The Phillies did it again – producing a second consecutive Home Run Derby champion. Ryan Howard blasted his way past rival phenom the Mets’ David Wright to capture the title and wowed the crowd with monster moonshots. His final home run hit the sign in right-center that won the crowd 500 airline flights and even hit one over the batter’s eye in deep center – something he’s now becoming famous for. Howard’s home runs of course were aided by the now back-to-back winning pitcher of the Derby, Phils bullpen coach, Ramon Henderson. The offensive display just goes to show how the Phils have enormous offensive potential but a seemingly a pitching staff full of Ramon Hendersons.
While I don’t foresee Ryan Howard pulling a Bobby Abreu in the second half of the season, he is in danger of being exhausting himself. He mentioned in the post-derby interview when asked if he was tired, that tired "is probably an understatement." Perhaps this could have been avoided if Chase Utley was more flamboyant and came out to home plate to towel Howard off and offer Gatorade like David Ortiz did for Wright. Fortunately the Phillies have an extra day-off coming after the All-Star break on Thursday, but did anyone else notice that Utley (not to mention Gordon) was conspicuously missing from most of the cheerleading until a rather cold embrace at the end when Howard won? Could there be some friction in the future of the Phillies?
Moving on to some higher level discussions, check out Todd Zolecki’s interview with Phillies big-wig, Bill Giles. In it, Giles clears up our question raised yesterday as to who gets the final decision concerning the Brett Myers situation – I’ll give you a hint, it’s not Charlie Manuel. The other interesting point concerns Giles’ perception of fans:
Q: Does it matter to you that the public is so down on this team?
A: I don’t know that that’s true. Too many people believe the talk shows are the pulse of the public, and I don’t happen to believe that at all. There are crazy people that call in and the announcers create a perception, but I don’t believe it. I just don’t think the public… I know so many people that are dyed-in-the-wool Phillies fans who love the team – win, lose or draw.
That right there is what we’ve been talking about – taking fans for granted. First of all, Giles sounds way to much like Richard Nixon who was in denial to the end and is obviously not a compliment. And second, there is dissatisfaction with the Phillies by fans; maybe not all the fans, but certainly a significant portion. Fans stopped attending games in droves last year, and this year they are outspoken in their disappointment – this is something you cannot ignore by saying it’s not true or blaming it on WIP. This is a very dangerous mindset for the Phillies as an organization to have and now to publicly acknowledge. The owners should see this as a potentially sinking ship and first plug the leak and then try to woo back the crew that jumped overboard. This is precisely why we started a write-in campaign to tell the owners they need to wise up. So if you haven’t already, contact us with your views and help the Phillies owners recognize the true feelings of Phillies fans.