Tag Archive | "phillies"

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A Sign of Progress

Posted on 06 September 2009 by dansoderberg

First off,  I’d like to congratulate the Orioles’ Jeff Fiorentino on his return to the Major Leagues.  Fiorentino played LF for the O’s on Sunday and contributed 2 hits, 2 runs and 2 RBI to the winning effort.

In may of 2005 Fiorentino, then of the Frederick Keys, was summoned all the way from the Carolina League to Big Leagues to fill in an in injury replacement for the Orioles.  Fiorentino spent a few weeks with the Orioles before returning to Frederick.

In the 2009 season we’ve witnessed the ML debuts of some outstanding young players.  Fiorentino’s return to the Orioles today should be a reminder of just how far the team’s player development system has come over the past 3 seasons.  Fiorentino’s original debut was born out of necessity not merit.  As the team begins to stack prospects at each level of the minors performance and merit will be the key factors in promotion.

On another note, I sincerely hope the Orioles don’t open the 2010 season with Ty Wigginton at 3rd base.  Wiggington has been a capable bench player, and may be one helluva guy, but he should not be a regular.  I’d prefer to see the Orioles make a run at Free Agent to-be Chone Figgins, who could play and hit leadoff, dropping Roberts to the 2 hole.  Another option would be Cardinals’ 3rd sacker Mark DeRosa, a capable hitter and defender and versatile enough to play multiple positions.  The Orioles should target a versatile 3rd baseman that can play multiple positions in the event that prospect Josh Bell is ready to be the regular ML 3rd basemen at some point in the 2010 or 2011 seasons.

Don’t be surprised if Phillies starting pitcher Brett Myers gets some save opportunities down the stretch.  Phillies closer Brad Lidge has been atrocious this year with 10 blown saves and an ERA over 7.00.  Lidge was a major reason for the Phillies winning the 2008 World Series, but he is a detriment at this point and should not be trusted with a Postseason lead.  Myers actually served as the Phillies closer in the 2007 season and is recovered from an injury that sidelined him for a good portion of the 2009 season.  His return from the DL could serve as a major bullpen acquisition.

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Don’t Underestimate the Power of Thome

Posted on 01 September 2009 by dansoderberg

The Chicago White Sox dealt DH and future HOFer Jim Thome to the Dodgers before yesterday’s MLB trade deadline.  Thome will be eligible for LA’s postseason roster.  The move may seem peculiar on the surface as Thome can’t DH in the NL and the Dodgers have a productive young first baseman in James Loney.

Thome will serve almost exclusively as a pinch hitter over the remainder of the regular season and the NL playoffs.  The Dodgers currently hold a 5.5 game lead in the NL West.  The Phillies and Cardinals each feature hard throwing right handed closers in Brad Lidge and Ryan Franklin.  Thome has an .897 OPS this season against right handers and gives Dodger Manager Joe Torre a valuable bat off the bench.  Should the Dodgers make it to the World Series Thome could serve as the DH, a much better option than Mark Loretta or Juan Pierre. NL teams often play at a disadvantage in AL ballparks because they don’t have someone on their roster that is worthy of the DH at bats.  Thome would level the playing field much like Matt Stairs did last year for the Phillies.

Thome will be a free agent at the end of the season and given his lack of a position it is highly unlikely that the Dodgers would offer him arbitration, meaning the signing team would not have to give up draft pick compensation.  Thome would be an excellent fit for the Orioles next season.  He could serve as the full time DH, sitting against tought lefties.  He would also offer some veteran experience and a much needed power presence in the middle of the lineup.  On a one or two year deal I think he would be an excellent fit.

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Stunner in Queens

Posted on 23 August 2009 by dansoderberg

Sunday was a great day of baseball.  I put my son down for his nap and flopped on the sofa to check out the afternoon games.  The Orioles were leading the White Sox in the 6th, the Cubbies were playing an afternoon game in Chavez Ravine, and the Little League World Series was on ESPN.

As I flipped around the channels I came upon the Phillies and Mets.  The Mets were down 9-7 in the bottom of the 9th with runners on 1st and 2nd and no outs.  It looked as if the Phillies consistently disappointing Brad Lidge was on the verge of another late inning collapse.  In one pitch the rally and the game were both over.  Mets RF Jeff Francoeur lined a shot up the middle which was speared by Phillies 2B Eric Bruntlett.  The runners were going on the pitch and Bruntlett simply stepped on 2nd base for the second out and tagged Daniel Murphy running from 1st for the third out.  The play marked just the second time in ML history that a game ended on an unassisted triple play.  It was a remarkable ending and the Citi Field crowd was stunned.

Speaking of stunned, have you checked out the Mets lineup recently?  I know they’ve been hammered by injuries to stars like David Wright, Jose Reyes, Delgado and Beltran.  On Sunday they basically started a AAA lineup.  GM Omar Minaya has been given a vote of confidence and in turn has said that Manager Jerry Manuel is his guy.  After looking at this lineup the thought that either Minaya or Manuel were in danger of losing their jobs is laughable.

Check out the Mets ridiculous Sunday lineup – http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/boxscore?gameId=290823121

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Crabcakes and Exercise Balls

Posted on 22 June 2009 by Patrick Staso

In my Monday Tuesday Thursday activities of clicking random links on sports pages I came across this.

You keep expecting him to fall…. but he doesn’t 🙁

After watching this amazing feat I needed to satiate my hurt for hurt. Not to mention sometimes its hard to find goofy things related to sports, especially when the Orioles just swept the world series champions…. Who am I kidding, that should be my headline. Either way, in sort of a round about way, this is kinda sports related.

Sticking with today’s theme… here is my favorite exercise/sports ball injury video.

The First hit is the funniest.

and this one because honestly… I think its CGI

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5 W’s and 1 H

Posted on 22 June 2009 by Luke Jones

The Orioles certainly didn’t show the Phillies any “Brotherly Love” by completing a three-game sweep this weekend.

I attended the first two games of the series on Friday and Saturday night and had a great time.  Citizens Bank Park may lack the charm of Oriole Park at Camden Yards, but the wide-open concourse is an excellent feature for those wanting to grab a snack or cold beverage without missing a pitch.

It was a pleasure meeting many of the rabid Orioles fans on the WNST/Miller Lite Bus Trip, and it was even better high-fiving and celebrating the closing moments of Saturday night’s comeback win with them!

Here are the 5 W’s and 1 H for the week:

1.  Who will be the best player not named Blake Griffin to come out of this year’s NBA Draft?

The 2009 NBA Draft takes place on Thursday night, and the Los Angeles Clippers have already committed to taking power forward Blake Griffin (Oklahoma), the surest thing in this year’s draft class, with the No. 1 pick.

After Griffin, there is plenty of talent but many question marks.  From Connecticut’s Hasheem Thabeet to international point guard Ricky Rubio to Davidson’s Stephen Curry, there is potential, but none are regarded as a sure thing.  Some NBA executives are calling this one of the worst drafts in recent memory.

If I had to choose a rookie from this class other than Griffin, I’d take a chance on Curry.  His heroic run in the 2008 NCAA tournament put him on the map, and he followed it up by leading the nation in scoring last season (28.6 points per game).

Though Curry lacks the ideal size (6-3) and athleticism for the NBA, his strong pedigree—he’s the son of former NBA player Dell Curry—and fundamentals will allow him to become a successful pro.  He won’t become an All-Star, but Curry will be a solid addition to an NBA team.

2.  What was the best Orioles game you ever attended?

Saturday night’s win has to be one of the top five or six Orioles games I’ve ever attended.  Yes, that’s pretty sad, but when you consider I was two weeks old when the Orioles last won the World Series, you can probably begin to understand.

My choice for the best game I’ve attended was a 7-5, 10-inning victory over the New York Yankees on June 3, 1997.  The Orioles were in the midst of their wire-to-wire run for the American League East title, and Rafael Palmeiro hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th inning to put the Orioles ahead by 8.5 games in the division.

Walking out of the ballpark while gloating among the Yankees fans was a great feeling—and is nearly a forgotten one 12 years later.

3.  Where is the best starting rotation in the Orioles’ organization?

Though the starting pitching in Baltimore has improved, I am still eagerly looking at the rotation in Triple-A Norfolk.  The Tides currently have four of the top pitching prospects in the organization with Chris Tillman, Jake Arrieta, David Hernandez, and Troy Patton.

While it’s doubtful that all four will crack the starting rotation by season’s end, I wouldn’t be surprised to see these four, along with Brad Bergesen, making up the starting rotation by this time next season.  Obviously, there’s no guarantee—and it’s quite unlikely—they’ll all become successful big league starters, but it’s clear the Orioles have come a long way from the days of counting on one prospect like Rocky Coppinger or Matt Riley to save the rotation.

We’ve heard quite a bit about these names over the last two years, so it’s exciting to see them at the Triple-A level and on the verge of making the jump to the big leagues.

4.  When was the last time the Orioles earned an interleague sweep on the road?

Before this weekend’s sweep of the Phillies, the Orioles last completed an interleague road sweep against the Atlanta Braves in June 1999.

The Orioles completed the three-game set by beating the Braves, 22-1, on a nationally televised Sunday night game.  This was Cal Ripken’s famous six-hit game that earned several standing ovations from the Turner Field crowd over the course of the night.

Mike Mussina earned the win over Atlanta’s John Smoltz, capping off one of the few highlights of the 1999 season.

5.  Why did Dave Trembley allow Danys Baez to pitch to Ryan Howard in the seventh inning on Saturday night?

I certainly was celebrating the exciting comeback win on Saturday night, but it didn’t excuse Trembley’s terrible decision to pitch to Howard with a base open and two outs in the seventh inning.  Yes, walking Howard would have put the go-ahead run in scoring position, but the pitcher’s spot was on deck, and the Phillies sent Carlos Ruiz to the plate after Howard’s three-run shot.  Howard is hitting .299 against right-handed pitching, so the matchup against Baez wasn’t favorable in that regard either.

Just a hunch, but I’d take my chances facing Ruiz with the bases loaded instead of Howard.

I was sitting with Nestor Aparicio and my friend Mike—two of the most knowledgeable baseball fans I know—and all three of us immediately said it was the wrong move.  A few moments later, Howard confirmed our fears.

Saturday’s win was a great example of a team bailing out its manager.  The decisions to allow Gregg Zaun and Oscar Salazar to hit in the ninth inning worked out, but they did not cancel out the decision to pitch to one of the best power hitters in the game—whether he had the flu or not.

I hope Trembley personally thanked Brian Roberts for saving his bacon.  Regardless of the big win, it was the wrong decision.

6.  How likely are the Ravens to make a serious play for Brandon Marshall?

Not very.

John Harbaugh, Ozzie Newsome, and the Ravens are very serious about avoiding players with questionable character, and Marshall—regardless of his immense talent—fits that description.  When you also consider the team would have to surrender high draft picks and doesn’t have the salary cap room to afford the $7-9 million per year Marshall is seeking, it really becomes an easy decision.

Marshall’s dispute with the Denver Broncos is different from quarterback Jay Cutler’s, because it is not based on a conflict with new head coach Josh McDaniels; it simply comes down to wanting more money.

The Pro Bowl receiver is scheduled to become a free agent after the season, but an uncapped year in 2010 would change his status dramatically.  Since an uncapped system would change the number of years before free agency from four to six, Marshall would remain under the Broncos’ control for two more years—as a restricted free agent—and would not become an unrestricted free agent until after the 2011 season.  The Broncos hold all of the leverage in this situation, so Marshall desperately wants a new deal before that happens.

When you consider all of these factors, I would be surprised to see Marshall in Baltimore—or anywhere else other than Denver—this September.

*****

I hope all of the fathers out there had a great Father’s Day.  This is a tough day for me after losing my dad in 2004, but I have numerous great memories—many centering around the Ravens, Orioles, and Terps—to cherish.

He deserves more credit than anyone for cultivating my passion for Baltimore sports.  I’m sure he would have loved this weekend in Philadelphia.

Have a great Monday.

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Orioles get Philthy in Philly, complete sweep with 2-1 win

Posted on 21 June 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

The Orioles are still in last place but completed an inspired weekend of road baseball, finishing a three-game sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies in the City of Brotherly Love.

Today, it was Jeremy Guthrie’s turn to step up with a big outing and Adam Jones and Brian Roberts driving in the key late-inning runs to beat the Phils 2-1 after a huge comeback on Saturday night on the heels of a great start by Brad Bergesen. Roberts has been the difference maker the past two days, stepping up as a veteran leader for a team trying to dig out of the AL East basement.

The Orioles have now won five in a row and take their final Interleague turn of the season south to South Beach and a three-game set meeting with the Marlins on Tuesday night.

Complete coverage at WNST.net here...

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I AM CONFUSED: WHY THROW THE BALL BACK?

Posted on 08 April 2009 by Vince Fiduccia

Somebody help me.  When or why did it become fashionable to throw back home run balls?  The other night I watched the Phillies and the Braves, and Brett Myers did his best impersonation of Tom “Napalm” Niedenfuer.  After every shot the Braves hit out of the park, those dopes in the stands threw the ball back.

 

I have been going to baseball games for over 35 years now and have never come close to a baseball.  I have sat in enough bleachers seats to fill a dozen parks and still had no luck.  So, why if you actually caught one would you give it back?  I know it’s something the yuppies do at Wrigley Field, but why do we do it here in Baltimore?  Why does the crowd cheer in Philly, Washington, New York or Texas to throw it back?

 

Trust me if I ever catch a home run or a foul ball I am not throwing it back.  I am keeping that baby!  The players are making millions; the teams and the owners are making millions, and you’re giving back a $15 baseball.  They can afford the loss.

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Thursday Morning's Crab Cakes and Light Beer

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Thursday Morning’s Crab Cakes and Light Beer

Posted on 26 March 2009 by Chris Bonetti

The Swinging Bunt

Thursday Night, Must See TV!  NBC’s old ‘Must See TV’ lineup of Seinfeld, Just Shoot Me, Friends and Frazier has nothing on what CBS will be rolling out the next two nights.  Action gets underway with UConn, controversy and all, and Purdue, then  a half hour later Pitt-Xavier.  Personally, the night cap double-header of Memphis-Missouri and especially Duke-‘Nova has a little more intrigue to me.  So it will definitely be a late night for me in Federal Hill… and unfortunately I don’t mean at Magerks, Mother’s, or The Stalking Horse.  The Blue Devils and Wildcats have an approximate tip time slated for 9:57pm, and keep in mind, that’s if Pitt-Xavier ends in a tidy and timely fashion.  While I shamefully admit I fell asleep well before even the first overtime between Syracuse-Uconn in the Big East Tournament, I guarantee I will see every second of basketball shown tonight.  My picks… Pittsburgh and Villanova in close ones giving us an All Big East-East Regional Final…  Memphis going away, and UConn in a very verrry close game.  I’m really high on the Boilers and there’s a lot of distractions surrounding that Huskie program.

The O’s will be shown nationwide!  Yesterday the Major League Baseball Network released their schedule and announcing teams for the first eight games in their Thursday Night Baseball series.  The set includes great inter-division games with a lot of national appeal, like Red Sox-Rays April 30, Phillies-Mets May 7 and Cubs-Cardinals May 21.  I know what you’re thinking… “Chris, what about the May 14th game?  It seems as though you’ve skipped a week.”  Well, let’s just say the May 14th game doesn’t quite have the cache of the others.  That night the network will show the enthralling game between the Orioles and Royals in Kansas City at Kaufman Stadium.  Certainly leaves something to be desired there… sheesh!

Scanning the Blogosphere

Awful Announcing has all the latest statistics from ESPN’s Bracket Challenge.  Amazingly there are 6 entries that have a Final Four of Arizona, Purdue, Xavier, and Gonzaga still alive.

College Hoops Journal has an interesting read about how Rece Davis, Digger Phelps, Dick Vitale, and etc… watch NCAA Tournament games at ESPN Headquarters.

Dempsey’s Army has a pretty cool read on how to construct the optimal Oriole lineup for this season using a formula based almost solely based on On Base Percentage and Slugging Percentage.

Camden Chat has a link to a story telling us there are 8 new plaques on Eutaw Street for homer balls landing out there from last season (Luke Scott 2, Nick Markakis… Jason Giambi 2, Lance Berkman, Alex Gordon, and Robinson Cano).

The Loss Column; while the O’s minor league pitchers have gotten most of the pub, TLC looks at some of the bats in the O’s system.

Baltimore Sports and Life offers 20 Questions and Opinions on the upcmoning Oriole season.

Big League Stew has 10 suggestions on how the World Baseball Classic can be improved the next next time.

The Hoover Street Rag, a University of Michigan Sports Blog, has a fantastic preview of the upcoming D-1 College Hockey NCAA Tournament.  For the record, I got the Bemidji State Beavers going to the ‘Frozen Four.’

The Morning’s Final Thought

Sal Fasano, by far one of my favorite players of all-time, is back in the majors… and so is his world class mustache!

The career .221 hitter and backup catcher is will be sporting the purple and black this season… and no not for the Ravens… but rather for the Colorado Rockies for the second stint of his career.

The former Royal, A, Rocky, Angel, Oriole, Phillie, Yankee, Blue Jay, and Indian has as much as a cult following as anyone in baseball and it’s all because of his legendary upper lip hair.

I’d love to go out and get a plate of linguine with ‘Big Sal’ at Sabatino’s anytime!  Though you have to wonder… how much food do you think gets stuck in that mustache after a nice big meal?

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A rare matchup of cheesesteak vs. crab cake

Posted on 21 November 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

It doesn’t happen often when the mean streets of the City of Brotherly Love and the quaint “Wire” world of Charm City get together in a meaningful sports contest. Four years ago, we had the infamous Halloween matchup where Terrell Owens – at that point still en vogue in fickle Filthy – danced over Ray Lewis in the north end zone of The Linc.

Twenty five years ago we saw the Orioles take down the Phillies in Game 5 at The Vet to bring Baltimore its final sniff of a World Title in the great game of baseball. Of course, that was “B.A.” – before Angelos.

But I can’t think of another time when Baltimore vs. Philly meant much of anything. And that’s a shame, really.

So as a guy who travels to Philadelphia regularly for concerts, culture and rock and roll (BTW: Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers are reuniting next Wednesday night for a one-time only show at the Electric Factory) it’s always interesting when a sports battle actually involves Baltimore vs. Philly.

As much as there is a “rivalry” of some kind – and let’s be honest, the Phillies are the World Champions and I see their gear all over our town these days so there isn’t much to discuss on the baseball side thanks to Angelos and company – Sunday should be a lot of fun if the violent drunk Philadelphia fans don’t overdo it.

It’s an all-too-rare 90-mile turf war.

Philadelphia – or Filthy, as I lovingly refer to it – has cheesesteaks, decent doughy pretzels, Rocky Balboa, the Flyers, Tastykakes and plenty of grit.

Baltimore has a purple love affair with our football team, Ray Lewis, the Eagles former special teams coach with John Harbaugh and I’ll still take crab cakes over Tastykakes or cheesesteaks.

I suppose it’s unfortunate in some ways that when Art Modell brought the Ravens to town that we didn’t somehow wind up in a division where we could play the Redskins, Giants and Eagles a little more frequently than every four years – or in this case, every EIGHT years in our home market.

Sure, I dig hating on Cleveland and Pittsburgh (as well as feeling empathy for the poor people of Cincinnati), but it’d be a lot more fun to talk about the Eagles and Philadelphia in some sort of “rivalry” way more than every four years.

Of course, ask me again after the game on Sunday once we all spend a day with our “well-behaved” neighbors from the north and I might feel differently.

It all depends on how many picks Donovan McNabb throws us on Sunday.

The Eagles fans are second only to the Browns fans to admire when their team is losing.

Bring on Gang Green…

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Flacco’s blog: Bring on the road atmosphere!

Posted on 30 October 2008 by joeflacco

I’ll be making my first trip to Cleveland this Sunday and I’m hearing from some of the guys that the fans are pretty loud and crazy.  That’s good.  I really liked playing in that kind of atmosphere in Pittsburgh earlier this year.  Obviously our fans in Baltimore are great to us and they’re really loud — but they’re also rooting for us when we’re at home.  I have a feeling they won’t be rooting for us in Cleveland but we’ll go in there and play hard like always.

I keep on getting great protection from the line and the running backs and tight ends who are doing the blocking up front.  I know I say it every week but they are one of the biggest reasons why I’ve played the first seven weeks without any serious bumps or bruises.

We know this is a big game because it’s a division rival and we’ve won a couple in a row now so we want to keep building on that momentum.  We’ll be ready.  Who knows, we might even have a few more fun plays to throw out there on Sunday.

I hope my alma mater, Delaware, can turn it around and finish their football season on a good note.  They play Towson next weekend, which is always fun at UD because Towson brings some fans and the game has developed into a pretty good rivalry.  The CAA is turning out a lot of good teams these days.  It looks like 4 or maybe even 5 teams might make it into the playoffs from the CAA this year.  Maybe I’ll check out Delaware when they play basketball at Towson this winter.  I went to a handful of the men’s games when I was in school at UD and attended a lot of the women’s games.

I was glad to see the Phillies win the World Series in Philadelphia.  It’s good to win the championship anywhere, obviously, but since there hasn’t been a title in Philly since 1980, it was good that the home fans got to experience the whole thing there last night.

Have a great weekend and I’ll check in with Drew on Tuesday morning at 8:30 am.

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