OK, so I borrowed that little cliche from the Philadelphia Inquirer, who informed us this morning that the Phils’ sweep of the Astros marked the first time since 1970 that the team has begun a season with three home wins.
What a great way to start off a highly anticipated season of Phillies baseball!
Last Friday, though, I was feeling more apprehension than anticipation. First, it was April Fool’s Day, which just doesn’t strike me as a good day to begin the baseball season. Second, upon awakening that morning, I was greeted not with warmth and sunshine, but with the sight of snowflakes falling outside. Not just any snowflakes – giant, mutant snowflakes that began sticking to things. Third, the Phillies were facing the Astros, who are – get this! – the only NL team with a winning record against the Phils since 2004, and owners of a gaudy 16-7 record at Citizens Bank Park during that span (!). OK, so now it’s 16-10, but still…
But we had Roy Halladay on the mound, while they countered with Brett Myers. This seemed like a good thing. Roy is the reigning NL Cy Young winner, and Brett Myers is, well, Brett Myers.
Halladay breezed through the first eight Astros batters, but then Brett Myers – Brett Myers! – singled for the first Astros hit of the game. Myers would get another hit in the fifth, so of the five hits Halladay surrendered, two of them were to the opposing pitcher.
As if that weren’t painful enough for me to stomach, Myers was the one who looked more ace-like, needing only 85 pitches though 7 innings, while Halladay threw 101 in 6. Still, Halladay had given up only one run.
Then the bullpen got into the game, and promptly gave up three more runs. With the Astros up 4-0 in the seventh, some of those watching at home may have given in to the urge to turn off the TV, thus saving themselves from further distress.
O ye of little faith.
Make that me. Yes, it pains me to admit that I turned it off. I couldn’t bear to watch anymore! I later found out that the Phillies cut the lead in half in the bottom of the seventh, and then staged a ninth inning comeback with a barrage of singles to end up winning 5-4.
Thankfully, the next two games of the series were much less stressful to watch. 🙂 Cliff Lee struck out 11 as the Phils won, 9-4; Roy Oswalt was victorious over his old team in a 7-3 win for the Phils.
Today is an off day, and tomorrow the Mets come to town, facing fourth ace Cole Hamels to start off a three-game set. C’mon, Cole, let’s keep that momentum going!!
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!
Just a couple of posts ago, at the start of Spring Training, I was, well, calm about the state of the Phillies. Of course, then I was blissfully ignorant of events that would transpire, and conspire to make me potentially lose my calm.
Then, Chase Utley was taking it easy because of some vague reports of “soreness”. Now, Utley has been diagnosed with patellar tendinitis in his right knee, has received a cortisone shot in said knee, and has yet to appear in a Spring Training game.
Then, Domonic Brown was simply looking for his first hit of Spring Training. Now, although Brown finally got a hit over the past weekend, he broke a bone in his right hand in the process, something called the hook of the hamate bone.
A tiny bone, to be sure. Surgery was performed this morning to remove the bone, and the expected recovery time is 4-6 weeks.
[OK, if this bone can be totally removed, what possible purpose does it serve? Why do we have it? Must be about as useful as an appendix, tonsils, and wisdom teeth.]
I don’t even want to get into the fact that yesterday, the offense appeared to still be trying to awaken from winter hibernation, and Roy Oswalt allowed two home runs in 2 2/3 innings of work.
Yes, I know, it’s still early, sometimes pitchers are “working on things” and “getting their work in”, and hitters are still trying to get their timing down and working out the kinks, yada, yada. So I will take a deep breath, and try to remain calm.
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For the final installment (for now) of “Not Who You Think It Is”, did you know that the Phillies have had not one, but two legends of rock on their roster? Well, not really, just in name only.
Phil Collins the rock star rose to fame first as the drummer for Genesis, followed by a very successful solo career. But being British, he likely never played baseball.
Phil Collins the ballplayer pitched for the Phillies from 1929-1935. The Phils of this span were mediocre at best, just scraping above .500 once (78-76 in 1932), and really stinky at their worst (52-102 in 1930). Collins himself was 72-79 with a 4.67 ERA during his stint with the Phils.
Jim Morrison the rock star was the frontman for The Doors from their inception in 1965, through 1971, when he died of a supposed drug overdose in Paris. There are some who believe that Morrison never actually died, and that he faked his death.
Jim Morrison the ballplayer debuted with the Phillies in 1977, and during his two seasons in Philadelphia compiled a .174 batting average while appearing in 58 games. In 1979, he went to the White Sox as the “player to be named later” in a deal that brought the Phillies Jack Kucek.
Jim Morrison the ballplayer was last spotted managing the Charlotte Stone Crabs, a minor-league affiliate of the Rays.
Jim Morrison the rock star was last spotted with Elvis, buying Slurpees at a 7-Eleven in rural Georgia.
Programming Note: I tried to post this blog entry last night, but was prevented from doing so by “technical difficulties” (i.e., MLBlogs’ platform was being ornery, and wouldn’t let me upload any images. I can’t blog without visual aids!)
In my first installment of “Not Who You Think It Is”, I apparently jumped the gun a bit when I mentioned there were no Phillies injuries to worry about (yet). Note I did use that disclaimer “yet”. Because now it appears that Chase Utley has been hampered so far this spring by what has been diagnosed as patellar tendinitis.
Patellar tendinitis is also known as “jumper’s knee”, which begs the question as to what Chase has been doing this offseason, hmm? Turns out it can be caused by many activities that don’t involve jumping, so I guess we can stop wondering what Chase was spending all his time jumping over, or on.
So to distract my thoughts from Chase’s knee, let’s get on with the next entry in the possible mistaken identity sweepstakes, Buster Brown.
If you’re of a certain generation, the first thought that pops into your head when you hear the name “Buster Brown” is probably a pair of shoes you had (or wish you had) as a child.
[an aside: is this not the creepiest looking dog in advertising history? How on earth did they plan to appeal to children with a psycho dog that looks like it’s about to shred you apart with a huge mouthful of piranha teeth??]
But just like Ethan Allen, there was no Buster Brown heading up Buster Brown shoes. There was, though, a George Brown, who started the Brown Shoe Company in 1878. In 1904, the Brown Shoe Company purchased the rights to the name Buster Brown, which was a popular comic strip that had debuted in 1902.
Blues fans may remember a different Buster Brown, who cracked the pop Top 40 and hit #1 on the Billboard R&B charts in 1960 with his song “Fannie Mae”, presumably not about affordable housing.
Finally, we have Buster Brown the baseball player. A major league pitcher from 1905 to 1913, he appeared in 31 games for the Phillies from 1907 to 1909, compiling a 9-6 record with a 2.56 ERA.
His career totals would be less than stellar at 51-103, which would probably be why we think of shoes first, and not him.
Next time, rock icons that played for the Phillies?
It’s been almost two weeks since my last entry, and there just really hasn’t been much going on to motivate me to blog. This is a good thing, I suppose, because it means there isn’t any controversy in the Phils’ camp at the moment, and no injuries to worry about (yet).
So today I was idly browsing through a list of the all-time Phillies roster, and was struck by some of the names that made me do a double-take, thinking to myself “Huh, I didn’t know he was a Phillie”.
And that’s because they weren’t, at least not the person I first thought of.
Take, for example, Ethan Allen.
Most of us will probably think of the furniture company. Ethan Allen the furniture company was not founded by anyone named Ethan Allen, though. It was started by two New Yorkers who bought an old furniture factory in Vermont, and named it after an actual Ethan Allen.
That would be Ethan Allen, the Revolutionary War hero, who was from Vermont, and led the Green Mountain Boys in the capture of Fort Ticonderoga.
Ethan Allen the baseball player was not from Vermont, but rather hailed from Ohio. This Ethan Allen was an outfielder for six different major league teams during his 13-year big-league career, including a stint with the Phillies from 1934-36.
Over the course of his Phillies career, he batted .316, and led the league in doubles with 42 in 1934. His time as a Phillie came to an end in 1936, when he was part of a trade with the Cubs that brought future Hall-of-Famer Chuck Klein to the Phillies.
Next up: Buster Brown – shoe maven, bluesman, or ballplayer?
♫ I like big butts and I cannot lie… ♫
Big butts, little butts, and all the butts in between (but not the really flat, Tim Lincecum-type butts).
Since one six-pack is never enough, here’s another to tease your brain and delight your eyeballs. Try to stop drooling long enough to leave your best guesses in the comments. 🙂
Evergreen state butt
butt of the past
butt of the phuture
a really nice butt whose owner doesn’t seem to have any nicknames that I can find
an obvious butt 🙂
The first person to identify all six butts correctly gets, well, nothing, except the satisfaction of knowing that you really know your butts!
(all photos by me)
Call it a Christmas miracle.
As I was reading a column in today’s paper that the Phillies were “showing interest” in signing Cliff Lee, hubby came in the door and said that the Phils had actually signed him. “Yeah, right”, I thought. So I checked the news on my handy cell phone (what did we ever do without them?), and saw that it was so. And for fewer years and less money than either the Yankees or Rangers were offering! With Halladay, Oswalt, Hamels, and now Lee, the Phillies’ starting rotation will be a force to be reckoned with next season. 🙂
It was only last year around this time that I was lamenting Cliff’s departure to Seattle via trade, and wishing there was a way to clone him.
Well, I don’t need to wish any more! Happy Ho-Lee-days, everyone!