Photo | Kim Klement, USA TODAY Sports
The ball bounced in front of the plate, and it looked like Roy Halladay’s no-hitter was over.
It was the first game of the 2010 playoffs. The Phillies, riding high off consecutive World Series trips, were looking to make another run. The Phillies grabbed a 4-0 lead after two innings — including an RBI and a run from Halladay — and the game was pretty much over. As Halladay mowed down batter after batter, things got even more special. He was going for only the second no-hitter in postseason baseball.
Of course it looked like it might end on a dribbler in front of the plate. But the batter, Brandon Phillips, dropped his bat in front of the plate. Carlos Ruiz was blocked for a half second. Phillips sprinted toward first. The Phillies were probably still going to win the game if Phillips got on, but the incredible moment of a playoff no-hitter would be wrecked.
Friends and I watched the game upstairs at Jose Pistola’s. The whole bar held its breath when that ball bounced in front of the plate. It seemed to take forever. We shouldn’t have been that worried: Ruiz waited for a beat, scooped up the ball and tossed it to Ryan Howard at first. The no-hitter had been preserved.
“I was lucky,” Ruiz said afterward. “It was hard. He’s a fast runner. I had to throw it hard.” Read more »
Eric Bruntlett only played two seasons with the Phillies. They were his last two seasons in Major League Baseball. And with good reason: The backup utility infielder and outfielder hit just .202 in his two seasons with the Phillies.
But he had quite a few incredible moments as a member of the Phils. He hit a home run in the 2008 World Series, and scored the winning run in Games 3 and 5. He also, amazingly, is just one of 15 players to turn an unassisted triple play. He’s just one of two whose unassisted triple play ended a game.
It happened seven years ago today, a feat even more impressive than an earthquake. (After all, there have been more than two earthquakes in Philadelphia, but only Bruntlett and Mickey Morandini turned unassisted triple plays for the Phillies.) Read more »
Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard | Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Major League Baseball announced today it had cleared Phillies slugger Ryan Howard in its investigation into the Al Jazeera performance-enhancing drug report released late last year.
The international media giant’s report into the world of sports doping used an undercover athlete to secretly record people peddling PEDs. It linked Howard, two-time Super Bowl champ Peyton Manning, Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman and others to edge-enhancing drugs. MLB cleared Zimmerman today also; the NFL is investigating other football players named in the report.
“This thorough investigation did not find any violations of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program by either Howard of Zimmerman,” MLB said in its statement. “Both Howard and Zimmerman fully cooperated with the Office of the Commissioner’s investigation.” Charlie Sly, the pharmacist secretly recorded in the report who accused the two baseball players, did not cooperate with MLB. Read more »
Lost in the hub-bub over Chase Utley’s return to Philadelphia was this: It was also Beatles night! On August 16th, 1966, the Beatles played JFK Stadium — which once stood catty-corner from Citizens Bank Park, roughly.
That show cost $5 and got you 11 songs. The stadium was about a third full. The Beatles would only play nine more shows.
The Phillies brought out Philadelphia’s Official Designated Beatles Stand-In™, Larry Kane, and Beatles tribute band Britishmania. The Phillies’ in-stadium crew also photoshopped the Phillies to be wearing mop-top Beatles hair. Presented below, a collection of those edits. Read more »
Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley waves to the crowd after he hit a grand slam against the Philadelphia Phillies during the seventh inning at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday, August 16, 2016.
It wouldn’t be a sporting event in Philadelphia without a fan controversy.
This one was different, though. Instead of an incident involving a boorish fan that people needed to condemn — or explain — Philly fans are now in trouble for cheering too much. Cheering too much! This was a weird one.
It involved Chase Utley. He made his return to Philadelphia for the first time since the Phillies traded him to the Dodgers last season. Utley is no longer the player he once was; he’s been a below-average hitter this season. But against the Phillies last night, he looked like the Chase of old. He hit two homers, including a grand slam, in the Dodgers’ 15-5 destruction of the Phillies.
And, after both home runs, he was cheered. Extensively. And got a curtain call out of the dugout each time. It caused a bit of concern. Analyst (and former player) Marlon Anderson said on the postgame show it was disrespectful to Phillies pitchers to cheer the opposition so much. “Was it OK to cheer?” was the topic of discussion on Breakfast on Broad. Sports talk radio is buzzing. People are talking about it on Twitter. Was the cheering too much? Read more »
It seems like it was just yesterday when you could walk out your door, go to breakfast at Morning Glory and run into Chase Utley.
But those days are long gone. The Phillies, while improving, are not the team they were 10 years ago or even five years ago. And Chase Utley was traded to the Dodgers about a year ago. He even put his Gladwyne home, where Allen Iverson also once lived, on the market.
Tonight, though, Utley returns to Philadelphia as the Dodgers play the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park for the first time since the trade. “It’s going to be good to see them, shake some hands, say hi, but once the game starts, it’s all business,” Utley said before the Phillies played the Dodgers in Los Angeles last week. Utley homered against the Phillies in his first game. Read more »
The Phillies may have made one of the best trades in franchise history last year.
Okay, that’s a bit much. But the deal that sent Jonathan Papelbon to the Washington Nationals for Nick Pivetta is looking like a winner. Pivetta had a 3.41 ERA with the Reading Fightin Phils this season before getting called up to AAA Lehigh Valley recently, while Papelbon was recently released.
Papelbon requested his release from the team; he was no longer its closer. But his whole tenure with the Nationals was a disaster. Last season, he choked out star Bryce Harper in the dugout. He was booed at the home opener. Read more »
Maikel Franco celebrates with Tommy Joseph after the final out against the Colorado Rockies at Citizens Bank Park on Saturday.
The Phillies won five consecutive division titles from 2007 to 2011. Before their run of success in the NL East, they were competitive almost every season from 2001 to 2006. They were fun to watch down the stretch for pretty much a decade. Even in those years before their run, they got pretty close to the playoffs. They were fun to watch in August and September.
The team’s fortunes have declined since their 102-win season (and subsequent first-round playoff exit) in 2011. The Phillies were close-ish to the Wild Card in 2012, finishing seven games back. They had the worst record in baseball last season. But this year, after an 8-4 start to the month of August, the Phillies are just 6.5 games back of making the playoffs. Sure, there are four teams between them and the St. Louis Cardinals, currently the second Wild Card. But who cares? Wild card fever, baby!
In reality, the Phillies are probably not going to make the playoffs this season. But that we can even pretend they’re in the hunt for that second NL wild-card spot is a reason to be optimistic about the future. The worst is over. Yes, these are the Phillies, still, but it seems like they’ll be good again in the next few years. Read more »
I have to set this up for a minute, so strap in.
Next week, Gawker founder/owner Nick Denton and his partners are selling the site, as a result of the bankruptcy the company was forced into after it lost a lawsuit to Hulk Hogan and ordered to pay the former pro wrestler $140 million for posting Hulk Hogan’s sex tape on the site. Hogan’s lawsuit was one of many funded by Facebook billionaire Peter Thiel, who wanted to destroy the site for a 2007 post titled, “Peter Thiel is totally gay, people.” Denton filed for bankruptcy, and former Gawker editor (and Philadelphia magazine staffer) A.J. Daulerio has had his checking account frozen.
Got that? The important thing to know: This is the last week of Gawker as an independent company — Ziff-Davis has already submitted a bid around $100 million — and, last night, Gawker held an “end of an era” party for current and former staffers.
Then, from outside, Denton was heckled by Pistachio Girl. Read more »
In a 6-5 win over the Padres yesterday, the Phillies turned their first triple play in almost seven years. You can watch it above!
The play took place in the bottom of the 7th inning, with the Phillies clinging to a 6-5 lead. It was the most important play of the game, obviously.
Padres rookie Jabari Blash came to the plate with runners on first and second and no outs. Edubray Ramos had walked the first two batters of the inning. But Blash’s hit down the third base line went right to Maikel Franco. He tagged third, threw to Cesar Hernandez, who threw to Tommy Joseph at first to complete the Phillies’ first triple play in almost seven years. Read more »