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!  


THE MAN!
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

 JUMP ON IT! JUMP ON IT! JUMP ON IT!

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!


I LOVE THESE 2016 PHILLIES ZACK!

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!!!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Musings Week 1

                                    View From the Left Coast by a Lefty: Musings Week 1
 
Just got done watching the series clinch against the Mutts. While we're 2-4, in my mind, we should be 4-2 at least. We all know the reason. The bullpen sucks(so far). After spring training, I admit to a tad of enthusiasm, even after sucking the last week. This is probably right around where we should be according to the "experts" but the season is young and could swing different ways. Normally, I might be pissed off but the Flyers making the playoffs took a big edge off and so far the weekend is pretty decent.
 


Last week, CJ did a great piece on most of the roster, so now I get to rant on what really is bothering me. We all know the bullpen cost us at least 2 games against Cincy, but are they really all that bad? Our rotation is 100% better than last year, and so far their ERA is under 3.00... *BONUS*. Nola is Nola, and Hellickson has been great. I kind of expected this after seeing him a lot last year in AZ but 2 games isn't a good sample. I'm impressed by Velasquez when I thought I wouldn't be. I'm expecting Eickhoff to bounce back and also expect Morton to as well. Like I said the starter's ERA is outstanding so far and I am willing to go another few weeks before rendering any kind of permanent judgment on them. And then we get to...........................
 
The bullpen.... OMGWTFLOL. One week isn't a good sample once again, but DAMN. I stand by previous statements on trading Giles, it just had to be done. If you want to go by a one week sample Houston is probably wondering *WHY* they traded what they did for him. I love the pieces we got from them and the Rangers. I'm praying Alfaro and Appel improve and advance as quickly as Nola did. But the bullpen... let's start with Hina josa. DFA his ass, he can't throw strikes. Send him to Oakland or as far away from Philly as we can. I am not in love with Russell, shitcan his ass too. I am really waiting on Oberholtzer and Stumpf to do something to earn their keep. Neris is holding his own so far but Gomez is not a closer in any stretch of the imagination. Hernandez has so much potential. He's another one I got to see a lot of here in AZ. A power arm but his mind seems to disappear in tight, important games. Anyway, we got what we got and have to live with it.
 
Before I forget.... who the hell taught base running in spring training? None of those guys could have played for my high school coach, let alone get paid to play.
 
Since I'm on a rant, I need to throw this in. DFA Bourjos. He's failed with 2 teams already, most notably the Cardinals. If they give up on a player he's probably done for. Also send Tyler Goeddel back to wherever he came from. I don't care how young and fast he is, he can't hit. Another guy they should have left on the street is Venable, another loser from more than one team. I say give Nick Williams and Darnell Sweeney decent looks to contribute at the MLB level. I'm not forgetting Alther, but he'd be my starting RF if not for that tragic incident.
 
Anyway I'm now brain dead again. Just had to get rid of some crap in my head. It's now back to switching back and forth between Cubs/Dbacks and Dodgers/Giants for a few hours until my Flyers come on. And... let's get BUNTED.
 
 
                                                Bill S aka/netfather

Sunday, April 3, 2016

‘Twas the Night Before Opening Day ‘16

Hoodwink’d                   by cj hood
‘Twas the Night Before Opening Day ‘16
 
  
FANS ARE SCARED BRO!
 
‘Twas the night before Opening Day, when all through the park
Not a creature was stirring, not even a lark;
The bats were all hung by the helmets with care,
In hopes that the Phillies soon would be there;
The fans were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of a parade danced in their heads;
Mom in her Ruf jersey, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long Spring nap,
When out on the field there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to Citizen’s Bank I flew like a flash,
Tore up 476 and almost near crashed.
Phillies Bunts staff was blogging like there was no tomorrow
We got rid of that jobber; Ruben Amaro
When, my wondering eyes saw the mound and the bases
An all new offense, don’t know their names nor their faces
With a brand new coach, hair slicked back and neat.
I knew in a moment it must have been Pete.
More rapid than the Eagles his courses they came,
And he whistled, and shouted and, called them by name;
“Now, Nola! Now, Morton! They came with a twist!
Now Eickhoff and that guy that broke Franco’s wrist!”
From the dugout! To the top of the wall!
They dashed away! Dashed away! Dashed away all!
As dirt kicked up before the wild hurricanes fly,
When Altherr broke his wrist; phans collectively cried.
Ben Davis and Murph were calling the game
‘Boy we miss Harry’; Oh! What a shame,
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Nola was set and took to the mound.
He was dressed in a throwback, from his head to his foot,
And the strength of his arm could throw a shot put;
The Mets blew the Series; the ‘Gnats dug their own graves;
Marlins suck; at least we’re not the Braves.
Three up and three down as Chooch made the calls!
Two strike-outs, a pop-out, and only one ball!
Las Vegas is saying we’re gonna get killed
If their play doesn’t kill us, Chick-fil-A certainly will
We’ve got Andy McPhail and Matthew Klentak;
We traded our stars and got prospects back.
We might be the duds of the MLB,
We’ll contend once again, just wait and see
We’ll struggle at first, I’m not going to lie yo!
But at least we open with that team from Ohio
I’m excited about Franco, Herrera and Nola
Philly’s best team? Wildcats at Villanova
If we played in October it would be such a shocker,
Maybe if Howard cleaned out his locker
But tonight we’re in first, like the rest of the teams
And all we can do is have positive dreams
Can’t wait til tomorrow; dress warm cuz it’s freezing,
“Good Luck Philadelphia, and to the fans a great season,”

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Hoodwink’d       by  cj hood
Who’s Who?!?

                When I was in high school I’d get these Who’s Who letters in the mail that with a small fee I would be able to join their elite list of academic all stars.   They must have sent these letters to everyone cuz in high school I was saddling a steady B- average at best.  Needless to say, that’s why I ended up going to the same college as the Wriz.  Anywho, the ‘Bunts blog has been desolate since last June after our Phillies decided to give themselves the sleeper-hold and tap out.  However, enter Andy McPhail (that name still scares me) and his boy wonder Matt Klentak and exit First Base Coach aficionado Ruben Amaro Jr and all of sudden we’re knee deep into a rebuild.  I wouldn’t compare this Jenny Jones makeover to slapping a wig on the middle child and calling her the ‘new Jan Brady’, but it definitely has the phans & bloggers taking notice.
                This takes us to the title of this episode of Hoodwink’d, ‘Who’s Who.’  Since last year’s trade deadline I find myself asking ‘who’s this?’ or fellow ‘Buntamaniacs asking me ‘who’s that?.’  And truth be told, I’m a little confused myself.  For years, we knew every Phillie and their position like our own children, but now it’s as challenging as finding a Republican volunteer at a soup kitchen. 
Now,  all 2 of our steady readers know that I’m the clown prince of this organization, Netfather Bill’s our historian and the Wriz is the X’s & O’s guy.  And DB29 (when available),  can tell you which parts of CB park are safe to pick food up off the ground (after being dropped) and still eat it.  Irregardless (not a real word), I’m going to attempt to break these new faces down for your…especially the ones worth watching.

I’ll start with some familiar faces from last season…

Maikel Franco 3B:  My personal fave is a player you should already know.  He came up last summer and was a wonder at the plate.  He was coasting along til he got beamed in the wrist by new Phillies pitcher Jeremy Hellickson.  Mike Schmidt thinks Franco will be an MVP someday while Mackanin thinks he’ll be a homerun king.  I reluctantly dropped Franco from my fantasy keeper league, but hope to draft him again.

Odubel Herrera CF:  Infielder by nature (not cuz I hate ya), El Torrito was a Rule 5 pickup and another shining star in this rebuild.  Even though he can’t speak the King’s English I’m still down with this workhorse.

Cesar Hernandez 2B:  I don’t know how to put that funky slash over the ‘e’ so deal.  Anywho, Cesar came into take golden boy Chase Utley’s spot when he was traded to LA.  He might lose his job to Freddy Galvis when JP Crawford comes up to play SS in July, but time will tell.

Cameron Rupp C:  Every time I see this dude I think, ‘he’s too tall to be a catcher.’  Anyway, with a stronger bat and healthier knees, Rupp saw more time at the end of the season than phan favorite Carlos Ruiz.  However, with Jorge Alfaro waiting in the wings Rupp’s days are sure to be numbered.


Darin Ruf OF, 1B, Restroom Attendant:  Ruff is like the girl you called every weekend at 2am, but ignored during daylight hours.  Ruff is killing it at the plate compared to Howard (which isn’t saying much) so put Howard out to pasture as well as the term ‘platoon.’  As I write this, McPhail is on record saying that there’s no guarantee Howard will make the roster.

Aaron Altherr OF:  Imagine Bizarro Domonic Brown.  This homegrown talent was supposed to be the second coming of Jayson Werth til he got hurt diving for a ball in Spring Training.  He could be back by late July if at all.  This injury was the first major blow to this rebuild.

JP Crawford SS:  Philadelphians haven’t been this excited over a young African American athlete since Adonis Creed.  Crawford is putting balls in orbit all over the minors something the Phils desperately need.  Bowa is comparing Crawford to J*Roll on steroids and when this golden child is ready either Galvis or Hernandez will be packing their bags.

Jorge Alfaro C:  Acquired from Texas in the Hamels/Diekman trade, Alfaro is supposed to be the best catching prospect in all of baseball.  Alfaro is sure to be the heir to Chooch’s thrown and a worthy one to boot.

Tyler Goeddel OF:  Forgot about this guy til the Wriz reminded me.  Goeddel  is the result of our piss poor effort in 2015.  Our 1st round pick in the Rule 5 draft hopes to be the right handed bat that the Phils have been looking for.

New to the bump…

Charlie Morton P:  Acquired by the Pirates, Morton will be part of the new starting 5.  I’m cool with that as long as his name is Morton and not Harrang. And that’s all I have to say about that. #gump

Jerad Eickoff:  Also acquired from Texas, Eickoff was billed as major league ready and is sure to make the starting rotation.

Jeremy Hellickson P:  Former Arizona Diamondback, Jeremy (spoken) is a reliable arm at a bargain basement rate.  He’ll help eat up innings for our bull-less pen.

Vincent Vasquez P:  Acquired from Houston on the Giles trade, Vasquez is the pitcher I fell most phans are excited to see.  With Nola, Morton, Hellickson & Eickhoff, the final spot is Vasquez’ to lose.

David Hernandez P:  Pap out! Giles out! Hernandez in?  Diamond Dave thinks so.  Another banged up athlete has stumbled into the City of Brotherly Love thinking he could get the job diz-one.  We all know Philly wasn’t his first choice, so if he doesn’t want to become Pap 2.0 (as far as phan favorites go)  then he better bring it!

Aaron Nola P:  AKA the ‘new Jan Brady’ BKA the ‘new Cole Hamels’.  We saw this rook represent the second half of last season and although he’s had a slow Spring,  Nola’s tapped to be the Opening Day starter and our new #1.

PotPourri for $500 Alex:
-Frenchy’s gone.  Already miss him.
-Cody Asche is hurt and might be traded.
-David Buchanan is back.  Not a big fan.
-Nick Williams (OF) was invited to ST, but sent back
-Pete Bourjos (OF) formally of St. Louis may take Altherr’s spot.

I’m sure I missed some ish and made a few blunders, but I needed to get this done for my own sanity.  BTW, the Wriz and I have a wager for how many games the Phillies will win this year.  If they win 69+ then I’ll be enjoying a case of some high octane road sodas by the end of Fall.  I don’t think this team will make the playoffs just yet, but they’re definitely going to be better than what everybody’s predicting.  And teams that play like they have nothing to lose always seem to find a way to win.  Needless to say I am excited over  our new team and feel that Batman & Klentak have done a great job thus far.  I’m also excited to see my first On Deck Series on April 1st (no joke).  Meet & Greet VI is June 18th….let’s get ‘bunted!!!


*Check us out on Instragram & Twitter @PhilliesBunts

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

WHO ARE THESE GUYS

  View From the Left Coast by a Lefty:  16-5? *WHO ARE THESE GUYS?*
 
 
Whoever they are, break'em up quick. No seriously, who are these guys who are sporting red pinstripes who were almost 40 games under .500 the first half? The answer apparently is pretty much the same guys who sucked major azz before the break. I admit, I am stunned and am not sure who to point fingers at and why. At the same time I'm almost afraid to drink the koolaid and hope that better time are on the way. Yet, here we are and NOT in the cellar.  :D
 
What is this phenomena that we are witnessing? One thing I know is there is now chemistry on this team. Each and every one of them has confidence, and loves the game and their teammates. It's the same type of chemistry our division title teams had. They may not have the talent those teams had(yet), but they don't lack for anything else including effort. A few things stand out to me:
 
1) Hernandez is here to stay, and after 2 years  is finally living up to his former hype.
2) Odubey is the real deal. His confidence grows daily. When he actually learns to play outfield watch out.
3) Franco has arrived. He's still a little anxious at times but aggressive is better than thinking too much.
4) Frenchy was a great add on. He just produces period.
5) Howard is getting caught up in the enthusiasm and playing much better.
6) Rupp keeps amazing me. Not just a placeholder anymore for Alfaro but a real MLB catcher.
7) Galvis is still outplaying expectations made of him before the season.
8) Brown is having another month of good baseball. Will it last or fade again?
 
 
The pitching still astounds me, at least starting. The bullpen is great. We'll miss Papelbum(not me) but 100 Mile Giles is the shiznitz. Utley and Chooch have settled into secondary roles and I think that's part of the glue keeping this team as it is. The best part... help is on the way! Alfaro could easily become a bigger, better Pudge Rodriguez. Nick Williams is ENFUEGO, and a big hard hitting RH corner outfielder is just what the Dr ordered. The Fightin Phils have charged into the playoff picture and the whole farm looks energized. *WHO ARE THESE GUYS?*
 
I really almost didn't want this to happen, because common sense says it can't last. But being a Phillies fan since 1958 is making me hope it's not an internet glitch or something. Honestly, I don't know what to think other than they will be here tonight in a few hours and I need to find a good bullshit excuse to miss work Wed for the lunchtime getaway game. Until then....
 
                                                Bill S aka/netfather


***EDITOR'S NOTE***** Bill wrote this yesterday. I'm to blame for the tardiness. Bill's to blame for the jinx.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Been a While

View From the Left Coast by a Lefty:  Been a While

 
As the season progressed, it became more and more difficult to write about my favorite team since 1958. I've seen the highs and lows over and over again. Right about now there are maybe 3 positives to dwell on: 1) Franco and Hernandez, but lately 16's come back to earth 2) Frenchie, and that's a stretch but he's enjoying every minute which dont suck 3) possibilities for Adam Morgan to do well. Come Tuesday we'll see if Nola is actually ready for primetime. Personally I think they should have waited til September but I don't sign the checks. Don't get me wrong I loved the pick of him and that he was the most ready for MLB pitcher in that draft. But seriously, isn't the front office grasping for straws because they can't deal Hamels or Papelbum or Revere? I think they finally this week realized they weren't getting the moon for Cole.... FINALLY. We'll see soon enough.
 
So instead I decided to go retro, back to what got me invited here. My first 3 pieces were about how I became a Phillies fan living 2500 miles away. If you're interested here are the links to them:
 
 
 
 
So now I regress to 1968-69, playing semi pro ball in South Jersey. Playing in the Camden City League my Cherry Hill team dominated from 69-73. We were the only back-to-back-to back champs in it's history. In our league we had 2 teams that were mostly Puerto Rican. Great players, but mostly choked when it counted so they never won. One of the managers invited me to play for them on Sundays in Philly. The two teams combined their best players into one team sponsored by Goya,  http://www.goya.com/english/ a major Latino food distributor with a giant factory in Philly. He said he'd pay me $25 every Sunday I showed up. They played double headers every weekend, and were only allowed to have 2 non-Latino players on each team in the league. Signed a contract and all so you couldn't jump from team to team. This was commonplace for semi-pro teams to sign a contract.
 
Now $25 doesn't seem like a lot, but at that time minimum wage was $1.25/hour so you do the math. On top of that, after every double header they broke out cases of beer and a few grills and it was like a big party. I had a blast with them.
 
Anyway, my first time going over was scary. We played on a shit field somewhere in SE Philly I think it was. Full of rocks, broken bottles, and other crap. The entire team showed up almost 2 hours early and scoured the field for debris. By the time we started it wasn't bad at all. Those guys lined the field like pros. Only major hurdle was my Spanish was next to nil lol.
 
So the first game I lead off and play RF. I had 3 hits and we won. But because the field was in such a shitty location(to me) I was more worried about my car than anything else. I had a 65 Impala SS convertible that I had just spent $250 on a brand new rag top. Most of the game I was watching out for it(parked as close as I could to the field). The manager noticed this but said nothing.
 
 
Between games he came up to me and asked me if I was ok, I seemed distracted. I told him yeah a bit. He said he noticed I kept staring at my car all game and I nodded. Then he busted out in this big laughing spell and told me he had two kids watching my car and not to worry about it anymore. I went from almost shitting my pants to laughing with him. Then he asked me to pitch the second game, and that's why they asked me to play. He knew I was all state and drafted by ATL. He was a very cool and smart man.
 
Almost forgot, he was one of the only people on that team who spoke English. I had to fess up and tell him I threw my arm out and couldn't pitch anymore. I offered to give him back the $25 he gave me before we started because the only non PR's were always pitchers for every team in the league. There just weren't enough Latino's who could pitch. He told me no I could keep it if I got 3 more hits and we won the second game.
 
Well I was 2 for 2 with two walks, we won, and I kept the money. He tore up my contract and thanked me for coming over and that they didn't need me anymore. Just think, 47 years ago and baseball was that important to them. There were at least 2000 people lining the field to watch us. They sure loved baseball. No wonder so many Latino's now are hooked and its almost a way of life.
 
If you got this far I'm impressed that you gave a shit about my past. I truly wish I could write as much about this Phillies team. I've tried more than once but my fingers get stumped as to which keys to hit to make it sound enthused lol. I do predict Hamels and Papelbum gone, both before the deadline. I'm going on record saying I don't think Nola is ready yet, but I hope I'm wrong. If he struggles I hope he has the mental strength to get through it. Hopefully Jesse Biddle has mastered his mental hump with the help he got from Doc, as his last game was outstanding. Wriz, if you don't approve of this piece you have a delete key and it won't bother me in the least. I'm still watching every weekend and chromecasting the games to my tv. We may suck but it's still my team. Thanks for listening, and let's get Bunted.
 
 
                                                Bill S/aka netfather

Bill's Prized Possesion