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Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Why the pink background? lol

[Reposted from the end of previous thread.]

It's really pretty simple. The reason teams like Oakland and Florida and Minnesota can succeed despite low payrolls and higher-spending teams like the Mets and Phillies flail away in mediocrity is that the quality of organizations still supersedes budgets in this game. (And Boston would be in the same damn place - as they were for decades under the staid, ever-loyal Yawkeys - if they hadn't transformed into such a smart operation.) It's no mystery at all. The Phillies don't win not because they don't spend, but because they don't produce their own players. The Phillies had to go out and shell out for spare parts who turned out to be inadequate because they can't produce them internally - thus upping the payroll high enough so that they're doubtful about keeping a higher-premium player in the long run. In addition, people have referred to the stability of the Phillies' roster this year as a good thing, but one thing it means is that they don't have anyone worth calling up to push underachievers like Jenkins, Taguchi, Myers, etc. So it's really not 'stability' so much as a necessary holding pattern.

So please, let's be accurate in our blame here. This notion that the Phillies won't spend, are cheap, etc. might have historic merit but it misses the mark if you're really looking to pin down the reason why they don't do any better. And excessive blame or credit towards Gillick, to me, is absurd. It's hard to see what he or anyone else realistically thought he could do given the state of the farm system, except tinker his heart out. He's done that; he's won a few and lost a few. Nothing he's done either way is ultimately responsible or will be responsible after he's gone, for the long-term condition of this franchise and its ability to win. The organization needs better people to oversee the minor league system, period. It needs better scouts, better instructors, it needs a higher priority. Nothing's going to change until and unless THAT changes. Whether the ownership needs to be replaced in order for that to happen is debatable, but you wouldn't exactly have a weak argument in favor of it.

And did anyone hear an onslaught of booing during those five losses on the last homestand? Has anyone heard it at all tis year except in isolated bursts for Myers, Howard, and Gordon? Hell, they're not even booing Feliz or Jenkins, which is astonishing. People by and large haven't been so down on the team, from what I've heard watching the games. And there were positive vibes all over the place in the previous homestand. 'Expectations' should have absolutely nothing to do with this picture anymore. They just aren't good enough to sustain a high level of play for very long.

(I love Ruben's hair in that shot, by the way. Looks like someone cut that profile out with an exacto knife!)

Nice background. Amaro looks like Max Headroom reject.

Amaro, Arbuckle, and LaMar - Like going to a buffet at Sizzler. Just take the less of the evils.

Well, I'm guessing the pink is because it's the shade of the piece of paper that most BLers believe Amaro will get in 3-4 years...

RSB: I've noticed that the booing is down--why do you think that is? I have never, and I repeat never, seen the Philly fans react to a player's slump like they did Utley's. It was a pleasant surprise but a surprise to me all the same. They didn't boo him once, and in fact, cheered him whenever he came to bat. Burrell never got that reaction when he was slumping, nor did Howard or even Schmidt. Have we turned the corner or just lowered our expectations?

Amaro's picture looks like a piece of a Warhol painting...

HH: Utley will go down in Phils history as the most popular player ever. He's made of Teflon. Plus, there hasn't been much to complain about until just recently. The fans have definitely mellowed out. I think the ballpark even helps in this regard. Lots of distractions, lots of fun to be had. It's hard to be bitter when you're having a blast. But if this thing doesn't turn around soon, things should revert to the norm. Ugly play gets ugly reactions.

My answer to that is that they won the division last year, they avoided a slow start and now are in first place this year. That's bound to take a big edge off of even Phillies fans.

Wasn't that Amaro picture taken from the Stones Some Girls album cover?

also reposted from the end of the last thread:

The Phillies draft better than the Red Sox, Cubs, Yankees or Mets. Those teams have prospects because they sign players above slot. How many of their core players are homegrown? The Angels and Dodgers draft better than the Phillies, but they also spend a lot more money.

Compare homegrown stars on big market teams:

Yankees- Jeter, Rivera
Red Sox- Papelbon
Cubs- Kerry Wood?
Angels- Lackey, K-Rod, Garret Anderson
Mets- Wright and Reyes.
Phillies- Burrell, Howard, Rollins, Utley, Hamels

Now lets compare stars bought/acquired by big market teams:

Yankees- A-Rod, Pettite, Giambi, Mussina, Abreu, Damon, Matsui
Red Sox- Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Josh Beckett, Schilling, Matzusaka, Lowell, JD Drew, Varitek
Cubs- Zambrano, Derek Lee, Soriano, Aramis Ramirez, Ted Lilly, Fukudome
Angels- Vlad Guererro, Torii Hunter, Gary Matthews Jr
Mets- Carlos Beltran, Delgado, Pedro Martinez, Billy Wagner, Johan Santana, Moises Alou
Phillies- Brad Lidge

Blaming the front office is missing the point. They're just shielding the blame from the real culprits- the owners. If the Phillies front office were allowed to acquire pitching they would. If they were allowed to get a real 3B, we'd have one. If they were allowed to resign Burrell and Lidge, they would've done so already.

doubleh: I agree with the Warhol comment. Coincidentally, I think that a can of Campbell's Soup or Marilyn Monroe would operate the Philadelphia Phillies with an equal amount of skill as Rueben Amaro Jr.

I hate all those stupid metaphors like "it's a marathon not a sprint". When running a marathon you don't just STOP and start running backwards, but that's exactly what the Phils have done over the past 1.5 weeks.

BTW: what would be the medical terminology equivalent to "Balky" when used to describe a shoulder. Does that mean that he needs to work on his pickoff move (shoulder tremors, Parkinson's)? "Balky", I'm baffled.

Parker: I believe the term "balky" is a euphemism (George Carlin loved those) for "arm about to fall off" since Gordon does have the torn labrum (but for some reason isn't going to retire or have surgery or the like which is probably necessary).

Parker: I think he was refering to Balky Bartokomus, from the hit TV show Perfect Strangers...

"for some reason" = $5.5 million

Yes, my "for some reason" was another euphemism. I'm taking to speaking/writing in them for the entire week as an homage to Carlin.

I'm actually refreshed to hear that Gordon's suffering from a "balky arm." While I have not idea what in the hell that could possibly mean, it's actually the most forthcoming the Phils brass has been about an injury in years!!!

Baxter: you're missing my point. The Phillies have developed most of the best players on their team, but that alone cannot absolve or overshadow the broader failings of the farm system to produce a depth of quality. As I said yesterday, you win a title with 25 players, not 5 or 6. 'Stars' will bring you nothing if the rest of the roster is full of potholes.

Bob Ford's column today also brings another painfully familiar subject back around again: that the Phillies are built around hitting, not pitching, which is more or less the way it's going to continue to be as long as our favorite parking-lot island of a ballpark exists. A sad fact that will long outlast any of the present owners and likely doom this organization through the years - because teams that build on hitting and not pitching by and large do not win.

On DNL, they just showed stats that the Cardinals in 2006 had 2 -- count 'em, 2 -- 8-game losing streaks during the regular season and yet still won the WS.

also Baxter: you tell us who that 'real 3B' would have been that the owners were supposed to have shelled out their collective fortunes for. They made the offer to Lowell. Who else was out there? The problem is that there's no one to bring in to fill a deficient position, and no one to trade to another team to fill that position. So if the free-agent market yields nothing, that's what they're stuck with.

baxter: There is plenty of truth to what you and RSB are arguing. The Phillies' owners don't set a budget that allows their GM to go hog-wild in the off-season. Because of these self-imposed bugetary constraints, Gillick doesn't have the luxury of going after a lot of impact players.

But remember also that, having that home-grown nucleus has provided Gillick with some big advantages -- like the fact that many of the Phillies' key players all have salaries ranging from paltry (Hamels, Vic, Howard -- until this year) to well below market value (Utley, Rollins). As a result, Gillick has had enough money to bring in at least 10 or 12 new guys who made upward of a few million per year. Unfortunately, those players have included the likes of Eaton, Garcia, Jenkins, Feliz, Helms and Gordon.

That hardly adds up to a "fantastic" job. When all is said and done, it adds up to about an average job. The team is, more or less, no better nor worse than it was when he took over -- although it is set up to be much worse next year, with Lidge & Burrell leaving & Jenkins, Eaton & Feliz still under contract.

As one of the glass is 3/4 full posters on this board as opposed to the 3/4 empty, the lack of booing doesn't shock me at all. There have been so many games where this team has come back late, that I find my self sitting there 3or 4 runs behind in the 7th, thinking, you know this game is still in reach.

I think a good percentage of fans have felt that way all season. This streak carries over this road trip when the Mets come in town... all hell may break loose. If we've lost first or the Mets are closer than now, by the 4th, I think I'll stay down the shore and not come up for the game on the 6th.

There are still the negadelphians in the ballpark, don't you worry. I sat behind 2 of them on Sunday, who didn't shut up. Every Pitch, wouldn't shut up. Even when positive things happened they were bitchin. It was like sitting in front of Carson all game.

Just kidding. :)

I think last year you saw the steMs turn on the Mets in September, maybe Phils fans recognize it. Or maybe they recognize the long season? Or maybe they thought the Interleague games don't really count.

As for Chase and his slump and the fans reaction. I think the fans see this 30 at bat stretch as an abberration rather than pattern. The Fans boo patterns. The booing for Burrell really intensified late in 2003. And even during 04 through 06 stretch, there seemed to be a SUPPORTIVE quality to the booing (the booing stretched through 05 despite his good season). Does that make sense? They would CHEER loud when he walked to the plate (maybe it was the Dio?) and then boo afterwards. This was MOST noticable on Opening Day in 2006, when Burrell was booed after his first at bat, striking out to lead off the inning.

So the booing occurred after the event, not quite before.

This is in stark contrast to the treatment that Jose Mesa, Alfonseca, Barajas or David Bell received, which included booing on their way to the mound or the plate.

Even Howard's at bats have the Cheer-Boo quality. But even the boo's seem to have a hesitation after the K and before the boo and is still only a small percentage of the crowd.

My reactions at the games were tempered by this Mantra: "They're still in First Place. They're still First Place." It still worked last night. We'll see how it goes tonight.

Got to see Brummett for the first time last night.

He reminds me very much of Jon Leiber. Works very fast and is around the plate. Is not overpowering (throws his fastball around 90 MPH) and uses all of his pitches, at any time. Think a more hyper Leiber, and that is Brummett.

He will likely always give up his share of hits (because he throws a lot of strikes and pitches to contact), but I was impressed with his assortment of pitches. He has a nice curveball, that he usually throws for a strike. And, he has a change, that he likes to throw to lefties. And, his fastball has a lot of movement.

I think he has a chance to be a nice 4th starter in the majors down the road, and win his share of games (ala Kendrick).

Donald also has looked really solid at the plate lately. Hit a opposite field HR last night. He really has a quick bat and is a good line-drive hitter. I could see him being that "Bruntlett-type" of utility player down-the-line. I wonder if he has the ability to play other positions though. He seems like a good enough athlete to play other spots, if needed.

Marson is in his first slump of the year. He is a good hitter and likely will always be a good hitter and with his build, could easily put on some muscle and add some power to his game. His defense though, is not impressive. Doesn't seem to throw very well and he is not a sound receiver. But, have to remember he is just 21 years old, so maybe he can improve on that.

Saw Brummett pitch for the first time last night.

He reminds me a lot of Jon Leiber. Works VERY fast and throws a lot of strikes. Will throw any pitch at any time. Has a good curveball, which seems to be his best pitch. Has a good moving fastball, which tops out at around 90 MPH. Is not overpowering, but he seems to know what he is doing out there. Also has a good change, that he uses to lefties.

He will likely always give up his share of hits (like Lieber and Kendrick do/did) because he throws a ton of strikes and he pitches to contact, but I think in time, he can be a nice #4 starter in the majors, who will win his share of games.

Donald also was impressive, hitting a opposite field HR. He has a quick bat and some power. I think he can be a nice utility-type player down-the-road, and might be about ready for the bigs by 2009. I think he can be Eric Bruntlett with more power.

Marson is in his first slump of the year. He looks like a good hitter though. With his build, he could easily put on more weight and muscle, to give him some more power. Not a fan of his defense though. Doesn't seem to throw well and is not a sound receiver. Has a ways to go there, but at only 21 years old, he has time to improve. Probably still at least a year away from being a big-league catcher. Jaramillo would definitly be the choice, should Ruiz finally wear out his welcome. JJ is ready defensively to catch in the big leagues.

Sorry for the double post above.

Damn computers.

Mike: I hear you, but the Mets and their fans chanted the same thing last year and how did that work out for them?

Let's win one tonight. If we win tomorrow, that’s two in a row. And if we win another one Friday, it's called a winning streak. It has happened before.

For those who are watching on tv tonight, when Adam Eaton gives up his inevitable first inning grand slam: if you should happen to see an irate fan being escorted from the ballpark after running onto the field and cussing out Eaton . . . that fan will be me.

Mike Cunningham: "There seemed to be a supportive quality to the booing."

Lol, that is absolutely classic. Only a Phillies fan could find a way to turn booing into "support." I love it, and the truth is, it actually makes some sense to me (suggesting that I too suffer from the Phils affliction).

Ruben Amaro looks like Charles in Charge.

BAP: Kendrick is pitching tonight, so you (and Eaton) should be safe tonight.

700level has the lineup for tonight up and it's interesting. You certainly can't argue with Cholly mixing it up though. I like Werth leading off and you gotta like Burrell finally in the clean up spot.
1-Jayson Werth
2-Chase Utley
4-Pat the Bat
5-Ryan Howard as DH
6-Pedro Feliz
7-Maui Wowee
8-Chris Coste
9-Eric Bruntlett at 1B

BAP: You should one up Bobby Valentine and sneak back in "as Bobby Valentine." I was going to say "if" that happens, but Adam Eaton is going to give up a HR (probably several). The only question is you holding up your end, Eaton is a sure bet.

Brian: Doh! You're right. It's Kendrick. I figured out the pitching matchup a week ago, but I forgot to count Monday's off-day so I mistakenly thought it was Eaton. Too bad. This would have been my 15 minutes of fame, as the "idiot who came running onto the field looking like he was going to attack Adam Eaton." Maybe I'll have to buy tickets for tomorrow's game, as well.

This may be the wierdest thing I have ever thought (Maybe not):

The picture of Amaro JR. looks like the love child of Pat Burrell and Ray Liotta (if that were possible).

Well, Cholly gets some points for creativity. It's a pretty sad commentary on things that I looked at the lineup, and was happy to see Bruntlett starting instead of Jenkins.

I was gonna question why he wouldn't switch Coste and Feliz, but it makes sense. He wants Feliz in there to clear the bases before Vic comes up so he can run freely.

I'll believe that lineup when I see it.

Although it looks weird, I don't mind this lineup. The 3-hole is actually the least likely to lead off an inning, meaning that a low-OBP guy with decent power like Rollins may be better suited for that slot than Utley. Feliz should probably be 8th.

If they're going to DH Howard, why not start Dobbs at first instead of Bruntlett? Regardless, I'm glad Cholly's shaking things up.

Jeltz: the A's pitcher is a lefty, that's why.

If that is the lineup, I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when Charlie and Jimy thought it up.

Yeah, I get the lefty/lefty thing but I'd still rather take my chances with Dobbs than Bruntlett. Cholly is probably saving him for the late-game double switch.

I actually like this lineup, let's see if it works. Hopefully Dobbs will have at least one at bat in this game, and Jenkins, Ruiz, and Taguchi will have none.

DonC... for clarity, the Mets have never gone over slot for their draft picks. Wright and Reyes were both slot picks. Three 1st round picks this year were also all slot.

I'm still waiting for someone to say that lineup is a joke.

I didn't know Bruntlett could play first.
I would DH The Bat. For all his failings as a 1B, Howard has the advantage of experience.

(Seriously, how hard is it to play 1b? I played an entire inning of softball once at 1B while talking on the phone. )

Way to put him to work, let's just swing at every pitch and go to bed early. They aren't pressing. they just aren't looking.

What's with the no-hits off Kyle Kendrick?

Baxter - the only Red Sox player on the major league 25-man roster signed for above slot money is Craig Hansen. All their other draftes in the majors signed for slot money. And the Phillies do not draft as good as they do. Slot or above slot.

I loved the lineup last night. Chollie has to separate Utley and Howard, if for no other reason than to give Burrell ABs vs. lefties late in games. I like Utley batting #2 -- get him as many ABs as possible. Werth makes for a pretty good leadoff hitter against lefties. Against RH, I'd think about a similar lineup but moving Victorino to leadoff and batting Jenkins or Dobbs 6th or 7th, depending on what you want to do with Feliz.

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