Enjoying the 2011 Philadelphia Phillies

Love when my reg­u­lar morn­ing reads include Beer­lea­guer, Crash­burn Alley, Phillies Nation and more of my favorite Phillies blogs. Fol­low­ing the games on Twit­ter is a treat, although Chris @LONG_DRIVE isn’t in mid­sea­son form, yet. Miss check­ing the Fight­ins for all the great flubs. I caught a bad typo on the new Phillies score­board at the On Deck game against the Pirates in tribute.

I love the 2011 team. I know every­one’s freak­ing about Utley, but c’mon peo­ple, get it togeth­er already. Look at the injuries we had in 2008 and 2010. We may not have won it all in 2010, but it was­n’t because injuries held us back. The 2011 team needs to do what it’s doing right now: beat the bad teams hand­i­ly and let pitch­ing keep the good ones in check. I think the Phillies fan men­tal­i­ty aligns with Char­lie Manuel’s too much, i.e. we need home run slug­gers to win games. Truth is, you get a few guys to hit dou­bles reli­ably and we’re still scor­ing runs in bunch­es, just like last night. The home runs will come, but it’s great that you’re not wait­ing for that salvif­ic at bat.

For some­one like me who loves low-scor­ing games, this team is a dream. Watch­ing Roy Hal­la­day and Cliff Lee back to back, pitch­ing for my team, is just unre­al. When Roy Oswalt is going against the oth­er team’s #3, it’s just not fair. Heck, even Joe Blan­ton is going to get some very favor­able matchups over the course of the sea­son. It’s a thing of beau­ty to know you have 4 All Star-cal­iber pitch­ers out there going every day.

Will we win it all? Hard to say. How far can the Phear­some Phour­some take us? I love Mad­son, but there isn’t a great deal of reli­able help out there. Which Raul will we see after the break? Will Fran­cis­co fig­ure out right? Can Dom Brown be an impact play­er down the stretch? Can Jim­my play like it’s 2006 again? Lots of questions.

If this team makes the play­offs, watch out. It’s hard to imag­ine even elite teams not find­ing them­selves down 2–0 just on the strength of our pitch­ing. If we get Utley back at any point, or if Dom Brown can rejoin and con­tribute mean­ing­ful­ly, we may being march­ing down Broad Street again.

(Also, how many teams are think­ing they could use a spare starter right now? Boston’s been bru­tal­ized by the Rangers to start the sea­son. Won­der if they’d be inter­est­ed in Ken­tucky Joe. Can’t wait to see how the Yan­kees rota­tion plays out, either.)

In Praise of September Baseball

I know many of you enjoy the start of foot­ball sea­son. It con­jures thoughts of fall: crisp air, sweaters, chili and Sun­days with friends, hud­dled around the TV.

I love those things, too, but I feel like Sep­tem­ber base­ball gets lost in the fray. It’s the per­fect time of year for casu­al fans to get excit­ed. You have a clear­er sense of who’s good and who’s not, plus you jump into the mix just as the pen­nant races real­ly heat up. Every game counts! And you can eat chili while you watch! And wear a sweater!

So if your team is, say, the Eagles and you’ve already giv­en up on the sea­son, give base­ball a try. A friend can tell you about the play­ers. It’ll be a lot of fun, even for diehard foot­ball fans. Trust me. Give it a chance. You just might like it.

My Phillies Moment on WHYY

The World Series Trophy
Orig­i­nal­ly uploaded by J T. Ramsay

As a new base­ball sea­son approach­es (Helen and I are head­ed to the ball­park this Fri­day, as well as twice next week), I just hap­pened to find a record­ed snip­pet I gave to WHYY out­side of John­ny Bren­da’s on WHYY’s Unob­struct­ed View blog.

If I sound like a com­plete doo­fus, it’s prob­a­bly because I was over­come with joy when the Phillies won, and sad that Helen was in sun­ny San Diego on busi­ness. (Trust me: she was sad, too. After all, she changed her trav­el plans so we could go to World Series Game 4 togeth­er. We’ll nev­er for­get Blastin’ Joe Blan­ton slam­ming a homer over the left field wall in Cit­i­zen’s Bank Park.)

It feels like it was only yes­ter­day that I was lit­er­al­ly rac­ing down Frank­ford Avenue as I ran from Mem­phis Tap­room to cel­e­brate with friends at Frank­ford and Girard. I can’t wait for the Phillies to begin their 2009 cam­paign to defend their well-deserved World Cham­pi­on title.

Let’s go, Phils!

The World Series Trophy

The World Series Trophy
Orig­i­nal­ly uploaded by J T. Ramsay

I final­ly down­loaded my pic­tures from my moment with the 2008 Phillies World Cham­pi­onship tro­phy on the 44th Fl. of the Com­cast Cen­ter. It’s hard to artic­u­late how thrilled I was to be in its pres­ence. It’s not some­thing I’ll soon forget.

Helen and I are going to three games the first week of April. I can’t wait to see all of our friends in Sec. 143 in Cit­i­zens Bank Park for anoth­er awe­some sea­son of Phillies base­ball. It’s going to be strange not yack­ing at Pat this year, but I’m sure we’ll have plen­ty to say to Raul Ibanez over the course of the season.