The Phillies Have Opened Spring Training

Phillies at Spring Training

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

It’s cold and overcast in Philadelphia today. But a thousand miles south in Clearwater, Florida, it’s in the 70s — and the Phillies have opened spring training.

Okay, only pitchers and catchers officially report on Tuesday. But some of them even showed up on Monday! And either way, players are out on the field throwing, team president Andy MacPhail gave a press conference, and the beat writers are all down there.

The Phillies are not expected to contend in 2017. Manager Pete Mackanin says he believes the Phils could be a .500 club this year. That would be a 10-game improvement on last year’s 71-win squad — not quite the glory days of somewhat-recent memory, but a decent improvement over the 63-win 2015 team without having added any splashy free agents. Read more »

Philly’s Biggest Losers of 2016

Background image by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia™

Background image by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia™

Now that the last shreds of wrapping paper have been vacuumed up and the good dishes are finally put away, we revisit our time-honored tradition of taking a look back at the year and the losers, miscreants, and ne’er-do-wells it spawned. (For a more optimistic view of Philadelphia, consider Holly Otterbein‘s Biggest Winners of 2016.)

Ed Rendell

The once-lovable former champion of the everyman now spends his time being largely irrelevant and making facepalm-worthy comments in places like the Washington Post. But when you’re pulling in a cool $5,000 each month to do virtually nothing for a casino in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, you probably don’t care. Read more »

Phillies Trade for Red Sox Pitcher Clay Buchholz

Clay Buchholz pitching for the Red Sox

Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports

The Phillies made a move today, trading a low-level prospect for two-time All-Star pitcher Clay Buchholz.

Second baseman Josh Tobias was sent to the Red Sox to complete the deal. Without a big payroll for 2017, the Phillies essentially bought Buchholz and his $13 million contract from the Sox for a lottery ticket.

Buchholz was an All Star as a starting pitcher with the Sox in 2010 and 2013; he also threw a no-hitter in just his second-ever start and won the World Series with the team in ’13. But he’s struggled in recent years. While he started the 2013 season on fire, he missed most of the year with a shoulder injury. The next season, after re-aggravating the injury in the playoffs, his ERA ballooned to 5.34.

After a so-so year in 2014, he struggled again last season and was moved to the bullpen. He had a 6.35 ERA in 10 starts before being shuttled to the bullpen; he eventually finished the season back in the starting rotation. He finished the year with a 4.78 ERA and a losing record. Read more »

The Phillie Phanatic Had Jury Duty Today

12 Angry Men parody - 11 men with the Phanatic photoshopped in

11 Angry Men and 1 Happy Phanatic | Phanatic photo by Terry Foote (license)

Is the Constitutional right to a fair trial abrogated when one of the jurors is the Phillie Phanatic?

That’s the question I have after the Phillie Phanatic walked into the Criminal Justice Center, passed through the metal detectors, and showed up at the jury selection room with a few hundred other Philadelphians for jury duty today today. Read more »

ThinkFest Preview: John Middleton on Innovation in Business, Sports and Philanthropy


The Phillies ownership used to be a group of silent partners. But, as Philadelphia magazine has chronicled, in recent years one co-owner has stepped into the spotlight: John Middleton. The former cigar magnate is the public face of Phillies ownership — and is on a quest to return the team to its glory days of, um, eight years ago.

On November 15th, Middleton will do a Q&A session at ThinkFest, Philadelphia magazine’s annual big ideas event.  Read more »

Six Years Ago Today, Roy Halladay Threw a Playoff No-Hitter

On October 6, 2010, the Phillies began their playoff series against the Reds with the best record in baseball — 97 games won in the regular season — for the first time in team history.

Their starting pitcher for that game was Roy Halladay, making his first postseason start after a long, successful career. He’d finished that season with 21 of the Phillies wins, a 2.44 ERA, nice complete games and four shutouts — including a perfect game. But how would he handle the playoffs?

What happened was incredible. The Phillies jumped out to a 4-0 lead after two innings, with Halladay knocking in one of the runs. The game was basically over. Doc cruised, walking just one, and striking out eight. And though he needed some heroics from Carlos Ruiz to get that final out, the result was the same: Halladay pitched only the second playoff no-hitter in baseball history. The Phillies have been around since 1883; five years ago today was one of the best moments of their history. Read more »

Ryan Howard’s Long Goodbye


For a second there, you could feel something familiar stirring in your chest again — a little surge of adrenaline, fluttering like a butterfly’s wings.

Ryan Howard had just reached out and swatted at a belt-high pitch, and the ball exploded off his bat the way it used to, and most of the people in the chilly ballpark leaned forward in anticipation the way they used to. If Harry Kalas had still been alive, his voice would’ve been climbing along with the spinning white dot, adding a touch of suspense for his listeners: “It could be… it might be…”

But Harry’s been gone for seven years now. The ball took a nose-dive at the warning track in centerfield, and slammed into a red Toyota advertisement in front of the bullpen. Howard, all 6-foot-4, 250 and some odd pounds of him, chug-a-lugged into second base with a double in his first at-bat in Citizens Bank Park on Friday night.

The fans gave him an appreciative round of applause. It was the first of his final three games in a Phillies uniform, maybe the final games of his storied 13-year career. If Howard allowed his eyes to roam the stands, he surely noticed whole sections of empty blue seats. Even worse, there was a large, vocal contingent of New York Mets fans in the house, chanting “Let’s go Mets!” like they owned the joint. So this was how the most joyful era in Phillies history was drawing to a close. Goddamn it all.  Read more »

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