Sunday, September 29, 2013

Goodbye To All That

This miserable season will be over in a few hours and those among us still willing to admit to being Phillies' fans can shift their attention cleaning out the basement.  Really, now, did you expect me to say "to the Eagles, Sixers or Flyers"?!

These are tough times for sports fans in the Delaware Valley.  All you need to know about the Sixers is they begin their second straight season without a big man in the middle.  Wait!  That's not the bad part.  They begin their second straight season having known in early summer they wouldn't have a big man.

The Flyers begin the season with the same questions about their defense with which they began last season. They also begin yet another season with questions about goal-tending.  One thing seems pretty certain about the Fly boys, however.  During the season they will make a deal to reacquire someone whom they discarded earlier.  They do that...a lot.

Meanwhile, the Eagles are going nowhere fast.  Literally.  They have a hurry-up offense with only one legitimate receiver and a defense that would have a very tough time stopping Alabama.

As for the Phils....   The other night they wasted a superb effort by Cliff Lee in losing 1-0.  They garnered two hits that night.  They have been auditioning a lot of minor league pitchers in particular and the results suggest most of these guys will be minor league pitchers again.  As for position players, they still don't have an intimidating lineup, unless of course, you are standing on the pitcher's mound surveying the scene.

Have a nice off-season...if you can.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


As if anyone needed further evidence of just how much management views players as commodities with self-life expediencies, I offer you last night's sad ending to Roy Halladay's career, not only in Philadelphia but baseball itself.

Oh, sure, there is probably some GM out there who might take a flyer for next Spring, but for all intents and purposes Doc is finished.

He might have been able to come back next February for a try-out had he not rushed back this Summer after shoulder surgery and had the Phillies' alleged brain trust not insisted he take off the rest of the season to give his shoulder time to heal.

The Phillies' alleged brain trust knew Doc wouldn't sit if they hadn't insisted and therein lies the moral to this particular tale.  Go ahead, they reasoned, give it your best.  Secretly, we know you're cooked and not-so-secretly (public protestations notwithstanding) there is a zero chance we re-sign you.  So, yes, go ahead and pitch.

The results were diminishing velocity, accuracy and in the end stamina.  There he was last night in an air conditioned dome with the roof closed sweating like bullets and completely spent.

Very sad.

The Phillies' alleged brain trust will utter the usual platitudes and then, a year or so down the road, honor Doc.  They could have honored him much more by helping him to recover this season, but they let him run out the string and he hung himself with it.

But don't kid yourself,, the Phillies alleged brain trust handed him the rope.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Doctor Is Out

The Roy Halladay era in Philadelphia has ended in bitterness and recrimination with the publication in this morning's Inquirer of comments by the veteran pitcher he was upset with press criticisms covering a range of issues.

Chief among these, of course, has been his poor performance since returning from shoulder surgery.  Running a close second on his list of complaints was open speculation he had returned too soon.  And rounding out his annoyance was the usual fallback position of "wronged" athletes in this town:  Philadelphia's media corp let alone its fans are just too tough.

The Phillies were unlikely to re-sign the aging pitcher given his troubles of the last two seasons.  For his part, Halladay often noted he wanted to pitch for a contender, which the Phils as currently constituted are clearly not.

At least this chapter of the admired pitcher's career is probably over.  Will he even make his next scheduled start?


Halladay made his next scheduled start and was unimpressive.  For the fourth straight game he hit a batter and walked several.  Worse, his velocity remains stuck in the mid to high '80's.  If he is going to reinvent himself as more of a finesse pitcher, he can't hit and walk batters at such a high rate.

In the end, the poorest decision by all concerned, the Philllies' alleged brain trust very much included, was to have Halladay come back at all this season.