May 2010

Where were you?

When historic moments happen, people remember exactly where they were.  I was walking in the office door at Connie Mack Stadium when President John Kennedy was assassinated. Will never forget that moment.

Tonight, the clock registered 9:30 p.m. when Doc completed the 20th perfect game in Major League Baseball history in Miami.  In my tenure, that’s six no-hitters for the guys who wear red hats.

I was visiting my wife in a rehab facility.  She had knee surgery 8 days ago.  The facility in Wilmington doesn’t carry Comcast SportsNet, so there was no way to watch the game.  After kissing her good-night around 9 p.m., I hopped in the car and turned on the radio.  It was the bottom of the 7th.  So, I heard the 8th inning on the way home and got to see the 9th inning on the TV in the family room.  I celebrated by going for an ice cream cone.

Where were you?

June 21, 1964. Jim Bunning pitched a perfect game against the Mets in New York, 6-0.  I wasn’t on the trip, instead performing my once a month weekend duty with the Delaware Air National Guard.  Didn’t know anything about what was happening in NY until I got home. (Yes, folks, cell phones didn’t exist in 1964).  Got home and the Ed Sullivan Show called wanting to get Jim on the show that Sunday night.

I remember where I was.  Where were you?

June 23, 1971.  Wasn’t on the trip that had the Phillies in Cincinnati on this date.  Was visiting friends for dinner in Middletown, DE.  They weren’t Phillies fans so I didn’t think I should ask to watch the game or listen to the radio. A time to be polite.  I glanced down at my watch and figured it was time to leave.  Perhaps I could catch the tail end of the game on the radio on the way home.  When I turned on the radio, By Saam, our broadcaster, said, “And, that’s it from Cincinnati.  Rick Wise hits two home runs and pitches a no-hitter.”  Final: 4-0.

Where were you?

August 15, 1990.  Veterans Stadium.  Terry Mulholland no-hits the Giants, 6-0. When you are a PR person, you can’t wait in the Press Box for a no-hitter to end.  I went down to the tunnel behind home plate in the bottom of the 8th and saw the end of Terry’s gem from there.  As soon as the game ended, I was on the field, trying to direct Terry to our radio and TV while also trying to set up a media conference with catcher Darren Daulton and others while Terry was doing TV and radio.

Where were you?

May 23, 1991.  Tommy Green no-hits the Expos in Montreal, 2-0.  Again, I wasn’t on the trip but saw the game on TV. 

Where were you?

April 27, 2003.  Kevin Millwood no-hits the Giants, 1-0, at the Vet.  Again, I was down by the field for the ending and the post-game media circus.

Where were you?

 

 

 

 

Holiday Break

Be back with you on Tuesday, June 1. 

 

Enjoy the holiday weekend!

Pause for a Cause

In three weeks, we have a chance for revenge against the Red Sox, who took two of three this weekend at Citizens Bank Park.  Interleague play resumes for the Phillies on June 11, a weekend at Fenway Park.

Phillies offense produced 27 runs on the six-game homestand, but 12 of those runs came in the first game. 

Red Sox starters held them scoreless through eight innings on both Saturday and Sunday.  According to Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first time in 21 years that consecutive starting pitchers worked at least eight innings against the Phillies and did not allow a run. The last pitchers to do so were David Cone and Bob Ojeda of the Mets on August 8-9, 1989. 

Phillies pause today for a good cause…Striking Out ALS.  Annual Phillies Festival is this evening at Citizens Bank Park.  Event is sold out.

Team then boards a couple of buses and heads for New York for a nine-game road trip against the NL East, three each at the Mets, Marlins and Braves.  Playing games in your own division is the time to make hay or stumble.

Phillies Minor League Leaders
Hitting
AVG  Matt Rizzotti (C/R), .370
R  Adam Buschini (L); Jiwan James (L), 29
H  Cody Overbeck (C), 53
2B  Overbeck, 15
3B  Anthony Gose (C), 9
HR  Overbeck, 10; Cody Ransom (LV), 10
RBI  Overbeck, 33
SB  Gose, 19

Pitching
G  Joshua Zeid (L); Michael Zagurski (LV), 18
W  Austin Hyatt (C), 6
SV  Justin DeFratus (C), 8
IP  Jesus Sanchez (C), 57.2
SO  Hyatt, 65
ERA  Nick Hernandez (L), 1.61
Key: LV (Lehigh Valley); R (Reading); C (Clearwater), L (Lakewood)

Oh, Yes
“Let’s Go Flyers!” 

 

Boston In Town

Jose had everybody on the edge of their seats in the 9th inning yesterday but he got out of it and the Phillies ended a two-game spin.

Elias Sports Bureau reports that yesterday with the 18th time Chase and J-Roll have homered in the same game.  Only current middle infielders with more are Ramirez and Uggla of the Marlins, 20 times.

Interleague Play
Interleague play now begins for the Phillies, a three-game series against the Red Sox in Philly. It seems as if the Phillies hit a June swoon when they play the American League.  This weekend is the only interleague play for the Phils this month.  But, June features 15 such games, the 11th through the 27th.   Hopefully June will be swoonless.  (Spell check says there isn’t such a word as swoonless.  Well, I just invented it, then).

Overall, the Phillies are 96-121 since interleague play began in 1997. Last time they had a winning record, 8-7, in 2007.  They really scuffled at Citizens Bank Park last year, 1-8.

Boston holds the upper hand against the Phillies, 22-15.  Phillies record against other AL clubs on this year’s schedule: Yankees (10-11), Twins (3-3), Indians (3-3) and Blue Jays (14-16).

Remember, the June 25-26-27 weekend series against the Blue Jays has been shifted from Toronto to Philadelphia.  Tickets for that series go on sale today.

Hard to Believe
Jayson Werth hasn’t hit a homer off a LHP pitcher this year.

National TV
Tonight’s game will on MLB Network, but blacked out locally. 

Tomorrow’s 7:05 game is a FOX telecast, one of two prime time Saturday telecasts this year.

Offense: A Puzzle

The Phillies offense can put up crooked number runs quickly and often.  Right now, the offense is a puzzle.  Five singles and one double last night added up to their second straight defeat, the first time they’ve lost two in a row since April 25-27.

Adding to the puzzle: the Phillies are 1-6 against left-handed starters at Citizens Bank Park. 

Jamie pitched well enough to win.  Chad give up his first runs at home since 8/29/09 but it didn’t matter because there was just one single run on the board.

Series ends this afternoon and then the Red Sox come to town for the start of interleague play. 

When Moyer, 47, faced Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro, 20, it was the largest difference in age between a batter and pitcher since 1972 (Expos’ Tim Foli, 21; Dodgers’ Hoyt Wilhelm, 40), according to Elias Sports Bureau.

Elias also reported the Mets’ Angel Pagan is the first player to hit an inside-the-park homer and start a triple play since 9/25/55.  The player do did it then? Phillies shortstop Ted Kazanski.

On The Farm
Lehigh Valley played a normal 9-inning game last night.  On Monday, they ended a road trip with a 15-inning game at Gwinnett, GA.  The next night at home, they went 16 innings.  Both marathons were 1-run losses.

It added up to 9 hours, 31 minutes of baseball in a span of 28 hours and 39 minutes.

Clearwater third baseman Cody Overbeck leads the Florida State League in doubles (15), home runs (10) and slugging percentage (.662), is tied for the most hits (49) and second in RBI (31).  That’s MVP stuff.

Happy Birthday
Jayson Werth, 31. 

 

12 to 1

How do you figure 12 runs Monday night and 1 last night?  Only explanation I know: “That’s Baseball.”

Doc was masterful once again but offense just couldn’t get it going.  Threw 132 pitches, most in the majors this season.

Got to give credit to Duke, Pittsburgh’s best pitcher.  Win ended the Pirates’ 6-game losing streak at Citizens Bank Park.  Previous win: August 8, 2008.

Ryan had his fourth 3-hit game of the season; he leads majors with 18 multi-hit games.  He’s hitting .438 in his last 12 games.

Baseball 101
147 women are here today for an all-day event.  Program includes panel discussions in the Diamond Club, instructional sessions on the field with the coaches, media conference with Ruben, team nutritionist session, radio talk with Larry Andersen and Scott Franzke, plus other things.   Oh, breakfast, lunch and tonight’s game.

Event sold out in five minutes this spring and a second one is coming later in the season. 

We used the basis of this event to schedule the Phillies Alumni Luncheon in the Diamond Club, June 3.  Gillick, Giles, Green, Daulton, Luzinski, Musser and Campbell will be there for talking baseball.

Few tickets remain.

Pre-Game Tent Party
Phillies Alumni will be part of tent parties at Citizens Bank Park.  The first two are this Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, but both are sold out.  Marty Bystrom will be there on Saturday; Dickie Noles, Sunday.

Next one on the schedule is Father’s Day, June 20 with Darren Daulton.  Tickets are available online or by calling 215 463 5000.

Next Post
My wife is having knee surgery on Friday so my schedule is kind of up in the air for a few days.  Will try to post as often as possible, skipping Saturday and Sunday as I’ve been doing. 

 

 

 

 

 

Two Short Series Next

Every year the NL schedule has a quirk or two.  Well, we are about to begin a quirk….next four games are against the Pirates and Cubs, two games each.  Yep, two games at home vs. each of these two NL Central teams.

That means when we go to Pittsburgh and Chicago we will be playing four-game series ini each city.  Both are on weekends in July, giving Phillies fans a chance to visit PNC Park and Wrigley Field.

Weekend sweep in Milwaukee put the Phillies 10 games above .500.  Last year, they didn’t reach that level until June 2 (30-20).

Numbers
4 Phillies lead, biggest in the majors
9 Wins against NL Central this year; 1 loss
11 Of their last 14 ESPN Sunday night telecasts, Phillies have won 11.
910 Home runs hit by Phillies in last 5 years, most in majors.

Happy Birthday
Dave Philley (1958-60) yesterday became the 12th member of the Phillies Nonagenarian Club.  He still holds the Phillies record for most consecutive pinch-hits, 9, 1958-59.  It still stands as an NL record, too.

We’ll be shipping a Phillies jersey with his name and number (12) as a birthday gift for turning 90.
 
 
 

 

Farewell to Robbie

A full house was there to bid farewell to Robin Evan Roberts on Monday evening in the Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Temple Terrace, FL, just a few blocks from the Hall of Famers’ home.

Pastor Wally Meyer pointed to the right side of the sanctuary, “Robbie would sit in the last row every week, providing he arrived early enough.

“We all know he had 305 complete games.   I once told him, I had more complete services than 305.  He laughed and said, ‘Yes, but you didn’t have umpires.’  Yes, he pitched a lot of complete games.  He also led a complete life.”  Indeed he did.

Robbie was the most unassuming Hall of Famer you could meet.  He just was a very nice person through and through.  Never wanted to be treated like a prima donna. He was a humble legend.

Robbie lived in a four-bedroom ranch that included a game room and a family room.  Each of those rooms had a TV set and that’s where he could be found, watching the
Phillies play.  Sometimes it was the game room, other times the family room  that included a large HD set, which wasn’t purchased until this year.  He was satisfied with the smaller color set.

Following the memorial service and a reception at the nearby Temple Terrace Golf and Country Club, the Roberts’ family members returned to the ranch and watched the last few innings of last night’s win.  Everyone knew he too was watching, somehow.

Each of the four sons spoke about growing up with a baseball star father, someone who didn’t pretend to be a star.  Each did it with class and strength, just as Robbie had done when he spoke at his wife’s funeral nearly five years ago that ended a 56-year-marriage.  Each mentioned how difficult it was for dad after mom had died.

Six of us from the front office were there, David Montgomery, Bill Giles, Mike Stiles, Richard Deats, Debbie Nocito and myself.  Phillies Alumni included Dick Allen and his wife, Willa, Ruben Amaro Sr., Lee Elia and Paul Stuffel, Robbie’s teammate in the early 1950s.  Retired umpire Richie Garcia came to pay his respects.  Randy Ayers, former 76ers coach, did the same.

Robbie loved the current Phillies team.  Jimmy Rollins, in Clearwater to continue his rehab, and his wife, Johari, were there to represent the current team.  Robbie would have been touched by that.

Youngest of Robbie’s four sons is Jim.  He spoke last and made a touching comment: “Mom died five years ago next month, right around father’s day.  Dad died near mother’s day.  He just decided he was going back with her.”

Notes…..

Interesting Numbers
Robin Roberts’ career is filled with numbers, big ones.   Inquirer published a bunch of them, one very interesting: He threw 305 complete games in his 19-year big league career.  In the last 19 years, Phillies pitchers have thrown 198 GCs.

Thanks to the fans who have left flowers at his Citizens Bank Park statue.  The potted flowers will be planted near his statue.

Quote of the Week
Pete Mackanin, subbing for Charlie on Saturday, explained why Chase was out of the lineup: “Chase isn’t playing because I never liked him.  He’s over-rated.” Got to love Pete’s sense of humor.

It’s Here
Phillies: An Extraordinary Tradition is a new 252-page, 400-plus photo coffee table book that covers the team’s history since inception in 1883. 
 
The book is now on sale in the Majestic Clubhouse Store and Newsstands.  It can also be ordered on the phone: 1-877-GO-PHILS. 
 
Hope you enjoy it as much as we did putting it together.
 
Back In Town
Darren Daulton’s returning to Philly. On Monday, he’ll begin his own radio show on ESPN 950/The Fanatic 97.5 from 6-7 every weeknight.  “Talking Baseball With Dutch” is the name of his show.
 
He’ll also be on Comcast SportsNet from time to time and making numerous appearances in the Delaware Valley.
 
Welcome home Dutch.

Next Post
Wednesday. Heading for Tampa for Robbie’s funeral on Monday evening. 

 

Loss of a Dear Friend

The phone rang at home this morning at 8:30.  It was Dan Roberts, one of four sons of Robin Roberts, calling from Florida.  It was a message I didn’t want to hear, “Dad died.”  Weeping took over for the two of us, the only sound for a little while.

One of the game’s greatest pitchers and one of the game’s greatest human beings has left us to join his wife, Mary, who died nearly five years ago. 

Last time I saw Robbie was at a spring training game in Clearwater’s Bright House Field in March.

He loved to sit in a booth in the press box there, watch the game and talk baseball.  For an 83-year-old, he had an amazing memory.  The details of each story used to blow my mind.

Her loved going in the clubhouse to talk to the players.

He loved the Phillies and the city.

He loved his family.

He loved the current Phillies.  He didn’t miss a game on TV.  He’d often call the next day, “Did you see that play Jimmy made last night?” Or, “My man Jayson, what a great athlete.”

He loved being at the World Series the last two years.  Wouldn’t leave the game until the last pitch.  The ovation he would receive when he threw out the first ball told you how much the fans loved and respected him.

He loved coming to Philadelphia off and on during the season.  He was more than willing to help the ballclub.  He’d play golf and have dinner with suite holders or sponsors and then watch a game at Citizens Bank Park.  He was going to be here June 4-5 to have dinner with some of our suite holders.  He called a couple of weeks ago, “Larry, I’m coming up on June 1 for a golf tournament, will stay with young Robin and I’m available if you need me for something else.”

When I arrived at the park this morning, I walked over to his statue and held his hand.  I swear I could still feel his warm heart.  We placed a big wreath at the base of the statue, a large white P with a red 36 in the middle.  Many fans weren’t aware as they arrived.  They’d stop by the statute, see the wreath and their heads would drop.

The moment of silence before the game was touching. Seeing the 1950 pennant at half-mast really got to me. 

Robbie and Jayson are both from Springfield, IL.  They developed a very close bond.  Then, wouldn’t you know it, Werth hit a three-run homer in the first inning.  As he crossed home plate, Jayson pointed to the sky in honor of Robbie.

Down in Tampa, some of the family was watching the game.  One of the grandchildren said when Jayson came to bat in the first inning, ‘He’s going to hit one for Pop.”

Hollywood couldn’t have written a better script.

 

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