September 22, 1994 |
Once, there may have been no job in America that Lee Thomas would rather have had than general manager of the St. Louis Cardinals. But that was nearly a decade ago - in a very different time, before Thomas ever left the Cardinals to become general manager of the Phillies. Yesterday, however, Lee Thomas' onetime dream job opened up again when the Cardinals fired Dal Maxvill after nine years as GM. And one of the first names to pop to the top of the rumor circuit, naturally, was that of James Leroy Thomas.
September 9, 2011
Observations, insinuations, ruminations and unvarnished opinions . . . WHEN A BASEBALL front-office man leaves on short notice or, in the case of Chuck LaMar, no notice, baseball's unwritten law of Omerta kicks in. Shhhhhhhhhh . . . Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro's surprise statement during the second game of the Braves sweep stretched the word "terse" to its limit. But veteran Rubenologists will tell you the terser the message, the tenser the situation that provoked it. Now, The Fly on the Wall is not always right.
July 25, 2014 |
I FIND A CERTAIN discomfort in the rapidity with which we in the public sphere take to oiling our guillotines and polishing our dinnerware when confronted with the professional missteps of our fellow man. Not because we fail to consider the gravity of the action that we endorse, although that is often the case, but because we seem to desire ends that are more punitive than constructive. In leading lustful choruses of "Off with his head!" we not only drown out actions that might truly affect change, we also offer implicit endorsements of the structural integrity of the organizations we expect to heed our calls.
July 19, 2014 |
This is all beginning to feel familiar, isn't it? If you're of a certain age and have followed the Phillies long enough, it should. If it isn't, take a seat, my young and once-innocent friends, and listen for a little while. You'll have a better understanding of what you're in for. Promise. Let's say you're 19, 20, maybe even as old as 25. The Phillies you've known went 10 years, from 2003 through 2012, without a losing season. They won five division titles, two National League pennants, a World Series.
July 21, 2014 |
ATLANTA - The last time the Phillies were pressured into trading Cliff Lee, they emerged with Phillippe Aumont, Tyson Gillies, and J.C. Ramirez. There is no such mandate to jettison Lee at this moment, not when the lefthander languished for two months with a strained left elbow. But that disturbance in Lee's elbow creates an unsettling dynamic. The Phillies need not hasten a Lee trade because he would hold value this winter; then again, what if Lee returns to the rotation and his flexor tendon or ulnar collateral ligament bursts?
July 7, 2014 |
The incentive to trade Jonathan Papelbon was appealing even before Ken Giles pulled down the brim to his red Phillies hat and confused major-league hitters with his fastball-slider combination. Papelbon, before the 2012 season, signed the richest deal ever awarded to a closer - an anachronistic agreement for a position devalued by the rest of baseball. The Phillies, not surprisingly, explored ways to escape the four-year pact before the second season ended. But Papelbon carried too many red flags, and a trade last summer was never consummated.
April 8, 2013 |
This week's opening of the film 42 , on Jackie Robinson's integration of baseball, brings to mind the dramatic role played by Philadelphia in this seminal event in America's civil rights history. Robinson's integration of Major League Baseball during the 1947 season was revolutionary. The game had been segregated since the 1880s, reflecting the isolation of African Americans in the nation. Even in the years after World War II, America remained a segregated society, with African Americans, save for some entertainers and athletes like Joe Louis, largely invisible.
July 22, 2014 |
ATLANTA - Here's a fun game: Try to predict who will be in the Phillies' rotation next season. We'll spot you Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels, despite the potential that one of them is traded before Opening Day 2015. A.J. Burnett? A return would seem unlikely given his availability on the trade block, his contemplation of retirement last offseason, and the Phillies' rebuilding status. Roberto Hernandez? He'll be a free agent. And while he has a 4.22 ERA, he hasn't looked like anything more than a spot starter.
July 18, 2014 |
OVER THE next 2 weeks, you will hear a lot of numbers that attempt to quantify the quality of prospects the Phillies receive in exchange for the veterans they inevitably will trade away. As you attempt to digest all of that information, keep this number in mind: one. That's the number of players currently playing major league baseball at a league-average level who were considered to be among the top 15 prospects in the Mariners' organization at the time of the Phillies' infamous trade of Cliff Lee. Of all the players Ruben Amaro Jr. and Co. did not acquire in exchange for their ace, only Michael Saunders would be helping them in their attempt to avoid an ugly transition to the future.
July 26, 2014 |
When the end is near, it's always interesting to look back at the beginning. Nobody is sure that the end is near for Ryan Howard, and the educated guess here is that it is not. All we know for certain is that the second-most-prolific slugger in Phillies history was benched by manager Ryne Sandberg in the final two games of a series against the San Francisco Giants. That's what you have to call it when a player making $25 million is not in the lineup for a second straight game, even though the opposing pitcher - in this case, Tim Hudson - is a righthander who has been roughed up by Howard through the course of their careers.