First, the fun part. On Tuesday, my daughter (who usually claims to not like baseball) coerced me into taking her to the Reading Phillies game, at which the first 2,000 kids received a Webkinz “Littlekinz” dog. I should probably have my head examined – like she really needs another stuffed animal! Unfortunately it doesn’t take much coercion to get me to do anything involving a baseball game. She probably knew this, and used it to her advantage.
So while my husband and son were involved in their own activity, we made the drive to Reading on a beautiful evening for a ballgame. The gates opened an hour prior to gametime, and we arrived within a few minutes of them opening. Seeing quite a few people already gathered at the gates, and the parking lot fuller than usual, my daughter started to panic that she would miss out on her Webkinz.
Her: “Mom, what if I’m not one of the first 2,000 kids?”
Me: “2,000 is a lot of kids. You’ll be fine.”
Her: “But what if I’m not? You don’t want me to be unhappy!”
This is very true. After we parked, she leaped out of the car and started running down the sidewalk to the gate. This from a child who seems to try to avoid running at all costs most of the time. Thank goodness no one got in her way, she may have pushed them over in her haste.
Of course, there were plenty of Webkinz to go around (and still were half an hour later). A happy child and her new favorite stuffed animal:
I informed her that just because she now had what she wanted, didn’t mean we were going to leave the game early. Mom wanted to watch some baseball.
It wasn’t such a good night for the R-Phils. Starter Josh Fogg topped out at 82-83 mph (according to the stadium radar gun), and the visiting Trenton Thunder hitters teed off on him. In 3.2 innings of work, Fogg gave up 4 runs on 8 hits.
Shortstop Freddy Galvis covers second on this steal by Justin Christian:
Upon closer inspection, it can be seen that Galvis has his eyes closed!
I’m pretty sure that this is not considered proper technique.
The R-Phils baserunners were not so successful. Quintin Berry not only is thrown out at second, he loses his helmet in the process:
In the meantime, the members of the R-Phils bullpen appear less-than-riveted by the on-field action:
The bullpen was pressed into action in the top of the fourth, and Fogg’s night was done. He seems to be purposely not looking towards the dugout, as the manager is approaching to remove him from the game:
Or maybe he was simply looking at the scoreboard, wondering what went wrong.
Some excitement was injected into the evening by the nightly vegetable race. Here, Carrot uses a flying finish to edge out Lettuce and Broccoli:
Cauliflower was a non-factor, finishing well behind and out of the picture.
After eight innings, the R-Phils were only down by two runs, 4-2. But then Trenton tacked on two more in the top of the ninth, a pitching change was made, and it was now 10 pm. Since it was, in fact, a school night, we decided to leave. Two more runs were scored after we left, and the final score was 8-2 in Trenton’s favor.
Nonetheless, I think my daughter was actually absorbing a bit of the game as she sat. After a Trenton batter grounded into a double play to end an inning, she turned to me and asked “Did they just get two outs?” So there’s some hope for her yet. 🙂
As for the big Phillies, they were in the process of beating the Marlins, 10-8. Was the offensive funk getting turned around?
Apparently not, as last night they gave Doc absolutely no run support, wasting a fine performance in which Halladay gave up one run in eight innings. The Phils lost to the Marlins, 2-0, and now head to Boston for interleague games.
This is never good anyway, but especially not when it seems like the Phils’ bats have been replaced by sticks of Swiss cheese. Particularly appalling is Jayson Werth(less), who struck out twice last night, making 19(!) in his last 41 at-bats.
UPDATE: The misery continues. The first game in Boston last night resulted in a 12-2 loss. At this rate, it’s gonna be a long summer….
It’s time for some drastic action.
Note to Phillies: Don’t make me come into the clubhouse and slap you upside the head with your own sweaty jockstraps!
(all photos by me)
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)
Towards the end of the summer, I decided to pick out some of the better pictures I’d taken at Reading Phillies games this year, and see if I could get them autographed. This isn’t too difficult an endeavor at Reading – obviously it’s much smaller than major league ballparks, and the players have to actually walk across the public concourse to get from the clubhouse to the field. Out of eight photos, I managed to get four of them signed.
Judging by the resulting signatures, baseball players do not place much of a premium on good handwriting. Their grade-school teachers would be appalled!
Good thing these signatures are on photos, and not something generic, like a ball. Otherwise, I might be hard-pressed after a few months to identify the player in question. Here they are, in descending order of legibility.
Sergio at least seems to have tried to get most of the letters in there. The S and E are pretty obvious, accompanied by a bunch of other squiggles. Sergio has since been called up to the parent Phillies, to help bolster the injury-plagued bullpen. Good luck Sergio!
Kind of curvy and pretty (the signature, not the player), but it would be impossible to read if you didn’t know what it was. Quintin was named to the Eastern League’s Mid-season and Post-season All-Star squads (apparently they have two), and just missed (by one base) leading the league with stolen bases, with 48.
One of the Phillies’ top prospects, Domonic seems to be going the “initials” route with his signature, with the D and B seeming to be all that’s there. Brown began the season at single-A Clearwater, and was promoted to double-A Reading mid-season. He will likely play in the Arizona Fall League.
OK, I’ll give him the J, but the other part doesn’t even resemble an S. If this weren’t on a photo, I might think one of my kids was scribbling just to see if the pen was working. Joe was also named to the Eastern League Mid-season and Post-season All-Star squads, and was promoted to triple-A Lehigh Valley at the end of July.
I’ve “picked” a winner!
Not too many of you were feeling creative for my last caption contest, but nonetheless I’ve chosen my favorite.
“So, what are you harvesting today?”
Thanks to Julia of Julia’s Rants!
(all photos by me)
Blah. That’s how I’ve been feeling lately. The Phillies certainly haven’t been doing anything to inspire me. After being swept by the Mets last week in that short two-game series, they dropped two of three to the Braves over the weekend. Thankfully, they didn’t play yesterday.
I’ve also discovered that I seem to be on the opposite schedule from most of you – while other bloggers seem to post more on the weekends, I often don’t have an opportunity to blog until the kids are back to school on Monday. Now I’m trying to get caught up on all the entries I missed reading over the past few days!
Not that I didn’t do anything baseball-related over the weekend. We were actually quite busy.
My 7-year-old daughter had softball games on Friday night and Saturday morning. Saturday’s game was at 9 a.m. – unfortunately neither she nor I are morning people! Here she is on Friday night, having just made contact with the ball:
And here she is the next morning, running to first:
Right after her game, my 10-year-old son had a baseball game. He pitched two innings in this game – his first inning was great, retiring the side in order, but things kind of fell apart his second inning. He almost squirmed out of a bases loaded jam with no outs, getting two strikeouts, but it was not to be.
Later in the game, he was playing shortstop, and here is about to throw the ball to first:
One of the things I don’t like about taking pictures at their games is that there always seems to be a view of the parking lot behind the action. There are very few angles I can shoot at which won’t have a car in the background. Aargh.
Later, we went to see the Reading Phillies host the Altoona Curve, double-A affiliate of the Pirates. Each year the league my kids play in has a night at Reading where they get to walk around the field on the warning track prior to the game. For even more fun, there were fireworks after the game.
During pre-game warmups, this Reading player looks like he is practicing for a career with the Rockettes, just in case this baseball thing doesn’t work out:
Phillies pitching prospect Joe Savery was on the mound:
R-Phils centerfielder Quintin Berry has a blog here on MLBlogs called Q-Tip. I wish he would update it more frequently! He is also featured in two photos from the game. Here he appears to be making his bat levitate with mind power:
Actually, he has just drawn a walk, and dropped his bat, although I caught it before it hit the ground.
After a foul tip knocked the mask off the catcher, no one seems to want to touch the ball (maybe the catcher had cooties!):
Lastly, this guy has one of those classic names that can only belong to a baseball player:
R-Phils catcher Tuffy Gosewisch. Seriously, can you imagine someone named Tuffy as an accountant, doctor, or a lawyer? I think not.
Although the R-Phils dropped this game by a score of 4-2, the fireworks after the game more than made up for the lack of fireworks during the game.
The big-league Phillies are back in action tonight, as they begin a three-game home set against the Manny-less Dodgers. As Manny is currently serving his suspension, I will be spared the sight of him with that mouthpiece spending more time out of his mouth than in.
(all photos by me)