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.


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


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.