Old Friend Raul Deserves Props – Phillies Nation

Old Friend Raul Deserves Props

Raul came up huge last night. (AP)

Maybe it didn’t work out the way we all wanted it to during his tenure here in Philadelphia. After all, Raul Ibanez was paid over $30 million and had his moments, but fell short of the lofty expectations that come with such a contract. Last night in the Bronx, in a most-improbable situation, Rauuuuuuul pulled through for his team, the New York Yankees.

Pinch-hitting for Alex Rodriguez, the first time that’s ever happened in a postseason game, Ibanez went yard in the ninth inning, and again in the 12th to push the Yankees past the Orioles, 3-2. Ibanez also became the first player in postseason history to hit a home run in the ninth and a home run in extra innings in the same game. It has been another up and down season for Ibanez, but one that has hit its peak at the right moment.

During the regular year, Ibanez hit .240, slugged 19 homers, knocked in 62 runs, and was your basic league-average player with a 0.3 WAR. It mirrors his contributions to the Phillies in the three seasons he was here, save for a large chunk of his first season, one in which he hit 34 home runs and knocked in 93. But for one night, even though he plays for the Evil Empire, Raul deserves some props down here in Philly.

After dealing with injuries and a bat that too often disappeared, Ibanez was the quintessential average outfielder. Not all that good defensively, not all that great offensively, but just kind of there. I’ll save the sugary remarks that he’s one of the “good guys” in the game, which he is, because Phillies fans probably don’t want to hear it. That said, he was one of the hardest working Phillies I’ve met during my tenure as a beat reporter.

Of course, this posts an interesting question, and I’ll leave the answer to you: with hindsight being 20/20, would the Phillies have been better off keeping Ibanez knowing what happened with the offense this season? Ibanez clearly would have added a power threat, but also would have driven the fans mad with his up and down play. Would you rather have had Juan Pierre and his .300 average and speed, or Raul’s .240 average with power? The right answer is likely Pierre, but it makes you think…

That’s why it’s so cool to see him pull through. At 40, many are expecting him to fade away, as 40-year-old ballplayers do. He’s never going to be a .300 hitter like he was nearly 10 years ago in Seattle, but he can still win you a game when that lefty swing is quick and compact, something he struggled with here. That short porch at Yankee Stadium is a Godsend for a guy like Raul.

So no matter what you think of him or his team (I’m personally rooting my ass off for an O’s/A’s ALCS), give it up for Rauuuuuul.

Click to comment


  1. George

    October 11, 2012 at 9:56 am

    “…one that has hit its peak at the right moment.” That says it all. I’m not trying to take away from Raul’s thunder, and I certainly think he’s deserving of the highest praise. But it’s happened probably millions of times that an average, or a talented but beyond his peak, or even a marginal player suddenly comes alive in the playoffs or world series. That’s one of the things that makes baseball so interesting. We suddenly glimpse someone we can relate to because for the most part, he’s just average in his talents, or has that “wise old veteran” approach that somehow throws sand in the faces of young know-it-all upstarts.

    I say hooray for Raul, and I hope he continues to do well, showing all that even at an advanced age, we can still be very useful.

  2. Jeff

    October 11, 2012 at 10:11 am

    Screw the Yankees. Raul must be back on the juice. Biggest move in
    Yankees history. Benching aroid

  3. The Original Chuck P

    October 11, 2012 at 10:17 am

    I, personally, felt very conflicted last night… I posted my conundrum on Twitter last night (@OCP22) and got a lot of feedback. I hate the Yankees (like most), have a soft spot for Raul even though he stole money from us for three out of the four years he was here and I’m very bitter about the Phillies not being in it this year. My conclusion was this… I’ll momentarily cheer for Raul but I’m not rooting for the Yankees, by any mean. And I can cheer for Ibanez and be happy about last night because I detest A-Rod… he’s everything that you teach your children not to be… and Raul’s success has drawn a lot of attention to the fact that A-Rod is a fraud who won’t be doing what Ibanez is doing at age 40 because he made the decision to pump his body full of roids. I absolutely love seeing the “Batting for A-Rod, Ibanez hits 2 HR” headlines. If Ibanez gets his ring, I’ll be happy for him personally but I’m not rooting for that to happen because the Yankees are still very high up on my list of teams that I’ll refuse to root for. So, kudos Mr. Octobanez – it’s a shame that it didn’t happen here.

    • Manny

      October 11, 2012 at 1:43 pm

      He was here for 3 years, not 4… 2009, 2010, 2011.


  4. TheDipsy

    October 11, 2012 at 10:44 am

    Did you really go here?

    The Dipsy

  5. Hot Dogs

    October 11, 2012 at 11:17 am

    Would Charlie ever pinch hit for one of his stars in that situation.

  6. Ryan H

    October 11, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Doesnt matter. He plays for the yankees now so everything he does is evil

  7. schmenkman

    October 11, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    I don’t hate the Yankees any more than the Cardinals, and actually less than the Giants. They are just another team, really.

    So congrats to Raul, and all the best, even if it’s for the Yankees.

  8. Lefty

    October 11, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    Why save the sugary remarks that he’s one of the “good guys” in the game?

    He accepted a “wink wink” deal that would not benefit him one iota, and netted us a draft pick. He didn’t need to do that.

    I guess he did that because he “stole money” from the team as Chuck P suggests. What do you want from the guy? He was offered an FA contract by management in December 2008, and he signed it. Then he gave the best he had, Pat just said he was a hard worker. If our scouts didn’t do their job, if they didn’t know he had a noodle arm, and that people’s bats slow down at age 37, how is that his fault OCP?

    I hate the Yankee, but am very glad for Raul.

  9. Ken Bland

    October 11, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Regarding the should he have been here instead of Pierre, nah. I mean, maybe, but it was time for him to be in a reduced role. Now if that sounds credible, I don’t come from a track record of accuracy on Raul’s present and future roles. When he was doing the 0-35 drill, I wondered if he might actually retire. That with about 6-7 mil on the table. Pardon me while I cough. But I did get one thing right. After he got hot again (I think he had 50 hits in 49 at bats in June, cept for an all world preformance by Jay Bruce, he could have gotten player of the month), and maybe even during, I figgered he was okay for 2012, but unlike anyone else on the positive side, I thought he couldn’t be trusted with 4-500 ABs as a full time DH, and might slip into a Matt Stairs role with an NL club.

    To me, it’s not about should he have been here. It’s a matter of tipping the cap to Girardi for a move that worked out better than when Doubleday woke up 1 day and said, “I think I’ll invent baseball today.” And I’d guess that no matter how the Yanks season ends, Raul has earned recognition just a notch below Aaron Boone in Yankee lore. Like ’em, or hate ’em, that’s a helluva storied club to be up their on the great memories list.

  10. Dave P

    October 11, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    I’m sorry. I just don’t like the yankees.

    My roommate is a yankees fan and sent me a text “Raooooool”. then he told me that “in yankee land it’s spelled with an o” and I puked in my mouth a little.

  11. Bruce

    October 11, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    Raul Ibanez’s heroics in September and the playoffs will virtually guaranteed that he will be part of the Yankees lore and a legend with with New York fans for years to come.

    Way to go…Rauu-u-ul !

  12. bacardipr

    October 11, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    Keeping it simple. I hate and loathe the Yankees.

  13. schmenkman

    October 11, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    Just as an aside on Raul, he had his ups and downs while here, but those were the last three years of kind of a remarkable decade for him.

    After a slow start to his career, this is where he ranks among ALL players in baseball history in their 30s (i.e. their age 30 through age 39 seasons):

    – 7th in doubles
    – 8th in RBIs

    Article about that: http://www.thegoodphight.com/2011/10/19/2500022/raul-things-part-2-thirtysomething-superstar

  14. Hot dog

    October 11, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    Post season from hell. Glad for Raul hate the yanks. Pence emotional leader of Giants says best team he ever played. Werth walk off. Wake me when pitchers and catchers report.

  15. Jeff Dowder

    October 11, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    It’s been an amazing post season with ex-Phils playing major roles for their teams. Hunter Pence suddenly becomes the team leader in San Francisco. Raul Ibanez becomes an overnight Yankee legend. Kyle Lohse adds millions to his free agent price tag. Jayson Werth keeps Nattitude alive to play another game with a walk-off HR of his own. Scott Rolen strikes out – ending the Reds hopes and most likely his career. Some great storylines this fall.

  16. Lefty

    October 11, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    If Brandon Moss hits a walk off tonight, and Gio throws a gem tomorrow I might be sick!

  17. ARc

    October 11, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    Raul, Thome, Gonzalez, Pence, Werth. maybe its us.

  18. ARc

    October 11, 2012 at 10:33 pm

  19. Ken Bland

    October 12, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    This looks like the outtatown scoreboard section of the site, and an excuse to write about the playoffs. Thank you, Rauuuul. Sometimes you stray from an intended subject around here, and they pounce on ya before yiou’ve exhaled. What an excuse to make arC feel warm and fuzzy. And I see Raul is mired in another deep slump after the heroics of the other night so they may erase this post. 0-1 since inning 12 the other night.

    But onto the playoffs from a rambling mind.

    The reaction within the body and the collective baseball world last night was really fascinating. Relatively, ya unnerstand. Shock waves vibrated when the Mighty ABag as Ryne Duren would call him took a seat on the bench, but last night, the equal of the quiet during the anthem could be felt when Skipper Joe decided he’d seen enough after his 7th K in 12 at bats was written in the memo section of tomorrow’s well deserved paycheck. Talk about a different reaction!

    I can’t imagine a happier winter in the Natti than the Delaware Valley a year ago. As easy as the 70s were, I doubt anyone on that club has a harder 4 day stretch in most any facet of life than the now historic nightmare. And what a tease! Down by 3 after an instant comeback, they put the tying run at the plate each of the last 4 innings, and never scored the 4th run. Terrific club, terrific first 164 games, but they’ll be the answer to so what for 200 on the next Jeapordy.

    I always got a kick out of the forlorned “he’ll be the last to win 300” by Glavine observors when Tommy turned the trick. Been a while, but I recall looking at CC, and thinking he had a realistic shot, then last year, carried it a step further, and power pitching style daring to hold up, recall Mister Verlander being plausible. 13 W’s for Justin this year doesn’t help a lot, but if either is evena modest realistic contender, it is a real tribute when Doc Halladay rightfully held the title of best pitcher of the post Maddux (bleep you, Roger) generation, and it’s hard to imagine him getting past 260. Who’s to say the A’s aren’t a Justin Verlander opposition away from a world title? V shut ’em down with an ERA of about 1 in I think 4 starts versus the nee Philly club through last night. Guy can bring it, and like Doc and Leonard Bernstein, giot stronger as his symphonies reached the parts of the game where most starters were headed to the showers.

    By virtue of he’d have pitched Game 1 V the Cardinals,guess who’d prolly be pitching tonight if Davey hadn’t used him down 2-1 for Game 4. He of innings count fame. Uh oh. Can you feel it? The discussion could go massive again after tonight, which, thankfully, will be played in shadow free conditions meaning we might actually see the better team for one night win, as opposed to the team that adjusts to different shadow tones. My man AW is running on fumes, but ya gotta have heart, all ya really need is heart. But that last at bat factor looms large. The Cards have a chance to take their legacy to infamous proportions with another parade, and I wouldn’t bet against that experienced bunch. I’ll say the Cards win.

    I’m no math major, but I can count well enough to see every series went the distance in the opening round. I wonder what would have happened if they all were best of 7’s. This is great, but THAT really would have been something. And for cryin’ out loud, how can you not help but feel the next 3 series might well go the 7 route. Cool stuff.

    Last note, void of overdone concious rooting interest. remember a guy named Mike Schmidt? 1-21 (?) in the greatest LCS there’ll ever be, Phils 3, Houston 2. Hit .364 (?) in the followup WS, scoring MVP honors as the game returned to fun. Hence, the first and maybe last Michael Jack Schmidt Award for biggest bust in an LCS to WS hero a scant period of time later. This year’s nominee is Adam Jones, even if it’s just the next series, as opposed to the WS. This is pressure, Baltimore V NY, and the Orioles would be over the mountain with a win tonight. Jones will be more inclined to relax, and start smashing again. The Yankees, meanwhile are goinna have to work really hard at feeling that swagger that used to accompany the time when the ghosts came out at the old Stadium, and the upstart Baltimore club, depsite CC will find it’s usual unforseeable way to take a great season series, currently knotted at 11. O’s and Tigers, Cards and Giants in a boldly sensed sweep by the road clubs tonight. Maybe.

  20. Ryne Duren

    October 13, 2012 at 8:59 am

    good guy, class act! congrats to him. DONE!

  21. "Big Ed" Delahanty

    October 13, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    Although I’m happy for Raul, we all know that if he was still a Phillie it most likely would have been two nil at-bats, or he’d still be in one of his Raul slumps. Good for him, but I hope the Yankees lose and lose big against the Tigers.

    • schmenkman

      October 13, 2012 at 11:31 pm

      At least one of his HRs didn’t go any further than some balls he hit to the track in last year’s NLDS.

  22. Ken Bland

    October 15, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    Wonder how many gaming lines come out of reading this site these days. Here’s a sure fire line to appear in Vegas once one of those casino types gets their hands on this copy. And it’ll be so much better a world for it.

    Lest the masses haven’t noticed, Cardinal baseball on KMOX is alive and well, gaining public confidence by the day that they are for real about defending their 2011 World title. You know, the one where the masses plus became believers that the hot team wins in the playoffs. Same cult following that applied that theory to the San Fransisco Giants all of 12 months before. Never mind that we remain a detractor on that theory representing the whole truth and nothin’ but the truth, but that’s digression.

    Odds, baby, stick to the odds subject.

    Remember this guy that lined up batting 3rd, and catching throws at first a year ago in Redbird Red, answering to the name of King Albert Pujols? Went west, young man did, leaving the under the Arch club to defend their title sans the greatest player of his generation. How good is Albert? About 1.5 times as good as Larry Jones, he of first ballot unanimous HOF induction worthiness. Pujols, in his prime, and not distantly removed from it, still is such a likely Hall guy that they should allow voters to vote affirmative twice to offset the moronic imbicile (s) that’ll vote negatory on his ass just to maintain baseball tradition of no unanimous picks.

    But in young man moving west, Albert left behind a legacy of major proportions in the Loo. His foundation remains, and some have gotten past the scorn that led to some uniform burning on the California sunshine news that prayers told Albert to sign with the Angels. Did you know prayers are a Wall Street factor?

    In their quest for title two sans Albert, one has to wonder how it feels watching the Redbirds on a roll for number 5. Adept at always saying the right thing, we likely won’t ever know, but despite the cash flow, it’s gotta be bittersweet watching his old mates join forces with newcomer Carlos “Shoulda Been a Phillie” Beltran to at a minimum, apparently head toward making the NLCS a deep playoff match. Wonder if probed, how Albert would reveal true feelings on the Sant Louis masterpiece without him.

    So the line is, which ambitious scribe gets a quote or two from Albert on his feelings that even serves as lip service. So far, the Cards have just approached a major barrier in repeating last year’s achievement. We’ll set the over/under on post NLCS, pre World Series for when Albert speaketh. Me? I’m not the gambling sort, but I take part in occasional discussions on the subject for information purposes only, and in this instance, I’m taking the uinder. As the Redbirds move closer to winning a 4th time in the LCS, some scribe will offer actual Pujols verbiage. It’s already topical as the Cards have parlayed the 2 card with fate to move past the Washedup Chokeditudes. Even with lip service copy, it’s definitely interesting to ponder how Pujols feels about the jetted Redbird flight. You’d think we’d be used to this out of this franchise by now, with 7 LCS appearances since the year 2K, but credit and the Cardinals never seem to be on the same side of the street. But with all their glorious history on their side, that’s what counts most. The rest is the perceiver’s problem.

  23. Ken Bland

    October 20, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Particularly in my case, writing skill set as non exsistant as it is, writing is like trades. Sometimes the best trades you make are the ones you don’t. Maybe Cliff Lee mid 2012 is a good current example. Perhaps the Yanks will find that to be true with ARod. The Cubs still celebrate having the good sense to hang onto Lou Brock. Ooops. I’ve used better examples. The best posts I’ve written are the ones I haven’t, a claim the masses would be quick to agree with.

    Yesterday. Friday the 19th, if you’re scoring at home was a great example. Barry Zito wa pitching, and respectable 2012 or not, I was ready to not only declare the Cards NL Champs, but go so far as to offer an all important view of the forthcoming Fall Classic. Very important, mind you.

    A funny thing happened on the way to the Arch, of course. The quotes sport wide, hell, profession wide, get a little old about the never give up spirit, but damned if the Giants didn’t do it again. And headed home, to a very underrated home field edge with Matt Cain lined up to pitch Game 7, we have some LCS drama. ‘Bout time.

    I know that neither the Cards or Giants appeal to the emotions of Phillie fans, but to me, neither of these clubs exactly deserve to lose. The Reds might still be The League’s best team, but we got some good competition on hand. And both clubs are good enough that it’s not like we’re left to choose the lesser of 2 evils. The marathon’s almost over, but the last mile is lookin’ like a spectator’s delight.

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