Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Pedro Feliz - Hot Corner Lightning Rod

This post is a day or two behind, but the Santana news took precedent. Either way, I never put my two cents in on the Feliz signing. So, here goes...

My initial reaction to the Pedro Feliz deal was not positive. I saw a 32 year old, field first, strikeout second third baseman who was little more than a powerful No-Hit Nunez and thought, "Oh crap."

But after reading some of the numerous discussions about the signing, I'm not so upset. Here's why: the Phillies are better after signing Feliz.

Take a look at the third base platoon of Helms and Dobbs and compare it to Feliz.

Defense: Neither Helms or Dobbs is a wizard. In fact, they are both liabilities that necessitate late-inning defensive replacements. Todd Zolecki makes a great point over at Zo Zone that having a steady defensive player at third will increase the options for pinch hitters in the late innings, as they won't have to be used needlessly for defensive substitutions. My hair fell out from the agony of watching Uncle Charlie use his entire bench before the 8th inning was completed repeatedly last year. Also, as Stato-matic Phillies fans know, especially those who actually defended using No-Hit Nunez in real games, defense saves runs. So chalk this category up to a big-time upgrade with Feliz.

Offense: Carson was right when he said that Feliz is a "Prodigious Out Making Machine." I'm not here to argue that he is a good hitter. But...compared to a Helms and Dobbs platoon, he isn't a big drop-off. Last year, Helms and Dobbs had OPS' of 665 and 781, respectively. Feliz's OPs was 710 the last two years. (Also compare that to Nunez's sub-600 OPS...) Feliz's power numbers are also a little better. I'm also leaning toward the notion that a change to a smaller ballpark will increase his numbers a little. Many people have pointed to the fact that his OPS at "Insert Bank Name Here" Park in San Fran was actually equal to or higher than his average OPS. (His San Fran OPS is 726.) Basically, the point is that his success (or stuggles) are not related to park size, because he does equally well in a huge park. However, if you look at his "per park" numbers closer, you see his lowest OPS numbers are at Chavez Ravine, PetCO, Busch, PNC, Safeco, and McAfee in Oakland while his highest numbers are at Camden Yards, Coors, Cinergy, Minute Maid and US Cellular in Chicago. Those stats show significantly better numbers at smaller ballparks. So I think there is at least a little reason to think his slugging and power numbers will increase. Taking defense from the equation, I probably would take 600 Dobbs at-bats over Feliz, but an equal split of Dobbs and Helms versus Feliz is almost a wash. Push this category.

Like I mentioned before, this gives the team more depth and more flexibility in late inning situations. The cost of this...about $4 million per year for two. While that isn't chump change, it isn't bank breaking either. And for all of us who have complained loudly over the years at the Phillies resistance to spend money to improve the ballclub, it is hard to turn around and argue that they are spending too much.

Pedro Feliz isn't my number one choice for the Phillies hot corner...or number two...or three...but he is better than what they had, and the team is better now that he is on it.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Darth Santana

Assuming Santana agrees to a long term deal (seeking 6 years and $150 million) and passes a physical, the Mets just acquired the best pitcher in baseball. And in doing so, they may have shifted the balance of power in the NL East a bit further to the north.

You don't need me to tell you how good he is or how this totally sucks for the Phils, but he is and it does. Big time. Question is, what can we do about this? Voodoo doll? Call Jeff Gillooly? What if we all combine our tax rebates and offer Santana more than $150 million to NOT pitch? I'm going to wrap my head around a bottle of tequila and brainstorm. Open to suggestions...


Check Your Head: Todd Zolecki

Today I bring to you another edition of Check Your Head, this time featuring the Philadelphia Inquirer's Todd Zolecki. Zolecki can be found in the newspaper, on radio, and on that leaves me with one question. Why is he bothering with little ol' me? Todd, it's time to check your head!

1. You hail from the BBC (Milwaukee- land of beer, bratwursts, and cheese), but now reside in Philly. Please compare the two cities and their fan bases.
Milwaukee and Philadelphia are different, but in good ways. Philly has more energy than Milwaukee. Bigger city means more options. I love being able to drive or take a train to New York, DC and Baltimore. Milwaukee is more laid back, but it's also fun. I love Milwaukeeans. They're incredibly friendly. Philadelphians are a little more ... impatient. The fan bases reflect that. Milwaukeeans are more patient with their team, but they will boo. (They're not blindly loyal like Cardinals fans might be.) Philly fans are quicker to step on an athlete's throat. For example, if Brad Lidge stumbled out of the gate in Milwaukee it wouldn't be reason for alarm. It might be in Philadelphia. But I've been in Philly since 1999. I like it here.

2. Who is the coolest athlete you've ever met and had a real conversation with?
I think the coolest athletes are the ones that can have a regular conversation with you, or don't feel and act like they're superior to you. That's why I always liked talking with Randy Wolf. Great guy. Funny. Doesn't big time anybody. Just a normal guy.

3. Who was your favorite baseball player growing up? (If you say Paul Molitor, this interview will be terminated.)
Robin Yount ... with Paul Molitor a close second. My first baseball memories are of 1982, when the Brewers made the World Series and Yount won the MVP. My brother and I once waited in line about four hours for a Yount autograph at a Brewers Fan Fest. I wouldn't wait in line four hours for anybody's autograph today, but at the time it felt totally worth it.

4. Describe some of the perks and pitfalls of being a beat writer.
Perks: Cover baseball for a living. Get to see a lot of great ballparks and cities. Can say, "I was at that game when (insert memorable moment here) happened." Get to learn a lot about baseball just by talking and listening to people. Pitfalls: It's a real grind. I chuckle when I hear people say, "How can these ballplayers get tired? They're playing a kid's game! That's not work!" Hey, I get tired. Really tired. And I don't even play. I just write. Other pitfalls: It dampens the social life. Flying US Airways.

5. What city is your favorite destination and what ballpark, aside from the Brick Cit House, is your favorite venue to view a game?
That's tough, but I'd have to pick Chicago and Wrigley Field. Chicago is my favorite city to visit. It's the best. (San Francisco, San Diego, Denver and Phoenix also are in my top five.) And I absolutely love Wrigley. The ballpark is in a great part of town. It has character. It's historic. It's fun. (PNC Park, Fenway, AT&T Park and Dodger Stadium are in my top five.)

6. Do you have any of the Phillies ball girls numbers?
Sadly, I don't. I'll have to work on that, though.

7. You're a journalist that is embracing the blogsphere, and I for one appreciate that. Please discuss the evolution of your blog- The Zo Zone.
I basically told my former boss last April that I wanted to start a blog. He said, "OK, sure." I wanted to write one because I see how the Internet is changing things. And our deadlines are so early that some nights it's tough to really explain what happened the night before the way I'd like, or at least put what happened into the proper perspective. The blog allows me to dig a little deeper into issues with the team. It also allows me to have a little more fun. I can post silly clips from YouTube, etc. I enjoy it. I still update the blog as much as I can over the winter months, even though I'm supposed to be on vacation and taking comp time. It's kind of addicting. Maybe I need a hobby?

8. What's your favorite aspect of baseball- pitching, offense, or defense?
I'm actually a fan of whatever gets the game finished as early as possible so I'll have more time to write on deadline. But I guess I appreciate good pitching more than good hitting because I see so little good pitching these days. That's why I like Cole Hamels.

9. What's your real opinion of the job Charlie Manuel and Pat Gillick are doing?
I've covered two managers: Bowa and Manuel. Fans can dismiss this if they want, but I think chemistry is big when you're talking about 25 guys being together for eight months a year. Guys didn't like playing for Bowa. That's all they ever talked about. Manuel pulls these guys together. He keeps them positive. Does he make some head scratching decisions? Yes, but sometimes those head scratchers are based on personnel. Look at last year's bullpen. Unless he was going to Romero, Gordon or Myers, it was a total crapshoot. As far as Gillick, he's been OK. His in-season moves have helped the last two years. His offseason moves haven't been as good, although the Lidge trade could be huge if it works out the way they hope. I heard somebody say on the radio yesterday that the Phillies have the money to spend, they just won't spend it. "They're cheap." It seems like such a cliche. They outbid the Red Sox for Mike Lowell and the Padres for Randy Wolf and Tadahito Iguchi. Were they cheap there? The Phillies spend money. The better question is: do they spend it wisely? Frankly, if I'm Gillick there's no way I'm signing Kyle Lohse to a five-year, $55 million contract or whatever. Just because you spend money it doesn't mean you're going to win. I'd rather take my chances with what I have then make a long commitment to a Lohse or a Silva or somebody like that. People forget Adam Eaton's contract, you know?

10. How's it feel to be mentioned by the likes of Jayson Stark and Buster Olney on their ESPN blogs? How much of an insider are you.
It's cool that family or friends get a kick out of it. But it's nice because Jayson and Buster are two of the best in the business. But I'm not sure how much of an insider I am. I can say I try to stay on top of the Phillies as much as possible.

11. Discuss your love for WSBGM's.
WSBGM's is one of my favorite Phillies blogs. You guys make me laugh, which is great. I try to link to you guys as much as possible. I'd actually love to link more to you guys, but sometimes I worry that a link to one of your, uh, more risque posts might scare some people who regularly read The Inquirer. We're a family newspaper, you know. :)


Monday, January 28, 2008

Rope, Knot, Jump

Rope- the Phillies signed Pedro Feliz.
Knot- it's a 2 year contract.
Jump- he is an out making machine...offensively.

P.S. We still have Wes Helms.


Ozzie and Crazy Train

With the retirement of Mike Lieberthal this past weekend, I began to think back on Phillies catchers of years past. Instantly I reminisced of Ozzie Virgil. Ozzie had a kick ass name, but really that was it...oh wait, awesome facial hair too, love that 'stache! He was a 6th round pick on the Phils in the '76 draft and caught for them from 1980-85. To be fair, Virgil did have two solid seasons in '84 and '85 and was the NL All-Star catcher in his last season in Phils pinstripes. Ozzie is also best known for being the essential part of the package that brought future Cy Young closer Steve Bedrosian and versatile outfielder Milt Thompson to the Phils via the Braves in '86.

Crazy, but thats how it goes.
Millions of people living as foes.
Maybe it's not to late,
To learn how to love,
And forget how to hate.

Mental wounds not healing.
Lifes a bitter shame.
I'm going off the rails on a crazy train!


Sunday, January 27, 2008

Peace out Lieberthal

For those few readers that have been around since the start of WSBGM's (basically I'm referring to myself, Corey, and some poor loser that randomly stumbled upon this site) Mike Lieberthal hasn't been looked upon or spoken of kindly. Today that changes. Why? First off, he's not longer a Phillie, sucking up millions ($7.5 each of his last 3 seasons), playing shoddy defense, or hitting into double plays. Second, he announced his retirement. I don't have the cash to purchase him a gold watch, so I figured I'd throw a nice tribute post his way as a farewell instead.

After spending the first 13 seasons of his career in Philly Lieberthal moved on to Los Angeles to become their backup backstop last season. Russell Martin went on to become an All-Star and Silver Slugger winner in the NL for catcher, so needless to say Mike's playing time was limited- 38 games and 77 at bats. Then October rolled around and the Dodgers neglected to pick up Lieby's $1.5 million option, hence retirement. At this point in the year, he was used to getting ready for the annual rite of passage into the upcoming season of pitchers and catchers reporting, but this year he's chillin' instead. Mike might be packing away his catcher's gear, but he did express a desire to stay in the game in some capacity, probably broadcasting, because as he put it "no desire to coach because it would require to start again in the low minors and work his way up". Enjoy the rest of your life Mike, I will actually have fond memories of you, because this blogger must step down from his cynical pedestal some times and give credit/thanks where it's due, and it's due to you.

Baseball-Reference has Jason Varitek listed as Mike Lieberthal's most comparable player...not bad company. Lieby's career line: 1212 games, 534 runs, 1155 hits, 257 double, 150 homeruns, 610 rbi, .274 average, .783 OPS, 2 time All-Star, and 1 Gold Glove. Ironically enough, Lieberthal said "I'm done" in Carson, California where he was playing in a celebrity soccer game headed by teammate Nomar Garciaparra and his wife Mia Hamm. Peace out Lieberthal.


Saturday, January 26, 2008

Wake Up Pittsburgh!

WSBGM's originally set out to be both a Phillies and Pirates blog, but over our existence we've slid mostly to the Philly part of Pennsylvania. I am a rabid Phillies fan, and I follow the Pirates. I wish I had more reason to post about the Buccos, but to be honest they've done almost nothing worth noting this offseason. It's as if they took winter literally and went into hibernation. Well Pittsburgh, it's time to wake up!

The fat sleepy bear has since begun to stir this past week in preparation for pitchers and catchers reporting in 19 days with the minor league signing trio of Jaret Wright, Casey Fossum, and Hector that's inspiring. Wright missed all of '07, the Rays let Fossum walk, and Carrasco had an era in the 5's...I smell NL Central champs! Have no fear Swashbuckler fans, they've signed more has-beens, never-weres, and who-the-hell-are-they-anyways: stud pitchers Adam Bernero, TJ Beam, and Elmer Dessens, catcher extraordinaire Raul Chavez, and super utility man Jose Macias. Hold on, that's not it, for a limited time only they'll throw in reliable reliever Salomon Torres for nothing- straight to the Brew Crew for 2 minor league "prospects". Also gone are Jose Castillo, Shane Youman (Phils thank you), Cesar Izturis (starting SS for the Cards), and Josh Phelps. They did sign one free agent to a MLB contract though, future Hall-of-Fame utility infielder Chris Gomez, so not all hope is lost. They've also been tossing around the idea of inking Freddy Sanchez to a multi-year deal, but to Pittsburgh that's probably only 2 years. Let's check back into reality here, the Pirates look dismal for '08, but they'll still probably have a better April than the Charlie Manuel fueled Phillies.


Oldie but a Goodie:


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Phlashback Phriday - Ed Delahanty

I want to look waaaay back in Phillies history, to one of their all-time greats, Ed Delahanty.

Delahanty is the second leading hitter (by average) in Phillies history, with a career line of .348 (2213 for 6359). He added 87 homers and over 1200 RBI playing in the homerless-era of the late 19th century. He also stole over 400 bases and walked three times more than he struck out.

His Phillies career started in 1888, after he was purchased for $1,500 from Wheeling of the Tri-State League. He was purchased for Abe Nunez dollars and he put up Abe Nunez numbers, hitting .228 in his first season. That was followed by a .298 year, a year in his hometown of Cleveland playing for the Infants, and another poor year with the Phillies (.243 average). Delahanty then turned it on, hitting .306, .368, .407, .404, .397, .377, .334, and .410 in the following years. Back then, a "performance enhancing substance" was a six of Schlitz so I doubt his accomplishments were aided by the "juice." (Although, a few gulps of cocaine containing Coca-Cola might help...) Surprisingly, he led the league in homers (twice) more than he led in BA (once). During his time, he led the league at least once in BA, SLG, OBP, OPS, hits, totals bases, doubles, triples, homers, RBI, steals, and a few other stat-o-matic categories.

Former Pittsburgh Alleghenys' pitcher Crazy Schmidt said of him, "When you pitch to (Ed) Delahanty, you just want to shut your eyes, say a prayer and chuck the ball. The Lord only knows what'll happen after that."

Wikipedia has this as summary of the last day of "Big Ed": "Delahanty died when he was swept over Niagara Falls in 1903. He was apparently kicked off a train by the train's conductor for being drunk and disorderly. The conductor said Delahanty was brandishing a straight razor and threatening passengers. After being kicked off the train, Delahanty started his way across the International Bridge (near Niagara Falls) and fell or jumped off the bridge (some accounts say Ed was yelling about death that night). Whether 'Big Ed' died from his plunge over the Falls, or drowned on the way to the Falls is uncertain."

"Big Ed" combined a long, successful, Hall of Fame baseball career with a tragic death involving trains, booze and a gigantic waterfall. And there is nothing like a mysterious, untimely death to boost a legacy.

So here's to "Big Ed" Delahanty, a hard-drinking, hard-hitting, Philadelphia Phillie.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Phillies Phillers

No More No-Hit:
I have stupendous news to share with concerned Phillies fans- the often ridiculed and regularly mocked Abraham Nunez has signed a minor league deal with the Brew Crew and is nothing more than a non-roster spring training invitee. This means no more No-Hit!!! The man could pick it at 3rd base, but he was to offense as a penny is to Donald Trump. It's hard to imagine making millions one season then not being assured a job the next...'tis the story when you suck I suppose.


Show Me the $$$:
What to do with Ryan Howard? I briefly touched on this touchy subject a few days ago, and I feel it's time to revisit it. I like Ryan Howard and want him to remain a Phillie for at least 4 more seasons. I also would like a happy Ryan Howard, which means upping the money proposal may be a good idea, and ideally laying down a decent chunk of change for the next 4 to 5 years for the mammoth slugger. I'm not in favor of anything beyond 5 years because of Howard's body type, which happens to be humungo like Snuffleupagus! Not to say he won't still be mashing homeruns into his mid to late 30's, but why risk it? If come season 5 on the contract I propose above and Ryan is still proficient offensively and able to handle the defensive load, approach him about an extension. A deal of 5 years and 70 million dollars could please everyone (Howard is happy he's getting paid, fans are happy they have their awesome 1st baseman locked up, and the organization is happy because of future playoff appearances). Patty G had this to say, "We're going to make every attempt to get something done prior to the hearing. Ruben is handling it, and he's had some very good discussions with Casey [Close, Howard's agent]. Hopefully we can get a meeting of the minds. We're open to anything."


Start or Finish?:
In 2007 Brett Myers went from Opening Day starter to strikeout crazy closer. For the '08 season he's slotted back into the rotation as the #2, behind King Cole. When the Phils first acquired Brad Lidge to become their closer, which allowed the transition of Myers back into starting, he didn't come off very pleased- saying "That sucks, but oh well." He has recently been quoted as to saying, "I liked having the chance to pitch every day or every other day as opposed to every fifth day. I hate waiting those four days in between starts. Having the chance to be out there with the game on the line is exciting. It's what fires me up. I like that. The music is blaring and my adrenaline is pumping. As a closer, you can get by with two pitches and sometimes one pitch. You only need three outs sometimes. As a starter, you need your three best pitches and you need to throw them all well the whole game. I've started my whole career so I'm ready to get back to it. I'm ready for the challenge." My personal opinion is Brett is needed more in the rotation and could be a helluva pitcher if he learned to control his temper and keep focus throughout an entire game. I just hope he doesn't pout and start throwing tantrums after a poor start like he did after poor relief know calling reporters "retards" and whatnot. I also hope Brad Lidge's surgically repaired knee is ready to go come opening day because I don't like the prospects of Tom Gordon closing again or the eventual heated debate of Myers returning to that role.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Raising Arizona...and Mexico

Here's an update on how some of the Phillies and Pirates top prospects, and Nyjer Morgan, faired in the Winter Leagues.

Phillies (all in AFL):
Joe Savery - Savery did some good things. He started 5 games pitched a total of 14 innings, posting a very good ERA (0.63) and WHIP (1.07), allowing only 4 hits. However, he struck out only 5 and walked 11. No wonder he only gave up a few hits, he didn't get the ball near the plate. In Williamsport, Savery struck out twice as many as he walked, so this is probably just a fluke thing.

Joe Bisenius - 6 games, 6.30 ERA, 1.70 WHIP. Yikes. He did strike out 12 in 10 innings, so he has that going for him, which is nice.

Greg Golson - .266 average (29 for 109), 2 HR, 16 RBI. He slugged the ball pretty good (.431) and stole 8 bases without being caught. Of course, he also struck out in almost 1/4 of his ABs (23 K's to only 8 walks), which continues a very bad trend for Greg. His K/BB was 49/2 in Reading and 124/21 in Clearwater. Very, very poor.

Andrew McCutchen - Probably the top Pirates hitting prospect, McCutchen did okay in Arizona. He hit .286 (28 for 98) but lacked much pop. He didn't record a homer and knocked in only 4 runs. He also stole 8 bases (caught 3 times).

Nyjer Morgan - Why is 27 year old Morgan in the AFL? To show everyone how awesome he is? No. The oldest player in the league hit .258 and posted an OPS of .710. It's depressing that the Buccos see it useful to send an old reserve outfielder to the Winter Leagues.

Neil Walker - Walker started out very well in the Mexican Pacific League, and then, not so much. A late season swoon ended with him hitting .268 (40 for 149) with 4 HR and 17 RBI. He, like every other Pirate and Phillie hitting prospect, likes to strikeout. He walked 11 times and K'd 34., and a .724 OPS.

All in all, PA prospects were not very successful, which should surprise no one...


Not in '08!

The Phils may have choked in the 2007 playoffs versus the Rockies, but in '08 I have much higher hopes! Hey, at least we're not the Mutts.


Sunday, January 20, 2008

What's Happening?

Last week we decided to stray from the normal everyday Phillies content and focus on the broad scale of MLB. We're back to business now, and today's post serves as a recap of the happenings from last week concerning the Phils.

I. I'll start off with our plump green fuzzy homeboy the Philly Phanatic being named sports' best mascot ever. Growing up a Phillies fan I always loved the Phanatic's playful shenanigans and to this day still appreciate the humor he brings to the ball field. Glad to see he got top honors in Sports Illustrated's poll and on Forbe's list, because if Mr. Met would have won I'd have severed that dumbass baseball head right off his shoulders.

II. Cross Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge of the list of players attempting to squeeze every penny out of the organization, as they each agreed to 1 year contracts last week without heading to the ugly process of arbitration. Lidge in his final year before free agency accepted the Phils' $6.35 million deal, and Madson took the $1.4 million and ran.

III. Johnny Podres died last Sunday at the age of 75, and for those of you who remember he served as the Phils pitching coach from 1991-1996. He didn't just tutor pitchers, he performed quite well as a pitcher himself winning 148 games over 15 seasons from 1953-1969 for the Brooklyn/Los Angels Dodgers and the Tiger, and of course the appropriately named Padres.

IV. Eric Bruntlett and Ryan Howard aren't too happy with the Phillies front office right now. Why? The Phils brass is low-balling them. Newly acquired utility man Bruntlett is asking for 800k and the Phils are offering 550k...I think a compromise can be made here at 725k. Howard's situation is a bit more hairy, where the Phils don't really care if they piss off Bruntlett because he's likely packing his bags after the '08 season anyway, but Howard is a dude that should be kept happy because they want him around for the long haul. Ryan wants $10 million (which would be a record for 1st year arbitration eligible players) and the Phils countered with $7 million (which is actually respectable considering Howard's 1st year of eligibility). There's no denying Howard's talent, which is prolific power. We all know he has stonehands at 1st and is a record setter for k's, but there's no way in hell I want him being traded away for magical beans in a couple years because we can't lock him up long-term. Right now offer him an Utley-like contract (7 years $85 million) and hope he accepts. *I need to note that the Phils aren't being cheapskates with their proposal, those penny-pinching years are in the past. MLB has a salary structure set up for arbitration based on years (for example the more experienced, and every bit as good if not better than Howard, Miguel Cabrera just got $11.3 million from the Tigers); they also apply this with slots in the amateur draft. If the Phils were to go crazy and give Howard the $10 million he wants in good faith, believe me the rest of MLB would be angry.

V. Kyle Lohse and Pedro Feliz are the two names I'm still seeing in the Phils rumor bin. Lohse has good stuff, but remember so does/did Adam Eaton. Kyle is a career loser with a 63-74 record, 4.82 era, and 1.43 whip, that's the simple truth. Don't get me wrong, having him as the 4th/5th starter would make me feel better heading into the '08 season, but at the price of at least $10 million a year and for no less than 3 years...craziness (which any Scott Boras client is). Feliz is being mentioned as an everyday 3rd baseman. I do not want him! Pedro is an out making machine, and I'm not talking about the pitcher Martinez in which making outs is a good thing. This Pedro is the equivalent of No-Hit Nunez with some pop...doesn't that just about make you throw up in your mouth and swallow?

VI. Chris Coste's much anticipated book "Catching the Dream" is set to be released soon by Random House publishing. That title is about as lame as some of the headings Corey and I post on our blog...c'mon now. The book chronicles Coste's travels through the minors, Independent League, and finally his big break in the 2006 season with the Phillies. I smell a Disney movie.


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Phillies Wars - Episode V

Abe Nunez as Stormtrooper - Is anything more pitiful than an Imperial Stormtrooper. A bunch of clones in white plastic outfits whose general purpose seems to be getting killed. And not just by Jedi or Rebel fighters...freaking Ewoks kicked their ass. And they might actually be the only group of people to hit less than Abe Nunez. Has any of their laser blasts ever hit anyone? Just pitiful.

Willie Randolph as Grand Moff Tarkin - Tarkin was a high ranking regional governor and within the Empire may have had the most power outside of Palpatine and Vader. He rode the Death Star like John Wayne rode a horse. But like Wikipedia says, his "fatal underestimation of his enemy allows Luke Skywalker to fire proton torpedos against the reactor powering the Death Star, causing a catastrophic detonation." From all-powerful, unbeatable Death Star to defeat at the hands of the hated enemy. Only Willie Randolph could manage a collapse like that.

WSBGMs bloggers as Star Wars Geeks - This one needs no explanation.


Phillies Wars - Episode IV

Jimmy Rollins as Mace Windu - In Episode III, Mace Windu battles Darth Sidious, and at the conclusion of their fight, Sidious is begging for mercy. That is MVP caliber lightsabering, right there. Also, I think Jimmy is the only guy on the team that could make using a purple bat/lightsaber look cool.

Shane Victorino as Lando Calrissian - Lando's a cool dude. He's a smuggler and gambler - he won Cloud City in a game of cards. He's also played by Billy Dee Williams, one of the smoothest cats around.

Kyle Kendrick as a Jedi padawan - I was very skeptical when Kendrick came up from AA last year, but a 10-4 record and 3.87 ERA shows that he could be a Jedi star in the making.

Danny Tartbull as E.T. - In Episode 1, in the scene where the galactic senate debates the decisson of voting for a new chancellor, if you look quick and close, and can spot that little Reece's Pieces eating alien. It's a brief appearance that lacks impact or any real importance. And there you have Danny Tartabull's Phillies career.


Phlashback Phriday: Winfield and Murray

If you noticed the lack of "Phillies" missing from the Phlashback Phriday title, that is because I'm continuing with non-Phillie baseball related topics for the week. At WSBGM's we normally aren't singing the praises of players on other teams (we're usually tearing them down), but today I want to take the opportunity to give a shout-out to two of my favorite non-Phillies of all-time: Dave Winfield and Eddie Murray. Baseball-Reference lists Murray as the most comparable player to Winfield and vice-versa. The similarities between their careers doesn't end there; each was drafted in 1973 (Winfield 1st round, Murray 3rd round), they both were 1st ballot Hall-of-Famers (Winfield 2001, Murray 2003), and played on the same Cleveland Indians team in '95.

Dave Winfield was a big dude- 6'6" 220 pounds and was the total package on the baseball diamond as he could run, hit, had power, and played quality defense. Winfield was a member of 12 All-Star squads and won 7 Gold Glove awards. He's got some pretty sweet career numbers too: 3110 hits, 1669 runs, 1833 rbi, 465 homeruns, 223 stolen bases, 1093 extra base hits, and a .828 OPS. Dave's career spanned from 1973-1995 for 22 seasons in the bigs debuting with the Padres, and making stops with the Yankees, Angels, Blue Jays (won World Series and '92), Twins, and finally the Indians. Interesting facts- Winfield was a helluva basketball player in college playing for the Minnesota Golden Gophers. He also never played minor league ball, going straight from inking his deal post draft to the San Diego outfield. Dave entered the Hall-of-Fame as a Padre not a Yankee which upset George Steinbrenner...that gets my respect right there! During a game in Toronto in '83, he accidentally hit and killed a seagull while warming up and had to post a $500 bond for the incident.

Eddie Murray poked his head into the majors later than Winfield did, but once he appeared he was there to stay becoming one of the most feared switch hitters of all-time. Murray first showed up on the scene in 1977 playing for Baltimore and it was there that he made himself a talented slugger. Eddie played 21 season in the majors from 1977-1997 starting in with the Orioles and dropping by with the Dodgers, Mets, Angels, and Indians. Murray also won a World Series ring in the battle with my beloved Phillies back in '83. Eddie put up some gaudy stats himself: 3255 hits, 1627 runs, 1917 rbi, 504 homeruns, 1099 extra base hits, and a .835 OPS. He also appeared in 8 All-Star games, was Rookie of the Year in '77, and snagged 3 Gold Gloves at firstbase. Interesting facts- nicknamed Steady Eddie, brother Rich Murray briefly played for the Giants in the 80's, and was the hitting coach for the Dodgers recently.