Ever wonder how the makers of baseball cards have shots of players with their new teams all ready before the season has even started (and spring training has barely started)?
Well, in the dark ages they used to take head shots of players with their heads tilted up, obscuring the logo on the cap, specifically to simplify the process of airbrushing out the offending team colors and adding the new ones.
Now, with the wonders of Photoshop, Cliff Lee can appear on a Topps Opening Day card, in game action, wearing a Seattle Mariners uniform.
One little problem, though.
The black HK patch that the Phillies wore last season to honor the late Harry Kalas is still visible on Lee’s left side, just above the Mariners logo.
Wow, I didn’t realize Harry was so beloved that even Seattle wanted to honor him! 😉
Alright, so it’s not technically winter yet, but it will be in just a few days, so it’s close enough.
And what is the source of my discontent? Why, the fact that the Phillies traded Cliff Lee to the Mariners. I’m irked by the way this whole Halladay-for-prospects and prospects-for-Lee trade triangle between the Phillies, Blue Jays, and Mariners keeps getting labelled as a three-team trade (four, if you count the fact that the Jays then sent Michael Taylor to the A’s in another trade). Maybe if the Mariner’s prospects had gone to the Blue Jays it would be. But they didn’t. This was two separate trades, not one three-way trade!
So while I’m happy to have Roy Halladay, I’m perturbed that we had to give up Cliff Lee AND Kyle Drabek, Micheal Taylor, and Travis D’Arnaud.
In fact, Cliff Lee doesn’t sound so thrilled either. From phillies.com:
“At first I didn’t believe it,” Lee said. “I thought we were working out an extension with the Phillies. I thought I would spend the rest of my career there.”
In my opinion, this trade was not about restocking the farm system, and not about getting something for Lee before he becomes a free agent and goes looking for a Sabathia-like contract. No, it was about not wanting to spend an extra $9 million next season.
Even if Lee was only here for one more year, wouldn’t it have been great to have a rotation with Halladay, Lee, and Hamels at the top?
Last time I checked, it was still pitching that wins ballgames, not prospects.
Note to Ruben Amaro: I am not happy!!
Wait, let me say it louder:
I AM NOT HAPPY!!
I AM NOT HAPPY!!
I AM NOT HAPPY!!
Can you hear me now, Ruben?
Q: What do the Mariners, Blue Jays, and Phillies all have in common?
A: At one time or another, Pat Gillick was the GM. Coincidence, or something more? You be the judge.
If You Can’t Clone Them, Create Them
If only I’d perfected that plan to clone Cliff. We could have traded one, but kept a few others. *sigh*
But I have a new plan. According to an ad in my Sunday newspaper, I can create my own kids, for free!
I just need to figure out which combination of ice cream and mix-in would create a child with the ideal qualities – a combination of Halladay’s dominance, Lee’s work ethic, Hamels’ change-up, Victorino’s speed, Howard’s power (but without the tendency to strike out), and Utley’s postseason heroics. I’d need to get nine of them to fill out the lineup. But since it’s only valid for children 12 and under, I’d have to wait about 10 years or so for my plan to come to fruition. And if they’re made out of ice cream, they may be more suited to playing ice hockey than baseball.
Oh well, back to the drawing board.
Holiday, er, “Halliday” Shopping Update
I stopped in my local Modell’s this morning to look for a Christmas gift for one of my nephews. My timing turned out to be fortuitous – they were just opening up boxes of brand new Halladay t-shirts, so I snatched one. Hopefully my nephew doesn’t read this blog, or now he knows what he’s getting for Christmas :-).
But if any of you are bargain-hunting, the prices on the Cliff Lee t-shirts were slashed from $17.99 to a mere $10, due to the aforementioned trade.
There is not much new going on right now in Phillies-land, as yesterday was an off day in the Phils’ exhibition schedule. Cole Hamels will get his first start of the spring later today, when the Phillies take on Team Canada in Clearwater.
I’m really wishing I was there right now – I’m trying to type with frozen hands, as our propane is on its last molecules. We have the heat turned waaay down to try to conserve, and the propane people better get here NOW! They were supposed to come Monday, but the weather did not cooperate. They were then supposed to come Tuesday, but their truck was down for repair.
“What kind of rinky-dink operation are we using, that they only have ONE truck??”, I semi-yelled at my husband this morning.
He was not in the mood to hear it.
What to write about?
I’ve mentioned previously that we have an ongoing quest to visit every major-league ballpark. So far we are two-thirds of the way there, having been to 20 of the 30 parks. It’s only taken 14 years J. Well, there were a few time-outs for having children.
So in the spirit of the MLB Network’s “30 Clubs in 30 Days”, I offer up “20 Stadiums in 20 Days.” Okay, actually 19, as I’ve already written about my first visit to Veteran’s Stadium in a prior post. But hey, I can add Citizen’s Bank Park to the list, so that bumps it back up to 20!
Obviously, the Vet was first on the list, being the Phillies home. Close proximity to Baltimore led to Camden Yards being number two on the stadium countdown. It’s full name is Oriole Park at Camden Yards, but I think most people just refer to it as Camden Yards, so I will too. Camden Yards opened in 1992, and pretty much started the whole “retro” ballpark trend. It’s very easy to get to; a quick exit from I-95 takes you almost directly to the stadium parking lots.
Since it is so close, we’ve actually been to Camden Yards a number of times. Our first visit occurred July 9, 1993. The Orioles beat the Chicago White Sox, 15-6. My main memory of that day is the fact that it was so stinking hot and humid, I thought I was going to throw up, pass out, or maybe both. There wasn’t the slightest hint of a breeze, and the air felt thick enough to cut through. You can see how hazy it was in the pictures I took that night:
Bo Jackson was the DH for the White Sox in that game, shown here at bat:
You may remember Bo from his “Bo Knows” ad campaign for Nike, or from winning the Heisman trophy in 1985. He was the first athlete to be an all-star in two sports: he was an All-Star in 1989 for the Kansas City Royals, and appeared in the Pro Bowl in 1990 for the Raiders.
I’ll also mention a couple other memorable games we’ve seen at Camden Yards.
May 17, 1996 – Orioles vs. Seattle Mariners: this nine-inning game lasted 4 hours and 20 minutes! Several times during the course of the evening I suffered severe head bobs and missed an at-bat or two. But thankfully I was awake for what has to be one of the most dramatic finishes I’ve ever witnessed. In the bottom of the ninth, the O’s were down 13-10. The bases were loaded with two outs. At bat was Chris Hoiles, the only Orioles’ starter that night without a hit. Hoiles ran the count full, and then hit a walk-off grand slam to win the game, 14-13.
May 30, 1997 – Orioles vs. Cleveland Indians: Mike Mussina took a perfect game into the ninth inning. Then Sandy Alomar, Jr. singled with one out to break it up. Mussina retired the next two batters to get the 3-0 victory. The entire stadium let out one huge collective sigh when Alomar got that hit.
Mussina has flirted with perfection several times since then as well. Hopefully one of these days before he retires, he’ll finally achieve it.
Check back tomorrow for the next ballpark on the countdown, Fenway Park.
Update: Husband has just advised me that Mussina has already retired. Not sure how I forgot about that, seeing that he announced it last November. Oops!