Brian Michael’s Interview with – Phillies Nation

Brian Michael’s Interview with

Brandon Lee of Mets Paradise recently sat down with Phillies Nation’s Brian Michael for an interview about the Phillies. Before they ripped each others heads off, Brandon was able to ask Brian some question about the Phillies, what he thinks of the Mets, how he thinks the Phillies will do this year, and more:

Brandon Lee:  There’s been a lot made about the Mets/Phillies rivalry, what do you think about it? How do you see the Mets?

Brian Michael: Honestly, I loathe Mets fans (and the Mets) – probably because we are so alike in many ways. We both have that inferiority complex that we’re afraid to admit, are fans from birth, are knowledgeable about our teams, and won’t back down from a fight. The rivalry on the field almost got interesting, but then the Mets faded as the Phillies made the playoffs. Conversely, the Mets were good in previous years but the Phillies were not. When both teams are playing up to their potential, it’s one of the best rivalries in baseball.

BL: Personally, my favorite player on the Phillies is Chase Utley, just love the way he plays. Are there any players on the Mets that you like, or do you hate them all?

BM: Everyone hates Jose Reyes (including I’m sure plenty of Mets fans). Daniel Murphy is starting to be a Phillie-killer, so I’m not digging him either. I used to like David Wright, until he went ice cold last year. But, you have to respect Johan and his competitive spirit to be the best. Like Halladay, that’s the kind of guy you want on your team.

BL: Yeah, I can understand why some people don’t like Jose but personally, I’m a huge fan of him. You mentioned Roy Halladay, who the Phillies made a big trade for this off-season. What do you think of the trade? Do you think the Phillies are better off with him instead of Cliff Lee, considering who else they gave up?

BM: Well, I think they would have been best with BOTH of them, but I guess you can’t be greedy. The way the business end of things sat, it made more sense to get Halladay. Lee was certainly a fan favorite and no one will forget his dominance down the stretch and in the playoffs. But to lock down Halladay for 4 years is something you can’t pass up. I will say this though, the Phillies may have overestimated how difficult it would have been to resign Lee, but you can’t bank on that.

BL: True, but the Phillies could have signed Lee for less than $20M and kept some prospects… but it’s a though call because Halladay is a better pitcher. There is a lot made about where the Phillies play (Citizen Bank Park), being an easy park to hit in. As someone who watches the Phillies a lot, do you see a significant difference between home runs on the home and road? Do you ever see a ball hit on the road that doesn’t get out, that you thought might have been out at Citizen Bank Park?

BM: The Phillies are an offensive juggernaut, there’s no denying that. Their lineup is built around speed (top 3), power (middle 3) and contact (bottom 3) and is legit top to bottom. As for CBP, the Phillies were top in the NL in homers both at home and on the road. In fact, they hit 8 more homers on the road. Boston, Texas and the Yankees all hit more homers at home. I think the new Yankee Stadium has become the new band box of MLB. But yes, I’ve certainly seen balls hit that would be homers at CBP and not other places… both of our teams play lots of games at the Marlins huge park… not to mention Citi Field.

BL: Good point, I don’t think the Phillies are good because of the park they play in. Just ridiculous to think that that’s the reason they are the best team in the NL. Speaking of the park, I’ve been there a few times and its absolutely gorgeous. I feel like Citi Field and Citizens Bank Park have a very similar feel to them, in that they are both very modern. What is your favorite part of the park? Do you think they could do anything to make it better?

BM: I was sad to see Veteran’s Stadium go since it was a place I grew up in, but Citizens Bank Park has overwhelmingly made up for that loss. The food and drinks and sight lines are amazing. We had a big road trip up to Citi Field last season (and will again this season) and I think most people would agree that it’s similar to the Bank. I just think there are way too many ads around the stadium, and what’s with the policy of no grilling in stadium lots? That sucks.

BL: Yeah, I was very sad to see Shea go. Me and my dad were at one of the last games there and we left the stadium in tears. Cole Hamels was one of the best pitchers in baseball in 2007 and 2008, but then he struggled in 2009. What do you make of this? Do you think it was just an off year or have hitters figured him out?

BM: Well, it was a variety of things. Mainly, Cole was not able to get in the conditioning during the off-season that he was accustomed to. With a World Series MVP comes many responsibilities (like banquets and appearances), opportunities (like those ESPN Magazine commercials) and interviews; so he spent less time working out. Also he never had a great 3rd pitch, so he couldn’t get out of trouble when he didn’t have his stuff. However this year, he has recognized the need to stay sharp and has also improved his curve and developed a cutter.

BL: Hypothetically speaking, if Chase Utley’s, Ryan Howard’s and Cole Hamels’ contracts all expired at the same time, and you could only keep one of them, which one would it be?

BM: It depends what time, but I would say Chase at this point.

BL: The Phillies traded Kyle Drabek, Michael Taylor and Travis d’Arnaud in the Halladay trade. Who do you think was the biggest lose? Who’s the top prospect in the Phillies system now?

BM: I think as a pitcher Kyle Drabek had the most potential to help the Phillies on a major league level. It’s hard to judge prospects of course, Carlos Carrasco was supposed to be awesome, but he failed to impress after being traded last season. For this year though, I’d say Domonic Brown is the top prospect. He can hit for power and is fast and would be a solid addition to most outfields – but probably not for another year.

BL: Jayson Werth is going to be a free agent after this year. Do you think the Phillies will hold onto him, or let him walk? What kind of contract would you offer to him?

BM: Werth is going to be expensive, both in general and for the Phillies to keep considering Howard’s and Rollins’ contracts are expiring soon as well. I would offer 3 years / $45 million, but he’ll probably find a better one.

BL: The Phillies line-up is amazing, one of the best in baseball. But what do you think is the biggest weakness for this team?

BM: The bullpen. It was shaky last year and may have even cost them the Series. There has been quite a bit of turnover this year, but most are still question marks. I’m pretty confident in the rotation, lineup and defense.

BL:For the Mets, a lot of their hope for this season is resting on Oliver Perez (it’s a scary thought). Is there a player on the Phillies that you feel, if they perform well, the Phillies will be success in 2010?

BM: Brad Lidge, no question.

BL: Placido Polanco is back with the Phillies after spending time there from 2002-2005. He’s a second baseman and he’s won two Gold Gloves there but now he is going to move to third. How do you think he is going to do there? Do you think he fits well in the Phillies line-up? Where do you think he’ll hit in the line-up with Rollins and Victorino at the top of the order already?

BM: Offensively he is an improvement over Feliz, but defensively I think he might struggle with the new position. Second to third is a much bigger leap than one to or from shortstop. In the lineup he doesn’t have to do anything amazing a .260 clip is fine with me. He’ll probably hit 7th.

BL: Who do you think is the biggest threat to the Phillies crown of best team in the NL East as well as the best team in the National League?

BM: I would say the Braves in the east, maybe the Mets, but there are so many ifs with you guys (if they stay healthy, if Perez rebounds). The Nats won’t be as bad as they’ve been, so I think the East will be much more competitive than recent years. Overall in the NL I think the Cards will be the toughest.

BL: Overall, what did you think of the Phillies offseason? What do you think they could of done better?

BM: I think it was decent. Ruben Amaro is positioning himself as a premier GM in baseball by going out and getting the pieces the team needs to win.  Sometimes he may be a bit quick to sign someone, almost bidding against himself at times, but things have worked out so far. I think his hands were tied with the Lee deal so I don’t fault him for that. Obviously it would have been great to keep him though. The Polanco deal was ok, but I would have liked to see less of a liability in the field. The Phils havea history of strong defensive third basemen.

BL: Last question, where do you see the Phillies finishing in 2010? Do you think this team is better than the ones from 2008 and 2009?

BM: World Series Champs. They are better on paper than the previous teams and have the experience.

BL: Yeah, fans have to be confident with the team the Phillies have put together.

BM: For sure.

BL: Well that’s all I have, thanks for your time. Looking forward to this season, should be really interesting

BM: Yeah definitely. Thank you too.



  1. BurrGundy

    February 27, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    Good interview. Citizens Bank Park is much better than the Vet. And Shea Stadium was awful. A lot of comments that I agree with and it is good to hear from other teams’ fans.

  2. Manny

    February 27, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    Good interview, but Brian, you’re OK with Polanco batting .260?? That would be awful!

  3. Chris Martin

    February 27, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    Lights will guide you home. And ignite your bones. I will try to fix you.

  4. MOAB

    February 27, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    i’m pretty sure amaro and manuel said many times that polanco will be batting 2nd.

    seriously, manny… 260? wtf

  5. fan at birth

    February 27, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    Jose Reyes used HGH says report

  6. WFC010

    February 27, 2010 at 11:46 pm

    HAHAHA, not surprised about Jose Reyes!

    Nobody likes that guy anyway.

    But seriously here, I cannot bring myself to hate the Mets…simply because they have had so many years of bad luck and just plain terrible playing, that I see more of the Phillies in them than many Mets(or Phillies!) fans would care to admit.

    The only New York team I hate doesn’t need to be named, since you all know who it is.

  7. fan

    February 28, 2010 at 12:27 am

    Fan at birth, how did you do on your reading comprehension tests? I presume your test scores were not laudable. Jose Reyes utilized this doctor’s “state of the art” blood spinning treatment, which is legal; yet you immediately conclude that Reyes used HGH. That’s a brilliant assessment. In addition, the innate arrogance and imperious tone on this board is almost comical. Yes, the Phillies are a very good team; but, you seem to forget that the Mets were plagued by unprecedented injuries last year. I wouldn’t start flying the 2010 NL East champion flag just yet.

  8. mikaels19

    February 28, 2010 at 1:45 am

    if the mets had won the division the last three years and made the world series twice and won it all once, added arguably the best pitcher in baseball to a roster that didn’t lose any really significant pieces and probably upgraded its bench you would probably feel pretty confident that the mets would be favorites to win the east again this year and have a good chance to make the world series again. why would you expect phillies fans to not feel confident going into this season?

  9. NJ

    February 28, 2010 at 10:51 am

    I have to say it’s not what Polanco hits so much as how he hits. Hasn’t the last couple of years taught us the Phils are awesome offensively but the stats get padded out by offensive explosions and not consistent situational hitting, Polanco will help set the table no matter the numbers and that’s whats important.

    Feel sorry for the Mets sometimes now with a good friend as a Mets fan, the Fish and Braves are far superior teams but as contenders and on the farm. They have Johan, Bay and Wright in the worst ballpark to be in with their bats, Reyes back will help sure and K-Rod’s not gonna hurt them but they only have a couple of legit major league prospects and a lot of major league trash and young guys either in or will be in bad roles to develop. Once again would like to shake Gillick and Amaro’s hands… Could have gone the Mets way and can’t be blamed on this off-seasons finances.

  10. Brian Michael

    February 28, 2010 at 11:53 am

    I don’t think anyone forgets all the Mets’ injuries last year. Maybe if their front office wasn’t so incompetent they could have overcome that.

    Injuries are no excuse for losing.

  11. therookie300

    February 28, 2010 at 11:56 am

    I also really dislike Reyes. I don’t even think I would like him if he was on the Phils. That aside though he is a devastating player when he is healthy. He is a super dangerous player on the basepaths. He puts a lot of pressure on the defense to make perfect plays and the pitcher and catcher to be perfectly in sync.

  12. The Dipsy

    February 28, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    I think Beltran is toast. I don’t think his legs will ever be the same and I think that knee will always give him problems. Even though he’s a Met, I thinks it a real shame because he is a helluva ballplayer. Love that Gary Mathews, Jr. signing. Are you kidding me? Omar Minaya must be brain dead. That tells me that he thinks Beltran might be cooked. I like their rotation a little. That said, I pick them for fourth.

    The Dipsy

  13. NJ

    February 28, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    Minaya has had a terrible off-season, as good as the Bay signing was for the money he can’t play anywhere other than left so who’s playing right? No other other than Francour unless your going with Pagan… Terrible roster right now even worse on the pitching, trashcan middle relief.

  14. Manny

    February 28, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    NJ, what I don’t understand is how you can be OK with a .260 clip for Polanco when he’s a .303 career hitter. And if Polanco actually hits .260 (I don’t think it will happen –no freaking way) we’ll be WORSE offensively than last year. Freaking Feliz hit higher than .260. We should be expecting an offensive upgrade…

  15. Manny

    February 28, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    ^^…especially with a contact hitter like Polanco. He should be hitting for a high average.

  16. The Dipsy

    February 28, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    Polanco can: sacrifice, hit to the right side, hit behind the runner, and play hit and run, and not strikeout. No one else on the team other than Utley could do those things when asked.

    The Dipsy

  17. The Second John

    February 28, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    I would not be okay if Polanco hits .260 this year. Not only would that be a huge decline from last year, that decline means he’ll decline more in 2011. That would mean the extra year jr. gave Polanco was a HUGE mistake.

    As far as Reyes goes, I hope that he didn’t use steroids, because that would just be another blow to baseball.

    I still think we’re all underestimating the Mets. If the Phills had as much injuries as the Mets had to their key players, then the Phillies wouldn’t contend either. I’m not saying they’re gonna win the world series, but they’re definitely gonna challenge the Phills.

  18. Vernon Dozier

    February 28, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    My 2010 NL East Champions flag is already flying. If you’ve watched the Mets closely over the years (as painful as that may be) the one thing you’ve learned is that whatever can go wrong does go wrong for that team. The Braves are the team to watch out for – especially if Heyward is everything they think he is…

  19. Jeff of Nova

    February 28, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    Great interview Brian!!

    My prediction for the NL East


    Yup it is not with the rest of the world thinks, but I have some hunches, Also The mets have way to many holes and iffs

  20. Djp1899

    February 28, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    Yeah don’t forget though that PECOTA predicted a 92-70 first place finish for the Mets last year with the Phillies just missing the wild card. They’ve added Bay/lost Delgado and Beltran will miss some time, but they’re going to be playing with 2009 in mind.

    Bottom line…they still make me nervous.

  21. Jeff of Nova

    February 28, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    I agree, with them making me nervous, actually everyone in the NL east makes me nervous!

  22. WFC010

    February 28, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    All 4 of the other teams in the NLEast are highly capable this year, the Nationals have improved a ton, and the Mets are a great team when everyone is healthy, although there are a lot of questions surrounding their pitching. The Braves are as scary as they have ever been in the recent past, and the Marlins have proven that they can field a great team even with a tiny payroll.

  23. Tyler

    February 28, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    Jeff of Nova… off-topic but do u actually go 2 nova cuz im considerin it and was wonderin wat u think of it.

  24. bfo_33

    March 1, 2010 at 7:18 am

    Interesting exchange, but I think Brian had a minor stroke before discussing PP. 0.260 avg for a career .303 hitter who is hitting in front of 4 of the top 20 offensive players in the NL? Bill James, Chone, Fangraphs,…, all project him to hit in the mid .290’s, 9 hr, 35 walks, 50 strikeouts, and Charlie has repeatedly stated that he was going to hit 2nd. Even if you consider the switch to 3rd may impact his offense (which I don’t think it will), I have a hard time seeing anything less than .285.
    When he’s healthy and his head is in the game, Reyes is one of the scariest players in baseball. Fortunately for us, he hasn’t been healthy for the last 1-1/2 yrs, and I think it would be a stretch to think he’ll play 140 games this year.

  25. David, the Mets fan from Queens

    March 1, 2010 at 9:10 am

    Regardless of all the statistics mentioned on this board thus far, which we all know can be unreliable at times, I believe that the 2010 Mets, given that they remain healthy, will play better than they did in 2009. Although a conditional statement, if the sufficient condition holds true, then the necessary condition will also be true. Although a subjective assertion, I am nonetheless convinced that the all of the Mets players will remain healthy for the 2010 season in its entirety. The Mets will play better in 2010.

    I find the Mets-Phillies rivalry absolutely fascinating, and it is also beneficial to the game of baseball as it attracts more fans and allows for memorable moments to be born. We, northeastern baseball fans, are passionate fans; both Phillies and Mets fans alike are looking forward to 2010 with much alacrity.

    April 30th is the date.

    Let’s go Mets!

  26. Don M

    March 1, 2010 at 9:49 am

    Isn’t Polanco already penciled-in as the #2 hitter?

  27. Don M

    March 1, 2010 at 9:55 am

    Something that people need to consider . . is that a “high average” from the #2 hitter isn’t really all that important.

    Victorino led the team in hitting each of the past two seasons . . but one of the reasons they went out and got Polanco is that they need a better “hitter” . not for batting average, but someone that can move runners.. battle for tough at-bats.. etc

    Rollins on 1st base.. i will take a ground ball to the right side from Polanco every single time. Move Rollins into scoring position where a hit from Utley or Howard will score him. That will be so much better than Victorino whip-swinging at an inside pitch and popping out

  28. bfo_33

    March 1, 2010 at 10:57 am

    Don M, I agree that Polanco is a better situational hitter, and will do a much better job of moving the runner over vs swinging for the fences (never was a fan of Vic at #2). Polanco has hit pretty much everywhere in the order, but a lot at #2 – don’t see his average taking a nosedive to .260. He’s probably not going to beat his career high (think he hit .341 a few years back). I think the .260, batting #7 was just a slip.

    I also think we are going to see a lot more hit and run – Polanco makes contact, can push the ball to a hole if open.

    Dave the Mets fan, I think any team could state if healthy, they’ll be better, especially after the disastrous 2009 NYM campaign. Beltran is going to be interesting – when he comes back (early May?), he’s got a lot of ground to cover in CitiField, and not a lot of help. Are they still considering batting Reyes 3rd? If so, who leads off?

  29. Brian Michael

    March 1, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    Yep, I definitely spaced on the Polanco question – it was a long interview…over instant messenger.

    I still think the overall point is valid though. With the lineup he’s walking in to, Polanco doesn’t have to do much. But yea a .040 point drop would be cause for concern.

  30. Mary Jo STUMPO

    March 1, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    Go Brian Michael …. Right 0n Target . Enjoyed your Great responses in the interview. Job well done…very proud of You.
    Mary Jo

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