WELL HELLO THERE!
Just logged into the Blogosphere for the first time since the great Harry Kallas passed away early last season. It’s been a hectic 8 months since my last post and I’m sorry I haven’t been around to take part in all of the interesting stories that have been going on in the world of baseball in 2009.
I got engaged down in good ol’ Disney World last May. I’m very excited about the wedding which will be this coming July 10th. I wish I could invite everyone. I also just finished up my last semester at Penn State and will be graduating on Saturday. So needless to say, I’ve had a lot going on and unfortunately my blogging had to take a back seat.
But it’s time to end the silence. I’ve got so much to say and wouldn’t rather say it anywhere else. I had some bad experiences during this past world series on facebook, and before I get into the sadness in my heart over the loss of Cliff Lee, I’d like to speak my mind very briefly.
Personally, I thought this had all the makings for one of the greatest and most competitive world series of all time. You couldn’t have put 2 more evenly-matched, equally competitive franchises if it had been written by Bill Shakespeare himself. Unfortunately, the greatness that was the 2009 world series was tarnished by the thousands of New York and Philadelphia fans on facebook, running their mouths in the most vindictive, sadistic and downright awful ways. As if it had any effect on the game itself.
This is sports, people. It’s a game. I loved the Phillies from the day I put on my first red cap, and as much as I may disagree with the Yankees’ front office philosophies, or disagree with their impact on baseball, I’m never going to root for them to fail. I just don’t believe in that anymore. There may have been a time in my young life when I did, but I’ve grown. And so should the rest of the world.
We all love different teams, but we should all love the game more. So let me take this opportunity to congratulate the New York Yankees on their World Series victory in 2009. It was well deserved and I hope to see a rematch in 2010.
Now, on to the 2009-2010 off-season.
I’ve been glued to ESPN and ESPN.com the last two weeks waiting to see what would happen with Roy Halladay much like I did mid-season when the possibility first rose. This is something Yankees fans might not be able to identify with since this is common occurrence in NY; but in Philadelphia, the possibility of acquiring someone like Roy Halladay is like Neil Armstrong landing on the moon. It just doesn’t happen that often. If at all.
It didn’t happen in July, but we ended up with Cliff Lee and he was nothing short of amazing in red pin-stripes. From the first time he put on that #34 jersey against San Francisco, Philadelphia was in love. The rest speaks for itself.
Now the rumors came up again regarding Halladay and again, this isn’t something I’m used to. Late Monday afternoon I saw the ESPN ticker go across the screen that the Phillies had agreed to a trade, time stood still… Then, the ticker completed, and I found out that Cliff Lee was then traded to Seattle. My heart sank.
We went from having arguably the best 1-2 rotation in baseball, to the Roy Halladay we’ve coveted since last June. Since late October, there has not been a bigger celebrity in Philadelphia than Cliff Lee. He’s everything the city wants in the pro athlete. He doesn’t talk smack, he doesn’t make empty guarantees, he just plays. If you’re not sure, go search YouTube for a clip of Lee catching a Johnny Damon pop-up in game 1 of the world series and watch him calmly step back onto the rubber and prepare for the next pitch.
I’m not going to lie… man-crush.
Now he’s a Mariner. He literally could not be any further away from us.
It’s awesome to have Roy Halladay who is widely considered to be the best pitcher in baseball by everyone who has an opinion. His stats in the last 2 seasons are marginally better than Cliff Lee and he’s been doing it in the AL East against the Yankees and Red Sox. He has the makings to be everything Cliff Lee was and more, but still, Philadelphia is left wanting.
I don’t like the position he’s in now. Philadelphia does not quickly forget. Lee was only a Philly for 3 months but it felt like he belonged. He was one of us. I have the eerie feeling that every pitch Halladay makes will be compared to Lee’s. That’s Philadelphia.
I’m not Reuben Amaro, and I suppose it’s a good thing because I’m much more impulsive. I would have looked at the opportunity to have Lee and Halladay in the same uniform and not given a crap how bare the cupboard was. I would have done everything possible to sign Lee to an extension and keep Cliff and Doc in Philly for the next 4-5 years. Lee-Halladay-Hamels. That spells unstoppable.
Reuben said that his job was to put a championship caliber team on the field every year beyond 2010. I agree. But Reuben, your tenure as GM of the Phillies will not be measured in how many years your “could have” won the world series, it will be measured in how many years you did. 2008 belongs to Pat Gillick. You had the opportunity to, in essence, lock in a trip to the 2010 series, and have a great shot at winning it, and you balked. All because you wanted a couple of guys who might be good players 4 or 5 years from now.
In my book, that’s a bad trade. I see your reasoning and I don’t disagree with your job description. I’m glad you want to win year in and year out. But in Philadelphia, we don’t just want to be competitive, we want parades down Broad Street.
The Yankees gave Joe Girardi number 27 because they wanted a 27th championship and they got it. Roy Halladay will wear 34, which happens to be the number of the guy he’s inevitable replacing. They should have given him #3.
Well, it looks like it’s shaping up to be another day at the ballpark in Major League Baseball this off-season. For some reason, football is boring to me this year, so all I have is the hope of winter transactions to keep me going until Christmas.
Here’s what I’ve gathered so far:
1. Surprise, surprise, the Yankees are after another big-time free agent.
What’s that? They’re not just trying to sign CC Sabathia? You mean they might make offers to A.J. Burnett and Derek Lowe too? And they’re looking to trade for Jake Peavy?
Ok. This is getting ridiculous. I know how much Jane loves her Yankees and who can blame her? But do you all understand that Hank and Cash are destroying the game? They’re going to keep driving up the price on players until the collective salary of their AAA team is higher than the Royals’.
Would it make Hank feel better if the Yankees were the ONLY team in the league and they win the world series every year by default. Sometimes I think that’s what they’re going for. The will to win is respectable and the Yankees certainly have that, but this is getting out of control. I wonder is Abner Doubleday (right) is rolling over in his grave yet.
2. Bud Selig has determined that he is going to be “cautious” about extending instant replay in the future. As of right now, replay can only be used on homruns to determine whether the ball was over the fence or not, fair or foul and if there was fan interference.
I’m a baseball purist just like you, Bud, and I’m glad replay was accepted, it was just time. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. Baseball officials have determined that there were plays in the world series that warrant further use of replay; Rocco Baldelli falsely being awarded first base even though he was not hit by a pitch, and Jimmy Rollins being called safe although he was clearly tagged on the derier.
Since it’s inception in late August, instant replay has been used 16 times. So instant replay, which was supposed to be a huge time waster, added a grand total of about 45 minutes to the 2008 season. Big deal. Get the calls right.
3. It’s almost Thanksgiving and for some reason, football (even the Steelers), is boring me to tears. ‘m holding on to the possibility of some early winter transactions to keep be going and so far… Not much.
Aside from some awards, a few big offers, the Matt Holliday trade and a whole lot of rumors, absolutely nothing has happened, yet. So here’s my plan to get the ball rolling:
Manny, you’re gonna pick a team, I don’t care who. (preferably Philadelphia) But no matter who, I’m not gonna be mad. Just pick one. The rest of baseball is waiting to see what happens with you before they make their moves, so keep it moving.
The Yankees have until Friday to pick ONE free agent, and one free agent only. Whoever that may be gets ALL THE MONEY! But enough of this offering contracts to everyone available just to keep other teams away. Quit hogging all the potato chips!
Clearly I’m bored. Clearly I’m frustrated so please, someone, give me something to write about before I have a hissy fit over here!
In other news: The Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the San Diego Padres 11-10 yesterday in a wild finish… Oh wait, correction, that was the Pittsburgh STEELERS who defeated the San Diego CHARGERS 11-10… My bad.
Maybe I’m still riding a high from the Phillies world series victory, or maybe I’m just crazy.
But here it is mid-November, a time when baseball is on sleep-mode, and I am still glued to MLB.com (cheap plug), ESPN.com and any other web-site that could potentially provide info on recent free-agent news.
I’m excited because this is such an exciting time of year for so many teams, a time when everyone can put last years failures behind them and look forward to 2009 with all the hope in the world. It is a time of year where the makeup of a team can change over night and one player added or subtracted can turn a pretender into a contender.
Here are a couple of off-season stories that I find particularly interesting:
Holliday to the A’s, who’d-a-thunk it?
I really wasn’t aware the A’s were a player in the Holliday sweepstakes, but then again, none of the Oakland A’s transaction make sense to me. What blows my mind every season is how the A’s can trade away another solid player (Jermaine Dye, Miguel Tejada, Barry Zito, Tim Hudson, Rich Harden, Dan Haren) and somehow replace him with someone you’ve never heard of who’s just as good. There’s something in the water in the Oakland farm system because it appears anyone you plug into the A’s lineup comes out solid.
The problem is while the team always come out solid, it’ amounted to a big goose-egg in the playoff series win column. This year, however, they’re the ones adding the all-star and former MVP candidate. Maybe this can give them the spark they need to put them over the hill. Who knows?
Is Peavy going to the Braves or not?
Atlanta is another one of those teams in the NL that looks good on paper but just doesn’t seem to be able to pull it together at the same time. They’re another one of those teams with a solid farm system to plug in a new guy when an old guy leaves, most recently, Jeff Franceour. But most of that farm system, if not a whole Single-A franchise, went to Texas for Mark Texieira last season, so that’s another big question mark.
Chipper Jones could have hit a bottle cap with a pencil in April-early June, and they’re hoping he can do that for a whole season again in ’09. Hampton’s contract is up so he’s looking for somewhere else to go collect $100 million for doing absolutely nothing.
Simply put, they need pitching to compete in their division against the defending champion Philadelphia Phillies (I’ll take any excuse to throw that in there) and the New York Mets who are becoming the Junior Yankees by spending ridiculous amounts of money each season resulting in absolutely no change. Peavy might be a good fit, but they have more problems, like finding a new Single-A team.
Who are the Yankees gonna buy for Joe Girardi for Christmas this year?
“The Boss Jr.” seems to be sticking by George’s old philosophies that haven’t worked since the 90’s and this offseason shows no indication of that changing. In my mind, I see Hank going after Merk Texieira and C.C. Sabathia who might be the two best free agents not named Manny Ramirez. Both players fit their needs (a power-hitting first baseman and a solid starter) and Texieira gives them the powerful switch hitter they haven’t seen since Bernie Williams. But he’s not the second coming of Mickey Mantle and won’t hide the fact that the team is not as much of a team as they are a collection of All-Stars wearing the same uniform. There’s a reason they haven’t won it all since 2000. It’s time for a change in philosophy from the top-down.
Manny will be Manny no matter where he is.
LA wants him, there’s no doubt about it, but like I’ve said before, the Dodgers need more than him to get any further than they did last year. Manny’s probably the best hitter in baseball, but if I were the Dodgers, I think I’d rather spend $100 million on 3 or 4 solid players than one superstar. Maybe they can get him to sign for less, maybe not, but Manny wants years.
Yes, I’d love to see him in a Phillies uniform, there’s no doubt about it. Anyone have a problem with that?
Manny’s won rings, so he’s not looking to get any monkeys off his back. He wants a home. He wants to settle in somehwere to end his career on a high-note instead of becoming a slugger-for-hire. Whoever can offer him five years or moe will get him regardless of the dollar figure, I think.
Any disagreements? I would love to start a discussion. Please comment.