$18 million? That figure is higher than Snoop Dogg on 4/20. (Editor’s note: Does anybody actually know the significance of that date? Is this really it?) I mean, that seems just a smidge high, considering the Phillies’ offer of $14 million would be a $4 million dollar raise. (Editor’s note: Insert Sarcasm Here).
Tag Archives: Joe Blanton
It’s been a while since I’ve done a Pundit List, so it seemed like time. I decided to list the things I was thankful for both in the spirit of the holiday and because I’ve been so negative about the Eagles lately. My thanks will be primarily directed toward the sporting world, but I will undoubtably stray from time to time. Obvious things, such as my family, friends, shelter, food, etc. will be left off of the list because they aren’t as much fun to write about. But they would be at the top. Probably. Anyway, on to the list.
8. The Flyers and Sixers – Eventually, I’ll actually start watching their games. I’m thankful I have something to look forward to once football is done for the year.
7. Emmananuelle Chriqui – You probably know her better as Sloan from Entourage. She might be the sexiest woman on this planet, at least in this humble Pundit’s opinion. If you aren’t familiar with the show, take a look– you won’t want to look away.
6. Beer – I don’t really need to go into depth here, do I? Though I will say, I am extremely thankful for my two favorite watering holes, The Pope (Pub on Passyunk East) and the South Philly Tap Room.
5. The BCS – The system blows, and I would like a playoff, but at least it gives me something to constantly bitch about on the site. The BCS, if for nothing else, is great for material. Think about how much has been written aruging that one team should be ranked higher than another, or about how there should be a playoff, and how it would be formatted. It’s a story-generator, and for that, and that alone, I offer my thanks.
4. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Entourage, Generation Kill, John Adams, Weeds – After The Wire ended last year, I needed something to fill the gigantic void that was left in my soul from its wake. (Editor’s note: Oh brother). Any show and/or mini-series listed above either helped, or is currently helping, to fill that void. Rest in peace, The Wire – you were the greatest show ever crafted for television. Hell, I’m thankful I ever tuned in.
3. The Eagles – They are driving me absolutely crazy this year – how could I possibly be thankful for them? Well, much like the BCS, they constantly give me something to talk about. I mean, they tied the Bengals. Andy Reid benched Donovan McNabb, and is starting him this week. They blew chances to win close games against the Bears, Redskins, Cowboys and Giants. Honestly, a few clutch plays, and this team could potentially be undeafeted right now. And honestly, that is what makes them so damn frustrating – wasted potential. But success wouldn’t stir conversation, now would it? The Eagles are like the girl in the neighborhood who sleeps around – everyone knows her business, has their own idea of how she should be living, and are constantly gossiping about her. (Editor’s note: So wait…are the Eagles like the town’s bike?) I suppose I’m just thankful for football in general, but as a writer, the Eagles specifically are wonderful for controversy. (Editor’s note: Kind of sad, really).
2. Change – More than everything except for one thing on this list, I am thankful for the possibility, and the hope, of change. It was what made the number one item on this list so very special. I am thankful that “Yes We Can” became “Yes We Did.” I am thankful for the possibility that the Eagles will move in a new direction after this season. I am thankful for the possibility that maybe, just maybe, college football will someday have a playoff. I am thankful that the Sixers brought in Elton Brand, the legitamate big man they haven’t had since Charles Barkley. (Editor’s note: What, no love for Dikembe “Cookie Monster” Mutombo?) I am thankful that, after 25 years of failure, we finally had ourselves a winner. Which brings me to number one:
1. The 2008, World Phucking Champion, Philadelphia Phillies – I mean, what is there to be said that hasn’t already been said? They brought us the parade we had been waiting for so long. They were a team full of players that were easy to embrace. Talented. Team-oriented. Focused. Unflappable. They were led by a manager with the waddle to the mound. The guy who had divine hunches. I offer my thanks to Charlie Manuel, Jimmy Rollins, Jayson Werth, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Pat Burrell, Shane Victorino, Pedro Feliz, Carlos Ruiz, Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, Jamie Moyer, Joe Blanton, Chad Durbin, Scott Eyre, J.C Romero, Ryan Madson, Brad Lidge, Matt Stairs, Greg Dobbs, Geoff Jenkins, Chris Coste, Eric Bruntlett, and So Taguchi. On second thought, not So Taguchi. Sorry, pal. I give my thanks to the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies – it was one hell of a ride, and I sure hope to take it with you guys again.
I hope everybody a damn good Thanksgiving. Stuff your faces, take a nap while watching a football game, and enjoy seeing your family. But don’t use it as an excuse to be thankful for the things in your life – we should all be doing that everyday. (Editor’s note: I’m thankful for self-righteous advice!). Oh, and Rant: I’m thankful for you too, man. Rant has been the man. Many thanks go out to him. Now…bring on the feasting!
As you may or may not know, From the Nosebleeds is a new feature to The Pundit, where anyone with the itch to write their take on the sports scene has their forum. Again, please feel free to email me with any material you may have. I will do some editing, and add my own take from time to time, but the floor will be yours.
It’s been well documented over the years that in the city of Brotherly Love, “we” (Editor’s note: We really do lump ourselves together with the teams and a whole slew of people we don’t even know, as though “we” are connected through the force, or something along such mystical lines) have been without a world championship among the four major sports. For the time being we will forget about pseudo-championship won by the Philadelphia Soul, the arena football team. (Editor’s note: Who?). I tend to think they won not because of great coaching, solid players, and the execution of a good game plan, but rather raucous shouting of Ron “JAWS” Jaworski and the flowing locks of owner, Bon Jovi. I would like to make something extremely clear: I have a strong dislike for Bon Jovi, and I would appreciate if he would find another town to crap in. (Editor’s note: Clearly, Mr. Hoffman wants Bon Jovi out of this town – dead or alive!)
So, going back to my original thought, that being the lack of winning in Philadelphia, I believe that could very well change in the coming weeks. (Editor’s note: People, knock on any wood you have near you, immediately. If you jinx us Mr. Hoffman, I swear to all that is sacred, I’ll get you. Believe that!). After watching a rather lackluster performance by the Eagles this Sunday, I was warmed by thought of the Phillies hosting Game 1 of the NLCS. Oh, and by the way, I’ll be attending, ignoring the burning $200 hole in my pocket. (Editor’s note: You can’t put a price on love, people).
For about the past few seasons, the Phillies have been on the cusp of greatness, or at least a playoff berth, dragging true Philly fans along until the last day of the season. Last year they ended a 14-year playoff drought, ending the Atlanta Braves division dominance, all while the Mets stumbled to the finish line (HAHA!!!). I believe last year at this time the Phillies were just happy to make the playoffs. It was a huge hurdle to jump. Obviously, we know how last year ended. The Phillies got in the way of a locomotive, in the form of the Colorado Rockies. (Editor’s note: Ok, I don’t know if it was intended, but I instantly thought about those stupid Coors Light commercials, where the train rolls through the hot areas, making everybody cool, which, if the metaphor was intended, was precisely what the Rockies did to us last year). How torrid they were, winning 14 of 15, and 11 in a row to close the season. They then went on to sweep us in 3, the D-Backs in 4, only to get swept themselves in the Fall Classic against the Red Sox. (Editor’s note: They cooled off. The mountains turned blue. Mmmmmm…beer).
For the last couple years the Phillies have been picked to be very competitive within the very competitive NL East (Braves, Marlins, Nationals, The Mess. Wait, sorry, I meant the Mets). The Phillies can hit and have three legitimate MVP candidates in J-Roll, Utley, and Howard. Everyone knows we can hit, though they haven’t as consistently as I, the fans, and even they would like. Conversely, the pitching has always been thought of as average at best. A group of decent pitchers that give up a lot of hits is something I have become way too accustomed to. But as the Phillies seemingly displaced the wild card winning Brewers with some amount of ease, and the most overwhelming part of the four game series was the quality of the Phillies pitching. It was vital, and dare I say, borderline brilliant.
Cole Hamels has been given the title of staff “ace,” which is a term used much to often around the league these days. When I think of what makes an “ace”, I think of a pitcher who is around the Cy Young Award discussion from the beginning of Spring Training to the first pitch in the autumn air. To be completely honest, Cole isn’t quite there yet. He has all the qualities and attributes to have a great career in this league. Being just 24 years old, his future looks extremely bright. But for now lets leave the “ace” talk for those who truly deserve it, i.e. Brandon Webb. (Editor’s note: I tend to disagree here – I think if Cole Hamels had been given more run support, and thereby gotten more wins, his name would have surfaced more in the Cy Young discussion. He was second in the NL in innings pitched with 227.1, was sixth in ERA at 3.09, was sixth in strikeouts with 196, was fourth in strike out to walk ratio with 3.70 K’s per walk, and was fourth in hits per 9 innings with 7.64. He’s an ace). Cole in game 1 was absolutely stunning. It was an amazing performance, by a guy with seemingly sparse big game experience. That start will propel him throughout the playoffs and probably the next several seasons as he continues to mature.
Brett Myers looks like his old self, or rather a new, better self. Throughout his career in Philly, Brett has had all of the talent, passion, and fire to be great pitcher. But it always seemed like something was getting in the way. And then I figured it out. He couldn’t get out of his own way. His emotion seemed to get the best of him more often than not. His first half of the season, he looked very bad. He couldn’t spot his fastball or even throw it with any sort of velocity. His curveball, which made him a dominant closer in the 2007 season, was non-existent. After coming back from the minors (with the good ol’ Iron Pigs”), Myers has been fantastic, making pitches, throwing with authority and fight, and most importantly, keeping those volatile emotions in check. There have been a few battles between him and manager Charlie Manuel in the past several months regarding Charlie pulling Brett out of the game, but his heart is in the right place.
Game 2 with the Brewers was the pivotal game of the series. Myers was pitching against arguably the best pitcher in the second half of the season, if not the league. CC Sabathia has been pitching out of his mind, posting an 11-2 record with a 1.65 ERA, throwing seven complete games and three shutouts since joining the Brew Crew (show him the money!). But coming off of his fourth straight start on 3 days rest, he was noticeably fatigued. The Phillies bats took advantage of that fatigue, getting out to an early lead with Victorino’s grand salami. They were even able to score runs without help from the glove of Rickie Weeks or Mike Cameron (see Game 1 highlights, or lowlights for the Milwaukee More Taste League).
I’ll quickly touch upon Game 3, as it was a fairly disappointing game, one I missed some due to a little bit of camping. From what I heard and saw as far as highlights, it was not a pretty game. All I have to say is that we need Jamie Moyer (Souderton Graduate in 1981) for the playoffs. We really need him to do well. It would be great if he could throw three consecutive no-hitters, like he did in high school. I mean, seriously…that would be sweeeeeeet!
Joe Blanton has been a great addition to this pitching staff. (Editor’s note: Well, I don’t think I’d go that far). While his midseason numbers were less that spectacular, he did have some playoff experience, which he gained during this days in Oakland. If he can be the pitcher he is capable of being, the Phillies can go a long way this postseason.
I’ll be honest; the Dodgers kind of scare me. They are playing really well, as good as anyone in baseball. They have one of the best modern-day postseason pitchers in Derek Lowe, in my opinion the best hitter, especially in the postseason, and worst left fielder I have ever seen, in Manny Ramirez, and one of the best postseason managers of all-time, in Joe Torre. That is quite a scary combination, but one I am looking forward to face this Thursday. I don’t know if I mentioned it, but I’ll be at the game, and you probably won’t. (Editor’s note: Jerk). With everything I have mentioned above, I still just have a feeling about this group of players, a feeling that winning is not just a destination, but also a journey, a journey that will hopefully end dancing down Broad Street.
I hope to be a regular or irregular contributor to this publication. I can only hope my writing can quench the large thirst of the Pundit. (Editor’s note: To do that, you’ll probably need to bring over a case of beer next time you’re around, Mr. Hoffman).
Long Live the Pundit of Pattison! (Editor’s note: I swear to God, I didn’t add that myself. Seriously. All his doing).
No-show(s) of the Week
Kyle Kendrick and Joe Blanton, come on down! Let’s combine the stats Blanton and Kendrick offered up against the Nationals this week: 8 innings pitched, 14 hits, 10 runs allowed, 6 walks, 3 K’s. And guess what? The Phillies lost both games. To the Nationals. Not cool. The Phillies have been getting quality, quality starts from Cole Hamels, Brett Myers and Jamie Moyer. Hell, call Myers the Second-half Messiah, ‘cuz he resurrected, baby! (Editor’s note: Now hold your horses – that’s just sacrilegious). The Phillies can’t afford such a drop in performance from Kendrick and Blanton; I’m not asking them to suddenly channel Nolan Ryan, but 10 runs allowed in 8 combined innings is a surefire formula for failure 2 out of every 5 games. It puts an incredible amount of strain on the bullpen and a lot of pressure on the offense. You are, as they say, only as strong as your weakest link(s).
Stud of the Week
I don’t care if it was against the Rams, though it certainly helped: Donovan McNabb looked sharp. 21-33 for 361 yards and 3 TD’s. Yeah, that’s a damn good start. He made smart decisions, was accurate when he had guys open, and showed solid pocket presence. That, and he’s my starting fantasy quarterback. I don’t think I need to say much more than that, do I? Oh, and a quick shout-out to the Eagles receiving corps and L.J. Smith – a job well done, gentlemen. Doesn’t mean I’m retracting on my Anquan Boldin stance, because the Rams secondary was, um…well, were they even on the field? (Editor’s note: They were there in spirit, I think). But, a nice job turned in by all. Bring on the Cowbitches.
My All-encompassing Thought of the Week
God, its awesome to have football back. Does any sport cater to a gathering quite like football? Wings, veggies, dip, chips, some brews, a bunch of good people, and good ol’ Eagles football. It’s heaven, just pure bliss. Football has something for everyone, even the most casual fans. Big hits, graceful catches, ridiculous runs, bone-crunching hits. Yup, I love football. (Editor’s note: Understatement much?) I don’t think I’m going to have anything else to say about that, mostly because I’m recovering from a few too many cold ones and a bunch of greasy food. And that’s just the way I like it.
My Painfully Specific Thought of the Week
Yeah, Pat Burrell is AWOL. I didn’t want to No-show him again this week, especially because Kendrick and Blanton were far too detrimental to the Phillies against the Nationals, but the Fightins could really use his production right now. Burrell had an absolutely horrendous August: he hit .181 with an OPS of .618 and 29 K’s, the worst numbers he put up in those categories all year. To his credit, Burrell was huge early in the year, along with Chase Utley. But for the Phillies to really make their push, they’ll need Burrell to wake up. Charlie has been trying to compensate for his lack of production, mostly moving Jayson Werth all over the lineup. If Burrell starts hitting like he was early in the year, and the Phillies keep their bats hot, they’ll swing their way back into the postseason. They may do so anyway, but Burrell is a very important part of this lineup, especially hitting after Howard, When he’s swinging well, teams aren’t as likely to pitch around Ryan Howard. But if he can’t get it going again, Howard will see less pitches to drive, and the juggling lineup routine will continue.
Moment of the Week
The Red Bull Soapbox Race was an absolute blast. The fact that it was pouring all day actually made the event even more fun, in no small part because of the hordes of beautiful women walking around in wet t-shirts. It was a sloppy, wet, drunken mess of humanity (Editor’s note: Reminds me of all that was good about college) that booed when the racers didn’t crash at the end of the course and cheered when they did. The group I was with managed to find the perfect vantage point, perching on top of a small utility garage right behind the finish line. It was certainly better than standing ground level, where you were lucky to see past all of people crowding around the guard rail. That, and truly motivated drinkers requesting showers of beer made for a great downtime activity. While all of the above was classic, the highlight of the day had to be the Michael Jackson Car. The car itself was simple, with Michael Jackson hunched over on a small platform attached to the back of the soapbox. The car rocketed down the course, crossing the finish line without breaking. As the car neared the emergency hay bales, the crowd started hollering, hoping and praying that Michael Jackson was going to go balls-out in his game of chicken with the hay. We were not to be disappointed; the Jackson car rammed into the the bales head first at roughly 30 MPH, as the crowd exploded with excitement. That explosion, however, was not nearly as epic as the soapbox’s, which flipped both itself and its two inhabitants clear of the sizable stack of hay. It was a glorious collage of arms and legs and wheels and hay decorating the rain splotched sky. Michael Jackson probably got a good 8 feet of air as he somersaulted toward the pavement. It was horrifying and spectacular and utterly ballsy and one of the craziest things I have seen in a good while. (Editor’s note: Does anybody else get the impression that the Michael Jackson car was some sort of religious experience for The Pundit?) The entire day was a testament to human ingenuity, enthusiastic, drenched and drunken Philadelphians, and some good old-fashioned soapbox racing fun. Lucy and I termed it the Carcrash Downpour Derby. Thank you Red Bull for a truly fun day – we hope you will come back soon.
No Show of the Week
The last time I saw Pat Burrell, he was on the back of a milk carton. Here’s what he has done for us this week: 4-32 (.125 BA) with one walk, 1 RBI and 8 K’s. Not exactly the type of production you want from the guy batting third in your lineup. The team’s production has seemed to improve since Manuel started batting Utley second, but Burrell’s production has dipped. Two lineups I would consider (Editor’s note: Just in case, you know, Charlie Manuel is reading this): Rollins Utley Burrell Howard Werth Victorino Feliz Coste/Ruiz or Rollins Werth Utley Howard Burrell Victorino Feliz Coste/Ruiz. Victorino doesn’t quite have the pop I like to see protecting Howard.
Stud of the Week
This was apparently redemption week for two prominent Phillies: Brett Myers and Jimmy Rollins. Myers, in two starts, looked like this: 14 innings pitched, 20 hits, 3 walks, but only 3 runs with 16 K’s. Myers is letting guys get on base, but he’s leaving them there. Seems like he’s maintaining his focus, instead of psyching himself out when he gives up a few hits. It hasn’t been pretty, but the Phillies have won his last two starts. As for Mr. Rollins, his week looked like this: 13-30 (.433 BA), 4 walks, 3 runs, 3 doubles, 1 triple, 1 HR, 6 steals. That’s a ridiculously good week, and if Jimmy has a big September, as he’s been apt to do, the Phillies may find themselves playing in October again (Editor’s note: THERE’S ONLY ONE OCTOBER! Well, at least every year. Happens the same time each year, actually. Right after September. Check it out, its true, get a calender or something, its there. Seriously. THERE’S ONLY ONE OCTOBER!)
The All-Encompassing Thought of the Week
This isn’t a Philly thought, but I haven’t addressed it yet, so here goes: Chad Johnson is nuts. Oh wait, I’m sorry, I meant to say Chad Ocho Cinco. Yup, he legally changed his name. The worst part is, I don’t even think its the correct translation of 85. That would be ochenta y cinco. I refuse to call him this – from now on, he will be referred to on this site as The Human Being Formerly Known as Chad Johnson, THBFKCJ for short. (Editor’s note: I only wanted to see you underneath the purple rain). Be forewarned, as I may be about to blow this way out of proportion, but I think this is reflective of sports these days, in that its seems as though we are straying so far away from the game itself. I know, I know, at the end of the day, it’s a business, and THBFKCJ is just marketing himself. And I recognize the inherent irony in addressing THBFKCJ’s decision to change his name. I’m playing into his marketing ploy to keep himself in the spotlight. Whatever. When you are willing to change your name to the improper Spanish translation of your football number in order to market yourself, something sad has just occurred. If he ever gets traded, will he change his first name to the team he was traded to? Would you root for Eagles Ocho Cinco? Will people start changing their names to advertise products? (Editor’s note: Hi, I’m Zim Crack Cream, and I have a drinking problem. Hi, Zim.) I know how the old saying goes – what’s in a name? Apparently, not dignity. Okay, enough ranting, I have to go get a “Love Classified” tattooed on my forehead so I can pick up chicks at bars. (Editor’s note: How is he going to fit “Enjoys long walks on the beach, candlelit dinners and weeping profusely during ‘The Notebook'” on his forehead?)
My Painfully Specific Thought of the Week
It just seems as though the Phillies can’t get everybody working well at the same time. They’re kind of like that problem car you had, where you would get the brakes fixed, then the steering alignment would go wacky. (Editor’s note: Plus, the AC didn’t work and the head unit got jacked, so you had to drive with the windows down and sing without the radio to stay entertained but you’d forget to shut up at red lights and stop signs and everybody in the vicinity of your car thought you were insane…obviously, I’m speaking of a theoretical situation). For a while, the bullpen was this team’s saving grace. Though they performed admirably against the Mets in the crazy comeback game, pitching 10 friggin’ innings, they blew leads the next two nights (the Aramis Ramirez grand slam was just disheartening). The starting pitching has really picked up, as Myers has found his game again and Blanton has been a steady contributor, and the lineup is producing once more. So, what’s it going to be, bullpen? Are the ol’ arms just a bit sore after being overworked? Or is it your turn to let the team down? (Editor’s note: Lucy, hold the Xanax, but maybe just give the Pundit a hug – yeah, he’s going half-empty on us right now).
Moment of the Week
Easily the Phillies Tuesday night/Wednesday morning defeat of the Mets. I mean, a 7 run comeback against the Mets is cool enough as it is, but this game was absolutely crazy. 10 innings of scoreless relief by the bullpen. Carlos Ruiz manning the hot corner. Jimmy Rollins going 5-7 with a homer, 3 RBI’s and 3 steals. Chris Coste going 4-4 after entering the game in the 8th. Clay Condrey getting a rally-starting, broken-bat double in the fifth. Pinch hit appearances by Cole Hamels and Brett Myers, who was specifically instructed not to swing with the bases loaded and nobody out in the bottom of the 13th. Eric Bruntlett’s game-tying double in the bottom of the ninth. Coste’s game-winner in the 13th. The Mets walking two consecutive batters after Shane Victorino’s triple in the 13th, knowing the pitcher’s spot was coming up and the Phillies were out of position players. I know that they lost three games in a row after this one, but if they make the postseason again this year, I think this will be the game fans look back on as one of the definitive games of the year. It was awesome, one of the craziest games I have ever watched.