Oct 31, 2009

World Series Game 3 Live blog Inning 6

Inning 6

8:19 PM: Wow, Girardi and Happ are alums of Northwestern...and never met at school. I am shocked.
8:21 PM: Swisher HR...6-3 Yankees...um...I want candy???
8:27 PM: Jayson Werth is awesome...6-4 Yankees....that ball was launched.
8:30 PM: Ibanez does the left-handed sitdownprevalent for the Phils since the 2nd inning. Wake up people!
8:31 PM: Feliz is working the count....fans are excited for him...and he strikes out...his pitch recognition is awful.
8:33 PM: Eric Bruntlett's beard is thick...has he been hibernating?
8:35 PM: The answer: yes

I'm going to a Halloween party...the liveblog is over as I will now drown myself in sorrow.

World Series Game 3 Liveblog Inning 5

Inning 5

7:51 PM: Hamels...hello? 3 straight curve balls to Swisher results in a double.
7:52 PM: Cabrera imitates a fish after striking out.
7:53 PM: Single by Pettite to score Swisher. 3-3. Hamels, that's terrible, absolutely terrible.
7:56 PM: Double by Damon...scores two. 5-3 Yankees...Hamels, you're terrible.
8:00 PM: Bye-bye Hamels. That was awful! Here comes Happ to pitch to A-rod, 1st and 2nd, one out.
8:06 PM: Pettite was eating his jacket zipper in the dugout.
8:07 PM: Happ survives the 5th with some nice pitches.
8:11 PM: Nice jack o' lanterns of the team logos.
8:13 PM: Nice play by Teixeira to get Utley.
8:14 PM: Pettite needs a breather after sprinting 30 yards?
8:15 PM: Nothing, nothing, nothing.....

World Series Game 3 Liveblog Inning 4

Inning 4

7:28 PM: It's time for the talk to the coach segment. Mackanin (former Yankee scout)talking with Joe Buck, who can apparently talk about two things at once. One good thing is that there's less facial close ups during this segment.
7:29 PM: Joe Buck says Hemels hasn't allowed a hit. What a dunce. You don't ever say that...ever!
7:30 PM: Teixeira walks on a pitch in the zone. FoxTrax is always right...right?
7:33 PM: A World Series replay....it's an A-rod HR, correct call. 3-2 Phillies. Hamels, 7 HR allowed in the postseason, already??
7:36 PM: Hamels regrouped and didn't allow any more runners. That non-strike call on Teixeira still was bad.
7:41 PM: Error on A-rod. Feliz is safe. Slippery little ball.
7:43 PM: Pay attention to the game, FOX! Stop talking to other people in the middle of the action.
7:46 PM: A whole bunch of nothing for the Phillies this inning. Will Joe Buck ever mention the count for the batter out loud? The saga continues.

World Series Game 3 Liveblog Inning 3

Inning 3

7:13 PM: What's the name of the song that FOX uses for its playoff ads? It's stuck in my head all the time.
7:17 PM: 1-2-3 inning for Hamels in the 3rd. So far, so good. And Feliz can throw a 4 seam fastball. Who knew?
7:21 PM: Howard needs the Batman costume right now for the World Series.
7:23 PM: Pettite is still slow. I did not know that Werth was the nephew of Dick Schofield
7:24 PM: Very quick inning this time. The only question is "who or what is Avatar?"

World Series Game 3 Liveblog Inning 2

Inning 2
6:45 PM: A-Rod hit by pitch...first time on base in this series. Jorge Posada's bat is defective or he lost the ability to remove a donut from it.
6:48 PM: Whoa! A green Tug McGraw jersey!
6:49 PM: On replays on pitches so far, you only get a good view of the ump's rear.
6:50 PM: Runner does not get past first. As Utley demonstrates his running backward skills before allwowing Werth to catch the 3rd out on a Swisher pop-out.
6:54 PM: I think I want that bright red Phillies mask for Halloween.
6:56 PM: Perfect at-bat by Werth! 6 pitches and a deep homer! 1-0 Phillies!
6:57 PM: Ibanez falls for the same trick as Utley and Howard. Breaking ball away much?
6:58 PM: Pedro Feliz hits one off the wall for a double! Since when did he adopt an inside out swing?
7:00 PM: Close-up of Utley's nosehairs. Another FOX TV moment. Does Posada have fingernail polish?
7:02 PM: Hamels bunted for a base hit. Bases are full of ducks or Phillies or something with one out.
7:05 PM: The Phillies crowd is loud and present. Bases loaded walk for Rollins. 2-0 Phillies!
7:06 PM: Victorino gets the run home with a sacrifice fly. 3-0 Phillies! Damon didn't even attempt a throw.
7:10 PM: 2 runners left on by Utley, but Pettite's working hard.

World Series Game 3 Liveblog Inning 1

Inning 1
All times in PDT

6:17 PM: Hey, the game's started. There's a pitch to Jeter for a strike.
6:22 PM: Two groundouts and a strikeout for Hamels in the top of the 1st. His fastball jammed the hitters inside.
6:23 PM: FOX had strange Halloween music in between the top and bottom of the inning.
6:25 PM: Rollins with a hotshot off A-Rod's glove on the first pitch. Damon almost fell down.
6:26 PM: Two straight first pitch swings? Did they adjust based on last game?
6:27 PM: FOX just showed us the details of Rollins' stubble on his face.
6:31 PM: Three straight first pitch swings now. What do you think Pettite is saying to himself to his glove before every pitch?
6:33 PM: After all those throws, Rollins read Pettite perfectly to steal second. And then Pettite threw to Jeter for a pick-off when he wasn't even on second. Weird.
6:38 PM: Hamels doesn't even look ready in the dugout.
6:39 PM: Pettite is slow at pitching. Hamels looks bored. Joe Buck: "It's a good thing we gain an hour tonight."
6:42 PM: Howard and Utley strike out. One runner left in scoring position. It's hard to tell if Pettite is pitching well or using hypnosis

Stay Tuned....

It's World Series Game 3 tonight and because it's such a pivotal game, I'm going to attempt a semi-liveblog of the game with kneejerk reactions and other observations. Anticipated updating is once every inning on average. Hope to see you there for comments and more comments.

Oct 23, 2009


....definitely describes the accomplishment of the Phillies disposing the Dodgers and winning the NL pennant for the 2nd straight year. They are the first NL team to accomplish this since the 95-96 Braves. Of course, there is one step more to travel!

Well, Exquisite also is another term used by Upper Deck to name its high end line. Clocking in at a substantial price for packs, I would never buy any on my own, so I participated in a group break hosted by Jeff at the always willing to break a box I Am Joe Collector.

As you can you see below, I believe I made out pretty well, and am quite happy with the results. The reason I'm not posting this until now is because the last card was a redemption and just arrived in the mail last week.

First, is a base card (all non-parallel base cards are #d to 99) of Jonathan Papelbon. I'm not sure why products like this have a base set per se. It would nearly be impossible to collect, and the target audience of this product probably wouldn't want to anyway. The base card is just as thick as the autos or relics in this product (that is to say, really thick)

Here is an auto (#ed to 20)of Hector Gimenez, a former prospect, who I had never heard of previously. There are a number of rookie autos in this product, which may or may not lessen the overall appeal of the product, depending on the consumer.

This would be the highlight pull. Yes, it is two Yankees' autos. Yes, it is of pitchers who probably have little discernible chance to make an impact on the MLB scene. But it's my first ever 1 of 1. (I've never pulled a printing plate, parallel, or Topps Moments and Milestones anything). The card is extra-refractive and the foil behind the auto shines with a radiative light (ok, that's an exaggeration), but it is nice.

One problem with all these cards in general is that for such a high end product, the cards chip very easily. The last card came in the mail in that top loader from Upper Deck with that chip already on the card. It must be the dark border colors or something.

So there you have it, 2007 Exquisite.

Oct 21, 2009

The Night Rush: NLCS Game 5

One moment captured in the mind's eye.
One performance to overshadow all others.
One effort to get lost in time.

It is Cole Hamels's turn to enter the spotlight on this night. For on this night, in front of a roaring and passionate home crowd, is the night to make his mark upon the series and the playoffs writ large. For on this night, the lights will shine with an intensity only to be matched by the senses tumbling over another to embrace this spotlight. For on this night, the team of resilience will attempt to overcome the final blue obstacle.

After game 4 ended, Jimmy Rollins's line drive splitting the outfield and rolling for infinity to the fence, I was ecstatic. I actually screamed aloud with excitement, I could barely eat dinner, I could barely get to sleep. It is unbelievable how much one split-second for a team you root for can do to uplift the spirits. I was so excited I couldn't even sit down to write anything about it.

Game 5 will be a fierce competition, Cole Hamels. Be focused and flexible and agile. Recall last year, but most of all, be this year and this night. Let the changeups drop and the fastballs pop into their intended targets. Give yourself, your team, and your fans a night to remember.

Go Phils!

Oct 17, 2009

Redemption: NLCS Game 3

On Sunday, the Phillies and Dodgers will size each other up in potentially rainy Philadelphia to see who really has control of the series. Some will be looking to continue their stellar play on both sides (i.e. Howard, Ethier, Loney, Ruiz) while others will be looking for redemption.

One such player is Chase Utley. Usually one of the rocks of the Phillies' lineup, he has been 1 for 8 with one BB in the series. Small sample size of 2 games not withstanding, the real concern is the 2 errors and the nature of these errors. Both were on attempted DP turns and involved wild throws. The first one looked like he just couldn't get the ball out of his glove in a proper manner, but the second one (at a most key moment in the game) was just tossed wildly from first base. He is normally reliable fielder and this should not happen again.

Also, why do Phillies pitchers fall down while fielding bunts? Eyre did this against the Rockies and Park had this eventually fatal mistake against the Dodgers. Is it difficult to run off a mound to field a ball? Am I missing something?

To all those wanting redemption, in the postseason all it takes is one moment of one game to put behind any mistakes of the past. Short memories, boys, the Philly crowd is waiting to cheer you on the next 3 games.

Oct 14, 2009

Dodgers vs. Phillies: Crossing-Over

The Dodgers and Phillies have a varied history against one another. They have never really been natural or true rivals, but there have been periods where they have experienced bursts of intense conflict over 1-2 year periods. This is one of those short periods.

Let's compare the gentlemen who have donned the working pajamas of both teams.

Dodgers That Were Phillies

Randy Wolf (Phillie 1999-2006)
Then: Precocious lefthanded starter who had run-ins with Larry Bowa before settling in as a good starter with elbow problems.
Now: Possible ace of the staff, loving Dodger Stadium.
Jim Thome (Phillie 2003-2005)
Then: Middle of the lineup 40 HR lock who ended up getting hurt and then being replaced by Ryan Howard.
Now: Pinch hitter with back problems, but still dangerous.
Vincente Padilla (Phillie 2000-2005)
Then: Enigmatic talent from Curt Schilling trade with volatile personality and game scores.
Now: MLB-renowned headhunter who has decided not to lose since putting on a Dodger's uniform
Eric Milton (Phillie 2004)
Then:Won 16 games, allowed a lot of home runs. One almost no-hitter against the Cubs.
Now: Relief pitcher and spot starter,probably not on the roster.

Phillies That Were Dodgers

Jayson Werth (Dodger 2004-2005)
Then: Injury-prone catcher turned outfielder with shoulder injury.
Now: All-star outfielder with rockin' goatee.
Paul Bako (Dodger 2005)
Then: Back-up catcher who hardly plays.
Now: Back-up catcher who hardly plays.
Chan Ho Park (Dodger 1994-2001, 2008)
Then: Successful pitcher that had amazing home/road splits.
Now: Gone through a debacle of a contract with the Rangers, pulled from the rotation with the Phillies, became an acceptable relief pitcher....with a pulled hamstring.
Pedro Martinez (Dodger 1992-1993)
Then: Thin pitcher overshadowed by his older brother.
Now: An unknown quantity after a HOF career and a few injury-riddled seasons.

Oct 13, 2009


Highlighted by one of the most exhilarating comebacks in Phillies playoff history, it was quite a heartstopping night. It seems all the remaining playoff teams have benefited from 9th inning comeback wins. It should be an interesting LCS round.

Because the Phillies won, I would like to showcase some contest winnings I've acquired semi-recently. The first is an autographed card of Virgil Trucks courtesy of the generous Crawford Cards. Because he's not a HOFer, pitchers with long careers like Trucks are sometimes left behind in the depths of baseball annals. Nevertheless, this is an awesome card of a memorable player.

The other contest winnings are from Voice of the Collector. For some inexplicable reason, I took a quiz on mentalfloss.com and guessed correctly all the listed Beckett values of the subjects of the quiz. I do admit to reading Beckett...in 1998. Which just goes to show how little the values of cards have changed over the years. Some fluid market pricing they have, eh? As a reward for my strange memory, he sent over this 5 card set of top prospects from the National. Oh, and if you have any of those 20th anniversary cards that Upper Deck inserted into packs this year, he would love to take them off your hands. I have not pulled any from a pack this year, but many of you definitely have.

The only one I'm unfamiliar with is David Cooper, otherwise it's a who's who of up and comers for this and next year.

Thank you both!

Oct 12, 2009

NLDS Game 4-It Comes

Left side of the infield unite.

May your gloves be quick and sticky and your movements be lithe and graceful. May you block groundballs with aplomb and snag popouts with ease. May you be unfazed by the purple and black masses of the stands and risk your limbs and appetite by reaching into their depths. May the double play bring smiles from the heavens and may you run down and tag advancing Rockies before they reach their destination.

May you work the count in a judicious manner and get on base at a frequency much higher than your season stats suggest. May you run the bases smartly, advancing beyond the normal expectations and avoiding the siren's call of an overzealous 3rd base coach. And may you score runs in abundance as numerous as the sands on the beach or the dust particles in my apartment.

The game is begun. It's time to perform. Go Phils!

Oct 11, 2009

Wishes for Game 3 of the NLDS

Bobby Abreu, patron saint of patience (4 walks in game 1 of the ALDS alone!), please bless thy former teammate, Jimmy Rollins, with the ability to let bad pitches go and only swing at good ones. Grant him with the forebearance to recoginze the difference between a fastball and breaking pitch from the left side and not jump in the batter's box. Stay back on the ball, Jimmy and work the count. Also, extend thy bounty to Carlos Ruiz, to recognize when the lineup needs turning over. A double play is worse than a strikeout....

To Larry Bowa, patron saint of overreacting, I beseech thee to remove thy presence from the inner sanctum of Charlie Manuel. One must look beyond the singular batter and the singular inning to manage to win the series. Each game is important, but do not ruin the rest of games in the future for a game today. Do not let him give in to thee and thy fiery temper. The laid back Charlie is a winning Charlie except during motivational team meetings.

Go Phillies!

This is just a tiny sampling cards from the generosity at Stats on the Back

Oct 10, 2009

2009 Allen and Ginter Wantlist and Tradelist-Update 1

The official 2009 A&G wantlist (it's large) and tradelist. Thanks to those who I've made trades with or sent cards to me. I'm working on gathering cards for those who I have not sent cards to yet. I've been away from home (unexpectedly) for almost 3 weeks, so I haven't been able to respond to everyone yet. I'm now back and ready to deal.


Base (20): 23, 25, 28, 36, 37, 88

152, 158, 162, 172, 187, 190, 194

201, 226, 243, 257, 263, 273, 279

Shortprints (12): 303, 314, 315, 319, 332, 334, 336, 338, 339, 344, 348, 350

National Pride (23): 1, 2, 38, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 61, 62, 64, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 72, 74, 75

Sketch Cards (13): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 19, 25

Creatures (17): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19, 20


13, 20, 22, 35, 49, 57, 60, 69, 75, 76,80, 94, 98, 111, 120,134, 136, 151, 188, 207,223, 229, 252, 270, 278, 282, 292, 302, 309

National Pride:12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22

Split and Torn

The Phillies-Rockies series is all tied up at 1-1 after two hard-fought games. It seems the Phillies new strategy is not to utilize the decimated bullpen arms as evidenced by the fact Charlie Manuel decided to use three starting pitcher types during the game 2 debacle. Joe Blanton was burned for an inning and performed well while JA Happ received a line drive in the shin as way of thanks for his service.

As a result, Pedro Martinez, the wily old veteran (seriously, his changeup is by far his best pitch now), who has pitched only one start since Sept 19, is slated to pitch game 3. I guess Happ will be the first out of the bullpen if Pedro falters since the Rockies have been demonstrably worse against lefties than righties.

But today a twist emerges from the weather gods. It seems that it's snowing in Denver and gametime temperatures were expected to be close to 18F. Who would have expected that it would be colder at night at elevation? I mean, that couldn't be logical, could it?

Therefore, games 3, 4, and 5(if necessary) will be played on 3 consecutive days without a travel day over 2000 miles and 2 timezones. Mark this is in contrast to the lax and easy scheduling of the other series. Both teams have been screwed by the all-knowing (sarcasm) scheduling committee of MLB.

In addition, the fanbases of both teams have been treated poorly by the times for the games. The first two games were during the day on a weekday. The 3rd game is now at 10:07 pm EDT...on Sunday...again welcoming the cold and snow possibility, and the 4th game will most likely be on Monday during the day to allow for travel during the same day. Is this any way to treat the last two defending NL champions?

Why do you think the only fanbases that get preferential TV treatment are Boston, New York, and LA? I thought Philly was part of the so-called east coast bias, but just like the signs on I-95, they have been overlooked.

The series is split...I could see it going all 5 games. But I'm pissed at MLB for making it really difficult to watch the games for my team. All they care about is that the fans' wallets are torn and tattered at the end of the day.

Oct 5, 2009

Play-in Play-off Games

Well, I go out of the country for two weeks and a pennant race breaks out in the wild, wooly AL Central. This was definitely unexpected. The Twins were supposed to have had their epitaph written some time ago with Crede and Morneau (especially) going down for the season. Apparently, Detroit decided to play just well enough to get down to their level (which really is not that bad a place to be). Today's matchup pits Rick Porcello vs. Scott Baker in a homerdome hanky extravaganza. I've just finished reading "High Fidelity" on the plane. So let's proceed....top 5 play-in, play-off games/series based on my own unrevealed criteria.

5. 10/2/1995 The Mariners beat the Angels 9-1 behind the hard-throwing Randy Johnson. This, of course, was the Mariners first ever play-off game, and it only came about because of the Mariners recovering furiously from a 13 game deficit as late in the season as 8/2. From that point the Angels were 22-34 and the Mariners were 36-20. This culminated in the Mariners beating the Yankees in the ALDS on Griffey's mad dash commemorated in A&G sketch card 22.

4. 10/1/2007 The Rockies win 9-8 against the Padres for the wildcard. The game itself was high-packed with drama. To the background of Hell's Bells, Trevor Hoffmann took the mound and promptly blew the lead. The indelible image is of Matt Holliday scoring the winning run, flopping chinfirst into home. Did he or didn't he touch the plate?

3. 1962 The height of the rivalry between the Giants and the Dodgers. At this time, the NL decided who would continue with a 3 game series. The first two games were split, leading to a 3rd game. The Dodgers held a 4-2 lead entering the 9th and promptly lost 6-4 as Walter Alston's handling of the bullpen during that inning could be routinely 2nd guessed. Relief ace, Ed Roebuck, was going on his 4th inning, but he had already pitched 4 innings two days ago and made another appearance the next day. The bases were loaded when "Wild" Stan Williams was brought in to allow a SF and two more walks. Thus, the damage was done with young Ron Perranoski and Sandy Koufax warming up in the bullpen. The Dodgers easily recovered to win the 1963 World Series.

2. 10/2/78 Yankees over Red Sox 5-4. Bucky Dent, Mike Torrez, Ron Guidry, Goose Gossage, Billy Martin, Bob Lemon. Crazy pennant race.

1. 1951 Bobby Thomson hits one out off Ralph Branca. The Giants Win the Pennant! The Giants Win the Pennant! The Giants Win the Pennant! The Giants Win the Pennant! He definitely knew which pitch was coming, I think. Even so, pandemonium on Coogans Bluff.

Agree? Disagree?