In my last entry, I was a bit pessimistic about the Phillies’ chances against the Mets. In the wake of their being swept by the Braves, I was happy that they’d at least won the first game to avoid being swept again. In retrospect, what was I worried about? This time, the cleat was on the other feet, and the Mets were the ones being swept!!
It does my heart good to see the Mets looking as frustrated as this:
The Mutts, oops, Mets were only able to muster a grand total of 3 runs over the 3-game sweep, as the Phillies won by scores of 7-2, 4-1, and 2-0.
Last night, the Phils opened a 4-game series against the Reds by absolutely erupting
for 22 runs, 10 of which came in the first inning! I almost felt a teeny bit bad for Johnny Cueto, who gave up 9 of those runs in a mere 2/3 of an inning. Amazingly, 8 of the 10 runs came after there were two outs and no one on base!
Cole Hamels gave up a solo homer to Jonny Gomes, but that was it for the Reds. Things got so bad for them, they brought infielder Paul Janish in to pitch the bottom of the eighth, his second such appearance this year. Apparently the first outing was less than stellar, as he gave up 5 runs. This time would be no different, as Janish coughed up six runs, including a Jayson Werth grand slam. Poor Janish now has an ERA of 49.50 to show for his efforts.
Now for tonight. More often than not, it seems that after the Phillies have an outburst like this, the next night they are asleep at the wheel. I hope that this time they can continue with the offensive heroics, and keep their winning streak going.
On Sunday, we took the kids to the Reading Phillies for Kids Club Game #2, where they were happy to receive their Crazy Hot Dog Vendor pillowcases.
There was also a pre-game Mascot Meet and Greet – the R-Phils have no less than 5 mascots! I can understand mascots with names like Blooper, Change-Up, and Screwball (a dog, turtle, and mutant Mr. Red/Met combo, respectively), but I’m not so sure about Quack (duck) and Bucky (beaver). I think it’s just so they have enough to complete the Mascot Band, which performs live before Saturday games.
Yohan Flande was on the mound for the R-Phils, making his second start at AA since being called up from Clearwater.
The Connecticut Defenders (S.F. Giants affiliate) countered with prospect Tim Alderson.
The Defenders would come out on top, winning by a score of 12-5. They ran rampant on Flande and catcher Tuffy Gosewisch, stealing six bases altogether, including two double-steals in the second inning, resulting in two runs scored. Here is one of those runs:
One more favorite shot from the game – in this one, Connecticut shortstop Sharlon Schoop’s bubble bursts, both literally and figuratively, as he is unable to make a play on a hard ground ball that had caused him to stumble while fielding it.
More Things That Make You Go “Hmmm”
On the way home from Reading, we passed a restaurant that was advertising a “Bridal Tasting” later this month. One assumes/hopes that this is a chance for brides and grooms to sample menu options available for rehearsal dinners or receptions. Otherwise, the choice of wording leads to some unusual mental images.
(all photos by me except where noted; erupting baseball is the logo for the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes)
Today’s entry is a somewhat meandering collection of thoughts with no real connection to each other.
Thank God For The Nationals
The Phillies swept the Nationals in a 3-game series over the weekend, to put their record against the Nats at 10-2. Considering that the Phillies’ record currently stands at 29-20, that means almost a third of their wins have come at the expense of the Nationals. Unfortunately for the Phillies, but maybe fortunately for the Nationals, the two teams do not meet again until September.
My Husband, Good Luck Charm?
On Saturday, my husband and some neighbors went to the game. That makes two games for him so far, none for me. Coincidentally, both of those games featured Ryan Howard grand slams. Maybe I should send him to more games this summer!
West Coast Road Trips
The Phillies are currently on a 10-game road trip, with the first seven of those games in San Diego and Los Angeles. I’m not a big fan of these West Coast swings – 10:05 game times mean that I start nodding off around the fourth or fifth inning. As the games end too late for the results to make into the next morning’s paper, I have to turn on the computer or click on ESPN to see who won. Unfortunately patience has never been one of my virtues.
Fun With The Reading Phillies
In what I’m assuming is an effort to attract more fans, the Reading Phillies have made their Kids Club membership free this year. One of the benefits is free tickets to five different Kids Club games during the season. Of course, the parents have to buy their own tickets. Nonetheless, the four of us can attend the game for $20 – not a bad deal!
This past Sunday was the first of the Kids Club games, featuring a pre-game autograph session for the Kids Club members. Here is my daughter getting her t-shirt signed by R-Phils catcher Tuffy Gosewisch (my son is behind her, also in white):
Game time was a beautiful, sunny 75 degrees. Perfect baseball weather! Here’s a shot of the first pitch, showing some of the surrounding hills, and pretty full stands for a minor-league game:
Shown here is Reading reliever Chance Chapman:
For whatever reason, those alliterative names just seem so appropriate for baseball players.
Although the R-Phils lost to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, 7-4, the kids got to run the bases after the game, and had an overall great time. They are looking forward to the next Kids Club game, on July 5.
And Finally on a Sad Note
I will most likely not be posting any entries for the remainder of the week. Yesterday morning, my husband’s mother passed away after a lengthy battle with emphysema. We will be busy the next few days with helping his dad prepare for the funeral services, and hosting out-of-town relatives. Once things settle back down, I will be back.
(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)
I Saw The Trophy!
Finally, one of the stops of the Phillies World Series Trophy Tour was nearby and at an opportune time. On Monday, the Trophy made a visit to the 422 Sportsplex, an indoor sports facility about a 15-minute drive from my house. The public viewing was scheduled from 5:00 to 6:30 pm. Thankfully, the kids didn’t have much homework that night, and I was able to bribe them into it by promising dinner at Chick-fil-a afterwards.
I warned them that we might have to wait in line for a while, but it turned out not to be too bad. We got there a few minutes before 5:00, and as soon as the picture-taking commenced, the line moved fairly quickly.
Of course, my children can never be in each others’ company for more than a few minutes before they start poking, pushing, and picking at each other. My daughter then announced that she would not be in the same picture as her brother.
Since an official-looking person had already come through the line handing out numbered tickets to each group, and there would supposedly be only one photo per ticket, I told her she had no choice. I didn’t want to get to the front of the line, and then hold things up by requesting each kid get their own picture.
Her: “I don’t care, I don’t want to be in the same picture.”
Me: “Well, you are going to be.”
Her: “Then I’m not getting my picture taken.”
Me: “You can each stand on opposite sides, that way the trophy will be between you.”
I began to entertain hopes that this wasn’t the real trophy, and only a stunt double. Horrible visions of my offspring knocking the thing over and breaking it flashed through my mind. How would I explain that to my husband?
Fortunately none of that transpired and by the time it was our turn they were on speaking terms again. Here we are with the Trophy:
I realized afterward that even though I had been standing right next to it, and had actually had my hand resting on the back of the stand (the red velvet part, not the actual Trophy), that I never really got a good look at it! Well, from afar, but not up close and personal. Your time with the trophy is limited, since they obviously want as many fans as possible to get a photo op. But at least I have proof I was there!
The Rebuilding of Scott Mathieson
Scott Mathieson was at one time a top pitching prospect in the Phillies organization. Here he is in 2005 pitching for the single-A Clearwater Threshers:
and the following year pitching for the double-A Reading Phillies:
He also pitched for Team Canada in the 2006 World Baseball Classic, and made his major-league debut later that season.
Since then, he has had not one, but two Tommy John surgeries.
He is in Clearwater this spring, attempting to make a comeback. According to this story on the Phillies website, although he initially came through the minors as a starter, he would most likely find a home in the bullpen if his comeback is successful.
So Scott, here’s wishing you a successful rehab, and that you find a spot this year in the Phillies’ system!
(all photos mine)
Ahh, the hot dog, linked with baseball for what seems like, well, forever. If not forever, then at least 100 years or so, though the actual date of the momentous marriage of American favorites is not exactly known. Hot dogs are also referred to as frankfurters, franks, wieners, or wienies, though I personally can’t use the last two and keep a straight face, due to my son’s use of those terms to mean something else entirely.
According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, the hot dogs consumed at MLB ballparks during the 2008 season would round the bases 41,667 times – enough to stretch from Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. to AT&T Park in San Francisco! That’s a lot of dogs!
Babe Ruth supposedly liked hot dogs – a lot. Legend has it that the Babe gorged himself on 12 to 18 hot dogs before collapsing on a train ride in April 1925. A week later he underwent surgery for an intestinal abscess. This dried-up, partially consumed hot dog on display at the Baseball Reliquary was supposedly part of that binge.
What I’d like to know is why someone saved this? Eww! And where has it been for the all the intervening years? Somebody’s attic must have really reeked!
In all likelihood, the vast majority of hot dogs consumed at baseball games are purchased at concession stands, or from the vendor if you don’t want to get out of your seat. But why have your hot dog just handed to you, when it can come flying through the air instead!
At Reading Phillies games, the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor will fling your hot dog with all his might. Unfortunately there are occasional delivery “malfunctions”, as seen here:
I’ve circled the errant hot dog. Presumably some “lucky” fan only got a bun. The Crazy Hot Dog Vendor is actually pretty popular – so much so that he even had his own bobble head given away at a game.
But sometimes the dogs need to travel farther. In Salem, VA, the Avalanche mascot Muggsy will fire them into the stands with this nifty contraption:
The vast reaches of a major league stadium require something even more powerful. Something like this howitzer of hot dog delivery systems, employed by the Phillie Phanatic:
The main problem tends to be that frequently, bits of hot dog, bun, and wrapper rain down on the fans in the rows in between the launcher and the intended target. Oh well, I guess the old-fashioned way is best after all. So no matter how your hot dog is delivered to you this season, enjoy! And don’t think too much about what’s actually in it.
As promised, here are the answers to yesterday’s quiz.
1) Simon and Garfunkel. The line is from the song “Mrs. Robinson”, featured in the movie “The Graduate”.
2) Centerfield, from the song of the same name.
3) Bruce Springsteen, from the song “Glory Days”.
4) Phil “The Scooter” Rizzuto, in the song “Paradise by the Dashboard Light”.
5) Manny Ramirez. The song is called “Moonshot Manny”.
6) “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now”
7) Sister Sledge
8) Bay Sluggas, Inc.
9) Bernie Williams
b) Black Train Jack, on the album “No Reward”. I saw this CD and was tempted to buy it simply because I really like that photo, and I was intrigued by their use of it. But I didn’t. So I have no idea what their music even sounds like.
According to a recent piece on phillies.com, the Phillies are still pursuing Nomar Garciaparra as a right-handed bat off the bench. “Cool,” I thought, “for once we can avoid having the Other Brother!”
In the past, it seems that the Phillies have had a knack for acquiring the lesser talent among baseball siblings. For example, Mike Maddux instead of Greg. Jeremy Giambi instead of Jason. Ken Brett instead of George. Frank Torre instead of Joe. Vince DiMaggio instead of either Dom or Joe. Mark Leiter (who in my mind will forever be known as Leiter Fluid for his stellar 5.67 ERA for the 1997 Phillies) instead of Al.
For it turns out that in 2007, the Phillies actually had Nomar’s younger brother Michael in their system. Here he is, playing for the AA Reading Phillies:
But Michael is no longer in the Phillies farm system, having been picked up by the Orioles and subsequently the Brewers. So we will now have the opportunity to employ the greater of two baseball siblings, even though Nomar is certainly not the player he once was.
So I say let’s go get Nomar! Let’s break the long and inglorious tradition of having the “other” brother!