We want athletes to be clutch, to perform best when the pressure’s on. But we don’t want them to be terrible when the pressure is off either. Enter this quote, from Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon:
(Originally published in the March 1996 issue of Philadelphia magazine.)
The first game is still months away, and the chain-link fence that separates the Philadelphia Phillies’ spring home from the surrounding pawnshops and junkyards and trailer parks is in desperate need of repair. Though the team’s first annual January mini-camp doesn’t open for 24 hours, coaches and players park, brace against the brisk Florida chill, and straggle into the clubhouse. It’s been three months since they’ve seen each other, three months since anyone’s had a reason to set an alarm clock.
The coaches gather in a small, windowless locker room tucked under the rightfield stands of Clearwater’s Jack Russell Memorial Stadium. It has cinder-block walls, a drop ceiling, scant ventilation but just enough space for two rows of lockers and a boardroom-size folding table. As usual, manager Jim Fregosi sits at the head. The table is empty except for his elbows, his Kools and his lighter. Starting tomorrow, he will see what kind of shape his players are in and give them a chance to get to know each other (only ten remain from the team that played in the World Series two years ago). For now, someone throws a videotape into a VCR, and suddenly Fregosi comes face-to-face with the almost perfect season of 1993. On a Samsung TV bolted to a wall, he has a 3-0 lead in the ninth inning of Game Five against the Braves-but Mitch Williams is stretching in the bullpen.
“Is he done now?” Glenn Brummer, a minor-league coach, asks about the Wild Thing’s current career.
“He was done then,” says Fregosi.
Read more »
For Philadelphians around my age, the 1993 Phillies are the first great Philly team we remember. We weren’t born yet in 1980. The title-winning Sixers in ’83 or the conference champ Flyers in ’87. People in their 20s probably don’t remember Buddy Ryan’s Eagles defenses, unless it’s from Tecmo Super Bowl. Yes, the 1993 Phillies are the First Great Philadelphia Sports team of Millennials.
Some teams are defined by history — as much as sportswriters are historians — by their managers, like Buddy Ryan’s Eagles. The ’93 Phillies were always a team defined by the players — the chest-pounding, beer-swilling, pennant-winning bunch that went from 70 wins the previous year to 97 in 1993. “Fat, drunk and endearing,” was how Philadelphia magazine described them in a retrospective in 2012.
But it’s Jim Fregosi, who died this morning at the age of 71, who was somehow able to manage this team to two wins of the World Series. He was a sarcastic, wise-cracking ex-ballplayer whose attitude seemed to fit the team perfectly.
Jim Fregosi, a former All-Star shortstop who spent 53 years in professional baseball as a player, manager and scout, passed away early Friday morning, six days after suffering multiple strokes during an MLB alumni cruise.
“He passed away at 2:36 a.m. [ET],” according to Jim Fregosi Jr., the oldest son of the 71-year-old Fregosi. “Went in peace with no pain.”
NJ.com reports: “After weeks of speculation, it looks like the Phillies have indeed come to an agreement with free-agent pitcher A.J. Burnett. According to Jim Salisbury of Comcast SportsNet, the Phillies and Burnett have agreed on a one-year deal with Burnett. The deal is reportedly worth $16 million, according to Hayden Balgavy of THV11 in Arkansas. Balgavy was the first to report the signing.”
Read more »
For the last few decades, I’ve counted myself among the, oh, 500 million or so Philadelphians who loathed Chris Wheeler’s broadcasting of Phillies games. Because, honestly, wasn’t there just so much to loathe? The droning. The whining. The tedious breakdown of why, on the road, with two outs and a runner on third and a left-handed Cuban refugee on the mound and your stepdaughter having missed her 11 p.m. curfew, you never want to throw the ball middle-in to a right-handed power hitter. If a guy talked like that while sitting next to you at the ballpark, you’d stick his nachos up his nose.
Delaware County Times Phillies beat writer and adorable puppy owner Dennis Deitch is reporting the Phillies have settled on new announcers to replace Chris Wheeler and Gary Matthews: Matt Stairs and Jamie Moyer.
Got word from a source that Stairs & Moyer will both be in the TV broadcast booth this year. Done deal.
— Dennis Deitch (@DennisDeitch) February 11, 2014
The Phillies got rid of Wheeler and Matthews last month after signing a new, valuable TV deal with Comcast SportsNet. The decisions were reportedly made by CSN after acquiring more editorial control of the broadcast in the new contract.
Early indications named former Phillies Brad Lidge, Chris Coste and Ricky Bottalico as possibilities, but MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reported last week Stairs and Moyer were the favorites.
Moyer, 51, spent five years with the Phillies after coming over in a 2006 trade. He went 56-40 with a 4.55 ERA in his years with the club. He pitched 6 1/3 innings of 3-run ball in Game 3 of the 2008 World Series, which the Phillies won on Carlos Ruiz‘s single in the bottom of the ninth.
Stairs, 45, played two years with the Phillies, arriving in a trade on August 30 of 2008. He hit one of the most famous, most important home runs in Phillies history, a moonshot in Game 4 of the 2008 NLCS.
It’s unclear how the two ex-Phillies will split the announcing duties. Deitch writes the hirings became official this morning.
Phillies.MLB.com reports: “Sources said this week the network has been speaking to both Jamie Moyer and Matt Stairs about joining Tom McCarthy in the broadcast booth. The network originally planned to hire just one color commentator to replace Chris Wheeler and Gary Matthews, whom the network declined to bring back as part of its recently negotiated 25-year contract with the Phils. But those plans apparently changed following strong auditions by both.”