Friday, October 31, 2008


I would have preferred to watch it somewhere other than a hotel room in Huntsville, Alabama, but you can't have it all. I enjoyed their run. The better team won, and almost all of it will be back next year. The possible exceptions:

PAT BURRELL, 32, made $14m this year, .250, 33 HR, 86 RBI. He was Clubber Lang in the spring then cooled off considerably for the second half and was ice cold in the WS until leading off with a double that became the winning run. He is unbelievably slow and usually gets replaced in the late innings for defense. He failed to get to a shallow fly ball in the first inning of one of the WS games that I bet any other left fielder would have caught. I think the Phils will make him an offer designed for him to refuse. One thing I do really like about Burrell is that he has developed an excellent eye at the plate and takes a lot of walks. I remember listening to one game where Burrell and fellow slowpoke Ryan Howard both had triples in the same game. That I think was as big a statistical anomaly as you could find in baseball this year. Burrell, batting 5th, does provide a longball threat that makes managers pitch to Howard, batting 4th, but I think the Phillies will conclude, and I agree, that there are better ways to spend that money.

JAMIE MOYER, 45, made $5.5m and recorded 16 wins. He is a Philly area native and wants to finish his career with his hometown team. I think he will. He is also sort of a player-coach to the younger pitchers on their staff.

The only other unrestricted free agents of note are LHP SCOTT EYRE and reserve outfielder SO TAGUCHI. Eyre was acquired mid-season from the Cubs. He contributed and will probably get a better offer somewhere else. Taguchi was useless and rarely saw an AB toward the end of the season. No offer forthcoming.
There are 10 players who will be eligible for arbitration, and many of them will get huge raises. Howard ($10 million), Hamels ($500,000), centre-fielder Shane Victorino ($480,000), right-fielder Jayson Werth ($1.7 million), starter Joe Blanton ($3.7 million) and relievers Ryan Madson ($1.4 million) and Chad Durbin ($900,000) should make a lot more money next year. The Phillies' payroll on opening day was $104.5 million. Keeping it close to that total for '09 will be a challenge.

The Phils sold out more than 60 home dates this year. Their bank account is bursting but they are well known for not overpaying players. They got some real bargains this year with Hamels, Victorino, Madson, Durbin and Werth.

I found myself under-excited about the Phillies championship celebration. I followed them this year and really liked the team and went to several games, but they are my adopted team, not my birth team, and I didn't get the burst of joy that is supposed to come when your guys jump all over each other on the mound. If I had to buy a ball cap today, it would be a Pirates cap.

They are expecting the largest-ever sports parade in the US today in Philly. The parade route stretches several miles from center city down Broad Street to one final revenuefest at Citizens Bank Park. My wife wanted to take the boys but thought better of it when I told her how many people are expected, how full the trains are, how much trouble she would have getting home, and that the route was already well lined with fans during my drive time this morning. (Parade starts at noon.) We also have the small problem that our younger son has a bad habit of wandering off in crowds like Curious George. She watched 2-1/2 hours of postgame celebration coverage after Game 5 while I was fast asleep. She is really into it. It's cute.

UPDATE: 12:30pm. Perfect day for a parade, sunny and cool. Start of parade is delayed due to mass of humanity in streets.

Perfect night for trick or treating as well.

12:47 pm. Pat Burrell is first out, riding with the Clydesdales. How awesome is that? (I heard earlier this hour that he has rejected the Phillies' contract offer on this first day of free agency.)

Here comes Charlie and the trophy.

Two parents here in the office told their teenage kids this morning to stop their silly talk about going to the parade and get their butts to school. That made my wife mad. One woman's son said he waited 4 hours to get a train into town. I pass a suburban metro station on my way in. This morning there were cars parked ALL OVER the place as people flooded the trains.

The Philadelphia Daily News usually prints 100,000 copies for point of purchase sale. Yesterday they printed 300,000 which sold out quickly. They printed another 350,000 which sold out, and today copies are selling for $20 on eBay.

Good times. I'd still buy a Pirates cap. Size 7-1/2 for any blood relatives that may be listening.

1 comment:

Dude said...

It was an okay series. The first three games were close and competitive if not overly exciting. Game four was a laugher and game five took three days. It would have become an all-time classic if the Rays came back to win in seven but that script was not written. Phils got the good Moyer and Blanton and were out to get it done. I like how they shorten the game with Romero, Madson, and Lidge. Lidge is a far cry from '93 Mitch Williams.

It's a much more likable team than the '93 Phils also. There's nobody you're rooting against on that team. I had never really heard Ryan Howard speak before and didn't know if he was a lunkhead or not. After game three when the bases were loaded and the Rays brought in a couple of extra infielders against the final batter, the reporter asked Howard what he thought of that and Howard smiled and said it looked like they were going to blitz. I thought that was funny. I guess he's Kruk 2.0.

Both Phils and Rays should look largely the same next season. The Rays have the better chance of actually improving since just about every Phillie is already playing at peak production. I agree there is no reason to resign Burrell. Guys like Werth signed on the cheap is how you win. Give Victorino his raise; negotiate something amenable to keep Moyer; pay Hamels whatever he wants; let Blanton find his payday elsewhere; keep Madson, Durbin, and you've got a team ready to repeat, health willing.

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