Monday, June 29, 2015

Meet & Greet during Defeats

It's finally here, Meet & Greet V: The Return of the Wriz. The annual event that Phillies fans long for. It used to be up there with Opening Day. Now? Not so much. It was a star studded event, The Netfather, CJ Hood, Diamond Girl and Jay Wrizight. Right up there and surpassing Wing Bowl as the premier event of the year. Bands like AC/DC and the Foo Fighters taking the stage in front of a raucous crowd. Today someone may have a radio on in their car. Oh how the mighty have fallen. Our organizer, Robin, ran a wild event with a megaphone and a bull whip. Gourmet food, craft beers flowing, and world class entertainment. Throngs inside the K Lot and scores more trying to get in. This morning she will say, "Park over there, I think I have a bag of Doritos in my trunk".

And the stars have fallen on tough times. At one event in years past, The Netfather parachuted in and was swarmed by a bunch of dancers from Cheerleaders. I heard he can't make it this year, he's in the middle of his 7th divorce and he can't leave the state of Arizona. Judge's orders. CJ Hood was appearing on The Late Show with David Letterman. He was a headliner in the same breath as Chris Rock and Dane Cook. I hear he is hosting the Open Mic Nite at the Chuckles in Scranton. He's there the second Tuesday of the month from 6 to 10. His career has taken the same trajectory as Louis CK's tv show. What happened there? That brings us to Diamond Girl. She was dating 'The Man' Chase Utley. She was competing with Kendra Wilkerson and Heather Mitts for the title of  'It' girl of the city. Well...3 restraining orders later, she can't come within 1,000 feet of Citizens Bank Park. Against the advice of counsel she may appear at this year's event. We will see. Last but not least, our fearless leader, Jay Wrizight. Who am I kidding, he's like Bernie Parent in this town. He can't go anywhere without a fan asking how the lil' Wrizlets are doing? 

Like the Phillies, the Meet & Greet may have seen better days. We can look on the bright side, the Phillies found a stud in Maikel Franco, maybe Phillies Bunts have a star in Erik Whitacre. I can't believe The Wriz is making him watch every Phillies game, talk about hazing the new guy!

Keep It Classy Philly!


Saturday, June 27, 2015


So Long Suckas!
Why would Ryne Sandberg, the manager of a big league ball club, “resign” mid-season? 

He has to know this means he will most likely never get a chance to manage in the big leagues ever again. Any General Manager now has to see him as an unreliable guy who may leave them hanging when the going gets tough.  How comfortable would the players on a team with a losing record feel with him as their manager?

Could be he would wanted leave on his own terms rather than being unexpectedly fired like his predecessor Charlie Manuel. Ryne’s big day came at the same time Phillies Favorite Uncle Charlie was blindsided.

For a manager to quit mid-season is a clear lack of respect to the leaders above him.  Maybe Ryne wanted to let Ruben know exactly what he thought of him.  Sure, Ruben hired him but afterwards what did he give him?  All Sandberg has had since he took the job is a disaster of a roster.  No manager could win with this group of players.

It had to be frustrating when The Big DomBrownski was promoted from a lackluster minor league showing to being the right fielder again.  It’s pretty clear, Ruben is determined to prove Brown is an everyday player.  Ruf demoted and Brown promoted.  As a manager with no say over the team he fields, this had to be infuriating.

(Did you see the end of the Friday night game? Way to be a coachable player Dom!  Mackanin, please bench him for Sundays game. I have tickets)

It’s possible the final straw was being forced to start Phillippe Aumont.  Everyone said the same thing when they heard he was being promoted to the big leagues again – Seriously!?!?  He has never produced in the Majors and his performance in the Minors has been underwhelming to say the least.  This guy is not and will never be a Major League Ballplayer.  Admit it was a bad trade and move on.  The fans and Sandberg knew when he was named the starting pitcher the game would result in a loss and an unnecessary burden on the bullpen.

Or maybe...

As a Hall of Fame player, from the Chicago Cubs, who endured many losing seasons he got to see firsthand what a manager losing respect of the club house was like.  It is more than reasonable to assume that Ryno saw the players no longer listening to him and playing their way rather than his.


It was pretty clear Sandberg would not be back next season as manager.   It was more than possible he would have been dismissed before the end of the season.  With rumors of Andy MacPhail being hired, changes are sure to be made.  First move would hopefully be a new General Manager immediately followed by a change at manager.


No matter what the reason, Ryne Sandberg is a great baseball man.  He is a Hall of Fame player who worked his way from the lowest level of the Minor Leagues to realize his dream of managing a big league ball club.  Good for him.  How many people his age and with his resume are willing to start on the bottom and work their way to the top. 

At this point, the only R(h)yno my son will ever care about is the villain from the Spider-Man comics but I hope he gets the same drive and determination as the Hall of Fame Second Baseman.

Who will be the next full time manager of the Phillies?  I am still predicting Chase Utley will be filling out the lineup for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies.

I will watch the Phillies so you don’t have to!

Erik Whitacre  @erikwhitacre

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Good, The Sad and The FIRE RUBEN

The Good, The Sad and The FIRE RUBEN.

At this point it is obvious there will be no playoff baseball for the Phightin Phils this season.

There has been some good.  Not a lot. Just some.

Mikael Franco is finally here.  He brings something the team hasn’t had in a long time – Personality. He looks happy when they are winning and mad when they are losing.  It’s a big change for the “baseball is a business and show no emotion” team we have watched the last few seasons.  Franco has a ton of potential. If he lives up to the hype, he is going to be the new favorite player for many Phillies fans.

Get your Franco T-shirts or jerseys and wear them to the games.  Don’t boil your kids hot dogs for lunch make them Phillies Francos. 

Cole Hamels looks great every time he takes the mound.  He is the definition of an Ace.  When he is pitching the Phillies have a chance to win.  It’s a shame the offense refuses to score any runs for him.

Remember in the 90’s when Curt Schilling was pitching lights out baseball every fifth day and the team wasn’t scoring?  Had they scored a few runs and added some wins to his lifetime record he would have easily been a first ballot Hall of Fame player.  He should have been elected first try anyway and it’s just wrong the he still missed on his second try.

When Hamels retires, and voters are on the fence about his career, the way he has pitched these last few seasons won’t be remembered but the losses will be.

On the rare occasions Papelbon gets the ball, there is confidence he will get the job done.  The Pirates loss wasn’t his fault.  He hasn’t even done or said anything stupid in a while.

Asche looks like he is ready for his opportunity to be the everyday left fielder and do his best with it.  He is a Phillies player to follow and root for.  He loves the game and works hard at it.  That’s a guy who could be exciting to watch over the next few years.

There has been plenty of sad.

Back to Cole Hamels who will miss his Friday night start with a strained hamstring.  It isn’t certain if he will need to go on the disabled list.  What a hit to his trade value if he goes on the DL.

One wild thought - is he is being shut down while some negotiations take place over the weekend? Doubt it but have we seen the end of an era?  That truly would be sad.

Utley and Howard are still every day players in Sandberg’s line up.  It is time for them to sit more than they play.  The Phillies will owe them both huge salaries next year no matter what happens for the rest of this season. If the team really is trying to see what young talent they have to build around for the future it is time to stop worrying about hurting feelings and letting someone else try to get a hit.

Darin Ruf was sent back to the minors to work on the game he was never allowed to work on in the majors.  What a shame.  He should have been given the opportunity to play every day to see what he could do.  Mike Schmidt is a big fan of Ruf and spoke of this on every Saturday and Sunday home game broadcast.

The Big Dom Brownski was called back up to the big team to take his place.  It seems pretty obvious at this point his six week tear last season was primarily due to big league pitchers not knowing how to pitch him.  As soon as teams got an accurate scouting report, pitchers and defenses made adjustments, his numbers decreased and he became the below average player we all know he is. Dom Brown is a 3 time loser – 1) He took his time reporting to the minors because he was upset he wasn’t going to be with the Phillies.  2) He is a Cowboys fan and not afraid to let Philly know it. 3) HE CAN”T HIT!  How many opportunities will this guy get? 

There has been plenty of FIRE RUBEN

Ruben needs to be fired before the trade deadline.  The opportunity to move Hamels, Papelbon, Francouer, Harang or anyone else who can bring a return of some young talent is too important to be lef to a GM who has proven beyond a reasonable doubt he doesn’t have a realistic strategy or vision for the future of this team.

The great GM’s have a strategy.  Billy Beane finds a way to get young players with massive potential. Because the A’s have a low budget he plays them until they are on the verge of costing too much and then trades them for more low priced young players and starts all over. The A’s may be in the AL West basement but Oakland fans have confidence it will only be a matter of time before they are contending for the division again. Are there any Phillies fans who think Ruben has the skills to build a team this way?

Jeff Luhnow (who replaced Ed Wade) and the Astros have built a team from the ground up. They are young, fun to watch, and have a real chance to hold on and win the AL West.  Do any fans think Ruben has the skills to build a contender in the next few years via the draft? With the Phillies unwilling to bring up young players, it might take 10 years.

Remember when the Red Sox had a fire sale of high priced players and finished last in the division only to be followed by a rebuild that led them to a World Series the following year?  The Red Sox knew when to unload their high priced players while they still had something to offer.  Do any fans have confidence Ruben could turn a team around in 1 season?  (To be fair the Red Sox tried to do an extensive rebuild again and this time it looks like they made some bad choices. Pablo and Hanley should have stayed out west.)

Not only has Ruben failed to make one trade this season he has created a massive jam for the outfield position.  The remainder of June and all of July should be Asche in left, Herrera in center and Brown (because it obviously won’t be Ruf) in Right.  Let Francouer play once or twice a week as a gift to the fans who don’t want to watch Brown underwhelm every night.

It was a smart move to release Sizemore.  He never added anything to a team in a rebuilding mode and not many fans were buying tickets just to see him.

Revere needs to be traded for someone with potential. There is no future for him in a Phillies uniform.  Ruben should have looked for a trade in the off season when he actually had value. He hit well last year and on a team that could use a fast center fielder who can slap the ball he might have been worth a decent player. 

Sandberg was Rubens pick for manager.   All time Phillies fan favorite Charlie Manuel was fired mid-season to give Ryno his shot.  Hiring the right manager is just as important as choosing the right players.

When Ruben goes Sandberg needs to immediately follow.

Let Larry Bowa manage the team for the rest of the year.  He will sit the players who aren’t playing and light some fires under the ones who need to be doing more.

The Phillies need to do something to show the fans they care.  The longer Ruben stays in charge and continues to underwhelm the more fans they will lose.

If you stopped watching this team don’t feel bad about it.  The bandwagon has been destroyed.  It’s not being a fair weather fan to have given up at this point. The players have given up on us and the GM thinks we are idiots!  When the wagon is rebuilt and ready to roll again there will be plenty of room.

Yes, I’m still watching the Phillies so you don’t have to! 


Erik Whitacre 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Birthday Musings

View From the Left Coast from a Lefty:  Birthday Musings
I woke up today feeling a bit sad. Today, I qualified for Medicare. If that's not enough to shake your tree then phuck you; you have no soul. I fully expected the Phils to automatically comply with my wishes and kick some Rockies ass. But no, it's like.....hey Bill, hell with your bday we're gonna play like crap. Damned if they didn't.
I have no illusions people. I've been a Phillies fan since 1958. I've seen better and worse. If you didn't live through 1972 you missed the low and high(Carlton Cy Young 27-10 when Phils were 59-103). Today's Phillies are merely a step towards the future. For the most part, I like the future even though our farm has been bad mouthed. I like Franco, I like Cody in LF, I love Odubey. Whoever put Revere in RF needs to be shot. RF is where your best outfielder and arm belong. I know this because that is where I played and also batted 3rd. Enough of this here, I verifed myself lol.
We were all giddy when they won 6 in a row. Now it's -7 on the other end. Folks, this is to be expected from a team projected to be under .500. I hate having to write about a team that sucks but guess what, it's what we were dealt. I'm not happy either. To Erik: I'm glad you watch them so I don't have to because they basically make me sick. No fundamentals whatsoever, take fastballs down the middle and swing at low inside breaking stuff, on and on. I've said before half this team could not have played for my high school coach because we were taught better than they were. So where does the blame belong?
Mr Wriz not sure how much longer I can do this. Maybe Medicare has sapped me of all potential hope. Or maybe it's Rube. Whichever, I'm quickly approaching DB29 or DGirl status and I apologize. Maybe I'll feel better in the morning but chances are prolly not. At least I don't have to work  in the morning and may only spend 4 hours at the SSA. Excuse me while I try to wade through all that bullshit and see where I land tomorrow. At least it's only 1 more day
until the Stanley Cup Finals.
                                                Bill S aka/netfather