Ryan Howard Spent $80K on Doorknobs

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Days after reporting his Blue Bell home was pending sale and speculating to where the Big Piece was headed, we now find out his beachfront estate, which reportedly rang up to $5.8 million in construction costs, is closer to completion than we imagined.

Situated just 10 miles from the Phillies’ spring training complex in Clearwater, the home will include two kitchens, two elevators, three laundry rooms, bowling alley, wine room, two-story library, and (you can take moment to catch your breath now) a trophy room, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

And then there are the doorknobs: Read more »

The Phillies Are Losers (and Always Will Be) — the Case for Bringing Back the A’s

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Q: When there were two teams in this town, how did people decide whether to be Phillies fans or A’s fans?

A: You didn’t decide. You were an A’s fan.

That was b-roll from an interview I did with author Bruce Kuklick a couple of years ago, but it reiterates what I have heard time and time again over the years: that this was always a Philadelphia A’s town, until Connie Mack’s sons Roy and Earle took on more debt than they could repay and sold out to New York interests, who promptly moved the team to Kansas City and set them up as a de facto farm team for the Yankees. Bruce continued:

My uncle grew up a Phillies fan, and he was regarded as a loser. My mother called him the last male virgin in captivity. She told us growing up that our Uncle Buck “needed someone to follow him around with toilet paper.”

After all, one would need to have some sort of mental or emotional issues to cheer for a Phillies team that finished under .500 in 30 of the 31 years from 1918-1948 (the one year above .500 they finished at 78-76). Especially when there was a team in a nicer ballpark (Shibe Park was a modern marvel when it was erected in 1909, the Baker Bowl was always a dump) six blocks away that was well-run, well-respected, and that won five World Series while in Philly.

It simply made no sense to be a Phillies fan, because they were a franchise that never had a plan, never had a clue, an embarrassment that dove into the cellar each year as soon as the season started and stayed there.

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Mets Accidentally Give Out Truck With Phillies Logo

The Mets gave out a W.B. Mason toy truck over the weekend, because that’s the type of giveaway the company likes to sponsor. (The Phillies also had a toy truck giveaway sponsored by the company — a Northeast U.S. paper company, so essentially the real-life Dunder Mifflin.) But — whoops! — at least one Mets truck had the Phillies logo on it.

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How Badly Did the Phillies Blow the Trade Deadline? Even the Mets Look Good by Comparison

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

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. on July 25th, not making a trade.  Photo | Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The MLB trade deadline is over, and as many Phillies fans prayed wouldn’t happen — but knew deep down inside it would — GM Ruben Amaro Jr. did nothing. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Sitting at 14 games under .500 and sinking, the Phils could very well be teetering on the brink of the same abyss that swallowed up the Mets post-2008. Making matters worse, the other four teams in the NL East all took distinct turns for the better at this year’s deadline. After a look at the future prospects for the Mets, Marlins, Braves and Nationals, you might want to cover your eyes.

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Ryan Howard’s Blue Bell Home Is Pending Sale

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Exterior shot of Ryan Howard’s Blue Bell home.

Ryan Howard’s custom-made home in Montgomery County, placed on the market in June, is now pending sale. The deal is expected to close sometime in August, according to Philly.com. What does it mean? Where is Howard going? When? Will the Phils release him?

From a baseball standpoint, we don’t know right now. But from a real estate standpoint, we do know this: He’s certainly not going to live in his still-in-construction 20-room Florida mansion. He used to spend time in Rittenhouse Square, where pals Cliff Lee and Jonathan Papelbon settled, as PhillyChitChat’s HughE Dillon noted in October:

Whatever the case, the sale of his Deerfield Estates home is a lucky break. The property may have attracted more curious fans than actual potential buyers in the beginning, as hinted by the listing’s closing line: “Only qualified buyers, please. Listing agent must accompany…” 

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Save the Date: BBQ at the Ballpark

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On August 23rd, the 7th Annual BBQ at the Ballpark happens at the Jetro lot next to Citizens Bank Park. From 2 to 7 p.m., there will be barbecue, beer, and games. Sweet Lucy’s Smokehouse will be serving the food while Conshohocken Brewing, Neshaminy Creek Brewing, Philadelphia Brewing, Sly Fox Brewing, and Weyerbacher Brewing will be pouring the beer. Plus for the kid inside all of us, or the actual kid you bring, J-Dogs Amusements will be bringing the games.

This year, all proceeds will go to the Marianne E. Mebert Memorial Fund. The charity is close to the hearts of Rolling Barrel, as one of the co-founders recently lost their mother, Marianne Mebert, to Triple Negative Breast Cancer. Tickets will be $48.50 per person, $28.50 for designated drives, or $22.50 for kids under 12. To purchase tickets, click here.

BBQ at the Ballpark [Official]

How to Fix the Philadelphia Phillies

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It doesn’t really seem that long ago. It was, though. I was 23 in 2006. Ryan Howard was three years older. And when I went to that game at Citizens Bank Park, Howard did something I’d never seen in person before: He hit three home runs in a game.

And they were off Tim Hudson, too! Though he was having a bad 2006, Hudson was a star in Oakland previously and had already beaten the Phillies twice that season. Howard hit his 50th, 51st, and 52nd homers of the season off Hudson that day with relative ease. As he stood on the dugout steps after Howard’s third homer, Jimmy Rollins shook his head at the scene. He couldn’t believe it. Up in the 400 level, my friends and I did the same. We were Phillies fans, and this new guy — who was just in his first full year in the majors, having played only 88 games in his Rookie of the Year season in 2005 — looked like he was going to win MVP.

He did. The Phillies made the playoffs the next year, and started a five-season run that was the best in the franchise’s history. The Phillies were baseball’s new powerhouse: Five division titles, two pennants and a World Series win. Howard never had a year like his 2006 MVP season, but he followed that 58-homer season with years of 48, 47 and 45 home runs. In six seasons from 2006 to 2011, Howard gave the Phillies six good-to-great seasons of offensive production. He put up great numbers in the 2008 World Series and was MVP of the 2009 NLCS. He had inflated counting stats thanks to the Phillies’ potent offense and was a mess defensively, but he was a star.

He tore his Achilles coming out of the box in the final at-bat of the Phillies’ disappointing 1-0 loss in Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS. He was never the same player again, though some said he was figured out in the 2009 World Series against the Yankees. A lot of the other stars of the 2007 to 2011 Phillies had sharp declines along with Howard, but Howard’s decline has been the linchpin, at least in terms of amount of coverage it’s received.

Last Wednesday, the Phillies benched Howard against a tough lefthander. It seemed like a platoon with Darin Ruf was coming, but then came reports the Phillies were looking to trade Howard and willing to pay most of his $60 million contract to do so. Other reports had them ready to release him outright, though general manager Ruben Amaro said the team wasn’t considering cutting him. Amaro said Howard will stay with the club and be a productive player again, but Howard sat again Friday night. Three seasons after losing just 60 games and finishing with the best record in the team’s history, the Phillies are 44-58. Howard’s benching is just the first domino.

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