Writer’s Roundtable, Part 1: Press Panic – Phillies Nation
2012 Spring Training

Writer’s Roundtable, Part 1: Press Panic

The Big Piece is among Phillies Nation's biggest concerns.

The grass is getting greener, the birds are retreating back to the Northeast, and my allergies are flaring up; these are, of course, the telltale signs of baseball’s return. The comments on both the blog and our Facebook page have been heating up with both optimism for the 2012 season but also some legitimate concerns for the Fightins. The Phillies Nation crew got together and put together the top reasons to panic as well as the top reasons to have faith in the Phils, or press on. Feel free to take a look at ours and add in reasons of your own!

Today, we panic!

Time to Hit the Panic Button

Who will step up offensively? – Pat Gallen, Editor-in-Chief

It’s an honest, legitimate question – and I don’t know that there is an easy answer. No Chase Utley for the foreseeable future; no Ryan Howard ’til who knows when. Who will be asked to do more than usual?

Start at the top with Jimmy Rollins – he will need to be a superior table-setter every single day. There is really no choice. Shane Victorino cannot regress; he must continue to be one the Swiss Army Knife of this lineup. And Hunter Pence will have to put the offense on his back at times. But beyond that, it is anyone’s guess as to who will be the person to step up large. If they can’t find that person, then runs will be hard to come by and the pitching staff will have to be near perfect.

Left Field – Ian Riccaboni

I don’t have a fancy title for my area of panic. Over the off-season, I wrote glowingly of how a 1B platoon could outperform Howard in a small sample and my enthusiasm of the acquisitions of role players like Laynce Nix, Ty Wigginton, Juan Pierre, and Scott Podsednik. But as the season draws closer, I have a larger and larger knot in my stomach. The scary part is I can’t tell if it’s the “Raul Ibanez was so bad defensively and so mediocre offensively in left in 2011 that anyone else will be better” knot, the “I don’t know what to expect, this could have a great outcome” knot, or the “the season starts in less than 10 days and we may not have a left fielder” knot.

If it’s the latter, there’s a certain beautiful danger to that. We could be absolutely fine. In fact, Ibanez (.245/.289/.419 and -21.8 UZR/150) was so “blah” last year that just about any warm body should be an improvement. But the disappointing Springs thus far from Nix (.200/.333/.200) and John Mayberry Jr. (.206/.254/.270) and Dom Brown’s demotion make me want to do something crazy like start Lou Montanez (.326/.362/.465 this Spring) in left.

To be fair, Montanez, Pierre (.295/.367/.318), and Podsednik (.333/.400/.444) have been playing out of their minds and above their level in Spring Training. The difficulty comes in figuring out if that performance was “real” or not. If it was real, and Nix or Mayberry have a disappointing start in LF, will Charlie know when to change course and let someone else win the job?

The Missing (Big) Piece – Amanda Orr

No matter the situation, worrying is a part of being a Phillies fan. It doesn’t matter how well the Phillies are doing, there’s always going to be that little bit of anxiety.  Worrying comes naturally in Philadelphia.  Entering the 2012 season, I don’t see how Phillies fans can’t be worried.  It seems like many fans are questioning how well the Phillies will do this season.

As if Chase Utley’s injury wasn’t enough, there’s Ryan Howard’s.  Howard had a setback with an infection, but it’s doubtful he’ll miss the entire season.  Even though he should be back by July at the latest, it still takes a Big Piece (literally) out of the lineup for 3-4 months.  Every game counts, even if it’s early in the season.  Missing two key hitters in the Phillies’ lineup could lead to a poor start.  This could mean that the Phillies could be playing catchup, chasing the other teams in the division, rather than being the ones being chased.

Besides the right side of the infield, there are other question marks like the bullpen and left field.  The list seems like it’s getting bigger.  Right now, I’m pressing the “Panic” button.

The Phillies Nation TV spin-off? It may be “Meet the Phillies” – Kieran Carobine

The injury bug might make the Phillies grow up sooner than they are ready.  Chase Utley’s statement on Sunday pretty much summed up everyone’s fear of the most.  He will not be ready for Opening Day which most likely means youngster Freddy Galvis will be your starting second baseman for the Phillies.  Galvis is good defensively and has a very good arm but makes hardly any noise at the plate.  This Spring, he is hitting better than expected but I do foresee some learning pains going into the season.  With Ryan Howard out and Placido Polanco always ailing, we could have our very own show of ‘Meet the Phillies’ every night at CBP.

It may be time for Ruben to start turning over rocks to find offense. Nick Staskin, Retired Beerman

The past two seasons have ended because the team has not been able to score in the postseason. Why? Nobody gets on base.

There wasn’t any real turnaround from the starting 8, aside from Mayberry becoming an everyday player as opposed to almost everyday. Now, with the injuries to Howard and Utley, the offense is even worse. I don’t know where offensive production is going to come from, and aside from Ruiz, I’m not sure who can even draw a walk.

More question marks than Matthew Lesko‘s suit. Jonathan Nisula

With Ryan Howard sidelined with no timetable for a return due to his injured achilles and Chase Utley now on the shelf also with no timetable for return with knee issues, the Phillies offense all of a sudden looks no better than mediocre. Ruben Amaro Jr. brought in some players to help fill the holes, but it won’t be enough. Not even close.

The Phils will now have to play with replacements at first and second base to start the season, and their lineup will look much different without the usual three and four hitters around. This could even cause a chemistry issue, as the team may struggle to gel together with so much shuffling going on. I’m worried that the Phillies offense will be near the bottom of the division, forcing the pitching to carry them–and there’s only so much the starting pitching can do.

Is Utley the man we thought he was? Would Mac still want to have a catch with him? Or is he crushing on Wilson Valdez these days like the rest of Philly? Don M.

Wilson Valdez is a slick-fielding, strong-armed, weak hitter.  People talk about Valdez as though he were a perennial MVP candidate when in reality, he was a utility player, most famous for hitting into double-plays and pitching that wonderful 19th-inning.  Do I wish we had him right now given the injury to Utley? Yeah, I guess so – but if he’s the difference between us winning and losing in 2012, we have problems that run deep.

Galvis will be given a good, long look, and the one that many said was “Major League ready, defensively” will have his chance to see what he can do in The Show.  Given what we know about the Utley injury, I still am shocked to hear all the venom being directed towards Amaro. Utley had a full off season to prepare himself for the 2012 season. After missing the first 46 games of 2011, why not see a specialist earlier? Why hide so much from the organization and the fans?

Why does his selfishness get a free pass in this town?  When Howard has a setback, he gets blamed. When Utley has a setback, Amaro gets blamed.  I just don’t get it.

No room for improvementsCorey Seidman

The Phillies no longer have room to improve if they want to stay under or closely above the luxury tax threshold. I’ve been asked a lot recently if I think Ruben Amaro will make another big trade this season. The answer is a definitive no just because there is very little left to trade and the Phillies simply cannot continue to take on salary.

They need Domonic Brown to pan out because they need an inexpensive but productive everyday player. They need a guy to hit .290/.360/.500 while making $700,000. Most of the top prospects in this organization currently are pitchers. Which is great, it ensures that the Phillies’ rotation should remain strong over the next decade if things go well. But that position player outlook is bleak with Ryan Howard and Chase Utley both dinged to a large degree and Brown failing to progress into the player we thought he’d be by now.

Win-now cities tend not to look too far into the future… but the future isn’t as favorable to the Phillies as it was seven months ago.

Click to comment


  1. Chuck A.

    March 27, 2012 at 9:28 am

    I think this statement about Chase Utley stands out for me the most in this article : “Why does his selfishness get a free pass in this town? When Howard has a setback, he gets blamed. When Utley has a setback, Amaro gets blamed. I just don’t get it.”

    Yeah, I just don’t get it either. Don’t get me wrong….I love Chase Utley. I have his jersey and I defend him constantly. I want him in the lineup and am upset that he won’t be ready for maybe a long time….if ever. BUT…. there is no doubt that he’s the “Golden Boy” in this town and can’t be criticized much without drawing considerable ire from the fanbase.

    And this “secrecy” and “privacy” that he demands is BS in my opinion. Mike Missanelli was saying yesterday…and I agree…that Chase Utley is as popular a public figure as they come in this town and that with that comes a responsibility to level with the fans. The fans are the ones that really matter, Missanelli said (paraphrased), and Chase needs to realize that.

    • schmenkman

      March 27, 2012 at 9:43 am

      I don’t remember hearing Howard being “blamed” for his setback. As for Utley, I don’t think anyone wants him to be on the field than he himself does, so I suppose I trust him to do whatever is necessary to make that happen.

      I believe that he worked on his right knee, since that was the issue last year, and which now feels good. I also believe that his left knee was not an issue until he came to camp and started baseball activities.

      And as long as he’s doing all he can to get back on the field, I don’t care to know his personal medical details. I guess I don’t see anything to criticize.

      • schmenkman

        March 27, 2012 at 9:54 am

        *anyone wants him to be on the field _any more_ than he himself does…

      • LouA

        March 27, 2012 at 10:40 am

        I’ve been a fan of Ryan’s since he was in the minors so that won’t change but I do remembe the past 3 years, I believe or at the end of each season when he strikes out always.
        I can’t agree with what is said about Chase, he has the heart of another player who played and coached the Phils if you recall.
        Been a fan for over 50/60 years and waited for the kind of team for many of those years that they’ve had recently until the ending of a couple recently.
        So, now, yes, I’m a bit worried…..

      • Manny

        March 27, 2012 at 12:30 pm

        I agree with schmenkman. Don, you’re missing the point. No one is blaming Howard for his injury/setback… chillax.

    • John

      March 27, 2012 at 2:01 pm

      I stopped reading after I read Amanda Orr’s take on the subject. The reason being that I developed an opinion that has finally put my mind at some ease. When Amanda said “Missing two key hitters in the Phillies’ lineup could lead to a poor start. This could mean that the Phillies could be playing catchup, chasing the other teams in the division, rather than being the ones being chased.” I find myself thinking that might not be a bad thing. I still believe that Jim Thome will be a positive influence on the rest of the hitters. Maybe if the Phils find their selves with their backs against the wall, they might gain that fire that they seemed to have lacked at the plate the last season or so. I believe that John Mayberry will be a key contributor to the Phils early success, or lack of success at the plate. I have faith in Jimmy, Shane and Hunter to step up when they need to. Johnny May is still a question mark for me offensively because of his lack of offense this spring. I know he has the physical ability to be a good ball player, the question is will he execute? Im rootin for ya Mayberry! Go Phils!!

  2. Ryan H

    March 27, 2012 at 9:41 am

    I’m not nearly as worried. did you guys forget how amazing this pitching staff is? its not good. its all time good! don’t worry. watch baseball. it’ll be fun.

    • Pat Gallen

      March 27, 2012 at 9:54 am

      Ryan, tomorrow in part 2, we’ll have our reasons why you should “Press On” and not worry. We’ve covered both sides.

  3. Chuck A.

    March 27, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Schmenkman, he owes it to the fans to at least let them know what is going on. And he owes it to the organization to be upfront and honest with them. When you are a public figure and get paid an exorbitant amount of money….what is in effect the fans’ money….then you have an obligation.

    • schmenkman

      March 27, 2012 at 10:34 am

      I think he’s been upfront with the organization, and that he’s told the fans as much as he knows.

  4. Chuck A.

    March 27, 2012 at 11:02 am

    How has Chase Utley been totally upfront with the organization. Two weeks ago, maybe less, Amaro assumed he was going to be ready. And then a few days later it’s learned that he’s leaving camp to go to some secret location and Opening Day is in doubt. Then Sunday he confirms that he’s not going to be ready. How do we go from the team thinking that he’s going to be ready to there being no timetable for his return without thinking that he hasn’t been upfront??

  5. GM

    March 27, 2012 at 11:10 am

    Amaro has a well documented history of not being completely honest with the media/fans. After acquiring Lee, Halladay, Oswalt, Lee (again) & Pence, we may just need to trust that he has a plan. His plan clearly isn’t for 2-3 years from now, but for this season.

    The plan was to ease Chase into the baseball routine so that he was ready to go by Opening Day, a slow progression towards the regular season. As he stated on Sunday, and RAJ also confirmed yesterday, the original plan was for him to ramp up his activity last week and get on the field this week. When he started to increase his physical activity, he felt pain and wasn’t able to continue. Obviously, his off-season and early spring workouts weren’t as strenuous as those last week.

    It’s about getting to the playoffs, and getting hot at the right time. If Chase & Ryan are back and healthy, there is no reason not to expect at least a wild card, keep in mind there are 2 this year. The last NL Wild Card position would have been 89 wins last season.

    Take a look at our top 5 starters as of Opening Day:
    2008 World Series Champions: Myers, Hamels, Moyer, Kendrick, Eaton
    2012 Projected: Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Worley, Blanton

    It looks a little stronger than 2008.

    Relax, and enjoy the season.

    • Jeff Dowder

      March 27, 2012 at 12:42 pm

      Nobody is worried about the starting pitching. They’re worried about the offense. The 2008 team scored 799 runs, this team may struggle to score 600-650.

      Firstbase, secondbase, thirdbase, and leftfield are all huge questions. Despite all the bold proclamations and reassurances, nobody knows when Utley and Ryan will return. Nobody knows what kind of players they are if they return.

      Last year’s Giants had an amazing pitching staff that got lost in all the hype about the Phillies Four Aces. They only scored 570 runs. They missed the playoffs. That’s the fear.

      • schmenkman

        March 27, 2012 at 1:05 pm

        The 2008 team scored 799, or 9% over the average of 734
        The 2011 team scored 713, or 7% over the average of 668

        Point is that 2008 was a very different environment than 2011 was, because scoring across baseball has been falling for years, and will probably fall again this year.

        The offense has not declined nearly as much as it appears when you just look at the Phillies’ run totals.

        I agree, a lot depends on how long Howard and Utley are out. It also depends on whether Mayberry regresses, although it would be nearly impossible not to improve on the .714 OPS that the 2011 left fielders had. And while Pence will likely also regress some from 2011 levels, he is also likely to improve on the overall performance the Phils got out of RF last year.

        At third, the bench can replace the meager offense Polanco is likely to provide, but the issue is on defense, where the bench will certainly cost them runs if Polly is out for substantial time. Although, as we’ve discussed previously, only 9 players have had more innings at third the last two years.

      • GM

        March 27, 2012 at 3:42 pm

        They don’t need to score 799 runs this year. They don’t need to win 102 games to make the playoffs. The pitching staff gave up 49 less runs than any other team in baseball, that will cover a lot of poor hitting. The point is that 90+ wins should get a playoff berth, and that’s all you can ask for, a chance to win the World Series. By that point, Howard & Utley should be back, or you need to trust that RAJ is going to make a move to get a bat.

        Lee, Halladay, Oswalt, Lee (again) & Pence

        The man isn’t afraid to make a trade. And don’t forget D-Brown could be an option as well.

        I don’t see this team being 100+ win team, but there’s no reason to believe they can’t or won’t make the playoffs.

      • Jeff Dowder

        March 27, 2012 at 5:12 pm

        There ARE plenty of reasons to think they MAY miss the playoffs. To just ignore them is ridiculous. To think that the people pointing out those reasons (all valid) are just panicking is silly. Of course any team with three top tier starters will contend, and I haven’t seen anyone here definitively say they won’t make the post season. I’ve only seen people say that this team has some very real and serious issues, and it does.

  6. Chuck A.

    March 27, 2012 at 11:25 am

    I don’t think his knees are fine at all. And how does someone just “wake up and decide the pain is too great”?? I mean, ok, fine, I get that he wanted to THINK he could do it. But he had to have been in some kind of bad discomfort all along for him to be where he is now. And if he was in that kind of discomfort he should have told the Phillies.

    • schmenkman

      March 27, 2012 at 11:31 am

      I think there was discomfort all of last year, to various degrees, and that everyone in the clubhouse know there is discomfort every day.

      The only question is whether it’s bad enough that he can’t play.

  7. Jeff of Nova

    March 27, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Worried… yes,
    Chase does get a pass because the one thing you never see from Chase, is anything that reflects or could be miscontrued as lackadaisical. His heart and effort are always golden, I will never forget him personally putting this team on his back in the 09 WS and almost single handedly winning that series.

    I would not say that Ryan is lackadaisical, but his demeanor at times looks very lackadaisical, his inability to be clutch in the big moments the last 3 years has made the fan base wonder if he is going to turn into a modern day Dave Kingman or become the player we all thought he should be. Yes his numbers are great and he is a statistical asset but time to man up and lead.

    I do worry about consistency in Left, would like to see Mayberry take the position and become a stud out there but having to play 1st as well may hurt his consistency. Having Thome in the lineup 2-3 times a week will be crucial especially if he can hold up cause of his bat and leadership.

    The 2 keys are in my opinion are Rollins and Polly. If Polly is healthy and hits like he has consistently in his career then we will be fine, Rollins needs to be patient and get closer to being the guy who was MVP not the one who swings a every bad pitch.

    • schmenkman

      March 27, 2012 at 11:37 am

      “his inability to be clutch in the big moments the last 3 years”

      “Just get me to the plate boys” — NLCS MVP 2009
      – tied record for consecutive postseason games with RBIs, 2009
      – no RBIs but best Phillies hitter in postseason with .819 OPS, 2010
      – 3-run HR to get them back in game 1, 2-run single to give them lead in game 2, 2011

      “time to man up and lead”
      — what if he’s just not that good a hitter, against better pitchers, against lefties

    • Chris

      March 27, 2012 at 12:06 pm

      The Jimmy Rollins of today is actually a more patient hitter who walks more and strikes out less than the MVP Jimmy Rollins. Of course not much of your post was based in fact anyway so I guess that mistake isn’t too big of a deal.

  8. Chuck A.

    March 27, 2012 at 11:53 am

    No professional athlete that is in the public eye and makes tons of coin should get any kind of pass for not properly communicating. And, I’m sorry all you people that worship him, but Chase Utley has not properly communicated to the team or the fans.

    • EricL

      March 27, 2012 at 12:12 pm


      First, where do you get this sense of entitlement that you’re owed some kind of explanation? All any professional athlete owes to the fans is their performance. That’s it. And if he can’t perform for whatever reason then there should probably be some sort of cursory explanation, but you aren’t owed a daily press conference or anything.

      Do Hollywood stars owe you an explanation every time they have a medical procedure? If the lead actor in tonight’s showing of God of Carnage at the Walnut St. Theatre can’t make it, does he owe you a rundown of his complete medical history? Of course not! Their medical histories are their own private business. There are actually laws that guarantee that privacy, ensuring that your medical information is available to nobody other than those you consent to release it to.

      Second, how do you know ANYTHING about how he’s communicated to the team? Are you secretly Ruben Amaro? You don’t know the first thing that happens between Chase Utley and the team other than what they publicly tell you (which, up to this point, is that they’ve all been forthright with their injury information and updates). It’s beyond irresponsible to think that you have any idea of the kind of communication that goes on behind those closed doors.

      Just think about your position here for a second: You obviously don’t believe that they’re currently telling the truth about being completely forthcoming. If you’re the Phillies, how do they win here? If they tell you everything about all Utley-team communications it doesn’t matter because you’ve already shown that you don’t believe what they say, so why would saying more change that? It’s obvious you’re just going to make up your own narrative and run with that.

      • Ryne Duren

        March 27, 2012 at 12:48 pm

        yo eric i’m in with you man! why do we have to know all the details ? just tell me who;s gonna play and when! and why would they lie? i think too many people must listen to cataldi! he thinks all the philly teams are liars and conspirators! he gets people thinkin hmmmmmm! he’ a douche!

  9. Chuck A.

    March 27, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    “All any professional athlete owes to the fans is their performance”

    That’s right. And that would include their inability to actually perform in the first place.

    Also, I don’t think that the Phillies are NOT telling the truth or being completely forthcoming. Chase Utley is.

    • schmenkman

      March 27, 2012 at 12:25 pm

      I don’t know why you think that, so we will have to agree to disagree on this one.

    • EricL

      March 27, 2012 at 12:30 pm

      So your assertion is that Utley owes it to YOU and all fans to be healthy? Ok?

      I don’t know if you know this or not, but he didn’t intentionally sabotage his own knees just to screw over Chuck A. He actually has to use them himself, for quite a long time after you’re through with them.

      Also, good job in abandoning most of your other nonsensical claims, like your one about Chase not communicating to the team properly when you can’t possibly know whether that’s true or not.

  10. EricL

    March 27, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    My advice to those who are worried about the season can best be summed up visually: http://i.imgur.com/OnHaH.jpg

  11. Chuck A.

    March 27, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    Also, yeah, I AM gonna feel a wee bit entitled to know about the health of the sports figures that I follow if I am paying a fair amount of money to watch those guys. Why shouldn’t we as fans have a right to know that? I don’t care about their personal life or which political party they belong to or what music they like or what sexual position they prefer. But I DO care about their ability to play the game that I am supporting with my hard-earned dollars.

    • EricL

      March 27, 2012 at 12:32 pm

      Cool, so when I come to your place of business, I have every right to ask about your medical history? I mean, I’m paying your salary as a customer, so it’s my right to know that you don’t have mental problems or physical limitations that could adversely effect the product or service that I’m purchasing, right?

  12. Chuck A.

    March 27, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    So, Schmenkman, I’m sorry but please clarify. Do you or do you not think that the Phillies are being forthcoming about Chase or do you think that’s its Chase himself that is or isn’t??

    • schmenkman

      March 27, 2012 at 12:42 pm

      I am not seeing any deception.

      I that…

      a) it’s the norm with Utley since at least last year that he has some discomfort, especially as he’s ramping up baseball activities, and everyone on the team knows that.

      b) he rehabbed his right knee and felt fine all winter and came to camp expecting to be fine, but his left knee bothered him as he intensified his workouts.

      c) he told the team as soon as he realized the discomfort was going to be too much to continue what he was doing.

      d) the team then told the fans.

      • schmenkman

        March 27, 2012 at 12:47 pm

        *I _think_ that…

  13. TheDipsy

    March 27, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    When a team sells me their shirts, beer, hot dogs, parking spaces, pennants, hoodies, peanuts, hats, tickets, ice cream, CHASE UTLEY jersies…..and on and on to the break of dawn.

    Teams tell us about how great their players are. They put their faces on placards and billboards and programs. Ask us to vote for them for all stars. They team sells us their players because the players are the PRODUCT we buy. Thats how the teams make money and thats why pro sports exist.

    Sooooooooooo…..when there is a question as to whether a famous and well regarded athlete on MY team can’t play and therefore dilutes the product YOU make money off of……you’re GODDAMN right I wanna know what the hell is going on. Its his knees Eric. Not a vasectomy or a wart removal. You’re are so naive when you say that we have no right to know the status of Chase Utley’s knees. We pay money year after year for Chase Utleys knees. Please, the contrarian stance on everything is so…….I mean, whats the point of it.

    The Dipsy

    • EricL

      March 27, 2012 at 12:43 pm

      It’s actually not the contrarian stance. It’s the right one, both morally and with respect to the law.

      You don’t have the right to know someone’s medical history if they don’t want you to. And that’s the way it should be.

      Should I be privy to your medical information if I do business with your employer?

      BTW, all those things they sell you…you’re not obligated to buy them. You can take your business elsewhere if you like. Vote with your wallet, as they say.

      • brooks

        March 27, 2012 at 3:26 pm

        Your arguments are not on point, and you are being argumentative. Pretty darn consistently at that. This is a sports team, based on the individuals contribution to the overall team effort is how good the team will do. If one factor is unable to perform, he owes it to mostly his team mates and management to inform then ahead of time so that best plans can be figured.

        This is not a store, this is not a commodity, this is competition at its best. Relying on physical prowess to perform at HIS best. This is one player owning up to the team that he might not be able to hold his own, let them decide if they want to ‘chance’ his coming back.

  14. schmenkman

    March 27, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Chuck, off-topic, I’m just curious: do you avoid the “reply” button on purpose (because maybe you think it’s easier to follow the thread when the last comment is at the bottom), or do you just forget to? Not a big deal, I’m just curious as to why some people use the reply feature and some don’t.

    • EricL

      March 27, 2012 at 12:49 pm

      Not Chuck, but if you post from a device using the mobile version of the site I don’t think there is an actual ‘reply’ button–all posts get their own new thread.

  15. Chuck A.

    March 27, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Eric, just stop it. That’s not what we’re talking about and you know it. Sports and entertainment are a little different than just any old job.

    • EricL

      March 27, 2012 at 2:17 pm

      No, they’re not.

      Why do you hold them to a standard you don’t hold yourself to? That’s just hypocritical.

  16. Ryne Duren

    March 27, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    ok everyone if we knew everything and had all the knowledge we seek from all the parties involved. what changes? NOTHING! we’re still without chase at second till he’s healthy enough to play! END OF STORY!

  17. TheDipsy

    March 27, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    So Eric, if the Phillies know that Ryan Howard went blind in the off season, kept it a secret, and then sent out all their season ticket renewal letters, that would be cool with you?

    When you thrust yourself into the public eye you do not get the same amount of privacy as you or I. Sorry, if I had to be the one to break that to you.

    The Dipsy

    • betasigmadeltashag

      March 27, 2012 at 1:44 pm

      So Dipsy you get your season ticket invoice and you find out Chase may not start opening day and be out unti the all star break and Ryan Howard is retireing you do not pay for your season tickets?
      You pay for your season tickets then find out Chase and Ryan are not going to play all year you going to go out and try and get a refund. That is a bad argument I pay for my season tickets because I want to go a Phillies game whenever I can. Not to go see Chase or Ryan or Jimmy. I go to see the Phillies

      • brooks

        March 27, 2012 at 3:32 pm

        I paid for mine too – and I want to see the Phils but, that does not mean I am not upset because I do feel like the Phils or Chase were not upfront with us. I feel they could have made some adjustments (perhaps Phillips? Who knows) prior to the season starting.

    • EricL

      March 27, 2012 at 2:31 pm

      Yes, that would be cool with me.

      What’s the difference between Ryan Howard going blind in the off season after the season ticket invoices are sent out and trading him away for a handful of minor league prospects in the off season after the season ticket invoices are sent out?

      I don’t think players should get the same amount of privacy, and they don’t. Bob the Electrician doesn’t have to sign autographs when he goes out in public, doesn’t get accosted every time he takes his wife to eat a meal, doesn’t get people giving him shit for that time he mis-wired Mary Jane Rottencrotch’s dining room dimmer switch every time he goes to the bar or the movies, doesn’t get people taking pictures of him with their cellphone cameras every day, etc.

      All MLB players already have less privacy than the average person, and that comes with their chosen profession. They are still, however, entitled to some small level of privacy and there’s no good reason for fans to be immediately informed of every little change in the health status of a player. As beta said, if you knew his left knee started hurting on May 5th instead of May 18th or whatever, what difference does it make? He’ll be healthy when he’s able to and if he can spend more time on rehab by ignoring media sessions and press conferences–or even if it just makes him more comfortable not sharing all his information with everyone in the Delaware Valley– I’m all for it. Keeping fans in the loop is unnecessary, even it if appeases those with an unfounded sense of entitlement.

  18. therookie300

    March 27, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    More question marks than Matthew Lesko‘s suit. – Jonathan Nisula

    I couldn’t help but laugh at this comment. Awesome reference.

  19. betasigmadeltashag

    March 27, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    I guess my question is why is this year different than last year for Chase, from what I understand it is the other knee so why would he miss more time than he did last year. I do not like to look past the season because I enjoy the game. And I lookok forward to how Charlie deals and puts the line up together each night. would I like Chase and Ryan in the line up everyday sure but it adds to the excitment of each day who is going to play who is going to step up. Enjoy what is in front of you not what you do not have. Look forward to 1-0 2-1 nail bitters maybe or maybe not,
    Dream world Hunter Pence hits ,320 35 HR 125 rbi 890 OPS
    JImmy bats 285 and has an OBP over 600 and 25 stolen bases
    Poly stays healthy and hits 300
    JMJ hits 270 with 25 HR and a 850 OBS

  20. Chuck A.

    March 27, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Dipsy, good analysis with the blind man thing.

    Schmenkman, sometimes I hit the reply button but lately I haven’t been. 2 reasons…. 1) the computer I’m using takes forever to load with the reply button and 2) I do find it easier to follow the conversation sometimes if it’s at the bottom of the page. Sorry for the confusion.

  21. Lefty

    March 27, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    I don’t care about what the team or player tells the public. I want to know why all athletes that make more in a year than I do in 20, don’t have a workout and lifestyle regimen that they have to follow all year long to keep themselves in shape, and to be able to report to their teams if they discover any unknown injuries. Why didn’t Chase Utley’s doctors, or Phillies training staff advise him to push himself hard every now and then in the offseason, so he would know whether the left knee might be a problem.

    EVERY DECENT ORTHOPEDIST KNOWS- that compensation issues spring up frequently. My doctor warned me about it before scoping my right knee 30 years ago. He had me strengthening both knees constantly and I kept asking why I had to work so hard on my left knee. It’s because they know these things, Chase Utley should have too. He had right hip surgery a few years back, which may have been a part of the causation of his right knee problem. And then a right knee problem which is very likely to have brought compensation issues to the left knee. His doctors knew this stuff, it happens all the time.

    Utley should have known this- not in March 2012, not in November 2011, but last March 2011 when the problem first occurred. There is no excuse for this happening now, none.

    • GM

      March 27, 2012 at 3:48 pm

      Doctor Lefty,

      He had no issue with his left knee last spring, it was his right knee, which he claims is now feeling good.

      • Lefty

        March 27, 2012 at 7:40 pm

        Normally I wouldn’t even respond because it is clear you did not even read my comment otherwise you would know that I know that. So I repeat, no excuse, none.

  22. TheDipsy

    March 27, 2012 at 2:24 pm


    Yes. A person might not renew his season tickets if he knows that Ryan Howard will not be playing. Exactly.

    The Dipsy

    • betasigmadeltashag

      March 27, 2012 at 9:48 pm

      Ok so A person might not renew his season tickets but would not renew because Chase or Ryan was no longer on the team. You do not see that as a problem with the fan base that only goes to the games if Ryan Howard is on the team, or only go to the games when they are a winning team. Would that not be the defination of band wagon fan(let me say here I am not in any way saying you are a band wagon fan) The point is if you only buy your season tickets if you think the team is going to win 90-100 games and make the playoffs and if they have an off year and do not make the playoffs then you do not go to the games that is just not a good fan

  23. Chuck A.

    March 27, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Eric, I am not a hypocrite. The fact of the matter is that when you are a FAMOUS public figure you should expect to be put under the microscope by the public. That’s just the way it is. And if Chase isn’t comfortable with that then maybe he needs to re-evaluate what he’s doing.

    • EricL

      March 27, 2012 at 2:32 pm

      What’s the salary level that divides ‘normal’ people from ‘FAMOUS’ people who have no right to privacy?

  24. TheDipsy

    March 27, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    So you agree with the premise but you just wanna know the salary “level”?

    The Dipsy

    • EricL

      March 27, 2012 at 4:47 pm

      No I obviously totally disagree with the premise; I’m just trying to find out where Chuck draws the arbitrary line between people who are allowed to keep their medical records private and people who aren’t allowed to keep their medical information private.

  25. RichieAllen

    March 27, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Everybody has a right to either panic or not.
    The injuries are the risk you take when you give older players long contracts.
    So maybe we have to scratch out some runs for a while till Utley and Howard come back.
    I’m not panicking yet till I see us get shutout a lot,in the regular season.(Then,I’ll panic)

  26. TheDipsy

    March 27, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    And I’m fine with that. But a lot of people believe that Chase wasn’t forthcoming about his injury to the Phils. That would leave some fan’s to feel, quite correctly, that had the Phils been apprised of a more serious problem, then they could have made a move for a player, instead of being in the shitter, which is where they are now.

    Am I saying this IS the situation? Nope. Do I believe that it COULD be? Yes. And if it is, then a fan has a right to feel angry that they don’t know what’s going on with this very important player’s possible career ending injury or what their team is going to do about his extended absence.

    We’re not nosy. I only care about his knees as it regards the Phils chances of winning this year and for no other reason. Mumps, rickets, scurvy, toothache, jock itch….I could care less.

    The Dipsy

  27. Chuck A.

    March 27, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    Eric, what the hell does the “salary level” have to do with it? President Obama makes less than the MLB minimum in salary and we have every right to know if he has a bad heart or some other life-threatening disease or injury.

    • GM

      March 27, 2012 at 3:54 pm

      Obama is a publicly elected official, Chase is a professional athlete. They have no obligation to tell you anything about his knees. You pay for a ticket to see the Philadelphia Phillies, and that doesn’t guarantee any specific player.

      If you bought a ticket in the spring, and then found out in September that they Phils had clinched the division already, would you be entitled to a game with Howard, Utley & Pence be in the lineup? No, you’d be entitled to see the Phillies & whoever from their roster is placed into the lineup that night.

      I think you should read the fine print on the back of your ticket to understand what exactly you are entitled to receive.

    • EricL

      March 27, 2012 at 5:08 pm

      You’re the one who is saying some people (like you) are entitled to privacy with regard to their medical information but other people (like Chase Utley) aren’t entitled to that same privacy.

      I’m just trying to figure out how you decide who gets to keep their medical records to themselves and who doesn’t. You mentioned that these guys make–and I quote–“TONS OF COIN” earlier, so apparently that’s one of the criteria upon which you determine whether a person is entitled to keep their medical records private. The implication from your post is that the more coin one banks the less privacy they’re allowed to have.

  28. TheDipsy

    March 27, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Thanks, GM.

    The Dipsy

  29. Chuck A.

    March 27, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    GM, of course I know what I’m entitled to when I buy a ticket. Chase Utley could be completely healthy and Charlie might just decide to rest him on the night that I decide to go to a game. Whatever.

    So your point is what exactly….???…..

    • GM

      March 27, 2012 at 4:18 pm

      The point is to stop complaining about what you are entitled to.

      You are entitled to a seat at a game if you buy a ticket. If the game is not played, you get a refund, possibly minus some TicketMaster fees.

      Imagine you had a ticket to a game in June 1989, and a week earlier Mike Schmidt woke up and decided that he didn’t want to play baseball anymore.

      ”Over the years, I’ve set high standards for myself as a player, and I always said that when I couldn’t live up to those standards I would retire,” Schmidt said. ”I no longer have the skills needed to make adjustments at the plate to hit or to make some plays in the field and run the bases.

      ”I feel like I could ask the Phillies to keep me on to add to my statistics, but my love for the game won’t let me do that.”

      ”He told me last night that it wasn’t his shoulder or his elbow or his back; it is not a physical thing,” Leyva said. ”He just thinks that he can’t do it anymore.”

  30. TheDipsy

    March 27, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Who is this guy and what is he talking about?

    The Dipsy

  31. TheDipsy

    March 27, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    If people didn’t “complain” about what they were entitled to then those people would never get anything.

    The Dipsy

    • EricL

      March 27, 2012 at 5:03 pm

      First, your complaining is getting you nothing in the first place, so it’s fruitless.

      Second, if people didn’t complain you’d get THE EXACT SAME THING YOU GET AS WHEN YOU COMPLAIN. Which is a 25 man roster of players facing some opposing team 162 times a year. That’s it, and that’s all you’re entitled to.

  32. Chuck A.

    March 27, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    I was wondering the same thing. Bringing up Mike Schmidt’s retirement??

    • GM

      March 27, 2012 at 4:57 pm

      If Utley’s announcement was that he was retiring, would you still be so angry? Or still feel entitled to know what was going on with his knees?

  33. TheDipsy

    March 27, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    Today. todaytodaytoday…… I consider myself to bebebebebebebe the luckiest man manmanmanmanman….on the face of the earthearthearthearth.

    The Dipsy

    • EricL

      March 27, 2012 at 5:10 pm

      Yeah, and if you were a fan of the Yankees back in ’39 you’d be bitching that Gehrig didn’t keep you informed about the status of his terminal condition. What a jerk, that guy.

  34. Chuck A.

    March 27, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    GM, if Chase Utley decided to retire I would be disappointed but not angry. And just for the record, I am not angry at all right now. It is YOU that thinks and assumes that based on something that I really am not sure of.

    And Eric, how do we know that Lou Gehrig WASN’T forthcoming about his condition??

    • EricL

      March 27, 2012 at 5:45 pm

      The same way you guys know Chase WASN’T forthcoming about his condition. I just made it up.

  35. TheDipsy

    March 27, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    I’m pretty sure Gehrig retired as soon as he was diagnosed. Or at least thats what Gary Cooper did in “Pride of The Yankees”. My question then to you Fresh Prince of Harbison Ave: “If athletes are entitled to total privacy regarding their medical condition, why are 99% of them completely transparent about their injuries?” Are they the ones that are screwed up?

    The Dipsy

    • EricL

      March 27, 2012 at 5:46 pm

      99% of athletes are completely transparent about their injuries? Ha!

      I guess you’ve never followed football or hockey, both of which are notorious for teams going to lengths to disguise what an injury might be, which is much worse than just not saying anything at all, IMO.

    • EricL

      March 27, 2012 at 5:48 pm

      Also, that’s a terrible argument.

      Just because lots of people do something doesn’t mean that’s what’s required or even the right thing to do.

      If 99% of baseball players use chewing tobacco, are the ones that don’t screwed up?

  36. TheDipsy

    March 27, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    WRONG! The NFL is required – because of betting – to disclose ALL injuries. Are you talking about dislocated fingers and neck stingers? That crap? Give it up, dude. Nobody skates on the ice with a torn ACL.

    And please, don’t take my analogy about an industry standard regarding medical custom and practice and try and transpose it onto tobacco consumption. Jesus dude. I hope you’re not a lawyer.

    The Dipsy

    • EricL

      March 27, 2012 at 6:40 pm

      First, you completely believe the injury reports from the NFL? How quaint.

      Second, hockey teams regularly obfuscate injuries to their players. Kimmo Timonen was out for a few weeks with what the Flyers described as “an upper body injury.”

      What I’m seeing here is that you’d prefer the team lie to you about the nature of an injury rather than just keep you in the dark totally. Seems….silly.

      And I think it’s funny how you’re like, “Hey, don’t use examples that expose my faulty logic!”

  37. Chuck A.

    March 27, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    Chase WASN’T forthcoming about his condition because if he was Ruben Amaro wouldn’t have assumed less than 2 weeks ago that he was gonna be ready for Opening Day. Is it really that hard to understand??

    • schmenkman

      March 27, 2012 at 6:18 pm

      Chuck, we’re back to where we started.

      This is where I said (about halfway down this page)…
      I am not seeing any deception.

      I [think] that…

      a) it’s the norm with Utley since at least last year that he has some discomfort, especially as he’s ramping up baseball activities, and everyone on the team knows that.

      b) he rehabbed his right knee and felt fine all winter and came to camp expecting to be fine, but his left knee bothered him as he intensified his workouts.

      c) he told the team as soon as he realized the discomfort was going to be too much to continue what he was doing.

      d) the team then told the fans.

  38. Chuck A.

    March 27, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    Ok, Schmenk. I get all that. But explain why then that Chase wasn’t seen taking any ground balls or participating in games all spring. He had to have realized pretty early on that the start of the season was in doubt. So why not just tell Ruben then so they can properly plan?

    • EricL

      March 27, 2012 at 6:44 pm

      Objection! Assuming facts not in evidence.

      1. Just because you didn’t see Chase taking ground balls doesn’t mean Chase wasn’t taking ground balls.

      2. If, as they all say, they were taking things easy in the beginning of camp there’s no way for them to know how he would respond to increased activity until they progressed to the point where they increased activity. Thus, they couldn’t know he would miss any regular season time until he pushed his knees to the point where the pain appeared. Which, again, took a while into camp, as they all said.

      3. How do you know Utley didn’t keep Ruben completely informed?

  39. TheDipsy

    March 27, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    Well, in the end, all I know is that when Chase pulled up stumps and said he couldn’t play, RAJ was either: A) totally shocked; or B) acting totally shocked. Pick from one of the two and then cobble your story in accordance with it.

    The Dipsy

  40. Chuck A.

    March 27, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    You know, Eric, I’ll grant you that I/we/none of us knows what really went on between Chase and Ruben. I certainly wasn’t there and I imagine you weren’t either. But doesn’t it raise even a small red flag to you when Ruben comes out and says that as far as he’s concerned Chase will be ready for Opening Day….and then a few days later Chase leaves for some mystery location and is pronounced doubtful” for Opening Day???

    I mean, I don’t know about you all but that just seemed/seems a bit fishy to me. No?

  41. George

    March 27, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    I’m a little disgusted with all this bickering about an issue (who was/wasn’t being “forthcoming”) that can never be proven one way or the other, and which really doesn’t mean doo-doo at this point. Whatever happened, happened. How about we get over ourselves and actually debate the topics brought up by the staff writers for a change?

    • EricL

      March 27, 2012 at 7:14 pm

      This is an issue that was brought up by the writers. Specifically the 2nd half of Don M. commentary, where he questions the timing of Utley’s injury and why Utley gets a free pass while other athletes don’t.

      I would argue that it’s quite clear that from this thread alone that Utley certainly does not get a free pass from the fans.

      • Don M

        March 27, 2012 at 9:43 pm

        My point was, when news of this broke there was more “why didn’t Amaro plan for this/ have a plan-B” … And less Utley blame than we’ve seen today …. I’m obviously on here a lot, read many other blogs and sports writers , and listen to sports talk radio all the time….. And this is THE first time that do-no-wrong Utley is finally starting to get his fair share of the blame, but the immediate Anger was all directed at Amaro last week

      • EricL

        March 27, 2012 at 10:10 pm

        His share?

        Bah. Injuries happen. It’s not anyone’s fault. It’s not Joba’s fault his ankle exploded, it’s not Justin Morneau’s fault his concussion symptoms were difficult to shake, it’s not Howard’s fault his achilles blew, and it’s not Utley’s fault that his knee started to become irritated when he started putting more stress on it.

        I don’t blame Amaro, because you can’t blame a GM for not having multiple replacements for one position. I said this in another thread, but look at it from the perspective of any team. If any team loses their superstar offensive player they’re going to take a big hit. You can’t have a backup superstar to cover for your starting superstar. Then further, take the utility guy that covers for injuries and take him out with an injury as well. I don’t think there’s a team in professional sports that has enough depth to weather a superstar injury coupled with an injury to the backup without having to scramble to cover.

        It’s not Ruben’s fault that he didn’t have 3 major-league capable 2B/SS replacements for Utley. No team has that depth, and quite frankly if you’ve got that kind of depth you’re probably allocating your resources poorly.

      • schmenkman

        March 27, 2012 at 10:18 pm

        Don — just as it makes no sense to blame Howard for his Achilles, why would anyone blame Utley for his knee condition?

        Unless he was told to follow a certain rehab routine for his left knee and he disobeyed those orders (which I’ve seen no indication of), there is no reason to blame Utley.

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