Commentary: Two Scenes Say A Whole Lot – Phillies Nation

Commentary: Two Scenes Say A Whole Lot

When you duck away from the charity of writing analysis you believe is insightful, you gain a new appreciation for the water in which you once bathed. With my head in the tub for long enough, I’ve began to notice something odd: The Philadelphia Phillies are on a whole new level.

These aren’t your father’s Phils. Heck, they’re not even your great-grandfather’s Phils. I don’t think Chuck Klein ever envisioned this type of popularity.

In a short glance of time, the Phillies swept through the Mets and cleaned up the dregs of the National League Central division, coasting into the All Star break with fat tummies. And Charlie Manuel only expanded those belts, giving Jayson Werth a pat on the back with an all star label and placing fan-rewarded Shane Victorino into his starting lineup. Watching last night’s All Star Game, I found myself applauding so much that I couldn’t feel my hands anymore.

It felt odd rooting for so many individuals on an all star team. It felt like the great swindle of 1993, the greater swindle of 1994 and the greatest swindle of 1995, when even Heathcliff Slocumb and Tyler Green hitched a ride on the all star wagon. This time, however, the spots were deserved. (You could make cases for Victorino, Werth and Ryan Howard, since you should factor in some of the 2008 ledger — or else we should have two all star games again, shouldn’t we?) These boys suddenly became the face of the National League, seen in the boyish crew melon of Howard, the pranking eccentricity of Victorino, the steady nerves of Werth, the wise adulation of Raul Ibanez and the stoic manliness of Chase Utley. Oh, and let’s not forget Manuel, the wrinkle-faced, white-haired teddy bear with a mouth the size of Lake Dinty Moore.

Take Stan Musial kissing fingers in a convertible, or Carl Crawford robbing a home run, or any one of the 7,100 camera cuts of Albert Pujols. To me, the lasting picture of the All Star Game festivities was Manuel, clad in a clean, black two-piece suit and tie at the media day conference, handing reporters the same business he’d hand reporters before a Phillies playoff game. To Manuel, this wasn’t simply a break from real baseball, nor was it a chance to let loose in a casual black button-down. This whole all star business was Charlie Manuel’s big moment — his opportunity to tell the world, “Look. I got here by winnin’! I earned this here!”

Far beyond 2008, the Phillies have extinguished the ghosts and turned to the business of winning in 2009. But being an all star manager isn’t simply a perk, it’s a testament to your efforts at work. It means you were good, real good. Manuel sure earned that managerial spot, just as the Phillies earned all the attention they gained during all star weekend. Your world champions — and not just that, but your still first place Phillies. Not only did they win last year, but they’re looking purty good this year.

Pedro Mania

The dust mites that flew far enough from Saint Louis found a veritable amusement park Wednesday at Citizens Bank Park. There, newly signed Phillies pitcher Pedro Martinez greeted the media with honesty and guffaws. Reporters bounced every question imaginable at the three-time Cy Young winner, and he swatted his answers back to them without an ounce of transparency. Martinez is the real deal, and no matter how much you could loathe him in blue and orange, you love him now. You have to — he gave us everything we wanted.

More than that, though, Martinez gave the Phillies that amusement park. It’s the type of scene reserved for the pantheon players (in baseball immortality and immorality): Clemens, Bonds, McGwire. Those guys. Sure, Martinez may not have that one thing in common, but he’s definitely in that competitive level. He’s beyond the game. And like a big-market, big-name, big-city, big-bullswat team, the Phillies grinned wide as they lapped up the pantheon pitcher. Even if he doesn’t throw a pitch at Citizens Bank Park, he hammered my point home.

Two very different men sat at skirted tables and spoke to reporters within 48 hours. One a huckling West Virginian, a former ball-blaster in Japan. The other a smooth-talking Dominican, a Hall of Fame pitcher if he ended it now. They couldn’t be farther apart in what they were given, and in what they took. And yet both men spoke with dead seriousness about their intentions: To win baseball games. Manuel for his National League all stars. Martinez for his Philadelphia Phillies.

And both men each wore a clean, black two-piece suit and tie.

These scenes both represented bookends to a break filled with appreciation for the past. The great team of the National League had their time, parading out their stars, lauding Stan the Man and giving their new Hall of Fame player a chance to catch the president’s pitch. It seemed oddly fitting, then, that the new great team of the National League was stealing the headlines on either side of the show.

I can’t help but feel amazed that the Phillies are suddenly bubbling with popularity. This is the same team that stirred in the bowels of the National League for not just years, but decades. Heck, over a century. And while we can’t tell if this will all last too long, living in that moment feels all the more special.

So if you’ll excuse me, time to go back underwater.

Tim Malcolm is the former everyday writer of Phillies Nation. He’ll post again when his head comes above water. Until then, e-mail him at

Click to comment


  1. Manny

    July 15, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    Good to see you again, Tim!

    What a great, refreshing piece… It’s great to read this and appreciate the bigger picture… something’s big going on with the Phillies and you couldn’t have said it any better.

  2. Chutley

    July 15, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    Timmmmayyyy great great article.

  3. NateB

    July 15, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    we want more Tim on here! good article. it’s a great time to be a Phillies phan!

  4. Bobby in Boston

    July 15, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    When Pedro is in the mood, he gives it up for the media as good as anybody. Funny, self-effacing, honest. After watching Pedro for about ten years up here, it will be interesting to see how the Boston media follows his exploits in Philly. I’ll keep you posted. Pretty trippy to see him in Phillies red.

    One thing’s for sure. This might be the first time anyone’s strained a shoulder signing a contract.

  5. The Dipsy

    July 15, 2009 at 9:52 pm

    Great freakin column, Timbo. I’ll be it feels good to step away from the droning, white noise that is the PhilliesNation and come back all freshened up!

    The Dipsy

    Oh, and by the way, who’s this Roy Halladay fella???????

  6. Philsphan

    July 15, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    Tim, please stay! You made this site and it’s not even close to the same without you. No one puts into words the passion and energy every one of us fans feels about the Phillies like you do.

  7. Amanda Orr

    July 15, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    Great article Tim!

  8. Phillygirl

    July 15, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    Awesome article Tim. What you just said was exactly how many Philly Phans feel, but can’t put into words. Your ending, about how long they will win for, is why I am nervous about Halladay. Giving up years of winning for one that we are set to win now. (Yes we need starting pitching, I know that as well as anyone, but we’ve been doing pretty decently so far.)

  9. Griffin

    July 15, 2009 at 10:22 pm

    Tim. Is the. Man.

  10. Pat Gallen

    July 15, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    Tim, excellent. I liken it to Red Sox Nation. They stunk for a long, long time, and finally, a group of guys turned them into the Nation they are now. We here in Philly finally have that. A group of guys that can possible make this into s dynastic team and city. It’s definitely an exciting time to be a Phillies fan, and for the time I’ve been on this earth, I cant remember it being this insane. Everyone’s aboard.

  11. VuctorinoPhan 8

    July 15, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    Great article Tim! I’m new to toe site and Twitter but I’m really enjoying getting familiar with you guys.

  12. karen

    July 15, 2009 at 10:41 pm

    Great piece! That is so true but you put it in words so accurately that it made me understand a bit of the humble-ness and respect that most of those on the phils have

  13. Miles

    July 15, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    Yeah what a bizarre couple of days to be a Phils fan. It was weird to see us in the news so much. Great to see a post from you Tim.

    I’ve stressed this whole concept multiple times on this site to people who are frustrated by the Phillies when they go into their brutal slumps. At least we are frustrated with playing poorly because we don’t want to lose our NL East lead. That’s a heck of a lot different than being frustrated because we have no hope for the team. The core of this team will surely go down as one of the finest, if not the finest, in Phils history.

    Btw, Andrew Carpenter looked straight NASTY in the AAA All-Star game (which is still going on on ESPN2 if you want to tune in). Three batters, 3 Ks. I believe he had 5 swings and misses out of 10 total pitches. Not bad, folks.

  14. rob5000

    July 15, 2009 at 11:33 pm

    So… No sooner did I comment on my distaste for recent articles on this site do I come across this gem of a piece. Tim, I don’t know you and I don’t know how you do it, but for some reason you always strike a new chord. Will you just come back full time?? I’ll throw down some bills, hell I’ll start a fund if that’s what it takes.

    In all seriousness though, great article. Glad to see you still have a little time for philliesnation. You always seem to personify exactly how I’m feeling. Sure, it was Pujols’ show and St. Louis is the hub of baseball, but the Phils stole the show, a testament to the fans. Surreal.

  15. David

    July 16, 2009 at 12:15 am

    While the article was generally well written, I do think you go a little overboard with your biases. How are the Phillies the new great team of the national league? Because they won a single world championship in the last 28 years, or is it because they have won a total of two ever. Or is it because they have the most losses in baseball history? Give me a break. And I hate to tell you, but the Phillies are not popular outside of Philadelphia. I have lived all over the east coast, and I have only ever met one person outside of PA who gave a crap about them, and he was from Philly originally. And no, you shouldnt take someones 2008 second half into consideration when chosing an allstar player, otherwise Manny should have been chosen. Its not the 2008-09 all star game, just 2009. You could make the best argument that Werth should have gone, but Vic and Howard should not. Unfortunately Charlie is a homer, and Vic needed to go door to freakin door to make the team. And then he started. The whole thing is a joke. The fact that seemingly ALL phillies fans are incapable of being even a little bit objective about their team is damaging to your credibility when it comes to baseball intelligence as a whole. You’ve got alot of spirit Philly fans, but you need to wake up to reality sometimes.

  16. David

    July 16, 2009 at 12:21 am

    @rob5000, How did the Phils steal the show? By having the most people there, courtesy of Charlie? Phils players were a combined 1-7 with a run scored. Utley made a very good defensive play, but that was about it. The only thing the phils stole were the roster spots of more deserving players [Im not including Utley and Ibanez, they deserved to be there]

  17. Miles

    July 16, 2009 at 12:27 am

    First of all David, the whole “nationwide popularity” thing doesn’t happen all at once. Boston’s popularity has grown leaps and bounds since they took down the Yanks and won the Series in ’04. If this same Phils nucleus continues with their success, they will no doubt lead fans across the county to become fans. All great teams do that.

    As for us not being objective, you obviously don’t read our posts from day to day. Trust me we love our team, but we certainly do not put our guys on a pedestal. In fact, many of us have called for Werth to be benched in the first half, yet he ended up being an All-Star.

    As for Vic not deserving it, I just don’t see the argument. Unless you believe that you have to slug your way to an all-star game, he certainly deserved the nod, more so than Werth in my estimation. When you look at outfielders, specifically centerfielders, he was very worthy after Beltran had to bow out. A gold glove outfielder hitting around .310 doesn’t deserve to be on the team?

  18. Miles

    July 16, 2009 at 12:32 am

    Also, David, you act as if no All-Star manager has ever selected his own players. It happens every year so get over it. And the Phils 1-7 appearance was no better or worse than the rest of the NL’s poor attempt to do anything. They had 18 straight batters retired. You make it seem like everyone else hit the cover off the ball.

  19. Mazinman

    July 16, 2009 at 12:58 am

    Nice to see you back posting already Tim. As always I enjoy your writing. Its nice to see a lot more Phils caps and shirts in my neck of the woods. It was getting lonely for a while there!

  20. kathie Brenneman

    July 16, 2009 at 3:07 am

    oy, tim malcolm is a crummy writer.

  21. kyle

    July 16, 2009 at 3:49 am

    In all honesty, 3 lines in I knew it was Tim.

    This site needs him back.

  22. Brooks

    July 16, 2009 at 5:10 am

    Tim, your passion comes apparent when you write and it is a gift.
    Regarding Pedro – I cannot agree at all. To me he personifies what a mutt is through and through – talented and full of himself. Does NOT fit into the team environment that the Phils have worked hard to put together – even in one of his first meetings with reporters after the deal became official – what did he talk about? HIS legacy (among other things).
    I just think he is a cancer and regardless of how well he pitches (if/when he returns off the DL), he will be let go after this season – take that to the bank guys.

  23. Miles

    July 16, 2009 at 7:13 am

    Brooks, even the idea of keeping him around next year makes me nautious. I hope that is how Ruben feels as well. If Pedro happens to pitch well down the stretch, go let him sign a nice 10 million dollar deal somewhere else. Not here.

  24. mick

    July 16, 2009 at 7:43 am

    I do not know about you Tim, but the Phils have the talent to be competitive for a number of years–to give up blue chip prospects at this point for anybody gives me an uneasy feeling. The recent Yankee and Red Sox runs have been done with a key group of home grown players—Phils are in this boat presently—they need to be careful not to rock this boat

  25. poconoPete

    July 16, 2009 at 8:48 am

    Tim the phillies a great team…thats like saying Obama is a great president ….come on the NL East sucks this year…and sucked last year…they’ll need more then luck to ever become great….but at least now they have a translator for Charlie….Pedro…we’ll all know what Charlie is saying….finally.

  26. Miles

    July 16, 2009 at 9:01 am

    PoconoPete….excuse us for playing in the best division in the NL for the greater part of the decade. The NL East has a bad three months and all of a sudden it is a joke to everyone….

    How about when the Cards won the series after winning 82 stinking games, which was 4 less than the Phils won that year if I’m not mistaken. Saying that WS winning teams are not great is the very definition of sour grapes, even if you don’t agree with how they got there.

    And how are the other National League divisions any better? The central is full of mediocre teams. Milwaukee, St. Louis, and Chicago are decent but I think most baseball experts would take the Phils head to head against any of them. The west has a dominant force in LA and a good young team in San Fran. The Rockies are ok, but are about as streaky as the Phils. The DBacks and Padres are brutal.

  27. Phan in TN

    July 16, 2009 at 9:06 am

    enjoyable read

  28. Jessep

    July 16, 2009 at 9:14 am

    Great article. Two great articles in two days. I’m mostly responding to David & Miles and the article here….With all due respect to Phillies fans, management and the team… to say they are like the Red Sox of the NL is a little overboard no? More people are paying to see the Cubs, Dodgers, Padres, Mets, Nats, and Braves on the road than they are the Phillies. Now I’m not saying those #s prove 100% that for instance the Nats are more liked (obviously it’s probably a cheaper ticket) but you gotta consider the Cubs, Dodgers and Mets and maybe even the Braves as having a large following on the road right now just based on the numbers. I mean… the white Sox won it a few years ago and they were celebrated at the AS Game also… you don’t see them as being the new great team of the AL do you?

    I totally agree that there is no way you should take a 2nd half into consideration for the All-Star Game. I didn’t see Melvin Mora get recognition for his 2nd half, did you? What about Adam LaRoche?

    If you honestly believe Howard deserved it over Sandoval you’re being too much of a homer. BUT I do believe Manuel earned the opportunity to pick Howard…. I just think Sandoval should have been on that team more than both Vic and Howard.

    I mean in the OF alone… Braun, Dunn, and Kemp are having better years than Victorino.

    Boston’s popularity grew when the new owners took over… not just in 2004. It wasn’t one series that did it… it was a snowball effect of fan relations, and improving the experience at Fenway and showing a willingness to go get the players they need. The 04 LCS was just the moment it all came together.

    And as for Pedro I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. He is exactly what Phils fans hated about the Mets. Hell he CREATED the atmosphere that you all hated so much… and now he’ll be wearing your uniform. Funny how things work out sometimes huh?

  29. Maverick

    July 16, 2009 at 9:16 am

    Tim, your writing sucks…. but not as bad as these other clowns you got on here… welcome back.

    btw.. anyone see that the Phillies have the most ESPN “Webgems” in all of baseball this year! I think this speaks to what tim was saying

  30. Morris Buttermaker

    July 16, 2009 at 9:17 am

    Pedro might bring the Phillies the swagger they need. I was thinking back when TO first joined the Eagles and how much fun that season was. The Eagles and their fans went into every single game thinking they would win. The Phillies are the World Series Champions and have 5 All-Stars, they need to start acting like it. No more getting swept at home by teams like the Orioles. And maybe the Phillies can start putting teams away early in the game, which they have done the past week. But there were a few game against the Red and the Pirates where they let them get out early, and had to come back. Those teams stink, the Phillies should put up runs early and often against them.

    And the NL East is pretty bad. The Marlins are a strong team who can hit, but have horrible fielding and mediocre pitching. The Mets and Braves can’t get anything going for more than a series. And the Nats are the worst team in baseball. The Phillies should have this division wrapped up by now.

  31. Jessep

    July 16, 2009 at 9:19 am

    Cards won 83 the year they won it all.

  32. Jessep

    July 16, 2009 at 9:23 am

    Josh Johnson is better than any starter on Philly right now… yet Florida has mediocre pitching eh?

  33. LH

    July 16, 2009 at 9:36 am

    Tim, you remind me of my brother who was blessed with a book and a pen in each hand out of the womb. Enjoyed your rebirth article.

  34. Don M

    July 16, 2009 at 10:14 am

    Josh Johsnon is one pitcher… a very good one..

    but the rest of there staff is nothing special.. I think the Braves have better pitching than the Marlins do

    Nolasco had to be sent down earlier.. maybe he’ll respond like Brett Myers last year, who knows? Andrew Miller and Chris Volstad might be really good one day.. but haven’t really shown that yet . Volstad can look nearly unhittable one game, and then have to be removed in the 3rd inning his next time out.

    He’s only 22 or 23 years old though, so he’ll be good.. but they’ll probably trade him by then

    Anibal Sanchez has been on the DL, after getting rocked to start the year..

    Marlins could be dangerous.. but I wouldn’t bet my money on them making the playoffs this year

  35. Don M

    July 16, 2009 at 10:17 am

    Braves are the team to watch

    Tommy Hanson = 2.85 ERA
    Jair Jurrgens = 2.91 ERA
    Javier Vazquez = 2.95 ERA
    Derek Lowe = 4.39 ERA
    K Kawakami = 4.45 ERA

    IF they can get any kind of steady offense (maybe Church replacing Franceour will help that?) they will really be a team to watch down the stretch

  36. Chuck

    July 16, 2009 at 10:28 am

    To take Morris’ point a bit further…..if Pedro never pitched a game but helped bring some “swagger” the Phillies need…..then the $1 million was very well spent. He would be sort of a glorified over-paid cheerleader. For the stretch run that could be very valuable.

    Jair Jurrjens is probably better than anyone on the Marlins staff besides Johnson.

  37. Geoff

    July 16, 2009 at 10:31 am

    The Braves are going to trade one of theier starters for a power bat I think. Dont forget, Tim Hudson is returning soon.

    Josh Johnson is diesel. Nolasco is good but has struggled this year. Chris Voltron is ok. Miller is ok. Their bullpen sucks.

    The Mets are all injured and I dont think theyll be back healthy long enough to really put something together.

  38. Don M

    July 16, 2009 at 10:39 am

    yea but Tim Hudson coming off Tommy John.. you have no idea what he can give you this year..

    They need to trade for a bat..

    Chipper Jones leads them in HRs with 9
    Yunel Escobar leads them in RBI with 44

    They need some offense to contend

  39. Manny

    July 16, 2009 at 10:39 am

    Don, Ricky Nolasco is already responding ala Brett Myers 2008… With the exception of his last outing, in which he gave up 7 runs despite striking out 8, Nolasco has a 1.54 ERA since coming back from AAA.

    I see your point about the Braves’ solid rotation –especially after adding Hanson–, but I’m still more scared of the Marlins. Hanley Ramirez (who started the season slowly) is finally getting into a groove and I expect him to carry this team, just like Pujols has been doing it with the Cardinals. The Braves don’t have a dangerous lineup at all, and I doubt that adding Church and McLouth will do the trick.

    I could definitely see the Marlins getting on a hot streak (with good pitching and hitting), but not the Braves (very good pitching but poor hitting).. Marlins seem more balanced.

  40. Jessep

    July 16, 2009 at 10:45 am

    The biggest acquisitions at the trade deadline in the NL East could very well be.

    Mets: Reyes, Beltran healthy.
    Braves: Hudson.

  41. Geoff

    July 16, 2009 at 10:55 am

    This is the weekend that big trades start to trickle in. This weekend last year Sabathia was traded. Harden was traded a year ago next week. Then the Phillies nabbed Blanton a few days after that.

    The first big trade I think will be Freddy Sanchez and possible Zach Duke going to the Gigantes for a deal built around Jonathan Sanchez, a good pitching prospect (oen of their big three stud starting pitchign prospects, but BUT baumgartner) and a good infield prospect.

    I heard the BRavos have been trying to trade Yunel Escobar because the manager doesnt like him…

  42. Amazinsux

    July 16, 2009 at 11:00 am

    I see jessup is back on the pipe again today. Try the Muts blog. That’s where all the losers are. You will fit right in there.

  43. Jessep

    July 16, 2009 at 11:05 am

    You set such a high standard of excellence among phillies fans amazin

  44. Miles

    July 16, 2009 at 11:11 am

    Yeah Geoff I heard Cox has pulled Escobar llike 4 or 5 different times this year for different idiotic things he has done on the field like not hustling or not trying in general.

    To continue the above discussion about the Phils growing popularity or lack thereof, it’s ridiculous to even suggest the Padres and Nats travel better than the Phils. There has been a noticeable Phan presence at every away series we’ve gone to this year. I would argue that we almost match Nats fans at their home games. Teams like the Mets and Yanks are always going to travel better because of the NY market, and Boston and the Cubs have longer, more storied franchises.

    And as I mentioned earlier, a whole generation of kids is growing up and seeing a team full of marketable players that they will attach themselves to. I think in 15 years there will be a much more legitimate “Phillies Nation” that was born with the nucleus of Utley, Howard, Rollins, Hamels, and Victorino.

  45. Jessep

    July 16, 2009 at 11:12 am

    And what did I say that was so “back on the pipe,” worthy? I know you hate to be riddled with facts about baseball. So… if the Mets get Reyes & Beltran back on August 1st healthy you don’t think that’s a bigger move in the NL East than if say the Phillies get Erik Bedard?

  46. Don M

    July 16, 2009 at 11:18 am

    I kinda think of it the other way… the Marlins are a swing for the fences kinda team, with no bullpen

    the Braves have pretty steady starting pitching.. Chipper Jones and Brian McCann both got off to slow starts.. and they have a solid bullpen..

    we’ll see.. I think the Marlins are going to fall away as the year goes on.

    When the Mets get healthy they’ll be solid again, but how much longer can they hang around .500 with their best players missing?

    I wonder if the Nationals will win 60 games this year? .. what is the least amount of wins any team ever had?

  47. Amazinsux

    July 16, 2009 at 11:21 am

    The Muts coughed up two big leads the past two seasons WITH your litlle hot dog shortstop and your regular CF, so what’s to worry about? The Phils can stand pat and the Muts can have all their “starters” back. Who cares? Doesn’t matter. History says they lose again, only difference they won’t choke out a lead, because they will never smell first place this year. Face facts, don’t dream!

  48. Georgie

    July 16, 2009 at 11:23 am

    TIIIIMMMMMM!!!!! Man oh man we miss you around here. When I saw your name at the top of the post, I thought it was just another tease, but, as someone else said, a few sentences in I knew it was you. Welcome back, if only for just a day or two at a time.

  49. Don M

    July 16, 2009 at 11:24 am

    damn.. the Phillies are on here a bunch of times in the 1930s and 1940s (Athletics too.. of the 23 teams on the list, Philadelphia teams are listed 9 times)

    Recent teams include:
    1962 Mets = 40 wins
    2003 Tigers = 43 wins

  50. Jessep

    July 16, 2009 at 11:29 am

    Don: 62 Mets won 40 out of 160 games… I think the Tigers in 03 won 43 out of 162, which I believe it ehw rost ever in 162 game season…

    Amazin… you’re too uneducated for me to respond to you anymore.

  51. Chuck

    July 16, 2009 at 11:36 am

    yeah, those ’62 Mets really sucked!!

    I knew the Phillies just HAD to be part of that club as well.

    What do the Nats have….26 wins??……would be awesome (just for the history of it) if they ended up with 39…..probably won’t happen though with 75 games or so to play.

    Braves/Marlins….Braves scare me more….because of the pitching. Next year could be a big season for them….alll the more reason the Phillies need to stay competitive…..either through trades for big pitchers or seeing the next crop of young players starting to show what they can do at the big-league level (ex:Drabek).

  52. Amazinsux

    July 16, 2009 at 11:38 am

    jessep: EXHALE!

  53. Maverick

    July 16, 2009 at 11:38 am

    dude I herd the phillies lost 10,000 games last year and still won the world seriies thats like impossible n stuff

  54. Jessep

    July 16, 2009 at 11:41 am

    Here’s a question I know I’ll regret but a few of you seem baseball savvy enough while others think the Mets could have an all-world team and they’d still suck…

    Do you overlook the Mets in the 2nd half because
    A) The last 2 years
    B) You don’t think they will get healthy in time.
    C) You think 6.5 games is too far back
    D) You think the Phillies will be THAT good in the 2nd half

    I’ll let you pick… 2 answers 🙂

  55. Chuck

    July 16, 2009 at 11:42 am

    10,000 over their HISTORY…not the whole season.

  56. Chuck

    July 16, 2009 at 11:51 am

    B) Because it’s more or less fact. Too many key guys out at the same time.

    D) I hope I’m right. But I think so. This is NOT the same team as the last two years at THIS point in the season. I think the big slump is over. Rauuuuul is back. Hamels hopefully gets it together. J-Roll is showing signs of life. We need pitching, but I think we’ll get it somehow.

    Can’t say A) because it’s not based in any sort of fact.

    Can’t say C) because 6.5 GB is really nothing. Teams come back from
    that all the time.

  57. Chuck

    July 16, 2009 at 11:54 am

    I should add, however, that you really can’t “overlook” anybody…..except maybe the Nats.

  58. Don M

    July 16, 2009 at 11:57 am

    I think its a combination of the first three.. and not to overlook that the Phillies are 10 games over .500 at the All-Star break, despite problems of our own (Hamels, Myers, Lidge, Rollins, Ibanez missing 22 games). .

    The Mets don’t have anyone that seems willing to carry the team.. Beltran showed that briefly in 2005?.. and was rewarded with a MONSTER contract because of it.. Reyes and Wright are both great talents.. but I sometimes think the pressure of playing in NY can be too much for a lot of players.. Delgado older and coming off injury once again.. Putz injured.. Johan Santana and Mike Pelfrey is a nice 1-2 punch to have.. but I think you combine all those factors, and I would be surprised if the Mets can somehow make the playoffs this year

    If the Phillies just play .500 ball the rest of the way.. they finish at 86-76 … I can’t imagine we don’t play above .500 ball, so that means that 90+ wins should be well within reach. If we add anything to our starting rotation, it gives us that much better a chance.

    Mets would need to play above .666 for the 2nd half to get a win total pushing 90.. I don’t see the Mets winning 2 of every 3 games in the 2nd half..

  59. Chuck P

    July 16, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    Great piece, Tim… simply great.

    I agree with it whole heartedly… the Phillies fan base travels better than any other team in the NL right now. I guess that a one/two year sample is probably not indicative of anything but winning championships doesn’t always equate to anything (the Rays are 25th in attendance this year) and this year, our attendance record speaks for itself. Actually, since we opened Citizen’s Bank Park, the attendance has been great and in my opinion, that was when this all started. It’s amazing what a new ballpark can do when it’s constructed with the fan in mind (not like some of the new ballparks that are being built where the driving force is the almighty buck)… the fact that Pedro is going to be wearing red pinstripes gives me the chills; the guy is an iconic figure. 5 all-stars plus Charlie… remarkable. I’m proud to be a Phillies fan.

  60. Chuck

    July 16, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    Just because the Phillies overcame the Mets the last 2 years and went on to win the diivision doesn’t mean that that could happen again this year if the situation was the same. That’s why I say that you really can’t include A because there is nothing to really base it on. The Mets aren’t the same team this year, either. Chances are thery’re not even in the race in mid-Sept. But who knows.

  61. Crystal

    July 16, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    It is called Phillies Nation for a reason! If you don’t like them go blog someplace else. Tim does a great job and it is good to see him back. Of course he loves the Phil’s – he is a Philly boy. Keep up the good work Tim – those of us who know and love you will always be here for you.

  62. Jessep

    July 16, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    Chuck P: Can I ask where you came up with the Phillies traveling better than any fan base in the NL? Do you have any statistical proof of that? To me, Cubs and Dodger fans travel better than any fan base in the NL. That’s based on their road games attendance… again right now the Phillies Road Attendance average is 9th in mlb so I don’t see how you can make that statement?

    04 Attendance 4th.
    05 10th
    06 11th
    07 9th
    08 4th
    09 2nd

    I don’t think it was the stadium. I think it’s last year’s title. 2010 and 2011’s attendance will be a better indicator since in the 1st 6 years of the ballpark

  63. Maverick

    July 16, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    Duh Chuck… i’m not an RTard… just trying to lighten it up a bit in here…. can get frosty at times when mets fans decide to post.

  64. Jessep

    July 16, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    Pat G: By the way. 2001 the Red Sox won 82 games and were 2nd in attendance % in MLB. That was 3 years prior to their title/fans having real hope. So you cannot compare the Phils now to the Red Sox fanbase/attendance loyalty because it’s just purely fictional.

  65. Maverick

    July 16, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    I want to say that I think they Mets can stay in it since they are only 6.5 back with 76 left to play….. but unless something catastrophic happens to the phils i dont think they can do it…

    at 6.5 back they are on the verge of writing off this season….and they start the 2nd half with a 4 game road trip to Hotlanta..

    I looked at the pitching matchups and Atlanta has the edge…if they can manufacture any type of run support it could be the end of the Mets….if they go 1-3 and fall 9 games out of first.. i think they are toast.

  66. Chuck

    July 16, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    maverick…..just to set the record straight….I’m not a Met’s fan.

  67. Don M

    July 16, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    Dodgers don’t even sell out their own Home Games

    there aren’t a whole ton of Philadelphia-transplants around the country.. most people either stay around the Delaware Valley, or go to Florida

    Boston is FREEZING COLD and lots of people move away from Boston… part of that is caused by old money, and the cost of property up there, etc..

    so there are people from New England all over the country..

    The last three times I went on Phillies road trips.. Camden Yards was at least half Phillies fans, and this was about 10 years ago or so.

    2006 in Boston, where in Cask-n-Flagon bar behind the Green Monster.. countless people mentioned that no opposing fans ever go into Boston and take over the city the way Phillies fans did that weekend, “not even Yankee fans”

    and last year in Chicago for the Cubs series… where the Cubs fans actually liked everyone, because they too hated the METS, and said that they didn’t want to play us in the playoffs because we had such a dangerous team..

    all of these series were pretty close to half-full of Phillies fans.. maybe the fact that we play lots of games against the Nationals, Marlins, and Braves (who don’t get great attendance to begin with) drives down our overall numbers … but I’d be willing to bet that Nats and Marlins games are probably 50-50 between home team fans, and Phillies fans

  68. Jessep

    July 16, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    Totally agree. This is a huge stretch for the NL East right off the bat.

    Mets @ Atlanta, @ Wash
    Atlanta vs. Mets, vs. Giants
    Florida v. Philly, @ SD
    Philly @ Florida, vs. Cubs

    Tonight until July 23rd could paint a HUGE picture of what we can expect from the NL East. Because you have your inter division matchups and then a series the Mets and Marlins SHOULD win (and if they don’t they are in trouble) and then series’ that COULD give Philly/Atlanta trouble.

  69. Jessep

    July 16, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    Dodgers don’t even sell out their own Home Games — that’s a silly argument to make. If you go by #s they are 3rd in overall average attendance at home… their stadium holds over 50k. If they played in Philly’s stadium they’d be at 99% attendance.

    The Dodgers have the 3rd best road average attendance in baseball behind the Yanks & Cubs with Boston right behind them. Hence they are the 4 best travel teams in Baseball.

    10 years ago phillies fans took over Camden because your stadium was garbage and it was worth the trip to see a baseball game in a nice stadium.

    I won’t even comment on your interleague theory in Boston. Yankees play the Red Sox in Boston how many times a year? You played them what 3 times in 4 years? Combine all the yankee fans that go into Boston in 4 years for every game, and then tell me they don’t travel as well as the Phillies fans did for 3 games. Ridiculous.

    There is a whole lot of baseball being played outside Philadelphia. Get to know the other teams and their markets better and then bring me a better argument. Last year you guys were THIRTEENTH in Average attendance on the road. Thirteenth.

    I’m not saying you don’t have loyal fans that do some travelling…. but you’re not a National Team (maybe one day) let alone the Top travelling team in the NL.

  70. CZ

    July 16, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    Michael Taylor, the prized prospect who’s name has been tossed around in Halladay rumors, has been promoted to AAA today. He will probably suit up tonight.

    Who knows what this means to his value.

  71. Georgie

    July 16, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    Oh no, I’m going to the Reading Phils game tonight and I was REALLY looking forward to seeing him, CRAP!

    I mean, good for him, but couldn’t they have waited just one more day?

    Anyone know who’s pitching at Reading tonight? Drabek, by any chance?

  72. Don M

    July 16, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    Phillies at Dodgers in a rematch of the NLCS …
    for Thursday’s opening game of that series they had a whopping 33,839..
    Friday, they had 52,538 fans …

    Saturday afternoon.. June 6th FOX game of the week… 41,412 fans
    and Sunday night ESPN game they had 42,288

    is an average of 42,500 for that series.

    The Dodgers hosting the Mets in May:
    Game 1 = 37,136
    Game 2 = 37,857
    Game 3 = 50,761 (must have been giving out Mannywood wigs or something?)

    Dodgers fans suck at life..

  73. Don M

    July 16, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    watch Quinten Berry at Reading.. he’s got lots of tools.. and he’s flying under the radar

    Pitching for Reading tonight is.. Yohan Flande, who was in the FUTURES game with Drabek last weekend

  74. Chuck

    July 16, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    I don’t think anyone’s saying that the Phillies are a NATIONAL team, like the Red Sox, Yankees, etc. What’s being said is that compared to the Phillies of generations ago the city and the team have come a long way. It’s just a natural evolution that has been helped along by better marketing

  75. Chuck

    July 16, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    I don’t think anyone’s saying that the Phillies are a NATIONAL team, like the Red Sox, Yankees, etc. What’s being said is that compared to the Phillies of generations ago the city and the team have come a long way. It’s just a natural evolution that has been helped along by better marketing among other things.

  76. Chuck

    July 16, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    ^ sorry….too distracted at work….

  77. Georgie

    July 16, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    Thanks Don, I’ve been hearing alot about Flande, so that’s good. I’ll be sure to check out Berry as well. I’m really feeling sorry for myself because I missed M.T. by ONE day though.

  78. Don M

    July 16, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    I think Tim’s point was that this team has arrived on a National Scene… people know who does what for the Phillies with a few MVPs and a World Series I think that this will last longer than the White Sox brief stint..

    My point was that the Phillies travel well… to every road game I have ever been to, Baltimore, Washington DC, Boston, Chicago … and my point was that Red SOx fans were saying they couldn’t believe how many Phillies fans were there.

    Is it our fault that we don’t get to play in Fenway a lot? Does it mean less because the Yankees get to play there more? … i understand the point you’re trying to make, but I dont think you get mine..

    Phillies rank 4th in overall attendance.. (Home + Road avg.) … behind the Yankees, Dodgers, and Cubs … but ahead of the Mets, Red Sox, and Cardinals

    Phillies HOME attendance sales are at 101.1 % …Dodgers are at 77.4%… Only Boston is higher than Phillies at 101.6%

    If you’re really into ROAD attendance.. please tell me how and why so many people are turning up for PADRES and NATIONALS games?? as they rank 5th and 7th, respectively, in ROAD attendance

    I would hope that teams with long histories, teams from big markets, and team playing well would be the teams that draw big crowds both at home, and on the road.. that isn’t always the case..

    Furthermore, I hope you are as confused by all of this as I am

  79. Jessep

    July 16, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    ha he’s probably flying under the radar because he has a .700 OPS in AA baseball. .336 SLG %? Wow that’s bad.

  80. Jessep

    July 16, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    Okay for starters… Home + Road. The Red Sox are at 101% Home attendance and have roughly 6,000 LESS seats to fill than teams like Philly… so I’m trying to take them as they are.

    And again Dodgers are at 77.4% at home, which would be 98.5% inside Citizens Bank. So you can’t use that % completely… and I said way earlier that the Road #s aren’t 100% because of teams like the Nats being up there which if I had to guess… why not buy a ticket when your team is playing them? You know you’ll see a W!

    When you talk about fans that travel well and are spread across the U.S… your discussion has to start with the Yanks, Red Sox, Cubs and Dodgers and it ends with everyone else. They’ve got the road fans coming out even if they didn’t win it all last year.

    Right now they have YEARS AND YEARS of statistical evidence that proves more people go to see them on the Road than the Phillies. Their #s aren’t attributed to a few good years, it’s an actual loyalty no matter the record. It can’t be touched by any other teams right now.

  81. Jessep

    July 16, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    “With the trade deadline fast approaching, financial concerns may have an effect on whether the New York Mets can add a prominent name to their roster for the stretch run, writes the New York Post. Team owner Frank Wilpon reportedly lost $700 million in Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.

    Wilpon insists, however, that it “will not affect the day-to-day operations and long-term plans of the Mets organization.”

    —- my god… 700 million dollars. That’s sickening

  82. Don M

    July 16, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    Well he’s not as good as all those stud Mets prospects..

    but for a small guy 6’1″ 165 lbs..

    2007 – 55 Steals, .312 avg
    2008 – 51 Steals, .272 avg
    2009 – 32 Steals, .282 avg at the All-Star break

    lots of speed, can hit for average at every level so far, including .311 last year in the Arizona Fall League.. and plays good defense, probably CF

  83. The Big Dipper

    July 16, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    I don’t mind having Mets fans posting on the board to discuss some serious baseball issues but please don’t bring your Mets news here. I honestly don’t mind reading about it and I agree that number is in fact INSANE! But I know how some people will react and I don’t feel like reading them bitch about that when we could be actually discussing baseball and in particular the Phillies. Especially since the Mets bashers here tend to stray from the facts and use stupid arguments like hey the Mets suck and they choke, it gets old and annoying real fast.

    The Big Dipper

  84. Don M

    July 16, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    I think its the number of fans.. but you have to take % into consideration definitely.. if we could fit 55,000 fans into CBP .. those games would be sellouts too

    Don’t the teams from all the bigger markets have that many more fans to begin.. based on population?.. which is why they are the BIGGER MARKETS

    NY, Chicago, LA, and New England.. are all bigger markets than Philadelphia..

    whatever the point you are trying to make, just make it..
    Tim was either saying that the Phillies are more popular WITH PHILLIES FANS then they were before.. or he’s saying that the Phillies are more popular on a National scale

    I think both statements are true..

    I would hope that the Mets had more fans nationwide than the Phillies do, based on the Population of New York and North Jersey.. and the fact that lots of people from New York (and Boston) move to other parts of the country would indicate how NATIONS spread.. why the NY teams, Chicago teams, LA teams, and Boston are big draws wherever they play..

  85. Jessep

    July 16, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    Yah was more pustting this with the discussion earlier about the Mets not being a factor in the NLeast but I get ya. That was from not any mets site.

    Back to Berry… .700 OPS doesn’t cut it in AA, certainly doesn’t cut it in the big leagues either. Hitting .282 in AA and slugging under .350 means he’d be something like a .230 hitter in MLB.

    In summation. .700 OPS in AA.

  86. Richie Allen

    July 16, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    Great to hear from you Tim.

    I agree that the situation in Philly is totally different now as opposed to most years past with regard to attendance ,fan support.competitiveness of the team etc.The new stadium had a lot to do with it.

    But can we become a Real Force by getting that Big Pitcher?
    The waiting is killing me!Pedro was just a tease.

  87. Don M

    July 16, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    What do SLG and BATTING AVG have to do with one another??

    SLG is the total number of bases, divided by the at-bats … so a HR hitter, who gets 4 Total Bases for each HR.. counting as one at-bat, would have a high SLG%

    It means he’s a singles hitter.. it has nothing to do with batting average

    Jose Reyes has a SLG% of like .750 this season, and .775 for his career.. but he’s dangerous when he gets on and steals bases …

    learn some baseball.

    you don’t think that a guy with 50+ Stolen Bases in two straight seasons is impressive?… Shane Victorino doesn’t hit a ton of HRs ..but he plays good defense and steals some bases .. and nobody saw him coming either

  88. Jessep

    July 16, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    Um… the reason I posed his slugging is because it’s embarrsingly low. What do SLG and Batting avg have to do with one another? Well… let’s see.

    In Major League Baseball right now… you know how many qualified hitters have a SLG less than .336? 5. 5 out of 168 hitters. And that’s against big league hitting not AA pitchers!

    Berry’s AA stats will translate to a guy like Willy Tavares on Cincy. If that’s a good player then I guess I really do need to learn baseball.

    BTW Victorino’s slugging is .464.

    To sum up your comparison of Victorino v. Berry:

    At age 24, Victorino hit 16HR, drove in 43 runs and slugged .534 in AAA with an OPS of .911. So who didn’t see him coming?

    At age 24, Berry has hit 2HR, drove in 17RBI and sluggs .336 for an OPS of .703 in 9 more games than Victorino played

    Again… fun to make up stuff but it sucks when people have facts to prove things huh? Berry is 54th in OPS in AA… and it’s not like he’s having a tough year, the guy hasn’t had an OPS over .800 yet in his pro career………..

  89. Jessep

    July 16, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    By the way. Things you shouldn’t be allowed to say ever.

    “Jose Reyes has a SLG% of like .750 this season, and .775 for his career.. but he’s dangerous when he gets on and steals bases …” Followed by “learn some baseball.”

    If Reyes slugged 750% I’m pretty sure you’d be on some metsblog right now talking about how he’s the greatest hitter you’ve ever seen.

  90. Don M

    July 16, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    My bad.. I meant OPS not just SLG%

    I usually don’t go by “AGE” of prospects, instead how long they have been “PROFESSIONAL” baseball players.. since college baseball is much different from being in a farm system and having that as your job..

    So I was looking more into Victorino’s first full seasons in the minors..

    2001 (age 20) he hit .282 and stole 47 bases.. SLG% .744
    2002 (age 21) he hit .258 and stole 45 bases.. SLG% .646

    Victorino wasn’t protected in the RULE V DRAFT, which is how the Phillies got him.. he then signed a minor league deal and had a great season at AAA …become the MVP of the International League

    looking at his numbers from 2001 and 2001 .. you wouldn’t have seen that coming.

    you’re doing a pretty good job of being a dcik though, as I tried to give a fellow Phillies fan something to watch at Reading tonight with Taylor being promoted to AAA.. I wanted to point out an explosive type player to keep an eye on

    I’d imagine that a 24-year-old guy will develop more power as he reaches his prime.. so expect more power from Berry and better speed.

    His stats kinda resemble BJ UPTON’s season so far.. .701 OPS, 31 steals .. except that Upton is only hitting .239 right now

    Give me the minor league player with the higher average, who will gain power as he gets older.. instead of the SLUGGER who can’t hit for average because its a hell of a lot easier to develop power than it is to develop being a contact hitter.. or speed

  91. Don M

    July 16, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    And now I personally hope that Berry is a Sept call-up.. and steals 5 bases in the series against the Mets from Sept. 11th-13th

  92. Jessep

    July 16, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    You know what the difference is between his stats and BJ Upton’s?

    Upton’s playing in the major leagues!!!! Not Double A! You can’t sit here and tell me you think Berry is as good as BJ Upton can you?

  93. David

    July 16, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    @Dipper, point taken, and well said. The most tellin of baseball intelligence is the use of the word “Muts” as a name for a baseball team. Why not use the word “Fags”, its just as immature and to some, just as derogatory

    @Jessep, Three cheers sir. Thank you for bringing some logic to your arguments. Regardless of what team anyone likes, if you make a fact based argument, you will always have credibility. Its nice to see someone try to do that

    @the Phils fans, As much as I hate to say it, enjoy your division, because, barring an injury or three, you should take this thing. On pure talent, as of today, you have the best lineup in the league, and a good pen when Lidge is “right”. Your pitching has been crap this year, but does anyone really believe Hamels will be bad all year? probably not. Plus, you will probably bite the bullet and trade 4 of your best 7 prospects to get Halladay, or 3 of your best 9 prospects to get someone like Bedard, which will only make your pitching all the better. Math doesn’t lie, and the math is on the Phils side. They will get to 92 unless they get hit with the injury bug from their good friends in NY. So enjoy it ladies and gents, because times like these, as you know, are few and far between. God, is it football season yet?

  94. Don M

    July 17, 2009 at 9:36 am

    Did I say that I think Quintin Berry is as good as BJ Upton ??


    But I know that good players step there game up to the next level as their talents develops.. so a young guy that hits for a decent average and has good speed at one level.. shouldn’t have that much trouble still using that speed and hitting for average as he develops his own game and moves on to the next level…

    If you want to talk baseball, by all means.. but if you want to sit there a pick at what people post.. ask us why we think the Mets won’t make the playoffs, and then disagree with us, etc.. you’re going to get a tough time getting responses soon

  95. Jessep

    July 17, 2009 at 9:47 am

    When you say a guys minor league stats resemble a player who is having a bad year in MLB this year… that’s called comparing, and also falsley comparing. At 24 if Berry was gonna be a legit major leaguer, he’d be playing like one in AA right now. He’s not. He may one day be a bench player or call up here and there but none of his professional stats say he’s a major leaguer now or in the future. Just because he wears a Phillies uniform doesn’t cancel out the fact he’s at best a singles hitter against AA pitching which makes him likely a ground out hitter in the major leagues.

  96. Don M

    July 17, 2009 at 9:57 am

    i would call you a nerd, but i’m not a big fan of people starting cyber-fights and name calling..

    I said his name yesterday as someone to watch to a fellow Phillies fan that was going to a game that he happened to be playing in..

    in the past few seasons, we’ve had guys like Shane Victorino, Michael Bourn, Greg Golson etc.. as guys that came up from the minors (even with their low OPS and SLG%) .. they got plugged into games as defensive replacements, pinch runners, etc.. and helped the Phillies win games.

    Quintin Berry has stolen over 50 bases in each of his first two full season in the minors.. and I said that he had over 30 already this year.. but was actually hitting for a decent average, and can play good defense too

    then went on to say that nobody would have thought Shane Victorino was going to be a stud either… in my opinion Berry has the same kinda tools that Shane does (I didn’t say Berry would be an All-Star, and MVP, Gold Glove winner or anything like that) …

    you then started some rant about Berry sucks because his OPS isn’t high (I then pointed out that OPS counts SLG% ..and this guy isn’t a power hitter, so of course it won’t be high … but as he gets older, he would probably develop more power.)

    you said that for some reason his OPS at AA would translate into him not being able to hit the ball (even for singles, using his speed?) in the Major Leagues one day .. ??

    I really don’t know where you are trying to go with your argument .. Berry is a name that isn’t talked about much.. but hits leadoff for the Reading Phillies, who have put together a pretty good season so far (51-39 record) .. Obviously this guy is helping them win games.. he will probably help a AAA team win games when he develops enough to move to that level .. and he POSSIBLY would help a Major League team win games..

    …thought some Phillies fans might want to know who is helping our farm teams.. not sure why a Mets fan cares so much though

  97. NJ

    July 17, 2009 at 10:06 am

    Reading this little mini battle between you too over Berry, Jessep think your being quite harsh on the kid. I don’t think Don M has said Berry’s going to be a legit major leaguer and all-star calibre player but his stats suggest he could contribute and if he’s got solid defence could be an everyday player because his numbers are solid.

    OPS isn’t the most important stat for a guy like Berry who’s not going to come up and hit in the heart of the line-up, he isn’t going to light it up with his bat but his stats show he can pick up hits, he walks and he’s a very good base-runner. Of the top 10 base-stealers in the majors only two have an OPS above .806. OPS just devalues a guy who could come up and contribute in other ways, not everyone needs to star as a minor leaguer, just show progression and a skillset. There’s nothing in his minor league numbers to suggest Berry wont make it up to the majors..

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