Nola Nation

Fans sure got their wish last night. Aaron Nola pitched in his first major league game at CBP.  He pitched 6 strong innings and the only run scored by the opposing team, Tampa Bay, was a homerun by their starting pitcher. How strange was that? The final score was 1-0 with TB securing the W on that solo shot.

The Phils were enjoying a 4 game winning streak up until last night.  They swept the Marlins and took the first game of their series opposing Tampa Bay. It was looking like an upswing with some exciting moments and very timely hits by the Phils. Could it be that the Phils got their mojo? Frenchy contributed greatly to those wins.

Then the mojo may have dried up last night. There were a few scattered hits but not enough to score a measly run or two. There was a blatant error made by Odubel , Apparently, he didn’t get the memo on effort in legging out a hit which cost him an out at first base. I think that Utley should bend his ear a bit on playing with complete effort and enthusiasm. Wake up, Dub, you’re playing in the majors. Look alive!

So, yeah, last night happened. Although it was a thrill and pleasure to watch Nola pitch, me thinks that the rest of the team fell asleep.

Here’s hoping that they get their magic back in this afternoon’s game… or not?

Thoughts on my Beloved Phillies Team- In Transition and Turmoil

It’s been a few years since I wrote in this blog. Things have fallen apart since those glory days of our World Series Champions. Some of the team players still remain. Others have moved on. New players, coming up from the minors, are taking their shot at playing in the Major Leagues. There’s been some triumph on that end. We are seeing a glimpse of the future team. We are saying goodbye to the veterans. Are we though? Seems like their hefty payroll makes them impossible to trade. Money played a big part in the teams demise in my opinion. You can’t buy a team without factoring in longevity and luck of the draw. This is, I hope, a lesson learned by Phillie Management.

It’s pretty sad when our representative for the All Star Game, Jonathan Papelbon, wants so badly to be on any team but ours. Let me make a correction – any contending team that is and he wants to only be a closer- not a set up man. Does this make it impossible for management to move him? We shall see.

Our starting pitchers have been a major problem except for one- Cole Hamels. He hasn’t been perfect this season but he’s still a great pitcher. The problem with this is that management will not trade him without a huge payoff. Will they be able to obtain this huge payoff? We shall see.

We have a team manager that resigned mid-season. That’s pretty shameful. He saw the writing on the wall and he exited before he could be fired. It’s pretty certain that he didn’t have a future with the Phillies but did he let his team down and quit on them? The Captain , of any worthy character, goes down with the ship- not jump board and leave his crew behind. I guess pride had a part in it. It’s still pretty pathetic in my opinion.

Well, times do change and what was up must go down. That’s the way the world works in general as well as in the game of baseball. I still watch. I love the game and am a loyal fan no matter what. Can I sit  through an entire game though without tossing my cookies? Most games are difficult to watch and are just plain sad this season. The victories, though, are so much sweeter.

Here’s to the rest of the season- good and bad. It can’t get any worse than it is so let’s wave our rally towels and root for an upswing and a change of guard.

Leaving without Fanfare

I will depart quietly

Without fanfare or a farewell

No tears will be shed

 

I will be the whisper in the wind

A slight touch on your skin

An after thought

 

Time will move on

With the slightest hint of remembrance

Of my presence here

 

I am bound for greater things

In greater realms

I will move on

 

How do you choose your Favorite Player?

As the baseball season 2012 is fast approaching, I was thinking about what makes a particular player stand out from the rest and become your favorite player. I swore that I already wrote a post on this subject but looking my blog over, I discovered that I did not. So here it goes.

First, we’ve lost a few Phillie fan favorites in the last week or so namely Brad Lidge, Wilson Valdez and now Roy Oswalt.  It’s sad to see your favorite player traded to another team. I was bemoaning last year the loss of mine, Jayson Werth. I loved Werth. He was so unique and introspective. He’d run out onto the field and he’s looked all around. Some claimed that his head wasn’t in the game but I don’t think that at all. He just was taking it all in. He played hard. That’s what I miss about him as well as his dirty sexiness. Sorry, guys, but that’s always a plus in most female fans eyes just as you enjoy the cheerleaders at any sporting event that has them.

Now,  I have a few of my current favorites on the Phils. I always loved Big Joe Blanton. Love his mannerisms as he stands on that mound. I love JRoll. He’s the top defensive player along with Utley on the team and in all of MLB for that matter. I love Jimmy’s smile. It’s contagious. It always looks like he’s up to some mischief. I love Utley. He’s so sexy and such a hard player. He gives it his all and you rarely see his feathers ruffled. He has that “bring it” attitude.  Who can’t admire the hell out of that? I love the Chooch. Carlos Ruiz is what I like to tag him as “The Baseball Whisperer”. He studies the game of baseball and he gets in the head of every batter approaching the plate. He then relays that information to the pitcher and that’s magic. You rarely see most of the Philies pitchers shaking him off. He KNOWS! He’s adorable and he has a good bat as well. Then, there’s the ultimate professional, Roy Halladay. That man has his very heart and soul in baseball. Who else is more dedicated to his conditioning and attitude than Roy? He’s Roy freakin’ Halladay. He’s the beast. He also has a great smile and is one tall drink of water.

Now, let’s hear that drum roll, my favorite player on the team is Cliff Lee. I was so mad to see him traded from the Phils even though we traded for the ultimate prize in Roy Halladay. He just fit perfectly on the Phils roster. Then, Christmas 2010, we received the best gift EVER from Amaro. He got Lee back and I was just absolutely giddy. Watching Lee last season was an absolute delight for me. He’s a jog on– jog off, no nonsense type of player. He gets it done! What I loved most about him besides his awesome pitching is that he added a competitive campaign for the pitchers to see who would bat well. I always thought that since the National League requires the pitcher to hit in the game why wouldn’t they would not waste their “at bat”. Lee seemed to agree with that and he worked on perfecting his hitting. His efforts paid off and he was rewarded with two homeruns in the 2011 season. I’m sure he’s looking to get more in this upcoming season.  He’s also very charming and easy on the eyes. Yeah, he gets my motor running. Mr. Lee is my favorite Phillies Player. If I gave out awards, he’d win it.

So those are my Phillies favorites. I explained the reasons why. Who are your favorites on the Phils and all of MLB? Why? Drop me a comment. Let’s compare notes.

Here’s to the fast approaching Spring Training and the 2012 Baseball Season! I’m excited. How ’bout you?

Thanks to the Phillies Players who Tweet and Facebook

Me in my Carlos Ruiz Players Choice T-Shirt

I applaud the Phillies players who bravely surf the Twitter World and have their own Facebook Page. It’s a great way for the fans to connect with them. I’m sure that they’re subject to some craziness and have to sift daily through some outrageous comments and tweets yet they post and update nontheless. Before these social networks, there always was a wall that the fans could not cross over to connect to the players. If you wanted to connect, you had to do things the old fashion way and write a letter hoping against hope that your player and/ or team had the opportunity to read it. I know that I sent a few letters myself. Who knows if they ever were read? I know safety is a real issue and, yes, stalkers do exist. Also, what they put out there is surely subject to scrutiny. Now, though, there is a way to get through to share you thoughts and well wishes to the players. It’s very cool to think that a Phil is reading them. Finally, that wall is coming down.

So, here’s hoping that my tweets and comments on Facebook were read and received. I still hoping that I get a response or tweet back from a Phillies player. That would be an absolute thrill and a dream come true. So far, I haven’t but I’m still commenting and tweeting away. To just know that I can express my thought, comment and well wishes of support is thrilling at the thought of it.

Watch out, Phillies Players. You know who you are. You will be tweeted and commented by yours truly, Barb Dittmar Ward and @barbward804. A tweet back would be marvelous and make my day… hell, it would make my year! I’m one of the biggest fans of yours. I love you guys. Here’s to the best team in baseball, The Philadelphia Phillies.

Comparing Werth to Pence

Let me first apologize for not writing in this blog. I’ve been leaving it to the professionals lately. I’m just one humble woman with her own unique view of the Phillies. This entry though is overdue.

It’s not really fair to compare two professional ballplayers. They  have their own unique way and style of playing and contributing to the game of baseball. This comparison is however how I view these two players- in other words my own personal perspective.

Now, if you’ve been reading my blog and/or know me personally, you know what a huge Jason Werth fan I am. I still am. He’s had a transitional year for the Nationals. It’s all good. I thought of him when I watched the celebrations last night when the Phils clinched the NL East championship title. I missed him. I wished that he was part of the celebration. I’ll even admit that there was a slight twinge of regret felt by me. He’s moved on though.

So, all this season, I’ve scrambled to replace him in right field. Who would be the perfect fit? At first, I thought that it would be Fransisco. Unfortunately, he couldn’t fit the bill. Would it be Brown? Nope. He has a lot more seasoning and growing to do. There was definitely a strong need to fill the right field spot as well as the 5th hole in the lineup. Manuel tried everyone but nobody seemed to be able to anchor Howard.

Along came Hunter Pence. I must admit that I really didn’t know much about him. Would he be what the Phils needed? Well, nobody was ever more elated and impressed to see Pence fit the hole perfectly. He’s so enthusiastic and uniquely Pence. He’s fun to watch. He’s fun to listen to being interviewed. He’s a perfect fit to the Phillies team. At last, we had our guy to move into the spot that Werth vacated. I am a new Hunter Pence fan.

I still admire and respect Jayson Werth. I’ll follow him. I’ll always be a fan; however, look out Jayson. There’s a new man in Philly. His name is Hunter Pence and he’s taking over admirably from where you left off.

So be it! :)

Bad Luck

If last night’s game wasn’t a sign of bad luck for the Phillies, I don’t know what is? Kendrick was pitching well, JRol hit a 3 run homer, Ryan Howard gets up to the plate and the winds begin to blow fiercely. The game gets called because of an incoming storm. Tarps go up and zap. That just knocked the wind out of the Phillies sails and they just simply lost their momentum. The game continues an hour and so many minutes later. It’s just like a brand new game only the Phillies lost their zip.

Innings later, as if there wasn’t any other sign of bad luck, Rollins gets robbed of a solid base hit by the Cubs pitcher who just by dumb luck on his part caught the ball in his glove trying to duck from it.  Ut oh…. not good!

After tedious other innings and the Cubs scratching their way to overcome their three run deficit, the ninth inning arrives. Ryan Madson, Mad Dog Passion, comes in to safe the game. What happens next? A homerun by the Cubs. What happens after that? Well, another seemingly homerun but ruled a ground rule double because of fan interference. Nice observation, Victorino. Does that mean their luck was turning? Nope. Sad to say, that even though the Phils got out of the 9th with the game tied, the offense could not produce. The Cubs finally win the game. ( Can’t give you the final details because I went to bed feeling much frustration.)

Bad Luck, Bad Weather, Bad turn of events! Simple as that but that’s just how I read that game last night.  Luck is a funny thing though. It has a tendency to turn around just when you can’t take any more.

Unbe–Lee–vable!!

Can I just talk about how great of a baseball player Lee really is? Can I just gush?  I was so impressed and awed by Lee’s performance yesterday. Sure, he didn’t pitch a perfect game. He has some flaws… some blunders yet this player is the total package.  If I had to hear Wheels say one more time that throwing strike balls all the time can get a pitcher in trouble, I think I’m going to write a nasty letter to him but I digress.  Let me get back to Lee. Here’s a pitcher who allowed a game to be tied in the sixth inning by the Reds yesterday, comes back in the bottom half of that inning, chats it up with Manuel and hits a ground rule double to score 2 RBI’s and take the lead back. What’s he do in the seventh, well, he hits again and scores another RBI.  Someone is working on his hitting  as confirmed by Manuel in his press conference after the game. As Charlie said ” A pitcher helps himself out by working on his hitting performance.”  That’s not a” per say quote” but it’s what he basically said.

So, this is the player we call Cliff Lee. His head and heart is in the game very much like Roy Halladay but with a style all his own. We are so lucky and honored to have him playing on our home team. He chose us and that just makes my heart sing.

Excuse me, Mr. Lee, but can I give you a great big  “Mike Sweeney” hug? Ah, such are the stuff of which fantasies are made of. Perhaps one day…..

Drink it in

How ’bout that game last night? I will admit that I went to bed at 11:30. Not because I didn’t think the Phils could win it. No, I somehow knew when I woke up this morning I’d hear that they did. First thing I did was open up my Facebook page. What I read there though was something that I never thought that I’d read. Wilson Valdez pitched the 19th inning? What? Are you kidding me? Are my eyes deceiving me? Am I dreaming still? Nope.

So, of course, I scoured every video watching this. Oh my Goodness! Yep, there he was. Valdez on the mound and, yep, Ruiz playing 3rd base. Wow!  Now, that is bleeping amazing! I was as giddy as a schoolgirl giggling at her crush. It reminded me of the memorable night when Oswalt played the Outfield last season. This was just as thrilling!

Kudos to Valdez. He’s the ultimate of versatile players. He’s someone valuable to our team.  Kudos to Ruiz. He gives it his best effort no matter where the game takes him or puts him at. Kudos to Baez. He hung in there for a long time and pitched tremendously. Kudos to the offense who pulled the W out at the end.  Kudos to the bullpen who gave a tremendous collective effort in preserving the game.

Drink it in all my fellow Phillies fans. Don’t ever doubt that there still isn’t something quite “magical” about the players and managers of the Philadelphia Phillies! What a night! What a game!

Drink it in.

Zany Tags

This season has me coming up with some zany but very fitting tags for our Phillies players. It’s my creative side coming out and blossoming. I like to share some with you if you please.

Carlos Ruiz ” The Baseball Whisperer”… This man has an uncanny knack for reading a ball. He studies the game and knows what pitch is effective at what time and for what player.

Ryan Madson ” Mad Dog Passion” …  He is settling in quite nicely in the closer role. He wants it. He owns it. He’s on fire. He’s mad dog passion

Jimmy Rollins ” Jimmy Jimmy”… This player rolls like the tag implies. He’s unique and dedicated. His heart is in the game.His first name bears repeating.

Raul Ibanez ” Ibby”… He’s a man that everyone likes. He works hard. He doesn’t give up and doesn’t let any negativity bother him. He’s out to prove himself and his capabilities. You gotta love a man named Ibby.

Shane Victorino- “Vic”. Why? He’s the man! That’s ain’t no trick cause he’s just Vic. His enthusiasm is contagious.

Roy Halladay- “The Master”- Nobody can dispute that this man is the Master at his craft. He studies it, he adjusts it, and he perfects it. Enough said!

Cliff Lee- “Jog on– Jog off”- This man is as efficient and as effective as any man on the mound. He doesn’t mess around. He means business and that’s just it. You gotta admire and respect a man for that.

( Oh, did I let my loyalties and likes show? LOL )

Those are just a few that I have. I know that I’ll come up with more. It’s fun to do

Do any of you have any zany tags for the Phillies that you’d like to share? Please feel free to share and comment.

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