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Monday, September 20, 2010

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i dont want this comment to get lost in the last post because i want to bury the braves so much more after reading this...

"When they built that damn ballpark, we didn't have a prayer. They started printing money and hitting shorter home runs,’’ Atlanta president John Schuerholz on the emergence of the Phillies as an NL East power coinciding with the team’s move into Citizens Bank Park.

riiight, the only reason the phils are successful is because of CBP, not the in-house talent that was developed like chase, jimmy, ryan, cole etc. plus smart acquisitions like werth, shane, etc.

its from this article on foxsports.com

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/Roy-Halladay-Cole-Hamels-Roy-Oswalt-will-face-Atlanta-Braves-091910

I'd rather face Jurrjens...If we haven't faced Beachy before we'll make him look like a Cy Young award winner

Schuerholz speaks for a team that is 51-23 at home, but only 34-41 on the road this year. Methinks he should not be throwing stones about home field advantages. Just sayin'.

I'm curious, though; how DOES he explain that SUSPICIOUSLY lopsided at-home performance?

Agreed we suck when[resented by a new "phenom" no matter how "phenom"able or un"phenom"able they eventually turn out to be. In short we usuallly get emabarrassed by one hit wonders.

Well, to be fair, CBP and our recent run of success has absolutely given us a financial advantage over the Braves.

That said, it's because our fans, in a great sports town and big market, show up for a winning team, and our ownership has been willing to reinvest increased revenues back into the team. Cannot say the same for Atlanta.

Jack: "Being mad at players for signing for lots of money means rooting for the billionaire corporate owners over the players who actually produce the product we love watching. Something seems wrong about that."

I totally agree with that. The thing that actually shocks me is that there are fans who temper their enthusiasm for a player based on how much money they're making. I think it was Heather just a couple of threads ago that suggested it's easier to root for Chase and Ruiz because they're underpaid than for Howard who, in her opinion, is overpaid. And I'm sure she's not alone...

Gonna re-post all three of my comments at the end of the last thread. Apologies in advance:

"..even if it had nothing to do with it, the fact that he's seeing a sports psychologist now is positively affecting his confidence, preparation, etc. "

Just to be clear, Jack. What you're saying is that his confidence and preparation may well be improved this year - due to an improved mental approach to the game - but they are irrelevant to his improved performance?

Like someone else on the previous thread, I have gone back and forth on the "It's all a matter of luck" argument about Cole. Originally, I thought it absurd that someone could say that they could statistically prove that it was all a matter of luck. Through reading some very cogent posts at BL, I came to believe that in fact, the argument does have some validity - especially the arguments where BABIP was broken down further into analysis of ground balls, fly balls, and line drives.

But after watching how completely different Cole's demeanor is this year as compared to last year, as well as the mechanical differences in his performance (as elaborated in the last thread: more pitches, higher velocity, etc.) - I have no question that there are a combination of mental and physical factors and yes, luck to some degree, that explain the vast difference in his performance this year.

That said, it is obvious that the effects of different factors are not uni-directional. It isn't as if the mental factors initiate the problem which then changes the physical factors. No doubt, luck could be a great influence on a player's mental approach, which can then affect the physical factors.

But to categorically dismiss Cole's identification of his mental approach making a difference is just plain silly. One's success in accomplishing any task is affected by their mental approach.

" It might be better for Cole to believe he's making mental adjustments (and he might actually be), but that doesn't necessarily mean that his struggles were therefore mental last year. "

Jack, if Cole "believes" that he's making mental adjustments, then in fact, his belief system has changed. That, in itself, is a "mental adjustment."

In other words, if Cole "believes he's making a mental adjustment," he is.

" if we didn't talk out of our a$$e$ here on Beerleaguer, what would we have to talk about?"

What's funny is when people take themselves so seriously as to actually believe that this description applies to other BLers but not to themselves.

The Phillies do tend to look hapless against rookies but Jair Jurrjens is one of the biggest Phillie killers in all of baseball. The Phillies simply cannot hit him. I'll take my chances with the rookie phenom.

CJ: Well, there's a slight difference there, to be fair. It's one thing to root for players such as Werth to get as much money as they can on the open market, and that's not necessarily contradictory to hoping your team can get good deals in order to maximize production per dollar because they are on a budget.

If the Phillies ownership straight up came out and said they had no budget whatsoever, I would not hold Howard's (or others') contract against them. Who cares, then? But, as long as there is some cap on spending (whether self-imposed or not), you want your team to sign good deals in order to maximize their production.

You're right you shouldn't hold a guy's contract against him. You can, however, hold a guy's contract against the team which offered it to him. If they're overpaying one guy, and that then imposes the opportunity cost of losing out on other players due to budgetary restrictions, that's bad if you're a fan of the team.

As a regular Werth-basher let me express my relief that he is coming around at just the right time. He is obviously a huge key to that lineup staying hot offensively and hopefully they can ride it into the post season. How about this team now challenging for the best record in baseball.

More on Schuerholz' inanity.

Let's talk about building a stadium to fit the strenght of your team, and than having a significant advantage over the rest of the league. When Turner field was coverted, the Braves rotation consisted of Maddux, Glavine, Smolts, Neagle, and a young Kevin Millwood; 3 HOFers, a great pitcher at the time, and young up-and-coming great talent.

Home records for the Braves over the first 6 years while the HOFers were still on the roster, and other great pitchers came through the door:

97: 50-31
98: 56-25
99: 56-25
00: 51-30
01: 40-41
02: 52-28

I stopped there, because some of the big name players left after 2002, at least according to B-R. They still have had great home records beyond then (including a preposterously good one this year).

Point being, the Braves built a stadium to tailor to their current talent in 1997, and to tailor to their organizational philosophy of pitching first. And goof for them for being smart about it, and playing to their strengths, but give me a break with this nonsense about the Phillies having an unfair advantage because of CBP. Our advantage doesn't even come close to the advantage the Braves possessed in the late 902, early 2000s.

" and that then imposes the opportunity cost of losing out on other players due to budgetary restrictions, "

Calculating opportunity cost requires that you can quantify the value of what you can't get. Given that by its very nature, acquiring a player is always a gamble, it is very difficult to make that calculation. Not to mention, Jack, that you have stated over and over again that you don't have confidence in this FO's ability to make such calculations.

If the Phils are "over-spending" on Howard, an assumption that can't yet be assessed (which again, makes a calculation of "opportunity cost impossible, here), to a great extent, Howard is more of a known high-quality entity than any number of other places that money might be spent.

What makes your evaluation of the opportunity cost of Howard's contract questionable, Jack, is your demonstrated and long-term propensity to undervalue Howard's achievements.

Previous Edition of Beerleaguer = "Season = OVER", "PANIC BUTTON", etc.

The Phightins are 1.5 Games behind the Spankees for the best record in baseball... Whodathunkit back in June/July?

Has Howard's contract affected his play in a positive manner? If so, has his improved play affected the play of other team members? Has the issuance of a long-term contract positively affected the willingness of other players to come to the Phillies, because they know that the team is willing to reward success? Does it affect the willingness of other players to come to/stay with the Phillies because they know that with Howard inked to a long-term contract, the team will be a contender going forward?

phlipper, well said on the Cole Hamels subject. Obviously, mental issues weren't the ONLY reason for his struggles last year, and maybe not even of great overall importance, but to dismiss them out of hand because there are other factors (BAbip luck, fastball velocity, etc) is simply poor logical thinking.

I accept all the reasons for why Cole may have struggled last year, as they all have valid arguments. It's disingenuous to simply dismiss one, because it doesn't fit with your preconceived notions. Consider the facts and the arguments.

Schuerholz should note that we're pretty good at putting butts in seats. Bet I wouldn't need StubHub to get a ticket next weekend - even if those games still matter.

Phlipper: Well, I would simply argue that you consistently overvalue Howard's achievements. So I think we're just at a basic impasse there.

Anyway, that wasn't really the point, to get into a substantive debate about Howard's value--we've done that enough and it doesn't get anywhere. The point was to note that big contracts, while good for players, can be bad for teams. Thus myself and other fans, who feel generally that players deserve as much money as they can get and don't hold big contracts against them, like some fans do, have to balance that with the desire to not have their teams' overpay for certain players and thus hurt their overall production (look at the Cubs, for instance). It had nothing to do with the substance of Howard's contract or actual value, I was just using that as an example. Given how sensitive people are on here about that topic, I probably should've used a different example.

Jack: Then blame the front office... but don't hold it against the player. That's a really stupid way to be a fan, IMO. To hold Ryan Howard to a different standard because he signed the contract put in front of him is completely unfair. And yet, some here do just that. Makes no sense to me.

If the Braves actually believe that tripe they're spouting about the Phillies and their ballpark...GOOD.

We've gotten into their OODA loop.

CJ: That's exactly what I was trying to say.

Fatalotti: I'm not sure there's anyone who dismisses any mental effects out of hand. Not even I did that. But there's a big difference between identifying the degree to which a mental state affects a player... and calling a player "mentally weak." And to deny that there was a large part of Beerleaguer who called Hamels "mentally weak" (and continue to do so!) is ignoring reality. You're the one with the straw man today.

Complaining about CBP being a bandbox? Trite.

1. The Phils also have to play in other ball parks. They have a winning record on he road (unlike the Braves).
2. The opposing teams play in CBP with the same dimensions as the Phils. It's not as if the fences are pulled in only when the Phils are at bat.

Lots of sour grapes from other teams. Normally I don't care, but to hear it from the Braves (especially management) is irritating. It seems as if hey feel entitled to the NL East crown because they won it 14 years in a row. Boo f-----g hoo. Build a team that can compete at home and on the road and stop yer bitching.

I guess we should wear it as a badge of honor that these GMs, announcers, other players, etc. find it necessary to make excuses as to why they are losing to the Phils. Face it, the reason is simple. The Phillies are the better team.
And as philwynk mentioned, how does Schuerholz explain his team's home %?

Jack: Ah, then ignore the last post and pretend my reading comprehension skills remain strong... thanks!

If there's a waste of oxygen sitting in the next cubicle who somehow convinces the bosses that she's indispensible by looking good without doing any of the actual work, I actually despise both her and the organization that keeps her employed.

Same thing with ball players. If they are grossly underperforming their contract, I despise both them and the organization that gave them the contract.

I don't just blame the player. There's plenty of blame to go around.

I don't think we have to either/or this.

Well, what are the Braves going to say? "The Phillies are honestly a better team than us. They built a good ballpark, that attracts revenue, built their team around the strengths of the ballpark, and generally have outperformed us in nearly every way. Kudos to them."

To paraphrase Charlie Manuel after binocular-gate...."Keep crying, losers."

apparently jurrjens is ok. just a precaution on the recall.

Funny... I don't like players who play poorly. And I love players who play great.

Amazingly... player performance best correlates to team success. I know, I know, shocking comment.

"Funny... I don't like players who play poorly. And I love players who play great.

Amazingly... player performance best correlates to team success. I know, I know, shocking comment"

Uhm...I agree with you, CJ. Is this an ominous sign to start the week or a positive one?

CJ, I just posted that because if someone mentions "Hamels 2009 struggles" and "mental issues" in the same breath, they get inundated with stats about BAbip, as if to say that it must be either one or the other.

I think it was a mix of both. He overcame the stuff he could control (better offseason conditioning, added 1.5 new pitches, sought guidance to deal with an confidence/focus issues, etc). and has regressed to the man with BAbip.

Do we at least agree on that?

Braves would be inane to start a 23 year old rookie in their biggest game of the season so far. Additionally, place 44,000 rabid fans on top of him in a true playoff atmosphere and the kid doesn't stand a chance. We'll see Jurrjens tonight and, with the way he's been struggling, I like our chances.

Heather, Paul Domowitch just wrote an article actively praising the Braves for the way they've played this year, and citing how they should feel confident coming into this series.

It's not necessary for a sportswriter to go out of his/er way to praise the opposing team like Domowtich, but it is expected that the writer speak of the other team in a professional way that displays sportsmanship, not in a way that displays cowardice and is littered with making up excuses for your team.

What Schuerholz did was disgraceful, and actually is a smack against his own team, as I see it. If you're going to lose the division, I'd rather lose to a team that was legitimately better than mine, as opposed to just feeling like they had an unfair advantage.

Fatalotti: I think the degree to which his mental state affected his performance in 2009 is significantly overstated. I'd rank that as the factor that affected his performance the least. Why? It's because there are some rather obvious things that we can see that lead to his struggles... and any problems with his "mental state" can only be guessed at.

Furthermore... why wouldn't his mental state have affected his peripherals? It's actually the peripherals which tell us the most about a pitcher's performance because those things are unaffected by his teammates, luck, etc.

Like I said a couple threads ago... there is no denying a mental aspect to sports. But I think people should be careful about using guesses about a player's mental state to explain struggles or successes.

MLB played highlights from the DC commentators yesterday, and both of the Nats last 2 homers were described as typical CPB home runs, with one announcer stating "Stick that one in your bandbox!" Are these clowns that desperate that they continue to cite the size of this park with such disdain? Do they think 2 of the top pitchers in baseball would have signed here knowing that pitching here would damage their career numbers because it is a "bandbox?" Last I noticed Doc and Oswalt's numbers were among the best if not the best in their careers.

Phils are a powerhouse. Get used to the insults. Phillie fans are going to hear it from any angle that a fan of a inferior team(pretty much all of them) can think of.

The more widespread the hate and the more ludacris the basis of the insult - means that we're just getting better and better.

I can't wait to see the atmosphere in Philly tonight. I'm not sure how the Braves are going to react to seeing a crowd of more than 10,000 fans.

I think you're probably right about people overstating the mental aspect of the game (just as some people understate it). We'll never know where each reason sits on the continuum of importance, but I also think BAbip luck cna be overstaed.

Like I posted this morning with playoff numbers from last year, he had a 7+ ERA in the postseason, but had a BAbip of .310.

His struggles definitely went beyond just bad luck, though they were very much detrimental to his season. His SO/9, BB/9, and GB% were all pretty good (7.11, 1.89 and 65%, respectively), but he still had a 7.58 ERA, with a BAbip of .310.

Clearly there was something beyond luck affecting him then.

On CBP being a bandbox, here's Howard's breakdown at both parks:

Ryan Howard Career at Turner Field: 1.048 OPS, 16 HR, 50 RBI in 206 PA (1 HR every 12.88 PA)

Ryan Howard Career at CBP: .953 OPS, 123 HR, 351 RBI in 1799 PA (1 HR every 14.63 PA)

In other words, STFU Schuerholz!

I guess Turner field is a bandbox too.

I don't think Schuerholz is crying about the homer-friendly park per se. I think he's saying that, if you build a homer-friendly park, you'll draw gazillions of fans &, hence, be able to increase your payroll to bring in lots of marquee players.

It's a bizarre, and provably false, point, to be sure. But I think that's the point he was trying to make.

Fatalotti: By using the playoff numbers, you're falling into a trap of a very small sample size... particularly with something as volatile as BABIP.

The new Yankee Stadium was a bigger joke its first year then the Bank ever was. And speaking of binoculars, the ridiculous offensive differential that rivals the Grand Canyon out in Colorado is worthy of a Congressional investigation. But instead of asking questions about those numbers it is of course a media love-fest with the Rockies as usual.

****I think he's saying that, if you build a homer-friendly park, you'll draw gazillions of fans &, hence, be able to increase your payroll to bring in lots of marquee players.****

Yeah John, thats why you never have fans...it has nothing to do with your fanbase being pathetic. Winning draws fans for good fanbases...if you're winning and your fans dont show, that because you have a horrible fanbase.

CJ, what would you attribute his postseason struggles to?

CJ, I respectfully disagree with your premise. If you go home tonight and your significant other is sitting in the dark crying, would it be going out on a limb or "guessing" that something was wrong based on your observation? If there is something very specific that a ballplayer is doing wrong,like making bad throws to first a la Utley last season, pitchers who fall apart in an inning, guys who can't hit with RISP, it's perfectly reasonable to think that there is something in their head that is affecting their play. It's not like they all of a sudden forgot how to pitch, throw, hit, etc. We've heard plenty of hitters say that when they are on a hitting streak that everything slows down, the ball looks bigger, etc. That isn't magic, it's a mental approach. No reason the opposite can't apply. That is in no way a criticism of the player, but it could be exactly what is happening. Don't dismiss it out of hand.

Fatalotti: Hard to say. I'd have to go back and look at it. If I get a chance today, I will.

Old Phan: Once again... I'm not dismissing anything out of hand... and I recognize that sports have a mental aspect. But I'll repeat... fans tend to significantly overstate the effect of a player's mental state on their performance, particularly when there are often other quantifiable factors at play.

NEPP: To augment your point, here is where CB Park has ranked, in terms of homerun-friendliness, since they moved the left-field fence back:

2010: 9th
2009: 16th
2008: 11th
2007: 1st
2006: 6th

On the Nats' broadcasters:

I live in Baltimore, so I get Nats games full time. And having listened to these guys for 4 years, I can tell you one thing, unequivocally, that the best phrase to describe their announcing group is this:

Idiotic homers.


I mean, really. Yeah, most crews are biased, it's expected, but they do it every game. Especially with Rob Dibble as a commentator. Yuck.

These guys and the Marlins crew are probably the worst 2 groups in the game today. Best two? Giants and Dodgers and Vin Scully calls the game.

CJ, I'll tell you exactly why he struggled in the playoffs. He gave up 7 HRs in 4 starts.

It's one thing for fans to complain about "unfair" advantages of an opposing team. It's quite another for the management of a losing ( or second place) team to whine. It's churlish and unprofessional.

Fatalotti: Well, the question then is, "Is giving up 7 HRs mental or something else?" Lots of research has been done showing that pitchers have little control over whether a fly ball is caught in the OF or lands in the stands. I'm not familiar enough with that research, however, to make a determination in Cole's case.

Wow, so Cole Hamels seeing a sports pschologist (or whatever the guy is) is proof htat he's was/is mentally weak?

Those here who believe that need to provide more empirical evidence for their point of view.

I suggest they look up "Verducci Effect" on the internet, take a look at which pitchers suffered through it, and then find evidence that their struggles during their Verducci Effect year were NOT related to meantal weakness.

Seriously, if you're going to blather that the reason for Cole's performance in 2009 is due to mental weakness and not the lingering effect of an undesireable increase in IP the prior season, then it seems to me that you should be able to find the same "evidence" with the other pitchers who had the same struggles.

To the extent that ballpark factors have any effect on a team's long-term success, I would argue that a homerun-friendly park is actually a substantial liability since it leads to shorter outings from your starters & overuse of the bullpen. It might also deter top pitchers from signing with you, & it could easily have an adverse psychological effect on your pitchers, which carries over to away games. That's exactly what happened to Mike Hampton after he signed that huge deal with the Rockies. He immediately went from being one of the best pitchers in baseball to one of the worst -- both at home AND on the road. When he was traded to the Braves after 2 years, he promptly turned into a solid starter again.

Regarding Cole Hamels, it's very likely that he was the same pitcher in 08 and 09, but he got lucky (more luck than average) in 08 and unlucky in 09.

In 2010, though, he's a better pitcher. His SO% is up to 25.1% from 20.6% last year. And his GB/FB is up to .84 from .73 in 09 and .66 in 08.

If the bad luck last year rattled him and convinced him to deal with some weaknesses, then we're reaping the benefits this year. Probably better than him getting lucky and getting complacent and experiencing a regression this season instead of an improvement.

I posted in haste, so let me clarify:

Those who think Cole's struggles were "mental" in 2009 need to provide some evidence - by either showing that the other Verducci Effect pitchers had similar mental struggles or by proving Cole is somehow unique and the only one of the group afflicted by mental weakness.

Has anyone purchased the standing room only tickets that come available at the stadium at 4pm on game days? How many tickets usually come available and how difficult is it to get these tickets? I'm thinking of heading over at around 4:30-5, but don't want to make the trip if its unlikely to work out.

3 of the best pitchers in the league wanted to play for a team whose home park is the world's smallest bandbox. Interesting.

Alright, I'm done with this Cole Hamels discussion. No one is willing to respond to what other people are actually saying (I'm sure I've been gulty of this as well). We end up just posting the same things over and over again.

I thought we were getting somewhere, but then awh posts this gem:

"Wow, so Cole Hamels seeing a sports pschologist (or whatever the guy is) is proof htat he's was/is mentally weak?"

Since Heather and I, with Old Phan to an extent, have been the one's arguing that mental issues played a role in his struggles in 2009 (along with many other factors), but have stated unequivocally that we don't, nor did we ever, think Cole was/is "mentally weak", for awh to post such a thing is beyond frustrating.

So, since we're all just talking past each other, I am bowing out of this battle.

awh: exactly, i thought that was a generally accepted/documented theory on Hamels 2009, but i guess not after these past few threads.

Godfather: I'd have to throw the Mets announcing crew in there as well. Yes, the Mets. Gary Cohen, Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez do a great job, in my opinion. In my previous neck of the woods, I got CSN and SNY. When the Phils played the Mets, I watched the Mets broadcast every time. Too bad I don't have the luxury anymore.

And I'm sorry to say this, as I'm sure I'll catch a lot of flak -- Vin Scully does absolutely nothing for me. Never has. His legacy, while mostly deserved, I suppose, has catapulted into the absurd simply because of his age and longevity. I understand that simply because I don't like him doesn't mean he isn't a good broadcaster -- I just don't get the appeal. I was never a huge Scully fan. Now, he's just annoying to me.

greg: I believe they release 500 standing room tickets 3 hours prior to first pitch.

The last time i did it, an attendant goes down the line and gives wrists bands to first 250 people in line since they limited tickets to 2 a person(if you're with 2 ppl you can buy 4,etc.)

So if you get there at 4pm and there aren't any wrist bands left, you still may have a chance, but its not likley.

Schuerholz has a point abut the HRs and CBP:

Home/Road

2010: 90/63
2009: 108/116
2008: 109/105
2007: 116/97
2006: 112/104
2005: 94/73
2004: 113/102

+80 at CBP by a quick count so CBP has enabled the Phils to hit more HRs but it just isn't that simple. Phils have had one of the premier power hitters in baseball (Thome/Howard) since CBP opened and had a number of other players who had significant power. It is also a double-edged sword as the Phils' pitching staff is prone to giving up their share of HRs too.

Teams are smart to build around their stadiums to some degree. Why the Sox always have preferred left-haned batters who go the to opposite field, etc.


Fatalotti - It was one of the more ridiculous things argued on here. You had the player directly come out and say he had some mental issues for which he sought some professional help. Yet others on here insisted that becasue the results were largely the same with the numbers you should discount what the player said.

Are RSB and R Billingsly the same posters? I only ask because they both don't like Vin Scully and both are really fond of double hyphens.

There's no doubt Cole Hamels is a better pitcher in 2010.

1. Highest average fastball speed of his career. Take a look at this chart from fangraphs and compare 2010 to his other seasons.

2. The cutter. He's now used it for 8.2% of his pitches this year. That has him throwing his curveball, which wasn't as effective, less this year. The cutter is a weapon against lefties. In his career, Cole has had a reverse split... actually pitching better against RHB. Why? His changeup is devestating to righties. This season, he's even tougher on LHB. Why? Lefties struggle against the cutter. (A Fangraphs article on Aug. 5th said lefties had yet to get a hit off the Hamels' cutter this year.)

3. Tweaked curveball. Dubee says Hamels' tweaked his mechanics a little on the curve coming into the season and it's become a better pitch for him. It's not deadly, but it changes the batter's eye level. Last year, Hamels was mostly a two pitch pitcher. This year, he's a four pitch pitcher.

Wait, I take that back. It's davthom who uses two double hyphens per sentence - RSB was really into using asterisks for emphasis. As in, "is so and so *really* a clutch player?"

Attributing the Phillies' success to the size of CBP is the ultimate cheap shot. The teams that won division titles in '07-'09 only hit 15 more HR at Home than they did on the Road. 15. That's it. Until this season their Offensive power has been remarkably consistent no matter where they have played. Additionally, it takes no account of the fact that guys like Halladay, Oswalt & Hamels have pitched lights-out in a supposed bandbox. Schuerholz can go f*ck himself.

Scully was tremendous doing World Series games, above and beyond the crew that does it now. The Mets announcers are tolerable and I also admit I liked Scooter doing the games back in the 80s when you used to get Channel 11 at the shore every summer, plus back then the Yankees stunk. Glad to hear confirmation that the Nationals announcers are so lame. I couldnt believe my ears.

I had to suffer through the Nats announcers during the broadcast yesterday (and yes, I should have taken my own advice and hit he mute button). Ray Knight reminded me of Dale Gribble on "King Of The Hill" but less entertaining.
Vin Scully is the best announcer in baseball, but I can understand that some may think he is too "old school".

Dude's almost 83 years old. If he weren't noticeably "old school", I'd be freaked out.

Tray: No, we are not the same. I used to post under a variation of my real name, however. But, then I realized my boss was a BL reader -- I don't know his handle, though. I figured I shouldn't use my real name anymore since most of my posting is done during work hours.

If he's reading this now...it's not me. I'm working hard, I swear.

[and, it's called an "em dash" :-)]

GTown, good point. I guess he's Oldest School.

Funny thing about those Nats announcers:

I got to hear a bit of them in one of the video clips from yesterday's game on MLB.com, the clip where one of the Nats belted what they called a Citizens Bank Park homer. They made the complaint about the bandbox, but then added "Of course, I haven't noticed that they move the walls outward when the visiting team comes up to bat."

So, yeah, they're griping, but they get it. The wall's a little short, but short by the same amount for both teams.

Old Phan: The "old school" aspect doesn't turn me off. I consider myself a bit of an old school guy. I wish I could pinpoint it, but there something about the guy that has always bothered me. Perhaps it's simply the hype that surrounds him, which of course is not his fault. I don't know. I'm in the minority so it's definitely my issue, not his.

rbills: thats pretty funny, if anyone at my office read beerleaguer and knew my handle, i'd be fired, hah.

Scully is certainly among the better announcers technique-wise. But I think he's been getting in the way of the game for a long time know. If some complain that the Phils announcers talk too much, compared to Scully they are consistently mute.

He talks incessantly about the most inane trivia and repeats himself endlessly. Did you know that Eric Bruntlett has a degree in engineering from Stanford? You sure did if you watched Scully's broadcast. In fact, you know it about half a dozen times every time the Phils played the Dodgers.

I know he's been around forever. And I know he's old. But both things apply to me also, and that certainly gives me no aura of being good at anything. In fact, just the opposite. Nobody is nostalgic about he way I repaired people fifteen years ago and wants to see me do it again with arthritis, neuropathy and worse eyesight.

Some things just seem better because they're old. I don't want to go back to the fifties and sixties. Yeah, they seem great in retrospect, but they were no different in reality than any other time. And I prefer a baseball broadcaster to talk about the game. God help me, but I prefer Wheeler to Vin. Not McCarthy or Sarge, but Wheeler stays focused on the game. He'll throw in some stuff from the past, but he doesn't seem to care that Jason Heyward cuts his toenails with a Troybilt rototiller or David Wright squirts lemon juice in his eyes before games to toughen himself up. And neither do it. But Vin does.

Boras obviously didn't agree to work for Werth at the cut rate Werth was reportedly seeking, but I'm sure he promised he could squeeze the Yanks for an extra million or so this winter.

Anyway, it's good for us that Werth wrapped up the search before the playoffs.

I live in an area where we get lots of Nats games, Phillies only on 17. I don't know what the Nats guys said yesterday, but I don't think they're that bad. They're in a tough spot. . I've heard them be very complimentary of the Phils. I like Dibble. I think he knows what he's talking about. I remember him saying of Lidge last year, "I don't care what they're saying, this guy is hurt." He was right. I don't think we're in a position to bust on anybody's TV broadcasts. Franzke and Andersen are great. Leave it at that.

How hot Ibanez has gotten again is ridiculous. For a guy who looked like he couldn't catch up in the zone to say his life in June is suddenly killing them. It is one of the odder things I have seen from a Phils' player in the same season.

zudok: i would take anyone over tmac, and i am not kidding one bit. Joe Morgan would be better.

The two TV announcers who bother me over anyone else is:

1) "The Hawk" on the White Sox broadcast....All the trademark catchphrases and the way he says crap like, "He GONE!" and "This ballgame is OHVAH!" ...yuck. He's like the Joe West of announcers...thinking people are actually tuning in to listen to him instead of watch the ballgame.

2) The NESN broadcast for the Red Sox...one of the announcers has a thick Boston accent that's like nails scraping against the chalkboard for me. The guy is probably a perfectly good announcer but can't stand the accent.

I actually happen to like Vin Scully and how he goes off on tangents. The one this year where he ponders what a mullet is, is priceless (just youtube mullet and Vin Scully to see for yourself). He thinks it's a fish, then is wondering aloud when Troy Tulowitzki will remove his batting helmet so he can see the mullet, etc.

Just how hot Ibanez has been since Labor Day:

- Raised his AVG from .256 to .274
- Raised his SLG from .409 to .444
- Raised his AVG from .746 to .797
- Had 8 multi-hit games in his last 13 games; he had just 27 in the first 131 games this season.

MG: And for a guy who was sold as being remarkably consistent (i.e. not as streaky as Burrell), he's been as streaky as any player I can remember over the Phils recent run.

I just hope this streak runs through October!

Heather - You forget to add Harrelson's ridiculous 'Good Guys/Bad Guys' schtick he uses.

I would take the NESN crew of Orsillo/Remy over TMac/Wheeler hands down. Orsillo is a better version of TMac and Remy is a better analyst.

kilbillrain: Weird, your link went to a story from 2005.

Heather, that clip of Scully is absolute gold.

"Mullet? Mullet's a fish. So, we went on the computer, and it's both. It's a hairdo and a fish. But there's nothing fishy about this kid. He can really play. Troy batting .321..."

"Is the mullet another word for like a ponytail? I mean, I'm trying to look at him. Where's the mullet?"

"So it's just a lot of hair, the mullet... hm. One away."

@Heather - That would be Jerry Remy. And yes, he is beloved by the Boston fans. I wish more teams would go with local guys (at least regional accents) rather than the T-Mac/Jaws/Connecticut School of Broadcasting yuck.

Here's link to the Crasnick story.

And here are some good parts from it:

Since Oswalt slid into the rotation July 30, Philadelphia's "H20'' trio is a combined 18-5 with a 2.39 ERA and a strikeouts-to-walks ratio of 195 to 36. Halladay, Hamels and Oswalt have pitched seven innings or more in 21 of 28 starts, taking the strain off Philadelphia's bullpen and giving the offense time to finally get its act together.

The Phillies, 10 games over .500 and 2½ games behind Atlanta at the July trade deadline, have posted a 33-14 record since then to take a three-game lead over the Braves in the NL East. Atlanta kept pace over the weekend with a three-game sweep of the Mets, and Citizens Bank Park will have an early postseason feel for its 118th, 119th and 120th consecutive sellouts.

...

All three pitchers have a history of strong finishing kicks. Oswalt has a career record of 63-16 in August and September. Halladay is 26-11 with a 2.50 ERA in September, while Hamels is 12-6 with a 2.69 ERA in September. Either these guys are beating up on all those minor league callups or they find a different gear in the final month.

The same can be said of the Phillies in general. Manuel creates a positive clubhouse vibe that wears well over a long season, and it's no coincidence that the Phillies are relaxed and focused when the pressure ratchets up down the stretch. The Phils are 260-167 in September under Manuel. That's the best record in the NL over the past six years and second-best in the majors behind the Yankees.

...

"You can say whatever you want about the year, but here we are with two weeks left and we have the best record in the NL," said right fielder Jayson Werth. "Here's the thing that sticks out in my mind: When you look at the season, not one guy in here has doubted where we were going to be at the end."

One of my NESN favorites. The pizza throw.

For me, the most obnoxious:

"You can put it on the booooooarrd! Yes! Yes! Yes!"

I hate it.

Fatalotti, let me posit this scenario for you (and then I am finished with this topic as well):


A young pitcher, under the age of 25, has a great year (his 2nd one in a row) and pitches his team all the way to the WFC.

In doing so, he pitches 70 more innings that season than the previous season.

The next season, because his arm may have suffered excess fatique the prior year due to the increased workload, he doesn't pitch as well - he doesn't have the velocity or sharpness to his pitches.

As a result, hitters are able to catch up to a few more of his pitches, hit a few more HRs, and even some of the good pitches don'tt get hit hard but get dinked and wind up being hits.

The pitcher gets frustrated as the season goes on, and that frustration starts to visibly show on the mound.

Because he's pitching poorly, on BL posters start calling him names, questioning his manhood, his mental state and his mental toughness, even to the point of posting imaginary converstations with his wife (which were hysterical, BTW) and criticizing his family's choice of canine companion (which was completely justified, in my view).

Thus resulteth from the Verducci Effect.

The Braves GM is just bitching because we're a better team. They once were down 7, now they're up 3. That's a 10-game swing. They have 89 wins. With all of their injuries, and the slumps, that's truly amazing.

What it shows, is just how good this team is, no matter what ballpark they play in. Last time I checked, 2 teams play in the same ballpark, under the same conditions, at the same time.

I spent the weekend listening to Bob Carpenter announcing the Gnats games on MASN, and all he did was complain about the "bandbox". He wasn't complaining yesterday when they were up 5-3. Howard got them close. Werth's shot was legit.

Bottom line is, the Phils will be playing ball again in Oct. Too damn bad for any GM, announcer, or anybody else who doesn't like our team or it's phans.

So... Fangraphs wrote a column for ESPN about the best September performances in pennant races. They're obviously referencing Troy Tulowitski and then listing some other great performances.

I clicked thinking, awesome... I'm sure they'll mention Mr. September, Ryan Howard. Then I remembered it's Fangraphs, and they hate Ryan Howard. So, he doesn't make the list.

The Braves need to quit bitching that their dominance of the NL East is over. They need to get their multibillionaire ownership people off their rear ends and build them their own crowd drawing bandbox or pitcher friendly moneymaker and while they are at it, they might want to plan for their future in regard to the actual people on their team. Every "dynasty" (though winning only one WFC in their time of dominance hardly makes the Braves one) goes up and then down, sh!t happens, we suffered for years, now it is their turn.
Where was the bitching when the Marlins won twice in their football field during their first decade or so of existance? Or the "House that Ruth built" with its patented short porch in right? Or the Green Monster? People see it, note it, talk about and game plan. They don't dwell.

And don't tell me that when the mascot slides into the big beer mug at Miller Park they aren't trying to get in Padilla's or Myer's head.

The Braves might want to consider moving to a different damn city. Y'know, somewhere they can actually fill seats.

A random thing I find annoying - granted it's a small point in the grand scheme of things. The local media - 610am, Broadcast News, Comcast - last night and this morning - has been pretty much wall to wall Eagles.
The Eagles are 1-1. They barely beat a terrible team. They are going nowhere this year. They are a second class franchise to the Phillies in almost every way. In contrast, we all know what the Phillies did yesterday and have been doing the past 4 seasons. What's up with that? Is football really that much more popular?

c13: Football is the #1 sport in America and the #1 sport in most big markets. TV and radio live by ratings... football brings higher ratings...

That's all it is. Maybe a lockout in the NFL next year will even the playing field a little.

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