Phillies Weekend in GIFs: Chase Utley Starts the Season 20-for-40, Jimmy Rollins Shuts up Heckler

utley-homer

We’re 12 games into the season, and the Phillies are 6-6. In their first homestand of the year, they were swept by the Brewers — who are out to a 10-2 start, the best in baseball — but rebounded to sweep in the Marlins in turn. The Phillies have been outscored by 6 runs, and the team’s no longer a hot ticket: On April 11th, the Phillies drew just 22,483 fans, the lowest since July 31, 2006.

But there are reasons to be optimistic about the 2014 season. While the pitching’s shaky, the offense is humming along: Second in the NL in hitting, first in on-base-percentage, sixth in slugging. And a big reason for that is the work of Chase Utley.

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The Phillies’ Amazing Opening-Day Win in 12 GIFs

Baseball is back! And yesterday was an incredible start for the Phillies, as they walloped the Rangers by a football-like 14-10 score. It was an incredible start to a season filled with low expectations.

So, why not recap it with a few animated GIFs! There was plenty to get excited about during Monday’s big win.

1-howard-walk

Yes, the first big highlight of the season was a walk. Ryan Howard has averaged 81 walks over a 162-game season for his career, so it’s not really surprising he drew a base on balls here. But look what it led to!

2-asche-hit

Yeah, it led to a run. And to the always-excellent scene of Ryan Howard rounding third base. Maybe Howard could’ve been a two-sport athlete: Get him going in open space and who’s going to tackle him? Howard finished 2-for-5 with 3 strikeouts.

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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.

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Phillies Salaries Total $180,052,723

Ryan Howard. Photo | David Manning, USA Today Sports

Ryan Howard. Photo | David Manning, USA Today Sports

Deadspin has a list of all of the payrolls this season in Major League Baseball, with the Phillies coming in at third place overall in the league with $180,052,073. The Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees will pay out $235,295,219 and $203,812,506 this year, respectively. 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.

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Chase Utley’s Penthouse at the Ayer Is on the Market for $4.3M

penthouse

And he’s outta here! Utley’s rare triplex penthouse is for sale for $4.3 million. The listing points to the amenities and highlights with language better than we could muster, frankly:

audio and Crestron systems…An expanded Bulthaup kitchen with a large island, Miele and Sub-Zero, including a full-size wine storage unit…an exquisite table, lit by a smoky quartz chandelier, was made to fit the room and is included. A study, made private with pocket doors… a custom-crafted stairwell with walnut treads and walls finished in Blue de Savoie marble [to] the lower level…a specially designed, “smoked oak” wet bar with Sub-Zero wine chiller, refrigerator and freezer drawers, Fisher-Paykel drawer dishwasher, ample storage and stainless counter and backsplash…a terrace…private elevator…a cleverly designed main suite overlooks the main living room via a wall of glass…motorized window treatments with sun-shade and room darkening options. Two valet parking spaces and two storage rooms…

You know, just for starters. Perhaps Ruben Amaro is in the market for a downtown real estate investment?

It was five years ago today that the Phillies won the World Series. Chase, you will be missed.

Gallery below.

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The Hamels Foundation’s Fourth Annual Diamonds and Denim Event

Hamels Foundation Diamonds and Denim, Cole and Heidi Hamels

If you passed by Vie on N. Broad St. last night, you might have caught a glimpse a Phillies player dressed in his favorite denim attending The Hamels Foundation’s fourth annual Diamonds and Denim event. Diamonds and Denim mixes casual with formal, providing a unique atmosphere for guests to dress up their favorite denim with as much “bling” as they want! Attendees enjoyed an evening of cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a three-course dinner, participated in a silent auction and live auction (with some pretty creative items), and took in a private concert by Lifehouse.
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Chase Utley’s $27 Million Deal Could be Worth $75 Million

Chase Utley is sticking with the Phillies for the 2014 and 2015 season thanks to a contract that guarantees the star second baseman $27 million. Utley could, though, earn up to $75 million through if he stays healthy and on the playing field. His 2015 salary is guaranteed at just $10 million, with about $5 million in addition promised should he miss no more than 15 games due to the knee problems that dogged him in 2011 and 2012. After the first two years, contract options kick in to the tune of $15 million per year if Utley makes 500 appearances at home plate. Now that’s an incentive. [Philly.com]

The List: 5 Terrible Philadelphia Sports Contracts, Chase Utley Edition

With Chase Utley close to signing an extension for the Phillies, a contract for two years and — wait for it — $27 million, many Phillies fans are wondering the obvious: Will the rest of the underachieving 2013 lineup be wearing red pinstripes next season, too? But here’s a reminder that things could be worse — and have been worse. Here are five of the worst Philadelphia sports contracts.

5. Adam Eaton

Although he got a 2008 World Series ring, pitcher Adam Eaton did little to earn it — let alone his $24.5 million, three-year contract. In 2007, Eaton gave up 30 (yep, 3-0) home runs, finishing the season with an ERA of 6.29. The next year produced similar results, with Eaton being optioned to the minor leagues after the acquisition of Joe Blanton. As for the rest of his contract? Well, he was released during the off-season, meaning the Phillies literally paid him $8 million to go away.

4. Ilya Bryzgalov

If his job was cracking jokes or getting into fights with the media, maybe we could make sense of Ilya Bryzgalov‘s 9-year, $51 million  ontract with the Flyers in 2011. But seeing as he was being paid to stop the puck from going into the goal, it’s a bit harder to justify. Given he’s taking up 10 percent of the Flyers payroll, Bryzgalov has been largely unimpressive (save single-handedly winning against the Red Wings with 37 saves out of 39 shots back in March 2012.) The Flyers bought out his contract in June, meaning that, under NHL rules, they’ll have to pay him $23 million, two thirds of the remaining $34.5 million, over the next 14 years.

3. Nnamdi Asomugha

Nnamdi Asomuga arrived in Philadelphia in 2011 as an All-Pro and an All-Decade cornerback from Oakland. Though he’s had some good games, his okayish-to-awful Eagles career makes it hard to imagine a time when he was ever a consistently useful professional football player. Of course, we discover this only after he’s signed a 5-year, 60 million dollar contract. At least “only” $25 million of it was guaranteed.

2. Shawn Bradley

For being 7’6″, second overall pick Shawn Bradley sure did manage to disappear on the Sixers team. While he did register eight blocks in his 1993 Sixers debut, getting all of our hopes as high as, well, him on tippy-toes, he managed to dash them quickly. After signing an 8-year, $44 million contract (the richest in Philadelphia history at the time) he was relative nonfactor in two-plus unsuccessful seasons here. Two years later, Bradley was traded to the Nets for Derrick Coleman, which is another kind of ignominy. We’ll forever remember The Stormin’ Mormon as the guy our opponents loved to dunk on.

1. Ryan Howard

Utley’s $27 million seems like Monopoly money when we compare it to Ryan Howard‘s 2010 five-year, $125 million extension for the Phillies — signed when he still had two years left on his existing contract. Mere months before his extension began, Howard suffered a career-altering injury to his Achilles tendon. Now, Howard is out six to eight weeks with a torn meniscus. Come 2016, one of the Phillies’ highest-paid players will be a 37-year-old, declining first baseman.

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