Saturday, April 22, 2006

This Team Sucks

I thought I was being reasonable when I predicted a couple of weeks ago that the Phillies would finish in 3rd place. I thought the Nationals and the Marlins would be bad enough that the Phillies would be able to muster enough victories to be a middle of the division team.

It appears as if I am going to be wrong. This team sucks. Unless something dramatically changes, they won't be able to finish in front of anybody.

Here are the current ERAs owned by the pitching staff: Brett Myers at 3.06 (good), Corey Lidle at 5.00 (bad), Gavin Floyd at 6.75 (worse), Jon Lieber at 7.99 (and he's our #1 starter), and Ryan Madson at 8.36 (my five year old daughter could do better). Their combined ERA is 6.24.

The bullpen? Save Rheal Cormier and Tom Gordon, it isn't much better.

Four of the Phillies eight starting position players are batting over .300. Rollins is just below that mark after a recent slump. Sounds good, right? They are batting .186 as a team with runners in scoring position. Way to come through when it counts, guys.

Of course, there's our manager, too. How many times will Shane Victorino replace Pat Burrell in the last third of the game? How stupid must Manuel be? Compare the numbers. Burrell is batting .250, Victorino .182. Burrell has 6 homeruns with 13 batted in, Victorino hasn't registered one of either yet. Burrell isn't that fast. So what? How many times are you looking to run in a tight game anyway? The Phillies have only 3 stolen bases as a team this year. Manuel's in-game decision making is horrible.

This team sucks.

It's time for a fan strike. They are a whopping 2-8 at home. They aren't a product the city of Philadelphia should endorse. Don't go to the games! It's time we send a message! We won't stand for this any more! Let's unite!

What are our demands? Fire Charlie Manuel. Get some pitchers who can keep the team ERA under 4. OK- maybe 5. Well, even under 6 would be an improvement. Teach some of those guys in the lineup how to come through in a meaningful situation.

It's time, ladies and gentlemen. Enough is enough. Philadelphia is behind only New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston in market size. So why does our team continually perform as if they are from Pittsburgh or Kansas City?

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Welcome To Feud-Adelphia from Philadelphia Magazine

Copyright 2004 Metro Corp. All Rights Reserved Philadelphia Magazine

April, 2004: Welcome to Feud-adelphia!


Harry Kalas vs. Chris Wheeler

The skinny: Fear and loathing in a cramped Phillies broadcast booth.

In a nutshell: Just before Christmas, Phillies broadcaster Kalas, revealing that he'd hired a big-time L.A. attorney to play hardball with the team in contract negotiations, dropped a surprising personal nugget as well: His relationship with longtime boothmate Wheeler had become "uncomfortable," and he didn't want to work with him anymore. Kalas and Wheeler both joined the team in 1971 (Wheeler in PR, becoming a broadcaster in '77). They were once fast friends, hanging out on the road together. But now it's much worse than uncomfortable: Kalas and Wheeler don't speak outside the booth, and their banter on the air, where Harry refers to Wheeler as "Chris" instead of the preferred "Wheels," is chilly. That's because Harry the K and Wheels can't stand each other.

The start: Rich "Whitey" Ashburn had been Kalas's broadcast "color man," and their droll repartee was very popular. But heading into 1997, Ashburn was nervous. David Montgomery had replaced the retired Bill Giles in running the team, and Wheeler and Montgomery, Ashburn believed, were "joined at the hip." Ashburn warned Kalas not to trust Wheeler any longer and vented to a friend that spring: "I think I might be in trouble when Montgomery officially takes over. You know, Wheels is Monty's boy. Maybe I'll just retire after this season--I've done this too long to get lowbridged by the likes of Wheeler." Wheeler did replace him as Kalas's late-inning color man that year, and Ashburn, Kalas's best friend, died of a heart attack in a New York hotel room that September, during a Mets series.

The wife: Harry Kalas went to his wife one day in '98 with a confession: He had been seeing other women on the road. "Chris took a lot of calls from women who wanted to talk to Harry," Eileen Kalas says. "When Harry told me what he was doing, that caused a problem. The party was over." The Kalases went into counseling, Harry quit drinking, and now, Eileen says, "All our problems are resolved."

But in fairness: "The girls didn't just call Chris," Eileen calls back to add. "Harry would call the girls also."

Why Harry went public: "We talked about it in counseling," Eileen Kalas says. "It comes from me, to say something and stand up for himself. He never does.

"Wheeler says: Nothing except a statement the Phillies have told him to stick with: "I consider it a privilege and an honor to be part of the Phillies broadcast team. Who I work with and what innings I work are not my decision."

In Wheeler's corner: "Chris Wheeler is one of the finest guys I've ever met," Tim McCarver, a former Phillies catcher and broadcaster, told the Daily News in December, after Kalas complained publicly. "To have his name sullied in this way upsets me."

But Harry has Eileen: "What Chris does on the air is very subliminal--explaining the game to Harry and interrupting him," Eileen says. "Harry put in a complaint to the Phillies about Chris last year and this year." ... "Chris used Whitey in life and uses him in death [by mentioning him on the air]."

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Charlie Manuel Quote of the Week

“You never know, ... You stay with it until the end. It's like Yogi Berra said, it ain't over until it's over and the fat lady sings.”

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Same Old Song and Dance...

0-4, Charlie. Larry Bowa did as well. Really, couldn't you have gone to Chicago with Jim Thome?

Sunday, April 02, 2006

2006 Phillies Prediction: 96-66 1st Place N.L. East

Myers needs to dominate

Being a Philadelphia sports fan I am naturally afflicted with the occasional inability to see the state of Philadelphia sports as they are and often instead see them as I wish they were. Therefore, take my prediction with a large grain of Philadelphia soft pretzel salt.

This will be the year that, perhaps despite themselves, the Phils will finally win the N.L. East and make it to the post-season for the first time since '93. They can do it because Bobby Abreu will be consistently on base and driving in runs. Whatever happens with Rollins' hit streak, he seems to have turned the corner and is, though not ideal, an effective lead-off hitter. Big things will come from both of them. However, the emergence of Chase Utley is going to make the real difference with the Phils this year. Utley is clutch at the plate, drives in runs, hits for power and is solid in the field. Why he was still platooning until the middle of last season is one of the inexplicable mysteries of the universe. Barring injury, a full season will allow Utley to realize his potential. Hopefully Pat Burrell and Ryan Howard can build on the success they had last year, though Burrell still hasn't proven he can do it consistently. And Howard won't see nearly the number of fastballs that he saw last season now that everyone knows he is a legitimate power hitter. If those two can have big years, along with the others, the Phils' offense will be able to overcome the inadequacies of the pitching staff and carry them into the post-season--even though conventional baseball wisdom says pitching and defense win championships.

What to watch for:

Keys To Success In '06: Myers' and Lieber's ability to emerge as effective number one and two starters, giving the pitching staff some needed stability; the return of an effective Randy Wolf sometime in the middle of the season to give the starting rotation (and the bullpen) more depth.

Glaring Weaknesses: David Bell at third base, and by David Bell I also mean Charlie Manuel who is deluded enough to play this double-play and clutch error machine if he's healthy. More time for Bell on the DL = more wins for the Phillies; the much down-graded bullpen and Charlie Manuel's questionable late-inning moves could do the Phils in this year.

Dark Horse Effect: Ryan Madsen becoming a quality starter, which hasn't happened in his limited starts over the last two years; new G.M. Pat Gillick's ability to pick up another veteran starter, so Madsen can be moved back to set-up man role in the bull-pen. David Delucci was a good last minute addition, but it came with the expense of Robinson Tejeda, a good, young arm. Manuel's lineup: figuring out how to best maximize production from Abreu and Utley while protecting Ryan Howard and even Pat Burrell will be a challenge.

If nothing else, it should be interesting season for the fightin' Phils. Can't wait.