We should feel very fortunate to be following a baseball team with one of the most iconic mascots in all of professional sports. You really can not understate just how awesome the Phillie Phanatic is. He is unique, he is classic and he keeps things hip. Many other franchises have tried to emulate the success the Phillies have had with the Phanatic, and many have failed.
Which brings us to those Tampa Bay Rays, a franchise that is linked to the Phillies forever after the 2008 World Series.
The franchise that has previously hailed mohawks as a good luck fashion and has encouraged fans to bring cowbells to their indoor facility that looks more like an environment known more for an indoor pool than it does a baseball stadium, will introduce a brand new mascot in 2012, replacing this furry guy.
Behold, the new official mascot of the Tampa Bay Rays, DJ Kitty.no comments
Kate Upton teaching you how to throw a circle change? Kate Upton teaching you how to throw a circle change...
Ahh yes. Good one 2k12 Sports. Kate Upton in your short advertisement for your upcoming release of MLB 2k12 (Pre-order on Amazon) is a real home run, and seeing some of baseball's best players fawn over her was so simple, yet so realistic.
MLB 2k12 will be released on March 6, and the next perfect game challenge will begin the same day. Click here for details.
It's February 14, so happy Valentine's Day to all of you baseball lovers out there. While men will scramble all over at the last minute for jewelry, chocolates, flowers and cards, Ruben Amaro Jr. was busy this morning dropping off the ultimate Valentine's Day gift to a couple loyal Phillies fans.
Amaro stopped by the home of Ray Dicrescenzo, 91, this morning with the gang from FOX 29 to deliver a pair of season tickets for the 2012 season. The World War II veteran, you may remember, was hit by a car outside Citizens Bank Park last season following a game against the Washington Nationals. A couple cuts and some immediate treatment at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital allowed the senior citizen to leave the next morning, and he made a quick return to Citizens Bank Park to watch his beloved Phillies.
Dicrescenzo has never missed a Phillies game, according to a report filed by the Philadelphia Inquirer last September. So what if he was clipped by a reckless driver? Nothing is going to keep Ray form watching his Phillies.
Dicrescenzo actually has season tickets, so Amaro was not actually giving a gift, but to see the general manager at your front door with your ticket package has to be a delight nonetheless.
It's not every day I like a Dos Equis parody video, but when I do, I enjoy Dan Sharp's latest video for the MLB Fan Cave...
I got a particular kick out of "He's a Phillies fan Yankees fans love."
Best of luck to Dan in his quest to move to New York City to eat, sleep and breather baseball in this year's contest. You can check out his official entry video here.
On the day we learn that the Oakland Athletics are shelling out some big bucks for Cuban star Yoenis Cespedes, we are also made aware of the inspiration for the founder of Moneyball (available in stores tomorrow). Naturally, this seemed appropriate to share on this website, which shares the source of inspiration.
Billy Beane, the man behind the moneyball philosophy that re-energized the Oakland A's franchise and revolutionized the way baseball is analyzed on a broader level, spoke last week at a synposium last week at Villanova. It turns out your favorite bunch of whacky throwbacks caught the eye of Beane.
"I was right here in Philadelphia watching the World Series [which the Phils lost to Toronto]," said Beane, as quoted by Frank Fitzpatrick of the Philadelphia Inquirer. "Those '93 Phillies took a ton of pitches, walked a ton, and scored a ton of runs. That's when it hit me."
If you think about it, those 1993 Phillies did know how to work a count. It started at the top of the lineup, where Lenny Dykstra did a solid job of setting the table and forcing the starting pitcher to throw pitches early on. Dykstra was one of three players in the lineup to draw over 100 walks. Dykstra led the team with 129 walks, followed by Darren Daulton with 117 walks and John Kruk with 111 walks. Dave Hollins had drawn 85 free passes as well.
To put that in to some perspective, it would take six seasons before any Phillie eclipsed the century mark for walks in a season. Bobby Abreu walked 109 times in the 1999 season. The next time multiple Phillies walked 100 times in a season was in 2003, when Jim Thome joined Abreu.
The closest the Phillies have come to having three players with 100 walks in a season since the 1993 season was in 2006 when Ryan Howard walked 108 times, Pat Burrell 98 times and Abreu walked 91 times. The 2008 World Series championship team had just one player walk 100 times, with Burrell leading the team with 102 walks (Howard walked 81 times). Jayson Werth walked 91 times in 2009.
HT: The 700 Level
So much for the Florida Marlins being the leading candidate to sign Cuban star Yoenis Cespedes. According to Buster Olney, via Twitter, Cespedes will sign with the Oakland Athletics for a reported $36 million over four years.
Losing out on Cespedes is a decent blow to the Marlins' off-season strategy, but there is no doubt that the team is already looking to be significantly improved from top to bottom in 2012. Adding Cespedes would have been considered a cherry on top after spending big money on players like Jose Reyes, Carlos Zambrano, Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell. This all in addition to a new manager in Ozzie Guillen. The re-branded Marlins needed a face lift as they enter their new home stadium this season. A new uniform was just part of the plan. Bringing in players capable of creating a buzz, both locally and nationally, were always more important though.
What does this mean for the Phillies?
Naturally, it is one less potential star in the NL East to be concerned with. Cespedes, 26, comes to Major League Baseball with a powerful background, and training videos to make even Roy Halladay take a look. Now, without Cespedes, the Marlins outfield will be led by Logan Morrison, Chris Coghlan and Mike Stanton. Sure enough, it is an outfield that must be respected any day they are in the line-up so this does not mean the Marlins are less dangerous.
Stanton led the Marlins with 34 home runs (two against the Phillies) and showed great promise. Coghlan has seen his numbers go down each of the last three seasons, and Morrison had to work through some possible maturity issues with manager Jack McKeon. Morrison hit 23 home runs in 123 games last season.
Cespedes gives Oakland a powerful bat, as long as he can hit Major League Baseball pitching, which does remain a fair question. Playing in a stadium like the Oakland Coliseum though will be a challenge. It is quite different from Citizens Bank Park, and that is always a good thing for the Phillies.
Read more on Cespedes signing with Oakland on The Outside Corner.
Lenny Dykstra was certainly the most valuable player of the 1993 Philadelphia Phillies. To this day some will argue that he should have been the Most Valuable Player in the National League that year, but that may be a bit of homer bias speaking, tugging at the heart of that "Whatever It Takes, Dude" philosophy that plays well in Philadelphia.
Simply put, Barry Bonds had a better overall season in his first year in San Francisco and his power numbers more than pulled Bonds ahead of Dykstra when it came time to tally the votes for the NL MVP award. His argument may have carried some weight at the time, with the Giants starting September with a 4.5 game lead on the Atlanta Braves, who were still oddly in the NL West at the time. The Giants lost the NL West by one game and Bonds had his worst month in terms of offensive production since June. Of course, Bonds still hit .300 and walked a season high for a month 24 times. If the Giants sturggled in the clutch, it is hard to pit the entire blame on Bonds.
But what should be the criteria for determining the MVP? Is it the player who has the best individual season or the player that does the most to get his team in the win column. Even if you consider that as a more important trait and that it would play in Dykstra's favor, it turns out Bonds would have a solid argument there as well.
Dykstra scored more runs out of the leadoff spot in the Phillies lineup, with guys like Darren Daulton, John Kruk, Dave Hollins and more having career years to that point. It can be risky to compare players from different decades, especially when you are talking about a 15-year difference, but Jimmy Rollins had a career high 94 RBI in his MVP season of 2007, but he has averaged 65.5 RBI per season since playing on a full-time basis. Rollins, of course, has been the primary lead off hitter for the Phillies for the majority of his career. Compared to the rest of his team, Dykstra was third in batting average and home runs, sixth in RBI and second in OPS.
Dykstra's role on the Phillies was to set the table for the offense. Bonds' role was to drive everyone home in the middle of the lineup for the Giants. Bonds was more set up for power numbers, which are easy to sway voters, but he earned the votes he received.
Bonds saw most of his numbers increase as well. After playing seven seasons in Pittsburgh Bonds signed with the San Francisco Giants, taking advantage of the atmosphere by the bay to hit a career high of 46 home runs in his first year out on the west coast.
While the Phillies did indeed have a worst-to-first seaso in 1993, en route to a World Series appearance, the Giants had a similar win-differential once adding Bonds. The Phillies picked up 27 wins between 1992 and 1993 (70 wins to 97 wins) but the Giants went from 72 wins to 103 wins, a 31 game upswing. The only difference in the regular lineup for the Giants was Bonds, who replaced former Phillie Chris James in left field.
Dykstra once said to reporters that he felt he deserved the MVP more than Bonds because when the calendar hit October his team was playing and Bonds' was not. Of course it is a faulty logic because a number of MVP winners have not been on a playoff team before and after Bonds in 1993.
Bonds has certainly seen his image go down a well late in his career and in recent years, but in 1993 it appeared that Bonds was a naturally gifted as ever. That may have been true, because all indications are that Bonds was tempted to get an extra advantage a few years later, following the Mark McGwire-Sammy Sosa sage. As far as we know, Bonds performed on level in 1993. As fate would have it, we might not be able to say the same about Dykstra.
Dykstra had one of the best seasons any Philadelphia Phillie ever had. But Bonds had a better season in San Francisco.