Results tagged ‘ Phillies ’
I took a surprise trip to a certain ballpark a little while ago, so I thought I’d start with a Before the Gates Open video:
Note: Steve Carlton is *NOT* dead; I was thinking of Robin Roberts when I said it. They’re both Phillies great pitchers. How am I supposed to differentiate between them?
First off, here is the link to the entry I mentioned in the video: Blast From The Baseball Past. Now, onto the story of why I was even at this game:
See, my neighbor whom you saw in the video, Greg Barasch was discussing has taken a few trips to “the bank” (I actually have no clue if that’s what it’s dubbed; I just threw that in myself), and was discussing another this week. I was in Washington, so my accompaniment of him was dependent on what day of the week he went i.e. I didn’t want to go Monday and have to sacrifice my final two games at Nationals Park for two games in Citi Field. When he announced he was going on Wednesday, though, I jumped at the opportunity.
So…. that’s the story. Let’s get to the snagging.
When I entered the seating area, I was absolutely shocked by the fact that Citizens Bank Park has no hand railings in the seats:
Interestingly enough, I was the first one in the stadium to snag a ball:
When I got in the seating area, Cliff Lee and Kyle Kendrick were talking. When a ball rolled to the wall, Kendrick ran over to grab it. When he did, I asked him for the ball and he tossed it up to me.
Then, a ball got hit towards a gloveless man and his kid. “Shockingly”, the ball bounced off his hands and into the flower bed in front of the section. I didn’t want to step in because the ball was, in fact, RIGHT in front of the man. After a few seconds, though, Greg dropped in and pulled the ball out along with a few weeds.
If you don’t know, fans are confined to left field for the first hour of the gates being open at Citizens Bank Park. Since the Phillies had recently converted to being a minor league team, the only legitimate righty hitter was Carlos Ruiz. He hit a ball pretty much right at me, so I stepped down a stair (to make sure no one could jump in front of me), jumped up, and caught the ball the ball on the fly:
Even with the balls I had caught on the fly in Washington, this was still exhilarating.
After that, I snagged the first ball I probably wouldn’t have snagged had there been hand rails. Michael Martinez hit a ball a section to my right, after hitting in the seats and initially deflecting away from me, I tracked it down and picked it up over here:
I then asked around for a kid in the section with a glove who had not yet gotten a ball. I came to this kid and gave it away to him:
Then came time for the Reds to hit.
I nearly got Johnny Cueto to throw me a ball while he was warming up, but he threw the ball to Greg instead (which put him ahead of me, 4-3. I would never tie him again.) After I got rejected by Cueto, I headed back to the spot where I caught the Ruiz homer. It was closer to center field, so I knew I wouldn’t get that many home runs, but I had more room to run for balls. Then a Reds hitter hit a ball right in the same spot as Ruiz. I did the same exact thing as on the Ruiz ball: step a step down, ready myself and raise my glove/jump slightly at the last second. However, this time, there was someone in front of me contesting for the ball. In addition to this, Jose Arredondo threw up his glove at the ball. It *just* missed the ball, so for at least half a second, I was completely convinced the ball was going to hit me in the face. Instead, this happened:
It was quite a great catch if I do say so myself. I had to deal with the glove of the kid in front of me, the glove of Arrendondo flying in the air, and then the part I didn’t mention: the kid was backing into me, so just as I made the catch, he fell and I had to catch him before he got a face-full of concrete.
Then Brandon Phillips’ group came up. I don’t know if you know this, but despite the measly 13 home runs Phillips had coming into the game, he hits far and plentiful bombs in batting practice. So does at least one other guy in his group. I should’ve probably had four or five of them had I known they would have gone so far into the stands. Instead, I snagged hit by one of those Reds righties and gave it to this kid in the bright orange:
(His dad in the blue had the ball as I took the picture.)
See what I mean? It certainly wasn’t a Yankee Stadium crowd, but there’s no way to get to the section just to my right. I should also mention that it was around this time, I ran into a row, a kid ran right after me, so our feet got tangled, and I fell straight into the ground. I’m usually very good at making it so my legs just graze seats and such, but since my legs couldn’t move at all while I was falling, it smacked right into the metal arm rest. It never showed a bruise, but my leg hurt for a week after that every time I leg past about 35 degrees.
During the gam, this was my view:
See that guy in the row right in front of me in the gray? I’ll get back to him in a minute.
As for the game, the Reds ended up winning the game 3-2 behind a strong pitching performance from Bronson Arroyo. As for my snagging attempts during the game, they had a common theme: Jay Bruce-related heartbreak. EVERY inning, Jay Bruce would warm up with the Reds bullpen catcher. most of said innings, I yelled my lungs out trying to get his attention. There was NO way he didn’t hear me. Even the Phillies fans were helping me; yet I came back to my seat empty-handed every time.
Between-inning toss-ups, though, were the least of my woes. In the top of the eighth inning, Jay Bruce launched a ball to my left. I ran as far as I could to my left, but I could tell it was a. headed to the second deck and b. I couldn’t even get in line with the ball. Then it hit this electronic scoreboard strip:
From there it bounced to my “new” left (I had turned around, since the ball was now behind me.), so I ran/limped as fast as I could after the ball in mid-air. Here is a diagram of the path of the ball after that:
To clarify, the ball bounced off of the guy in the red’s hands and bounced right past me (I was right next to him at this point). I saw the ball, so I just went down to thhe ground as soon as I could expecting it to bounced off the guy just out of the frame with the beer’s chest and fall down. After looking everywhere down there- all of which took place over the course of maybe two seconds- I couldn’t see it. Turns out, it had hit the guy’s head instead and bounced over a place that absolutely infuriated me:
Why? Here’s a hint: I have a red backpack.
That’s right, the ball bounced *right* to the seat I had been sitting in. Had I never run after the ball at all, I would have had my first ever home run ball. Here’s the highlight of the home run if you wish:
You can only see the ball bouncing off the scoreboard, though. Which is good since I would have driven myself insane watching the play had I been able to see what happened,
Remember the guy in gray? he was the one who leaned backwards in his chair and picked up the ball that rolled within inches of my backpack. He said it was really easy; not it an in-your-face manner, but just to let me know, since i had been going for balls all night and was the only one to even react to the Bruce home run as it was hit.
Thankfully, the game didn’t end on a negative note. At the end of the game, I headed over to the Reds/ Phillies bullpen area and got the Reds’ bullpen coach, Juan Lopez to throw me a ball from the other end of the bullpen. It was a pretty good job of aiming the ball from so far away:
After my sixth and final ball of the game, I met up with Greg, who had snagged 9 Balls, behind the Reds dugout. Interestingly, nine is the only number of balls he had ever failed to snag in a game before…or maybe I’m confusing this with another number:
And then we took the drive home to New York together while talking about a range of ballhawk-related subjects:
- 6 Balls at this game (4 pictured because I gave 2 away)
Numbers 387- 392 for my lifetime:
- 49 straight Games with at least 1 Ball
- 5 straight Games with at least 2 Balls
- 3 straight Games with at least 3 Balls
- 2 straight Games with at least 4-6 Balls
- Time Spent On Game 11:41- 12:45= 13 Hours 4 Minutes
As much as it may surprise you, I did go to game before I created Observing Baseball. I know, shocking, isn’t it? Really the purpose of these “Blast From The Baseball Past” entries is to document what happened at certain games before they fade from my memory.
I don’t know since I have yet to think about the other entries, much less write them already, but this entry may be slightly longer than others just because it is the first one and I may have some things to explain. Now that I’ve said that, let m’ get to ‘splainin’:
Up to this point in my life, I had attended games at four stadiums: Old Yankee Stadium, Shea Stadium, Pac Bell Park (as it was called back then), and McAfee Coliseum. I was, and had been for some time, big into baseball and all of its teams. This prompted me to ask my dad if I could get him tickets to a baseball game for the both of us as his birthday present. He agreed and I made plans to buy two tickets for the All-Star game being held at the Old Yankee Stadium that year.
It was obvious, though, that I had not been purchasing tickets for much time prior. You see, I had planned to save $500 since the tickets cost $250 each at face value. However, they could not be bought at face value unless they were bought in conjunction with a plane ticket and hotel stay. Seeing as we lived within a mile of the stadium, this would not be necessary. Stubhub and other ticket-scalping websites would be our only means to acquire the tickets. The problem with this is that on said websites, they prices were substantially greater seeing as the demand for the tickets was greater. Instead of $250 a ticket, the price was around $450 for each. So, I made the decision that instead of splurging for a single game, going on a trip to see games might be a better idea.
My dad grew up in Minnesota, and was much more into Hockey as a child, an attribute which he attributes to a very hard throwing wild pitcher in his Little League. I mean he did go to games with his family to Milwaukee County Stadium and Metropolitan Stadium, but his first real encounter with Baseball on a day-to-day basis was when I came along and grew up really into Baseball. Therefore, although he was pretty well acquainted with Baseball, the idea of travelling to three cities to watch games was a teensy bit foreign to him. The proof of this? His title for the folder where all the planning material for the trip was to go on our computer was entitled: Mateo’s Baseball Adventure.
Anyway, the first stop on our trip was Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love. My dad was a very good driver and had an even better sense of direction. However, for some reason, Philadelphia seemed to be the bane of his driving existence up to that point. We made sure to leave early in order to plan for getting lost. So if the recommended time of travel to Philadelphia is 2 hours (I have no clue what the exact time is, but 2-2.5 hours sounds about right to me), we left more than 3 hours before the first pitch. After arriving within I’d say 20 miles of the city of Philly, all the wheels came off the wagon. We were using a Google Maps print-out to guide us, and we knew things were wrong when the exit we had to take was a road that passed over our heads. One mistake lead to another and we ended up getting to Philadelphia through the suburbs, and checking into our hotel later than we would have liked.
Here are three pictures that go with what happened next. We went to the train and left for Citizens Bank Park:
1+2- I was walking to the train station, and there was a sloped part on the right of the sidewalk, so I tried to walk on it without falling off because of its slope. Hasn’t everyone done that? Just me? Oh well.
3. We got in the subway station for the train that went directly to Citizens Bank Park. Here I am waiting for the train to arrive.
After waiting and getting on the train, we had a brief walk to the ballpark. Here is a picture my dad took while we were walking between the train station and Citizens Bank:
When we arrived, it was already the third inning and the Phillies were up 3-2. I remember that we had a SRO (Standing Room Only) ticket. This was our view from the spot where we watched most of the game:
The highlight of this game for me was the fact that Cole Hamels was pitching. Even though he wasn’t at the top of my list of favorite players, he was in a constant battle with Ryan Howard for our attention -Ryan Howard because my dad was fascinated with how big he was- all game. Here is a picture of Cole Hamels batting:
and then when he got a hit, I made sure to take a picture of him standing on first:
Okay, here is the last picture of the entry that I took up coming up. I wanted to be fair to the other team’s pitcher by taking a picture of him as well:
Now this is where it gets interesting. You can tell by the shadows that it is fairly early in the game. However, I went back and looked at the probable pitchers for the day and they were Cole Hamels and Clayton Kershaw. Obviously, this isn’t Clayton Kershaw since he is a left-handed pitcher. Could it be that someone else took Kershaw’s spot in the rotation at the last-minute? It’s possible since he was only a rookie this season. Although there were nine runs, the Phillies didn’t score again until the bottom of the fifth, meaning Kershaw would have exited the game then, but it would be darker than it is in the picture at that time. The other two possibilities are that a. Kershaw worked up his pitch count too high, or b. He got pulled in the first inning. A seems like it could happen given that Kershaw was notorious for being wild early on in his career. B is a slightly less feasible option,but still makes sense, because Kershaw was a volatile rookie that would have been given a shorter leash than a more seasoned player. So what happened? I have since looked at it to solve the mystery, but I’ll let you guys guess here:
I won’t reveal the answer, but if you want to check it out for yourself, all the information you need to search for it is in the title of this entry.
Cole Hamels would not allow another run after we arrived, going 7 innings and only allowing two runs total as the Phillies won the game 9-2. Here is the screenshot from the “Gameday” for this game:
and here are the tickets for the game:
A fun adventure on the first day of “Mateo’s Baseball Adventure”- Part 1.
I know I haven’t been watching baseball for THAT long compared to most people, but I can’t remember a team ever living up to the hype set in the preseason so quietly as the Phillies did last season. Their roatation was by far the best in the Majors:
Why?: I know that it may seem like a no-brainer to some people that the Phillies got better this offseason. However, once I actually looked at the list of names, they really added no value to their team at all, and you know what? They didn’t have to. This team won 102 games last season and that was WITH a ten game losing streak down the stretch. I distinctly remember tweeting something along the lines of “Whoa, the Phillies have won 97 games and still have 12 games to play?!” (this was amid their ginormous losing streak). So, they could still most likely win the division by just treading water and waiting for Ryan Howard to come back from the DL.
Predicted Record Range: 95-100 wins
First of all, here, is the link to the initial entry.
Predicted record: 94-99 wins
Actual Record: 102-60
So I was 3 games off. I actually think that was pretty good. The only knock I have on my prediction is that their rotation actually was THAT good. I thought that someone was bound to have an off year and their rotation would be a little less spectacular, but they did not fail to disappoint. Even when a starter was injured, they had a hidden starter in the rotation in Vance Worley.
I will stand by my statement, though, that the Phillies’ lineup was nothing spectacular like the years previous when it was hailed as: “the only American League lineup in the National League”. Other than this, I really have nothing to say about my prediction but that I did underestimate the Phillies even with what I thought were pretty high expectations. I did predict they would be in the playoffs and I apologize. I think I am going to stop predicting the playoffs, because I am from the school of thought that the playoffs are very much luck dictated and the Regular Season is what shows the true best team. I’m not saying that the playoffs are bogus, but there should be no way that the Cardinals should have beaten the Phillies given their respective records. The playoffs do provide great entertainment value (just look at this past season), but it is not the best team that always wins the World Series. The worse team of any given match-up has a reasonable chance of beating the better team no matter the discrepancy.
Anyway, I underestimated them a little, but I did get the Phillies’ prediction mostly right.
I think it’s safe to say the first year of the Roy Halladay Era in Philadelphia went well for the Phillies. The playoffs under their standards but still pretty good.
Cliff Lee, Delwyn Young, Brandon Moss, and Brian Bass.
Jayson Werth, Nate Robertson, Greg Dobbs, Jamie Moyer, and Chad Durbin.
Why?: They got Cliff Lee and this might have varying responses. Some may say higher than an A some may say lower. The reason I gave the Phillies an A is because Lee was the only difference maker they signed but that one player caused a HUGE spike in Phillie mentions and stock sale.
Did they gain enough in net player Werth (heh, how’d that get in there?) to deserve an A? No. Did they also go overboard the set budget and break their own rule about signing pitchers? Yes. However, the whole Lee situation has done them infinite wonders as far as publicity is concerned and therefore ticket sales (which is why I won’t go to Philadelphia that much this year). So, I did factor in what it did for them as a business as well as what it did for them as a team.
I also learned to never underestimate a Young, as demonstrated by both Dimitri and Delmon (did these people have names not in D?). So, the signing of young Delwyn did not hurt my grade.
Not much else happened besides the Cliff Lee signing but as those of you reading since December know and as those of you who haven’t can see here, I thought highly of how this signing was set up in the previous years.
Predicted Record Range: 94-99 This may seem a bit low considering how much I have lauded them in this entry but their line-up has pacified considerably with the loss of Utley and worth(so that’s where it went). Do I think that they will win the World Series if/when Utley comes back full force? Yes, but until then they will struggle in streaks to put runs up. I actually have the NL East being a race if not the Braves winning it.
Tis’ the month of formulating a business plan and the Phillies have certainly done that. Where others see the disgust inducing spending of millions on already rich baseball players, I see a work of art. I am a General Manager in Training (well GM hopeful at least). So, when a string of moves is made, one to complement the previous, I see the Venus De Milo being constructed before me (that is before all the breaking etc.).
The explanation for the following series of moves involves conspiracy theory on the part of the Phillies. I only use this as an explanation because of the wishful thinking on my part that general managers are now coming to the realization I came to when Johan Santana was traded from the promise land to the abyss (I know I said I wouldn’t be biased but it’s so hard when you experience such awfulness on a daily basis). I realized that an unhappy but loyal player could work out a way to stay with a team he likes and yet help them.
I asked, “Dad, couldn’t a team just: trade a player with one year left on his contract, get the prospects from the trade, then resign him the next off-season, and have a team with both prospects for the future and a great player now.” I needed no answer in return to realize yet another idea, besides Animal Baseball patent pending, had come from too much boredom and a radio with New York sports talk radio on. I had created the ideal momentum turner in a league.
I thought no one would dare to even attempt something similar… until now. Well, let’s drop the story telling mood and add some actual baseball to this entry. The deal was indeed pure genius, conspiracy or not. For the sake of argument, we will say there was no conspiracy:
There were a series of four transactions that enabled the current pitching rotation of the Phillies to exist. The numbers next to the names are where those players were ranked as prospects in 2010, that would be overall.
The obvious Roy Halladay trade:
Roy Halladay to the Philadelphia Phillies and P Kyle Drabek(15), OF Michael Taylor(38), and C Travis D’Arnaud (UR) to the Toronto Blue Jays. So you see they gave up some pretty good talent, need I explain further?
Next came the Cliff Lee trade:
Cliff Lee to the Seattle Mariners and P Phillippe Aumont (29) and OF Tyson Gillies (50) to the Philadelphia Phillies. An important note is that the Phillies would have had to give up their #1 prospect at the time, Dominic Brown, had they not traded Cliff Lee.
The conspiracy, if in existence, would be that the Phillies agreed that they would trade Cliff Lee and try and trade for a Pitcher i.e. Roy Oswalt, Dan Haren, or Zack Greinke, and he would come back to them for less money if this was done. To me, this was indeed pure genius, conspiracy or not.
When has this ever happened? By my count, (whatever that’s worth) we have eleven potential aces and four of the best pitchers in baseball heading the four different teams.
1. Cliff Lee
-Twenty-one strikeouts without a single walk in Rookie ball is impressive much less the playoffs.
2. Christopher John Wilson
-Now he may not be the most obvious ace but out of his thirty three 2010 starts, TWELVE were of seven innings or more and two or fewer runs allowed, EIGHTEEN were of six innings and two runs or less.
New York Yankees
1. Carsten Charles Sabathia- I watched this guy throw what should have been a no-hitter two years ago in Pittsburgh.
-For a good part of the year, this was the best pitcher on the best team in the Majors.
1. Roy Halladay
-One Postseason start, One postseason no-hitter. It is scary to think what would have happened had he been with the Phillies for the last five years. His sinker, cutter scissor effect rules supreme.
2. Roy Oswalt
-Is one of the most accurate fastballs in the game supported with an absolutely hittable curve (opponents are hitting just .125 off of it) makes him an ace wherever he is if not the number one pitcher.
3. Cole Hamels-Remember, he was the star of the playoffs just two years ago
and with the same nasty change and a rejuvenated fastball he is ready to regain that spotlight.
San Francisco Giants
1. Tim Lincecum- Scouts were impressed with the fact a 5’11″ kid could hit 100 mph.
Lincecum showed a curve that was even better. The MLB hitters couldn’t hit him, he then added a change up that could dive to either side of the plate. He won a Cy Young in his first full year in the MLB.
Everyone thought he couldn’t get better, he added a slider and won his second Cy Young.
2. Matt Cain- Is something like 48-0 in games where he is given four runs or more of run support. Of course, the Giant’s offense is not know for that.
3. Jonathan Snachez- Like Wilson, he won’t pitch a shutout every game but who could forget he pitched a No-Hitter last year
and could any day with an amazing slider.
4. Madison Bumgarner
-He is the reason I pick the Giants for the World Series this year. He had some difficulty in adjusting to the Majors but in his last seven starts he has an ERA of 1.78. If he stays healthy, I predict another Matt Cain waiting in the wings.
Well, I just love this because I prefer pitchers above hitters by a sizable margin. However, this is just my opinion. If anybody has started reading, first thank you, but secondly give your opinion of who is an ace or not and why.
P. S. just to preview I will most likely be going to Yankee Stadium for Game 4 of the ALCS