Saturday night brought a sold out crowd to Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park for a performance by Billy Joel. And Joel, who has a reputation for giving it all in his live shows, did not disappoint. Read more »
First, the Phillies made no trades at the deadline. Then Cliff Lee went on the DL. All hope is not lost — there’s still another trade deadline at the end of August for players who clear waivers — but it’s fair to say baseball fans in Philadelphia are a might grumpy this morning.
They’re as raw and sore as Cliff Lee’s elbow, one might say.
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:
— PhillyChitChat.com (@iPhillyChitChat) October 8, 2013
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…”
Well, it’s Trade Deadline Day in Major League Baseball.
The big question locally is whether Ruben Amaro Jr., the Phillies general manager, will commit to an actual rebuild featuring actual players under the age of 30, or whether the deadline will pass with no changes to a team that’s going nowhere.
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]
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.
2008, when the Phillies won the World Series, now feels like a long time ago. 2006, when Ryan Howard won an MVP award, feels even longer. Certainly, Howard no longer seems to be the player he was then. He sat out Wednesday’s game, and team officials are now apparently considering eating his hefty contract and releasing the once-feared slugger. Read more »
Seven musicians from The Philadelphia Orchestra brass section will toot the “Star Spangled Banner” at tonight’s Phillies game at Citizen’s Bank Park. The ensemble includes Jennifer Montone, Jeffrey Lang, and Jeffry Kirschen on French horns, Robert W. Earley and Darin Kelly on trumpets, and Blair Bollinger and Brian Santero on trombones. In case the names don’t ring a bell, this is the same group who did that pop-up performance on a delayed plane last year that spread like wildfire across the Internet.
The engagement marks the homecoming of the Philadelphia Orchestra, which just returned from trips to Colorado and Asia, and the beginning of a busy week: On July 23rd and 24th, catch them at the Kimmel Center, where they’ll perform “A Tribute to the Beatles.” Then, on July 25th and 26th, they’ll perform “PIXAR in Concert.”
Cliff Lee returned to pitch for the Phillies Monday night for the first time since May 18th. After Lee won that game against the Reds, the Fightin’ Phils were 19-22 and just 3.5 games back of first in the NL East. Coming into last night’s game, the Phillies were 43-55 and 11 games back.
Lee allowed six runs on 12 hits in 5 2/3 innings on Monday as the Phillies lost to the Giants, 7-4, falling to 43-56 and 12 games back.