Phillies 2014 Preview: Bursting with Experience, or The Walking Dead?

Cliff Lee. Photo | Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Cliff Lee. Photo | Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The white board in the Phillies’ locker room — across from the tubs where the players dump their dirty clothes — was the spring training communications center.

It’s where the daily lineup and travel rosters were posted, along with reminders for players to get their visas and announcements about who had to show up for which practice.

One by one every morning, guys walked over to see if there was anything pertaining to them.

On the last Sunday of spring training, a message was written in green marker.

“Walking Dead Night Sunday,” the message read.  “(See AJ about details).”

I never was able to pin down A.J. about the details, but I am guessing he wasn’t referring to the potential disaster which general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. hath wrought.

Still, Burnett may just have well been forecasting 2014.

Read more »

Ruben Amaro Jr.: Jimmy Rollins Isn’t Going Anywhere

Ruben Amaro

Sitting in “Whale Beach,” an outdoor section of stands at Bright House Field reserved for media and VIPs, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr., talks to Philadelphia magazine about the Jimmy Rollins controversy, Freddy Galvis’s health scare, and whether he is feeling the heat going into his sixth year at the helm after two straight seasons without reaching the playoffs.

Philadelphia magazine: Given super-sub Freddy Galvis’s bout with MRSA and the ceaseless chatter about the need to dump Jimmy Rollins and the team being too old, is this spring crazier than usual?

Ruben Amaro Jr.: No. Every year is a challenge. We always have to deal with DLs and issues that pop up. Like (former GM) Dallas Green told me from the very beginning, we are firemen. We have to try and put out fires and this is just another set of them, and we have to deal and go from there.

Philadelphia magazine: How is Galvis (who contracted Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus after suffering a scrape on his left knee)?

Ruben Amaro Jr.: Galvis is doing just fine. We were concerned about the severity of the infection. I don’t know how long it is going to take him to be ready but I’m more concerned about his overall health and so far he’s doing a lot better.

Read more »

Only in America Gala and Kick-Off Party for the Chasing Dreams Exhibit

ONLY-IN-AMERICA-GALA-05-3497-Howard-Eskin-Ed-Stefanski-John-Nash-Joe-Duffy-940x540

Last night I attended The 2014 Only in America Gala and the kick-off of the new “Chasing Dreams: Baseball and Becoming American” exhibition at the National Museum of American Jewish History.

Many notables were on the impressive guest list, including Edward G. Rendell, chair of the Only in America Gala, who noted, “Baseball is an all-American sport; the players are of all nationalities, as are the fans.”

The evening started with a cocktail party on the lower levels of the museums; the dinner was held upstairs in the ballroom adjacent to the exhibition. Throughout the evening, guests were encouraged to visit the exhibit, which is composed of objects representing players of all the many ethnic groups that have taken part in the game, as well as the many notable contributions of Jewish players. The exhibit officially opens on March 13th and continues through October 26th.

More of HughE Dillon’s photos from the Only in America Gala after the jump »

Jim Fregosi Profile: Chewing the Fat

(Originally published in the March 1996 issue of Philadelphia magazine.)

Profile of Phillies manager Jim Fregosi

Illustration by Colin Johnson

The first game is still months away, and the chain-link fence that separates the Philadelphia Phillies’ spring home from the surrounding pawnshops and junkyards and trailer parks is in desperate need of repair. Though the team’s first annual January mini-camp doesn’t open for 24 hours, coaches and players park, brace against the brisk Florida chill, and straggle into the clubhouse. It’s been three months since they’ve seen each other, three months since anyone’s had a reason to set an alarm clock.

The coaches gather in a small, windowless locker room tucked under the rightfield stands of Clearwater’s Jack Russell Memorial Stadium. It has cinder-block walls, a drop ceiling, scant ventilation but just enough space for two rows of lockers and a boardroom-size folding table. As usual, manager Jim Fregosi sits at the head. The table is empty except for his elbows, his Kools and his lighter. Starting tomorrow, he will see what kind of shape his players are in and give them a chance to get to know each other (only ten remain from the team that played in the World Series two years ago). For now, someone throws a videotape into a VCR, and suddenly Fregosi comes face-to-face with the almost perfect season of 1993. On a Samsung TV bolted to a wall, he has a 3-0 lead in the ninth inning of Game Five against the Braves-but Mitch Williams is stretching in the bullpen.

“Is he done now?” Glenn Brummer, a minor-league coach, asks about the Wild Thing’s current career.

“He was done then,” says Fregosi.
Read more »

Cole Hamels on the Phillies: “You Have to Know When to Start Over.”

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels (35) sits in the dugout in the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on Aug 12, 2013. Photo | Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels (35) sits in the dugout in the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on Aug 12, 2013. Photo | Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Ever wonder what it’s like to be on the receiving end of the Cole Hamels stare? You know the one — that withering look he’s known to give on occasion when the home plate umpire’s being stingy with strike calls, or an outfielder makes a bonehead play. I felt that same chill as Cole looked me in the eyes and said, “I’m not talking about the kids.”

Read more »

Ruben Amaro Says the Phils Might Hire a Stats Czar. Don’t Get Too Excited.

Ruben Amaro

This past July, during an audience Q&A following his address to the national convention of  the Society of American Baseball Research here in Philadelphia, Phillies team president Dave Montgomery was asked whether, in light of the Phils’ second straight subpar season, it might be time for the organization to take a look at something it has long resisted: advanced statistical analysis.

Montgomery, in the Q&A and an interview afterward, replied that contrary to the belief of many, the team does actually give some consideration to advanced stats. He said the Phillies’ front office has three employees in its player personnel department who have statistical evaluation as part of their portfolio, although no one employee does the work full-time. Montgomery added, however, that “character” plays a major role in the team’s personnel decisions.
Read more »

« Older Posts