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