Category Archives: MLB

The Pressure is on the Phillies in Game Five

A few months ago I posted about the “Beauty of a Game Seven.”  Most underdogs can either steal or over-achieve in two games which improve the quality of a seven-game series because it allows the best team to win. But, game fives don’t have the same magic.  The lesser of the teams CAN win a series because the margin of error is so small.  A team only needs three wins to advance to the next round instead of four. On paper, the difference is only one more win, but there are still two teams.  A 2-2 series compared to a 3-3 series is TWO more games which, in the scope of baseball (only sport with five-game series), is at least 18 more innings, one less chance to use the team’s Ace on full rest, and creates a “hot-team” complex that can be argued doesn’t exist.  It doesn’t have the same grueling drama or bravado that a seven game series has.  Game five is game seven’s little, more annoying brother who just wants to know, “Why can’t I go to movies with you?!” Which big brother would reply, “Because you’re just not old enough, now SCRAM!”  Game five is the reason that the pressure is on the Phillies to win on Friday.

The St. Louis Cardinals have stolen two games from the Phillies.  Two blown leads by the “Phightins” have given hope to a more inadequate pitching staff and an above-average lineup that didn’t come alive until September.  They also have Tony La Russa, the all-knowing baseball prophet, who decided to pitch Jaime Garcia, his second-best starter, in game three because of his home record and La Russa had confidence that they would split the first two games. (The worst part, that idiot was right) Playoff stud Cliff Lee pitched like the opposite of Playoff stud Cliff Lee and surrendered a four run lead in game two that tied the series at 1-1.   Regardless, the pitching for the Phillies has been solid.  Albert Pujols, his generation’s best hitter who is batting .412 in the series, only has 1 RBI and has been getting misleading base hits.  The bases are usually empty or the outfielders for the Phillies are able to get the ball in fast enough to stop any base runners from advancing.  But, the Phillies problem is guys like Ryan Theriot and David Freese who are batting .600 and have five RBIs in the series, respectively.  

The contrary can be said about the Phillies’ bats who still are susceptible to a team-wide slump can’t win scoring 3 runs a game, even with that pitching staff.  Ryan Howard is continuing his trend of disappearing in the playoffs and is batting a dismal .133 with six of his 15 outs being strikeouts. The rest of the offense has stalled to averaging three runs a game after putting up 11 in game one.  In game four, Howard, Raul Ibanez, and Shane Victorino went a combined 0-12 in a loss that sent it to game five. The offense only needs to come alive a little bit because, unlike the Cardinals, Phillies have their Ace of the Aces, Roy Halladay, going in game five.  Halladay, who in a conference said “I’m here to bury Caesar not to praise him,” is the video-game player you’d want for an elimination game.  There’s not much more I can say on it that doesn’t require actually watching the Machine pitch.  He’s so fierce and so competitive and his focus is so strong it’s like he took three Adderall with a 24 oz. can of Red Bull. The man could pass a polygraph test his demeanor is so calm.  If I was to use a cliché I’d say that, “he doesn’t have blood in his veins, but ice.”  At an early 2-1 favorite, Halladay will be the reason the Phillies advance.

But because it is a game five and “anything” can happen, I thought of the two cause and effects that can potentially happen after Friday’s game.

Cause: Roy Halladay does his thing, shuts down the Cardinals offense, and gets the and win

Effect: The Phillies won’t get much hype for pulling off a game five win because that’s not how the media looks at favorites.  The Phillies were SUPPOSED to win this series and all they did was keep within the hype. But, because it wasn’t a sweep, the questions John Buccigross will ask Chris Singleton are along the lines of “The Phillies waited until game five to put a lesser team away, is there cause for concern in Philly?”  The baseball pundits won’t agree and say that the Cardinals were a hot team and “people forget how much talent St. Louis really has.”  It’ll be followed by Halladay being recognized again as arguably the game’s most dominant pitcher with the Phillies players saying that they’re looking at it as just another win and are looking forward to the next series. 

The fans of Philly will be calm, but with shades of doubt.  The Brewers-Diamondbacks series has been display after display of offense as each team is averaging more than five runs a game.  They’ll set pitching matchups, seeing when Zack Greinke will pitch against Halladay or Lee. They’ll call Mike Missanelli nervously asking, “With how good the bats from the Milwaukee/Arizona are looking and our offense doesn’t look like it can compete?” To which Mikey Miss will reply, “In the playoffs good pitching beats good hitting. I don’t see how anyone could doubt the Phillies with that pitching staff. They’re the best team in the National League.”

Cause: The Phillies offense stagnates and the Cardinals do just enough to win

Effect: Turmoil in the streets of South Philadelphia. The end of Philly as a city will commence.  Car pileups, fires, looting, riots, destruction of the streets, and chaos infect one of the oldest cities in America (yes, you can argue that this happened in 2008 when the Phillies win the World Series).  Mayor Nutter has taken refuge in city hall as the citizens of Philly demand for his head because no one can grasp what happened.  Signs littered throughout the city would read “Missing Person: Ruben Amaro Jr.”

Although the above was said tongue-and-cheek, it’s not that far from the truth.  ESPN will brutalize the Phillies as badly as the Eagles.  With Cliff Lee picking Philadelphia for less money and creating arguably the best starting rotation in the history of baseball, anything short of making the World Series is a bust.  The Phillies already used their “get-out-free” card with a loss in the 2010 NLCS to the inferior San Francisco Giants.  ESPN would blast headlines like “What a Mis-steak!” or “Four Aces Can’t Beat St. Louis’ Straight Flush” (those are actually pretty good) and the 2011 Phillies would be considered one of the most blown seasons ever; especially since they lost a team who needed 18 wins just to MAKE the playoffs. (Regardless if the Cardinals are considered the “hot team” there’s no such thing baseball.  Yes, they’re “hot” at the end of the regular season, but the playoffs are a different monster.)  Don’t be surprised if they do a timeline of all the signings the Phillies and Eagles made throughout the past year while the national sports fan begins to look at Philly as a Choke City.

I really hope for the former.

Working on Sunday and Having to Watch the Eagles via Texts and Phone Apps

I got my first job when I was 16. I worked at Chuck E. Cheese as a game-room technician where I mostly slacked off, talked about how much I hated it there, and I even said the classic “this isn’t even going to be my career, so why take it seriously?” line. I did the same thing at Sears when I was 17 and 18.  I worked the majority of my weekends so I missed every football Sunday from 2006-2009.  It was then I got a job at a dialysis center and where I finally had Sundays off.  It was like a new world being introduced to me. To me the flowers petals were brighter on Sundays. My mom’s cooking smelled that much better and football was that much more enjoyable.  For the next two years I never missed a game, I was content and my mind’s highlight reel was full of plays and great moments during the season.  So why am I telling you all of this? Because all of that ended three weeks ago, I’m working weekends again.  It’s the reason I wasn’t able to give a post about week 2. I couldn’t get enough video to properly give an opinion. 

“Are you seeing what I’m seeing?” That’s the text I got from my friend John. It was 2:00 pm on Sunday afternoon and I was on my break. The Eagles were playing the Giants. I started getting frantic; I opened up one of my sports apps to check the score, it was 14-0. The eagles were losing. I was so confused; Michael Vick had about 80 yards and an interception. That’s as in-depth as I could get. I called my cousin Mario to see what was going on, but he didn’t answer. I texted John back and sat at the break table doing the “I-have-to-go-pee-but-I’ll-wait-until-the-last-minute” dance impatiently waiting for John to text me back.

“The Eagles playing that badly or is it a misleading 14-0?” I asked. Experience taught me how to ask questions in that sense.  I wanted to see if the Eagles were playing that terribly (which they’re good for about once or twice a year) or did a few bad bounces go against them (like a tipped pass that was intercepted).  John eased me for a little and told me that the Eagles were moving the ball against the Giants, but they just couldn’t get score when they got into the red-zone.  Besides the offensive line the red zone offense was an area of concern because they had no big wide receiver to just throw the ball up to which was why Plaxico was such a hot commodity in the off-season.

“Misleading, they are moving the ball, they just can’t score.”  My break ended and I looked at my phone for one last time before my break ended and would take secret trips to the back room to check the score.  I picked up and put down the same screwdriver five or six times before I said to myself that I had to switch up what I was doing. It was terrible too because in the back you were alone, but there wasn’t much service so sites that would take seconds to load were now taking minutes.  I was in limbo and I didn’t like it.  It’s like going out and forgetting your phone at home and the whole day you’re disconnected from the world.  That if there was a disaster happening outside you wouldn’t know about because you didn’t get a text saying to panic. “Score Mobile” opened finally and the score was 14-13, the Eagles were making a comeback and they were in the red zone.  I perched up behind a stack of boxes and kept hitting refresh, refresh, refresh, refresh, refresh, refresh.

Around 3:00 the Eagles took the lead 16-14 off of a field goal by Alex Henery.  I was excited because the offense was finally going and I thought this would be a turn-around even though it was still early in the season.  In one of the toughest divisions in football, a 2-1 start with a 1-0 division record three weeks into the season would be big.  But I didn’t know Vick was out with a broken right hand and that Mike Kafka was playing for the second straight week. I didn’t know that the Eagles were getting lit up through the middle of the field because their linebackers and safeties are horrible. I didn’t know that the Eagles changed the positions of their linebackers two weeks into the season; completely reshuffling the positions which could explain why Brandon Jacobs was so wide open on that touchdown. (I didn’t know that Brandon Jacobs was that wide open) I didn’t know that the other touchdown was a display of terrible tackling. I didn’t know that play made it look like Asante Samuel’s mantra of, “I don’t get paid to make tackles” was spreading throughout the locker room.  Nnamdi Asomugha played like his name was Dmitri Patterson and the stellar talent gene in the Matthews’ gene pool must’ve skipped Casey. 

The Eagles lost the game 29-16, sending shockwaves through my day and had my Cowboys-fan-friend BC talking about “how bout them Eagles?” Is this what happens when your offensive line coach becomes your defensive coordinator? You panic and reshuffle the defense?  The Eagles need to play man-coverage because they have the best cornerback core in the league, but Castillo played zone.  The tight end still kills the Eagles and it is so blatant and so common that if you closed your eyes and listen to the announcer say, it’s a pass, 85% of the time you can guess that it’s going to be thrown to the tight end.  Castillo looked desperate with changing the defense around like that and someone could argue that the pressure is getting to him.  Something needs to be done as soon as possible because there will be a lot of answers needed if the Eagles don’t make the playoffs this year.

Why I Won’t Watch the Home Run Derby and MLB All-Star Game

The All-Star game and Home Run Derby used to be worthwhile.  My favorite memory of the “Mid-Summer Classic” was Ken Griffey Jr. rocking home runs in 1998 and 1999 and winning back-to-back home run derby titles.  By far my favorite player with the prettiest swing ever, Griffey gave hope to a steroid-laden era that there may have been someone who did it naturally.  The whole “who’s on steroids and who isn’t” debate has been so diluted, Jose Bautista, the MLB’s new home run king won’t even get a sniff of credit from me because I can’t trust any players. It was exciting baseball when Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire were going home run for home run and smashed the long ball and ratings record.  There wasn’t a more personally exciting season in baseball (besides the Phillies winning the 08 World Series of course) when Barry Bonds broke the home run record again. But allegations, confessions, and the “Mitchell Report” exposed the cheaters for who they were and baseball hasn’t recovered since.  It took the most exciting play in sports and made it as exciting as a bloop single.  The Home Run Derby was something that was to be desired (in 1998, Griffey Jr. won with a total of seven home runs).  It was hard to hit home runs, but now with undetectable human-growth hormones and performance-enhancing drugs, how can anyone appreciate David Ortiz or Robinson Cano hitting 18 home runs in the Home Run Derby?

That’s just the home run part of it.  I don’t even want to talk about the “show” of it. I do like the sportsmanship and how each player participating wants to see everyone do their best, but I can’t stand the production of the whole thing.  Do you really need Chris Berman screaming “Backbackbackbackback GONE! WHOOP! ROBINSON ‘IF YOU DON’T KNOW NOW YA’ CANO!” (He’s run his course, I loved the nicknames as a kid, but when he runs out of breath after each sentence and barely chokes out a few more words it’s time for him to retire.)?   Bring someone in with some personality and some energy like Stephen A. Smith; someone who will raise his voice and won’t use catch phrases (think about it, could you imagine Smith as a commentator?  One can dream…) It’s like the Super Bowl halftime show, there’s just too much going on.  It’s supposed to be an event every adult thinks back to their childhood when they would have home run derbies with their friends and children to appreciate the difficulty and purity of it.

Then there’s the likes if the Legend-Celebrity Softball game that was a good idea, but is saturated with too many no names. To have the kid who does the voice of “Go Diego Go” is ridiculous and desperate. And why do Ricky Henderson and Ozzie Smith play every year? There isn’t any other Hall of Famer that would want to play? And what’s the deal with everyone being miked up? I understand that it’s supposed to add a personal and comedic element, but the only problem is, they aren’t funny. Spare me the game, simplify everything a bit and save me as a baseball fan.

As for the All-Star game, it’s the same as every other All-Star game; boring.  It’s an exhibition match that doesn’t have the same energy like All-Star games in the past.  These players are multi-multi-million dollar earners and general managers and owners don’t want them getting hurt during an exhibition match.  What’s frustrating is the vote.  Pundits like Mike Golic can’t stand that every team is represented, but don’t mind when Derek Jeter (whose below-average season has been masked by his 3,000th hit) receives the American League starting shortstop over breakout star Asdrubal Cabrera, who is making the Cleveland Indians relevant again. What’s even more frustrating is the players who are voted into these All-Star games miss it for the sake of not wanting to play.  It is an absolute disrespect to the fans, which are directly responsible for the million-dollar contracts, to have them vote you in as a starter and then just abandon them. 

Back to Golic’s view of “every team being represented,” he needs to understand that there are small and big market teams.  Sure there are snubs, but it’s a necessary evil because if as many teams are losing money as the attendance shows then there has to be some glimpse of hope. For example, how many fans attend a Florida Marlins game, about 1,000? It’s not fair because 5 million fraudulent and front-running Yankees fan can vote in six of their players and the Marlins are left out.  And at the least the small market players actually SHOW up to the All-Star game instead of missing it.

So how did the MLB try to curtail (but failed) this?  They made the All-Star game worth something and now the winning league gets home-field advantage for the World Series.  Basically, regardless of how well a team performs throughout the season, if their team loses the All-Star game then they have to start the series with two games as the Away team. If the leagues had the same rules it wouldn’t be so bad, but the American League has a designated hitter compared to the National League where the pitchers hit.  So if the Phillies play the Red Sox in the World Series and American League wins the All-Star game, the Phillies will start the series in Boston, regardless if they have the better record.  Shame on you Bud Selig.

It’s not the worst of all the All-Star events (the NFL has that locked) and it gets by off of tradition.  But it won’t last forever and they need to adjust as soon as possible.

Interleague Play is Good for Baseball

As the Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Red Sox close their three game series I read my friend Steve’s Facebook and this is what he had to say.

“Why would anyone want to get rid of inter-league play? It’s only a few weeks a year and everyone gets excited about a series like this. So much better than [the Phillies] playing the Nationals and Marlins 40 times”

It’s a good point.  With a 162-game season and only five teams in each division it equates to a team playing everyone in their division 18 times a year. For example, in the National League East, the Phillies play the Florida Marlins, Washington Nationals, New York Mets, and Atlanta Braves 18 times each.  It’s a pro because fans can gauge how their team stacks up against the division or how strong division itself is. It creates rivalries that attract fans to the stadiums and creates a disdain for the opposing teams that causes excitement and passion.  But, the con is that they play each team 18 times usually in three or four game sets.  Think about it, do you really want the Phillies playing the Marlins or the Red Sox playing the Toronto Blue Jays 18 times a year? Interleague play breaks that up the mold that baseball has held onto for 150 years and refuses to budge on (but that’s a whole other story). 

Major League Baseball started interleague play in 1997 meaning before then, the only times the American and National Leagues met were during spring training, the All-Star game, exhibitions, and the World Series.  It was enjoyable as a National League and baseball fan to see the headlines on a newspaper of a guy named “Ted Williams” hitting .400 or Joe DiMaggio hitting for his 56th consecutive game.  There was purity and a beauty to finally catching a glimpse of these players and fans truly flocked to games they played in.   But, in the age of the Internet and absolute exposure to all things there are no surprises anymore.  You know what Josh Hamilton or Albert Pujols did AS they did it. You know what their swings are like, where they hit the ball, and what they look like.  You know how nasty Cliff Lee’s curveball and the streak that he is on  and you can watch the Phillies pitching staff without just reading about them. (Think about it, how much less exciting would Stephen Strasburg’s debut have been if it wasn’t during the age of the internet.  You would’ve had to read it in the newspaper the next day, completely missing out on the energy and electricity.) Until things like Williams hitting .400 or Barry Bonds hitting 73 home runs in a season (granted on steroids) happen and bring a lot of attention, the MLB needs to adapt and save itself.  Interleague play is the first step to that.

Every year the NFL schedules a division from the National Football Conference to play a division against American Football Conference.  So over a span of four years, the Philadelphia Eagles will play the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Indianapolis Colts, and Baltimore Ravens.  What’s that mean?  The best teams from the NFC will eventually play the best teams from the AFC and when the best play then what happens? The best games, the best advertisements, the best ratings, and the best players.  If the NFL didn’t have their own version of interleague play then that would mean another division game and three is too many. So is 18.  If the Red Sox and Yankees played nine times or even eight, it would be a better rivalry (Is there any more overrated rivalry in sports? It’s a rivalry deep rooted in tradition, but only for those who are either baseball purists or those from Boston or New York. They play 18 times a year, how many times can ESPN say “The Best Rivalry in Sports” before we all say, “Wait this will be the 12th,13th,and 14th time they’ll be playing? It’s only July!” Spare me the forced drama.).  Interleague play allows for an increase in potential rivalry games and more important divisional games. For example, the New Yankee Stadium is about forty miles from Citi Field, but the Mets and Yankees would have only played in the 2000 World Series if it wasn’t for Interleague play.  That just doesn’t make sense.

There are arguments against interleague play with one side saying that no one wants to see a team ranked in the bottom of one division of the NL play against the bottom ranked team in one division of the AL.  Well there’s no parity in baseball as it is, the bad teams are always bad so why force the Phillies to play the Nationals 18 times when they can play the Texas Rangers six of those times. It’s a part of the damage control; the MLB should accept the losses that bad teams don’t raise attendance so let the best teams play the best more often. Why do you think the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics play every Christmas? The other part of that argument is that why teams would be interested in playing another that they don’t share any historical or geographical data with?  Again now that the internet is available, does that even matter? It becomes more about what players are in the game, not the city they play for.  In today’s age, would someone be angry that the San Francisco Giants are playing the Tampa Bay Rays because they’re so far apart or would someone be excited that Tim Lincecum is pitching against David Price?

The MLB has to learn how to adjust to a more hungry and growing sports market.  By limiting the times the best teams from both leagues are able to play each other, they are limiting their best product. The NFL has adjusted to the market and is by far the fastest growing and most popular sport in American culture.  The MLB has more purists and traditional fans, but they don’t make ratings, the casual fan does. (I call it the Tiger Woods effect, which I’ll expand on in the coming weeks, but every sport has a set fan base, but it’s those who don’t normally watch that determine if a sport will become popular.)  So having said all that, interleague baseball is meant to be enjoyed.

Watching the Flyers, 76ers, and Phillies the Old Way

                In the age of being able to watch TV from an Ipad, a laptop, or the classic Picture-in-Picture, watching multiple shows and sporting events simultaneously have become more common than Jennifer Anniston’s romantic comedy roles (zing).  However, what happens when you don’t have the first two and your TV’s manual doesn’t come with instructions on how to set up PIP (trust me I went through the manual three times.)? One web logger found out the hard way and was forced to watch the Philadelphia Flyers, 76ers, and Phillies game with nothing but the old “Last” button.  So, while the Phillies blow it in the 12th inning, I give you my observations for the night.

                Philadelphia 76ers vs. Miami Heat Game 2- Final Score- 94-73, Heat.  The game was flipped to five times and stopped after the third quarter when the 76ers went down 23.

It comes as no surprise that the Heat are up 2-0 in a series against an overmatched 76ers team. LeBron James continues to pick them apart having scored 29 with seven rebounds and six assists as the 76ers “best player” Andre Iguodala finished with a solid five points, seven rebounds and seven assists.   Having said that, it’s hard not to notice how terribly the 76ers played. They shot 34 percent and their best player of the night was Evan Turner, who surprised everyone (even my friend Bean who texted me “It’s ridiculous man how bad they’re playing…all except Burner.” This is common practice that all Turners are known as Burner) with 15 and six. Unfortunately, that didn’t help them from getting blown out by 21, even with Dwyane Wade only scoring 14. The 76ers starters were outscored by 47.  Their only chance to win a game in this series is game 3 at home.  Don’t count on it, they’re getting swept.

                Philadelphia Phillies vs. Milwaukee Brewers – Final Score- 6-3, Brewers in 12.  This game was watched from Pete Orr’s pinch hit up until the 12th inning. Sorry, it’s playoff time, they take precedent.

Now before you grab your notebook and recite your latest fat joke towards Joe Blanton, just know he didn’t pitch that badly.  He only gave up two runs in seven innings, struck out four, and gave his team a chance to win (ugh, I hate that phrase).  However, their 3-4-5 hitters went 2-17 and Jimmy Rollins continues to disappoint as much as Jennifer Anniston’s romantic comedy roles (follow that link, look at her versatility or lack thereof.).  He continues to hit for home runs instead of playing “small ball” that was effective for the Phillies to start the season. The hitters can’t bear all the blame with Ryan Madson giving up his first run of the season and Kyle Kendrick walking three and giving up three runs, solidifying the Phillies loss.  The Phillies are still 10-5 and weren’t expected to win every game, but they also weren’t supposed to lose each game Blanton started so far.   The two biggest questions for the Phillies are now, “When will Rollins and Francisco click at the same time? And how long until Charlie Manuel realizes Kendrick can’t pitch in the MLB.”

                Philadelphia Flyers vs. Buffalo Sabres Game 2- Final Score 3-2, Flyers.  With a blowout happening in Miami and the Phillies only 15 games in, this game was on the most.

The Flyers are starting to look good again after taking a 2-1 series lead. Would I say that they’re scary good like they were in the beginning of the season? No, but Brian Boucher proved he still has a little game left in him. Besides overcommitting on a rebound in the second period that led to a Nathan Gerbe goal (my father, a goalie his whole life and whose stories include the likes of Bernie Parent, started screaming at the TV about how terribly Boucher played that shot.  That’s why Philly is the greatest sports city.), he stopped 35 out of 37 shots and has to give hope to panicking fans who were unsure about their goaltending situation.  The next most impressive thing was the Flyers’ penalty kill that went 7-8 tonight with them having another 5-on-3.  Although no team wants to give up eight power-plays a night, it’s reassuring knowing they play well on defense.  The next-next most impressive thing is James van Riemsdyk, who although didn’t record a point, is finally playing like the 6’3 200 pound “Ovechkin-build” force he should’ve been since he was drafted (to clear up that Ovechkin reference, he’s just physically similar, not in terms of talent.).  These are all good signs for the Flyers who are playing behind the consistent play of Claude Giroux and Danny Briere. Expect another win in Buffalo on Wednesday and the Flyers finishing the series in Philadelphia.

Seriously though, how exciting is it that during the month of May, there are three Philadelphia teams playing? “Friends” just came on TV, I can’t make this up; the Entertainment Gods are vengeful!

Jayson Werth Potentially “Got Paid”

  I apologize for not posting anything last week.  I had mid-terms so I had to spend my time studying. I think I failed my Italian mid-term. Molto, molto male.

  However, it’s back to business. 

I currently have a theory (which I believe even Bill Simmons himself would give credit to) that I mentioned during  “Shoutouts” in specific regards to Jayson Werth, the right fielder whom Philadelphia had fallen in and out of love with.  The same player whom fans held up signs saying “Werth it” after the questions of him re-signing with the Phillies started. The same five-tool player  who decided to take a 7 year $126 million contract and left Philly to take his talents to Washington D.C. 

I call it the “Got Paid” theory, excellent.  It states the following: “An athlete who, because of his recent performance, has received a large sum of money from an organization, whether it is from the athlete’s current or another organization, in hopes that he will continue with at least the same production.  However, said athlete’s performance usually declines at a steady rate until he is dubbed, including but not limited to, “overpaid” or a “bust.” 

Now I know there are a lot of overpaid athletes (Joe Johnson anyone?), but there are specific criteria that HAVE to fulfilled before the athletes can be deemed, “Got Paid.”

1. The athlete must have a productive season/s prior to the signing of a big contract.

2. The athlete must be a prized free agent during the off-season

3. The athlete must sign that contract with a team who finished worse than his current team during the prior season/s.

4. The expectations of the athlete must increase. Example: Houshmandzadeh being considered a top receiver when he signed with the Seahawks.

5. The athlete must have a significant drop in production during the years succeeding the signing of that big contract.

Look at some examples of athletes who “Got Paid” over the years.

Barry Zito – 2002 AL Cy Young Award winner with the Oakland Athletics. He finished with a 23-5 record and a 2.75 ERA; Signed a 7 year $128 million deal with the San Francisco Giants and hasn’t had a winning season, nor has he been under a 4.00 ERA since.

TJ Houshmandzadeh – 2008 Pro Bowl wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals. He had 112 receptions for 1,143 yards and 12 touchdowns; Signed a 5 year $40 million contract with the Seattle Seahawks and posted 79 and 35 receptions in 2 years since.

Albert Haynesworth – Two time pro bowler for the Tennessee Titans and considered the prize of the 2009 off-season; Signed a 7 year $100 million contract and has been playing like this since.

 This should scare Werth because he did fall into his own slump last year as his contract situation became more and more imminent .   He arguably had his most productive season individually (I know, he couldn’t get a hit with runners in scoring position) in 2010 (step 1, check).  He signed with the Washington Nationals who only finished 22 games behind the Phillies in the division last year (step 2, check).  There is a lot on Werth this season as he is projected to be the National’s clean up hitter, (much different from his batting fifth on the Phillies where his main function was protecting Ryan Howard) and along with Ryan Zimmerman, becomes their biggest run producer.  It sounds like a tall order for a player who has never hit 100 RBI’s in his career.  With MLB contracts being guaranteed there is a comfort zone Werth can fall into because he is going to get the full payment of his contract regardless if he is cut or traded by the Nationals. We’ll see if he helps me get one step closer to turning my theory into a law.

Phillies Fans Are Ready for 2011

With pitchers and catchers starting this week, I went out and sought  Philadelphia Phillies fans (or “phans,” I guess) and they answered this question, “What are you looking forward to the most this baseball season.”

Matt Falls – “I can’t wait for the first warm sunday night when you’re having a few beers outside and the Phillies are playing in the Sunday night game.” (Agreed, baseball’s the only sport where that’s possible.)

Sean Humenchuk- “A. Phillies winning the World Series B. Having four pitchers throw no hitters for the first time ever C. all of the above.”

Kelly Asroff – “Dollar dogs.”

Gabriella Carabasi – “My favorite player is gone so I’m going to go with just getting ‘stupid’ in the parking lot.” (An example of Philadelphia’s reputation.) 

Josh Black – “The best baseball team in the MLB to bring the championship back home with more [than] 100 wins in the regular season.” (Everytime I think of the “postseason”, I just think of this. More specifically the first 15 seconds)

James Ryan – “I just want to see this Phillies pitching lineup to start going.”

Jim Amadio – ” Web gems, pine tar and Cliff Lee.”

This was a text sent to me, from Bryant Collins – “How the big four for the Phils [are] going to perform. This is the best starting rotation in the history of this organization…He [Ryan Howard] will have to carry more of the load for this team and wipe the memory of the last out of game 6.” (Which I agree with, that big contract he signed in April put alot of expectations on Howard and he didn’t live up to it in the playoffs. 5 years 125 million is alot, we’ll see how he plays withouth Jayson Werth protecting him in the 5 hole.) Continue reading