Tag Archives: Jonathan Papelbon

A Walk-Off Win Gives This Fan Hope

8 Sep

Nothing like a little walk-off action from an unlikely hero to remind you what you love about baseball.  After the Phillies high-paid closer Jonathan Papelbon,  (he’ll make $13 million this year) blows the save in the ninth, it’s Freddy Galvis, the little guy more known for his glove than his bat, who picks up his team with a bottom of the ninth walk-off home run.  And let the record show that the little guy has a little salary (in baseball terms) to match.  He’ll earn $490,000 this year.

Yes, there is a lesson to be learned here somewhere.  A lesson that perhaps the Phillies have had to learn the hard way with some of the big salaries they’ve paid out over the last several years that we’re all paying for now, if you know what I mean.

But let’s be positive on this Sunday morning, as the baseball season wanes and the football season begins.

Let’s imagine that maybe there will be something to look forward to next year with our baseball team.

That maybe a combination of the younger players we’re seeing now with some of the veterans the Phillies will still have on their payroll might make for an interesting, hopefully, even a competitive team next year.

Yes, maybe I’m still suffering from the afterglow of last night’s all too rare late inning heroics but remember it was rookie Cody Asche who came up big Friday night with a two-run homer in the Phils 2-1 victory over the Braves.   Not to mention the terrific defense he has been showing at third base.

And don’t forget another youngster who will be back leading off next year, 25-year-old center fielder Ben Revere. He was on quite a tear before he got hurt.  While on the veteran front, Carlos Ruiz, a free agent after this season, has been making a case of his own lately for another year in Phillies red.

Ruiz drove in three runs with a single and a double last night.  After a slow start returning from both a suspension followed closely by a hamstring injury, Ruiz is starting to look like the clutch-hitting Chooch of old.  In his last 28 games, he’s hitting .319 with four homers and 16 RBIs. If he finishes this strong, he may still be the Phils best catching option.  Note to Ruben:  As much as I love Chooch, Just don’t make it a multi-year option

So while many in the sports world this September morning are evaluating their fantasy drafts or relishing their team’s first touchdown drive, I’m clinging to the fact that my team still has a pulse and maybe, just maybe, if they have a smart off-season, we’ll have some serious baseball left to root for this time next year.

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“Who Said That?” I’ll Tell You Who!

22 Aug

Yes, the Phillies had a walk-off win yesterday beating the Rockies 4-3 on a Michael Young single in the bottom of the ninth, driving in Carlos Ruiz who had a out-out double. It gave the Phillies their third victory in four games, two of them walk-offs.  This comes after a 4-21 stretch that ended with manager Charlie Manuel losing his job Friday.

But enough about the Phillies.  I know you’ve all just been waiting in suspense for the answers to yesterday’s “Who Said That?” quiz.

And just in case there were a couple of you who didn’t happen to read yesterday’s post (and you know who your are!) I have kindly included the questions along with the answers.

  1. He’s my guy and it hit me hard.  It was a very difficult day for me.  Charlie is a father figure to me.  I respect and cherish everything he has done for me.”

Yes, this one is from perhaps Charlie Manuel’s biggest fan and supporter, Jim Thome.  The close relationship between the two men is legendary and began when Thome was just a 20-year old in Triple-A.  Thome has always attributed much of his success to Charlie and will alway consider him his greatest mentor and friend.2

2.  “I probably was a little overzealous in throwing out that balk.”

This one comes from home plate umpire Jim Joyce who called a controversial balk on Phillies pitcher Jake Deekman in the eighth inning of Monday’s 5-4 win against the Rockies Joyce actually later admitted that he “implemented the balk [rule]wrong.” An umpire admitting he was wrong?  Now that is quote worthy!

3.  “You hear his country accent and you think he’s a little bit slow but he’s sharp as a tack.  I guess I’ll have a fishing buddy now down in Florida.”

You may have guessed this one.  Jimmy Rollins said this about his former manager, now friend Charlie Manuel.  Although Manuel was known to be hard on Jimmy at times, making him an example when he broke some of Charlie’s basic team rules, the two men were often seen together in the dugout laughing and talking baseball.  Now those will be some great fish tales.

4. “I achieved a couple of firsts today personally.” 

Phillies new manager Ryne Sandberg on getting his first win as a major league manager and his first runs (The Phillies were shut out in his first two games as skipper.)

5.  ”The fans have been great.  It’s obvious they’re extremely passionate about the [team.]  That’s evident no matter where you go. But we haven’t played a game yet either, so that could change.”

OK, I cheated a little with this one.  It was from first year Eagles coach Chip Kelly on how the Philly fans have treated him so far.  He’s right about one thing, though…his team hasn’t played a game yet!

6.  “I definitely didn’t come here for this. I would like to stay here. But if I’m going to have to put up with this year after year, then no, I don’t want to be here. Why would you? Why would anybody?”

Who else but Phillies often outspoken closer Jonathan Papelbon.  But enjoy his wacky quotes while you can.  He may be blowing saves and making headlines somewhere else next year.

7.  ”I think if Charlie could adopt Chase Utley I think he probably would. He loves him that much… Chase was the model of who Charlie really wanted everybody to play like. Plays hard, plays the right way, keeps his mouth shut.”

This one surprised me.  It’s from none other than Jayson “take the money and run” Werth.  It sounds like Jayson may be the one with the man crush.

8.  “I’m not playing for money at this point.  I’m fortunate to have played a long time. If I have a situation where I can win, I might be paying them to play.”

Said by none other than two-time Cy Young winner Roy Halladay after pitching in a rehab start, his first action since May 5th.  In the last year of his contract, it certainly doesn’t seem like money will be a problem if the Phillies want him back.  But about that fast ball…

9.   “All Charlie did was come to the park every day with an attitude to win. We didn’t uphold our end of the bargain… He’s someone I’ll always have in my cellphone. “

Chase “You are the Man” Utley had this to say about his manager of nine years.  I hope he has an unlimited minutes plan.  So maybe that’s why Charlie wanted to adopt him.

10.  “I loved putting that uniform on. I would have wore it over here today if I could.” 

We end appropriately with this comment from Charlie Manuel at his farewell news conference at Citizens Bank Park.  No one loved talking and being around baseball more than Charlie.  And though he will turn 70 in January he hopes to be wearing a uniform again soon.

We hope you will, too, Charlie.

Well, how did you do?  Any perfect scores???

My Top Ten Reasons To Keep On Watching the Phillies

19 Aug

OK, I’ve been really good, lately.  I wrote a two-part series about finding the joy.   And wasn’t that a heartfelt thank-you note I wrote to Charlie Manuel?

But a girl can only take so much.  So the day after new manager Ryne Sandberg finally gets his first win (and his first runs) on a walk-off botched double play ball (now that’s a phrase you don’t write every day,) I couln’t resist a little change of pace.

So with 39 games still left on the schedule, yes I said 39, here are some reasons to keep watching.  I call them :

My Top Ten Reasons to Keep Watching the Phillies

 10.  You have an over-under on how many new line-ups will be posted before the end of the season.  39, anyone?

 9.  To hear LA talk about everything under the sun, literally, from the care and feeding of his new swimming pool to his now infamous struggles with his iPad, anything, that is, but the game on the field.

 8.  To see how long it takes before the crowd starts doing the E-A-G-L-E-S, EAGLES chant.

 7.  To watch the radar gun on Jonathan Papelbon’s fastball to see just “how low it can go” and then make sure to stay tuned for the Post Game show to hear what ridiculous explanation Pap will come up with this time.

 6.  To see if Ryne Sandberg will be a better manager than he was a third base coach.

 5.  To see how many ping-pong balls the Phillies will get in next year’s draft lottery….What?  Sorry, wrong sport.

 4.  You want to get a head start on your Atonement for the High Holidays.  After all, they are really early this year.

 3.  Watching the Phillies play these days cuts down on your need for Tylenol PM to fall asleep.

 2.  You write a Phillies blog so you have to watch…oh, I guess that’s just me.

And the number 1 reason you should keep on watching the Phillies?

 1.  Sometimes we all just need a good laugh.

 OK, I feel better now.  I just had to get that off my chest.

Philadelphia Phillies: Perfectly Awful Game

2 Aug

On the same night that the Phillies former closer took the mound for one last time and threw out the first pitch, the Phillies current closer threw the last, at least for the Phillies.

On the same night Brad Lidge, wearing his familiar #54 jersey,  retired as a Phillie and was honored for his 2008 perfect season, Jonathan Papelbon blew his sixth save in 13 opportunities since mid-June.

Brad Lidge lauded the Phillies, the front office and their fans:

“This is such a first class organization from the day I got here.  The players here, the front office, it’s the place I wanted to be attached to for the rest of my life and every time I think about baseball I want to think about Philadelphia and the fans here and it means a lot to me,”

But Jonathan Papelbon’s recent words had a decidedly different tone.

“I definitely didn’t come here for this (losing),…. I would like to stay here,” Papelbon said. “But if I’m going to have to put up with this year after year, then no, I don’t want to be here. Why would you? Why would anybody?”

But Papelbon, who also said that it would take changes “from top to bottom” for the Phillies to turn things around had better start by looking in the mirror because lately he has been a big part of the Phillies problems, including his blown save last night.  Papelbon allowed two runs in the ninth inning, wasting a brilliant eight-inning shutout performance by Cole Hamels, in a game the Phils lost to the Giants 2-1.

In short, a night that began with memories of the heart-stopping, unforgettable  2008 World Series Championship, ended with yet another heart-breaking loss in a season we wish we could forget.

Phillies Win!

3 Jul

Normally a Phillies regular season victory would NOT be cause for a headline.  Especially a headline with an exclamation point.  But these days, every win is headline worthy.

Especially a win that broke the Pirates 9 game win streak,

A win where Ryan Howard broke an 0-22 slump with a single and an RBI,

A win against the team with the best record in baseball,

A win in PNC Park in Pittsburgh, a ballpark that has not been kind to the Phillies since it opened in 2001,  (Last night’s win brings the Phils record there to 15-24.)

A win that gave pitcher Jonathan Pettibone his first victory since May 14th,

A win where manager Charlie Manuel paraded six pitchers in from the bullpen to get 10 outs, concluding with Jonathan Papelbon who got his 16th save of the season.

 It wasn’t pretty but it was a win.  And these days, we’ll take a win no matter what it looks like.

But it will take a lot more wins to put the Phillies back in this race,

A lot more wins to make GM Ruben Amaro a buyer and not a seller come the trade deadline,

A lot more wins for this fan base to get re-energized, (though caps off to the thousands of loud and enthusiastic Phillies fans  who made the trip to PNC park.)

So for now, my advice to Phillies fans (and mostly to myself) is to follow the oldest cliché in the book.

To just take it one day at a time and rediscover our joy in the game of baseball, this soundtrack to our summers,

To enjoy the sights and sounds of America’s national pastime,

To thrill at the crack of the bat, the smack of the glove, the silences as well as the action,

To remember, that after all, baseball is a game to be enjoyed not endured.

As legendary pitcher Bob Feller reminds us:

Every day is a new opportunity.  You can build on yesterday’s success or put its failures behind and start over again.  That’s the way life is, with a new game every day, and that’s the way baseball is.

I don’t know about you but I pledge to try to do that.

To put yesterday’s losses behind me and look forward to the next game, instead of the next day off,

To control my temper if things don’t go my team’s way,

Not to turn the channel in dismay when the bullpen loads the bases with nobody out.

Well, I’m not sure I can promise that last one.

But I will do my best to spend the rest of this season enjoying the game I love and I invite you to join me.

Any takers?

 

Am I Crazy???

23 Jun

Usually I don’t write on Sundays.  I mean even a blogger needs a day off to get her laundry done.  But yesterday’s game has me feeling downright schizophrenic and I just had to talk (write) it out so just picture me on the couch and you with your pad and pen, looking at me sympathetically, and let the therapy session begin.

“OK, yes, I know they won the game and one of the oldest expressions in baseball is “a win is a win is a win.”

BUT

That was the ugliest win I have ever seen and believe me, I’ve seen my share of  unattractive victories.

Ryan Howard looked like…well the old Ryan Howard.  He had two home runs and four RBI’s to help power the Phillies to a 7-1 lead. 

BUT

Jonathan Papelbon and the rest of the Phillies bullpen could not get nine outs before surrendering six runs as the Mets tied the game in the top of the ninth.

For Howard it was his first multi-homer game since Aug. 30, 2011.  After having just 10 RBI’s in May, Howard has now driven in 15 runs and is batting .358 in the month of June . 

BUT

June has not been as kind to the Phils’ $50 million dollar closer.  After giving up two runs to the Mets in yesterday’s ninth inning,  Papelbon has now blown three saves in his last four chances after being perfect in his first 13 save opportunities. 

This looked like the kind of loss that could spell doom for this tough to watch 2013 Phillies team.

BUT

Phillies utility infielder Kevin Frandsen, who has just 12 total career homers,  “saved” this one for Papelbon and the Phillies with his pinch hit home run leading off the bottom of the ninth giving them an improbable 8-7 victory.

With the Brewers handing the Braves their third straight loss the Phillies are still hanging around, 6.5 games behind the Division leaders.

BUT

Given their many weaknesses from sloppy defense, evidenced again yesterday in the ninth inning, an inconsistent offense and an unreliable bullpen it’s hard to see  this team as a serious contender

So doctor, I mean reader, I hope you can see my problem.

After every  horrible loss I declare that I’m finished with this crazy baseball team, that I’m just not going to let them get to me any more.

BUT

Then along comes a Kevin Frandsen walk-off and I’m right back in the fold.

If Albert Einstein is right and, “The definition of insanity is to continue to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result,” then we’re all insane.

BUT

Who am I to argue with the big man, himself, George Herman (the Babe) Ruth, Jr.?

“It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.”

 OK, thanks for listening.  Gotta go do that laundry, now.

How A Phillies Loss Gave Me a Lesson In Gratitude

20 Jun

I had tickets to the Phillies game last night but unfortunately I also had a meeting to attend.  I was disappointed but I told my husband that it would be a great night to take some of his friends to the game and have a “boys’ night out” at the ball park. When he later told me that one of his friends was bringing his 16-year old son, who had never seen a game at Citizens Bank Park, I was thrilled.

I like nothing more than introducing someone to the joys of a night at that beautiful ballpark.   So decked out in Phillies red, they headed off to the game while I, dressed in black, headed off to my meeting.  Truth be told, I was still a little bummed but it was tempered by the fact that my ticket had been given to someone who I hoped would really enjoy the experience.

While at my meeting, we heard from a speaker who made some thought-provoking remarks about happiness.  She said that while the outside events in our lives have something to do with whether we’re happy or not, the major factor determining our state of mind is actually in our control.

She went on to explain how habits, bad or good become habits through repetition and we can change those habits, and our state of mind, by changing our routine and then repeating that change.

She used the example of starting every day with gratitude. That even if things may be tough in some areas of our lives, that we can still find at least one thing to be grateful for and we should start our day expressing gratitude for even that one thing.

She admitted that it wasn’t easy to develop a new skill, that it might feel forced or awkward at first, but she assured us that with practice, giving gratitude could become a habit that could have a positive impact on our state of mind.

I left the meeting thinking about her words and how I’m really not grateful enough for what I have in my life and, if I’m really honest, I spend a lot more energy complaining about what I don’t have.   I could definitely do a better job with that gratitude thing and I resolved to try.

By the time I arrived home the game was in the seventh inning, the Phillies leading 2-1.  Well, as you know by now, Jonathan Papelbon blew his second save in three games, wasting a brilliant performance by Kyle Kendrick and eventually costing his team the victory and a sweep over the Washington Nationals as the Phillies lost 6-2 in 11 innings.

Perhaps this wasn’t the best moment for me to practice my new-found gratitude skills but I mostly felt bad for my friend’s son, that his memory of his first game would always be marred by the disastrous  ending.  When my husband finally got home, we debriefed about our nights and then I said I was really sorry that his friend’s son’s  first Phillies game had to end like that.  I asked if he was upset by the loss?

My husband said he had felt the same way and told the 16-year-old as they were driving home that he was sorry about the game.

His reply:

“Sorry?  I had a great time.  It was a beautiful night.  I had my first ballpark hot dog with mustard and I was here with my Dad.  We saw a great game, a nail biter till the end. And we even got extra innings.  It was perfect.” 

Now that, my friends in baseball, is a lesson in gratitude for you.

He wasn’t upset that our $50 million closer, Jonathan Papelbon blew his second save in three games or that the Phillies offense didn’t get a single hit between the first inning and the tenth.  It didn’t kill him that the game-tying hit came off the bat of former Phil, Jayson Werth with two outs in the ninth–two outs!

No.  Instead he chose to focus on the good things about his night at the ballpark.  So on the same night that I learned about the theory of giving gratitude, I also learned from a 16-year-old boy how it’s done.

I will admit that I am not as proud of my less grateful reaction to last night’s Phillies loss: screaming at my tv, banging my fist and burying my sorrows in a bowl of coffee ice cream.

Oh well, our speaker did say it is a skill that takes practice.  In my case, when it comes to the Phillies, I’m afraid it may take a lot of practice.

But let me start with this.  I have gratitude for the fact that the Phillies are off tonight.

Ok, so it’s not great.  But it’s a start.

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