Nov 12, 2011

Closing time

A few nights ago, Christine asked if we should officially kill this blog. I didn't answer.

Last night, I was glad I didn't when I saw that the Phillies agreed on a four-year $50 million contract with Jonathan Papelbon who, pending a physical, will be the biggest SoxandPhil since Curt Schilling.

I don't understand why the Phillies didn't stand pat with Ryan Madson - I'd welcome him to Boston. Christine's not happy with her early Christmas present. She has always been particularly irritated by Papelbon. Trent wasn't impressed when we told him over his Cheerios this morning.

I just can't wait to see what happens when Carl Crawford steps in against Pap in the bottom of the 9th of Game 7 of the 2012 World Series. I'd wager that night ends for Papelbon like his last night as a Red Sox.

Oct 1, 2011

10 years too late

Greg and I did not attend Game 1 of the NLDS this evening. We did not win the lottery opportunity to buy tickets for the first round of the playoffs to watch the Cardinals and Phillies; I'm sure that we'll be watching all of the postseason at home this year.

But in 2001 ...

Eternal optimist I am about the Phillies, I bought tickets for Game 1 of the 2001 NLDS. The tickets were $18 each. There was a $4 service charge. Yes, $40 for two playoff tickets. The seats were in the 700 level, but who cares? I was convinced that we were going to the playoffs.

The Phillies ended the season two games behind the Braves; it wasn't even a possibility for them to win the wild card. Alas, my dreams of attending a Phillies playoff game were on hold until 2007.

I love the letter the organization sent to inform me that a credit would be placed on my credit card for the unused tickets. It includes so many gems, from the spot-on ...

--Jimmy Rollins had a magical rookie season, leading the league in stolen bases and triples along with playing spectacular defense.

--On-site work has begun for our spectacular New Ballpark opening in 2004.

... to the "what were they thinking."

--Robert Person emerged as a #1 starting pitcher.

--Rookies David Coggin and Brandon Duckworth solidified their spots in the pitching rotation for years to come.

I found my decade-old tickets and letter while cleaning out some paperwork this summer. I probably shredded some crucial information that I'll need someday, but I'll still have my first pair of playoff tickets.

Sep 29, 2011

Ready for next year II

I'm trying to stay positive after last night's loss ...

1) I won't feel the need to stay up late for the next few weeks.

2) Christine and I can root in unison in October.

3) I've long said that no championship will compare with 2004. That's still true, but this year will make me appreciate the next one more.

4) The championship page in Trent's Red Sox picture book is still up to date.

5) Next year, when the SoxandPhils finally meet in the World Series, Trent might understand a little of what's going on.

Sep 26, 2011

Ready for next year

Sorry this game recap took so long. I've been busy, plus distracted by some awful baseball.

Despite some September struggles, I'm not giving up on the prospect of a 2011 SoxandPhils World Series.

(Sox in five.)

{Phillies sweep Rays.}

But we are ready for next season after going to our last Phillies game on Sept. 18. Of course, it was night game on a Sunday, so we knew we wouldn't make the whole thing. We agreed we'd leave at 10 p.m., and thanks to some efficient pitching by Cole Hamels and Chris Carpenter, we saw 6 1/2 innings.

I say we're ready for next year because of that early exit. Walking out disgustingly early, I thought of titling this post "The walk of shame."

But I came up with some better spin - it's good practice for when we finally get to take Trent next year and will probably have to leave early.

That's it! What 'til next year! But let's not rush this SoxandPhils Series.

Observations from the stands: The Phillies had clinched the night before against the Cardinals, and the 2011 division flag was already flying.

I bought a scorecard without a program (same edition as the last game we went to), and they gave a sheet with rosters and pitchers from every team. I miss Newsy Notes.

The Phillies and Cardinals relievers looked like a flock of geese trying to form a "V" when walking to the bullpen.

The Phillies honored a whole bunch of staff before the game. Freddy Galvis and Trevor May got minor league players of the years. Trevor May: picture Joe Blanton in high school.

The Cheltenham High School Select Choir did the anthem. I can't remember it, but I've heard they hit all the right notes at the ballpark.

A kid wore a Phanatic head in front of his. He sipped hot chocolate and wore a blanket at times. It was cool, but not as icy as we feared.

The Phanatic skit was odd. He came out to George of the Jungle with a whole bunch of monkeys dancing with him. I joked that he probably bet someone after a Bruce Chen start in 2001 that he would get a whole bunch of monkeys to dance with him if the Phillies ever won five straight division titles.

I felt bad telling Trent about the monkeys the next day because it really sounds a lot more interesting than it was.

Antiquated shirts: Jayson Werth, Darren Daulton, Pat Burrell, Jamie Moyer and a couple others, but my handwriting is poor and the notes are more than a week old

Oh well, that wraps up our game days for the season. See you in the playoffs! (I hope.)

Sep 15, 2011

I hate weather

I thought I was going to reprise the hurricane post by saying that it was all worth it because Christine and I allowed Trent to play hooky and attend his first Phillies game.

But with a good chance of rain, which increases exponentially when we go to the ballpark, we sent him to school so we could get cold and wet at Citizens Bank Park. Well, it was clear for a couple of innings, as you can see.

The game started off well. Marlins pitcher Anibal Sanchez settled down after a two-run first inning, giving up only a hit and a walk over his next five innings. Kyle Kendrick, making his first appearance since Aug. 24, was dominant. He didn't give up a hit (one hit batsman) for four innings before giving up a solo home run in his 5th and final inning. Pete Orr made several outstanding plays at second. Chase Utley pinch-hit for him in the 8th.

But as the relievers came, the weather worsened and the game dragged. Each team had lengthy threats but didn't do much to change the score - just enough to make it miserable for those of us in the stands. The Phils held on to win 3-1.

Observations from the stands: We were surprised so many made it to the park for this Hurricane Irene make-up. Many scattered under cover once the rain and wind hit. We were in the last row, so we didn't have to head for higher grand like most of these people did. ... We saw many youngsters in the crowd. We wished Trent were with us, until the cold and wet kicked in. ... Rest in peace Negro League Star Bill "Ready" Cash. ... The Central Bucks West High School Choir, directed by Joseph Ohrt, did the anthem. Not bad, but we've heard it before. And before that. And even before that.

Antiquated shirts: Bobby Abreu (not at the park but at a store before the game), Jayson Werth, Jamie Moyer, Pedro Martinez (Phillies) and Jim Thome, whose 600th homer got a salute in the Phillies program. Not yet antiquated, but Christine spotted a Wilson Valdez shirt in the crowds.

So, we're home. My scorecard made it through the rain. Trent's asleep, and we're waiting to see whether the Phillies will hold on for the sweep and whether the Red Sox can come back against the Rays.

We're going to one more game this year. Disappointingly, we won't see much of it because it's Sunday night. With a baby, we don't do night games on school nights.

But given our track record, we can expect a win (4-0 when we've gone this year) but finally a better starter (Cole Hamels - we've seen Kendrick and Roy Oswalt start the other four games).

Sep 7, 2011

Catching up with ...

One of the best things about independent baseball is seeing random former major leaguers. Our game on Sunday didn't yield too many good names: Camden - Manager Von Hayes, catcher Toby Hall, pitcher Mike Koplove; Bridgeport - Antonio Alfonseca (OK, that's a good one) and one name that jumped out at me ... Adam Greenberg.

You don't remember this guy? He played a whole game for the Cubs in 2005. Sadly, he was hit in the head by the first pitch in his first at-bat and is still trying to get back to the majors.

We stumbled across his story because he shares a birthday with Christine.

He got the day off on Sunday, but we saw him in the dugout (No. 5). He's doing well for the first-place Bluefish in his fourth year of independent ball. He's old, but we're still rooting for a Hollywood ending in which he gets another chance in the majors.

Sep 4, 2011

Trent's gone pro

Today was a big day for our family: Trent's first outing to a professional baseball game. OK, it was Camden, not Philadelphia, and lacked all the Major League trappings. But c'mon, Citizens Bank Park does not have a carousel.

It was an odd game. Riversharks pitcher J.R. Mathes retired the first nine Bridgeport Bluefish in order before they took revenge with seven consecutive hits (no exaggeration) in a seven-run 4th inning on the way to a 9-3 win. We didn't follow much of the action, and I didn't attempt to keep score.

Trent did OK for a first time. We sat in the front row, and I was proud that he did not get upset when a batter fouled a rocket back against the net two feet from us.

He got a little squirmy in that long 4th inning, but
we were able to coax him through the 7th inning stretch before we went home to watch the Phillies lose a 14-inning game on TV.

Before the game, Trent took a couple of rides on the carousel while enjoying the view of the Ben Franklin Bridge and Philadelphia skyline. The guy who operated the ride was awesome. He was very friendly and a good representative for the organization.

After Trent got squirmy in his seat (mitigating factors: this weekend has been rough - slight cold, three vaccination shots, and the beginning of the end for his pacifier and bottles), we took a walk around the concourse and calmed him. Some Rita's water ice rejuvenated him.

His favorite part of the game seemed to be checking out babes in the crowd. (He's a hound dog.) But he knows when to get serious: Here's a picture of him scouting the 'Sharks for a hidden gem to recommend to Theo Epstein or Ruben Amaro Jr. (Never mind that sippie cup.)

We had a good time and know it won't be long before he takes his first trip to Citizens Bank Park. I just hope he doesn't expect a carousel.