut a few years ago, when Larry Andersen described him as looking “a little Kruk-y”:
Antonio Bastardo was called upon to get the final out of the eighth inning:
Scott Mathieson came in to close the game and get the save. Mathieson is attempting to come back from not one, but two, Tommy John surgeries. He looked pretty good, hitting 95 and 96 mph on the stadium radar gun (though who knows how accurate those are?):
Final score: IronPigs 3, Indians 1.
Wednesday, May 5 – Phillies vs Cardinals
Finally, my first Phillies game of the season! Not only that, but we had some amazing seats (thanks, Eric and Michelle!), just past the Phillies dugout in the fifth row. We missed the first inning, however, due to absolutely nightmarish traffic resulting from simultaneous Phillies and Flyers games. I hate when (hmph!) secondary sports like hockey interfere with my plans!
Nonetheless, with adult beverage in hand, we settled in for the start of the second inning. Kyle Kendrick was on the mound, and he pitched masterfully for seven innings, scattering six hits and giving up no runs:
The Cardinals countered with Brad Penny, shown here rockin’ the high-socks look. The little white blur is the ball going past him:
Brendan Ryan led off the third for the Cards, and was called out at first on this play:
I think the Phils got a lucky break here, as it sure doesn’t look like Howard has the ball yet. This brought Tony LaRussa out of the dugout for the second time in the game. He had earlier come out in the second inning to argue Colby Rasmus’ being called out at third on an attempted steal. Unfortunately for LaRussa, both arguments were to no avail:
Placido Polanco got the Phils on the board in the fourth with a two-run homer. Shane Victorino was on base at the time, and congratulates Polanco as he crosses the plate. Victorino would also hit a solo homer in the sixth:
Chase Utley prepares to field a ground ball:
Cards third baseman David Freese tracks down a popup in foul territory. The expressions on the faces of the fans in the vicinity of the play are priceless:
Is Albert Pujols pondering the Cards’ lack of offense in this game? The Phillies pitchers kept Pujols in check through the first three games of the four-game series, with Pujols going 3-for-13 with no RBIs:
Chase Utley makes the pivot on a 6-4-3 double play to end the top of the seventh:
Danys Baez and Jose Contreras pitched perfect eighth and ninth innings, respectively, to close out the victory for Kendrick.
Final score: Phillies 4, Cardinals 0.
Saturday, May 8 – Reading Phillies vs Akron Aeros
The Reading Phillies were holding their annual Spam carving contest this past Saturday. I had no intention of taking part in this, I just simply planned on snapping a few photos of other people’s Spam creations.
My daughter, motivated by the prospect of the $250 prize, had other plans.
At her urging, I handed over the $5 entry fee (proceeds benefitting a charity called Opportunity House) and we received our can of Spam. What to carve? I was a bit unprepared, as I’ve mentioned, this was not part of my original plan. We decided upon the R-Phils mascot, Screwball.
Step one: figure out how to get the Spam out of the can intact. Eww. My experience with Spam ended many years ago during childhood, when my mom would occasionally serve it. I have never willingly touched Spam since then.
Let’s just say it’s a bit, um, slimy. Best not to think about what’s actually in it. It’s also not the easiest medium to work with. And after your hands are covered with Spam juice, it’s not easy to control your carving utensils (a plastic knife and toothpicks).
Anyway, here is our entry, “Spamball”:
Here’s the real Screwball for comparison:
OK, so not a perfect likeness, but like I said, Spam isn’t the easiest thing to work with.
Mmm, a Spamdog!
These two contestants are working on separate halves of what would eventually be the winning entry, “Screwball’s Spamtastic Opportunity House”:
Prior to the winner being announced after the seventh inning, judges narrowed the entries to six finalists. Ours was one of the six! Fans then cast their votes for their favorite. The finalists got to walk out on the field accompanying their entry. Sadly, I do not have any pictures of this, since I was on the field and couldn’t very well take a picture of myself.
The winners, pictured above, got the cash, and the rest of the finalists got a cap and t-shirt as consolation prizes. My daughter claimed the cap, since the shirt was extremely large and would have looked like a dress on her.
I only managed a few pictures of the game, as it was incredibly windy and cold, making it hard to hold the camera steady.
R-Phils starter Yohan Flande:
Aeros starter Eric Berger contorts himself:
R-Phils centerfielder Quintin Berry reminds me of a t-ball player who needs to use the bathroom:
The R-Phils lost, 5-2, though we left before then since it was so windy and cold. The kids didn’t even mind missing the post-game fireworks, they were so uncomfortable.
Whew! Now I’m caught up. Hope to be blogging more regularly this month.
(all photos by me, except the can of Spam)
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!
In my continuing effort to get caught up on blogging about my baseball doings, I’m finally getting around to what I did last weekend (Labor Day weekend). On Saturday, I attended a photography workshop held at Coca-Cola Park, home of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, and on Sunday my husband and I headed to Washington, D.C. to take in a game at Nationals Park.
First off, a big shout-out goes to Jenn, of Phillies Phollowers, who gave me the heads-up on the photo workshop. She was in attendance as well, so we had plenty of photographic “phun”. The workshop started off with a classroom session on action photography, appropriate camera settings for freezing action, night games, etc. Then we were set loose in the ballpark for about an hour before the gates opened to the public.
The IronPigs had already finished their batting practice, so the Buffalo Bisons (Mets triple-A affiliate) were on the field. Baseball players must develop a certain obliviousness to people with cameras, as the majority of them didn’t even seem to notice we were there. However, this trio of Bisons decided to strike a pose when they saw several women with lenses trained on them:
We were also able to stake out a spot right next to the IronPigs dugout, affording close-up opportunities. Here are John Mayberry, Jr.,
and Kyle Kendrick,
all looking very serious. C’mon guys, would it hurt to crack a smile? I promise your face won’t break!
Watching all the field preparations from such a close vantage point, I noticed things I hadn’t really seen before. For example, who knew that they actually spray-paint home plate before the game to get it so nice and white?
During the game itself, we had an opportunity to try some really nice lenses, thanks to Dan’s Camera City, the sponsor of the workshop. A good lens makes all the difference, as even my husband could distinguish between pictures taken with my current lens, and those taken with the better lens. It made me realize that the major roadblock standing between me and really great pictures is the lack of a bottomless wallet, as I suffered major sticker shock when I checked out prices on some of the top-quality Canon lenses. If anyone out there knows the location of a money tree, please send me a seed! 🙂
In our ongoing quest to visit all the major league ballparks, for number 21 we made a visit to Nationals Park to see the Nats host the Marlins. We decided to root for the Nationals that day, since they were the home team, and the Marlins are closer behind the Phillies in the NL East race.
This picture was not taken from our seats, as our actual seats were up a level and much further down the left field line. Since that location didn’t lend itself to taking pictures of the game, I got up and walked around for an inning or two in the middle of the game. For a team that plays poorly and doesn’t draw very big crowds, the ticket prices are pretty steep.
We did have a little excitement in our section, though, when Screech ran down the aisle right next to me to deliver personal-size pizzas during a between-innings promotion.
The other thing I wanted to make sure I saw was the Presidents Race. Similar to Milwaukee’s Sausage race, large caricatures of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abe Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt burst out of the center field wall and race around the warning track to the finish line near the Nats’ dugout along the first base line.
Since the race began in 2006, Teddy has never won a race. There’s even a website devoted to this fact, Let Teddy Win! Would this be the day Teddy finally won? He came out strong, and was in the lead as they rounded the right field corner.
Unfortunately, George had a sudden burst of speed to win the race, and Teddy ultimately came in last. Here you can see the standings as of last Sunday, 9/6:
Poor Teddy! I felt bad for him, so I bought his bobble-head likeness in the gift shop. After looking through my photos from the day, I think I see why Teddy loses all the time:
His glasses are broken! How can he run fast if he can’t see where he is going? Somebody get that president a new set of specs!
As for the game itself, it was a pretty good one. The score was tied 2-2 after eight, but then the Marlins scored two in the top of the ninth to go up 4-2. Down but not yet out, Willie Harris led off the bottom of the ninth with a solo homer to make it 4-3, and then with one man on base, Ryan Zimmerman hit a walk-off two-run shot to give the Nats a 5-4 victory.
All in all, I liked Nationals Park. The only negative is that everything is rather expensive. The one bright point is the option to park for free at RFK stadium, and then take a free shuttle bus to the ballpark (which we did).
Only nine more stadiums to go! The rest of the quest will have to wait till next year.
There’s still time to submit a caption for the photo from my last post. Only two of you have come up with a suggestion so far. Put your thinking caps on!
(all photos by me)
Two news tidbits to share with you this afternoon, one about a former and the other a current Phillie.
In the Phormer Phillie Phile, Curt Schilling announced his retirement today. Schilling’s Phillies career began in 1992. His best year with the Phillies was 1997, when he won 17 games and struck out 319.
He was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks midway through the 2000 season. He went on to win World Series titles with the D-backs in 2001, and then the Red Sox in 2004 and 2007. He did not play at all in 2008, due to shoulder problems.
In addition to World Series games won with Arizona and Boston, he also won a World Series game for the Phillies in 1993, although the Phils would lose the Series to the Blue Jays. He is the only pitcher to win a World Series start for three different teams.
I don’t have any photos of Curt from his time with the Phillies, but I do have a photo of the infamous bloody sock, which is on display at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
Whatever Curt decides to do now that he is retired from baseball, I am sure we will hear about it! Curt is not one to keep things quiet. 🙂
In current player news, the Phillies announced today that Kyle Kendrick has been optioned to minor league training camp. Considered the front-runner for the fifth starter’s postion at the beginning of Spring Training, Kendrick has been unimpressive thus far, going 1-3 with a 9.20 ERA in four Grapefruit League starts.
Kendrick is still only 24 years old, so hopefully he can get some issues ironed out in the minors, and be back up in the bigs soon. Good luck Kyle!
(both photos mine)