As the Baseball Diamond Turns: Baseball and Offseason Drama.

     Well, the cat and I are sitting here watching “Lost” trying to figure out what the frack is going on. 

 

Lost.jpg     And we are also well aware that Spring Training starts tomorrow.  Pitchers and catchers reporting.  There are a dozen snow mounds taller than me laying outside but it is officially SPRING TRAINING time! 

     What the hell is going on with this “Smoky Vision?” Ugh, questions answered my ***.  But I digress.

     This offseason has been an interesting one, to say the least.  Mark McGwire stunning everyone with his “out of nowhere” confession to using steroids.  Really Mark, no one knew?  And in other shocking news, Tiger Woods likes ******. 

McGwire flexing.jpg     But in the Phillies relm of baseball reality, the big story was not Mark McGwire and his shocking confession, instead most fans were focused on the soap opera taking place during trade season.  To love Halladay or Lee, that was the question. 

     There were many differeing opinions.  Many simply didn’t care how the Phillies got Halladay, only that he would be on the team and be the savior, the promised one, the messiah, etc. 

roy halladay jesus.jpg     Halladay could essentially pitch everyday of the season, play all of the infield and outfield positions and clean himself with his own tongue.  He would be like Bugs Bunny in that one cartoon.  That is how good Halladay is.  His talent was not the underlying or polorizing issue; the main concern was could we have kept Cliff Lee and gotten Halladay for a one-two punch unseen in the majors right now. 

 

Cliff_Lee_catch.jpg     So, for over a month we were hearing there were no truths to the rumors of a Lee trade for Halladay.  Then one day, the news comes in.  Lee goes to the Mariners along with the “untouchable” prospects Drabek, Taylor and D’Arnaud going to Toronto.  The Phillies got three prospects in return, fairly highly rated prospects.  Recently with the Blanton deal; many fans, myself and the cat included, wonder if the Lee trade was simply a salary dump. 

     Some fans asked “Couldn’t we have kept Lee and Halladay for 2010?  That would be awesome!” Amaro responded “Sorry but we as an organization that sells out 99% of our regular season games, has had two sold out postseasons in a row and an increased profit from our merchandise just can’t afford it right now. Oh and we need to replenish our farm system…so there.”  Fans responded “Yeah but if we kept Lee only for a year and he does walk, we would get 2 draft picks anyway for our farm system.”  Amaro just sticks out his tongue and tells everyone to kiss his foot **Most of this conversation was made up in my brain**

     Midnight really does believe that we could’ve and should’ve kept Lee for 2010.  Paid him the $9 million and even offered him an extension, which he probably would’ve taken.  The 2010 season would be fabulous with a dangerously awesome rotation including Halladay, Lee, Hamels and Happ.  Even better if Hamels develops a third pitch that doesn’t resemble “The Floater” from Rookie of the Year.  Who knows what could happen in that scenario.  Essentially, the Phillies got an ace but could’ve potentially had two aces.    

     For your reading enjoyment; here is a small sampling of two polarized fans:

Dude #1- As much as I like Cliff, there’s a few things I don’t like…

A – His past comment of wanting “CC Money” while testing the FA market. Which, was $23mil for 7 years, which he’s not worth more than Roy, and the Phillies will not sign Jesus as a pitcher for 7 years.

B – His contract negotiations, he took nearly 2 weeks to give a counter offer. 2 weeks? Especially when your name is being tossed around hard for trade rumors? You snooze you loose, sorry Cliff you took too long.

C – Even when we got him we didn’t need another lefty.

Now why I like Roy?

A – Since this time last year, he’s wanted to play here.

B – He’s easily worth more than CC, and he took a paycut to be here.

C – Basically, Toronto’s paying most of his contract this year.

D – He’s the best pitcher of this generation, down right filthy, but not as cocky as Cliff.

E – He’s been the best statistical pitcher in baseball for the last 7 years, on a crappy team in a tough division.

 Dude #2- Pure insanity. 

1st-the point of having a farm team is to replenish your big league roster, the phillies did the exact opposite giving up the best pitcher in the 2009 playoffs to replenish their minor league teams

2nd- people are hell bent on saying Halladay is better than Lee, I guess I hallucinated Lee shutting down the best team in baseball in the world series. Until Halladay gets to the postseason and outperforms what Lee did it’s ridiculous to say he’s better

3rd-giving up Lee because you want to stay competitive in the future is a cop-out, you’re only trying to justify making a terrible move. When you have a chance to win now you take it, a winner always will. Any other choice is a lose mentality and that’s what Reuben Amaro is, a loser who will never be able to get a ring like Pat Gillick

Dude #1-

1 – OK, best pitcher in the playoffs… big deal, Hamels was in 08, no big deal. What we got for Lee isn’t bad considering what we gave for Halladay, just a year or two developmentally behind.

2 – The stats say it all, statistically, he’s the best pitcher in baseball over the last 7 years. Lee doesn’t even compare. Not only that, he did that in TORONTO, how many starts has he had against NY AND Boston in the last 7 years?

3 – We didn’t “give up on Lee”, he wants “CC Money”, we don’t have that. We keep him, yea, awesome rotation this year, but only 2 draft picks in return. Trading him got us 3 studs from Seattle. I’ll talk the latter.

 Dude #2-  Well this is a little long but it’s the final thing I’ve got to say on the trades because I’m not really interested in a weeklong back and forth

1- No big deal that Hamels brought us a world series? well I guess winning the world series isn’t really the point in baseball, but since what Hamels did in the past is no big deal, how does what Roy Halladay did the past 7 years matter, you can’t have it both ways.

2- I guess what we gave up for Lee isn’t bad, but why stop there, imagine what we could get if we traded Utley and Howard for some “minor league” studs. Jesus we would be potentially fielding the best team in 2015, we could even trade those guys away in 5 years and get ready for the 2020 team, it’s genius!  Personally, I’d take the guy who pitched in the majors at a superstar level on baseballs biggest stage against the best hitting team over some guys who may or may not pan out.

3- Finally, the Phillies front office is crying broke and that he wanted Sabbathia money, amazing considering they have Moyer’s 16 million contract (8 million in 2010)coming off the books next year not to mention the 8.5 million option they just picked up for Rollins in 2011. That’s 16.5 million right available in 2011 if you don’t pick up Rollins and his amazing .274 career average in the leadoff spot

The Phillies made an offer and Lee made a routine counter offer and the Phillies freaked. Then Reuben Amaro showed his true colors and lied to the guy saying the trade talk was all rumors then traded him. Nobody knows what Lee’s counteroffer was but if amaro is going to lie to his players he has no qualms lying and saying Lee said he “wanted Sabbathia money”, which Lee claims he never said. Amaro is a snake and if you want to drink his kool-aid that’s your business but I believe they could have worked out a reasonable deal with Lee if they wanted to. Amaro wants to make money, Lee wants to win championships.

 

    

Missing in action and a new postseason

Wow, call me a lazy kitty cat but my last entry was in the beginning of the season and now I come back in the postseason.  Mary got a job and was working long nights, usually listening to games on the radio while I was left alone to watch the games and no ability to type out my reactions.  So here are some of my reactions from the past 4 months. 

1.  Raul vs. Pat- Yes, I loved Pat Burrell.  Wait, I still love Pat Burrell, I love him more that my new clumping litter.  I was not happy that they did not re-sign Pat but throughout the season Raul has shown that he was worth the signing.  He is a moderate improvement in defense and was unstoppable in the beginning of the season.  He came back from an injury and looked like he was a little leaguer playing t-ball blindfolded.  But he is still pretty reliable and can send the ball into the stands.  I’m still not totally on the Rauuuuuuuuuul wagon but it’s like comparing Ocean Whitefish & Tuna Feast with Chicken Hearts & Liver Gourmet.  Both have their strong points.



pat-burrell12.jpg
 2. How the mighty Lidge fell- Perfection is tough people.  Even for cats.  A perfect day would be to lick, sleep and eat…but it rarely works out that well.  Sometimes you need to sleep, eat and lick.   Lidge had a knee problem and it really screwed with his delivery.  The thing I noticed is that people just weren’t swinging at his slider anymore.  In ’08 you had about 100 guys all swinging at the slider and getting outs.  In ’09 these same guys decided not to swing at his slider.  Simply put, they laid off and Lidge had to go to his fastball and some other pitch which I’m not sure has a name.  The result, hits.  Lots and lots of hits.  The knee problem and his delivery change didn’t help at all.  The postseason is a way to wipe it all clean.  Everyone has zeros next to their name and that’s exactly what Lidge needs…and maybe Ocean Whitefish and Tuna feast, it really is quite delicious.  Don’t knock it until you try it. 

3. Bullpen woes- Most of this was due to the clusterf**k discussed above, but it again related to people constantly comparing the bullpens numbers in ’09 to those of ’08.  The bullpen (’09) had a 3.91 ERA (tied for 13th in the majors) and blew 32 percent of its save opportunities (12th).  The bullpen (’08) had a 3.22 ERA.  It’s not a difference of 9 points but still it is made out to be that way.  Last year out pen was creepily healthy.  Almost no significant time off for any major players.  This year you had a lot of flipping and flopping around between Happ and Park, Martinez and Moyer.  Eyre, Durbin, Romero all being hurt.  Makes me want to dive into some catnip. 

4. Phillies Bats- They were awesome.  Not much else to say.  Utley coming off hip surgery, Howard posting massive numbers, Werth finally an everyday player showing us all why he should have always been an everyday player.  Rollins had a rough start but began coming around in the second half.

5. Starting Pitching- As referenced in an earlier entry, there were not many positive things being said about the starting pitching in April and May.  Then the doors opened, the clouds parted and the angels sang.  First Blanton started finding his stride and the offense backed him up like they seem to love to do.  Hamels has been struggling but there is always the shadow of greatness behind even his loses.  Happ came in and dominated showing his determination to stay away from the bullpen and be out there for 7 innings…or more; he had 3 complete games!  Then came the word the Phillies signed Pedro Martinez…wait….what?!?!?! Pedro Martinez, the Pedro?  Where had he been? Could he even pitch?  Was he still rocking the Soul Glo jerry curls?  The answers were Dominican Republic getting healthy.  Yes.  And YES! He had some first inning trouble and wasn’t pitching 95 but he has some new nasty stuff that seems unhittable.  Then the trade deadline…Halladay, Halladay, Halladay and then the Phillies got….Lee?  Yes indeed Cliff Lee who has been unbeLEEvable.  Low ERA, using both sides of the plate and going up, down, left right and basically making hitters want to go back and lick their wounds…which for humans is not as fun as it is for cats.  By the end of the season, the earlier pitching woes did not seem to be in existence anymore.   


soulglo.jpg     

It’s no surprise that the Phillies made it into another postseason….at least it shouldn’t be.  The starting pitching has improved and the bullpen is not the same as last year but they aren’t terrible by any means.  The offense has somehow improved on their monster numbers from last year and they are now seasoned playoff veterans.  Next up I’ll give my reactions to the NLDS after I scrounge up some Chicken Hearts & Liver Gourmet.  Yum. 


cat food.jpg     

 

   

Pitching Problems?

I don’t know if anyone heard, but last year the Phillies won the World Series.  Greatest day of my long kitty life.  This means 2 things.

1.  I need to find some World Series merchandise to decorate my new litter box. 

2.  The team is under the spotlight for every little thing. 

One of the things I notice on ESPN when Mary has it on as background noise while making some foodage, is the lack of starting pitching for the Phillies.  Sure there have been problems, sure there have been more home runs than times in the day I lick myself, but is it really that bad.  YES….and NO.  I would love to be able to throw anything at 90 miles per hour, but I can’t because I am a cat and have no capability to grip a baseball.  Therefore, I respect any humanoid who can throw an object that fast to a zone about as big as my kitty bed. 

It is a wee bit concerning that so many home runs have been tallied against the Phillies starting pitchers, but come on, it’s APRIL and MAY.  Does everyone realize we still have more than 100 games left in the season?  Myers improves with each and every start and goes deeper into games.  Moyer is the same Moyer.  He throws calculated and slow.  Hamels has been vexed with some sort of bad juju, but his abbreviated starts have shown promise.  Blanton has not been hitting his spots but for some reason the offense loves Blanton and seem to post a ridiculous amount of runs to save him.  Park, ummm, Park, er.  Yeah, so we have 4 starters who really give me hope.

I think the ESPN experts and analysts should just chill.  Curl up with some catnip (you have no idea how awesome it is) and realize that no one else is freaking out about these “problems”. 

Seriously, get some catnip. 

 

   

Sad Day

I’m a fairly young cat…14 years old.  But I am 98 in human years…that makes me think I have lived a long life and have a lot of wisdom to share with everyone.  I first started watching baseball with my human when I was a kitten, she loved baseball and told me the story of why…

Mary was 7 years old and was outside her house in Philly playing baseball with her brothers and some kids from down the street one hot, sticky summer night.  It started to get dark and the children scattered to their respective houses.  Her dad was sitting on the porch with 2 glasses of iced tea and a radio, he was getting ready to listen to a baseball game…he’s sort of old fashioned like that.  She decided to sit with him and then, that beautiful baritone voice of Harry Kalas came out of that small radio and so began Mary’s love of the game of baseball and her undying devotion to the Phillies…good and bad. 

She was able to meet Harry Kalas in Washington DC 2 years ago and told him that story.  Granted she was a blubbering embarrassing idiot, but she somehow was able to stutter out the story and Harry…well Harry told her he loves hearing stories like that and she made his day.  She was stupidly excited. 

Today was a sad day for everyone who has ever heard a Phillies game called by Harry Kalas.  His voice is instantly recognizable, his excitement is contagious and his love and knowledge of the game was unmatched. 

 

Mary n Harry   

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.