December 2008

One-man Band

We all lived through one of the most exciting seasons in Phillies history this year.  Thanks to a guy named Video Dan, we can live through it over and over again.

Video Dan is Dan Stephenson, a one-man band, so to speak and our manager of video production. 

Baseball superstars are five-tool players. This character is a six-tool superstar – cameraman, interviewer, producer, director, writer, editor. 

His newest gem, The Perfect Season, is now out.  Seeing it for the first time last night brought a range of emotion, laughter, joy, tears and goosebumps.  I’m not sure goosebumps qualify as an emotion but it fits.

How does he do it?

Writing the script can’t begin until the season has ended.  Some years, there is plenty of time.  Not this year.

“There were so many great games, so many players that contributed, I adjusted the timeline to include more baseball footage.  The beauty of DVDs is that we can include extra footage on another disc, bonus footage,” Video Dan explained.

“Scott Palmer did a lot of interviews in spring training for phillies.com.  In looking over them, there was a common theme from the players…’we made the playoffs but we’re not satisfied.’  It made me believe we were going to be experiencing something special.”

Footage and interviews came from various sources but much of it is Video Dan’s.  He has access that others don’t and that’s what makes his DVDs so special. Generally, 50 percent is game related and 50 percent is projecting the personalities of the players, meaning off-the field stuff.

One hour of the bonus footage features the parade and celebration at Citizens Bank Park.  Video Dan rode on a float with players which provided exclusive footage.  “Seeing all those smiling faces along the parade route was breathtaking.  No matter young or old, black or white, tall or short, fat or skinny… everyone was sharing their joy and love.  I’ve never experienced anything like that,” he said shaking his head.

Video Dan has a two-room studio located on the ballpark’s clubhouse level.  His quarters are adjacent to a larger studio and the Media Room. 

Multiple monitors and various tape and audio systems fill one room.  A small desk and computer are in the smaller room.  Hundreds of yellow video cassettes decorate both rooms.  They are everywhere, except hanging from the ceiling. 

This New Jersey resident basically lived in these rooms for the entire month of November, pushing to get the project done for the holiday shopping season.  Producing a video yearbook normally requires about 500 hours.  This year, it was crammed into something like 350 hours.  Late nights, weekends, early mornings.  When he needed rest, he headed for the Holiday Inn next door for a few hours of sleep.  Baggy eyes?  No wonder.

While he is a one-man band, Video Dan is quick to point out that his video department co-workers, Rick Chestnutt, Dave Akers and Kevin Camiscioli, played production roles.  They also do an excellent job of keeping him in line.

Part of the annual process is to look over previous video yearbooks.  “I started with 2002 and you can see from that video that the seeds were planted for this championship team.
Last year was ‘Goosebumps’ and our story was that we finally got to the postseason.”

The man faced long hours in a short time frame because of the World Series.  “I’ll take that any year because there’s no better ending than being World Champions.”

 

 

 

 

 

Rule 5 News

Baseball’s winter meetings held the annual Rule 5 draft this morning and we were active on the major league and triple-A levels.

For the major league roster we drafted a 24-year-old right-handed starter from the California Angels system, Robert Mosebach, who pitched (9-12) in double-A last season.  He has a 35-30 record for four minor league seasons.

MLB rules stipulate that we will need to keep him on the major league roster all season or offer him back to the Angels for half of the $50,000 drafting price.  Or, the Angels could pass on taking him back and we could assign him to our minor league system.  That happened to Shane Victorino when we selected him in 2004.

In the triple-A draft, we selected two players for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs roster, infielder Kyle Haines and outfielder Javis Diaz.

Haines was selected off the Giants’ Connecticut roster.  The 26-year-old batted .261 in 106 games in the Eastern League last year.  He played second and third base.  Diaz was taken off the Padres’ San Antonio roster.  The 24-year-old hit .253 in 104 games for Lake Elsinore (A) with 28 stolen bases.

Unlike the major league draft, Haines and Diaz do not have to be offered back to their organizations.

We also lost three players in the AAA draft off the Reading roster: C Richard Suomi, RHP Ron Hill and RHP Brett Harker.

A banquet tonight concludes the winter meetings.  Ruben Amaro Jr. and his staff will be heading east again tomorrow.  Several irons remain in the fire as far as free agents and trades.

And, as mentioned yesterday, tomorrow night is the deadline for tendering contracts.  A new pool of players will be free agents after midnight. We’ve picked up Jayson Werth (2006) and Chad Durbin (2007) after they were not offered contracts by the Dodgers and Tigers, respectively.

Stay tuned for more player movement news.  A week from this evening is our annual holiday party.  It seems as if the PR department is always interrupted because of a free agent signing or trade. 

Good for Charlie

He wasn’t the fans’ choice but now he is.  And fresh from a contract extension, Charlie will be around for a while.

When we hired Charlie as our 51st manager (11/4/04), media and fans scratched their respective heads (even those who were bald).  Jim Leyland was the popular choice.

History shows Charlie was the right choice. 

Now, he stands next to Dallas Green as the two men who have produced a World Championship team in Philadelphia. The styles of Dallas and Charlie are different. The end result is the same.

2008 was a typical marathon.  Managing 25 personalities isn’t easy.  Dealing with the friendly media daily isn’t easy.  On top of that, consider what Charlie went through with his coaching staff.  Davey Lopes, Jimy Williams and Ramon Henderson all missed time for various reasons.  He had three “pinch hitters” in Jerry Martin, Roly de Armas and Doug Mansolino.  Charlie’s stability kept the ship on course.

“Charlie, Charlie, Charlie”….chanted the fans after we won the division title and after we won the World Series.  We also heard that throughout the parade seen by millions.

Charlie is a champion, very deserving.

Elsewhere

**6-Pack ticket plans brought a flock of fans to Citizens Bank Park this morning, the first day they went on public sale. 

**Rumor has it that we’ll play Team USA and Canada’s team (World Baseball Classic) in spring training games at Bright House Field.

**Rule 5 draft takes place tomorrow morning on the final day of the winter meetings.  With the 26th potential pick (depending upon how many teams are at the 40-man limit), the pickings may be pretty slim for us.  Over the past two decades, Dave Hollins (1990) and Shane Victorino (2004) were Rule 5 drafts for us.  Last two years, C Ryan Budde, RHPJim Ed Warden, LHP Travis Blackley and RHP Lincoln Holdzkom.

**Once the draft is over, look for some minor league free agent signings for us and other clubs.

**Midnight Friday is the deadline for tendering contracts for major league clubs.  We’ve picked up Jayson Werth and Chad Durbin this way.  Only question–why is the deadline at midnight?  

 

 

Here and There

Writing about what’s happening at the winter meetings in this space isn’t very reasonable or practical or sensible.  Things change so much that it is best that you check mlb.com and other websites.

Rumors are everywhere and are a moving target.  Seems as if there’s a rumor war going on between websites.

Notes and anecdotes……..

**A reminder that the World Series trophy will be on display this Saturday and Sunday.  We continue to work on plans for a trophy tour after the first of the New Year.

**Season ticket sales are up almost 2,000 over last year at this time.  The popular 6-Pack plans will go on sale tomorrow on phillies.com.  A year ago, over 220,000 tickets were sold through these plans.

**Ryan Madson and his wife, Sarah, will be attending tomorrow night’s annual Phillies Charities Holiday Giving Party at Citizens Bank Park.  Every year, Phillies Charities, Inc., donates thousands of dollars to charitable causes.

**Thursday night is the premier showing of our 2008 video yearbook, The Perfect Season.  Looking for a perfect holiday gift?  The Perfect Season is a perfect fit.

**Former Phillie David Bell is going to manage for the first time, joining the Reds organization.  He’ll manage the Carolina Mudcats in the AA Southern League.

**Happy birthday today: Juan Samuel, who claims he is 48. 

 

Record Contract

Keeping news quiet at the winter meetings until announcement time is pretty near impossible. Once more than one person knows, news travels like a wild fire.

30 years ago we dominated the news at the winter meetings that were held in Orlando. It was a Tuesday and the date was December 5, five days after we announced that Pete Rose wouldn’t be coming to the Phillies via free agency (reported $2.1 million over 3 years). 

As Rose was leaving Philly, we had presented him with 2 dozen red roses for his wife, Phillie Phanatic dolls for their children and a Phillies jersey #14 with Rose on the back.  Rose continued on to Atlanta, Kansas City and St. Louis listening to offers.

Bill Giles, then our Executive VP, came up with a plan for a fourth year, believing that ticket sales and TV revenue would provide the dollars.  Rose verbally agreed to the deal.

The night before the big announcement, my phone rang and rang in the room with media inquiries about the rumor that we were about to sign Pete. Cell phones and e-mails didn’t exist back then.  I know, that’s hard to believe in today’s world of instant communication.

Finally, exiting the room was the only way to escape the constant ringing.  I took a back stairway, rather than the elevator.  Didn’t want to make an appearance in the lobby but felt the stairway would lead to a more private location on the ground floor.  Perhaps I could hide in the ladies room.

Upon opening the door, Al Meltzer, then the sports director of WCAU TV in Philly, surprised me, “Fancy meeting you.  Any truth the rumor?”  I don’t recall my response.

The next day Rose was at the winter meetings for a jam-packed press conference.  Pete had agreed to a 4-year, $3.2 million contract (New York Times, 12/6/78), making him the highest-paid player in the game.  Pete, in his own way, described the money: “You could stack the money up and a show dog couldn’t jump over it.”

Rose’s $800,000 contract pushed our 1979 payroll to $4.2 million, then a major league record. How the times have changed.

Winter Meetings Preview

Baseball’s winter meetings begin tomorrow and run through Thursday. GM Ruben Amaro Jr., heads a large Phillies entourage at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.

Pitching–starter and a reliever–are the first two items on his shopping list that also includes a new left fielder and a back-up infielder who can play second and third

Free agency is one way to fill the needs.  Trades are another.  “We’ve had numerous conversations with free agents and clubs,” says Ruben. “We have some meetings with other teams already scheduled.”

Once again, the Phillies will call a suite their office away from home.  Laptop computers filled with scouting reports and stats will be used heavily. Ruben will meet with his group there, sometimes several times a day.  Meetings with other clubs happen in the room or the other club’s suite.

Several members of the Phillies group will be assigned certain major league clubs.  The assignment: make contact with clubs to see if there is a fit for trading.  Generally, the lobby is a Who’s Who of baseball and a great place to network.

Lobby appearances by agents are frequent.  Scott Boras represents something like 15 players and solely controls the free agent market.  Once one or two of his big names sign, the log jam will be broken. Whenever he is spotted in the lobby, the media surrounds him looking for stories.

MLB.com and phillies.com will be filled with stories from Las Vegas.  Should be an interesting week.

The annual Rule 5 draft of minor league players not protected on a major league roster will be held Thursday morning.  The Phillies have a list and are checking it twice.  Chances are slim they will find someone who can help the club next season because they have the 26th selection as of today.  And, they are not in the position to carry a very young prospect as are teams that are building for the future.

Interesting note
Ken Rosenthal, the talented baseball writer for FOXsports.com, wrote the following note on Friday:
“Phillies minor-league shortstop Jason Donald is drawing significant trade interest after posting an .889 OPS at Class AA last season and putting up big numbers in the Arizona Fall League. Donald, 24, is backed up behind Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins and second baseman Chase Utley, but the Phillies might need Donald to open the season at second with Utley coming off surgery on his right hip”

HOF Announcement
The week of news kicks off tomorrow morning with an announcement by the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee. 

Former Phillies who are on the two different ballots include Dick Allen and Jim Kaat (post 1943) and Sherry Magee and Bucky Walters (pre-1943).  Delaware County’s Mickey Vernon is also on the latter ballot.

Ready for Goosebumps?

Goosebumps at this time of the year means it is cold.

Well, there’s another reason for having goosebumps…the Phillies new video yearbook for 2008…The Perfect Season.

The 75-minute DVD is available for pre-sale through phillies.com and by phone: 1-877-GO-PHILS.
Suggested retail price is $19.99. Closer Brad Lidge, who threw the last World Series pitch, is the narrator.

A Phillies production by a character named, Video Dan, The Perfect Season chronicles the year from spring training in Clearwater through the World Series and features exclusive player footage and interviews.

An additional 2 hours of never-before-seen bonus footage of the regular season, World Series, parade and celebration at Citizens Bank Park is part of the package.  Video Dan captures it all.

Starting a week from today (December 12), the DVD will be on sale at the Majestic Clubhouse Store at Citizens Bank Park as well as retail stores across the Delaware Valley, thanks to Arts Alliance America.

Who is this character named Video Dan?  He’s a burly fellow who wears many hats….camerman, interviewer, writer, editor, producer….in other words, he’s the total package. More about him and how a video is produced next week.  Oh, his real name? Dan Stephenson.

The holiday shopping season is here.  The DVD is a perfect gift for friends, family and enemies. 

Goosebumps guaranteed!

Lidge Will Always Remember 2008

Winning a World Series and the birth of his first son.  Chances are Brad Lidge, our brilliant closer, will never forget 2008.

Jack Etkin, a veteran baseball writer with the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, wrote an outstanding feature on Lidge on Tuesday, “Series hero Lidge savors good life in Colorado.”

Enjoy.

 

Charlie Manuel Day

Charlie Manuel is getting a chance to relax a bit in his Florida home but his schedule will pick up this weekend.

He’s part of a large Phillies entourage in Vegas for the winter meetings that start on Monday.  His route from Florida to Vegas is taking him through Buena Vista, VA, his hometown on Saturday. 

Mayor J. Mikel Clements has proclaimed Saturday to be “Charlie Manuel Day.”  Part of the day includes the unveiling a new sign as you enter the tiny Virginia town:” Buena Vista’s Charlie Manuel, Manager of the 2008 World Champion Philadelphia Phillies.”  The town is proud of him and justifiably so.

Major League Baseball revealed the World Series shares for the champions today.  45 full shares will receive over $351,000.  There were also some partial shares and some cash awards to others in the organization.

Before all of this, the players took a collection after Charlie’s mother, June, passed away during the League Championship Series.  The players sent a check for $20,600 to his mom’s church, the Buena Vista First Pentecostal Holiness Church.  The amount was large enough to erase a debit the church had carried for long time.

It just goes to show the respect the players have for their manager.

Respect was also provided a couple of days ago by Tom Verducci, a Sports Illustrated baseball writer.  The Magazine annually announces a Sportsman of the Year Award at this time of the year.  No, Charlie wasn’t the winner.  But Tom wrote a glowing article about Charlie and said, “Manuel is my choice for Sportsman of the Year.  He is a proxy for all those baseball lifers who love what they do.  He also is proof that success does not require a good and honest man to change.”

Charlie Manuel has gone through a lot in his life, but he hasn’t changed.  As a manager, he has a lot of outstanding characteristics.  He’s the same every day, positive and upbeat.  Nothing changes.  That has helped carry his players through the rough ups and downs of the season, a season in which they ended as the king of the world. 

 

Hot Stove League Heats Up

Pro football is heading into the final turn of the regular season but baseball is grabbing a lot of attention.

There’s nothing like baseball’s Hot Stove League, the off-season gig that has people talking about the sport.  No other sport comes close.  Oh, there are rumors in other sports but never to the magnitude of baseball. 

Last night’s deadline for offering arbitration stirred up the news media and bloggers.
Yes, we declined to offer arbitration to Jamie Moyer, Pat Burrell, Tom Gordon and Rudy Seanez.

According to this morning’s story on MLB.com:

**We were one of 12 teams that declined all their arbitration eligible players, joining the Yankees, Rays, Cubs, Cardinals, Braves, Orioles, Marlins, Nationals, A’s, Astros and Giants.

**24 players were offered arbitration.

**102 players were not (pending 7 more potentials with the Reds).

The trend?  Perhaps the economic climate is a factor.  Buster Olney, ESPN.com’s baseball columnist, certainly feels that way.

So, if Moyer and Burrell sign elsewhere, we get no compensation next June. But, that doesn’t mean we still don’t want to retain them.  We can still negotiate.

According to various rumor mills, the Phillies have shown interest in Juan Rivera, Rocco Baldelli, Nick Punto, Russ Springer, Felipe Lopez, Mark Loretta, Doug Brocail and Damion Easley.

They are now in a new class of free agents, the type who are free of compensation.  More fuel for the Hot Stove League.

 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 89 other followers