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.
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!
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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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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On the plus side, it wasn’t the demon blood-red communist Phillie Phanatic. On the downside, the Phillies hot dog gun appears to be about as prepared for the season as the Phillies.
Some GIFs of the carnage (or, rather, lack thereof) follow.
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In a recent game against the Cincinnati Reds, Cliff Lee was inexplicably picked off as pinch runner and made a crap ninth-inning mess of it. The Phillies won anyway, but even better than the surprise win was the attention his locally made t-shirt received by national press. The shirt, which reads “Don’t Worry Be Charlie,” is one of a series of Philly-centric beautes by South Philly print shop Hog Island Press. Here’s a Manuel inspirational quote that goes with the shirt:
“You know what they call that? Baseball. I’ve been in baseball for 40-some years and I haven’t been able to figure this game out. That’s what makes you care. That’s what makes you come back the next day and try harder. It’s hard to explain this game. It’s amazing.”
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The most remarkable thing about the new list of the 25 highest-paid athletes in Philadelphia that it’s an orthopedist’s dream. Phillies pitchers Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay lead the list at $21.5 million and $2o million apiece—deals that made sense when they were signed, even if 2012 was a bit of a bummer for them. But get the next three names on the list:
• Ryan Howard: $20 million.
• Andrew Bynum: $16.889 million.
• Chase Utley: $15.285 million.
So much money. So few healthy knees.
Now, Howard and Utley brought us a World Series championship back in 2008, so Philadelphians are inclined to be patient. Bynum’s another matter—he still hasn’t played his first game for the 76ers, since a trade that many observers hoped would transform Doug Collins’ crew into championship contenders.
Still: What that means is that three of the top-five most expensive athletes spent a huge chunk of 2012 sidelined with knee injuries of various sorts. And come to think of it: The entirety of that top five served up mediocre performances during the year. The worst part? We can’t blame Andy Reid for any of it. [Philadelphia Business Journal]
The Phillies fire sale might not be over just yet. The team put Cliff Lee on waivers on Thursday. That means that if another team claims Lee, the Phils can allow the team to take his contract or negotiate a trade with that team. If he clears waivers, the Phillies will be able to trade Lee to any team, but would likely have to eat a healthy portion of his contract to get top-tier prospects in return. The whole process is relatively routine and doesn’t necessarily indicate that Cliff Lee is going to be anything other than a Phillie. [CBS 3]
The 2012 Major League Baseball season is more than a third of the way done. Ryan Howard and Chase Utley have combined for zero at-bats in the Bigs, Roy Halladay is on the DL for another month or so, and the Nationals are in first place. Cue trade talks. New York Post columnist Joel Sherman seems to think that the Phils would be best served to deal Cliff Lee to the Yankees for younger talent—something the organization desperately needs. This is what happens when your baseball team has lost 12 of 15 games and is nine back from the division leaders. [NY Post]
Sports Illustrated recently asked 227 Major League Baseball players to name the most overrated pitcher in baseball. Four Phillies were named in the top 15 that made the list. Jonathan Papelbon ranked 5th. Lee, Halladay and Hamels ranked 11th, 13th, and 15th respectively. Um, Doc threw a no-hitter and a perfect game in 2010—and one of those games came in October. So, we’re going to go ahead and call shenanigans. [S.I.]
Alas, the prodigal son hath returned. The Phils activated Cliff Lee today just in time for him to make a start in South Philly against the Mets tonight. Lee was put on the 15-day DL after his 10-inning shutout performance in a loss to the Giants last month. His strained oblique kept him out a little longer than anticipated. To make room for the ace, the Phils sent Michael Schwimer and his 8.53 (woof) ERA to Lehigh Valley. [Phillies]
Phillies Lose. Cliff Lee threw 10 shutout innings and it wasn’t good enough. This just in: Apparently you have to score runs to win baseball games? Who knew? Phils were shut out 1-0 in 11 innings.[MLB]
Flyers Lose. We’re never going to talk about Game 4 again starting right now. [The 700 Level]
Who Would Steal 8,000 Golf Balls? Four people were arrested outside Newtown Square’s Aronimink Country Club as police allege that they swiped 8,000 golf balls from that facility and one other course. Don’t spend too much time thinking about why they need that many golf balls; that’s how people suffer aneurisms. [NBC Philadelphia]
Dykstra Sentenced. The Dude has been sentenced to nine months in prison after pleading no contest to charges that he exposed himself to women who responded to his Craigslist ads for personal assistants and housekeepers. [6 ABC]
Glouco Voters Reject Three School Budgets. Three Glouco school districts were among the seven in Jersey that had their budgets rejected by voters. Only 73 districts in the state opted to hold elections this week as opposed to moving them back to November. [Inquirer]
Police Searching for “Silent Bandit.” A guy has allegedly robbed five grocery-store banks in Pennsylvania and Jersey without saying a word. [CBS 3]
If the Sixers Beat the Caveliers…But no one in Philadelphia was watching, does it make a sound? [Yahoo!]