Archive: April, 2009
Inquirer Online Desk
ESPN's Jayson Stark has a new book, "Worth the Wait: Tales of the 2008 Phillies." It's full of behind-the-scenes stories, pictures and trivia lists titled "Useless Information." Stark, a lifelong Philadelphian, worked at the Inquirer for 21 years, including as national baseball writer, before becoming a senior writer for ESPN.
This page has more about the book, including signings in the Philadelphia area this month and next.
Phillies PR confirms that the team will visit President Obama at the White House next Tuesday, where they will receive the stirring message, “Yes we can hit with runners on base!”
Concrete predictions are foolish. And the Phillies will win today. Okay, I don’t know that the Phillies will win today. Maybe the ring ceremony will distract them as Sunday’s flag-raising extravaganza seemed to. Maybe the hitters, seeing a slump coming, will press.
Here’s the lineup. Note that, despite Charlie Manuel’s “It’s one game, man” protestation Sunday night, he decided to break up the lefties against Atlanta (and their lefty closer, Mike Gonzalez. Jayson Werth, who batted second Sunday, bats fifth, providing a righty presence between Howard and Ibanez (Vicotorino hit sixth on Sunday).
Bottom line from the opening stinker, which the Phillies lost 4-1 : I wouldn’t worry about Brett Myers; I’d wait to get worried about the offense’s sluggishness, and I would be a little worried about they lefty factor in the lineup.
First, Charlie Manuel admitted that the pregame pomp may have distracted the team. It was such a novel experience to march onto the field on a red runner, watch your manager raise a World Series flag, run from the dugout to visceral cheers, and then play a ballgame, that the team may have been affected early.
Everything about the pregame scene was an adjustment from the casual, sparsely- populated spring training routine. Instead of chatting with teammates and a few writers at eight in the morning, the players were swarmed by television, print and radio reporters. Jack Taschner, the new guy, watched the scene with wide eyes. “For the first time in my life, I don’t care what my role is!” he told me, speaking rapidly and loudly. In other words, energy of the day was abnormally high.
Happy opening night. It will be nice to see more competitive tension in the games, though spring training, with its races for roster spots and the fifth spot in the starting rotation, did not lack intensity. When people say that the games will finally start to matter tonight, I think: haven’t they mattered to Chan Ho Park, J.A. Happ, Miguel Cairo, Marcus Giles and many others already? Now, though, they will matter in the standings.
Here is the opening night lineup against Derek Lowe and the Atlanta Braves. Note that Shane Victorino is batting sixth, the result of limited at-bats during spring training and Charlie Manuel's feeling the the centerfielder isn't swinging well.
This is anticlimactic after a final week of spring training loaded with decisions and human drama, but here is the Phillies’ 25-man roster to begin the season. It includes 12 pitchers, two catchers, seven infielders and four outfielders. Miguel Cairo is in, for now.
Pitchers: Right-handers Joe Blanton, Clay Condrey, Chad Durbin, Brad Lidge, Ryan Madson, Brett Myers and Chan Ho Park and left-handers Scott Eyre, Cole Hamels, J.A. Happ, Jamie Moyer and Jack Taschner.
Catchers: Chris Coste and Carlos Ruiz.
Infielders: Eric Bruntlett, Cairo, Greg Dobbs, Pedro Feliz, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley.
Outfielders: Raul Ibanez, Matt Stairs, Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth.