Bartender…..Jack: Baseball is Back!




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Yesterday had the potential to be a terrific day. I woke up at 10 a.m.
on a Sunday to get front row seats in hopes of getting on an ESPNU telecast.
Our Ohio University basketball seniors were playing their last home game and
blew a 10 point lead with three minutes left to lose to Buffalo. Getting on
television was no consolation – I would have traded it for a W in a heartbeat.
But baseball cures everything, so let’s blog rapid fire style.


Shane Victorino was selected to join J-Roll on
Team USA’s World Baseball Classic roster, replacing Cleveland’s Grady Sizemore.
“The Flyin’ Hawaiian” might not lead the team statistically, but his mere presence
in the clubhouse is a boost that won’t show up in any newspaper’s box score.
Every day is April Fool’s Day if you’re a teammate of Shane’s – that means watch
out David Wright. Team USA opens play on Saturday against Canada at the Rogers
Centre in Toronto.


Thanks to subscribing to, I was able to
catch my first glimpse of Phillies baseball in 2009 (along with a record
attendance of 10,270 at the Phillies’ Bright House Networks Field) and was the
wait ever worth it. I watched the game in bits and pieces, but was fortunate to
see all of the highlights. Ryan Howard, John Mayberry, and Miguel Cairo played
home run derby in the first inning, taking advantage of a generous wind blowing
out to left field. Cairo hasn’t gone yard in over 750 regular season at-bats
dating back to 2005. Seeing Howard round the bases never gets old and that had
me standing up and cheering in my empty dorm room. Jason Donald, a rookie
trying to make the team, gave me my first web gem of the year with a remarkable
dive into the shallow left field seats.



(Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

It was strange seeing Pat Burrell in a Rays
uniform. I am glad he switched leagues, so I can still root for him…unless the
unlikely scenario of another Phillies-Rays World Series unfolds. Pat the Bat
received a warm welcome by the fans in Clearwater and he will certainly be
showered with cheers when Tampa Bay plays two exhibition games at Citizens Bank
Park in early April. Philadelphia doesn’t often embrace players, so Burrell has
certainly earned the recognition.


Speaking of fan favorites, Philadelphia
football fans suffered a punch to the gut as free agency started with Brian
Dawkins bolting to Denver. If you’re not a football fan, Dawkins was Burrell
x1000. His leadership is irreplaceable and you can’t put a price tag on the
fear he put in wide receivers coming across the middle. Unfortunately, the
Eagles front office management never pays for aging veterans.


Adam Eaton was expectedly released on Friday
after forcing Phillies fans to suffer every fifth day for a year and a half. He
was not embraced. Even after accepting a minor league assignment, Eaton managed
to go 0-5 with an ERA over 7! The Orioles extended Eaton an invitation to
spring training yesterday and he could potentially find a spot in their weak
rotation. If not, at least they are not on the hook for $9 million like the
Phillies. Pat Gillick made a LOT more smart acquisitions than not during his
tenure as general manager, but signing an injury-prone batting practice pitcher
to a three-year/$24 million deal was an exception.


I was always a fan of Jim Bowden, but his list
of transgressions surely fueled the pressure on him to resign.


Have a phantastic Phillies day!


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