Tuesday, August 30, 2016

View from the Left Coast by a Lefty: Chooch

                                                View from the Left Coast by a Lefty:  Chooch

I don't know why I never did a piece on any of the other Phillies who left. Rollins and Utley came back, and got their deserved due. The all time hits leader and The Man. The fans got their chance to show the love, and show it they did. You will never hear walkup music for another non-Phillie, *EVER*. That song is my ringtone and every time my cell rings I think of Utley. Halladay and Lee were loved, but left injured. They were loved, but not to quite the same degree. I also hope Hamels comes back home to play before he retires as I don't think we'll play the AL West anytime soon. And I truly hope they give Howard the same respect in his last home game.

But this is about Chooch... where to start. An $8,000 pickup from the sandlots of Panama, when he came up nobody expected it to last very long. A true underdog who personified Philly, he worked his ass off to be an elite catcher. He didn't have to work at all to become one of the most loved and respected teammates as that came naturally. His kindness, class, and humility were always evident. The fans loved him from Day 1. He was the backbone of the pitching staff, working tirelessly to gain each pitcher's trust and pitch preferences. He called them HIS pitchers and took ownership of expectations and got results. He caught over 1,000 games for the Phillies joining Clay Dalrymple, Bob Boone, and Mike Lieberthal for that honor. In 08 and 09, World Series years, he caught every pitch of the playoffs and turned into one of the best and most clutch 8 hole hitters I've ever seen. No other 8 hole guy has ever influenced an offense as much.

They say the key to defense is be strong up the middle. In 80 it was Boone, Bowa, Cash, and Maddox. In 08 it was Chooch, Rollins, Utley, and Victorino. Nuff said. 

I moved back to Phoenix in March of 02 after 5.5 years in Dallas. Every season I went to at least one game when the Phillies came to town. at behind their dugout, usually 20-30 back. Sat with all the other Philly fans. Have yet to go to a game like that and see them lose since 02 as well. In all those years one thing never changed... whenever Ruiz came to the plate, or got a hit or drove in a run, the faithful all rose together and yelled CHOOOOOOOOOOCH as loud and as long as they could. I don't remember any other player being called by name.

There are certain people in everyone's life who directly or indirectly become unforgettable, and Chooch is one of them for me. To close I'm stealing a few lines from Inquirer columnist David Murphy:  "What is his legacy? You know that old piece of clothing, with that long ago smell? Maybe that is Ruiz: comfortable, familiar, enduring, a vehicle for our memories."

Bill S aka/netfather

Thursday, July 21, 2016

State of the Union?

       View from the Left Coast by a Lefty: State of the Union?

No doubt about it Phillies this year are at least interesting to watch every day. Per the all star break they have the biggest improvement over last year in baseball. Bodes well for the rebuild, but it seems to me people are expecting more. The same old voices cringe when it's suggested that Rupp become a trade chip. Why not? I don't think any teams will be interested in Chooch and Rupp is on the rise. He's still young(27) and under control for another year. His only shortcoming is he's average at best throwing runners out on the bases. But if he goes to a contender they'll surely have better pitching which leads to less runners to throw out. He's a pro and that's hard to find these days.
Rather than post pros and cons I'm just going to kind of go through the roster with my own personal suggestions. If ya don't like what I print say so, don't be a wuss.
No love for Lively?
Eflin, Eickhoff, Nola, and Velasquez - Status quo, could be better but could be worse. Nola will come out of his funk, he has to.
Hellickson - there's interest in him, I say trade him and add to the minor's stable. He and Rupp are there best shots at prospects. I personally want to see Thompson.
D Hernandez - take whatever you can get for him, too inconsistent.
Neris, Ramos, Gomez - keepers, will only get better.
Stumpf, Obertholtzer - meh, but they're lefties which don't grow on trees. Araujo should be a stud but fails, cya.
Asher, Murray, Buchanon, Gonzales, and Cordero - meh, career minor leaguers. Toss in Garcia too.
on the DL: Appel and Harrison, jury still out on both. Morton could still be a force but they should shitcan Hinojosa.
Chooch - great but overpaid backup, best of luck to him after this year. He can go back to his ranch and enjoy his life and be welcomed in Philly any time he comes back.
Rupp - solid starting catcher now but only a placeholder for...
Knapp - should be the solid backup soon
Alfaro - the next coming of Pudge Rodriguez, I can't wait to see him.
Franco, Galvis, Hernandez, and Joseph - the core infield in years to come. Galvis will replace Blanco as great utility guy when Crawford comes up.
Blanco - possibly the best utility infielder in the NL. Love to see him get more starts but it's up to Pete.
Howard - a top 10 all time Phillie, enjoy retirement you earned it mostly except for the last couple years. He'll hide out in FL in his mansion.
Crawford - *THE* future at SS and the top prospect in all of baseball. Cannot wait to see him and Alfaro every day.
Odubey - great selection in Rule 5, but also the biggest enigma on the team
Bourjos - if he can hit over .270 a keeper. Already flamed out bad with 2 other teams.
Asche - decent backup outfielder when Altherr comes up, who needs a big looksee when he does.
Goeddel - had a hot streak but since not much. Speed yes but jury still out on this year's Rule 5 guy.
Paredes - worthless, cya.
Sweeney - probable career minor leaguer.
Williams and Quinn and Cozens - yes please let's see a lot more.
If I left anybody out of any value hey, this is all IMHO and I prolly don't give a shit lol. If any of you have opinions that's what the comment box below is for. But we all know nobody ever uses it so.................. let's get Bunted!!
Yes CJ I want one of those blue shirts please.  :)
                                                Bill S aka/netfather

Monday, June 20, 2016

They ARE who we thought they were!

View from the Left Coast by a Lefty: They ARE who we thought they were!

Make no mistake, after spring training I was optimistic. During April and May I was optimistic. But after being swept at home in a 4 game series for the first time since 1964, it is what it is. The "so-called" experts were right. We are the worst team in baseball save the Braves. It pains me to say it but the facts are the facts. Rupp at .264 is the second best hitter on the team? WTF happened to Odubey? Welcome to the majors Tommy Joseph, now you have even more empathy for Ryan Howard. Maikel Franco you looked great handing out bobbleheads on Saturday maybe you should concentrate on that for a major? Goeddel shows promise but has faded and Bourjos is flaming out with his 3rd team. Is there anyone left to give a shot unless we bring up the kids? Any more scrap heap pickups left after Paredes?
Welcome to the life of a Phillies fan since 1958. Before this season I expected no more than what we've seen in total. The good start has blossomed into what was expected by most. For years I have been saying give me 2 weeks with Ryan Howard and I'll resurrect him into a solid player. Now I'm saying they need to hire me full time for this whole roster. Yep, the team who has only managed 13 runs in the first inning in 71 games, and given up almost 60 homers vs their 27 at home so far needs life support. Individually they stack up with a lot of teams but collectively they suck azz.
I could go through the entire roster one by one and list their faults, but why can't anyone in the organization see what I see? Odubey on his front foot and totally losing the strike zone, Franco trying to hit 5 run homers on every swing, Galvis guessing wrong on 90% of the pitches he sees( 6 for his last 70), Hernandez's fielding mental lapses affecting his at bats... I could go on and on for several pages. But since I am nobody but a legend in his own mind who cares? Even Andres Blanco has caught the bug, they guy who I thought was the most mentally and physically ready player on the team, has succumbed to the plague.
I had planned on a full section of bashing Howard here, but things changed. He has done nothing wrong other than not hit. He has not complained and has handled everything with class. I am now of the opinion they should play him more. He is in my mind a top 10 all time Phillie and should be treated as such. Let him bat against RHP, if he ends up at .080 so be it. Can't hurt any more than anyone else. We are at the bottom of the barrel and the only way out is to play out of it. Yeah right LOL.
Even after everything above I still fire up my streambox to watch as many games as I can, because they are my team. As long as I have a hole in my azz they will be. After looking over a couple of FB Phillies pages I'm actually tired of seeing "you gotta believe" and yeah they'll win the next one. Those people need a dose of reality. Actually maybe they need to understand baseball better is all, and Phillies' history in particular. I truly wish I had more and better things to write about, which is why my pieces have become few and farther between. I long for the days of Wriz Wed, DB29 Tue, DGirl Mon, Hoodwink'd, Kornhole, etc etc. Maybe by 2018 if I'm still kicking I'll be able to buy a new Phillies jersey to wear the day after it gets washed like the old days.
I purposely held off on writing about the 3-5 Phillies who might be good trade pieces at the deadline. Maybe next time... might be fun. Thankfully Klentak will not budge on giving up the farm, something that was needed years ago. He and McPhail have a plan. I just hope it comes to fruition before my time is up. Truth.
                                                Bill S aka/netfather

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Fathers's Day & Baseball

Gus, Bob, Aaron & Brett Boone

Everyone sits back on days such as Fathers Day and Mothers Day and reboots their memory about something from the past which really stood out. With my father and me it was always about baseball and the Phillies, no matter how bad they were. I remember vividly the first baseball game he ever took me to. Well, maybe not vividly but a lot of it. It was summer time, 1960, against the Giants.
I had just got home from the 9am Mass with intentions of changing clothes and heading to the vacant lot that we used as a baseball field. That was where I was going to spend my day. Mom told me that I could not change and had to wait for my father to come home from the 10am Mass but didn't tell me why. Being 5 years old, all I could think of was I had done something wrong and an ass-whipping was in store. Dad got home and told me to come with him, nothing about where we were going. We walked the 4 blocks to Lehigh Avenue and stood on the corner. Dad told me we were waiting for a bus but still didn't tell me where we were going. We got on the bus and everyone was in their church clothes just like us. I didn't pay much attention to what they were saying because like any other 5 year old, my attention was rivited to looking out the window. At about Broad and Lehigh, a woman got on the bus and Dad made me get up and give her my seat. I did as he told me with no questions asked. Thats just how it was in those days, obeying your parents and being a gentleman.
After what seemed an eternity of a bus ride Dad told me that our stop was next. I could see everyone else was getting ready to depart and I was still pretty much clueless. When we got off the bus I saw this giant building with the words "Shibe Park" on it. Now I knew where we were, we were at a baseball game. Shibe Park was the old name for Connie Mack Stadium. Even after the name was changed, Dad called it Shibe Park. I couldn't believe it!!! My first Phillies game. We got our tickets and entered the ballpark. This is where my senses kicked into overdrive. To this day, the smell of cigars and popcorn filled the air. We stood in line to get a hot dog and coke for me. Dad got a beer and complained that 25 cents was too much for a beer. We walked around the concourse of the stadium looking for the section we would sit in. Finally he pointed out a tunnel, well to me it was a tunnel, which would take us to our seats.
Now this is my Wizard of Oz moment. In my memory of this day, up until this moment, everything was in black and white. We walked through the tunnel which went up for some reason and the bluest sky I had ever seen was right in front of me. At the top of the tunnel I stopped dead in my tracks. There, right in front of me was a real baseball field. It had the greenest grass I had ever seen. Where I was raised, grass is something that grew through the cracks in the sidewalk. Back in those days your imagination was all you had. Two games on each week. Game of the week on NBC on Saturday and the Phillies on channel 6 on Sunday only. Dad and I never missed a game. Dad had to nudge me because I was holding up everyone. We made our way to our seats, third base side, second deck, right behind one of the small scoreboards. We were in THE FRONT ROW. Batting practice was still going on and the Giants had the field. I guess we were there about 15 minutes and a ball was coming our way. It landed about 7 seats down from us. I froze. Dad yelled at me to go get it and I did. I could not believe it. Not only was this my very first baseball game, I actually got ball. Who hit it? I don't know and don't care. It was mine. Dad was proud. He had been going to games since 1930 and had never even got close to getting one. An usher came down to where we were sitting and teased me, saying I had to give the ball back. That was NOT going to happen. I looked at Dad and he was smiling so I knew the ball was officially mine.
All the players left the field and the ground crew started putting down the paint on the lines and batters box. I didn't miss a second of it. When the field was ready for the game to begin, the PA announcer simply said, "Ladies and Gentleman, our National Anthem"...everyone stood up immediately and the men removed their hats. No one had to be told to do this. When it was done, the Phillies took the field and I cheered until my throat hurt. I already knew that my favorite player, #6, Johnny Callison, would be in right field so there was a little disappointment but not a lot.
The game went by way too fast. Looking back on it, those 3 hours seem like 3 minutes today. I cheered every foul ball, every catch, everything the Phillie did but it was not enough. It was 1960 and the Phillies didn't do a lot of winning back in those days. We stayed until the final out because you just don't leave a game early. As everyone was leaving I stood there looking at the ground crew again and just taking it all in. Dad didn't nudge me to go. He just stood there with a big smile on his face. But finally we had to leave.
On the bus on the way home I kept that baseball about 12 inches from my eyes. I had every bit of it memorized. I could not wait to get home and show it to everyone.Over the years Dad and I went to a lot more baseball games. The Phillies actually won some of them. But those games, even the game when Mike Schmidt hit 3 HRs, will never replace that first game in 1960. When I think of my father, and I do that quite often, that day is always the first thing that comes to mind. Happy Fathers Day Dad. Let's sit on the couch and cheer for the Phillies.

Joe Stratton

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Should The Phillies be Buyers?

The future is bright and a lot closer then anyone thought. Look at the line up and you can see it. Franco, Oddball, and Joseph. Look at the starting rotation and you can see it. Nola, Vinnie, and Eickoff. Look at the prospects list...Crawford, Thompson, Williams, Appel, Randolph, Alfaro, etc. Look at where the Phightens are drafting in 2 weeks...the top pick.

The question was brought up on other sites, should the Phightens become buyers if they are still close at the end of July? I give this an emphatic HELL NO. Why give up ANY of these prospects? What are you really going to get? Three months of some overpaid, under-achieving "star". Only way I would even think about it is if Ruf were the key-player in the trade.

Continue on the path they have laid out...develop those prospects and keep them. Leave them on the farm until September and then throw them into the mix.

I wouldn't even go into next years FA market. The Phightens will have their three largest contracts coming off the books at the end of this year, Howard, Ruiz, and Harrison. In my most humble opinion, you only go to the FA market if you are looking for that piece that is going to bring you a parade down Broad Street. The Phightens will be even more competitive next year but not parade ready. Parade year will be 2018. Hit the FA market after the 2017 season. After all these kids get a full year in the show, you will know exactly what your needs are for the parade.

The new front office of MacNofail and Halftanked, needs not to be swayed by the media and fans (the bandwagon fans will be the loudest) and stick to their guns. ‪#‎paradein2018‬

Sunday, May 15, 2016

What better way to cure your Rupp hangover this fine Sunday morning than a special spot start blog from fellow 'Buntamaniac Joe Stratton.  Enjoy!  

Can't the Phightens get some love? Just a little love? Before Spring Training even began all the "experts" were picking them to be the worse team since the 1962 Mets. Kevin Millar picked the Phanatic as his remote stopper. The sabermetric weenies, you know those guy's right? When choosing up sides to play wiffle ball he was only allowed to play because it was his ball and bat so you put him in right field. He grew up, lives in his mother's basement eating hotpockets and watching porn in his tightie whities, scouring Amazon for the latest craze in pocket-protectors. Same guy who couldn't get any play if he walked into a brothel with a hand full of $50's. Those guys picked the Phightens to be lower than whale crap. Only REAL Phans stuck by the team. We saw promise in this young group...we still do see a bright future and that future is not that far off. The bandwagon fans spent a lot of time in ER's around Delaware Valley getting treated for sprained ankles they got when they jumped off the bandwagon. The only thing these experts are saying is "Philadelphia boo'd Santa Claus"...yeah, that shit is getting told too.
What did true, real Phans do? They looked for improvement from last years fiasco. Keep developing the young players, put in bits and pieces in the 25 man roster to play competitive ball and wait for the results. I hoped, and picked them to win 75 games this year which would have been a 9 game improvement. So what happens? You wake up on Sunday morning, May 15, 2016 to find the Phightens 7 games over .500 and a game out of 1st place in the NL East. They didn't do this by beating just the scrub teams because all the experts picked them to be THE scrub team. They used the broom on the gNats at gNats home. They swept another expert-picked front-runner, the Indians. They are not doing it with smoke and mirrors...they are proving that good pitching and clutch-hitting wins games. Sure, their run-differential, which is another sabermetric weenie stat, isn't sexy. Matter of fact I believe they are on the negative side BUT all that matters is the win and loss columns. Do you get more credit for winning a game by 6 runs than you do if you win by 1 run? OH HELL NO!!!
They are winning with only one position player who has All Star stats, they are doing it with a closer who can't break 100mph on his fast ball and most people couldn't pick him out of a line-up, like an unnamed closer in the Bronx, they are doing it with someone like Freddie "Effing" Galvis tied for go-ahead RBIs in the NL with some guy named Harper. They are doing it with two of the old guard from the last parade down Broad Street contributing. Howard is on pace for 30 long balls. Don't tell me about him having a low batting average or that he strikes out too much until you compare him to other, sexier names. There are 22 players who have K'd more than Howard in the majors this year.
So, all you "experts" and bandwagon fans (no PH on purpose), let me mark off a spot on me arse for you to pucker up to. We may not see a parade down Broad Street this year but we are showing you that you don't shit from shinola.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Hoodwink’d       by cj hood
On the Wagon


Last week I got called out by seasoned ‘Buntamaniac Joe Stratton as being a ‘bandwaggoner.’  However, A. That is not the case and B. 99.9% of what I put on social media is tongue n cheek.  Irregardless (not a real word), that got me thinking.  How many more comeback wins, series wins and/or Gomez saves will it take to put assess back in the (CB Park) seats and cause people to start buying Phillies gear at their local Walmart again?  Like I’ve penned before, we started this blog the year the squad began their steady decline, so we’ve never got to experience the surge of fandom that put so many P’s on peoples’ hats & chests.  Hence, if Joe, Robin and Carmine Ragusa decided to vacation the same week…Buntamania Land would have to close it’s doors.  But will this current run be the one to cause casual phans to dust off the Phillies hats they’ve had in their closets since 2012?  Maybe.  If we sweep out the Braves in Atlanta will that get 5 more Buntamaniacs to show up to Meet & Greet VI in June?  Doubtful.

Yes, we are good or at least better than expected.  At 18-14 we’re 3rd in our division, but would be 2nd in most other divisions and first place in the NL West.  Fans are excited as well as the players while the media warns us daily not to get too excited.  Why?  I want to get excited.  It’s been too long!  Ding dong Harrang is dead!  Nola’s an ace!  There I said it.  Vinny from Philly might be to.  I love Hernandez, Neris and of course Gomez.  Giles who? Dude spoke like Frankenstein…no offense to Jewish monsters.  Tyler Goeddel’s coming around, Blanco got heat off the bench and Chooch seems to have found the fountain of youth.  And we finally found our lead-off guy El Torito.  Even Ryan Howard’s HR tally is ahead of schedule.  Needless to say, I’m more excited than a hopped-up Jesse Spano on diet pills.  Word to your final exams!


So let’s bring it back down to Earth for our resident naysayers.  Yes, we don’t hit enough.  Yes, we don’t score enough.  Franco’s swinging for the fences and it’s not paying off.  Morton is out for the year.  Eickhoff is so-so.  And the outfield corners can’t hit. 

But, but, but…

Bourjis might hit like D*Brown, but his glove makes up for it.  I think Eickhoff will come around and Morton wasn’t lighting the world on fire to begin with.  Franco still has pop and I feel things will get better, but most importantly we’re winning.  Stop telling us we need to score more!  We’re beating teams we should be beating (sans St. Louis); we’ve swept the ‘Gnats and are even with the Mets.  We’re 2 games out of first, we have the #1 pick in the draft and it won’t be long til Nick Williams & JP Crawford will be sporting red pin stripes.  Moral of the story kids is…things are looking good and they’re only going to get better!  So tell your girl who doesn’t know the difference between Ryan & Ron Howard; and the CPA who uses Phils tix to woo his clients that the Phightans are back!!!  But make sure they trade in their Victorino shirsey for a Herrera and they know the difference between a Nola and a Franco.  Otherwise, they risk at getting clowned by a nonbandwaggoner like myself. 

The Braves only have 1 win at home....let's get 'bunted!!!