Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Still Alive....

The Reverse Curse is STILL alive.

Six in a row.  Wow.  If they keep this up much longer Cole Hamels is going to ask Rube not to trade him.

Don't get used to it.

Even with Ryan Howard enjoying a "comeback" and Freddy Galvis hitting nearly 125 points above his career average and Aaron Harang defying Father Time, these Phillies are lousy.  There's nothing like a string of games against other lousy teams to make all that doesn't glitter appear for what it is:  fool's gold.

But, hey, it's fun to win and to watch a bunch of no names and has-beens romp for a while.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Friday, May 08, 2015

Not Even In His Dreams

Alex Rodriguez passed Willie Mays for fourth place all-time on the home run list.  Those are the facts.

Here are the realities:

Not even in your dreams, A-Rod.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

How Bad Are They?

Everyone knew the Phillies were going to be lousy this year.  Just how lousy?  Well, when Freddy Galvis is your leading hitter then Rock Bottom must be just around the corner.

But wait!  Most folks figured at least the Phils would be competitive every fifth day when Cole Hamels took the mound.  So yesterday, less than a week after his best start of the season, Hamels was shellacked by Miami, losing 7-0.  Can't blame this one on lack of run support, Cole.  Hamels gave up a major league worst eighth home run of the season and in the process surely must have given some pause to the alleged legion of suitors out there waiting to bid for his services.

So, how bad are the Phils?  There only hope for this season, trading Hamels for legitimate prospects, continues to take its own special hit.  We aren't suggesting the Phils will be forced to give Hamels away, but a few more starts like yesterday's and his value will be affected.  The only good news is that when teams are desperate to acquire that last piece to get them over the hump (read: into the post-season), they don't mind over-paying.  Indeed, they can't help themselves.  That's the MLB way.

The Phils' offense is the worst in the majors and no matter who is on the mound they might be hard-pressed to beat the NCAA champs, aluminum bats notwithstanding.  It wouldn't surprise me if Chase Utley announced his retirement at the end of the season.  He is a proud guy who must be suffering terribly as his batting average flirts with .100.  The Phils will unload Ryan Howard before the end of the season and will eat almost all of his huge contract.  Some major league team, probably in the American League, is going to want his bat even if it's worth one or two wins.  Carlos Ruiz will fade away after this season.  Jeff Franceour and Grady Sizemore will be released as soon as the Phils can find two warm bodies to take their place in the outfield.  You see, it is still a requirement to put nine men on the diamond.  Dom Brown will presumably be one of those replacements, but after his umpteenth demotion to AAA one has to wonder for how long.

Meanwhile, Cody Asche is working out in left-field in anticipation of the call-up of Maikel Franco, so that's another potential "outfielder".

These guys are a mess.  Guys playing out of position.  Ruinous contracts burning cash.  Player skills eroding before our very eyes.  Attendance records for smallest crowd in the history of Citizens Bank Park being set weekly.

Does Stub Hub have a give-away section?  Would there be any takers?


Sunday, April 26, 2015

Rotten To The Core

Checked up on old friend Jimmy Rollins this AM and it looks like J-Roll's change of address did nothing to improve his performance.  After homering in game one for the Dodgers, J-Roll has matched the pace of the remaining core players from the glory days in Philadelphia.  He, Carlos Ruiz, Ryan Howard and Chase Utley are all batting below the Mendoza line.

Ouch.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Take My Ticket...Please!

Here's one record that's gonna' fall...guaranteed!  The lowest announced paid attendance in the history of Citizens Bank Park saw the Phillies shellacked yesterday by the Miami Marlins, 9-1.

That's a record that will broken numerous times before Phillies fans are put out of their misery next Fall.  Of course, these same fans can avoid the misery by staying away from the stadium in droves. They will.

It says here that by late September, on a dreary day in a meaningless game, the vendors and ushers will outnumber paid admissions 2-1.

You read it here first.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

How Many Games Remain?

Their ace is winless and it's almost May. (He has two losses.)

The one-time phenom has yet to make an appearance and nobody even remembers his name.  (Dom Brown.)

The once-rollicking, always sold-out stadium is half-full now.  (It could get much worse by August.)

Their core players are hitting below the Mendoza line, collectively. (One of them is floating with .100.)

Their manager is living on borrowed time.  (Being in the HOF does not guarantee job success or security.)

Their GM has been silent all Spring.  (What's he gonna' say at this point anyway?!)


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Has-Been Heaven

Look, let's be honest.  I don't give a hoot about pro football.  Oh, sure, I want to see the Eagles win but only so that 6 million fellow citizens in the metropolitan area don't look so glum when they don't.

That said, yesterday's signing of Tim Tebow amused me endlessly.  A washed up football player at 27 whose claim to fame is kneeling and praying is not going to make an iota of difference to the Eagles, reverse curse notwithstanding.  Yet, the hoopla was, to be kind, a little excessive.  Even the Inquirer's esteemed staff weighed in on Tebow's prospects.

I guess Philadelphia has become the place where has-beens go to die.  Jeff Francoeur found a place on the Phillies' roster this year so why shouldn't Tim Tebow find his spot, too.


Sunday, April 19, 2015

Grievances

Leave it to Rupert Murdoch's Fox Sports to hire Pete Rose, banned from baseball, as a baseball analyst. They deserve each other.

* * * * * * * *

The prediction was the Phils would not hit.  They haven't.  The prediction was the Phils wouldn't have much starting pitching after Cole Hamels.  They don't have much even with him.  The prediction was Ryan Howard was in steep decline.  The only question now is how will the Phillies rid themselves of him.  His fat contract stays...and stays...and stays....  They said Chase Utley had a poor second half in 2014, cause for worry in 2015.  His slow start in 2015 remains cause for worry.

* * * * * * * *

The only person the Flyers haven't fired in the last several years is Ed Snyder and they can't fire him. This franchise is stuck in loyal soldier mode and until someone other than Snyder calls the ultimate shots it will remain there.

* * * * * * * *

Well, even tanking seems just beyond reach for the Sixers, who are going to need luck to get the top draft pick.  Three years of misery look like they will stretch into at least next year to absolutely no one's credit in the front office.

* * * * * * * *

Let's not leave out the Eagles, who rid themselves of a lot of premiere players and/or healthy ones so that coach Chip Kelly could call this his team.  The bet here is this proprietary attitude will come back to haunt him.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

No Respect

The Phils have won half their games this season.  Who'd have thunk it?

Of course they relied on Aaron Harang, pitching for his eighth team, and Jeff Francoeur, who's been released by four teams in a couple of years, to even their record, but let's not quibble.

And before the Phillies regress to the mean, or at least to the pre-season predictions, let's also note they haven't exactly won the hearts and minds of the local media, quite a feat given hope springs eternal in the first days of the season, even for major league teams that could be expected to struggle to even win the Mexican League championship.

Of what do I write?

The lead article in this morning's Inky was another fluff piece on the Eagles.  Yes, baseball fans, even when it's your turn to shine your football brethren take the prize.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Curmudgeon In Mid-Season Form

One game does not a season make, but who can resist drawing a few conclusions anyway?

Cole Hamels is a premier pitcher and the ace of the Phillies' staff.  Of course, the cynic would argue the latter title is equivalent to being named an admiral in the Swiss Navy, but let's leave that question for another time.

What I have argued in the past is that Hamels, excellent as he is, does not have the fear co-efficient associated with his name.  When opposing teams see him on the schedule they don't start having nightmares about his high inside hard one like they used to do with, say, Randy Johnson.  Heck, they don't even fear Hamels' out pitch, his change, like they did Johnson's sweeping breaking stuff that moved AWAY from the batter.  (Of course it moved away after sweeping across his body and appearing to aim right for the batter's knees.)

Cole just doesn't strike fear.

He also perennially gets off to a slow start.

Yesterday he had nothing against the Red Sox, reportedly one of his suitors in the off-season.  If yesterday's game is any indicator, and it is early, the Red Sox are probably just as glad they didn't bite.

Someone will, however, because Cole is going to get vocal about the lack of support he receives this season.  Yesterday the Phils managed three hits altogether, a harbinger of things to come.  Cole will be grow increasingly unhappy after losing a lot of 3-0 and 2-1 games and the Phils will have to move him just to keep the peace.  Who knows?  If the Sox are in the thick of a tight race they may still covet him, especially since they also know it's early.

* * * * * * * *

Speaking of the Red Sox, did I mention I detest interleague play!?  Did I also mention that as much as I hate interleague play I especially loathe seeing National League teams open their season against American League clubs!?

Spoiler alert!!

Here comes the curmudgeon paragraph.

Baseball loves to remind fans how tradition-bound in the best sense the game is.  When it suits them.

In my youth the leagues never met except during the All Star game and World Series.  Televised games were also few and far between so one rarely saw players from the other league except during the aforementioned special occasions.

Some time in the sixties or seventies (I am too lazy to look it up, another by-product of being a curmudgeon) the alleged brain trust running MLB even tried holding two All Star games one or two seasons.  Talk about greed and stupidity!  Even THEY realized how stupid a move that was.

The point I am slowly making here is that the separation of the leagues was near absolute so when they did come together arguments over which was the better league were hot and furious and fun.

Then came the DH in the AL.  Then came Saturday games of the week.  Then came ESPN.  They came Saturday and Thursday games of the week.  Then came Sunday night baseball.  Then came interleague play.   (We might as well throw in free agency, which meant more movement of players between the leagues.)

Now, who cares?  The Leagues are fungible save the DH difference.  The All Star game is a television special like the ones Dean Martin might have hosted.  All fluff and partying.

* * * * * * * *

J-Roll sure knows when that red light is on and what better place to prove it than Hollywood?  Jimmy hit a three-run homer in his Dodger debut to lead his team to victory.  I'll bet he was having such a good time he forgot to look at the box score of his former mates.

I'll bet they looked at his, though.


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Waiting For The Season To Begin

This headline from the Phillies' website caught my eye:

Scott Palmer gets the breakdown from Freddy Galvis on what's so special about the shortstop's bat

My reaction?  Nothing!

You're kidding, right?  No, there really is a video on the site under that heading.  I declined to watch it.

* * * * * * * *

So, Dom Brown isn't going to be ready for the beginning of the season because of tendinitis in the Achilles tendon.  I guess the off-season didn't provide sufficient time for Dom to get in shape.  Let's give him the benefit of the doubt:  maybe he just has a chronic condition that no amount of rest is going to completely correct.

OK.

So, let's look at this another way:  Dom is never going to be ready in the larger sense.  He's been a top prospect, a bust, a first-half sensation, then a bust again, then a real big bust.  Dom has used up his nine baseball lives.  Maybe his mother just should have tossed him completely in the River Styx.

* * * * * * * *

Then there is J-Roll, the West Coast edition.  Jimmy should have kept his trap shut and just put on that Dodgers uniform and thanked his lucky stars he'd escaped the disaster that is the Phillies, but, no, that wouldn't be Jimmy.  He had to take a few shots at the Phans.  It's a national past time and Jimmy couldn't resist.  It does him little credit and will likely increase the percentage of boos when he returns.  Then he can say I told you so. 

* * * * * * * *

The Phils have precious little pitching.  They have even less hitting.  Their defense isn't going to make anyone feel better about their prospects either.  If they win 63 games it will be a miracle.  So, how does the brain trust that runs the show react?  They still force season ticket holders to purchase plans that include the meaningless Spring Training game that takes place at Citizens Bank Park after the club heads north.  No amount of fan appreciation days is going to compensate for that insult.


Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Pepper

If it's Spring Training time we must be talking Chase Utley's health.

* * * * * * * *

The Sixers may have a plan but no one including their GM can predict how draft picks turn out.  Just remember Shawn Bradley and Leo Rautins.

* * * * * * * *

Could Ron Hextall finally be ending the Flyers' streak of terrible deals and signings?  The last few days would suggest so.

* * * * * * * *

Let's hope Cole Hamels, always a slow starter, comes out of the gate healthy and strong.  If he isn't gone by Opening Day, he will be by the July trade deadline.  The worse case scenario for the Phils would be he suffers an injury.  The best case scenario is that a contender with plenty of elite prospects to trade sees Hamels as the key to getting into the post season.

* * * * * * * *

The stories coming out of the Eagles' front office this off-season are hardly reassuring they will begin the process of filling their many holes come the draft and free agent market.  Let there be no mistake the Eagles weren't close to an elite team last year.  They have too many holes to fill to contend with the best of the NFL.

* * * * * * * *

Speaking of the Eagles, a good friend recently pointed out the biggest disadvantage to Chip Kelly's hurry-up offense is that with 3 and outs the defense is back on the field that much quicker.

* * * * * * * *

Mike Schmidt can work all he wants with Domonic Brown regarding his swing.  When you've been in professional ball this long you deserve the swing you've got!

* * * * * * * *

Go ahead, name five players on the Sixers team.

* * * * * * * *

I watched the last ten minutes the other night as the Flyers held off the Rangers to win 4-2 (the final goal coming on an empty net).  Steve Mason was brilliant.  The defense was decent.  The offense hardly mounted any offense those final ten minutes.  Mason was the entire difference.  The Flyers scoring difficulties will keep them out of the playoffs for another year.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

You're Kidding, Right!?

The Sixers signed a new power forward on Monday, name of Furkan Aldemir.

On Friday they announced his plantar fasciitis is worse than previously believed.

They're kidding, right!?

You mean the Sixers signed yet another big man who is injured?  Are  they really telling us that after all the miserable experiences of the last few years signing or acquiring big men who could not and/or did not play, the Sixers did it again?


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Just The Facts

After the Sixers lost yet another game to a lousy team, bowing to the 8-14 Boston Celtics by 18 points, their coach had this to say:

"It's a fact that you do lay an egg from time to time in the NBA over 82 games.  And tonight we laid an egg."

An egg?  Did you say "an egg"?  Are we talkin' "an egg"?

How about an entire Tortilla Espanola, Brett?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Sunday, December 07, 2014

That's It!! I've Had It!!!

OK, Sixers, enough already.  You already ruined the only reason to check the scoreboard.  Now, you've gone and won another game...in OT no less!!

That's it.  I ain't gonna' check Yahoo Sportacular on my phone any more.  No, better than that, I'm gonna' delete the Sixers from my Favorites so I don't even have to avoid looking.

That's what you get for ruining the only drama around these parts by winning not one but two games in one week.

Just be forewarned, if you guys with the NBA championship, I'm not going to the parade.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Why'd They Wanna' Go 'N Runeit?

Aw, Jeez, why did the Sixers want to go an spoil the only excitement of the season by winning a game???!!!!

And why, oh why, did the Timberwolves tank by playing without three starters and their reserve center?

Now there's nothing to look forward to during the long winter months.

Thanks, Sixers!  And thanks to you, too, Wolves!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

$39.25

$39.25.  That's the average price for a ticket to see your Philadelphia 76ers.

There have been too many articles to count whose subject is the impatience of the average Philadelphia sports fan.  There have been even more articles (including a NYT sports section page one item) concerning the 76ers "plan" to build a winner through patient (management version) drafting and [unstated but hardly a secret] tanking in order to secure high draft picks.

The Sixers have acquired or drafted three big men in the last few years one of whom never played a minute in Philadelphia, one of whom missed his entire rookie year recuperating from an injury, and a third who is also likely to miss his entire rookie year because of injury.

The Sixers have been losing at a prodigious rate for two years and have begun the current year 0-11.

Every single article on the Sixers in the Inquirer contains citations of statistics for the franchise's worst start and the NBA record for worst start.

Ah, but the worst was yet to come...until today.

A former Kentucky player was quoted as saying his college team could beat the Sixers in a series with the latter winning perhaps a game.

So, what's with you impatient Sixers' fans, eh?  Why can't you shell out an average of $39.25 to see one of the worst teams in NBA history?  And, by the way, that $39.25 doesn't include transportation to the game, parking if applicable, food and (just kidding on this next one) souvenirs.  On second thought, some people might be hoarding souvenirs for these losers because, you guessed it, they might be valuable artifacts of a record-setting team.

Boy, you Philadelphia fans sure are impatient!!!

Friday, November 14, 2014

How Low Can You Go?

In case you were wondering just how low the Phillies could go, here's a hint:

They signed Jeff Francoeur.

Now, if that ain't the bottom, folks, it must be nearby.