Let’s Talk About MLB Winter Meetings, Okay?

Noth­ing quite as excru­ci­at­ing as watch­ing your team lose a star out­field­er to a sor­ry team with­in the divi­sion — for unrea­son­ably big bucks, mind — while watch­ing them hap­less­ly pur­sue bar­gain bin replace­ments like Jeff Fran­coeur, Matt Diaz, George Sher­rill and Den­nys Reyes. Would’ve been adding insult to injury if we tried to add any of those guys even in a pla­toon. Can’t right­ly tell if it makes it hurt more to hear the Phillies bandied about as being in on Cliff Lee and Zack Greinke or if that’s just part of a push to make guys like me feel bet­ter about a team that real­ly has no choice but to stand pat this off­sea­son and hope things go a lit­tle dif­fer­ent­ly in 2011.

Will say that the Nats being big spenders real­ly warms my heart. Love that the Fish are being aggres­sive, too. The NL East does­n’t get enough cred­it for being the hor­net’s nest it is.

Last­ly, Selig real­ly does need to expand the league to include the mys­tery team that gets cit­ed any time talks heat up with a free agent. Craig Cal­cater­ra has been writ­ing about this over at Hard­ball Talk for a bit. The tweets com­ing out of Orlan­do have been pos­i­tive­ly hilar­i­ous. Have to say that the rumors def­i­nite­ly keep me engaged with base­ball dur­ing what is oth­er­wise a very slow offseason.

Grand Opening of New Mitchell and Ness Store

If you know me, you know I pos­i­tive­ly adore Phillies throw­back jer­seys. Heck, I own three of them per­son­al­ly. My first was a pow­der blue Mike Schmidt ’76 throw­back, fol­lowed by a ’76 Carl­ton home jer­sey. Got a Bur­rell rook­ie jer­sey for my 33rd birth­day this year. (Pat broke into the league wear­ing 33.) So you know I can­not tell you how excit­ed I am to stop in and drop some coin in Mitchell & Ness’ new flag­ship store at 1201 Chest­nut. The pic­tures of their new spot are sim­ply glo­ri­ous! T‑minus Christ­mas and count­ing until I grab a sweet Robin Roberts home jer­sey or this amaz­ing Philadel­phia Quak­ers throw­back.

Watch May­or Nut­ter open the shop in style in the video above.

I Love Roy Oswalt

Now that it’s sunk in that our sea­son’s over, all I can think about how much I love Roy Oswalt.


Because he was an absolute stud down the stretch. Because he accept­ed play­ing sec­ond fid­dle when he’s an ace on most staffs around the league. Because he played left field! To top it all off, he vol­un­teered to pitch in relief.

He does the lit­tle things fans in Philly love. He’s a team play­er and I can’t wait to watch him next year.

It Was a Great Ride, Phillies

When my friend Mark called and asked me if I was inter­est­ed in attend­ing Game 6 last night, I could­n’t say no. I’d nev­er attend­ed a game in which the Phillies could be elim­i­nat­ed and it seemed like the most excit­ing expe­ri­ence I could ever has as a base­ball fan, short of Game 7 of the World Series.

It lived up to billing, even though the Phillies came up short in a heart­break­ing one-run loss. There were ample oppor­tu­ni­ties to put the Giants away, but our home­town nine failed to cap­i­tal­ize. The Giants won with time­ly hit­ting and a bend-but-don’t-break bullpen. The Phillies could do noth­ing to over­come what Giants fans like to refer to as “tor­ture.”

I’m left with a hol­low feel­ing. Sure, we Phillies fans have been for­tu­nate these past three years. Going to the NLCS is no mean feat and we’ve done it three con­sec­u­tive years, win­ning twice. But this was OUR year. The front office made the moves to put us over the top and we fell short. In the end, the Phillies beat them­selves and that’s an awful way to lose.

Next year will be dif­fer­ent. Jayson Werth will be in a Red Sox or Angels or, heck, Giants uni­form and a lot of the play­ers who were role play­ers in our last two pen­nant runs will be gone. Call me sen­ti­men­tal, but it’ll be odd see­ing some of these guys return with dif­fer­ent teams. I know it’s the busi­ness of base­ball, but I feel like we end up fac­ing more of our lov­able castoffs every year. It’s a bit­ter­sweet feel­ing cheer­ing for a play­er who meant so much to us Phillies fans when he’s wear­ing anoth­er uniform.

I don’t think all hope is lost for the 2011 sea­son, but I think it will be even more dif­fi­cult to accom­plish what we once again. Every­one will be old­er. Dominic Brown still needs pol­ish. The bench will need to be retooled. The bullpen will turnover a bit. Some of the coach­es will be gone, too. And the Braves, Giants, Padres and Reds will be doing the same thing.

That’s base­ball.

Do I look for­ward to anoth­er sea­son with the Roys and Cole atop our rota­tion? Absolute­ly. I think the Phillies are still the best team in the NL East. But being the best does­n’t always mat­ter. The best team does­n’t always win. Who knows what 2011 will hold.

Now I’ll take time to reflect on some of the great mem­o­ries we made in the 2010 sea­son and be grate­ful the Phillies turned it around to be the best team in base­ball for the reg­u­lar sea­son. We’ll wor­ry about next sea­son when we get there. See you in April, guys. I’ll be in left field, cheer­ing you on.

Phillies Win NLDS Game 2

I’ve reached a new zen state when it comes to Phillies games, even play­off ones, it seems. Once upon a time last night’s game would’ve been a fright­ful affair, the enjoy­ment sucked out by the anx­i­ety of anoth­er poten­tial Game 2 loss. My fam­i­ly has attend­ed a bunch of Games 2, so we know the feel­ing of a series slip­ping through our fin­gers, only to watch the Phils dom­i­nate as the away team. It’s their thing, it seems.

I real­ly thought the wheels had come off when they turned to J.C. Romero after 5 ago­niz­ing innings from the usu­al­ly reli­able Roy Oswalt. They had, but not for the Phillies. Watch­ing the Reds’ com­e­dy of errors was the stuff base­ball night­mares are made of. As they unrav­eled last night I could­n’t help but think how much bet­ter they’ll be next year once they get some expe­ri­ence and maybe a top of the rota­tion starter, but that’s for anoth­er time. The Phillies took advan­tage of every mis­cue and hit bats­men to win 7–4.

The ball­park was typ­i­cal­ly nuts. We sat in Sec­tion 307. The sta­di­um shook when Utley plat­ed two runs to make it a game. When Chooch and Ben Fran­cis­co were hit by a pitch­es, the crowd’s anger bub­bled over and CBP became that hos­tile envi­ron­ment teams must hate so much. We even cheered when Jay Bruce caught a fly ball. It was deli­cious­ly vicious, but play­ful at the same time, a far cry from the tense atmos­phere of last year where the entire sta­di­um fell silent when Brad Lidge entered the game.

The Phillies extin­guished any hope the Reds had of win­ning the series last night. We fans know that expe­ri­ence, plus a retooled rota­tion and a revived bullpen made last night’s win a done deal once the Phils took the lead. We weren’t wrong.