Friday, December 30, 2011

FINALLY...THE FRANCHISE IS BACK!!!


No, The Franchise was not suspended for the use of PEDs. The reports of his death are greatly exaggerated. The Franchise was suspended by BL Chris for one year due to cyber-bullying. I have completed my program, and am now allowed to write again. 11 months served on a 12 month sentence. So, what is The Franchise up to?  What is His outlook so far on the Hot Stove Season.

What The Franchise is up to... is getting his swell on today. Tomorrow is New Year's Eve people. This kid hits the gym mad hard today then hits the tanning salon to get my glow on. Then I head over to the Gucci store to get my new sunglasses to wear inside the club tomorrow. Tomorrow night I will be at The Chelsea Hotel in A.C. Platinum VIP bottle service. DJ Go FY will be spinning. I am bringing some fake chested Guidette that I will dump halfway through because her stiletto's scuffed my new Jordan Retros. Probably end up taking home your wife or girlfriend because she needs a real man.

Now on to the Phils. Pitching no longer wins pennants. The big off season acquisition is this ass clown Papelbum. Zzzzzzzz!!! Maybe he can close out 1-0 losses. The Phillies offense is anemic. Polanco is an over the hill bobble-headed bum. Howard will be out until who knows when. The good news with him is, he may strike out under 100 times for the first time in his career. Ibanez is, as of right now, still the starting LF. Way to offer him arbitration Ruben! I am gonna need whatever was in your drink when you did that...to slip into some broad's drink. The Franchise likes Jimmy's swagger, just not the lead off pop-ups. Utley's best years are way behind him. Victorino just doesn't seem to understand the subtle nuances of the game. The Franchise's hope for the 2012 Phils is increasing their pitches seen per at bat. The 2011 Phillies averaged an MLB low 3.5 pitches seen per at bat. They lack discipline and the art of working opposing pitchers. They need to increase the pitches seen by a pitch at bat.

Alright I gotta go splash on some Van Cleef & Arpels Midnight in Paris cologne. Don't let the name or the bottle fool you. This is a masculine scent for a sophisticated date-night (you know, club/late night burger/slap n' tickle...).

Boom Boom Pow!
The Franchise

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

BL Chris' Worst Phillies Memory


In a new series, Kalas' Corner, we will be accepting interviews from our fans that we will post on the site. What is your best Phillies memory? What is your worst? When was your first game and who took you? This section of the site intends to be a story anthology that will be created by our readers (and now listeners). Please enjoy! If you want to have your story featured on the site, email us at DrunkPhilsFans@gmail.com

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sit Back While I Wax Nostalgic


As Christmas times nears, I often get nostalgic remembering times gone by. The certain smell of a food my Mom makes for Christmas Eve, the Light Show at Wanamaker’s downtown (it still has the Eagle..it will forever be called Wanamaker’s to me), or something as simple and beautiful as a lit tree in the front window with snow falling in the background.

I am a Philadelphian. I grew up in Northeast Philadelphia in Oxford Circle.I appreciate tradition, maybe even thrive on it. My parents still live in the same house I grew up in, for 40 years now. Every Christmas Eve I go back to the old neighborhood and pass the bar where I had my first drink, and subsequently 5 years later my first legal drink as well. I see the houses my friends grew up in, the steps I hung on, and the places where my love of baseball flourished.

In the early 1980s my parents built our basement into a family room. The garage door was no more, now a brick wall. I smile every time I see it because, to this day, you can still see the strike zone box I drew on the wall with the large K in the middle. I honed my skills there, tossing any type of ball I could against that wall probably a million times I guess. Countless games of Wiffleball were played against that wall with my brother, Chris, Jason, Rob, Tom, or so many other people. I know the rules still. I bet we all would. Grounder to the garage top was a single. From the garage top to the first floor (kitchen) window was a double. From the top of the window to the cable/electrical wire was a triple and over the wire was a homer. We all emulated the stances of the players. Rod Carew, Mike Schmidt, George Brett, and Joe Morgan were some of our favorites. I learned to hit left-handed because of the nasty Wiffle curve or slider. The ball came right into my wheelhouse as I sidled up to the left side of the plate (the drain cover) as I stood there with a scowl and crouched just like Pete Rose did. Whizzing a single right by my brother’s ear.

We took it serious. Kept a scorebook, standings, and even collected the plastic baseball helmets of the teams we would wear for that game. Von Hayes led the league in homers that one summer of 1984. Rick Sutcliffe led the league with 22 wins. I would keep each players stats on an index card, transcribing the results from the scorecard to the index card. At the end of the year I would slip the index card into an old Smith Corona typewriter that my Mom used in college and painstakingly type each player and stat from our league onto them. I still have them to this day and actually have them in front of me.

So I decided to write a series about games of our youth to keep the tradition alive. The kids today slide in a PS3 baseball disc and let the computer play it out for them. It compiles the stats for them. Walk around any neighborhood in the summer today and I bet you won’t see many, if any, kids playing stepball, wireball, boxball, etc. I intend to wax nostalgic on the blog about those games and more. Games you may have forgotten, games that were called something else in your city/neighborhood/block. What games do you remember? What story do you want to tell?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Screw the Evil Empire!



I guess the tyrannical rule of evil empires in baseball is over. Or are they? The Yankees may have evil empire money but they certainly have not had the results. Neither have the Red Sox for that matter ,and they are the team that branded the Yanks as the “empire”.

What’s ironic is while these two franchises have historically hated each other and have never hid that  fact, a feisty team from Tampa, has turned the AL East into a 3 team division. While Boston was busy calling the Yankees “The Evil Empire” and then hypocritically over paying for Carl Crawford in desperation, the Rays have put together a legitimate and yearly contender for a total team payroll of $42 million.

No other team has ever done more with so little; they are the polar opposite of “big” market giants who have bottomless pockets to spend on talent. No, the Rays get by in the powerful A.L. East with the bare minimum spent, yet they got just as far as the Yankees did, and passed Boston to make it into the playoff to boot.

And don’t get me started on the wanna be big boys like the Mets and Cubs who had payrolls over $120 million in 2011. For what? If you are going to throw that type of dough around at least have something to show for it, for that you could spend $35 million for a payroll and finish last like the Royals.

Tampa’s 2011 payroll was a little under $42 million, next to the lowest in all of baseball. The NY Yankees payroll was just under $197 million and got the same result. I would say Tampa is in much better position with a dearth of young pitching talent and position players. The Phillies? $172 million with the same result.  Boston? A cool $160 million to not even make the playoffs and collapse into a complete mess of an organization, unless you want to eat chicken and drink beer during games.

So how does Tampa do it? Especially in a state that is more famous for early bird specials and retirement complexes?

By having stars like Evan Longoria signed through 2016 at only $42 million remaining on a 9-year contract. Recently they signed young phenom Matt Moore to an 8-year contract, granted this is only after 19 innings in the majors, but the kid has the kind of stuff that blows hitters away. He made his first major league start in the playoffs this year and totally dominated.

It is always a risk signing pitchers long-term, but he is only 22 years old and will be only 30 at the end of the contract. Even if it doesn’t completely work out, it won’t be another Kevin Brown or Carl Pavano disaster that the Yankees notoriously endured.

The Rays have a built an amazing scouting and minor league system that has continued to produce home grown talent every year. They also sign young super stars at young ages (when they need the money) to long contracts that provide financial security for the players while not breaking the bank.

In 2011 BJ Upton was the highest paid player at $4.8 million, Longoria made $2.5 million, and David Price made 2 million. That is an amazing value considering the talent level and contributions of these 3 young studs. 

For $9.3 million the Rays got 3 players that were integral to Tampa’s 2011 playoff run and World Series run of 2008.For a staggering $32 million the Yankees got one Alex Rodriguez who was hurt and on the DL more than once in 2011 and also choked in the playoffs again in 2011. Also don’t forget ace AJ Burnett at $16.5 million with an ERA over 5!

Already at a young age Longoria is a known HR threat and RBI machine, Price has logged tough and meaningful innings in the post season and Upton, when his head is right, is game changer.

At a time when money is so hard for Americans to come by, you can feel good if you’re a Rays fan and not be totally appalled at the money they spend.
  
Don’t get me wrong; baseball salaries have long been ridiculous, but if you’re going to spend the money, spend it like the Rays do.

They are like the rest of America…who have to account for every nickel spent and be responsible for the money we spend and make sure we are not spending it recklessly. The Rays have no wiggle room for mistakes in spending, they don’t have the ability to absorb bad contracts like the Yankees and Red Sox do.
That’s the sickening part of the way the Yankees operate, they just throw money around like it’s Monopoly cash or something, but they are no longer alone.

The Angels will pay CJ Wilson $15 million a year after 2 years with a winning record and 31 years old. Ridiculous!

Albert Pujols is one of the all time greats but good for the Cardinals for not bowing to pressure and giving him more years than he will perform for, they actually made the right and practical decision.

Baseball needs more teams like the Rays. A team that has the 2nd lowest payroll in the game and yet have made the playoffs, a World Series, and have many of their home grown stars locked up for years to come at reasonable money.

The one star they let go (Carl Crawford) got ridiculously over paid by Boston and had a horrendous year. Even if he had a good year by Crawford’s standards, he is not worth the money the Sox paid him.

So even when they lost a star player they looked smart losing him, they didn’t get desperate and over pay. Now all we need is the Pirates and Royals of the world to take after the Rays and then there wouldn’t be this stark difference in the spectrum of baseball teams.

So let’s do a final break down; for $48 million the Yankees got A-Rod and AJ. For $42 the Rays got a whole team! A good team that made the playoffs and has very bright future ahead of them.

Consider the Rays the anti-evil empire, they do it right and do it for less. Passing the Red Sox to get into the playoffs must have been some shit burger to swallow for the Sox Nation.

Ironically that they “stole” Crawford away from the Rays, maybe it’s the baseball God’s way of playing a cruel joke on Boston….it sure made me laugh.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Rituals and Superstitions....and you think I'm crazy?


I consider myself as someone who is smart and has common sense. As a pitcher, I believed the game rested in my hands, not in some silly nonsensical superstition or ritual. So why in the hell did I get wrapped up in a series of ritual and superstitions? The answer is, it’s a baseball thing. Wade Boggs had to eat chicken every day before a game, Reggie Jackson wore the same helmet since he broke into the big leagues (he just had it painted), a whole city of Cubs fans believe they haven’t won a World Series because of the curse of a billy goat.  These are some of the tamer beliefs and rituals!

Most of my rituals started because of a good performance I had on the mound or at the plate. When getting dressed, I would always put my left side on first, my left sock, and the left shoe. When warming up, the backup catcher was my guy. I never stepped on the white lines. That was a no no. I meticulously groomed the mound and the rubber. If the opposing pitcher manicured it to his liking, prior to my first warm up pitch I had to re-landscape the mound. It was always the same series of 7 pitches during warm ups: Fastball, fastball, curve, fastball, slider, changeup, sidearm fastball. When the throw went to second and around the horn, the third baseman HAD to throw me a knuckleball. If he didn’t I simply wouldn’t catch it. I’d let it go past me,have the first baseman toss it back to the third sacker and remind him I needed the knuckler goddammit!

All of this folks, and guess what? I am not even close to the craziest. Turk Wendell would brush his teeth in the dugout in between innings, make and exaggerated hop over the foul lines, only chew black licorice during games, and pick up and pound down the rosin bag after he picked it up. Jorge Posada actually pisses on his hands and never uses batting gloves. Roger Clemens was known to bathe in the hottest water tolerable before a game and then put hot liniment on his ball bag. Kevin Rhomberg would have to touch the person who last touched him. No touchbacks!  So when he was tug out to end the inning, he had to touch that player back. Greg Swindell, a knuckleball pitcher, would bite off one fingernail and then keep it in his mouth for the rest of the game.

The rituals and superstitions have leeched into my life as a Phillies fan. I am a season ticket holder and I have a long list of do’s and don’ts before any game I attend. I guess it really starts when I leave my house. I have to put the tickets in my center console. I go to the same Wawa and get the same items prior to the game: 3 Iced Teas and 3 Tastykake bars. I park in the same lot and always the same row, fourth spot from the end. Oddly, the booze I bring can differ, but Jameson or Bourbon are my preference. There is always a roadie or walk-up beer, as it has come to be known. I finish it right outside the third base gate. I have to scan my own ticket, the usher may not touch it. There is a particular usher at the bottom of the escalator that I use and I MUST pound fists with him as we both say “Let’s get the W”. Yes, sadly I have enlisted others in my rituals. Off the escalator and a quick right turn into the men’s room, whether I have to go or not. I will always be in my seat before the National Anthem (it is a bad omen if the singers are male or mostly male). I never get up from my seat for the duration of the game. If I have to get up more than twice for any fan, I do get angry and say “Stay the hell up there!!”. After a win, I do the Kirk Gibson move when he hit the one-legged HR in the 1988 NLCS (if you don’t know what I mean, I am not sure we can be friends). After a win, I time it just right and am able to sing “High Hopes” along with Harry on my descent down the escalator. Once, I leave the threshold of Citizens Bank Bark I can act “normal” again.

Rituals and superstitions have been a big part of almost every baseball movie too. In “The Natural”, Roy Hobbs has his bat Wonderboy, that he made from a tree that was struck by lightning. Pedro Cerrano, in “Major League”, has his relic Jobu that he relies on for power and the ability to hit the deuce. “Bull Durham” has a laundry list of superstitions and rituals: Abstinence during a winning streak, sacrifice of a rooster for a cursed glove, rally caps, and wearing a garter belt under the uniform to reorient your head and getting one to pitch out of the proper hemisphere of the brain. (The rose goes in the front)

So what rituals do you have/had as a player or a fan? What are some of the crazier baseball superstitions you have heard of?

Ode to Harry

 Written by: Christopher J. Nowaczyk aka BL Chris

Sunday, December 11, 2011

CJ Wilson gets $77 million. Really?


I thought only the over spending desperate NY Yankees made moves like this?

Flying a little bit under the radar of the monumental Albert Pujols signing is the fact that the Angels will be giving CJ Wilson over $15 million a season for the next 5 years. The way it looks, he will be the 3rd starter behind Weaver and Haren.

Don’t get me wrong, Wilson is a very good pitcher, as evidenced by his 16-7 record and 2.94 ERA, but is he worth $15 million a year? I just don’t see how.

2011 was only his 2nd year with over 10 wins (he won 15 in 2010) and only his 2nd as a starter. He has a winning record in the majors (43-35) a career ERA of 3.60 and a pretty impressive 637 K’s in 708 innings. What I didn’t realize though is his age, Wilson turned 31 in November and 2011 was his 7th season with the Rangers, for some reason I thought he was much younger; maybe 27 or 28.

That means that he will be 36 years old by the end of this contract and though he has a winning record in the majors; to say he has the track record to deserve a $77 million contract is pushing it. Now the real concern, Wilson is only 1-5 in his post-season career on a team that made it to the World Series in consecutive seasons. The Rangers, a team that absolutely mashes the ball and plays great defense; yet he has a losing record and a 4.60 career post season ERA.

So I guess the Angels are betting on Wilson continuing his progression and becoming a top of the line starter who will dominate the AL West for the next 5 years. Good luck with that!

Although a very good pitcher, paying $15 million a year for a number 3 starter is ridiculous. Again the Yankees are the only team I know of that does stuff like this. I wasn’t surprised to read that they were in the running for Wilson, but I am surprised that they are the team that didn’t offer him a ridiculously outrageous amount of money.

Good for the Angels, Artie Moreno is flexing his financial might and proving to the rest of the league that the Angels are a force to be reckoned with. The Yankees, Red Sox, and Phillies are no longer the only big boys on the block. They now have a combined $331 million invested in Albert Pujols and CJ Wilson. I guess the Anaheim Angels are the new evil empire.

Written by Boogs44

Braun Tests Positive ...

Just when things appeared to be settling down, we learn that Milwaukee's Ryan Braun has tested positive for a PED (testosterone). We're a long way from getting to the bottom of this, but Braun's spokesman has already put out a statement - not so much denying the results of the test, but denying the credibility of the test. We do know that Braun gave a positive result in October, and a positive result to a more comprehensive test not long after.

Braun's camp isn't just going with the "I didn't know what it was" camp, but is going with the stronger "I couldn't have known what it was" camp. This is going to be a slog for Braun, as the testosterone found was determined - through the comprehensive test - to be synthetic, meaning the body could not have created it.

In the immediate future, Braun is facing an automatic 50-game suspension. He does have a collectively bargained right to appeal. That ppeal will be heard by an arbitration panel, which will review the Commissioner Selig's "just cause" determination (to suspend), and could possibly overturn the suspension if Braun can prove that his "test result was not due to his fault or negligence." This is, for the lawyer-types, different than the NFL's strict liability policy - and theoretically more favorable for Braun.

Now, Braun can't merely deny that he intentionally used a banned substance, he must provide "objective evidence in support of his denial ... question[ing] the accuracy or reliabilty of the 'positive' test result." Whether he's able to do this or not, who knows, it's still early. A lot has to happen before any of this really matters.

For those wondering about whether or not Braun may have a legit reason to take something that would have led to an increase in testosterone (I doubt it): Either way, players know, or should know, that they MUST consult league drug administrators before taking medication or over-the-counter supplements to ensure they are not unintentionally ingesting a banned substance (see e.g., J.C. Romero).

We'll dig into this more in the coming days!

Oh, and for those wondering about his NL MVP award. Remember, the award is technically the property of the Baseball Writers Association, not MLB. So, BBWAA can decide what it wants to do - if anything - but MLB won't have a role, beyond the suspension.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Baseball in December!


'Tis the off-season and the world of baseball is but a sparse landscape of BLAH. Trades and negotiations are important, yes, but not always that exciting. Unless there is a signing so huge it inspires someone to create a blasphemous nativity scene with Ruben Amaro, Jr. and the four aces, I'm just not feeling it. I need action, or at the very least to be entertained (and the image of Cliff Lee’s head on a baby’s body makes me giggle till this day.)

Did I really think a show about MLB wives and their baseball diamonds was going to fill a void?Because all it really did was irritate me and then make me want to go shoe shopping.

So I started to think about other ways to reunite with my summer love and then it hit me. Like a 91 mph fastball coming at a completely still Chase Utley: a Baseball in December party!

Stay with me here.

Sometime during the 1980’s, Europeans started celebrating Christmas in July. While the exact origin of the festivity is not confirmed, it is said that a group of Irish tourists vacationing in the Sydney Blue Mountains one summer were inspired by the snow and convinced the resort owner to throw a bash called Yulefest. (My people are always looking for a reason to party.)

The event was such a success that the proprietor started a yearly tradition. Christmas in July gradually found its way to pubs, clubs, homes and eventually across the Atlantic. In the US, partakers were donning Hawaiian shirts, Santa hats, and all kinds of gay apparel. Just for one day, grilled turkey and roasted potato salad replaced tired old burgers, dogs, and your aunt's potato salad. There were cocktails with peppermint Schnapps happening poolside!
It is in that same spirit that I propose Baseball in December to be celebrated at one of your holiday parties. Screw the eggnog, eff the Chex Mix, and let's do this.
…Just so everyone is clear, I am not at all suggesting this take place on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. I am not trying to make enemies with wives and mothers here. I said eff the Chex Mix, not the Seven Fishes-- Madon!
OK. A Baseball in December party should include your classic ballpark fare with a bit of refinement. So the plastic bottles of Anchor Steam and hotdogs wrapped in foil will have to wait a few more months.

I’m thinking Schmitter sliders and crab fries. For dessert, serve Graham Slam ice cream cones. For added merriment, why not drop in a shot of Godiva Liqueur first? You can also put out bowls of peanuts and crackerjacks along with a basket of soft pretzels. Yes, I said basket and for God’s sake put a tea towel in it first. (Oh. Those decorative non-absorbent things that are bigger than a dish towel but often mistaken as one? Yeah, that's what they're for.)

********************DRINKS********************

Along with your basic bar essentials, every party should feature a signature cocktail to compliment the evening’s theme. May I suggest High Apple Pie in the Sky?

You'll need:
  • 2 ounces whipped cream vodka
  • ½ ounce apple schnapps
  • 2 ounces apple cider or juice
  • ½ ounce caramel sauce
Shake over ice and strain into a chilled martini glass. You can also rim the glass with crushed graham cracker crumbs.

If High Apple Pie in the Sky seems a bit sweet or heavy to be chasing schmitters with, you can offer another kind of cocktail you'd like to make. Just give it a baseball-related name and tack on a “tini” affix.

“Welcome, party guest! Would you enjoy a Charlie-tini? It has Penn 1681 Vodka in it, which is made right here in Philadelphia…”

********************FOOD********************

The crab fries are a mere nod to the great Chickie's and Pete's-- and I will pretend for a moment that I know how to make their cheese sauce. Here's what you'll need...I think:
  • Frozen fries of your choice. Might I suggest a crinkle cut?
  • Sea salt
  • Old Bay seasoning
  • Small holiday paper cups
  • 1 and ½ cups milk
  • 1 cup mayonnaise (I know. I too am slightly repulsed by my inner Paula Deen. But you need this to prevent the cheese sauce from solidifying after it comes off of the heat.)
  • 1 cup American cheese (I'm not entirely sure how this translates into flat squares but this is the ratio I feel comfortable providing.)
As the fries are baking (as per directions on package) stir the milk, mayonnaise and cheese on low heat. If needed, add more milk to thin or more cheese to thicken. When fries are done, season generously with Old Bay and sea salt like it’s your freaking job. When ready to serve, spoon the cheese sauce into cups (about 1/3rd filled) and add the fries so they stand up. For an extra touch of fanciness, carry around to your guests on a serving tray.

To make the sauce for the Schmitter sliders:
Mix 1 cup mayonnaise (again with the mayo- sorry.); 8 tablespoons sweet pickle relish; 4 tablespoon ketchup, and a dash or 4 of Worcestershire.

NOTE: The key to these is remembering to go smaller on everything because you are making sliders and therefore using smaller rolls.

For the actual sandwiches, you'll need:
  • 1 lb Roast beef…
  • ½ lb salami…
  • and ½ lb American Cheese all cut in half or quarters to fit the rolls
  • Tomato
  • Yellow onion
  • Slider rolls (They sell them in stores but if you can't find them, a sturdy dinner roll works too.)
  • Butter
  • Toothpicks
Heat a pad of butter in a 10-oz skillet. Add thinly sliced roast beef on side of the skillet, and thinly sliced sweet onions on the other. Cook until roast beef starts browning, about 3 minutes. Flip and brown other side, about 1 minute. Flip onion slices and transfer the beef stack on to the onions to continue cooking. Place salami next to that, and top with a slice of American cheese and tomato. Cook for about 2 minutes, until the bottom of the salami is browned and the cheese starts to melt.

Place rolls cut side up on baking sheet with a piece of cheese on each top. Broil until rolls are toasted and cheese is melted. *This will not take long.* Move salami over to the roast beef and onions and transfer all on to bottom roll. Top with Schmitter sauce. Add roll top and secure with a toothpick.

These can be prepared ahead of time and kept warm in a 200-degree oven. If you do this, remember to let the oven cool down after the broil. Just sayin.

Good luck and enjoy. Don't forget the Graham Slam cones with the surprise shot at the bottom!
Oh. I should probably add some sort of legal footnote that those should be for responsible adults over the age of 21. And don't forget about your vegetarian friends.
Side note: Did you know CBP was voted 2007’s most vegetarian friendly ballpark by the Food Network? Yeah I didn’t think you did.









Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Ruben Gonna Make a Splash?

Thome. Papelbon. Wiggington. Orr. Nix.

Admit it. Our beloved Phightins started the offseason free agent dash by making some fairly major deals. Bringing back Paul Bunyon, er, Jim Thome was at minimum a fan-friendly move. Asking him to man first base--even part-time--until #6 returns may be a bit much to ask of his 73-year old body. As long as he has that sweet swing, he'll still wow CBP-goers and tease the Ashburn Alley crowd.

Picking up Papelbon shocked people throughout the league. Granted, he trailed off at the end of 2011. He should pick up at least as many saves as would Ryan Madson. Plus, coming from that zany Red Sox clubhouse, he's a bit of a wildcard in terms of behavior. I'm sure we'll catch his act on Action News a few times during his stint.

The only thing Wigginton's got going for him is his likeness to yours truly. That should translate to some Werth-like attention from the phairer sex.

Orr. That's all I have to say about that.

Lance Nix looks like he can brawl. Swings big. And it signifies that chants of "Rauuuuuuuuulllllll" are all but over at the Bank. "Laaaaaaaaaaannnnnncccceeeee" just doesn't have the same ring, does it?

Here we sit, deep into the second day of the winter meetings, and Ruben's yet to pull the trigger on something big. If I know anything about this GM, it's that he will not be upstaged in this town.
With #7 taking the field again Sunday, the Eagles are still commanding a good bit of attention.

Now that the NBA ended their lockout---or as I like to call it "Who gives a shit?"---the 76ers will begin to garner buzz.

And no matter how well the Flyers play, Philly never bleeds Orange and Black until February; up 'til then, only true fans pay attention.

That leaves Ruben a terrific opportunity to snatch the city's imagination of what-could-be. He did it last year when he signed Cliff Lee on December 15, 2010. A year prior, he traded for superman Roy Halladay. Amaro has a genuine knack for theatrics. He'll surely pull off a blockbuster.

Meanwhile, we wait. We sit back and watch the stinking fish in Miami sign Reyes and Buehrle and offer that caveman Pujols a ten year deal. Chances are, J-Roll will get much of the money he wants and stick around. Declining numbers, schmeclining numbers. Reyes will do what he does, just while wearing teal now. Hopefully, the heat in Miami gets to be too much and he'll cut those nasty-ass dreds off. Sorry, but thosethings just creep me out.

C'mon, Ruben. We're on pins and needles here. Do something we can talk about. Don't let these fishy moves make the only splash in the NL East.

Pujols' Status On Hold...

Perhaps the Miami Marlins (sounds weird to say) are moving on from their Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle! (any Christmas Story fans? Too early?) They now appear to be moving toward solidifying their rotation. Is this a negotiating ploy? Possibly. If they walk away from the table now...presuming Pujols can see them walking away over the mounds of cash they've piled up...it's a smart move on their part. Their interest now seems to be aimed squarely at either Mark Buehrle and/or C.J. Wilson. Whoever shows the most interest back will presumably get the cheese. If only dating worked like that.

Regardless, the N.L. East is the place to be this off season, and how that will bode for the Phils remains to be seen.

Lest we forget that Pujols' agent also represents J-Roll, so presumably once this drama concludes, we can turn our attention back to our middle infield...and our corner infielders...and an outfielder...and maybe a reliever or two.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A New Favorite in the NL East by the Morning?

Sources (ESPN, CBSSports) are reporting that the Marlins are hoping to have a deal in place with this Winter's big prize by the end of the night. There's also discussion of a third team entering the race (the Cubs, but for less years and less money).

Stay tuned, because this could truly shake things up in the Phillies backyard.

What do you think? If the Marlins sign Pujols, do they become the favorite in the NL East? The NL? My first reaction was yes, at least in the NL East. But, if Josh Johnson is dealing with an achy shoulder for any point of the season, that may well neutralize their big bat(s).

Let's not forget about the Nats either...

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Hooked on a Pheeling


December 15, 2010 will be forever remembered in the hearts of Phillies fans.  On that day, Cliff Lee erased the worst decision Ruben Amaro Jr. ever made, by making his Ali-like return to the Phillies.  Reactively, millions of Phillies fans were thrown into a state of pure ecstasy.  As if Ruben could feel our ecstasy trip coming to an end, he called in a favor from an old friend, Ed Wade.  In case you aren’t aware, Wade was the director of the Phillies major league affiliate, The Houston Astros.  Ed Wade answered the phone and said, “Hunter Pence? Sure thing…No, no, no, Ruben, keep Worley and Brown. Just don’t forget my ring size.”

And just like that, our trip became more enhanced.  The rest of the summer was a blur.  Then, in a matter of minutes, the ecstatic feeling started to fade away faster than Cliff Lee’s 4-0 lead against St. Louis.  A few heart-palpitating days later, it was over.  We were tired.  We were confused.  It was an emotionless feeling.  Philadelphia fans did not know how to react.  We know how to react when the Eagles make another NFC Championship run and fall short to a team quarterbacked by an old, immobile, white man named Kurt, Brad or Jake. That feeling is in our blood.  This 2011 Phillies feeling was foreign.  I assume it is what heroin feels like.  It’s awesome while you’re on it.  When you come off, you’re left cold, broke and sad. 

Like Smarty Jones at the Belmont, the “Sure-Thing” 2011 Phillies, were defeated.  The 2011 Philadelphia Phillies were as good as any team I could ever imagine.  Who could argue?  Our third best pitcher received Cy Young votes.  Our infield was saturated with MVP’s.  It was our year.  “Our year,” is a term coined by many sports teams.  Every year seems to be “our-year” for every sports franchise but with the Phillies, in 2011, it really was “our-year.”  Everything fell into place.  Our most feared competition found themselves golfing in San Francisco or Atlanta.  Our injuries healed.  Our hopes were at an all time high.  And then, like Apollo Creed pounding on our broken ribs, some jerk asks that gut-wrenching question, ”When do pitchers and catchers report?” 

For Phillies fans, 2011 was over.  No job promotion, new baby or winning Powerball ticket could make this year a success for a true Phillies fan.  That is, in some weird way, “passion.”  Passion has a different definition for Philadelphia sports fans than it does for fans in other cities.  Phanatics relate passion to failure.  Our natural response to failure is  exerting even more passion. 

This feeling of ecstasy is good.  Just ask Miami Heat fans.  They morphed from an average team into the NBA Eastern Conference All Stars during a half-hour special on ESPN. What Happened? Dirk went “Eli Manning” on you. (Eli Manning- verb. – Beating a heavy favorite with improbable play after improbable play while having an ugly face.) Be careful Packers fans.  One Ndamukong Suh stomp to Aaron Rodgers right arm and your “sure-thing” is history.  This feeling is a drug.  Don’t think it can’t happen to you.  Your parents try to warn you but you’re too cool to listen.  You’re just trying to fit in.  I know how it feels.  Take it from me, a former user, believing in “sure-things” in sports, is as bad as it gets. 

With my past behind me, and my addiction in check, 2012 will be a better year.  Bring it on.  Sign Pujols. Sign Fielder.  Trade for Burrell.  It doesn’t faze me, Amaro.  I will never be as excited for a team ever again.  I am 55 days sober and don’t plan on relapsing until I can get my hands on that feeling I had on October 29, 2008. I can’t wait.  So seriously, when do pitchers and catchers report?

P.S. My producer just informed me that the Lebron James Special, “The Decision,” was an hour long.  Guess it took an hour to say that famous line, “I should take my talents to Dallas.”

Mark Charleston
Die-hard Philly fan and cat enthusiast

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Alive and Well

Hello again, fellow Drunk Phils Fans, readers, and the like. Regrettably, it has once again been too long since I made my last appearance in this blog. For those of you not familiar, I'm Ricky Jordan Fan Club, the guy who does those Random Past Phillies posts. This is not one, though I do hope to start doing them again sometime shortly after the New Year, but there are some technical issues I need to get squared away first. Your suggestions and feedback are always welcome when it comes to Random Past Phillies posts.

I had originally planned on making this a simple "touching base" post, to let everyone know I was still a part of the Drunk Phils Fans family and to introduce myself to those of you who may be new to the blog and unfamiliar with my work. But then, an idea suddenly popped into my head, and if you put two and two together, you'll find it has to do with the picture that goes along with this post. So let's get to it.

The picture in question is the Phillies mural that upon its completion will be displayed at 200 South 24th Street in Philadelphia. The mural will be painted by local artist David McShane and will depict 25 of the franchise's iconic players along with Harry Kalas and the Phillie Phanatic. A full listing of who is included can be found at phillies.com. Additionally, there is currently a voting on the site that runs through December 7 to nominate the final player that will be depicted. The five players who receive the most nominations will then be part of a voting from December 8 to 15, the winner of which will become part of the mural.

Personally, I think this is an excellent idea and should look absolutely spectacular once the finished product is unveiled. Nevertheless, I do have some issues with it. First of all, "online voting" in all likelihood means that current players or ones from the recent past will be receiving a vast majority of the votes, though I've been told by people familiar with these events (this mural and the Wall of Fame especially) that the final winners are generally predetermined and the elections are merely for the purpose of sparking fan interest. Also, the 2012 season will be the 130th in the history of the Philadelphia Phillies. Though they've only really had two eras of sustained success, many outstanding players have worn their uniform and there quite a few left out. Among others, Greg Luzinski, Del Ennis, Johnny Callison, Garry Maddox, and Cy Williams are not part of the group that will be depicted. You could make a strong case to include all of them, but there's obviously only so much room. What I wouldn't mind seeing in addition to this mural are other ones made throughout the city, possibly dedicated to different positions and/or eras. I believe they could serve as a useful teaching tool to younger generations about the long history of the Phillies, both good and bad.

I decided to take part in the voting for the final player on the mural, and went with Del Ennis, who hit .286 with 259 home runs and 1124 RBI for the Phils from 1946-56. Those 259 homers were second in franchise history to Mike Schmidt until this past season, when Ryan Howard surpassed him. Ennis, who died in 1996, was also a Philadelphia native who attended Olney High School. That also played into my decision, as I think it would be cool to have a native son on there.

To my fellow DPFs, I ask you: who would you choose to occupy the last spot on the Phillies Mural? Also, if there were to be other Phillies murals throughout the city, who or what would you like to see on them? A Random Past Phillies mural, perhaps? Just don't ask me to paint that one, I can't even draw a straight line. I look forward to your replies, as I'm sure there will be some pretty funny stuff there!

Monday, November 28, 2011

For Realsies?

A shiny new train wreck debuts this week! This time, it’s with Major League Baseball as the backdrop-- or step and repeat, if you will.

But whether or not MLB is actually a proud promoter of VH1‘s “Baseball Wives” is neither here nor there.
What matters is that there is a new band of MILFs, cougars, and exes on the reality scene. For those of us who miss baseball and will take anything remotely related to it, I believe this is what those in the medical biz call “rock bottom.”

The hot mess, which premieres this Wednesday, November 30th at 9:00, promises to deliver all of your reality show staples: gratuitous scenes shot from inside the plastic surgeon's office blurred out just enough. Teary F-bombs. Themes of adultery, opulence, and back-stabbing. Fabulous parties where people jump into pools fully clothed.

The series follows the lives of six women in Scottsdale, AZ as they attempt to demonstrate they are more than just the woman behind a professional baseball player. (And by “follow” they mean “set appropriate lighting and stage things.”)

OK, the roster… Anna

Anna Benson

“Who? Sorry, I’m not familiar...”
Whatever. [Eye roll...] You know who she is.

Anna is the controversial wife of retired pitcher Kris Benson, former FHM cover girl and “baseball’s hottest wife” of 2004. She also played in the 2005 World Series of Poker in Vegas under the handle “Gold Digger.” Pretty sure she’s going to get a lot of camera time, that one.

“We are not like Basketball Wives,” the former stripper was recently quoted as saying. “We are classy.”

OH NO SHE DI’INT!

Next up is Brook Villone, wife of relief pitcher Ron Villone. She modeled as a teenager, says the other wives are jealous of her natural beauty, and shed her baby weight in weeks due to her strict workout regimen. Always one of those in the group.

Chantel
Also on the team is Chantel Kendall, ex-wife of Royals catcher Jason Kendall. This edgier Meg Ryan has a half sleeve of tats and a tabloid romance with Rod Stewart’s son Sean, whom she met in rehab. He is 10 years her junior.

Tanya Grace, ex-wife of retired 1st baseman Mark Grace is single, ready to mingle, and working on a T-shirt line. One of the slogans: "Douchepickle."

We can't forget Erika Monroe Williams (although VH1 did because she is not featured in the group shot.) A former news anchor, she once starred in "Good Evening Arizona." The native Californian now shares a 20,000 square foot home with retired third baseman and husband Matt Williams...


Blah, blah, blah... Do you even care what I’m saying right now?

I've lost you. I should go back to Anna Benson shouldn't I? OK. She believes the reason the Mets traded her husband was because they were scared of her "fun bags."

Here’s where the definition of the word “wife” gets a bit vague. Pop culture already loosened the term's meaning years ago, (along with the word “real.”) But not only is Jordana Lenz not anyone’s wife-- she’s not currently involved with anyone in MLB.

Jordana
Her claim to fame (another word that's been completely hijacked) is that she once dated a Brewer. (Nyjer Morgan)
Nonetheless, the 23-year-old lives and tends bar in Scottsdale. Maybe she's looking to meet a nice Scottsdale-based accountant.
"She's excited to be single and dating again," her cast bio says, "and she is already fielding advances by a number of players."
Oh.

If the name of the show sounds familiar, you might remember another "Baseball Wives" that aired on E! in 2009. It featured Heidi Hamels, wife of Cole, and was part of the "True Hollywood Story" series. The program was intended as more of a documentary to show the ladies in their roles as mommies, supportive wives, and community volunteers. It was more respectable; not so sensational.
Besides, Mrs Hamels would never do anything too crazy on camera.

Will you be watching?


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Monday, November 21, 2011

A Very Phillies Christmas


Within hours of last year’s December 14th announcement that Cliff Lee had stuck it to NY and was returning to Philly, I hurried onto the MLB Shop to score a # 33 jersey for my dad. The perfect Christmas present for the man who wants nothing. Clearly I was not the only person with this idea, as six to eight anti-climactic weeks later it arrived.

He stood in the kitchen, turning side to side and checking out his reflection in the window. Smoothing his hands down the 100% polyester moisture wicking performance mesh, he told me that I shouldn’t have. It was too expensive. He’d be just as happy with a jersey from Boscovs or “Clover”…but still there was no question he thought this one was “sharp.”

Later that month, he used the same exact adjective to describe a pair of free “In-quire” sunglasses that came in the bag with the newspaper down at Bright House.

Now THAT was a Christmas present: from my parents, a condo in Clearwater Beach for the week for any of us “kids” who could get the time off and wanted to join them. (Yeah, they’re kinda cool.) Despite it being hot as baseBALLS in our seats along the third base line, that trip was a blast.

Of course not every Phillies-related present has to involve frisbee in knee-deep Gulf water followed by Frenchy’s margaritas at sunset.

One of the best gifts someone ever gave me was for Christmas 2008. That was a very Phillies Christmas for one and all! We were basking in the afterglow, still humming Don’t Stop Believing and We Are The Champions. So when I unwrapped a framed photograph of The Moment, I could have cried. (OK I did.)

I had seen it on TV played over and over for days following, but a still shot capturing this instant was a treasure. The view is from behind Lidge who’s on his knees and just collapsing back on his ankles. His arms are raised in the air and Chooch is barreling towards him. You know the shot.

Uncle Kevin had given these to everyone that year and they were all over the house Christmas night. It was the same photo, but with varied meanings for each of us. Who did you hug first? Did you cry? Yeah you did…yeah ya did! Who did you wish were still here to see it? How good did that champagne taste right outa the bottle? (Thanks, Uncle Kev. All that from a Kinko's reprint.)

With Black Friday and "Cyber Monday" less than a week away, it got me thinking about what we give to the DPF’s in our lives this time of year. What we’d really like to do is wrap up the promise of an incredible season, right?

Since we can’t do that, we offer each other the possibility of great times ahead. Like a couple buying a block of games or buddies going in on season tickets. Nothing to really open on Christmas morning, but there are fireworks and hilarious tailgating moments and dollar dog nights to look forward to. There is hope beyond my Seasonal Affective Disorder, I mean after March.

Sure, these Christmas gifts don't have to be expensive, or even sentimental. There's always the “Crystal Flip Flop necklace,” currently featured in the online Shop for $14.99. While this fancy gem does have an “acrylic inlay with team logo,” …I’d be remiss...guys...if I did not suggest maybe getting that special lady a little something else to go with it. Just don't believe everything you read in those blurbs because she might not go nuts for the “rhinestone accents..."

What am I hoping Santa leaves under my tree this year? (Shh, just pretend you asked me.)

Frankly, I would kill for a Phanatic Pillow Pet. They are ridiculously comfortable and plush… so plush... and it would be the closest I’ll ever get to spooning a member of the Phillies organization.

Also, I think I’d find a cocktail with Phillies Party Cubes in it quite enjoyable. Have you guys seen these things? They light up! “Simply place them in your freezer in preparation for your next game day celebration…”
But I’m just saying: why wait until April? I might have one in a gingerbread-tini this December.
'Tis the off-season!

What is the best Phillies Christmas present you’ve ever gotten or given?

Tying One on, DPF-sytle



With all the excitement surrounding the Phillies move to sign Ty Wiggington, one might be apt to look past the obvious: this guy looks just like me. Well, maybe not. But a friend told me I should get a TW jersey, since I resemble him. Maybe I can finally get that MLB at-bat I always dreamed of.

Surely, there is room on this roster for anther aging utility man with questionable talent. As I peruse TW’s career stats, I can’t help but think that $4 million is a bit much for a career utility guy. He has popped over 20 homers three times (24, 23 and 22 in ’06, ’08 and ’10) but strikes out a good bit, about once every five ABs.

Assuming the aging Phillies can’t stay healthy again in 2012, Wigginton will likely see a good bit of PT. No way Polanco plays more than 130 games at third. We all know #6 is out for at least half the season, no matter what crap we’re fed. Give TW a dozen or more games at first. Chances are he’ll play some left as well. In all, we’re probably looking at about 80 to 100 games played, anywhere from 250-350 at bats. With those numbers, I can definitely slide in there for one AB.

Let’s just think about this a minute. Wigginton is 34; I’m 37. Raul was 86 this past year, so I’m still young enough. And the truth is, this Phillies team swings wildly. In contrast, my first season in senior ball, I led the team in both walks (15) and strikeouts (12, 8 of which were “looking”). I will wear the pitcher out. Hell, I might even foul a few off, just for fun. I’ll watch a couple tapes of Boggs or Gwynn, I’ll be all set.

All I need is a roll of duct tape and a distraction. Considering the boozing that takes place at a DPF tailgate, one of my colleagues can more than easily be convinced to sprint onto the field. While security tazes my pal, I'll rush into the dugout, crack TW over the head like I'm back in East Falls, and tape him up in the tunnel.

With him out ofthe way and the game on the line, I'll jump to action when Uncle Charlie turns to me and says, "Wig-uh-wig-uh-wiggingto-uh-n, get out therr."

Before anyone realizes that I’m not Wiggington, I’ll be jogging down to first base. Of course, I’ll promptly get picked off while picking my nose a foot and a half off the base. As long as it ain't Aroldis Chapman, I'll crowd the plate, take my hacks, and ultimately watch ball four breeze on by.

I'll likely join my drunken DPFer in the paddy wagon shortly thereafter. But hey, it'll all be worth it.

Welcome to Philly, Ty. Dreams really do come true. When’s that jersey gonna be ready?