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February 2013

What is the Best Move to Make After a 4-12 Season?

530719_671279598861_2108998005_n

Every fan thinks they know what is best for their team, no matter the sport. So, let's pretend you are the owner of a football team coming off a 4-12 season. You know attendance dwindled as the season trudged on, and the all around ora of the team was sunken. The number one concern should be bringing fans back to the stadium and putting the team back on the map. "How do you do that?" you may ask. 

You raise the ticket prices for the first time since 2009. 

You raise the ticket prices 9.45%.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Eagles have to decided to treat their fans to increased ticket prices for the 2013 season. They were already in the top half of the league in ticket prices, and have now placed themselves on the outskirts of the top 10. If you want a single ticket to see Chip Kelly's offense, you will have to spend around $93, $8 more than last year's average. 

That's $23.25 per win, for those keeping score. 

Apparently, the price hike will be going toward the renovations being made to Lincoln Financial Field. That project may cost up to $100 million. Prepare for years of price increases and poor quality hot dogs.

If you weren't happy with the way last season was handled, you can rest assured that you'll be putting your extra money into those same hands. 


What is the Best Move to Make After a 4-12 Season?

530719_671279598861_2108998005_n

Every fan thinks they know what is best for their team, no matter the sport. So, let's pretend you are the owner of a football team coming off a 4-12 season. You know attendance dwindled as the season trudged on, and the all around ora of the team was sunken. The number one concern should be bringing fans back to the stadium and putting the team back on the map. "How do you do that?" you may ask. 

You raise the ticket prices for the first time since 2009. 

You raise the ticket prices 9.45%.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Eagles have to decided to treat their fans to increased ticket prices for the 2013 season. They were already in the top half of the league in ticket prices, and have now placed themselves on the outskirts of the top 10. If you want a single ticket to see Chip Kelly's offense, you will have to spend around $93, $8 more than last year's average. 

That's $23.25 per win, for those keeping score. 

Apparently, the price hike will be going toward the renovations being made to Lincoln Financial Field. That project may cost up to $100 million. Prepare for years of price increases and poor quality hot dogs.

If you weren't happy with the way last season was handled, you can rest assured that you'll be putting your extra money into those same hands. 


What is the Best Move to Make After a 4-12 Season?

530719_671279598861_2108998005_n

Every fan thinks they know what is best for their team, no matter the sport. So, let's pretend you are the owner of a football team coming off a 4-12 season. You know attendance dwindled as the season trudged on, and the all around ora of the team was sunken. The number one concern should be bringing fans back to the stadium and putting the team back on the map. "How do you do that?" you may ask. 

You raise the ticket prices for the first time since 2009. 

You raise the ticket prices 9.45%.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Eagles have to decided to treat their fans to increased ticket prices for the 2013 season. They were already in the top half of the league in ticket prices, and have now placed themselves on the outskirts of the top 10. If you want a single ticket to see Chip Kelly's offense, you will have to spend around $93, $8 more than last year's average. 

That's $23.25 per win, for those keeping score. 

Apparently, the price hike will be going toward the renovations being made to Lincoln Financial Field. That project may cost up to $100 million. Prepare for years of price increases and poor quality hot dogs.

If you weren't happy with the way last season was handled, you can rest assured that you'll be putting your extra money into those same hands. 


Mike Adams Nabs #37 as Bastardo Headed For New Number Again; Lannan Assigned A Number

Bastardo

Well, I offically wasted $100 last offseason as the Phillies have updated the public as to uniform numbers.   As we told you before, Mike Adams worked a deal with Antonio Bastardo to get #37 after initially grabbing 16.  Here are some changes and notable numbers:

On the Major League Side:

  • Mike Adams gets #37
  • Antonio Bastardo will take #59.  There aren't any possible 2014 free agent acquisitions that would take it away from him, are there?
  • John Lannan will wear #27, vacated by Placido Polanco
  • Delmon Young will wear #3; interesting he did not take his #21, since it's available
  • Chad Durbin could not wrestle #37 away from both Bastardo AND Adams, so he gets #45
  • Rule 5 draftee Ender Inciarte gets a reliever's #43

On the coaching staff:

  • Juan Samuel gets his #8 back.  He never looked right in anything else, did he?
  • Wally Joyner will take #21, which he wore for the California Angels during his All-Star Rookie year
  • Ryne Sandberg gets his Hall of Fame #23
  • Rod Nichols is the first to don Brad Lidge's #54 since Lidge's departure
  • Steve Henderson will wear #5  

On the Minor League Side:

  • Aaron Cook gets #29
  • Rodrigo Lopez could not get his accustomed 31 or 13 so he gets #16
  • Humberto Quintero will don #12
  • Yuniesky Betancourt will do his best Jim Thome impression with #25
  • Josh Fields gets #24 in the spirit of former Phillies third baseman Ty Wigginton

Phillies Are Finally Releasing Their 2012 Video Yearbook...Soon

NoSurrender

Remember when you could buy a Phillies video yearbook and give it to someone for Christmas?  This year, no such luck.  Though previous editions were released in December, such as 2011's video released December 19.   January 30th we finally now that we can order the DVD starting February 12, 2013.

New for 2012: the video will be narrated by Scott Franzke and Larry Andersen.  Traditionally a player who made a big impact each season is picked to be the narrator.  The lone exception previously was 2010 when Steve Martarano took a break from political talk radio to narrate the film, presumably because Roy Halladay is as monotone and uninspiring a speaker as it gets.  Cliff Lee narrated 2011.

The best solution would probably have been to have Ty Wigginton narrate the film.  Think about it: Wigginton is the face of the 2012 season.  He played real infield positions entirely too often (and even some outfield positions) and even ended up hitting cleanup a number of times.  When you think back to why the Phillies what they were in 2012 "Ty Wigginton" is the first thing that comes to mind.

Why is it so late? Maybe Vance Worley was narrating it and he got traded away, causing them to start over.   

One other possible cause for delay would be that the people wanted to come up with a perfect name.  "No Surrender" is clearly the result of many hours of hard work.

Will I pre-order it now?  No.  I think I'll wait for a rain delay to watch.  On to 2013.

Check out the trailer here:

 


Phillies Tabbed for Three of Eight ESPN Spring Training Games

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It must be getting close... just thirteen days remain until pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater to begin Spring Training 2013.   ESPN has released their Spring Training broadcast schedule, and the Phillies are in three of their eight games.  Some nice exposure.  

Here is the schedule, via ESPN's press release:

ESPN

Former Phillies 1B John Kruk will broadcast the first two games on March 18 and March 19, and former Phillies CF Doug Glanville will be in the booth for the Phillies' third appearance on March 27.


Miami Vice: A-Rod, Former Phillies Prospect Gio Gonzalez Named In Doping Scandal

Gio_Gonzalez

The Miami New Times opened up a huge new chapter in baseball's battle with performance enhancing drugs exposing a massive BALCO-like drug lab that linked many high-profile players to performance-enhancing drugs.   The report indicates that Biogenesis, a lab run by Anthony Bosch, supplied players with various performance enhancing substances.   Among those on the list include the highest-paid player in baseball history Alex Rodriguez, and former Phillies prospect and Washington Nationals startingn pitcher Gio Gonzalez.

This report contains very little speculation.  The author of the piece, Tim Elfrink, did not name anyone unless he had hard evidence to support what he was saying, presumably to avoid any doubt or any legal action for exposing the names.  The newspaper published extensive proof on their website.  The baseball player names specificially mentioned were the following:

  • Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees
  • Melky Cabrera, Toronto Blue Jays
  • Bartolo Colon, Oakland Athletics
  • Yasmani Grandal, San Diego Padres
  • Manny Ramirez, free agent
  • Nelson Cruz, Texas Rangers
  • Gio Gonzalez, Washington Nationals

The first five are not too much of a surprise; they have either admitted to use or been suspended for use of drugs in the past.  But this is the first mention for Cruz or Gonzalez.  The report maintains that they have other names in their possession but choose to release only these because they have substantial proof.

To be fair, Gonzalez, the former Phillies prospect traded to the White Sox towards starter Freddy Garcia in 2007, has the least dirt of the names on the list.   What they have on Gonzalez is a $1000.00 check written out to Biogenesis and frequent visits to the clinic by Gonzalez's father, Max Gonzalez.  Max Gonzalez claims he was simply out to lose weight:

I went to Tony because I needed to lose weight. A friend recommended him, and he did great work for me. But that's it. He never met my son. Never.

Never meeting Gonzalez does not mean that he did not benefit from the clinic.  Could he have bought legal supplements from the clinic?  Possibly.  The evidence is a handwritten note from owner Bosch that read, 

 Order 1.c.1 with Zinc/MIC/... and Aminorip. For Gio and charge $1,000. 

Aminorip is not a banned substance in Major League Baseball.  The product's website boasts,

Endurance and body-building athletes require significant quantities of protein to build muscle. AminoRip® provides 100% pure collagen protein in a 1 ounce serving without unnecessary fillers. Since the 15 grams of protein are immediately available upon ingestion, AminoRip® can be taken directly before and after a workout without leaving you feeling full or bloated.

One bottle of Aminorip costs $28.00.  That is some mark-up.  But Gonzalez himself would seem to indicate that he never even bought legal products from Bosch.

Gonzalez tweeted a response almost immediately after the news broke.  He likely knew sooner, since Major League Baseball and teams were notified before the report.

Gonzalez loses a little credibility here; his father admitted a connection to Bosch and the lab and there is evidence that there was a transaction involving him.  Gonzalez will have a hard time shaking this connection, particularly since three of the players named - Cabrera, Grandal, and Colon - were suspended by Major League Baseball in 2012 after positive drug tests.

As for Alex Rodriguez, the newspaper has extensive evidence on him.  And, the New York Yankees are furious.  According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, they hope to relieve themselves of Rodriguez after this mess:

Privately, the Yankees are thrilled with this latest mess. For if the allegations first made yesterday in the Miami New Times that detail Rodriguez purchasing banned performance enhancers from 2009-12 turn out to be accurate — or worse — then a portal has been opened for the Yankees to accomplish a goal as large as winning the 2013 World Series because of what it means to their present and near future: Severing ties with Rodriguez and saving as much of the $114 million they owe him over the next five years as possible.

The Miami native Rodriguez admitted to previous steroid use in 2009, but has regularly insisted that he has not used any type of illegal drugs since 2003.  The new report links Rodriguez to such substances as recently as 2012.

As one would expect, Rodriguez issued a (sorta) denial, as passed on by Sherman:

The news report about a purported relationship between Alex Rodriguez and Anthony Bosch are not true. Alex Rodriguez was not Mr. Bosch’s patient, he was never treated by him and he was eated by him and he was never advised by him. The purported documents referenced in the story -- at least as they relate to Alex Rodriguez -- are not legitimate.

"Never treated by" Bosch does not deny that he never received anything that came from that lab.  How Major League Baseball treats this will surely be interesting.  It would be unprecedented for baseball to void a major league contract; the drug use would simply be subject to the drug policy in MLB.

Nelson Cruz has not said anything as of yet. Stay tuned.

One thing is very clear: whatever boundaries exist in life, people will test them.   Some will go too far.  That is what it means to be human.


Quick-Lee Diminishing Returns: Phillies Designate J.C. Ramirez For Assignment

JCRamirez
Screen capture of video from mlbprospectportal.com

After the Phillies added Chad Durbin today they needed to clear space on their 40-man roster.  To find that space the Phillies designated for assignment minor league reliever J.C. Ramirez.  Ramirez is best known (or perhaps only known) for being part of the Phillies return in the infamous trade of Cliff Lee to the Seattle Mariners in December 2009.

At the time, Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. stated that the deal was absolutely necessary to replenish the Phillies' diminished farm system:

If we had just acquired Roy and not moved Lee, we would have been in position to have lost seven of the best 10 prospects in our organization.  That is not the way you do business in baseball.

Those seven players were Travis D'Arnaud, Michael Taylor, Kyle Drabek, Jason Donald, Carlos Carrasco, Lou Marson, and Jason Knapp.  Looking at those seven players today, the Phillies gave up a still-catching prospect, a backup catcher, a utility infielder, and a bunch of injury-ridden pitchers.  Hardly anything to overreact about.

But the Phillies did give up Lee.  They received Ramirez, reliever Phillippe Aumont, and outfielder Tyson Gillies.   At the time, Ramirez was coming off a class A season where he pitched to a 5.12 ERA and an 8-10 record.  Ramirez only showed a couple flashes of brilliance.

One was in 2010, when considered "a young Pedro" (as in Martinez) he seemed to shake off a rocky 2009.  Tyler Dunn of the Daily News wrote:

Ramirez is turning into the potential gem of the bunch. The 6-3 righty will start his second game in Reading tonight against the Bowie Baysox. He knows Lee's shadow isn't going anywhere. So the happy-go-lucky 21-year-old does his best to use it as positive energy.

But 2010 was not so great, either.  He was 3-4 with a 5.45 ERA at AA Reading and 4-3 with a 4.06 ERA at class A Clearwater.  The year ended with a torn labrum.  But 2011 would be another season of promise, right?

After starting off 4-0, Marcus Hayes of the Daily News did a piece on Ramirez that praised his new-found success.  Finally the team was seeing the potential:

"Now," said Phillies player development czar Chuck LaMar, "everybody's starting to see the J.C. Ramirez we traded for."

Ramirez is glad to display it.

"I deserve this. I worked hard. I deserve this," Ramirez said.

After that 4-0, Ramirez went 7-13 and saw a 1.03 ERA inflate to 4.50 before the season ended.

2012 was mostly spent at AAA Lehigh Valley but included a demotion to Reading.  Ramirez was 3-2 with a 4.28 ERA as a reliever at Lehigh Valley and 0-2 with a 3.68 ERA at Reading.  Those numbers were not inspiring enough for the Phillies to put stock in Ramirez going forward.

By designating Ramirez for assignment, he is removed from the Phillies 40-man roster.  Over the next ten days they have to do something with his contract.   He could be traded, released, or put through waivers to outright him to AAA Lehigh Valley, which means Ramirez could stick around.  Ramirez was selected over Joe Savery.  One thing seems clear: Ramirez is a dud.

Let's see how Cliff Lee in his prime for Phillippe Aumont and Tyson Gillies works out.


Lehigh Valley Native, Childhood Phillies Fan Brian Schneider Announces Retirement

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Brian Schneider grew up in Allentown, Pennsylvania.  He was a Phillies fan.  So, when Schneider hit free agency in 2009, he turned down chances to start for other teams to sign with his hometown Phillies and back up starting catcher Carlos Ruiz.  Now, he will retire as a member of the Phillies.  According to Mandy Housenick of the Allentown Morning Call, Schneider is retiring "effective immediately."

In Schnieder's 13 year career, he played for the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals francise, the New York Mets, and the Phillies.    Of the final Montreal Expos team, only Schneider, Jon Rauch, Luis Ayala, Endy Chavez, and Juan Rivera were active in the major leagues in 2012.  With the Mets, Schneider witnessed the Phillies take over the Mets in 2008 and the Phillies win the National League pennant before he reached free agency and signed with the Phillies.

Frequently battling injury, Schneider played in just 122 games for the Phillies over three seasons.  He batted .240, .176, and .225 in 2010, 2011, and 2012, respectively.  Schneider was generally viewed as a decent defensive catcher throughout his career.

I would not be surprised if we did not see Brian Schnider coaching in the near future, perhaps even in the Phillies organization.


Phillies Sign Infielder Yuniesky Betancourt

Betancourt
Photo: Wikipedia Commons

According to MLB.com's Todd Zolecki, the Phillies and infielder Yuniesky Betancourt have agreed to a one-year contract:

Betancourt was frequently mentioned as a fallback option for the Phillies last offseason if the team failed to agree to a contract with Jimmy Rollins.    Betancourt agreed to terms last season with the Kansas City Royals and hit just .228 in 57 games.

Betancourt is likely scheduled to head to AAA Lehigh Valley to serve as extra insurance for an injury in the Phillies' infield, should recent seasons repeat themselves in 2013.  Beyond Kevin Frandsen and possibly Freddy Galvis, Pete Orr, and Betancourt will provide depth in the minor leagues.