Saturday, January 31, 2009

New Hero

This hairy-chested tubby bastard with the plumber's crack is my new hero.


Disown Jack:
Why in the name of all that is holy and just in this world is Jack Wilson still a Pittsburgh Pirate? I frequent MLB Trade Rumors, so I know that other teams were interested in this slick fielding low impact bat wielding grossly overpaid shortstop, yet he remains a Bucco. WTF?! Here's a list of supposed teams that came calling for Mr. Wilson's services: Los Angeles Dodgers, Detroit Tigers, Minnesota Twins, and Baltimore Orioles. He's set to make a robust $7.25M in '09, so just getting him off of the payroll would be worth the trade alone; getting a prospect in return would be the sprinkles on top of the sundae. I'm not saying he's a horrible player, but he's horrible for the Pirates. If a contender needed a stopgap quick-fix at SS, then Wilson could do the trick. A team that will teeter on 100 losses surely doesn't need him though, as he's not a centerpiece for rebuilding around (which is what the Pirates must do). Wilson is now 31 years old, and his overall career batting line is mediocre at best: .269/.312/.375. Jack was quoted as to saying that the "Pirates need more players" in order to compete. Well, they sure as hell don't need you!


Friday, January 30, 2009

Phlashback Phriday - Contracts

Usually on Fridays we like to look back at a player from the Phillies past, but I'm going to mix it up today. The offseason is flooded with talk about contracts, agents, arbitration, negotiations, "money grubbing whores," etc. Basically, baseball takes a back seat to business. So, I thought it would be interesting to look back at some memorable contracts in Phillies history.

Pete Rose - 1979 - 4 years, $3.2 million

Lance Parrish - 1988 - 1 year, $1 million

Juan Samuel - 1989 - 2 years, $2.8 million

Steve Bedrosian - 1989 - 3 years, $4.35 million

John Kruk - 1992 - 3 years, $7.2 million

Darren Daulton - 1994 - 4 years, $18.5 million

Gregg Jefferies - 1995 - 4 years, $20 million

Lenny Dykstra - 1995 - 4 years, $24.9 million

Mark Portugal - 1997 - 2 years, $5 million

Danny Tartabull - 1997 - 1 year, $2 million

Curt Schilling - 1998 - 3 years, $15.45 million

Scott Rolen - 2002 - 1 year, $8.6 million

Robert Person - 2002 - 1 year, $6.25 million

David Bell - 2003 - 4 years, $17 million

Jim Thome - 2003 - 6 years, $85 million

Tom Gordon - 2006 - 3 years, $18 million

And finally, Steve Jeltz's salary for the 1986 season - $70,000...


Thursday, January 29, 2009

New Pirates Uniforms To Be Proud Of

Since I think the new Pirates uniforms are shit, I figured I would be proactive instead of just reactive, and create some new Pirate jerseys. So, here are my ideas.

1) The Pittsburgh Obamas - Our President wants to pass a stimulus package that would give $4.19 billion to "neighborhood stabilization activities." Does ACORN need four thousand million dollars more to commit voter registration fraud? No. So why not give a little of that money to the Pirates? Hell, even 5% of the money (~$200 million) dedicated to "neighborhood stabilization" would help the Pirates. And as thanks, the Pirates could get rid of the fat "P" and the Pirate logo altogether and replace them both with the president's mug.

2) The Pittsburgh Yankees - The Yankees are always looking to expand the "brand." Take for instance their 2001 partnership with English soccer club Manchester United. Now, the Yankees can expand their brand into the National League. For a modest price, the Pirates can replace their name/logo with the Yankee "NY" logo. Not only will this bring in money directly from the Yankees, attendance may spike as stupid bandwagon Yankee fans flock to PNC to see the "Yanks." And I'm sure the players won't mind either, considering that if any of them are any good, there is a 50% chance that they will be wearing a Yankees uniform before the season is over anyway.

3) The Pittsburgh Steelers - The Pirates have added sleeves to their jerseys in an attempt to "identify" with successful Pirate teams of the past. Well, why don't they try to identify with some other successful Pittsburgh teams, like the AFC champion Steelers. The color scheme doesn't have to change, but instead of a Pirate, the logo can be those three little diamonds. Of course, instead of representing the three ingredients to making steel, they can represent the three fans that still think the Pirates will have a winning season this decade.

4) The Pittsburgh Oilers - In every other country in the world, professional sports teams use the space on their uniforms to sell advertising. In America, teams like to pretend that they are above that. They act like the uniform is sacred and could never be tarnished with corporate branding. Screw that! The Pirates need players. And to get players, the Pirates need money. And to get money, they should sell their soul uniform fronts to big oil. Say hello to the Pittsburgh Exxons!


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Stupidity + Failure = Pirates New Uniforms

So these are the new uniforms the Pirates will be wearing to lose 100 games during the 2009 MLB season. Here are my first impressions:
- Generally speaking, I'm disappointed.
- I like the grey road uni, especially when the player sports high socks like Nyjer Morgan does in the picture...but the grey sleeveless was better.
- I also like the fat "P" making a long awaited return to the jersey front. However, that jersey looks like a batting practice/Spring Training jersey, and probably should be limited to such occasions.
- The red jersey is nowhere to be seen. They need to put that thing in the same closet as the "Turn Ahead The Clock" jersey and lock the door.
- The only sleeveless jersey they kept is the one I hate, that hideous pinstriped thing.
- The home whites are...boring home white. Take a look at the old jerseys [below]. How is this an improvement?

All in all, not a good effort by the Pirates. I would have simply removed the logo form the left sleeve like they did in the 60's and 70's (see pictures below), eliminated the red jersey and the pinstriped jersey, and maybe initiated a "new" throwback jersey to be worn on Sundays on something. But who really cares, right? No big deal. And then I read this on the official Pirates website:

"The changes were made in large part to identify closely with the team's history and tradition. The decision to go back to a jersey with sleeves was again part of the effort to identify with the uniform style of the most successful Pirates teams in the organization's history. Four of the five world championships won by the Pirates were won by players that had sleeved jerseys."

This is the kind of bullshit that infuriates Pirates fans like myself. I don't want to "identify" with successful Pirates teams, I want to WATCH successful Pirates teams. I don't care if they are dressed like the Taliban. I don't care if they wear ball gowns and high heels. Hell, if they would win 82 games, I'll wear a dress and high heels. I'd much rather have a player look horrible and hit .300 than have the LaRoche brothers play like crap in sleeves!

Furthermore, the Pirates didn't even do a good job "identifying" with successful teams of the past. What do you think of when you think of winning Pirates baseball? I think of this:

See any sleeves? I don't.

Sure, the last Pirates team to win the World Series had sleeves. But they also had pillbox hats with horizontal stripes, pull-over mustard yellow polyester jerseys and Dave Parker high on cocaine. Except for the coke, anybody want to bring back that winning tradition? Also, the first two World Champion Pirate teams wore sleeves. Of course, the colors were red and blue and some of the uniforms lacked a logo or script/print name and had collars. Any body want to bring back that winning tradition?

Like I said, same old tricks from the Pirates. Make some marginal changes that don't affect the state of the club, put a couple quotes in the media that make it look like they want to improve the club, all to distract the fans from the fact that the team still sucks and isn't getting any better. But hey, at least now they have sleeves.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Q&A- Scott Palmer

The Director of Public Affairs for the Philadelphia Phillies, Scott Palmer, took time out of his busy schedule of sailing the seas on the Phillies Cruise and getting ready for Phillies Fantasy Camp to answer a handful of questions for us.

1. What all do you do for the Phillies?
My job as Director of Public Affairs keeps me busy. I am here for any fans that have questions or opinions they want to share about the Phillies. I am also part of the Phillies Media Relations Team. In that capacity I work closely with television stations that report on our ball club. I also do my own share of reporting, as host of our Sunday pre game show “The W.B. Mason Behind the Pinstripes.” During Spring Training I file video reports on the team that appear on Phillies.Com. We also send many of those interviews back north for stations that can’t be with us in Clearwater. In addition to those roles I host news conferences, and other events sponsored by the Phillies like Baseball 101 for Women.

2. Aside from the 2008, which season has been your favorite?
2007 was special because the Phillies won the division and got into the playoffs. The goal every year is for us to win the World Series. In 07 we took the first big step.

3. Biggest tough-ass in Phils recent history (1980-Present)?
If you are referring to a clubhouse tough guy the ultimate leader had to be Darren Daulton. Otherwise I think I would put in a vote for Dave Hollins.

4. Nicest Phillie in recent history (1980-Present).
A tie between a pretty good double play combination, Mickey Morandini and Kevin Stocker.

5. Do you ever miss the Vet?

I always enjoyed being at the Vet. It had character and a personality all it’s own. It had Philadelphia written all over it.

6. Are you a Phillies fantasy camp all-star?
Just the opposite. I was a good field no hit catcher in little league days. Now my knees hurt and I still can’t hit. My best adult baseball memory probably is stealing home in an over 40 South Jersey hardball league.

7. Reflect back on your reporter days.
I was fortunate enough to enjoy a broadcasting career that lasted more than thirty years. Along the way I drove in a stock car race after being coached by David Pearson, reported on Bear Bryant for two years in Alabama, was the first television reporter to interview Charles Barkley (while he was a high school player in Alabama), was in St. Louis for Mark McGwire’s home run record, and Baltimore when Cal Ripkin broke the Iron Man record. I was in Chicago for the famous Fog Bowl game, and Houston for the House of Pain game with Jerome Brown. I covered the Olympics, a Super Bowl, World Series, and the NBA and NHL finals. As I said I have been extremely lucky.

8. Just how cool was "Campaign Cheer"?
I think you guys were at the forefront of a fan movement in Philly. Instead of expecting the sky to fall when things are going good, fans are starting to expect good things to happen. I think it’s even carried over to the other side of the street. Towards the end of the Eagles season the fans began to feel positivity. Believe me, the players feel it. Our guys told me they have noticed the change in the energy at Citizens Bank Park.

9. Thing you look forward to most in the upcoming seasons.

That’s an easy one, more parades!

10. Describe the Diamond Club, and can you hook us up with a pair of tickets?

They only let me go there when I’m hosting events. I’m more of an Ashburn Alley guy.

11. Best feature of Citizen's Bank Park?
Open concourses and great sightlines.

12. What other sports do you follow?

Sixers, Flyers, Eagles, college football, and golf.

13. Biggest perk of your job?
Livin’ the dream, and being among 2 million of the best fans in baseball celebrating a well deserved championship.

14. How was the Phillies Cruise?
The Phillies Cruise was great. We sailed the Western Caribbean with Shane Victorino, J.C. Romero, Greg Luzinski, Larry Andersen, and the Phanatic. Of the 2 thousand passengers on board, more than 220 of them were Phillies Fans. We had several scheduled events, and there were many other times when the fans were able to just stop and talk with the players on board the ship. A good time was had by all with a lot of baseball talk as we cruised the high seas.


Monday, January 26, 2009

Around The NL East

Atlanta Braves
RHP Derek Lowe signed with the Braves for $60 million dollars over four years, but lost John Smoltz to the Red Sox. Advantage: Braves.

Japanese pitching star Kenshin Kawakami signed a three year deal. The 33 year old righty went 9-5 with a 2.30 ERA last season with the Chunichi Dragons. He struck out 112 batters in 117 innings. You can check out all of his stats here. I don't know anything more about this player, but a quick Google search yielded this picture, which I'm pretty sure showed Kawakami sporting a mullet. That can't be good for the Phils, because the mullet adds at least 4 MPH to a fastball.

The Braves also added righty starter Javier Vazquez and lefty reliever Boone Logan to the pitching staff in a trade with the White Sox. The Braves gave up a bunch of minor league players. My first thought was, "Crap. Another lefty to get Utley and Howard." But then I looked at the numbers. Logan has a career 1.46 WHIP and .272 average versus lefties. So we'll see...

Florida Marlins
The Marlins won the World Series in 1997. Six year later, in 2003, they were crowned as champions of baseball again. Six years later, are the Marlins thinking World Series?

"Every six years, so we’re due," said RHP Chris Volstad. "I think we have the talent to do it."

Chris Volstad is frequently high.

New York Mets
Freddy Garcia signed a one year, minor league contract with the Mets. I don't have details on any of the numbers, and as much as I like to rip on the Mets, this is probably a pretty good signing. If he goes into Spring Training and blows, it's not a big deal because it's only a minor league deal. Or he could actually help the back end of the Mets rotation (which is pretty suspect at this point). Low risk, potentially high reward signing.

Former Gnats starter and Phillies-killer Tim Redding signed with the Muts for one year and $2.25 million. He had a modest 4.95 ERA last season, but won three games against the Phillies. Obviously this is a move directly aimed at beating the Phils.

Washington Nationals
They recently failed in their attempt to sign Mark Teixeira...or any other player of significant impact.

Lastings Milledge went out dancing.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Hall of Fame Results

Here are the final results for the WSBGM's Hall of Fame voting:

Burrell - 84% - Elected
Jeltz - 36% - Remains on ballot.
Nunez - 34% - Remains on ballot.
Bell - 27% - Remains on ballot.
Schu - 6% - Removed from future voting.

The Veterans Committee had it's meeting at the Appalachian Brewing Company (the unofficial sponsor of all WSBGM's committee meetings) last Friday. By a unanimous vote it was determined that nobody will be inducted by the Veterans Committee.

So, congratulations to the inaugural member of the WSBGM's Hall of Fame, a first-ballot inductee, Pat Burrell.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Rehab, Rumors, and a Signing

Chase Utley and Pedro Feliz are both mending well, with each aiming to be ready by Opening Day. Feliz's surgery and rehab was/is less extensive than Utley's, and he'll likely be ready to go shortly after spring training begins. Chase, the uber-tough-ass he is, was originally slotted to be out until June, but is now zealously preparing for April 5th @ 8 PM against the Braves in the Brick Cit House. Backup plans are in place should one or both not be able to go to start the season with Marcus Giles, Jason Donald, Eric Bruntlett, and Greg Dobbs in tow.

Words on Chutley from Rube- "We're cautiously optimistic that he'll be ready at some time close to Opening Day, but we're not pushing him, and we're making sure that he is completely healthy once he's ready to go. Opening Day might be what his goal is but, again, we're not going to put him on the field until he's completely healthy and we feel that there's no risk for re-injury."

Fat Mike Zagurski (nicknamed in honor of Fat Mike of NOFX and Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies) has suffered a setback in his rehab likely pulling him out of consideration for JC Romero's open slot in the bullpen.

Amaro isn't keeping his plan a secret, as he's openly admitted that he wants to add a righthanded bat to the bench. Nomar Garciaparra is his first choice, but No-Mah is mauling over retirement...which means he's not worth offering a contract to then anyway. Nomar would be booed in Philly for his batting glove routine shenanigans and is only a fragile exoskeleton of the player he once was...pass! Rich Aurilla, Moises Alou, Kevin Millar, and Mark Grudzielanek are also a blip on the Phils rumor radar. Alou is about as old and healthy as Bea Arthur, but dude can hit and he plays the outfield. Also, if he were to help beat the Mets, I think I'd pee myself from laughter. Really, any of these guys would be okay for a bench spot because I do believe a righthanded option aside from Brunt and the backup catcher is needed.

Damon Hollins is now a Phillie. Who? Why? Do you mean spider-bite Dave Hollins? Nope, I mean Damon Hollins, who hasn't played in the majors since 2006 with the then Devil Rays. He spent 2007 in Japan and 2008 in Triple A batting a paltry .220. I'm not sure why signing a 34 year old outfielder is a good idea, but who am I to question Amaro's genius? Through 4 seasons in MLB he's played with the Dodgers, Braves, and Tampa Bay batting .242/.701. He's also a rare breed of player that throws left but bats right.

*Carlos Ruiz is skipping the WBC to play for his homeland Panama, an is concentrating on improving his offense this season and deepening his bond with the pitching staff (sounds kinky).


Friday, January 23, 2009

Q&A- David Murphy

Beat writer, David Murphy, of the Daily News took a break from breaking Phillies news to readers of the paper and his blog High Cheese, to answer a few questions with us. Enjoy...

1. What do you enjoy most about being a beat writer?
Autonomy. I like the fact that I am essentially in control of my beat and my environment. Because there are 162 games and because we are on the road so much, it's a one-man show a lot of the time. I am in charge of deciding what to write, and when to write it, and what is important, and what is not important. I'm never in an office. I'm in charge of making my own travel arrangements. I very rarely have anybody bossing me around. There are a lot of aspects I like, but to sum it all up, I guess autonomy would be the word to use.

2. What do you least like about being a beat writer?
I can't really say there is one aspect I like least. Don't get me wrong. Beat writers, by nature, like to bitch. It's kind of like our therapy. It is how we communicate. We bitch about the travel, about the deadlines, about the volume of copy, about certain encounters with certain players. We bitch about the fact that we never have a Friday night off, and that we can never spend summer weekends at the shore. We bitch about being at a ballpark for nearly half of a calendar year. But at least in my case, it is never completely serious. In reality, I like the travel most of the time, and I like the ability to write every day, and I like the relationships I develop with team members, and I like being at the ballpark. It can get a little overwhelming. And when you have to leave dinner to go write a story about Greg Dobbs signing a contract, it does suck a little bit. But then you sit back and realize that there really isn't any other job you'd rather be doing.

Wait, I just thought of one thing I can unequivocally say I hate about the job: plane rides. I probably was on 50 flights last year. If I could have any magical power, it would be teleportation. I hate airports.

3. What is your view on the way that mainstream media (newspapers and television) are melding with blogs in terms of sports?
I think the MSM is kind of feeling its way around right now. If you look at most newspapers' conception of a "blog" it is quite different from what a "blog" actually was when blogs originated. Your site is a mish-mash of things with a lot of commentary and pictures and stuff like that. Whereas newspapers seem to view blogs as a primary news delivery vehicle. If I get a piece of news, the first place I put it is on my blog. Even though blogs by nature were never supposed to be primary news delivery vehicles. So even though we call our blogs, "blogs," many of them just end up being glorified RSS feeds. I try to keep mine "bloggy." I don't like to just regurgitate the news that is already in the paper. I like to use it for analysis. I try to keep it more casual. But like I said, it's a feeling out process.

4. What was your favorite team growing up and who was your favorite player?
I was born off City Line Ave, lived in Bristol Boro for four years, then spent the majority of my formative years in the Poconos. So I was actually a big Philadelphia sports fan. Growing up, my favorite team was the Eagles, particularly the Eagles under Buddy Ryan and Ray Rhodes. Randall Cunningham was my main man.

5. Describe being on television covering the Phillies.
I really like the TV part of the job. I hosted a show on my college television station and interned at a cable news station when I was in high school, so I've always enjoyed the medium.

6. How much of an inside scoop do you have?
You never feel like you have enough of one, so it's tough to gauge. This was my first year on the beat, so I'm obviously not as ingrained as a guy like Paul Hagen, who has covered the Phillies for 20 years and is a tremendous resource. But really, a lot of it is just paying attention, keeping your antennae up, and asking the right questions.

7. Who's the coolest player to interview?
Hope this isn't a cop-out, but they are all pretty cool. Generally speaking, the lower-profile guys are easier to interact with, which is understandable. Guys like Rollins and Howard and Utley are call cool guys who are decent to deal with, but they have so many people pulling at them for so many different angles, they've got more of a "guard" up than maybe someone like Chris Coste or Jayson Werth. The best, though, is Brad Lidge. He puts the "professional" in professional athlete.

8. What's the best place in Philly to get grub and brews.
We might have to do an entire interview on this question. I live in Northern Liberties, so I'm kind of partial to wherever I can walk. There is a bar near my house called North Third that does bar food with a nice touch. Great atmosphere, good drinks, and until recently they had Buckhunter, which always gets bonus points. There's a new place called El Camino on 2nd street that I highly recommend. Dos Segundos has really good Mexican. I'm partial to cheesesteaks from John's Roast Pork and Campo's. Sarcones in South Philly and Brothers in East Falls have the best Italian Hoagies. Flatrock Saloon in Manayunk has the best wings and is always a good place to grab a beer. We end up at the Dark Horse Pub a lot off South Street. Looking to go out on a Saturday night and a good bet is Public House or Plough and the Stars. I would also be remiss if I failed to give a shout out to the guys at the Pour House in East Falls.

9. What's your early impression of new GM Ruben Amaro Jr.?
He came in and didn't feel the urge to put his fingerprints all over the team, which I respect. He is keeping the entire team short of Pat Burrell together, and adding a few parts that might have been missing last season (like more consistency behind Ryan Howard in the five-hole). I think next year will be his year to put his stamp on the franchise. Joe Blanton and Brett Myers will be free agents, Adam Eaton and Geoff Jenkins will take another $15 million off the books. Ryan Howard will be two years away from free agency with a potentially monster price tag hanging over his head. It'll be interesting to see what happens then.

10. What prospects/farmhands do you see making an impact for the Phils this season (either playing or via trade)?
I think J.A. Happ has a real good chance to start the season in the rotation. I still think Carlos Carrasco will start the year in the minors, but I think the Phils won't hesitate to call him up if his services are needed. Other than that, we'll have to see. I still don't see Lou Marson getting the call-up.

11. What city is your favorite destination and what ballpark, aside from the Brick Cit House, is your favorite venue to view a game?
Favorite downtown is Chicago. Favorite city overall is San Diego. Favorite venue to view a game is either Wrigley Park, Dodger Stadium or whatever San Francisco's park is called now.

12. What's your favorite aspect of baseball- pitching, offense, or defense?
Pitching. There's nothing prettier than pitcher who is on his game.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Rube Been Busy Boy

Ruben Amaro Jr. has been a busy boy (oops- man) signing Shane Victorino, Chad Durbin, and Joe Blanton to one year deals avoiding arbitration. He also skirted around arbitration with Cole Hamels, Ryan Madson, Jayson Werth, and Greg Dobbs by locking them up with multi-year contracts; all within a weeks span. Amaro is like the Arb King or something. Ryan Howard remains the only unsigned Phillie, and he has exchanged numbers with the Phils. However, as everyone knows by now, Howard is demanding an outrageous $18M while the Phils countered with $14M. I wish I could get a raise in my line of employment by actually getting worse over the past 2 years. F'n joke! He's the worst fielding firstbaseman in baseball, strikes out 190+ times per season, and his batting average and walks are steadily decreasing along with the trusty measurement of a player's value of OPS ('06- 1.084, '07- .976, '08- .882). His OPS was ranked 28th in MLB last season, not top 5. If he wins this arbitration case putting him in the upper echelon of MLB salaries then I believe Barack Obama should focus on baseball salary structures rather than a college football playoff system.

Just because I called him a "money grubbing whore" in the comments section yesterday, doesn't mean I hate him. I've always maintained that I'm glad he's a Phillie and we're lucky to have him. However, this is getting tiresome with his A-Rod type dollar signs in his eyes. Howard is essential to the Phils success. That doesn't change the fact that I absolutely hate his negotiating tactics for money. I know other players do it too, it's not just a Howard thing, but damn, it pisses me off. Here's how one dude would spend Howard's millions.

I must admit, I'm impressed with Ruben's recent string of activity by locking up young talent and settling on fair contracts. He may have not done that well in the free agent pool, but he's doing a tremendous job ensuring that Phillies will remain Phillies.

World Baseball Classic:
The Wolrd Baseball Classic is set to take place in March during spring training. Players will be granted permission by their parent teams to play for their national teams. MLB announced its rosters for the World Baseball Classic. Phillies on rosters include...
Australia- righthander Drew Naylor, catcher Joel Naughton, and infielder Brad Harman.
Canada- outfielder Matt Stairs.
Dominican Republic- catcher Ronny Paulino.
Italy- outfielder Michael Spidale.
Mexico- infielder Oscar Robles.
Netherleands- righthander Mike Bolsenbroek.
Panama- catcher Carlos Ruiz.
Puerto Rico- lefthander J.C. Romero.
USA- shortstop Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino.
Venezuela- righthander Carlos Carrasco.

*Thanks to Todd Zolecki for the list.

I think the WBC is a good idea, just done at the wrong time. I feel it should take place in November following the MLB postseason and be played in warm weather destinations. To have a guy, especially pitchers, coming in cold after a winter's layoff to pitch competitively in this tournament seems risky. With that said, Go Team USA!!!


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Howard Fires Casey Close, Hires Chief Bromden

Arbitration figures were submitted by players and teams yesterday. Ryan Howard has submitted an insane salary of $18 million, while the Phils are countering with a more reasonable $14 million.

Is dropping your average, OBP and slugging percentage while increasing errors by more than 50% worth an $8 million dollar raise? It is if you're as crazy a rat in a tin shithouse.

I don't see any way that Howard wins this arbitration. I doubt if Ryan Howard thinks he can win this arbitration. But even if the Howard Team (Howard, agent Casey Close, Howard's father) doesn't think they can win, this proposal sends another clear message to the Phillies: "You can't afford him. Trade him to a place where he can get paid now before his value drops even more next year."
Other Arbitration News

Joe Blanton - Signed for $5.475 million.

Shane Victorino - Signed for $3.125 million.

Jayson Werth, Chad Durbin - Still arbitration eligible.


Tale Of The Tape - Hamels v. McNabb

After watching Donovan McNabb's performance in the NFC Championship game this weekend, I couldn't help think of the other strong-armed leader in the city, Cole Hamels, and how his post season performance compared. So, I thought I would examine the two players a little more closely and see who comes out on top.

"Crunch time" strategy consists of:
Hamels - Reaching back for "a little more."
Mcnabb - Vomiting on the field.
Advantage - Hamels. The "puke and rally" strategy only works for drinking, not Super Bowls.

Accuracy most comparable to:
Hamels - Jamie Moyer
McNabb - Bubby Brister.
Advantage - Hamels.

Main target:
Hamel - "Cooch" Ruiz's glove.
McNabb - Hank Baskett's feet.
Advantage - Hamels.

Gets rubdowns from:
Hamels - His chiropractor.
McNabb - Wilma McNabb.
Advantage - McNabb. I really don't trust chiropractors...and I kind of like Wilma.

Worst injury:

Hamels - Broken hand sustained in a bar fight.
McNabb - Sports hernia sustained while chasing down a defender after an interception.
Advantage - Hamels. The lesson here: learn to punch with your non-pitching hand.

Hamels - Mullet.
McNabb - Alternating between wild 'fro and the Jerry Rice inspired "male pattern braiding."
Advantage - McNabb. Although the mullet brings back memories of '93, McNabb's ridiculous looks cannot be ignored and must be respected.

Hamels - A poker face that Doyle Brunson could be proud of.
McNabb - Takes the "smiling jackass" approach to adversity.
Advantage - Hamels. There is nothing more irritating than watching McNabb smile from ear to ear when they are down three touchdowns.

Possible nickname:
Hamels - Mr. October.
McNabb - Mr. October.
Advantage - Push.

Is limited by:
Hamels - 100 pitches and three days rest.
McNabb - Knowledge of the overtime rules and the lack of a running game.
Advantage - McNabb. The Phillies have a better running game than the Eagles, so McNabb gets this category based on pity. Maybe the Eagles should fire Marty Morningweg and hire Davey Lopes...

Recent weight gain due to:
Hamels - Gold and diamonds on his WFC ring.
McNabb - "Choking" down Chunky Soup.
Advantage - Cole F'n Hamels.

There you have it. The numbers never lie. Hamels comes out on top, 6-3, and the undisputed champion of throwing balls in Philadelphia.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Q&A- Doug Glanville

Doug Glanville, owner of a .277 career average and 1100 hits on the nose over 9 MLB seasons, took time out of his busy schedule which consists of raising his baby son, being a savvy business man, writing pieces for the New York Times, and killing people in video games to do an interview with We Should Be GM's.

1. Tell us about your gig writing articles for the New York Times.
When the Mitchell Report came out I paid close attention to people’s responses. In particular, from the officials of the game and the players. I found it to be two-sided. Offense and defense, but I felt there was so much more to the story. So I wrote a rambling piece for My friend and NY Times reporter, Alan Schwarz yelled at me for not submitting it to the Times. So I wrote my next Mitchell Report piece for them. To my shock, it made it the headline opinion piece in the paper. From that, I went to New York and pitched them on a column. They were very enthusiastic about the idea. I think I caught them at a good time. The Times is trying new things and expanding their audience, especially on-line. I am honored to be part of that movement because so many people with fantastic journalism qualifications don’t get a chance to publish in the Times.

In my columns I am just telling stories and I am hoping to have readers connect with an experience that is often seen as elite and rare. It really is a lot more than that, even though I understand that only a select few can do it at this level. So I wanted to write about the human experience with a base in humility and I hope to bridge differences and create more understanding from it. So far, the feedback has been along those lines and I am thrilled to hear that.

It is also is very personal for me as my father used to read it daily. He was a great poet and this writing gig is the first real experience where I can say I feel truly connected to my father since he passed away in 2002.

2. Your latest business venture is GK Alliance, what is it and what do you do there?
GK Alliance was a company I formed with my junior high school friend, Assad Koshul. In essence I had invested in a real estate development company which turned out to be as I called it “moderately disastrous.” But in the process I learned about building single-family homes and I was working side by side with a great friend. Over time, we slowly bailed out the other company and vowed to finish what it started so that investors could at least have a chance to recoup something. In the process, we diversified even as far as Pakistan to survive this horrendous market. Thank goodness we did because real estate is nothing nice these days. The banks are freaking out, no one can get loans. But I can proudly say that we build some cool houses with some green features. We sold two homes in the past year and shockingly, I designed one from the ground up. It wasn’t exactly my plan for retirement, but you never know where the wind takes you.

Now we are looking for an investor to help finance our projects. We would be an entrepreneurial partner and I think we are ready for some big things.

3. Just how hot is Tyra Banks?
Tyra is stunning in person. I have a couple of inches on her so I could block her shot if she tried to post me up, but she has this infectious personality. What shocked me was when we first met, I think she was more nervous than I was at the time. I understand why she became one of the top models of our era, she has that kind of aura about her not to mention that getting to know her made me understand why she is having so much success is talking to people. But my wife is way more beautiful than her.

*A Model Home Plate- Doug's NY Times article on Ms. Banks.

4. If you could be any Star Wars character, who would it be and why?

I actually like Boba Fett. He was jack of all trades, loyal guardian. I was really annoyed when they hyped him up and then five seconds into the movie, he falls into a sand pit. What a waste. He should have died more nobly than that.

5. You're a smart guy, an Ivy Leaguer, so what is your best memory of UPenn?
I would have to say my junior year because it was total chaos. I was nearing the draft and I didn’t have a minute to myself between scouts, agents, playing games, and studying. It was insane, but somehow, I made it through. At one point Scott Boras came out to talk to me and he organized an amazing presentation on why I should get more than any player because baseball is pulling me from a lucrative engineering career. He had projected salary losses over the course of my minor league career. He had his act together, but I ended up with Arn Tellem who is a gem. Not to mention I got strange phone calls that year. Political pundit, George Will called me asking about Penn as a good fit for his son. Random.

6. What's your favorite thing about the city of Philly?
I like Philly history. When I was dating my wife, we both had lived there for over 10 years but had never gone on a formal tour. So we jumped on a tour bus and went around the city for hours. Its history is amazing and with it comes one of the greenest cities in America. There are parks everywhere. But don’t get on the bad side of the fans. Thankfully, I never really did.

7. Who were your best buds in the majors?
I was close to Kevin Jordan, Marlon Anderson, Jimmy Rollins, Shawon Dunston (I loved listening to him argue with Mark Grace all of the time), Amaury Telemaco. And if a player liked breakfast, they were cool with me because I used to get up every morning to find French Toast. Kevin Jordan scored a lot of points with me for being a morning person.

One thing I miss about baseball is the guys. We had a good time. It was a great mix of people of all walks working together for a common goal. In so many ways, we grew up together.

8. Do you collect your own baseball cards?
I do. Not actively, but I have just about every one. A lot have come from generous fans that sent a bunch of extra ones. My son one day would really enjoy that collection, right now, all he would do is try and eat it since he is only six months old.

9. Biggest thrill as a professional baseball player?

Probably that first call-up to the big leagues on a cold June day in Chicago. Seeing my name mixed in with Sandberg, Grace, and Sosa was awesome. Wow. A close second would be the 2003 playoffs. It turned out to be my only playoff experience. The electricity in Chicago was off the charts and when I slapped that triple in Game 3 of the NLCS in Florida, I was floating for days.

10. Funniest clubhouse story?
We had a kangaroo court with the Phillies with Rheal Cormier, Rob Ducey, and Jose Mesa as judges. I wrote up Mark Lewis one day when the hot water had run out at Fenway Park. Most players just took cold showers like the days of winter ball, but not Mark. He jumped into the therapy whirlpool and took a standing shower. I submitted my complaint for the violation of “nastiness” and the judges voted me down by calling it “ingenuity.” What a crock.

11. Is New Jersey a nice place to live despite all the things you hear?
I loved growing up in New Jersey. I spent my life in Teaneck, NJ which had the first high school to voluntarily integrate. It was an oasis of diversity and tolerance and no other experience has shaped my thinking as much as mine in Teaneck. But when people ask “What exit?” I tell them it was the last one on the turnpike before the George Washington Bridge.

12. When you played your final game on October 3rd of 2004, did you have a feeling your career was winding down and possibly coming to an end?
I did feel like I was adrift. Physically, I could still do a lot of things, but when you are now the veteran who plays when they are giving someone a day off or protecting a young rising star, it is a tough spot. You end up playing only against Cy Young pitchers or pinch hitting after sitting on the bench for hours. All I saw was Brad Radke, Randy Johnson, Glavine, etc. A collection of aces. Not easy when you have two weeks between starts. I was frustrated with that season and had to really soul search before accepting an invitation from the Yankees, but I certainly knew that I had less years in front of me than behind.

13. Any superstitions?

Not so much. Although one year in Triple-A I got hot using the “Magic Eye.” It was a book where you stare at the page and eventually you see a 3D image in the background. I was on fire for almost two months. So I kept staring at that book. Although I never did see Elvis.

14. WSBGM's (our blog) has wanted you to be GM since the days of Ed Wade, any chance you'd consider dabbling in MLB front office employment?
I would never say never, but part of what I don’t miss about baseball is the crazy hours. GMs work hard and have to be relentless. I have done that on a fixed schedule for 15 seasons. When I left the game, I wanted to gain flexibility in my life. I wanted to work hard, but with the ability to be able to get away and teach my son how to roll over or be there for my family as much as possible. I want to stay connected to the game, but if I work for a team, I would try and create my own position. Like a team ambassador. Travel on a light schedule while talking about the game to fans and parents.

15. Describe the feeling of being drafted in the 1st round.
Well, to some degree, the surprise is taken from you because in the weeks before the draft everyone is calling you telling you where you will be drafted. So I already knew I was going to be in the first round, I just wasn’t sure where. But I was excited, especially after years of battling my brother in wiffle ball. I also played Strat-O-Matic baseball all of the time and I couldn’t wait to get into a set as a real major leaguer. It is a powerful thing to find out you are in the best of the best, especially coming from an underdog baseball school like Penn. I can also say that I was drafted one pick BEFORE Manny Ramirez. What were the Cubs thinking?

16. You've got one of the best all-time smiles, how do you maintain those chompers?
I have to thank my orthodontist from when I was in 7th grade. My smile could have been even better if I didn’t lose my positioner for two weeks after I had my braces taken off. Oh well. Although my father in law is an oral surgeon so I am good for a long time.

17. Current facial hair situation...(as you've gone mustache, goatee, and hairless in the past)
I have been rolling with a goatee with a streak from my lip to my chin. My wife likes it and I got married with this look, so I am staying with it. I went insane in 2003 when I was with the Rangers. I just let it all go. I think it had to do with being lost after my father passed away the last game of the 2002 season. As a result, I went up a full size for my helmet and my hat. I doubt that will be my style of choice anytime soon. Chewbacca had nothing on me.

18. When we come to a game next season and meet up with you after the game, what are we drinking?
I am actually a wine guy so it may be a smooth Zinfandel from Napa Valley. I never got into beer, but I would have a Presidente every time we played the Marlins. If I have to go the cocktail road, I like Baileys and this amazing drink called Amarula. Since I like sweet drinks, rum is my base of choice if I had to choose. But most times, you will see me with a boring Cranberry juice.

19. Bigger accomplishment- 204 hits in 1999, muscling up for 14 homeruns in 2001, or not committing an error over your last 3 seasons?
I have to say getting 204 hits. It was extra sweet because I got my 200th hit against the team that traded me away, the Chicago Cubs, and it was on a homerun to boot. Is there a symbol I can type that means “sticking my tongue out at you?”

20. Describe your video/computer gaming habits.
I love video games ever since I got my Intellivision 25 years ago. Although these days, I don’t play that much because my son is even more exciting than video games. But, I have an Xbox 360 and a monster PC from Alienware. Curt Schilling and I lost a year of our lives playing EverQuest in 1999. He is ramping up his gaming company with some heavy hitters, but I am now on the outside, partly because I know those persistent world games can suck you in where you will never be heard from again. So for my kicks, I play a lot of demos or only the best games around. Assassin’s Creed was great, Mass Effect, Rainbow Six. My all-time favorite series is Thief.