The Dead-ball Era Philadelphia Phillies

The base­ball off­sea­son tor­ments me. While I appre­ci­ate the post­sea­son awards — con­grats to Roy Hal­la­day on his Cy Young Award — I find my thoughts turn to the likes of Ed Dela­han­ty, Sam Thomp­son, Gavvy Cra­vath and Grover Cleve­land Alexander.

For­tu­nate­ly, I have com­pa­ny. My friend and cowork­er Dan McQuade of Philadel­phia Will Do is loan­ing me an Ed Dela­han­ty biog­ra­phy! Can­not wait to read about a trou­bled ballplay­er who died at Nia­gara Falls. I’m fas­ci­nat­ed by Big Ed’s sto­ry and I love think­ing about the dead-bal­l era, when base­ball was a grind­ing game of bunts, steals and dirty pitch­es, to say noth­ing of rogue leagues and labor strife.

I also near­ly joined the Soci­ety for Amer­i­can Base­ball Research yes­ter­day. I told you it was get­ting bad!

It’s Time for Playoff Baseball

First, I want to say con­grat­u­la­tions to our Philadel­phia Phillies for once again defy­ing the odds and fin­ish­ing with the best record in base­ball for the first time in club his­to­ry. It’s no mean feat in any sea­son, let alone one in which the team was sim­ply rav­aged by injuries to key play­ers all year long.

Now our eyes shift to the Phillies next goal, their third World Series appear­ance in as many years. Can they do it again? I’m hop­ing “Doc­to­ber” is every­thing we’ve dreamed and more.

Helen, Char­lie and I are head­ed to the park Fri­day after work for Game 2 of the NLDS. It’ll be Roy Oswalt ver­sus Bron­son Arroyo of the Cincin­nati Reds. I like our chances against the MLB’s old­est squad and I’d frankly be sur­prised if this series went five games. Let’s hope I’m right.

How About Them Phillies?

Remem­ber when I wrote this and won­dered whether or not the Phillies would make the post­sea­son? Yeah, seems pret­ty sil­ly now. I’m head­ed to see the Phillies again tonight as they attempt to sweep the Braves, who once led the divi­sion by a healthy sev­en games. The Phillies have gone on a 12 game swing since and now lead by a whop­ping five games. The mind bog­gles at the accomplishment.

Peo­ple are talk­ing about the Padres’ col­lapse? What hap­pened to Atlanta?

What the Phillies top three pitch­ers have accom­plished is noth­ing short of remark­able. Hal­la­day has won 20 games, Cole Hamels has bounced back after a sea­son that test­ed his met­tle and Roy Oswalt has been superb since join­ing at the dead­line. Can you believe Roy Oswalt is our num­ber three? Me neither!

The Trade Deadline, Revisited

Helen and I had tick­ets to Roy Oswalt’s debut as a Phillie. Wish it had gone bet­ter, but it was still a bril­liant move for the Phillies. Few peo­ple believed that J.A. Happ could dupli­cate his suc­cess­ful rook­ie cam­paign, myself includ­ed. The Oswalt deal gives the Phillies an intim­i­dat­ing rota­tion, espe­cial­ly in a short series.

But can they make the play­offs? The Phils have been snakebit­ten yet again, los­ing Shane Vic­tori­no, Raul Ibanez and Ryan Howard to injury, leav­ing Jayson Werth as the only Phillies reg­u­lar who has­n’t been hit with the injury bug. It could­n’t come at a worse time. The Phils have moved with­in 3 games of the Braves and seem to be putting the pieces togeth­er before the lat­est round of injuries hit. (Make that 1 game back. The Giants mirac­u­lous­ly beat the Braves last night.) If they can get healthy for Sep­tem­ber, I’d say they have more than a decent shot at win­ning the NL East yet again.

If not, they still made the right move. Get­ting Oswalt for the 2011 sea­son and beyond is still the right move. Dom Brown will have more expe­ri­ence. We may man­age to keep Jayson Werth, though prob­a­bly not. It’s still the smart thing to have done at the dead­line. Now that we’re only one game behind the Braves, our rota­tion may be too much down the stretch.

Love John­ny Good­times’ let­ter of apol­o­gy to Ruben Amaro, Jr. I guess I should sign on to that as well, huh?