Recently in Phillies Category

Lots of questions this seasons:

How will Roy Halladay's arm issues in spring training affect the regular season?
Is Dominic Brown for real?
Will the bullpen fare better than last year?
How healthy is Howard & Utley?
Will J-Roll be leading off or moved to a new spot in the lineup?
How will losing Chooch for 25 games affect the team?

Phillies have a team that, on paper, can win at least 84 games. Listening to WIP yesterday, I heard all sorts of predictions. With the Braves & Nats fielding good teams - and the Marlins and Mets having so-so teams, I think Phillies, barring any major injuries, could do better than 84. I don't see them as winning more than 95. There's a ton of question marks - and most of the radio people were harping over Roy Halladay's spring issues.

If you are in Hoboken, here's the games we are getting together to watch the game on Friday nights at Mulligan's. Hope to see you out there we will have the same beer specials on Fridays for Phillies fans that we have at the Eagles club, $2 Bud Light and $2 Yuengling. No buckets of beers, however.

Apr 12 - at Miami, 7:10 PM
Apr 19 - vs. St. Louis, 7:05 PM
Apr 26 - at NY Mets, 7:10 PM
May 3 - vs. Miami, 7:05 PM
May 10 - skipping due to late game
May 17 - vs. Cincinnati, 7:05 PM
May 24 - at Washington, 7:05 PM
May 31 - vs. Milwaukee, 7:05 PM
Jun 7 - at Milwaukee, 8:10 PM
Jun 14 - at Colorado, 8:40 PM
Jun 21 - 21 - vs. NY Mets, 7:05 PM
Jun 28 - skipping due to late game
Jul 5 - vs. Atlanta, 7:05 PM
JUl 12 - vs. Chicago WSox, 7:05 PM
Jul 19 - at NY Mets, 7:10 PM
Jul 26 - at Detroit, 7:05 PM
Aug 2 - vs. Atlanta, 7:05 PM
Aug 9 - at Washington, 7:05 PM
Aug 16 - vs. Los Angeles, 7:05 PM
Aug 23 - vs. Arizona, 7:05 PM
Aug 30 - skipping due to early game
Sep 6 - vs. Atlanta, 7:05 PM
Sep 13 - at Washington, 7:05 PM
Sep 20 - vs. NY Mets, 7:05 PM
Sep 27 - at Atlanta, 7:30 PM

People Of Walmart

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Happy Friday Folks. If you are like me and need something to make you smile today, watch the above video. Or, come join me down at Mulligan's tonight at 7pm when when have Flyers vs Penguins on with sound at 7:30pm. We had a big crowd at the bar last Friday to watch Flyers beat the Penguins for Game 2.

Also Phillies will be on tonight at 10:15 when they play San Diego Padres.

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Philadelphia Phillies Club of Hoboken meets at Mulligan's to watch the Fightin's take on the Mets AND we have Flyers playoffs hockey at 7:30! All the games will be on at the bar, and we will have SOUND ON for the Flyers/Penguins game.

Our bar specials will be in effect for the entire game, $2 drafts of Yuengling & Bud Light.

The Atlanta Kid

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Remind you of anyone? Sure, this could be the same look of any Phillies fan for the last two seasons, if you swap out the Braves gear for Phillies gear. I'm sure the same look was on all our faces if you were an Eagles fan when the McNabb era began.

Hey, I feel for the guy. Someone better give that kid a hug and say better luck next year.

As for my Phillies, the expectation from April has been "World Series or bust". We won 102 games, which is amazing. But the typical Phillies fan is shrugging it off, whereas people like me just enjoyed the season. It was uh-mazing.

Well here comes the post season, and I guess to be the best you have to beat the best. St. Louis is no pushover and in a 5 game series anything can happen. I still think the Phillies are the better team, but not by that much. The only two things we have going for us are that some of the Cardinals main players are dinged more than we are, and Carpender can only play in Game 3. Although Garcia who is starting Game 1 has been known to give us fits.

But, you just don't walk to the World Series, and i'm hopeful that the Phillies will continue to play like they did against Atlanta. If you are around town, the Philadelphia Phillies Club of Hoboken will be at Mulligan's Pub for all the playoff games. $2 Yuengling, Bud Light and Bud drafts on special for all Phillies fans for every game.

Please, examine the facts:

1. Even with three OUTSTANDING pitchers and Jayson Werth, we couldn't buy a hit against the Giants. Adding Cliff Lee isn't going to help the Phillies offense issues.

2. Going on blind faith to "hope" Domonic Brown will step up next season is moronic. Sure, I like the kid, but after he went 1 for 32 in the Dominican Leagues, says that he may need a bit more work. Platooning him with Ben Francisco, again, is sort of like putting all your life's savings on red at the roulette table. Good luck with that.

3. Losing Werth didn't help us offensively, and even hurt more that we lost a right handed bat. We need a right handed bat to offset our heavily favored left swinging lineup.

4. Lots of contracts up in 2011: Ibanez, Rollins, Hamels, Madson, Lidge (1.5M buy out). I expect someone will get traded, and already rumors are swirling about Cole Hamels getting traded.

5. Don't be so sure about Blanton being traded if we don't move Hamels. He's signed with the Phillies through 2012 and we are paying him $8.5 million a year - i'd keep Blanton if we don't move Cole Hamels. We still will need a number 4 and number 5 pitcher, folks.

6. Please shut up about trading Ibanez. Even if we could trade him we are going to have to pay the majority of his salary - and still need to replace his bat with someone. Phillies will be smart and just suck it up for 2011.

7. Payroll with Lee is now around $166M. We still need to sign our bench/utility players and bullpen pitchers for 2011. Looking at a $200M payroll. Most Phillies fans don't care about that, but the bottom line is that the Phillies are a business. Ticket & concession prices will have to go up to compensate for that.

If I were the Phillies I would trade Cole Hamels for an outfielder that bats right. Look to groom Ben Francisco or Domo Brown over 2011 to replace Ibanez by 2012. Sign Madson for 3 more years. Hug J-Roll and wish him good luck in 2012 on his new team.

Hey, that's just me. What do YOU think we should do?

I have been quiet lately, I know.

I have had things to write about, but every once in a while I just don't feel like expressing myself online. But, after a few weeks of silence, I have a few things to talk about, and if you are REALLY BORED at work, you can read along this week, I will try to update on a few topics. Today is my beloved Phillies, and how I feel after this season.

Phillies: Boy, what can I say about this. Lots of things, but mostly this sums up how I feel: "The Phillies hit .215 with a .309 on-base percentage in their nine postseason games. If that's not a recipe for elimination, then a .186 average with three extra-base hits and no home runs when runners were in scoring position certainly is."

That's nothing new for them all season long. Injuries didn't help the situation, but we signed someone like Polanco because we didn't have a small ball hitter and everyone was always swinging for the fences. These are the top FIVE things i'd do if I were Ruben Amaro, GM of the Phillies.

1. Sign Werth. If you asked me a few months ago about him, I kind of felt that he was too expensive, at the end of his career (he's 32) and not worth 5 years and $100 million. Now, i'm changing my tune. Sure, I dread the idea of signing him and having 3 good years with the possibility of 2 bad years like we had with the splashy six-year $85 million offer to Thome in 2002. Remember, Thome was 32 and at the peak of his career, too. Thome only lasted 3 years before we traded him, along with $22 MILLION DOLLARS to the White Sox. Even after that trade, we still had him on the payroll until 2006.

But here's my counter argument to why we need to sign him. We need three years. If you look at the core of our team, we have a "window" of about 2-3 more years with what we have to stay at the top of the elite teams in MLB. Money can't buy World Series (hello, Yankees fans), but it puts you in a greater position to get there. I think having Werth is priority #1.

Oh, and for the "WE CAN'T AFFORD WERTH" shrillish response I have heard all season long (and sometimes I have said this myself...) - What I would tell the Phillies is that 2011 would be a tight year on payroll. No doubt. But the expectation would be that you lose Ibanez in 2012, and save on the payroll then. It gives us enough time to properly groom Domonic Brown to be his replacement. The "real cost" is eating $11.5 million in 2011 on Ibanez. How many Citizens Bank Park sellouts does it take to make that money back? If the Phillies sign Werth, I guarantee you that next season the Phillies fans respond like they have in the last three years - by going to a lot of games and buying a lot of merchandise.

2. Sign a good utility man/pinch hitter. This is easier said than done, but one of our biggest issues this season was getting a key hit. We needed Dobbs from 2008. A guy who, when the key single was needed, could deliver. I think Gload & Francisco were robbed in the NLCS. They had two good chances to deliver a key hit. Gload's line drive to the 1st baseman that resulted in a double play was one of those situations were "destiny" just seemed to be in favor of the SF Giants. Francisco had a nice hit that would have been a home run in Citizens Bank Park, but was 5 feet short from a home run in San Fran. Someone mentioned Juan Uribe. You know. The guy who hit the winning home run in Game 6 of the NLCS or the Game 4 sac fly in the NLCS. That's a clutch hitter, folks. How many times did we strand a guy on 3rd with 1 out all season long and couldn't get the sacrifice fly?

3. Bunt. Bunt. Bunt. How many times in the regular season or post season did you watch the Phillies ruin a good start because a pitcher couldn't bunt. How many times did you watch other teams bunt on us up the 3rd baseline & get on 1st with a speedy player. How many times did you see runners at 1st and 2nd and the other team bunts to get them to 2nd and 3rd?

Oh, I know. That's not PHILLIES baseball. We are built for power. Well, seems that isn't working anymore, and the reason why it isn't working is because teams have figured the Phillies hitters out. They give Howard a steady diet of off speed pitches and play a shift on him. They know that 85% of the time that Chase Utley doesn't swing at the first pitch, even if it is a meatball down the middle. They know that Werth loves the slider, and will chase it when he gets lazy (down on one knee and swinging that goofy strech-swing, anyone?). They know that Rollins has been popping up all season long.

If I was Charlie next time they put the shift on Howard, i'd have him bunt. Lay a bunt to third. Oh, I know "Howard is a power hitter, we can't do THAT."

What. The. Fuck. Guys whatever conceptions we have for our team is out the window. Whatever worked in 2008 isn't working now. What works is keeping the other team guessing and i'm not saying that Howard needs to bunt every time he approaches the plate, but he should keep the other team honest. Imagine if he bunts, gets to 1st and now you have Werth standing there with no outs? Gonna throw Werth those sliders now and risk one bouncing off the plate and advancing Howard? Maybe instead of Werth seeing three junk pitches, when no one is on base, it forces the pitcher to throw a fastball.

Bottom line is that we aren't a small-ball team because we stopped THINKING like a small ball team. Next spring training I would have the entire team in for bunting practice. I would have situations designed around bunts, especially with Victorino and Rollins. I would have all the pitchers in there, practicing bunting. Don't like it? Too damn bad. That's what you get paid to do. Get on base. Advance the runners. Score runs. Swinging for the fences doesn't cut it anymore in a league where the pitchers dominate. A good manager adapts with the time, and that's what the Phillies need to start thinking about.

4. Early Game Relief Bullpen. After Chan-Ho left us in 2009 we never really had that "go to" guy when things got sour in the 5th inning. We cobbled together our best situation with Contreras or Dobbs and crossed our fingers, but we really only had Madson for the 8th, Lidge in the 9th and a whole big mess if our starters couldn't pitch 6 solid innings. Look at, again, San Fran as an example of a team that had a great bullpen. Normally, if I saw the starting pitcher leave in the 2nd or 3rd inning, i'd watch the Phillies destroy the other team. When I saw Sanchez leaving Game 6, I was thinking the Phillies would open up the game, and sail to a nice lead without a problem. Even after they shut us down I kept thinking "Well, we will get to them one of these times..."

It never happened.

Why? Because San Francisco had the best bullpen ERA in the entire league. I don't think the Phillies are THAT far off, especially with Madson and Lidge as our 8th and 9th inning guys. Not sure who fits the bill here, but that's the job of the scouts to look at our minor league system or free agents and tinker a bit.

5. Learn from the mistakes of other Philly teams. If you look at the other teams in Philadelphia that have nearly been great, but fell short, you can see where the Phillies are headed if they are not careful: "The Land Of Mediocrity".

I don't claim to be an expert, but looking over the 2010 salary you can see some major issues on our team, see my payroll spreadsheet here: philliespayroll.xlsx

a. Jamie Moyer at $8 million for 2010. Did he do anything this season for $8 million besides ride pine? He's gone this year and that's $8 million the Phillies have to play with when signing Werth.
b. Joe Blanton at $7 million for 2010. Yep, he has TWO MORE YEARS as our #4 pitcher when he signed that $24 million extension in January 2010. I'm not against this, but considering that Joe is our #4 pitcher and he's making $1 million more than Cole Hamels AND Cole is signed only through 2011 is a big issue, too.
c. Even without the various bench players, bullpen pitchers & Werth our payroll is already at $146M. I made this spreadsheet using this website: Cot's Baseball Contracts.
d. Lots of contracts up in 2011. Ibanez, Rollins, Hamels, Madson, Lidge (1.5M buy out). As much as we are focused on "SIGN WERTH", that's something Amaro has to be weighing now. Who's going to replace THEM. Where's our payroll at if we restructure/extend contracts now?

Lots of things to consider. But I would love to play GM for a day. So far, you have to hand it to the Phillies, fans give them a hard time, but there's a lot of contracts on the payroll that were really good calls. Look a Polanco vs Ibanez. Or the fact that Ruiz we have for 2.75M next year. Or that Valdez cost the Phillies $400,000 in 2010 and was basically a steal. Valdez deserved triple that for basically saving our season.

But...you are only as good as your last year. Next year has all new drama with all new issues to sort out. What was a great player in 2010 is the goat in 2011.

My friends and I often email back and forth, playing armchair coach if you will about the Phillies. I think, on paper, it is one of the best teams in the history of the franchise. My current expectations is that they will win 90 games and either just make or just miss the wild card.

With that being said, this is what I would do to tinker with the team a bit and see about getting the offense going again.

1. Tell Ryan Howard to stop swinging. Yep. Stop swinging - on the first pitch. I would flat out say to him, even if he thinks it is a perfect fastball and bases are loaded with none out - just stare at it. How many games all season have you seen Howard with the 0-2 count? The guy gets into a hole early and then pitchers have their way with him and he strikes out. He needs to start getting to 2-0 counts and seeing that juicy fastball come over the plate.

2. Lineups should be based on batting, not ego. I fully respect and understand that we want Jimmy Rollins to lead off. But it hasn't worked in 2 years. Who is our best hitter? Polanco. Time to make Polanco lead off and get on base. I know, I know, he isn't a base stealer. But imagine if Polanco, who has 23 doubles this season (which is 9 more than Rollins), leads off and is in scoring position. This would be my lineup:
1. Polanco - R
2. Werth - R
3. Utley - L
4. Howard - L
5. Victorino - S
6. Ibanez (or Brown) - L
7. Rollins - S
8. Ruiz - R

Think Rollins would flip the fuck out? Yep, but it may also motivate him and take the pressure off him.

3. Get more aggressive. This season it seems that stealing & going for extra bases is good, but I would be even more aggressive. I remember a few games where Sam Perlozzo (3rd base coach) was holding up runners too many times and it cost us the game. I think Davy Lopes (1st base coach) is excellent, but I think that we have to be even more aggressive with going for second base in a steal. Also lets try to get more aggressive with Rollins (or even Victorino) & bunting. Other teams do this, why not our fastest player to bunt about 1 time a game and run to 1st?

4. Stop pitching Halladay, Hamels or Oswalt more than 105 pitches. Pitching hasn't been a big issue, but I can't stand watching games where we have a good lead and our pitchers are treated like workhorses. It is late in the season, and we have to keep those arms fresh. There are certain situations where I can understand keeping a pitcher in - like if we only have 1-2 run difference and/or our bullpen is gassed from the previous game, etc. I just think keeping Halladay in when we have a 5 run lead after the 7th inning is ridiculous.

5. Every pitcher gets bunting practice. There is nothing that drives me more insane than watching pitchers who can't bunt in the National League. That would be 1 hour a day for all my starting pitchers. Bunt. Bunt. Bunt. Learn how to pay it down along the 1st and 3rd base paths. Too many times we have a runner on 1st and can't advance them to scoring position because our pitchers can't figure out how to bunt.

What do you think? Leave a comment below and give your own ideas on how to fix the Phillies.

I haven't done a Top Five in a while, so here you go...

You have had every pundit chime in the last week or two talking about the good, bad and ugly about the Roy Halladay trade to Philadelphia. Here's my .02 cents.

1. Love Cliff Lee. Solid guy, and if he wanted to play for the Phillies, i'd love to see that too!! But lets get realistic, you have Halladay who also wants to play in Philadelphia, is equal, if not slightly better than Cliff Lee...and isn't looking for a revenue busting contract.

2. I'm a fan of Kyle Drabek. I hate to see him leave, also. I think that kid COULD be a great pitcher...someday. Here's the key, Phillies fans: SOMEDAY. We don't know what we have with Drabek. He could be a Cy Young winner or some overhyped kid. We don't know if he will be good next season or in three seasons.

3. This is what we DO know with this trade - we have the Michael Jordan, the Wayne Gretsky, the Barry Sanders of this game. Will Roy alone carry us to a World Series? No. But he's a game changer. Lee was that same game changer, no doubt - but Lee didn't want to stick with us for the next 3 to 4 years. He COULD have returned after next year, but do YOU want the Phillies to get into a bidding war with the Red Sox & Yankees over Cliff Lee? I don't.

4. The Phillies basically have a limited window with their contracts right now. Mostly everyone is signed through 2011 (except Werth who becomes a free agent after next year, unless he signs an extension). Like I said about Drabek before...there's a "win now" mentality before the Phillies will have to go into a rebuild phase.

5. Phillies attendance and revenues have been skyrocketing in recent years, and note this from Sports Illustrated: "The Phillies represent the biggest growth brand in the baseball industry, similar to how the Red Sox began to rise in 2003 under new ownership. Their farm system is so flush that they could trade for both Lee (who cost them four prospects) and Halladay inside of six months and still have hay in the barn. Their attendance has risen 38 percent since 2006, climbing from 2.6 million -- ninth in the league -- to 3.6 million. Their payroll in those three years jumped 49 percent, from $88 million to $131 million and is likely to approach $140 million in 2010. Local television ratings for the Phillies on CSN Philadelphia, their regional sports network, soared 24 percent last year alone -- the team's seventh consecutive season with increased viewership. The Phillies' 7.13 rating and 210,000 average homes are team records. Only the Yankees and Red Sox reach more households with their local networks -- making the Phillies the most watched team in the NL."

Translation: Philadelphia LOVES baseball. You build a winning team, and the the fans respond. I have been going to Mets vs Phillies games since I moved up here, supporting the team when they were dreadful. Wearing my Phillies cap with pride for many a summer. If you are a fan like me, this is your time to enjoy watching probably the best Phillies team in the history of the franchise.

If we didn't face the Yankees this year, we may have had another World Series trophy. Who knows? But to be the best, you have to beat the best. Yankees were the best team in 2009, and getting Roy Halladay is part of the way that the Phillies are putting our team in a position to win another World Series in the next three years.

2009 Phillies Post Season Thoughts

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First off, hats off to the Yankees and their fans. It was a fun series and the better team won.

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With that said, this is what I think of the Phillies:

Good team, with a good core which just needs a few minor tweaks to contend for the next three years.

1. I would sign Cliff Lee to a contract extension. He is playing for the Phillies through 2010, but I would look to extend that to 2012.

2. I would look to sign Brett Meyers, who will be a free agent, but his injury will probably cost him a bit.

3. Tell Cole Hamels that he has 2 months vacation, but report to Clearwater early to learn how to throw a curveball. He needs a 3rd pitch. That may even mean a demotion to minor leagues for until he gets his pitch.

4. While Hamels is getting work, and you have Lee and Meyers as your #1 and #2 and Happ as #3, bring up Kyle Drabek (the guy we didn't give away for Roy Halladay).

5. Have faith in Lidge. 2009 was a tough season. He will bounce back.

6. Find a (reliable) left handed pitcher for the bullpen.

7. Sign Victorino to a multi-year deal.

8. Sign Blanton or part ways with him. My pitchers would be for 2010: Lee, Hamels (after he learns the curve ball, even if it means missing some of the regular season), Meyers, Happ, Drabek. That's your 1,2,3,4,5 pitchers, along with whatever minor league players we want to experiment with.

9. Find a better bat than Dobbs, Bruntlett, Francisco or Stairs - maybe time to promote Dominic Brown, another player we didn't want to give up for Roy Halladay. "Brown was hitting .303 (72-238) in 66 games at Clearwater with 41 R, 12 2B, 3 3B, 11 HR, 44 RBI and 15 BB. The 6'5", 200 lb. left-handed hitter owned a .386 OBP, .517 SLG and .903 OPS."

10. Don't panic. We have a good core and just need to make a few tweaks to be contenders again.

Andrew Tavani wrote up one of the best articles I have read about the Philadelphia Phillies Club of Hoboken. Here are the PDF files, and the picture above was from the front page of the paper.

HP_110609_1HP_A001[1].pdf
HP_110609_1HP_A006[1].pdf
HP_110609_1HP_A007[1].pdf

Also in case you missed it, our club had two other write ups.

The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote about us here. The Philadelphia Daily News wrote about us here.

Just remember that next season we will meet once a week, every Friday night, at Mulligan's to watch the regular season Phillies games. I hope to see you then!

2009 World Series Game 1 Photos

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Brought the camera into Mulligan's to take a few shots of all the fans. Great crowd at the bar, with many Phillies fans and even a few Yankee fans. Happy we stole the first game, but still got to win three more versus a tough Yankee team. Lets go Phils!!

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

Running the Eagles and the Phillies club in town, often I get asked about getting a group together and going to local games. One of the groups I met up with over my years was Keith (Mongo) Czaban and Phillytailgate.com.

He has done Eagles events and Phillies events in multiple cities, and this was my first chance to meet up with his group for a local event.

It was very fun, they grabbed a parking lot in Flushing, with lots of beer, food, a DJ and even a string band to lead us from the parking lot to the game (tailgating AT Citi Field is banned). Met lots of people, drank a good deal of beer, and had an overall good day. Lots of fun to sit in our section (sections 138 and 139, which weren't bad seats in my opinion!) and chant/cheer/jeer the game. We got a few Mets fans to taunt us back and it was mostly good-natured stuff.

Getting home wasn't too bad, I took the LIRR from Citi Field to Penn Station, then the PATH from 34th to Hoboken. What's up with Path service on Saturday night and why does it always suck??

Anyhow, I included some pictures from the game and tailgate.

Vote Early, And Often!

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Click this to vote for Shane Victorino, who won tonight's game with a 2 out single to score the winning run in the bottom of the 9th! The Flyin' Hawaiian to the All Star Game!

Getting The Word Out

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In case you didn't know already...

We have two Google Groups: The Philadelphia Eagles Club of Hoboken (http://groups.google.com/group/philadelphia-eagles-club-of-hoboken) and The Philadelphia Phillies Club of Hoboken (http://groups.google.com/group/PPCH).

We also have the same groups on Facebook (Phillies: http://www.new.facebook.com/group.php?gid=64980222086) or (Eagles: http://www.new.facebook.com/group.php?gid=46532706779).

The Phillies Club meets every FRIDAY night at Mulligan's Bar (159 1st Street) during this season. We have $2 Yuenglings and $2 Bud Light pints, along with $10 buckets of Bud light bottles, for all Phillies fans EVERY Friday. Nice way to start off the weekend for those that don't have houses down the shore.

The Eagles Club meets for each game day. Last season, for the Cardinals game we had 175 Eagles fans in the bar, for example. It's loud and fun, kind of like being at the game. We have $2 Yuenglings and $2 Bud Light bottles, along with $10 Buckets of Bud Light.

If you know anyone living in or around Hoboken, feel free to send them this information!

Things I Think About...

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This is one of those cheap posts where I kind of ramble a bit. Some people like it and some get annoyed. I hope you are the former.

I kind of want to get a dog. I wrote about this before. The main thing stopping me is the whole "walk" part of owning a dog, and specifically - MORNING WALKS. I'm just terrible at waking up, I just love sleeping and it's mentally painful for me to get up early to do anything. So tell me, if you own a dog and aren't a morning person, did you get used to this? Remember I don't have a back yard - I have to walk the doggie.

I kind of want to buy a car. Been kicking it around forever. I think since 1996 been saying how I was going to buy a BMW, but kept putting it off - saving my money to buy a home. OK, so I have the home...time for the new ride? Lots of factors are in this decision which in no particular order:
a. I drive, perhaps, 3,000 miles a year. I don't *need* a car. But having family in Philadelphia and Washington DC - makes renting a car very annoying for holidays & special events.
b. I have lived without a car in Hoboken for my first 4 years. I was miserable. Yes, you purists who don't have a car - GOOD FOR YOU! But when the zombie / robot uprising finally happens at 3am in 2010 I will be driving my car into the hills of PA to begin my resistance movement (a la "Red Dawn") while YOU will be next on their menu!
c. My current car, the 1993 Volvo, has been a (mostly) reliable friend since 1999. 10 years, 28,000 miles and only a few minor mechanical hiccups. It's reliable but isn't FUN like my Jeep. Car owners who SMILE when they drive their car know what i'm talking about. My Jeep was a joy to drive, part of me thinks about getting another one, but then I start to think: is this a midlife crisis kind of car? I looked at buying a Jeep again, but they are ridiculously expensive (and I like the old square headlights better!). For the money to buy a new Jeep I can get a used 2007 BMW instead. That's the problem with American automakers, they should be making Jeeps in the $18,000 range, not $28,000 range.
d. As someone who overthinks everything, part of me wants to lease a car. A BMW 328i or Mercedes C300 is only $350-400 a month, and that's in my affordable range. Only problem is that i'll spend $18,000 over 3-4 years and then...nothing. At least buying a car, I will have some return on my investment.
e. My main "issue" is justifying the expense of about $400-500 a month on a car that I use so infrequently. $6,000 a year on the car...another $2,220 on parking, $1500 on insurance...who knows how much gas...$10,000 a year for the luxury of owning a newer car...my current car, albeit older and not as exciting as a newer car still gives me about $6,000 extra a year that I can spend on...other things.

I had the last week off from work. Nothing of merit happened. I'm fine with that. After many years of looking over my vacations and travelling, I am most happy when i'm not doing very much. Beaches are always a favorite of mine. I can lie on a beach all day. Swim a bit. People watch. See, instead of spending $6,000 a year on a new car, that is only part of money I could use to go to Club Med Turkoise, instead.

I got to meet Dawn Zimmer the other day. Her team actually wanted to meet the Philly2Hoboken Philadelphia sports fans (part of the Phillies and Eagles clubs I run). She came with her council to Mulligan's and we had a nice, if small, crowd of fans there to meet her. It was great to meet them, and can only hope that she is successful in a few weeks. If not, then we keep fighting the "good" fight against the "connected" folks in City Hall. It's the Newcomers & the Born and Raised together vs the people in City Hall who make back office deals to protect only a few people.

I have no problem with a budget of $90 million for Hoboken. I will pay more taxes. I am 100% fine with it. Lets compare the structure of our Fire and Police departments with other regions and see how they are able to streamline their workforce to keep salaries, pensions and benefits down. We can't just throw up our hands and say "Oh well. That is how we have been doing it since 1978! Taxpayers pay up!" It seems like the word out of most of what I read from Cammarano says that taxpayers aren't going to get any breaks if he is elected and things are just going to stay "as is". I don't want to see firemen or cops lose their jobs. Not one. I simply want to do an analysis of other cities, compare their structure and salaries and compare it to Hoboken. If the results of that analysis says that Hoboken is in-line with what the rest of the major cities do, then i'm all for paying for good first responders. If the analysis comes back and says "We need more cops or firemen" or "We need to pay them more". I am 100% for that. But if the analysis comes back and says "You are overpaying your cops and firemen" or "The structure of your police force can be changed, if compared to the way that 'City X' does it..." Then why wouldn't we look at logical, rational views to be fiscally responsible, while protecting our citizens? I think our police and firemen do a thankless job. As the grandson of a Philly cop, I have respect for our first responders! Suffice to say I can only hope that change is coming to City Hall. I remember what happened to Philly in the late 1970's, and how they strangled their populace with taxes - and drove them out of the city. The same can happen in Hoboken, if we aren't careful.

Enough serious stuff. Been enjoying my Phillies this season. Crossing my fingers that we get some pitching help. I'm hoping some of the new prospects we have in the farm system show up this year and maybe we can find a diamond in the rough. Antonio Bastardo, Carlos Carrasco and Kyle Drabek are the three pitchers that you need to start brushing up with, if you are a Phillies fan. Gotta love that our team has the offensive firepower to roll over teams even if pitching hasn't been great. Remember - EVERY FRIDAY IS PHILLIES FRIDAY AT MULLIGAN'S. Tell your friends who are Phillies fans. :)

As you may or may not know, I often review restaurants on the blog or back in the day on Hobokeni.com. I read others in town who write restaurant reviews and it always makes me think about my five rules I always try to stick to:
1. Never "review" a restaurant when it first opens. It doesn't make any sense. Kitchens are learning their routines. The owners are on their best behavior and the new staff who are on bad behavior have yet to be disciplined or fired. Wait about three months.
2. Never tell a restaurant you are reviewing them until after you eat.
3. You should never get a free meal, and if you do it should be written in the review.
4. Bring friends. Have everyone order a different dish. Have everyone sample and give you feedback.
5. I personally prefer to eat at a restaurant three times before I write a review.

If you want to write a "first impression" about a new place, that's fine. But it shouldn't be damning or praising. Save that for a formal review of the establishment after multiple times eating there after it has been open for many months.

People often ask about my condo, since this marks my 2nd year owning my own place. My minor regret is that if I only held out 2 more years, I would be in an even better market to buy! I knew this was coming, but I expected mortgage rates to skyrocket when the market crashed, much like they did in the late 80's. So much for history repeating itself. But otherwise i'm super thrilled with my own home, and have two "projects" on the backburner. One is a minor renovation of my bathrooom. The other is a hardwood floor project. I already have a friend lined up to help with the bathroom, but if anyone knows anything on hardwood floors...i'm all ears. Email me if you have any good info.

Otherwise, I have no "summer plans". No Bradley Beach this year. My buddy Chris wasn't going to do it, and he was the main reason why I did it last year. I did make some new friends last year, and toyed with the idea of doing the beach house again, without Chris, but ultimately decided against it. Maybe I will try to get in a few day trips to the beach here and there this summer.

I finally paid off my PSE&G bill after many years of paying $100 a month extra to pay it off. The condensed story is basically PSE&G was estimating our bills for about 10 years at my old apartment. I fought and lost (well, I did get a slight reduction), and owed many THOUSANDS of dollars to the electric/gas company. Jon & Kristen did pay me, but when I asked my old roommates, who moved out, to pay what they owe, they basically said "Screw you, it was your fault - you pay.". I wonder if my old roommates have an ounce of remorse for sticking me with that bill. I doubt it. I hope that Karma just deals with them.

I'm looking forward to the 4th of July fireworks. I want to get a tripod for my camera and get some night time shots. Anyone recommend a good tripod for a digital SLR? I'm looking for lightweight and compact, I hate to lug something around that is unwieldy.

I guess that is mostly it. I hope this summer to get out in Hoboken and review some new places and upload some new pictures. I have the summer with a lot of time on my hands, so why not?

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The word was just sent out that my favorite announcer has passed away. This is the voice of baseball that I grew up with and I loved to hear his "It's Outta Here!" cries when the Phils will hit a home run. Rest In Peace, Harry and thank you for the memories.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Longtime Philadelphia Phillies
broadcaster Harry Kalas, who punctuated innumerable home runs
with his "Outta Here!" call, died Monday after being found in
the broadcast booth before a game against the Washington
Nationals. He was 73.
"We lost our voice today," team president David Montgomery
said, his voice cracking. "He has loved our game and made just a
tremendous contribution to our sport and certainly to our
organization."
Kalas was found by the Phillies director of broadcasting at
about 12:30 p.m. and taken to a local hospital, Montgomery said.
Kalas had surgery earlier this year for an undisclosed
ailment that the team characterized as minor. He looked somewhat
drawn last week as the Phillies opened the season at home.
Kalas joined the Phillies in 1971. Before that, he was an
original member of the Houston Astros' broadcast team from
1965-70. He also did voiceover work for NFL Films and for
commercials.
In 2002, he received the Baseball Hall of Fame's Ford C.
Frick Award for his contributions to the game.
Kalas joined the Phillies radio and TV broadcast team the
year the club moved into their former home, Veterans Stadium,
replacing fan favorite Bill Campbell.
He wasn't immediately embraced by Phillies fans, despite
being paired with Richie Ashburn, a Hall of Famer as a player,
and longtime announcer. But Kalas evolved into a beloved sports
figure in Philadelphia. He and Ashburn grew into a popular team,
and shared the booth until Ashburn's death in 1997.

AP's earlier story is below.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Longtime Philadelphia Phillies
broadcaster Harry Kalas has died at age 73.
Team president David Montgomery announced the death Monday
a short time after Kalas passed out in the broadcast booth
before a game in Washington against the Nationals.
Montogomery's voice was cracking as he said that "we have
lost our voice."
Kalas had been with the Phillies since 1971 and was known
for his distinctive "Outta here!" home run call.

As many of you know, I run the Philadelphia Eagles Club of Hoboken, but I also run the Philadelphia Phillies Club, too.

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This is our 3rd year in Hoboken, and i'm looking forward to our season. To those Phillies fans in Hoboken, if you want to come out and watch the game we gather on FRIDAY nights , here's the schedule at Mulligan's for the season:

Friday, April 17 San Diego at Philadelphia, 7:05 PM

Friday, April 24 Philadelphia at Florida, 7:10 PM

Friday, May 1 NY Mets at Philadelphia, 7:05 PM

Friday, May 8 Atlanta at Philadelphia, 7:05 PM

Friday, May 15 Philadelphia at Washington, 7:05 PM

Friday, May 29 Washington at Philadelphia, 7:05 PM

Friday, June 5 Philadelphia at Los Angeles, 10:10 PM

Friday, June 12 Boston at Philadelphia, 7:05 PM

Friday, June 19 Baltimore at Philadelphia, 7:05 PM

Friday, July 3 NY Mets at Philadelphia, 7:05 PM

Friday, July 10 Pittsburgh at Philadelphia, 7:05 PM

Friday, July 17 Philadelphia at Florida, 7:10 PM

Friday, July 24 St. Louis at Philadelphia, 7:05 PM

Friday, July 31 Philadelphia at San Francisco, 10:15 PM

Friday, August 7 Florida at Philadelphia, 7:05 PM

Friday, August 14 Philadelphia at Atlanta, 7:35 PM

Friday, August 21 Philadelphia at NY Mets, 7:10 PM

Friday, August 28 Atlanta at Philadelphia, 7:05 PM

Friday, September 4 Philadelphia at Houston, 8:05 PM

Friday, September 11 NY Mets at Philadelphia, 7:05 PM

Friday, September 18 Philadelphia at Atlanta, 7:35 PM

Friday, September 25 Philadelphia at Milwaukee, 8:05 PM

Friday, October 2 Florida at Philadelphia, 7:05 PM


It's a loooong season. And just remember that Friday nights are Phillies nights at Mulligan's. We will have the same specials that we have for the Eagles club, $2 Yuengling and $2 Bud Light drafts during the game, along with $10 buckets of Bud Light bottle.

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 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.

Most of my Phillies watching over the years was like how I watch the Sixers - if they are playing well I paid attention. Every year up here, I would still buy Mets vs Phillies tickets each year at Shea, and one year I remember I got to watch the Phils vs Yankees in 1998 which was fun (except the score was 9-2, Yankees). I may have not been a die hard Phillies fan, but I still was a fan when they stunk.

Even though the Phillies were bad, they were "my team". Take my brother, who moved to New York in 1999 and started to root for the Yankees! He claimed the Yankees were his American League team! That was shocking to me. I couldn't imagine myself doing that. I'm Philly, baby. I'd root for the Philadelphia hopscotch team if they had one (ok, not really, but you get the idea).

If you are a die hard Philly sports fan, and live and die by our teams, then you gotta be excited this year for the Fightin's. Here's the top 5 reasons you should be watching my Phillies:

1. Chase Utley has hit 21 home runs. Chase is on pace to hit 58 homers, 26 more than his career high in 2006. The record for second basemen is 42, set by Rogers Hornsby in 1922 and tied by Davey Johnson in 1973.

2. In the last six games the Fightin's have scored 55 runs. Their bats are on fire. Only one team in the entire league has scored more runs to date than the Phillies (320) - the Cubs (331).

3. The Phils have two Most Valuable Players: Ryan Howard (2006) & Jimmy Rollins (2007), with Utley in the mix to be the MVP in 2008. When was the last time three different players from the same team won the MVP in consecutive years? Not since Roger Maris, Mickey Mantle and Elston Howard ran off the MVP hat trick for the Yankees in 1961-63. You could be watching a historic season here, folks.

4. This year we have a deeper, more talented bullpen compared to last year. In 2007, twenty one different players threw at least one pitch out of the bullpen for the Phillies and we finished the regular season ranked 13th in the National League with a 4.41 ERA. This season? Phillies relievers entered last night with a 2.71 ERA, by far the best mark in the National League. Six of the seven arms in the bullpen - Lidge, Gordon, Durbin, Romero, Ryan Madson and Rudy Seanez - have an ERA under 4.00, and four have an ERA under 3.00.

5. The final reason is that we have a the Philadelphia Phillies Club right here in town. What? You didn't know? Here's our "Google Group" link, and it works like this - we meet up once a week at Mulligan's bar for a "game of the week" (usually a Thursday or Friday game - with the random Wednesday night thrown in). That night, we watch the game while enjoying frosty Yuenglings and Bud Light drafts for $2 each. Of course you can always go into Mulligan's, on any night, and ask for any baseball game - they have the MLB package. But our "game of the week" is just a fun way to get other Phillies fans together from Hoboken and socialize while the game is on. It's not like the Eagles Club where we are getting 100+ people a week, it's a smaller more social crowd. If i'm not at the shore, i'll be at the bar. Just pop in, and say hello. If i'm not there, just ask the bartender to turn the game on and tell them you are with the Phillies Club to get the specials.

A great season, with some bonus games.

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We had a large crowd at Mikie Squared Saturday Night, and most were rooting the Phillies. There were a few people vigorously rooting the Rockies, and they weren't from Denver. They simply were enjoying clapping for the other team, smirking to each other when the Phillies fell behind and like a schoolyard bully simply revelled in what they thought was our misery.

Sadly, I can easily say that the haters can't be more mistaken.

The Phillies had a great, exciting season and ran into the Rockies, who simply were a hotter team.

I'm proud of how the Fightin's played this season, they won the NL East for the first time in 14 years, have a great young core team on offense and pitching (Rollins, Utley, Howard, Hamels, Kendrick...) and should be competitive for years to come. They remind me of the 2000 Eagles, who were, for years, a losing franchise. But the Eagles built up their team, bringing key building blocks to offense and defense with draft picks and free agent signings.

I'm very excited about the future of the Phillies, and do believe that for the foreseeable future that they will be in the NL East hunt.

We aren't sad. We aren't crushed. Phillies fans aren't crying over the playoff loss. I know this. We fans are simply happy with the great regular season, and certainly wished we got farther, but no one really expected that Jimmy Rollins' prediction during the offseason would have come true. This was a great season, just with some bonus games.

The Comeback Kids

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100107.jpgGrowing up in Richboro, PA I have lots of memories about Phillies baseball.

I remember watching Michael Jack Schmidt on TV with my gang of childhood friends and then we would play baseball in the Cul-De-Sac on Deborah Road during those hot summers of the late 70's. My earliest memories are of the Phils as winners. A team that wouldn't quit.

As I got older, each summer got sucessively worse. Gone were the days when we would look forward to baseball. It eventually got the the point where summer was the long stretch of boredom between the basketball and football seasons. We had nothing to look forward to watching on TV during those lean years.

Then, suddenly, in 1993, while I was a junior in college, we had something amazing happen - the Phils were back.

I was at Game 5 of the World Series at the Vet that year. The last time that the Phillies played a post season game at the old stadium. The crowd was ELECTRIC. I have been to post season Eagles games. I have been to the Super Bowl. I can easily tell you that there is nothing, NOTHING, like witnessing a World Series game, at home, with the home crowd. The excitement is palpable. I honestly thought we were going to win that year. Joe Carter crushed that hope, and the years passed with team after team dashing our hopes.

2005 rolls around, and we get excited and lose our playoff hopes on the LAST DAY.

2006 comes and it's the second to last day where our team is eliminated.

2007 is here and I was having nightmares the night before Sunday's game. They were of me watching the Phillies and Mets games - the Phillies would lose and the Mets would win, and once again our team loses.

Honestly, i'm thrilled right now (yes, even with the Eagles losing to the Giants on Sunday night).

I tried to explain about how something like this was good for baseball. Think about it. It has been 14 years since Philly fans had the chance to cheer for their team in a post season game. There are whole new converts of Philly baseball fans out there now, kids like my nieces and nephews who are watching the Phillies and thinking that to them, baseball is FUN. Baseball is EXCITING. That the Phillies are WINNERS.

That's huge for baseball. That's great for the sport. You are witnessing a whole new generation of Philly fans that are created by this season alone and bringing back old dogs like me who have been waiting for ages to get excited about baseball again.

Years of watching the same old teams making the post season (paging the Atlanta Braves...) are over. Sure, I feel for the Mets fans. But if you compare the Mets post season appearances to the Phils post season appearances, i'm sure the Mets have had a lot more to cheer about in the last 21 years than the Phillies.

The team with the best regular season record doesn't win World Series, its the team that plays hot during the playoffs. The Phils are playing red hot right now, and if they can keep this streak going, I absolutely believe that they can beat any team in baseball.

But no matter what happens, it was a magical regular season of ups and downs. This was a historical season, and something that Phillies fans will be talking about for the next decade.

Philadelphia Phillies Club of Hoboken

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I started a Philadelphia Phillies Club of Hoboken:

http://groups.google.com/group/PPCH

Feel free to join and invite others. I plan on finding a bar we can all watch the game at, about once a week. I'm thinking about Friday nights or Saturdays, myself. I figure if you are in Hoboken over the summer, it will be nice to get together with fellow fans who stay in town rather than the shore.

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