Hey, the Phillies Are Going to Be Fun Again This Year

Philadelphia Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera.

Philadelphia Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera.

You should be excited about the Phillies this season.

The Phils open their season today at 4:10 in Cincinnati against the Reds. They are not expected to be good. One projection system says they will lose 90-plus games again.

But, things will be better. It’s not just that the Phillies probably won’t lose 99 games again. The team seems to be on the upswing. Most of the players are new; the only holdovers from the World Series team are Carlos Ruiz and Ryan Howard. The only holdover from last year’s opening day pitching staff is Jeanmar Gomez, a reliever who pitched in 65 games for the Phils in 2015.

It’s going to be a weird season. Today’s Opening Day starter is Jeremy Hellickson, the 2011 Rookie of the Year with Tampa Bay who has struggled the last three seasons. The Phillies acquired him, per multiple reports, in the hopes he’d bounce back so they could trade him for prospects in July. It’s Opening Day, and the Phillies are already showcasing for scouts. Read more »

IronPigs to Wear Phillies-Style Powder Blue Jerseys on Sundays

Lehigh Valley IronPigs powder blue jerseys

Photo courtesy Lehigh Valley IronPigs

The Lehigh Valley IronPigs are turning back the clock this year — on Sundays, at least.

Today, the Phillies’ AAA minor league affiliate announced a “historic agreement” with Majestic that makes it the first minor league baseball team to don “the same revolutionary Flex Base uniform system” that major league players wear. (I’ll go with Magna Carta, Treaty of Paris and this Iron Pigs/Majestic thing as the three top agreements of all time.)

So, some Phillies minor leaguers will have state-of-the-art jerseys this season. Great! But, more importantly, the IronPigs introduced some alternate jerseys this year — including one that pays tribute to the powder blues worn by the Phillies in the 1970s and ’80s. Read more »

Phillies Sign Manager Pete Mackanin to New Contract

Philadelphia Phillies manager Pete Mackanin watches batting practice before a spring training baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Thursday, March 24, 2016, in Kissimmee, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Phillies manager Pete Mackanin watches batting practice before a spring training baseball game against the Atlanta Braves. | AP Photo/John Raoux

The Phillies apparently like what they see in Pete Mackanin.

Originally just an interim manager after Ryne Sandberg stepped down last June, Mackanin was signed to a one-year deal with an option for 2017 late last season. Now the Phillies have ripped up that deal and signed Mackanin to a two-year deal with a team option for the 2018 season. The team announced the deal today. Read more »

Phillies Bring Back Kentucky Bluegrass to Infield

The old infield, during the 2015 season.

The old infield, during the 2015 season.

The Phillies are bringing Kentucky bluegrass back to their infield — the same type of turf they played on during the earliest years of Citizens Bank Park, including the 2008 World (Bleeping) Series championship.

The club had replaced the turf with Bermuda grass before the 2012 season, since Bermuda can take the punishment of hot summers and 80-plus games a little better. But players didn’t like it much.

The Wall Street Journal this week named the Phillies’ turf switch one of the changes to look for across the league this 2016 season: Read more »

You Can Go to Almost Every Phillies Home Game in April for $50 Total

Citizens Bank Park, July 2015

Photo | Dan McQuade

The Phillies are coming off a 99-loss season. They probably won’t be good this year — again. But a night at the ballpark is still a fun time, even if the Phillies are losing. And, this year, the Phillies are offering a heck of a deal for the first month of the season: Every game in April, besides Opening Day, for fifty bucks.

The Phillies’ “Spring Pass” will get you into 12 April Games — every game except Opening Day. Your seats will change from game to game, but they will be in the Terrace, Terrace Deck, Pavilion, Pavilion Deck, or Outfield sections. Read more »

Phillies Minor League Squad Will be the Cheesesteaks for One Night

The Phillies farm team will be the Cheesesteaks for one special night.

The Phillies farm team will be the Cheesesteaks for one special night | Via the Lehigh Valley IronPigs

The Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the Phillies AAA minor league affiliate knows the best way to a fan’s heart is through his stomach. On Sundays the team sports bacon themed caps, jerseys and pants. This season the team will change its name to the Cheesesteaks for one night as a salute to the IronPigs Major League parent, the Philadelphia Phillies.

The team is currently holding a contest to decide the on-field cap to wear with their cheesesteaks jerseys; two versions are available to choose from, one with onions and one “witout.” Voting for #TeamWit or #TeamWitOut is being held via social media and on the website, LVcheesesteaks.com.

Read more »

Report: Phillies Offer Maikel Franco 6-Year, $39M Deal

Maikel Franco hits a three-run home run off Pirates relief pitcher Guido Knudson on Friday, March 18th.

Maikel Franco hits a three-run home run off Pirates relief pitcher Guido Knudson on Friday, March 18th.

Maikel Franco has been a man possessed this spring. He’s hit seven homers already — the most in all of baseball during spring training. Just today, he singled to break up a no-hitter in an exhibition game. Going into today’s game, he was hitting .325 on the spring — with a ridiculous .850 slugging percentage.

The second-year slugger, just 23 years old, is looking like he could have a big season. And now the Phillies are trying to lock him up for a long time.

Here’s the deal, though: With the way baseball works, Franco is actually already “locked up” until 2022. This deal would essentially be buying out all of his arbitration years, which begin in 2018, until he hits free agency. Read more »

You Need to Vote for the Nats to Have a Jonathan Papelbon Bobblehead

Jonathan Papelbon - Washington Nationals bobblehead

Papelbon photo by James G, used under a Creative Commons license

There’s nothing that Philadelphia sports fans like more than trolling a player they used to root for, especially if that player left under less-than-ideal circumstances. (In the last 30 years or so, this is basically the set of every former Phillies player except for Geoff Jenkins — who won the 2008 World Series with the Phillies and never played another major league game.)

That being said, Philly fans really like to stick it to a guy who had an incredibly weird career in Philadelphia, one that included grabbing his crotch when fans booed him and ended with a trade to a division rival. Yes, you can vote today to give Jonathan Papelbon a bobblehead at the Washington Nationals’ home game on September 9th. Read more »

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