As I predicted in my last post, the Phillies did indeed clinch the NL East over the weekend, prior to my attending of Monday night’s game against the Cardinals. By the looks of things during the game, you would have thought they were still hung over two days after the celebration.
It’s not that they didn’t have baserunners all night; in fact, they had the bases loaded in the bottom of the third with one out, but both Raul Ibanez and Placido Polanco struck out to eliminate any threat of scoring.
Then, after lulling the crowd into a semi-stupor, the Phils mounted just enough of a comeback in the bottom of the ninth to get our hopes up, only to fall just short of victory (or at least tying the game). Deja vu, this kind of thing happened the last time I was here, on August 26!
Bottom line, Phils lose, 4-3. Bleh!
A few Random Thoughts occurred to me during the game:
- of the four games I’ve attended this season (a pitiful stat in itself), the Phils are 1-3. The only time they won was when I didn’t have my camera with me, due to rain. Probably just coincidence, but still annoying that my camera seems to bring bad luck.
- I am never so fortunate as to have a small child seated in front of me; rather, they tend to be taller than average adults (sometimes excessively so).
- Unlike me, most people seem to be incapable of sitting in their seat for the duration of the game. These people will inevitably step in front of me at the very moment I’m trying to take a picture.
- With the exception of the people seated in front of me. They never move.
But the evening was not without some pluses. For one thing, I was able to satisfy my desire for more bobbleheads (yeah, I’m a sucker for them).
Due to an apparent surplus of Placido Polanco bobbleheads, one was given away free with each 2011 Phillies Yearbook purchased. Wouldn’t you know, I had gotten a yearbook last time. After some thought, I decided I’d probably be willing to pay 10 bucks for a bobblehead anyway, so I bought it. I now have a brand new 2011 yearbook for sale, a $10 value, half price if anyone’s interested. 🙂
But enough of my ranting and raving. Forthwith, my photos from the game.
Update: Phinally! The Phils beat the Mets yesterday to break an eight game (!) losing streak.
(all photos by me)
You might think that now that my kids have been back in school for almost two weeks, that I might have found some time to finally post pictures from my latest trip to the ballpark, way back on August 26th. Sadly, you would be mistaken. Inevitably, each day managed to have something else crop up.
Except for today.
So, finally, here is my photographic coverage of that game against the Marlins. The Phillies lost, 6-5, so I won’t go into a whole game recap. That sort of thing is available elsewhere, if you’re so inclined to read it.
So the Phillies have now clinched a postseason berth, and could very well clinch the division before my next foray to South Philly on Monday night. Let’s hope I can get those photos posted in a more timely fashion. 🙂
(all photos by me)
Before I get into my coverage of our final two games, you may recall me mentioning in my last entry that I thought Ed Smith Stadium looks like a motel. Well, I dug through my old photo albums, and found a photo from our visit in March 2000. At the time, it was the spring home of the Reds. Since then, the Reds have relocated to Arizona for Spring Training, and Ed Smith is now home to the Orioles. Here it is:
Unless it’s been refurbished in the past 10 years, this is what the exterior of the part behind home plate looks like. All those railings and doors look just like a motel to me.
March 16 – Day 6
After yet another mouth-watering breakfast at the Inn at the Bay, we made our way to Bright House Field for today’s Phillies-Tigers game. If I haven’t already mentioned it, the Inn at the Bay serves the most awesome breakfasts. We’ve stayed there five times, and we’ve almost never had the same breakfast twice. They are so filling, most days we don’t even need lunch!
Once again, we arrived when the gates opened. New Tiger Johnny Damon signed some autographs (for Phillies fans!) during batting practice. I’m still not too happy with Johnny over that stolen-base-thing last October:
Cole Hamels was on the mound for the Phillies, going five innings with 2 hits, 1 run, and 4 stikeouts. He was looking pretty good this day:
Detroit’s Justin Verlander didn’t have such a great day, giving up home runs to Domonic Brown and Ryan Howard. Overall, he went 3 1/3 innings, with 4 runs on 3 hits:
Speaking of Howard’s homer (his first of the spring), it came on the swing immediately following this shot:
During a pitching change, Johnny Damon, Adam Everett, and Brandon Inge discuss the fly ball that got lost in the sun and just dropped into the Bermuda Triangle of turf between all three of them for a hit. They all appear to have sunglasses – guys, weren’t you using them?
Phil Coke came on in relief of Verlander, and proceeded to give up Domonic Brown’s second homer of the day, a two-run shot. Phil’s pants look like they have enough extra fabric at the bottom for a whole ‘nuther pair:
Domonic Brown had a great day at the plate, going 3-for-3 with two homers and an RBI single. As thanks, he got reassigned to the minor league camp after the game:
New Phillie Danys Baez came on to pitch a scoreless inning in relief:
Greg Dobbs, playing third in place of the injured Placido Polanco, makes contact. Dobbs went 1-for-3 and scored a run:
Jimmy Rollins stops to sign some autographs on his way to the clubhouse. This may have been a mistake, as he was stuck there for the next 10 minutes while fans continued to flock down the aisle. Jimmy is actually one of the most fan-friendly Phillies, so he didn’t seem to mind:
Something I hadn’t seen before was a post-game batting practice. After the final out, the cage was wheeled back on the field, and Raul Ibanez, Carlos Ruiz, and Shane Victorino took additional BP. Shane seemed to be working on his bunting. Afterwards, Raul Ibanez and his son walk to the clubhouse with Charlie Manuel:
On the way out, we stopped for a photo of me in front of the entrance to the ballpark. Since I’m always the one taking the pictures, we need visual proof I was actually on this vacation:
March 17 – Day 7
St. Patrick’s Day dawned rather gray and dreary. On our way to the ballpark, it even rained a little bit. This had me concerned, because our “seats” for today were on the berm, the grassy area beyond the outfield fence. I wasn’t looking forward to sitting on soggy sod.
Not to fear though. By gametime, the skies had cleared and it turned into a sunny, pleasant afternoon for our final day in Florida.
During Phillies BP, Charlie Manuel had a chance to check out the mini-sized Charlie Manuel bat that will be given out to kids on July 6:
Randy Winn and Brian Schneider are loitering behind the batting cage. Something has made Winn grin, though Schneider looks like he just ate a bug:
This trio of trouble is yukking it up at the expense of their fellow fielder, who just muffed a grounder during pre-game warmups:
Mark Texiera and Alex Rodriguez wait their turns in the batting cage. Just what is that huge wad hiding in A-Rod’s cheek? Gum? Sunflower seeds? Some chew? His ego?
Phillies broadcaster Chris Wheeler was on hand to sign copies of his book, “View From The Booth.” Yes, I bought one. There are some who don’t really like Wheels as a broadcaster, but I’ll be interested to read his take on things:
Just before the game started, I met up with Confession of a She-Fan‘s Jane Heller and got interviewed by her on the She-Fan Cam. Click here to read Jane’s coverage of the game, and see the video clip.
In between BP and game time, the Phillies changed from their usual red and white uniforms to their bright green St. Patty’s day jerseys. Joe Blanton took to the mound for the Phillies. Blanton had a Blanton-like outing, going 5 innings, scattering 7 hits and giving up 2 runs:
The last time my husband and I came to Spring Training, in 2007, we saw the Phillies host the Yankees on St. Patrick’s Day, and Andy Pettitte started for the Yankees. Three years later, we are seeing the Phillies host the Yankees on St. Patrick’s Day, and Andy Pettitte is starting for the Yankees. Deja vu!
Randy Winn scores for the Yankees, as the throw to Carlos Ruiz is late:
Ryan Howard tosses the ball to first to get the out:
The Flyin’ Hawaiian can’t fly quite far enough, as this ball got past Shane Victorino for an extra-base hit:
The Phillie O’Phanatic get a bit, um, friendly with the third-base umpire. The mind shudders to imagine the offspring that would result from such an unholy union:
The luck of the Irish was with Jayson Werth as he lauched a three-run homer, which sealed the outcome of the game in favor of the Phillies:
Final score: Phillies 6, Yankees 2
Later that evening, we met up for dinner with Jane and her husband Michael, as it turned out that they were staying just three blocks away from us in St. Petersburg. We all enjoyed a delicious meal, and great conversation. The time flew by, and since we all had flights home the next day, finally had to bid each other good night.
Our flight home was much better than the first – no turbulence, and my husband and I actually got to sit next to each other this time.
(all photos by me, except the one of me, which was taken by my husband)
Last night’s NLCS Game 4 was just a little too stressful for my tastes. After jumping out to an early lead in the first inning via a Ryan Howard long ball (which I missed, by the way, while helping my young procrastinator finish a school project which was due today), the Phils’ bats went silent as Randy Wolf found his groove for the next several innings.
Joe Blanton, on the other hand, started out strong, but then began to falter the second time through the Dodgers’ lineup. The Dodgers took a 4-2 lead, and I began to resemble this:
Yep, I was giving some serious hairy eyeballs to the Dodgers, particularly when ManChild, oops I mean ManRam, was for once not “being Manny” in the outfield, as he ran in to make a shoestring catch on an Ibanez liner to end a Phillies scoring threat.
The Phils did manage to cut the margin to 4-3, but the Dodgers still held a one-run lead heading into the bottom of the ninth. But now it was payback time. Last Friday, it was the Phillies who blew the one-run lead in the bottom of the eighth to lose, 2-1, when their pitching began to unravel.
Jonathon Broxton, last night was your turn.
Broxton retired Ibanez for out number one. Matt Stairs came in to pinch hit, and worked a walk; Eric Bruntlett came in to pinch run. After Carlos Ruiz was hit by a pitch to put two men on base, Greg Dobbs came in to pinch hit and was retired on a humpback liner to third.
Two outs, I’m starting to imagine how bad my mood will be today.
Up to the plate comes Jimmy Rollins, who was only hitting .167 so far in the NLCS (not good, Jimmy). Miraculously, Jimmy smoked a liner to the gap in right to score both Bruntlett and Ruiz. Happiness ensued! I felt like doing this:
but unfortunately I don’t live near a beach (must change that situation!).
In the postgame interview, Rollins looked like he was doing his best Etta James impersonation:
Love the look, Jimmy – I hope we see it again this season!
The Joy of the NLCS Schedule (she says sarcastically)
So why is it that during the regular season, teams can play eight, nine, even ten games in a row, but come the postseason, they can’t seem to play more than two days in a row?? Why exactly do we need an off-day in the middle of the three games being played in Philadelphia? I’m sure it has something to do with TV and advertising revenues, but I don’t like it.
The Joy of Technology
It seems that StubHub experienced an “email glitch”, and accidentally sent messages to fans of the Mets that said,
“Be there alongside your New York Mets as they chase baseball immortality. Go to StubHub, where you’ll find a fantastic selection of tickets to every playoff game — so you experience the championship chase live and in person.”
Hee hee! I wonder if there were any dimbulb Mets fans who got confused and actually tried to order tickets?
Apparently fans of a few other non-playoff teams also got erroneous messages (see full story here), but I always take secret glee in the travails of Mets fans. Sorry, but I can’t help it :-).
The lucky shirt’s power continues. I almost forgot to put it on – we turned on the TV just as the game was beginning, and there it was lying nicely folded on my bed, next to all the other laundry currently being folded. I quickly changed and all was (eventually) right with the world.
The game was a nail-biter (metaphorically speaking, thankfully that is not one of my bad habits), but we did not have to resort to actually turning the TV off at any point.
I’m not going to recap the whole game – that info is out there elsewhere if you want it – but I will share some of my random thoughts from the game.
– Here we are in the entertainment capital of the world, and the best they can do for the National Anthem is Billy Ray Cyrus!?!? The guy best known at the moment as Hannah Montana’s, um, I mean Miley Cyrus’s dad? Why not at least have them do a duet? It’s not like he’s even a native of SoCal – wait, is anyone actually a native of SoCal? Hopefully this Kentucky native’s heart wasn’t too achy-breaky after the Dodgers dropped Game 1.
– At one point during the game, Russell Martin slipped while putting on the brakes after rounding third, and the announcer (not sure which one) mentioned that it had rained the day before. Rain in SoCal – hmm, I guess Albert Hammond lied to us when he sang that “It Never Rains In Southern California”. Well, he is from London, so I guess he can be forgiven for not really knowing.
– Cole Hamels once again lost his composure on the mound, thowing his hands in the air after Rollins and Utley failed to turn an inning-ending double play. This allowed Manny Ramirez to come to the plate and deliver a two-run bomb. Come on Cole, get your head on straight!
– Speaking of Manny’s bomb, is it ever a good idea to throw three straight change-ups, as Cole did to Manny in this at-bat? Isn’t the whole point of a change-up that it is a different speed from the previous pitches? If you throw three in a row there is nothing for it to “change-up” from.
– I would love to sneak up behind ManRam with a big pair of scissors. Like the Biblical Samson, would he lose all his power if I cut off his hair?
– Is it just me, or does Chan Ho Park truly look like a “deer in the headlights” on the mound while looking in for the signs? Nonetheless, he looked great for having not pitched in almost a month. Way to go, Chan Ho! I’m sorry I doubted you earlier in the season.
– Choooooch! Rauuuuul! Are there two more fun names to say after a pair of three-run jacks? I think not.
– Lastly, we are still tortured with the announcers on TBS. Thankfully it is not the same crew as the NLDS (they were about as exciting as watching paint dry), but now I must listen to Buck Martinez, who inexplicably reminds me of the (fictional) announcer Jimmy Shorts from my son’s MLB Slugfest 2003 game.
Game 2 starts in less than four hours, with Pedro Martinez taking the mound for the Phils against former Phil Vicente Padilla. Should be interesting, to say the least. The lucky shirt is ready.
Phils Take 3 of 4 From Reds
After Monday’s offensive explosion resulted in a 22-1 demolition of the Reds, as I expected, the Phils sputtered and lost the next game, 4-3. But they bounced back and took the next two, by scores of 3-2 and 9-6. Last night’s victory even included an inside-the-park home run from Chase Utley. He scored standing up, no less! Not even a close play at the plate. Hooray for the Phils and for Chase!
Shane Victorino will be going to the All-Star Game, having overtaken Pablo Sandoval on the final day of voting. Shane will join Raul Ibanez, Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard as the Phillies’ representatives next Tuesday in St. Louis. Hooray for Shane!
I’m Going to the Game Tonight!
I get to go to my first Phillies game of the season. Hooray for me! They will be hosting the Pittsburgh Pirates, who are currently in the cellar of the NL Central. Hopefully that translates into a win tonight. Even if there are no offensive fireworks during the game, we will be staying for the fireworks after the game. Though I have to say, tickets for four of us (me, husband, two kids) cost a small fortune – I informed the kids that they’d better enjoy the game no matter what, and there was no way we were leaving early. I demand that I get my money’s worth!
What a Weiner!
And finally, a little tidbit I saw in yesterday’s newspaper, though I don’t think it’s breaking news. The head of the player’s union next year is going to be a real weiner.
Actually, not that kind; his name is Michael Weiner, and judging by this article on ESPN.com, he sounds like a likeable, qualified guy. But you just know that name is going to lead to some really bad puns at some point.
That would have been ideal entrance music last night when Raul Ibanez came up to bat in the top of the tenth, with the score knotted at 3-3. For the second night in a row, the Phils battled back to tie the game and go to extra innings. Instead of Chase Utley, though, it was Ibanez’s bat that went boom, and sent a 3-run homer into the seats to put the Phils up 6-3. Ryan Madson again held the Mets scoreless in the bottom of the frame to give the Phils the win, and the series, 2 games to 1.
That deserves an encore from SpongeBob: Sweet, sweet victory, yeah!
Still no bids on the Shea Stadium wrecking ball! Bidding ends on June 14 for this truly unique item.
Phils host Red Sox in Interleague play
The Phillies open a 3-game weekend series tonight against the Red Sox, who’ve just come off a 3-game sweep of the Yankees. Personally, I am not a huge fan of interleague games. I think the novelty of it has long since worn off. I’d rather see more games against teams from the NL Central and West, some of whom make only one series appearance in Philly the entire season. But since I’m not in charge of these things, I guess I’m stuck with it for now.
“Alex, I’d Like to Buy a Vowel”
Here’s a guy whose name recently caught my eye when the New Hampshire Fisher Cats played against the Reading Phillies:
Pitcher Marc Rzepczynski. I’m not even going to begin to try to pronounce that one. And imagine trying to learn how to spell that as a preschooler! Wonder if he ever dreams about being named Smith or Jones?
Just like the Stone Roses, the hubby and I will be heading south this weekend for a bit of vacation time. I will not be blogging from the road, as I hate typing on a laptop – it just doesn’t feel right to me. We’re hoping to catch some major and minor league action on this trip, and I will be posting coverage of it upon my return next week.
(photo from http://www.nhfishercats.com/)