February 29, 2016 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - A month ago, 21 amateur scouts, four scouting supervisors, and two coordinators went to Citizens Bank Park for a meeting before the busy season started. The scouts presented Johnny Almaraz, the Phillies' scouting director, with lists of the top 15 draft prospects from their coverage areas. The preparation for this summer's draft, to be held in three months, carries a higher importance than normal. The Phillies will pick first in every round. They have more bonus money to spend than any other club.
February 24, 2016 |
CLEARWATER, Fla. - If you did not know any better and you had the ability to narrow your peripheral vision to the batting cage inside Bright House Field Monday morning, you could have mistaken the scene that unfolded as being a flashback to the good old days. There was Ryan Howard at home plate, back at work and taking his first batting-practice swings of spring training. There was Charlie Manuel, arms folded as he perched behind the cage and watched his most treasured slugger. Pan back and you could see the cluster of cameras still focused on the team's highest paid player, the former National League MVP who helped the Phillies win the 2008 World Series.
February 11, 2016 |
It was a dark day for Pete Mackanin. The Phillies had just finished a disappointing season with a .500 record, ending a run of five straight National League East titles. The misguided initial blame for the fantastic fall was placed on hitting coach Greg Gross, first base coach Sam Perlozzo and Mackanin, who was Charlie Manuel's bench coach that season. All three were immediately fired after the final game of the 2012 season in Washington. "It was disappointing, but I had been fired before for what I felt like was no good reason," Mackanin said last month during a Phillies winter banquet stop in Lakewood, N.J. Stick around baseball for 48 years and you are bound to be fired a time or two for no good reason.
February 6, 2016 |
Seven former Phillies, including Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt, have been invited to serve as guest instructors for the team during spring training. Schmidt, an annual presence at camp, will be joined by Larry Andersen, Dave Hollins, Jim Kaat, Greg Luzinski, Charlie Manuel, and Matt Stairs. Manuel remains a front-office employee as a senior adviser to the general manager. Hollins is a special assignment scout for the Phillies. Andersen, Stairs and Schmidt are broadcasters during the season.
January 30, 2016 |
Matt Klentak, in his first winter at the head of a baseball operations department, wanted to learn how companies manage information. The 35-year-old Phillies general manager surveyed people in baseball, other sports, and some with zero connections to the game. How, he asked, do you implement analytics into decisions? Those talks led him to Andy Galdi, a 30-year-old Google employee who was hired Thursday as the Phillies' first-ever director of baseball research and development. "He's the perfect guy to help grow us forward in this area," Klentak said.
October 30, 2015 |
Scan the room and you could see some old and familiar faces. Always friendly Joe Giles, the Phillies' longtime director of ballpark enterprises and business development as well as the son of chairman emeritus Bill, had a front-row seat Monday for new general manager Matt Klentak's introductory news conference at Citizens Bank Park. Equally affable father Bill, now 81 and nearly two decades removed from his role as the franchise's chief decision-maker, was a few rows back. He sat next to Pat Gillick, whose time as team president officially expired earlier this month.
September 9, 2015 |
IF A TREE falls in a forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? If two bad baseball teams get together on a holiday evening for a game, does anyone care? If the Phillies have a home game scheduled at the same time as the Eagles' season opener, will anyone show up? These are the questions you find yourself pondering while the Phillies dropped their 85th loss of the season on Labor Day to the equally awful Atlanta Braves. Freddie Freeman launched Aaron Harang's 10th pitch of the night over the leftfield fence for a home run to help fuel Atlanta to a 7-2 victory over the Phillies last night.
August 26, 2015 |
TO MANY in baseball, Pat Gillick's hire as the Phillies' general manager in late 2005 signaled impending doom for the brief tenure of manager Charlie Manuel. It was just a matter of time before he would be replaced, until the savvy Gillick could get a lay of the land and bring in one of those big-name managers for whom everyone clamored. And when Gillick's first move was to trade Manuel's protégé, Jim Thome, to the White Sox? Well, you probably couldn't even have found a bookie to take a bet on ol' Chuck after that.
August 21, 2015 |
EVERYONE KNOWS Chase Utley has uttered some memorable lines: "World [bleeping] champions," was the way he described his team to the tens of thousands who gathered at the parade for the Phillies in 2008. "Boo? [Bleep] you!" was his response to the jeering welcome he got at Yankee Stadium at the 2008 All-Star Game. But there have been some great quotes about Utley too. No one will ever top Harry Kalas' "Chase Utley you are the man!" But here are some other noteworthy quotes that have been said about Utley over the years: * Charlie Manuel: "You try telling Chase to take a day off and he has this look like you just killed his mother.
August 12, 2015 |
A FEW FRIENDS were speaking excitedly about the Phillies over the weekend and my non-sports-fan wife asked this: "So, can they still make the playoffs?" Not exactly, she was told. But they're not in last place anymore! She was not impressed. "When do the Eagles start?" she asked. And therein lies our collective civic dilemma. What, exactly, are the Phillies playing for? What, exactly, are we watching? The birth of a new, young, exciting team? Or the kind of fool's gold that those good Phillies teams of the last decade often ran into at this time of the year?