Work Resumes on Walnut Street Phillies Mural

mural_400x400The city is back to work on a larger-than-life mural celebrating Phillies history.

The mural, designed by artist David McShane — who has been behind other baseball-related murals curated by the Mural Arts Program — and painted by members of the Phillies (including Mike Schmidt) and greater Philadelphia communities, will come to fruition over the next seven weeks, according to KYW. That’s just in time for Phillies Alumni Weekend July 31st-August 2nd. Read more »

What They’re Saying About Cornelius Randolph

The surely-they’re-rebuilding-now Phillies picked 10th in the MLB draft Monday night and came away with Cornelius Randolph, said to be the best high school hitter in the country. Here’s what else they’re saying about him. Read more »

Ruben Amaro Jr. Is the Worst Executive in Sports

PhilliesGM-final

Photo illustration | Alyse Moyer 
Amaro as player | USA Today Sports; Amaro as GM | Matt Slocum, AP; glove and field | Shutterstock.com

1. Origins

IN THE WINTER OF 1991, Phillies general manager Lee Thomas sent an aging outfielder named Von Hayes packing for California. Hayes had been one of the few bright spots for the dismal succession of losing teams trotted out in Philadelphia after their last-gasp 1983 World Series run. The lanky outfielder had himself been part of a blockbuster 1982 trade with the Cleveland Indians — the famed “5 for 1” deal in which the Phillies sent (among other pieces) infielder Julio Franco to the Tribe. Franco went on to have one of the more interesting careers in baseball history — interesting in a would-you-look-at-that, Jamie Moyer kind of way, not in a first-ballot hall of famer kind of way. After a fairly standard trajectory that included roughly a 7-year peak as a star player and then the inevitable decline, Franco went on to play forever, racking up over 2,500 hits by grinding it out until he was 48, retiring after 2007 and spending approximately eight nanoseconds on the Hall of Fame ballot. As has been the case with most of the trades made in the history of the Philadelphia Phillies, our heroes got the short end of the original Von Hayes deal. Read more »

WATCH: Maikel Franco Keeps Hitting Huge Homers for the Phillies

Things haven’t been fun, baseball-wise, in South Philadelphia recently. A seven-game losing streak meant the Phillies ended May with the second-worst record in baseball. Ruben Amaro angered fans with his comments. Only around 25,000 fans are going to each game.

But the last two nights have been good — both for the Phillies now and for the future. Maikel Franco, the third baseman called up on May 15th, has homered in back to back games. These weren’t just any homers: Tuesday night’s came with the Phillies down 2 runs in the bottom of the eighth. Last night’s was even bigger: Franco hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game at 4.

Making things even better, Franco had actually broken up Mike Leake‘s no-hit bid in the seventh inning. The Phillies won a game in which they trailed 4-0 going into the ninth and didn’t have a hit for six-plus innings. Not bad!

Both times, the Phillies won the game on a walkoff not long after Franco’s homer: On Tuesday Darin Ruf singled home Odubel Herrera in the 9th, while Cody Asche scored on an error in the 11th last night. Read more »

11 Best Things About Going to A Reading Fightin Phils Game

Reading Fightin Phils

The Reading Fightin Phils (plus a leprechaun) stand for the national anthem before Saturday’s game. (Photo | Dan McQuade)

It was Irish night at the Reading Fightin Phils, and so a leprechaun was on the field before the game.

I don’t think he was an actual leprechaun, just an actor dressed as one. He — along with turtle, dog and baseball head creature mascots — patrolled the field pregame and hyped up the crowd. Multiple mascots would wander through the stadium throughout the game, entertaining children. I’d eventually pass the leprechaun in the concourse. “You say you want to be a mascot when you grow up?” he said to a kid.

With the Phillies having their most dismal season 15 years, I decided it was time to take a trip up to Reading to watch the Fightin Phils to see some Phillies prospects take the field. It was a good time! Here are my 11 favorite things about this Reading Fightin Phils game on Saturday. Read more »

5 Years Ago Today, Roy Halladay Was Perfect

May 29, 2010; Miami, FL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Roy Halladay (34) celebrates with catcher Carlos Ruiz (51) and Ryan Howard (6) after pitching a perfect game against the Florida Marlins at Sun Life Stadium. Philadelphia Phillies defeated the Marlins 1-0 Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

May 29, 2010; Miami, FL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Roy Halladay (34) celebrates with catcher Carlos Ruiz (51) and Ryan Howard (6) after pitching a perfect game against the Florida Marlins at Sun Life Stadium. Philadelphia Phillies defeated the Marlins 1-0 Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

I didn’t notice until the fifth inning.

I was actually at a hockey bar. Arthur Etchells had recommended it to me to watch Olympic hockey earlier that year, and the Flyers were opening the Stanley Cup Finals that night. T.A. Flannery’s was the kind of bar where the regulars swore the Guinness there was the best pint in the city. “My dad’s very Catholic, and he always had a firearm behind the bar,” said actress Kate Flannery (Meredith on The Office), whose grandfather founded the bar. How fortunate I was to be in such a great place to watch sports on such a special sports night.

It was a great scene. When Ville Leino scored first for the Flyers, the bar screamed in celebration. Butch Flannery gave everyone free shots. But as the hockey game continued — and the Flyers fell behind — our attention turned to baseball. Normally, it wouldn’t have: The Phillies were coming off consecutive pennants, and they were playing the Marlins. This was a win.

But as the first period ended, I checked my phone. No hits yet for the Marlins! We all played along with the baseball superstition and didn’t say the words “no hitter.” Eventually, the bar noticed it wasn’t just a no-hitter: It was a perfect game. We roared when we figured it out. Eventually, the TVs and the sound in the bar turned to the Phillies. The Flyers ended up losing that game (and the series), but we a pretty amazing consolation prize. Read more »

Ruben Amaro’s Big Problem

Philadelphia Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. not making a trade. Photo | Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. not making a trade. Photo | Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Ruben Amaro Jr. has an affliction that baseball people, far and wide, and through decades of time, call the “red ass.”

It is not a physical, but mental condition where emotions get inflamed very quickly. In the case of Amaro, last week, his red ass came as a result of his professional competency being questioned by fans who he felt had no business questioning his competency.

After all, he’s the general manager of the Philadelphia Phillies. He’s the one with the baseball pedigree. And you’re just a schmoe fan who watches the game from your Barcalounger with a bag of Doritos perched upon your ample stomach. See, that’s just the type of thing that would give an insecure guy like Amaro the red ass. Read more »

Phillies’ GM Apologizes for Lashing Out at Fans

Phillies’ GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has apologized for saying the team’s fans “don’t understand the game.”

“I’m a fan myself,” Amaro said Tuesday, after his comments drew attention from across the sporting world. “I understand the passion and the knowledge that our fans have for our game and the other major sports, all the other sports in Philly. The comments weren’t meant to disparage our fans by any stretch of the imagination. I probably used my words incorrectly or poorly. I want to apologize for that.” Read more »

Phillies Promote Actual Prospect

Mar 4, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco (7) singled during the fourth inning against the New York Yankees at a spring training game at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Mar 4, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco (7) singled during the fourth inning against the New York Yankees at a spring training game at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Phillies are 13-23. They’re last in the NL East. Only two teams in the NL have fewer wins than our Fightin’ Phils. It’s only May, but this season is already lost.

But not everything is bad. The Phillies do actually have some intriguing prospects in the pipeline. And today, they called up their most promising one: Maikel Franco. He is the team’s third baseman of the future.

Franco, who hit .355 with 12 doubles and 4 homers for the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs this year, was the Baseball America’s No. 17-rated prospect in 2014. (He fell to No. 56 this year, but whatever, let’s ignore that.) The native of the Dominican Republic was signed by the Phillies as an international free agent in 2010. Read more »

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