OK, everyone. Stop complaining. Charlie Manuel fixed his lineup for Monday night’s series opener against the Rockies. Ryan Howard is no longer buried in the hinterlands with David Bell, Mike Lieberthal and the pitcher’s spot. Instead, he has been bumped up to the fifth spot.
Though there isn’t the lefty-righty balance that all managers like, it seems as if Manuel is on to something here. It will be interesting to see how long this order lasts.Birds of a feather… Here’s a new one – a pigeon flew into the press box before the game and perched itself on the telephone directly to my left. Upon review I noticed the bird had tags – probably for identification – around his ankles.
After checking out the scene and realizing there was nothing to do in the press box, the bird flew away.
Later, Kent Tekulve sat in the seat in front of the bird’s perch.No, we’re not doing well, thank you After Forbes magazine printed a story where it reported that Major League Baseball and its teams were enjoying increased revenues and that the New York Yankees were the first professional club to reach a value of $1 billion, baseball’s executive vice president of labor relations and human resources, Rob Manfred issued a press release in response.
“Forbes has never had access to financial information from Major League Baseball or the individual clubs. The estimates published in the current issue of the magazine materially misstate the financial performance of the industry as a whole and of the individual clubs.”
A long time ago I used to write for a business newspaper in Harrisburg, Pa. Never during that time did an executive of a company issue a statement to downplay any type of favorable story about them. In fact, it was always the opposite.
It sounds pretty odd: A big time magazine writes a story lauding your growing revenues and the company issues a statement saying it’s misstated. Why?
Well, the collective bargaining agreement ends at the end of this season and Manfred certainly doesn’t want the players union to use the Forbes information as fact. At least that’s my quick, dime-store analysis.
Actually, the Phillies brass deserves a rare kudos for doing the right thing and calling Saturday night’s game before anyone showed up at the park. There have been way too many nights when the club would open the doors, get everyone in the park to wait around for an hour or two just to pull the plug.
That’s no fun for anyone. The players don’t like it, the media doesn’t like it, and the fans certainly don’t like it either.
With the escalating costs of going to a game for regular folks – not to mention the spiking gas prices – it’s nice to see that the Phillies thought ahead and let everyone stay at home to watch the hockey game on CSN.
Maybe they TiVo-ed it and tuned in to Henry Rollins’ new show on IFC. Rollins, of course, is the “aging, alternative icon” and media gadfly better known for work as the singer for the Rollins Band (and Black Flag) as well as a riveting spoken word performer.
Plus, Rollins is from D.C., which isn’t a bad thing.
Nevertheless, it’s apparent that the Rollins show is still finding its way, though it certainly has the potential to be as entertaining as IFC’s other show, “Dinner for Five,” hosted by actor/director Jon Favreau.
On the other hand…
As far as the other Rollins goes – Jimmy that is – his hitless skid reached 13 at-bats and 14 plate appearances. Since the club left Atlanta for Colorado last week, Rollins has just four hits in 28 at-bats (.143) and says his swing is a bit out of whack.
Plus, because of some blisters and callouses on his thumbs that sting when he swings right-handed, Rollins took Friday night off against lefty Scott Olsen. But he’ll be back in there against righty Sergio Mitre on Sunday afternoon.
“He's in a little funk right now,” Manuel said on Friday afternoon. “He pulling off the ball right now, dribbling it off the end of the bat. He'll sit and get a breather. When he's hitting line drives, he's short and quick to the ball. During the streak, he was pretty consistent with that. He'll get it back.”
See, the rainout was good. Everyone got to take a break.
Red-hot Thome Not only did Jim Thome smash his ninth homer of the season in last night's win for the White Sox over the Twins, but also, the slugger scored another run on Saturday to keep his perfect streak going. The streak? Thome has scored a run in every game this season. It sounds like Thome is healthy.
Well, I’m not a jinx… At least last night I wasn’t. Heading into Friday night’s game, David Bell has appeared in 12 games with 47 plate appearances without a strikeout.
In fact, based on some very quick research, Bell is the last of all the everyday players not to strikeout.
Not that anyone is going to mention it to him. At least not again.
*** Throughout the week, the press box has been over run with Major League scouts. That was especially the case on Friday night where the box was so filthy with scouts before the game that they took over the entire third row of seats and forced some of the regulars to find somewhere else to go.
Meanwhile, the presense of such a large number of scouts leads one to wonder if there is something going on. There has to be a reason they’re all here, right?
*** Sal Fasano sent 10 boxes of Peace-A-Pizza pizzas to the “Sal’s Pals” high up in section 307. At $3.75 and $4 per slice, it’s good to know that the folks at Peace-A-Pizza pitched in.
*** A blister on his hand and an 0-for-12 skid kept Jimmy Rollins on bench for Friday’s game.
From the way-to-open-up-your-big-mouth-and-jinx-him file, I would be remiss if I did not admit that I told David Bell that he had not struck out all year following Wednesday night’s extra-inning win over the Nationals.
Bell claimed he was not aware of the fact – and I believe him – but as soon as the information left my mouth, Phillies.com writer Ken Mandel pointed out my faux pas with a, “way to go, jerk. You jinxed him.”
Bell downplayed my profuse (and, I’m sure, annoying) apologies, saying it was no big deal and, “an out is an out.” But the damage has been done. If Bell strikes out tonight, the code of baseball superstition says I’m to blame.
I certainly don’t root one way or another at a ballgame, so I’m hoping Bell keeps his perfect ledger in tact.
On another note, I am positive that Bell had no idea about the lack of whiffs because of the first time I had a conversation with him in the tiny clubhouse at Jack Russell Stadium in Clearwater before the 2003 season. During that chat, I brought up some of Bell’s past statistics during his years with the Giants and Mariners and he very earnestly told me that he had no idea what I was talking about.
It wasn’t that he didn’t care about his statistics; it was just that he didn’t care.
Does that make sense?
Let me try again:
Baseball is the Bell Family business, and in any family business – especially one that stretches through three genereations – the bottom line is very important. To Bell, that bottom line isn’t his batting average or the number of hits or home runs. It’s how many wins his team has.Yes, Bell wants to put up good statistics. But never at the price of costing his team a win.
As far as important games in April go, the next 10 for the Phillies are about as big as they come. At 5-7 and already five games behind the Mets in the NL East, the Phillies can make a dent in the standings with the Nationals, Marlins and Rockies in town for the next week-and-a-half.
Oh, but if only the next 10 were it for the Phils. For the next three weeks, the Phillies will play 15 of their next 20 games at home with no days off. Of those 20 games, 18 are in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (last we checked, Pittsburgh is still on the other end of the state).
So obviously, this is a big stretch for the Phillies.
That season, Person lost his first three of his first six starts, went on the disabled list and picked up his first win on June 2 against the Expos. As some will recall, that was the game where Person blasted a pair of homers and drove in seven runs.
After pitching as well as any hurler in the National League in the final months of the 2001 season, the 2002 campaign was not one to remember for Person. Later that summer, the right-hander and manager Larry Bowa had a few “disagreements” before Person went on the disabled list following a two-inning blowup in a loss at Wrigley Field in late July.
Following that game, Person was done as a Phillie.
Since then, the affable pitcher from St. Louis battled injuries and bounced from the Red Sox and White Sox for a few years before winding up in the Atlantic League with the Bridgeport Bluefish last season.
Against the likes of Pete Rose Jr. and Ryan Minor, Person went 0-4 with a 6.37 ERA in 14 games.
As a side note, Cory Lidle’s brother Kevin was a catcher for the Bluefish.Here’s another fun fact: Heading into Tuesday night’s game against the Nationals, David Bell had gone 37 consecutive plate appearances without striking out. Of all the Phillies to come to bat this season, only Bell and pitcher Ryan Madson (six plate appearances) are the only players not to strike out.