October 2008 Archives

World Series Game 5

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The Philadelphia Phillies are the 2008 World Series Champions.

Amazing that I even can type this. My head kept saying that the Rays would beat us in 6 games, but my heart kept saying the Phillies would win this. I'm glad to see my heart was right for once.

There's many thoughts that come to mind as I write this at 2am.

First thought is that "Nothing Is Easy In Philadelphia".

This has been an extremely hard road for the Phillies. 2 years of ending up second place to the Mets. Then last year swept by the Rockies. This year we catch another break, thanks to the Mets, and get past Milwaukee to the Dodgers who took care of the Cubs for us.

Someone remind TJ Simers that "Angryville" is now known as Happy Valley. It's been extended from Penn State into Philly.

This feeling that I have is simply great. A relief. A satisfied sigh that rattles the soul. So many years to endure the barbs and quips of the haters, those people who just hated Philly with a passion is gone.

This was just wonderful to enjoy the win with my friends at Mulligan's Bar in Hoboken. The place went berserk. I took video from one half of the bar, the other side of the bar was going just as crazy. We had about 120 fans in the bar, jumping up and down.

After I took the video they handed be a bottle of champagne that we opened and sprayed into the crowd. We sang we are the champions, danced and I think I must have given out a high-five to about everyone in the bar. Plenty of back clapping and hugging.

A big thank you to those who are part of the "OC" the "Original Crew" of my club who have been with me through the years with their loyalty and trust. Big props to them tonight, we deserve this night - we were the fans when everyone else would be negative and stay home for games this year.

My only wish of wishes is that I could enjoy this with my dad. My mom called me at the bar, and she's been my #1 fan all season long, talking to me about the Phillies. She told me that she put Phillies flags on my father's grave on Saturday (Game 3). I have no doubt that him, Pop Pop, Uncle Bud and Skippy are having a great time in heaven right now cheering on the Phillies.

My Phillies. My 2008 World Champions. The curse is broken.

Cinco De Raino

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Ah well.

My thoughts are basic. It never should have come to the 6th inning. The game should have been suspended in the 4th. Those were ridiculous playing conditions and I even turned to the guy next to me at the top of the 6th and said, "They won't call a rain delay with the Phillies up 2-1, they are hoping for the Rays to score."

Sure enough, that's exactly what happened.

In case you don't know, here's how it pans out:

The game is in the bottom of the 6th with Hamels (presumably it will be a pinch hitter), Rollins and Werth due up, with none out. The day it should begin is Tuesday at 8pm, weather permitting. My educated guess says that it won't be Tuesday, but really Wednesday, since it looks like crap weather all day tomorrow in Philly.

That will push out the final two games (if necessary) for Thursday & Friday in Tampa. I doubt MLB will give the Rays and Phillies an extra day of rest. It just doesn't seem very fair, actually, especially for the Rays who finished an exhausting 7 game series vs Boston and get more time to rest up.

Bottom line is the game is tied at 2, with a slight advantage to the Phillies, because they will have a night's worth of rest to bat for 4 innings, whereas the Rays get 3 innings to score. It's bullpen vs bullpen.

Time for bed, here. I barely had a sip of beer tonight I was so nervous. Glad now that I didn't drink very much.

1 More To Go...And I'm No Saint.

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I'm a jumble of emotions.

Excitement. Nervousness. Joy. Trepidation.

My thoughts on game 3 & 4 are fairly basic: Incredible.

Pitchers hitting home runs? Games decided by a run in the bottom of the ninth? Home run marathon games? This has been a pleasure, up to this point, to be a part of this World Series, but also so tense.

It's hard to really enjoy the series, because the Phillies have to win four games. Oh, the Phillies up 3-1 in the series is beyond my wildest dreams. But the fact remains that Tampa is a very dangerous team, and certainly will not go out of this series lying down.

I think if the Phils keep their bats alive and keep getting runners on base, we have a definite shot to take 1 of the next 3 games.

1 more game to go. No one in Philly realistically thinks that this series is wrapped up. It's Philadelphia - nothing comes easy. It would be beyond incredible for us to win in 5 games.

Here's a story for you which happened last Saturday. It's a story i'm not terribly proud of, but my only defense is that it ended on a good note.

I'm at the bar, it's 9pm and the bar isn't very full, but most of the chairs at the bar are taken. I'm sitting at the bar, having a drink and talking to Phillies fans. Two seats opens up next to me at the bar, and a group asks if anyone is sitting there, and I mirthfully reply, "Nope, all yours. I just hope you aren't Tampa Bay fans."

The group chuckles and shakes their collective heads.

One of the girls sits next to me, she's very cute, and in her early 20's. Her boyfriend, also around the same age, about 5'10 and maybe 165 pounds, was all over her as soon as she sat down next to me. This is a bit of a pet peeve of mine. If there were a PDA (Public Display of Affection) magnet, it would be me. Often I joke with my friends, that guys don't do this only to show affection, but marking his "territory". I wish I had a nickel for everytime I walked to the PATH platform, and wait for a train, while a guy sees me and a few seconds later is holding his girlfriend's hand or putting his arm around her. Ok...I get it...she's with you.

I'm trying to watch the pre-game, but Mr. Boyfriend is kissing or hugging or touching this girl every five minutes. I'm rolling my eyes and just trying to watch the tv and ignore the guy, but it's kind of hard when they she is sitting right next to me, and he's draped on her.

The game begins later, after a 90 minute rain delay, and the boyfriend starts half-watching the game. When the Phillies made a mistake or the Rays did something well, the boyfriend started to cheer & clap.

Now i'm trying to set this up for you as best I can. You are in a bar full of Phillies fans. Yes, I can fully respect and understand if this fellow is from Tampa, cheering on his team. There's about 40 bars in town people can drink at and this bar is barely full, with the majority of people standing around wearing Phillies hats. Plus i'm already irritable with his constant fawning of his girlfriend.

After the third bout of cheering I turn to the girl and say, "Is your boyfriend from Tampa or a Rays fan or something?"

She looks embarassed and says bashfully, "No, he's from London. He's just being an asshole. I'm sorry."

I say to her, "It's not your fault, he's the one being a jerk on purpose. I can understand if he was a Rays fan, but why sit in a bar full of Philly people just to cheer on the other team?"

I get her boyfriends attention, who has a big dopey smile on his face.

I say to him with an acerbic tone: "Hey, pal. Look, not for nothin' - but what's the deal? You are in a bar full of Phillies fans and cheering on the Rays? That would be like me visiting London, walking into a Man United bar and clapping and cheering on Liverpool or Arsenal during a match. I'm a die hard Philly fan and you have another thing coming if you think i'm gonna sit here and listen to you cheer on a team that means nothing to you."

For the record, even if he was from Tampa I probably would have told him the same thing. I don't have a strong track record when it comes to listening to opposing fans sit next to me and cheer on their team.

The smile quickly faded from his face and his response was apologetic, "Hey, sorry I didn't know, calm down.". I told him "I am calm, i'm calmly telling you to shut up or get lost."

I know, I know. Not very nice of me. I'm sure Yankee fans can understand my irritation, especially with all the Bawh-Stahn Red Sowx fans around Hoboken. I can only imagine what a nightmare a Philly vs Boston series would have produced. It would be 'Fight Central' in Hoboken.

The game goes on and I really don't pay much attention to the guy or his group. Mr. Boyfriend is much more reserved and the girlfriend (who really didn't seem much into him to begin with) leaves ten minutes later. I'm guessing that my tirade to him didn't help matters between them.

It's the second inning and someone buys four shots of Irish wiskey at the bar, takes two and disappears. By the fourth inning the shots are still sitting there and I hate to see good alcohol go to waste. I grab them and offer one to Mr. Boyfriend, who is chatting up his remaining two friends. I offer him one of the shots and we cheer each other.

He and I start talking. He's visiting from London and didn't know a thing about baseball. Yes, I did feel a bit badly, but I think about how Americans who go overseas and act stupid & obnoxious in a foreign country? Maybe this guy learned a valuable lesson at 22 years old about how to act in America.

I explain the game to him, using cricket as an example - explaining strike zones and the rules for batters and pitchers. By the 7th inning Mr. Boyfriend and I are all chummy, thanks to the power of alcohol, and my thinly veiled threats are basically forgotten. When he gets up to leave, shakes my hand and leaves the bar.

I never said I was a saint.

World Series Game 2

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Oooh. Tampa strikes back!

Well, it was expected by me that this series wouldn't be a sweep either way. I'm still glad we won 1 of 2 in Tampa.

Certainly not thrilled about not being able to get runners home, but I still think it would be 10x worse, with Joe Buck dancing in the asiles cheering on Tampa, if we didn't get players ON BASE.

I think the umps need to go back to umpire school. Both nights, very questionable calls all around, especially with strike zones, checked swings and hit batters. Ninth inning Phillies should have had runners on 1st and 2nd with no outs. Not that it really would have made a difference, we had that all night long and still couldn't score a measley run until Victorino finally did it.

Werth is the goat for game 2. Far too many boneheaded mistakes. Also, 2003 called and said he needs to shave the goatee.

Once again, right about Ryan Howard. Right handed pitchers he loves and lefties laugh at him. Been that way all season, folks. Sure, he does, every once in a while, get hot on a leftie.

Greg Dobbs looked terrible. Terrible. Deer in headlights, "I can't see the ball" terrible. I am shocked about that.

J. Ro is such an incredible force on defense. Just wish the guy could get his bat going! What a threat he is on base.

Hats off to the Tampa Bay Rays. Good game, they deserved to win. Phillies played a sloppy "B" game, and allowed Tampa to get the jump early.

I'm hoping Phillies can go back home and win at least 2 of 3 at home. I don't expect a sweep by the Phillies, but you never know. The last 2 games have been tight games and this has been an interesting series so far.

World Series Game 1

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"I always say it's better to come up empty with a lot of guys in scoring position than not have any runners at all," Utley said.

That was probably the best quote of the night to sum up the game. Phillies played well. Had runners on base. Just a single away from the score ending 5-2 versus 3-2.

Play the same way again, I say. Just get a few more "small ball" hits and the Phillies will cruise to another win tonight.

I think the pitching looked solid. Defense was nearly spectacular, with only Howard goofing twice in his fielding, but making up for it by reaching into the stands to get a foul out.

I seriously wonder why Coste was the DH, but I guess hindsight is 20/20, and easy to say that after the game. To me, I would still just use our best bat in the lineup, and have Greg Dobbs at DH or, possibly, Pat Burrell at DH and have someone in right field to replace him.

Another thought is if the Rays defense puts the shift on Utley & Howard, i'd keep doing what Utley tried in the first inning: bunt. Why not? Get a run on base and put the Rays on their heels.

Big win for the fightin's, for 5 key reasons:

1. You get that monkey off your back about not being able to win in clutch games.
2. You nullify homefield advantage.
3. You prove you can win, on the road, in Tampa, against a hostile crowd.
4. The Phillies can relax a bit, realize that what they did in Game 1 they can do again.
5. The pressure is on the Rays now.

No matter how you slice it, every game is huge. But i'll tell ya, tonight's game is bigger for the Rays than the Phillies. Sure, Phillies want to win, but the Rays NEED to win now. They can't afford to roll into Philadelphia down 2 games and play in a hostile stadium.

Phillies are in the driver's seat. Go out, play hard like they did Game 1 and see if they can earn another win in Tampa. That's it.

Phillies World Series Analysis

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I'll start out this by saying that if I were able to tell the future, I wouldn't be writing blogs, but sitting in Vegas playing cards.

Also, I want to be clear about something, I am not a baseball expert, but I am a guy who has watched the Phillies all season and I feel like I know this team very well. I won't try to sit there and tell you that I know everything about the Rays, because I don't. I haven't watched them at much this season, except for highlights and the last three games of the Red Sox ACLS series. So for my "prediction" I will just stick to what I know - the Phillies players.

The Phillies can win the World Series. I don't care who they play, they can win it. But *to* win it is a different story. Here's my quick hits about what I think in this series, looking at each player and what I think:

1. Jimmy Rollins - Jimmy has been mostly average this year (especially when compared to 2007). An early injury in the regular season and Jimmy hasn't impressed me at all this year offensively - he has a rash of good games and then disappears for a few more. His one key factor is that his defense has been Golden Glove solid this year. If J-Ro plays well, gets on base, this could be the #1 deciding factor of the series.

2. Jason Werth - Jason has been good this year, I don't think he's spectacular in the playoffs, but has been a mostly solid contributor at bat and in the field. I expect more of the same from him.

3. Chase Utley - Another "X-factor" like Rollins. Depends which Chase shows up for the series. The deer-in-headlights Chase that can't seem to get the clutch hit or the solid Chase Utley that dominates at the plate. You can't deny that at 2B Chase is excellent in the field (but, truth be told has made a few errors this season, too). I don't think that's going to change much in the World Series.

4. Ryan Howard - here's the deal. Everyone makes a big deal of Ryan. I think this year he had a terrible first two months, a decent summer, a white hot September and an average playoff run. He can't hit left handed pitchers. I think the first game Ryan goes 0 for 4 with 2 strikeouts and 2 ground outs to second. Good news is that the Rays next 3 pitchers are righties after that. What will happen, I don't know. I know that Ryan isn't always clutch hitter like a Manny Ramirez. He's a much better player when we have a lead and he's relaxed.

5. Pat Burrell - another guy that will define the series. Will the real Pat show up? Aside from the Brewers series, Pat did little in the Dodgers series to excite me. He's slow. Often he's replaced by the 6th inning if we are down in runs with another player. I don't expect that it's going to be any different in the World Series.

6. Shane Victorino - now here's a guy who has taken the pressure of the playoffs, laughed, and been our shining star. Whereas Chase Utley has a tendancy to fold under the pressure, Shane has stepped up in multiple games to make huge offensive hits and key defensive plays. I don't see that changing, and I think Shane will still hit very well, especially that he's a switch hitter who can hit in clutch plays.

7. Pedro Feliz - Great defense, one of the best defensive third basemen we have had in a long time, but his bat is just average. Sure, he can get hits, but i'm not super confident he will do much better than .200 this series. May have to get swapped with Greg Dobbs if we are down by the 6th inning and need a bat.

8. Carlos Ruiz - another excellent defensive player, and I can't wait to watch him call this game. He's had 5 days to watch tape of the Rays and figure out how he is going to pitch all their batters. Don't forget this. The Rays have had Monday & Tuesday to figure out the Phillies (oh, sure the back office probably has this done, but the players haven't had time to really sit and watch who they are facing). Believe it or not, Carlos Ruiz is going to be a difference maker in this series for that reason and for his bat. Everyone knows that Carlos can't hit. There's a big tail off in our lineup offensive production after Shane Victorino. If Carlos (and Pedro for that matter) can muster offense against a very good Rays pitching staff, this will be huge.

9. Designated Hitter - I'm not sure who Charlie puts in here. If I were in charge, i'd have Greg Dobbs. Why? As much as the Phillies love playing with the Pedro Feliz/Greg Dobbs sixth inning switch-a-roo, I think we need to put in our best bat at #9 spot. That's Dobbs.

Pitching:

I'm not going to analyze each player here. I think Cole Hamels is the "ace", Meyers has been solid since his return from the minors and the bullpen is very good, even better than the Rays. Moyer did have a bad game against the Dodgers, but don't forget he won 16 games this season. Blanton has been average, nothing special, and in my opinion, if the Phils are down 2 games to 1, i'd put Cole Hamels on short rest on the mound for game 4 (Hell, for the series it would be Hamels pitching 1-4-7 if I were the manager), and have Blanton pitch game 6. Hamels can hit the ball, whereas Blanton can't hit the side of a barn with his bat....making Blanton a better choice pitcher in a designated hitter AL game.

Conclusion:

Phillies need their "A" game, no doubt. We need the stars to align and have Rollins, Utley, Howard to play better than they have been playing for the last couple of weeks. I know there's a lot of talk about Phils being rusty, but in my opinion, five days rest is going to help the Phillies more than hurt them, especially the pitchers and bullpen - and whatever ailments have been plaguing Utley and Rollins all season.

I think there's a lot of talk about the Rays being championship caliber for not backing down versus the Red Sox and winning in 7. To me, they should have wrapped it up in 5 games and their bullpen should not have blown game five and lost game six if they were champions. Yes, they won game seven, hats off to the Rays. But that was a game which was just one hit away from being a Red Sox win, trust me. A win is a win is a win, but I still shake my head and think we were closer than the pundits think to a Red Sox vs Phillies finale.

This playoff series the Phillies have had multiple people step up in key games to get a victory, but we really haven't had a consistent threat from the "Big 3" (Rollins, Utley, Howard). Shane has been gangbusters for the Phillies and I think everyone can agree is the #2 MVP of the playoffs right behind Cole Hamels. I think that, ultimately, is what will doom the Phillies this World Series - that the Phillies won't get consistent offensive production. If they can get to the 7th inning with a lead, I like our chances to win, even on the road.

My gut says Tampa in 6 games, only based on what I have read and how the Phillies have looked during the playoffs. As a Phillies fan, I hate to say it, but Tampa from what I read and watched, just have looked like a more well rounded team.

My heart says Phils can win in 6 if they take 1 in Tampa (preferably in the first two games), win 2 of 3 in Philly and then win in Tampa for game 6 (expect that Cole Hamels will be pitching game 1 & 5, and Brett Meyers game 2 & 6 if we are up).

I think one thing everyone needs to know is that "anything can happen" here. You can read all the pundits and critics tell us various reasons why Tampa or Philly can win. I think if Phillies had homefield advantage, i'd go with Phillies in 6 with my gut call. But they don't, and if they don't win 1 of the first two in Tampa, I just don't see the Phillies coming back from that to win.

Of course I hope that my gut is wrong and the Phillies bats come alive. If that happens, the Phillies win because we will have enough pitching to win these games.

I went to a local pub yesterday and sat down after work. I wanted to try their food there, and figured i'd have a beer and relax at the bar. I chatted with the bartender a bit, since I knew her when I was a bartender at Mikie Squared.

The food was good pub grub, and the Yuengling draft went down smoothly. I enjoyed watching a bit of CNN and ESPN on the flat screen TVs, while I chatted her up a bit, catching up on old times.

I was finished eating and I whipped out my card, asking the bartender to put my tab on the card. She turned to the register, checked my tab and turned around, with a half-smile / half-frown of someone about to tell me something I didn't want to hear and said: "Hey, Sean, sorry we have a $20 minimum purchase rule here with credit cards."

Minimum purchase?

I was fairly sure, but not positive, that, to ask for a minimum purchase it was violating their contract agreement with the credit card companies. I started to tell her about it, but she shrugged her shoulders saying, "The owners makes the rules, and they give me grief if I try to charge anything less. Sorry."

I didn't have any cash on me. They had one of those cheap ATM machines in the bar, and the closest "normal" bank (and not my bank) ATM was a few blocks away. The bar ATM or the local bank would charge me $2 per transaction. Plus, it was just inconvienent for me.

I wasn't about to get her in trouble over this. I know the owner, not very well, but I am on a first name basis, and I don't know if he will even care enough to do anything if I complain to him. I could report his business to the credit card companies, but I don't know if I even want to bother.

It wasn't the $2 fee. It wasn't even getting up, using the ATM. What happened to the customer coming first? Is the poor bar owner really going to cry over credit card fees when the markup on drinks is ridiculous*?

*Quick segue: Think about it. The price of a 1/2 keg of Coors Light, as an example. It costs $73.99 for us "regular people", and i'm sure a bar owner gets a better rate because of bulk discounts from distributors. So maybe it is $62 a keg. A keg holds 124 pints (16 oz.) of beer. Lets do the fun math. $62 for a keg, divided by 124 beers = .50 cents a glass. Remember that next time you are drinking a $4 glass of Coors Light at your local pub, and the owner makes $434 profit per keg (124 x $4 glass minus $62 cost per keg...not including spillage) .

What would you do? Feel free to email me at philly2hoboken at gmail.com and tell me!

Best Man: Fail!

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Seems to be a bit staged, I would be impressed if this was for real. But still very funny.

All My Sons

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When I saw that "All My Sons" was on Broadway, I was intrigued. I knew of Arthur Miller's work, thinking back to my years studying at LaSalle College High School, I remembered my English teacher at the time, Mr. McCabe, showing us Miller's "A Death Of A Salesman", starring Dustin Hoffman and John Malkovich. It really was one of those events that sparked my imagination and enjoyment of literature and theatre. Later, I went on to study English Literature at Villanova University, and eventually when I moved to New York City, I often tried to take advantage of what Broadway had to offer.

I have been to a few Broadway shows ("Rent", "Monty Python's The Holy Grail", "The Producers" "Macbeth" with Patrick Stewart), spending more time trying to get out to see Shakespeare in the Park, during the summer months. I like to go when I can enjoy it with someone special, rather than going alone or trying to get simply "friends" to come with me. But I wanted to see this for other reasons, too.

First, it had John Lithgow, who I loved in so many of his movies, growing up. I remember watching him in "The World According to Garp", "Twilight Zone: The Movie", "Footloose" (which he also filmed with fellow castmate Dianne Wiest) and even enjoying his goofy roles in "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension" or "Harry and the Hendersons". Later in life I loved watching him in "3rd Rock from the Sun" and was one of the few people who Tivo'd him in "Twenty Good Years". I always thought he was a great actor, and reminds me of a natural, someone like Dustin Hoffman or Gene Hackman.

Second, it was easy to get tickets. I just went on ticketmaster, they had tickets for almost any show I wanted and I bought a Tuesday night performance, with good seats, in about five minutes.

Third, the show has Katie Holmes, who lately has been fodder for all the gossip websites, and I think she brings a certain intrigue to the entire show - is she good? Would Xenu make a cameo?

I had to recruit someone to tag along with me, and I asked my friend Tiffany to come along for a Tuesday night show at 7pm. We tried to score seats at Becco, but they were packed and had a 45 minute wait for seats. Instead, we walked into Sushi of Gari 46, a few doors down at 347 W. 46th St.

I would highly recommend that if you want outstanding sushi with quick, excellent service before a show on Broadway, I would steer everyone towards this small sushi restaurant. The downside is that it can be a bit pricey and the portions may be smaller than you expect in Hoboken, but the high quality of the fish, the presentation and service made it worth it for Tiffany and myself.

After our meal, we went to the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre (formerly the Plymouth), only a few blocks away, quickly got to our seats, and watched the show.

I think back to all the shows I have been to, which would probably pale in comparion to many of you reading this now, and think that most of them I left thinking that they were "good". Even Rent, was a good show (I didn't see it with the original cast), and for the most part I was never floored by a show.

Maybe it was my lack of experience of "Great Broadway", but I really enjoyed the show. On a simple scale of 1 to 10, i'd give it a 9, with my humble scale. Other critics have given the show mixed reviews.

Perhaps I need to get more plays under my belt, but I felt the performances were excellent, I was drawn into the play and very much enjoyed all the characters and didn't feel anyone had a "one note performance". The show simply captivated me, and I would say that if you are someone who is looking for something different to do, and want to take advantage of what New York has to offer, this would be a great time to go out and try and take in a great show - especially that the discount ticket TKTS booth in Times Square has been refurbished.

Phillies To The World Series!

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It's been a long road as a Phillies fan.

Growing up in Richboro, I remember hot summer days when we played baseball behind Doug's house, with the "Green Monster" Willow Tree snagging our home run balls. I can remember it like yesterday, I swear, with the smell of freshly cut grass and drinking Mom's homemade Iced Tea by the gallon.

Back then, watching the Phillies as a great team in the late 70's, I was only 8 or 9 years old. We would watch the Phillies play on those lazy Sunday afternoons, and then play baseball after the game, when it was a bit cooler outside, trying to emulate Michael Jack Schmidt as best we could.

I remember the 1980 season it was one where the Phillies won the National League East division by one game over the Montreal Expos. My brother and I watched the playoffs on his small 13 inch black and white TV in his bedroom, often when our parents were asleep. The World Series game on Tuesday, October 21, 1980 was watched on that little TV, with he and I dancing around his bedroom in our pajamas and socks.

Memories.

I feel for the current Philly fans. There's a whole generation of fans who grew up remembering the Phillies as losers. They didn't have fun summer memories of World Series champions, they get to possibly remember 1983 losses or the 1993 "Joe Carter" Toronto Blue Jays.

Now we have some new memories. One of my favorites is simply being the guy who brought all the Phillies fans together in Hoboken. I have been here 14 years now and there was no such thing as a "Philly" bar in Hoboken, ever. Oh sure, you would see a few people from time to time wearing their hats, but there wasn't a place they could all walk into, on any playoff night and see a sea of fans from their hometown.

My memories will be watching the games with all the fans at the bar this year. Meeting new Phillies fans with the Philadelphia Phillies Club of Hoboken, and watching them sing "We Are The Champions" at Mulligan's bar while shooting champagne on to the crowd after we beat LA.

It has been a rough road getting to this point. Last season's collapse in the post season, leading to this year's highs and lows over the season, along with winning 13 of our last 16 to take the division over the Mets.

The Phillies are the best team in the National League for 2008. I love just writing that. Sure, a World Series is the true measure of a teams success, but the Phillies are champions of every team in the National League this year, and no one can take that away from us. If you are a fan, this is the moment to get excited with the possibility that the Phillies can go all the way.

Congratulations Phillies fans. Enjoy the ride and the memories.

Notes, News and More!

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To those that noticed, the site was down this morning. Our server got mixed up in a move by our hosting provider.

The hosting provider also owns Hobokeni.com. If you haven't heard, Hobokeni.com is relaunching very soon (I think today), and i'm very excited to see the new changes. Everyone at Datapipe and Hobokeni.com have been a true help to my site.

Did you know that this month is my 4th year blogging in town? I'm shocked it has been that long, and it's still great to get so many emails from people. I got a great email yesterday from someone I didn't even know who wanted to add some information about my Pantry Entry:

I hope you are enjoying experimenting with your own cooking.

Your pantry list is a good one, but I do have two opinions on some of the ingredients on your list. First, boullion cubes are pure, dehydrated evil. I would suggest buying stock in a re-sealable cardboard box. If you don't think will go through it quickly enough, fill an icecube tray with the stock and freeze it. Once frozen, empty the trays into a zip lock bag. Be sure to label and date the bag to eliminate scary freezer archeology in the future. The stock cubes should last for six months.

Secondly, those "cooking wines" one purchases in a super market are just horrible mixtures of salt and something that may legally qualify as wine, maybe. With wines in a box improving, and their shelf lives of up to six weeks, keeping some of them around for cooking is a good idea. Vermouth, because of it's long shelf life, is also a good substitute for a cooking wine.

Have fun in the kitchen.

Comments - If you didn't know, something is massively wrong with my comments on this site. I got a few emails from people asking if I blocked them from commenting, and I did not. I'm not sure what's going on there. Certainly you can always email me and I always reply to people: Philly2hoboken@gmail.com.

Eagles - yep, not happy they lost. I'm shocked because I know they are a better team than this, just can't figure out the exacts to why they are sputtering the last two games. Bad coaching? WRs dropping key passes? Still a lot of season to play to work this out, and I still think the Birds are a playoff team, just shocked we lost to the Redskins and Chicago, two winnable games. But what can you do - much like the Phillies, just gotta make it to the playoffs.

And how about those Phillies? What can you say when your team takes care of business and wins? I'm extremely happy to see the Phillies in the NLCS for the first time since 1993. Dodgers hammered us during the regular season, and it will be a tough series, no doubt. To me, it's a win/win situation. I'm just glad to see the Phillies in the post season twice in two years, and seeing our team getting better each year. Dodgers aren't going to be easy, but it's anyone's series, I think the Phillies can win if they play their "A" game.

Happy Friday!

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A nice little video (work safe, I think...there is "implied" humor here) to get us all in a happy mood for the weekend, with the Phillies up 2-0...


We are a city that loves to eat. That's easily apparent walking down Washington Street, with bars and restaurants bustling with diners every night. In the last few years, I have gotten into cooking for myself. It's a lot of fun, but one of my greatest frustrations is opening up my cookbook, reading what i'd like to make, and then realizing that i'm missing a key ingredient, so I put together a list of items that I keep in my try to keep pantry.

When I came up with this list, it's about freshness. I didn't include easily perishable items. Sure, you can have a big bag of potatoes sitting in your closet, but I have found, in my experience, that in Hoboken it was much easier just to stop in the local farmers market and grab things like that when you are ready to cook. Same is true with meat. You can, for example, get a vacuum sealer, and store cuts of meat in your freezer when ready to use them. For me, this list was about key ingredients that are great to have on hand when you are ready to cook or bake.

My first list are my Top 10. These are the standards, that you have to have for almost anytime you think about cooking:

  1. Sugar
  2. Flour
  3. Butter
  4. Milk
  5. Olive Oil
  6. Garlic
  7. Dry Pasta
  8. Marinara Sauce
  9. Cooking Spray
  10. Multi-Grain Bread

That covers a lot of what you will cook with. For things like milk, eggs and butter, I buy small quantities, so that I always have something fresh and don't feel guilty throwing away 1/2 pint of bad milk versus a 1/2 gallon.

The items would be my "basics" list:

  1. Basic condiments (Mayo, Ketchup, Mustard, BBQ Sauce, Soy, Teriaki, Worcestershire sauce, Maple Syrup, Tabasco, Peanut Butter, Grape Jelly, Balsamic Vinegar)
  2. Basic seasonings (Table Salt, Pepper, Kosher Salt, Oregano, Basil, Cayenne Pepper, Boullion cubes (beef, chicken, veg))
  3. Basic baking ingredients (Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Vanilla Extract, Yeast, Solid shortening, Cornstarch, Brown Sugar, Bisquick)
  4. Basic others (Red & White Cooking Wine, White/Red Wine Vinegar,
  5. Basic Canned Foods (Tuna, Tomatoes (Paste and Diced), Chicken/Beef Broth, Marinara Sauce)
  6. Basic canned/bottled drinks (Coke, 7up, Seltzer, Water)

Advanced Seasonings: Sage, Thyme, Rosemary, Ginger, Dry Mustard, Bay Leaves, Nutmeg, Paprika, Poppy Seed, Lemon Pepper, Garlic Powder and Cinnamon.

Advanced Items: Honey, Dried Beans, Brown Rice, Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels, Pickles (Dill Gherkins), Dijon mustard, Canola Oil, Peanut Oil, Vegetable Oil, wedge of Parmesan cheese.

Some things to remember:


  • Put the flour and sugar in an air tight resealable containers

  • Put the brown sugar in a resealable bag, add a fresh apple slice to the bag to keep it from hardening.

  • I put my Multi-Grain Bread in the freezer. I can whip up fresh tuna fish, pop the bread in the toaster and have a delicious sandwich in 10 minutes.

  • Remember with spices to get the SMALLEST container possible. Most dry ground spices last about 2-3 years, if kept airtight and in cool spaces.

Liquor Cabinent. Now, being the bartender that I am, I have to give you a list of liquors that every adult Hobokenite should have on hand. Imagine inviting someone over to your house and you can't fix them a nice cocktail? This is what I have in my cabinet:

  1. Grey Goose, Belvedere Vodka or Ketel One Vodka
  2. Jim Beam or Jack Daniels Bourbon
  3. Tanqueray Gin
  4. Captain Morgan Rum
  5. Johnny Walker Black
  6. Bacardi Rum
  7. Jagermeister
  8. Red Wine (preferably Zinfandel or Pinot Noir for more casual drinkability when guests are over)
  9. White White (always in the fridge, Pinot Grigio is the better choice for young Hobokenites)
  10. Beer (Yuengling, of course!)

Now, cordials are what make a drink a drink. I don't have all of these, but if you are having a party, never a bad idea to have the key 3 juices (OJ, Cranberry, Pineapple), i'd grab Cointreau (or Triple Sec) and some Red Bulls. These other ones are optional...but great to have on hand for mixed drinks or shots:

  • Amaretto

  • Chambord

  • Frangelico

  • Midori

  • Sour Mix

  • Grenadine



  • That should do it. Print out my list, and go over to Shop Rite at 900 Madison - you can buy everything you need right there, including the liquor.

    See something missing from my list? Email me at philly2hoboken@gmail.com and I'll see if it should be added!

    Outback Steakhouse: Edgewater

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    A friend of mine invited me out for dinner a few weeks back, for helping her out with something which was important to her.

    We kept trying to figure out where we wanted to eat, with food that she could eat (she's on a diet). I was thinking of trying to eat at McSwiggan's, but most of the menu items were deep fried bar food, with few "healthy" choices. The standard visit "Court Street" was in play, since we both liked eating there, but our enthusiasm waned a bit.

    She read my blog and said, "What about Outback?"

    Mmmmmmmmmmm. Nom nom nom.

    Outback it is! We got in my car, drove over and 20 minutes later (on a Tuesday night at 7:30pm) entered the restaurant.

    We take one look around, the place is packed, with people sitting and standing waiting for tables.The entire bar, and surrounding booths were full. I ask the manager how long the wait is, and was told "25-30 minutes or you can wait near the bar and try to get a seat when someone leaves."

    My friend takes one look at me and says, "You were right, this place would do great in Hoboken. I'd eat here once a week. Look how packed it is...on a TUESDAY!"

    Eventually we grabbed a seat at the bar, and I had a 9 ounce Victoria's "Center Cut" Filet, with wild rice and asparagus. It wasn't Luger's or The Strip House, but compared to ANY steak I have had in Hoboken, it was completely worth the 15 minute drive to Edgewater.

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