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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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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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.”

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Heidi Hamels Is More Than Just Mrs. Cole Hamels

Photo by Christopher Gabello.

Photo by Christopher Gabello.

Heidi Hamels will hate the way this story begins.

But this is where her story must begin, because without it, the farm girl never becomes a celebrity, which is how she meets a handsome young man with a wicked changeup who asks her to marry him, and that handsome man doesn’t win a World Series, or tell his wife that her passion is his passion and yes, to take briefcases full of his money and create a foundation that will, without exaggeration, save the lives of children in a far-away country he’s never stepped foot in, and to adopt an orphan from another far-away country, and while she’s at it, to give a little hope to the rundown public schools in the city they now call home.

So the story starts here: Heidi Strobel, as she was known then, standing on a wooden perch in the middle of a blackwater river in the Amazon, hungry and exhausted in the way that makes you do strange things, preparing to take her clothes off for Oreo cookies and peanut butter and a soda in front of what would later be a national television audience. To everyone watching—maybe even herself—it seemed as though she’d traded her dignity for a snack and a morsel of fame, without knowing she was actually about to take her first step toward something much bigger. Naked and unafraid, Heidi jumped.
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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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Cole and Heidi Hamels Adopt Baby From Ethiopia

Cole and Heidi Hamels have always been one of Philadelphia’s most beautiful couples—but it turns out they’re beautiful on the inside, too. We’ll get the details tonight on 6 ABC:

Cole Hamels Unhappy With Philly School Closures

Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels plans a sitdown with School Supt. William Hite soon; The Notebook reports he’s angry that the list of Philadelphia public schools slated for closure includes three schools to which he’s donated playground and library equipment.

Hamels Foundation operations officer G-N Kang said she and other officials were “shocked and surprised” to find that three Hamels-supported schools were on the District’s list of 37 proposed closures. The schools include Bayard Taylor Elementary, whose new $317,000 playground opened last summer; Wilson Elementary, which received a $50,000 playground in 2010; and Shaw Middle School, which received a $50,000 “family resource and professional development center” for its library in 2011.

Kang said that the foundation would lobby to keep the three schools open, as well as Fairhill Elementary, which has received foundation support for adult literacy programs.

Hamels sits down with Hite before the end of this month, but he may not have any leverage by virtue of his donations: “Legally it was a donation,” Kang said.  ”So at the end of the day, they have the final say.” [The Notebook]

Cole Hamels Will Miss Start Due to a Gastrointestinal Illness

Cole Hamels doesn’t feel so hot. The Phils ace will miss his Wednesday start against the Mets due to gastrointestinal illness. Yum. Instead of spending anytime worrying about the details of that, we’ll focus on the fact that the Phillies have called up Tyler Cloyd to make his Major League debut in Hamels’ place. Cloyd is a 25-year-old RHP who has posted a 12-1 record with Lehigh Valley this season.

HughE Dillon: Hamels Foundation Diamonds and Denim 2012

Last night at the Crystal Tea Room, Heidi and Cole Hamels hosted their third annual Diamonds and Denim gala to raise money for the Hamels Foundation, which supports inner-city schools in the U.S., as well as Malawi’s one million orphans and victims of the AIDS/HIV virus. Here with the Hamels is model, actress, and choreographer Tammy Jean (second from right), wearing “body art” by Kerry Ann Smith (left) from About Face II.
 
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