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Over a week without
updating this? Not good – somehow I’ve let impending final exams top my
priority list. March also has some pretty high quality basketball being played
on the collegiate level, so that is time consuming. My Ohio Bobcats were
eliminated Thursday night (ending my dream for them to make the Big Dance and
become the first 16 seed to take down a 1 seed in NCAA tournament history), but
the agony of that defeat was healed by arguably the greatest basketball game of
all time. If you weren’t fortunate enough to have stayed up until 1:30 on the
East Coast, I recommend checking out Connecticut and Syracuse’s 70 minute
marathon on ESPN Classic….you won’t regret it.
Okay, on to baseball
with an assortment of thoughts on the recent happenings. We’ll call them “Hit
and Runs.” (The baseball term for running on contact, not the assault kind.)
the Philadelphia Daily News stay in business a little longer by paying for
an advertisement thanking the fans for their support over the last nine years. As
fans, we were admittedly hard on Pat (if you chase that low and away pitch for
strike three one more time!!), but fans connected with him the most during the
magical ride last October. So, thank you, Pat.
A-Rod. He really knows how to divert media attention from his steroid use. He’s
so desperate, he’ll try anything. For example, saying he wished Jose Reyes was
the leadoff man in the Bronx! It’s too easy to pick on Alex because of how
obvious it is he never attended or fell asleep during media training classes.
hip surgery should keep him out for most of April, so Yankees fans paying
outrageous ticket prices for Opening Day at the New Stadium will have to settle
for Cody Ransom or Angel Berroa at third base. I agree with Tim Kurkjian, who
hit it right on the head when he said the best thing A-Rod could have done was
come out of the box and start the season with 10 homers in April.
plays a small role in this as well….of course he does. The World Baseball Classic
betting favorite Dominican Republic was ousted by the Netherlands. Would
Rodriguez have made a difference? Who knows, but that’s beside the point. I
couldn’t name a single player on the Netherlands roster and I recognized just
one. Big Papi David Ortiz did add some humor to a tough loss. “These guys, they
did it. They beat us. I tell you, the whole world is shocked now. Even in
Japan, they’re like ‘What the heck?’ in Japanese.”
be honest, I was a little surprised Manny signed a contract and reported to
Spring Training. I thought he would holdout and begrudgingly accept the $45
million deal – the same deal that was offered to him in November – on April 4th.
Supposedly, Scott Boras had ManRam “freaking out” over the lack of clubs
interested. Obviously, Boras is one of the people who give agents a bad
reputation, but it must also be tough to have a serious conversation with this guy as ESPN’s Colleen
Dominguez found out.
Phillies had eight representatives in the World Baseball Classic, but only
three remain. Here’s a quick statistical summary of those eliminated…
Carlos Ruiz of Panama: 2-5 BB
Matt Stairs of Canada: 0-6 BB
…and three minor leaguers from
Brad Harman: 3-9…4 R…RBI…BB
Joel Naughton: 0-1
Drew Naylor: 0.1 IP…3 ER
Tonight, J.C. Romero’s Puerto Rican
squad slaughtered Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, and the United States 11-1 in seven innings. Thus far, Romero
has a win versus the Netherlands, while J-Roll and Shane have combined to go
Have a phantastic Phillies day! Only
21 more until Opening Day at Citizens Bank!
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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 MLB.tv, 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!