Dykstra Claims He Blackmailed Umps

Lenny Dykstra, the spark plug of the 1993 Phillies team that went to the World Series, told radio host Colin Cowherd this week that he blackmailed umpires to get favorable treatment while in Philadelphia.

“I had to do what I had to do to win and support my family,” Dykstra said.

The stories have been around for years — Dykstra was coy about them during an interview with Philly radio host Mike Missanelli last year — but Tuesday’s interview appeared to be the first time he directly confirmed the rumors.

A spokesman for Major League Baseball told Philly Mag that officials are aware of Dykstra’s interview, but had no immediate comment on his allegations.
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Cole Hamels Loses Deciding Game for Texas (But It Wasn’t His Fault)

cole hamels texas rangers

Cole Hamels was on the losing end of Wednesday’s ALDS playoff game. | Nick Turchiaro

It was one of the strangest seventh innings of a baseball game you’ll ever see. It ended with a former Phillies pitcher allowing the winning run.

When we last saw Cole Hamels in a Phillies uniform, he was throwing a no-hitter and improving his trade value. He ended up with the Texas Rangers, and pitched pretty well for them. The Rangers ended up passing two teams and winning the AL West.

Hamels allowed 4 runs over 7 innings in a Rangers win in Game 2 of the American League Division Series. He started Wednesday’s deciding Game 5 in Toronto. And… he lost. Unlike his stellar performances in deciding games for the Phils, Hamels gave up 5 runs on 4 hits in 6 1/3 innings. He had a 2-0 lead. The Blue Jays won, 6-3.

It wasn’t his fault, though. Hamels struck out 8 and walked 2. Only 2 of those 5 runs he allowed were earned. All 3 unearned runs scored after he was pulled. Read more »

Utley Suspended for Controversial Slide

New York Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada (right) collides with Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley (left) at second base during the seventh inning in game two of the NLDS at Dodger Stadium. | Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

New York Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada (right) collides with Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley (left) at second base during the seventh inning in game two of the NLDS at Dodger Stadium. | Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Philadelphia. Here’s what you need to know today:

The Dodgers’ Chase Utley has been suspended two games for a controversial slide that broke the leg of Mets’ shortstop Ruben Tejada.

He left town at midseason in a trade, but you’d think Chase Utley was still a member of the Phillies, given how much support he received from Philadelphia fans over the weekend after the slide that broke Tejada’s leg. Nationally, a debate raged over whether Utley played dirty or just hard, but Philly consensus seemed solidly on Utley’s side.

Major League Baseball disagrees, announcing that Utley will be suspended Games 3 and 4 of the National League Divisional Series. He’ll appeal, AP reports. “A two-game suspension for a legal baseball play is outrageous and completely unacceptable. Chase did what all players are taught to do in this situation — break up the double play,” his agent said. Read more »

First Prospect from Hamels Trade to Make Phillies Debut

Jerad Eickhoff | Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Jerad Eickhoff | Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Phillies will are about to put to the test one of the prospects they received in the Cole Hamels deal.

Pitcher Jerad Eickhoff will make his Phillies debut tonight against the Miami Marlins.

Eickhoff came to the Phillies on July 31st, the MLB trade deadline, when the Hamels deal that was originally struck on July 29th was made official. Since then, he has a 2-1 record with a strong 2.49 ERA for the Triple-A IronPigs. He is ranked as the Phillies’ 15th-best prospect. Read more »

Meet the New Phillies Prospects

Photos via USA Today Sports Images and Twitter

Photos via USA Today Sports Images and Twitter

Last week, just ahead of the July 31st Major League Baseball trade deadline, the Phillies made some moves to shore up their farm system. The big haul, of course, came in exchange for Cole Hamels and Jake Diekman, but trades sending Jonathan Papelbon and Ben Revere to Washington and Toronto, respectively, also added potentially useful pieces to the Phillies minor league system.

That’s good and all, especially when the fifth-place Phillies are rebuilding for the future, but prospects are just that: prospects. They are full of potential, but the overwhelming majority don’t end up in All-Star Games, if they even make it to the show.

We know who the Phillies are getting — catcher Jorge Alfaro, pitcher Jake Thompson, and outfielder Nick Willams are the major pieces from the Hamels deal. Now the question is, what are the Phillies getting? Where will these players fit into the Phillies’ bigger plans, and how limitless, or limited, is their potential?

Here, we break down what the major baseball scouting outlets are saying about each fresh face on the Phillies Pharm. Read more »

Haverford College’s “Unlikely Pipeline” to Major League Baseball

Tommy Bergjan, No. 15, pitches for Haverford. He is the only current baseball player to come out of Haverford, which has also given Major League Baseball many of its executives, scouts, and employees in other roles, per the New York Times. Photo| David Sinclair

Tommy Bergjans pitching for Haverford. He is the only current pro baseball player in the major league system to have come out of Haverford, which has also given Major League Baseball many of its executives, scouts, and employees in other roles, per the New York Times. Photo| David Sinclair

When you think baseball, you think … Haverford College, right? That tiny little Quaker liberal arts bastion out on the Main Line?

Well, it turns out you should, according to the New York Times. It has a story about the school serving as an “unlikely pipeline” to the Major Leagues despite the fact it’s an NCAA Division 3 school and can’t grant athletic scholarships.

What it does have is alums peppered throughout the baseball world, including the Dodgers’ senior vice president for baseball management, the COO of Major League Baseball, the assistant general manager of the Rangers, and “two of the most influential sports agents in history,” according to the Times. The paper estimates that in total, 15 to 20 Haverford grads have prominent jobs as “front-office executives, agents and talent evaluators.” Read more »

Phillies Push Back Cole Hamels’ Next Start

Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels. Photo | Eileen Blass-USA TODAY Sports

Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels. Photo | Eileen Blass-USA TODAY Sports

Rumors about where Cole Hamels might end up are only intensifying as Friday’s 4 p.m. trade deadline approaches. Yesterday, we told you that the Rangers and Dodgers were the frontrunners in the chase for the Phillies ace. Today, there are new developments. Read more »

Today in Cole Hamels Trade Rumors

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels and center fielder Odubel Herrera celebrate after defeating the Chicago Cubs 5-0 at Wrigley Field. Photo | Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels and center fielder Odubel Herrera celebrate after defeating the Chicago Cubs 5-0 at Wrigley Field. Photo | Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

As the Major League Baseball trade deadline approaches on July 31st, there is increasing speculation among media and the fans as to which players will wear a different uniform come August 1st. This past week alone, several teams have sprung deals sending impactful players to playoff contenders — most recently, the Toronto Blue Jays are said to have acquired shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and reliever LaTroy Hawkins from the Rockies in exchange for shortstop José Reyes and prospects.

But so far, nothing has happened in the Cole Hamels derby. Just three days in advance of Friday’s 4:00 p.m. trade deadline, rumors are zipping through the Twittersphere and the ether, all revolving around Hamels’ future destination, if there is one. Here are what some sources have to say: Read more »

Have You Noticed? Phillies Playing Better (But Still Very Bad)

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels and center fielder Odubel Herrera celebrate after defeating the Chicago Cubs 5-0 at Wrigley Field. Photo | Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels and center fielder Odubel Herrera celebrate after defeating the Chicago Cubs 5-0 at Wrigley Field. Photo | Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

Seen through the eyes of a New York Mets fan (yep, I’m one of those), the Phillies owe the Mets some wins, wins they stole so brazenly at the end of the 2007 and 2008 seasons.

Now, stuck in last place in the National League East, the Phillies are doing their part to help the Mets’ postseason odds by defeating other teams in the hunt for October, namely the upstart Chicago Cubs. Read more »

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