May 4, 2011 |
YOU ARE 39 years old. You have been hitting baseballs longer than some of your teammates have been driving cars, and you have been doing it at a damn high level. And then one day - poof. An 0-for-4 turns into an 0-for-8 turns into an 0-for-12. At first you are frustrated. Then you are lost. Then you are frustrated with feeling lost. The stages of grief are a lot like the stages of a slump. There is denial and isolation and anger and bargaining - or, as Charlie Manuel put it last night, a whole lotta praying - and plenty of depression.
October 28, 2009 |
THE PHILLIES laid their wretched 1996 season to rest during a late-September weekend series at Shea Stadium in New York. In those dying days, manager Jim Fregosi posted lineups that included Ricky Otero, Desi Relaford, Jon Zuber, Wendell Magee, Kevin Sefcik, Bobby Estalella and, playing rightfield and batting fourth, a spare outfielder named Ruben Amaro Jr. Even the supremely self-confident future general manager recognized that having him bat...
September 28, 2001 |
Desi Relaford is enjoying - and making the most of - his first pennant race. Relaford hit a go-ahead, two-run home run in the eighth inning and an RBI double during a five-run ninth as the visiting New York Mets rallied to beat the Montreal Expos, 12-6, last night. "It was a lot of fun," said Relaford, a former Phillie. "We're playing for something now and I've never been in a season where we've had something to play for. And it's a lot of fun to be in a position where you know you've got to win ballgames and you have to raise your level of play, and I think it does just that.
May 17, 2001 |
One and three. As the Phillies approach the quarter pole of the 2001 season, those are two of the more stunning numbers among the team's statistics. One represents the number of errors rookie shortstop Jimmy Rollins has made this season. Three is the number of home runs leftfielder Pat Burrell has hit in his first 135 at-bats this season. The Phillies, of course, could not be happier with the work they have received from Rollins, who would probably be the leading candidate for rookie of the year if St. Louis third baseman Albert Pujols was not the leading candidate for the National League MVP award.
April 14, 2001 |
It's the 21st century, but the Cincinnati Reds will have the 1992-93 Phillies on their minds. The Reds tied the modern National League record by playing their 174th straight game without being shut out, riding Pokey Reese's three-run homer and nifty fielding to beat the host New York Mets, 3-2, last night. The Reds will try to break the '92-93 Phillies' mark for avoiding shutouts today when they face Al Leiter. It was Leiter who last blanked Cincinnati, doing it Oct. 4, 1999, in a wild-card playoff.
March 21, 2001 |
Wide open. Those are the words manager Larry Bowa used yesterday to describe the Phillies' battle for bench jobs. So wide open that a kid who came into camp thinking he was getting ready to be the leftfielder for triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre is now learning how to play third base just in case he opens the season in the big leagues. So wide open that Bowa insists that general manager Ed Wade isn't overly concerned about guaranteed contracts. "It's obvious that sometimes you want to get new blood in here," Bowa said.
March 12, 2001 |
Jimmy Rollins had heard all about Larry Bowa. He had no idea who he was, but Rollins kept hearing about Bowa from Billy DeMars, the Phillies' 75-year-old infield instructor and former third-base coach. "He'd be hitting me ground balls in the minor-league camp and he'd say, 'You're a lot better than Larry Bowa was at this age,' " Rollins said. "He kept bringing that name up and I was like, 'Who in the heck is this Larry Bowa?' That was all they'd talk about. It was just some name to me. " That changed on the first day of November when Bowa was named the Phillies' manager.
February 19, 2001 |
Wayne Gomes and Phillies substance-prevention educator Dickie Noles were talking. They have been friends for years, so the conversation was light and about nothing in particular until the righthanded reliever startled Noles by raising an uncomfortable subject. The Phillies reliever started talking about the possibility he might not make the team this year. That could happen, of course. The math is simple. There figure to be six openings in the bullpen. Three will go to the free-agent relievers who were signed over the winter: Jose Mesa, Rheal Cormier and Ricky Bottalico.
November 2, 2000 |
It was the move that was marked by common sense. . .and at the same time defied all logic. It steered the safest course. . .and involved breathtaking risk. It seemed so utterly right. . .and completely shocking. When Larry Bowa stepped to the podium on the 33rd floor of the Loews Hotel in Center City to be formally introduced as the Phillies' next manager shortly after high noon, he had a William Penn's-eye view of the city and ambitions that were just as soaring. This was news that stirred extreme emotions.
October 2, 2000 |
Evaluation became an evil word in the Philllies' clubhouse in the final weeks of the season. After standing firmly behind the manager and coaching staff even in the worst of times, general manager Ed Wade changed course on Aug. 26, saying that Terry Francona and his coaches would be evaluated for the remainder of the season. Given that Wade had just completed a major makeover of the roster - bidding goodbye to ace Curt Schilling, No. 2 starter Andy Ashby, and regulars Desi Relaford, Mickey Morandini, Rico Brogna and Ron Gant - it was inevitable that Wade's evaluation would end exactly the way it did yesterday.