Tuesday, February 27

2007 MLB Preview Review - Part 3: Sporting News

My third preview magazine pickup is the Sporting News edition. The Acme I went to unfortunately didn't have the Ryan Howard cover shown to the right. The only one they sold had Derek Jeter and Jose Reyes on the cover. Needless to say I was upset with that particular supermarket and obviously egged it later that night.

American League Power Poll
  1. Twins
  2. Tigers
  3. Yankees
  4. Red Sox
  5. White Sox
  6. Angels
  7. Indians
  8. Athletics
  9. Blue Jays
  10. Mariners
  11. Rangers
  12. Royals
  13. Orioles
  14. Devil Rays
National League Power Poll
  1. Mets
  2. Phillies
  3. Cardinals
  4. Dodgers
  5. Padres
  6. Braves
  7. Astros
  8. Cubs
  9. Marlins
  10. Diamonbacks
  11. Brewers
  12. Reds
  13. Giants
  14. Pirates
  15. Rockies
  16. Nationals
The cover of the National League section has a full page photo of Chase holding a ball looking fierce and angry. The blurb under the Phillies says that "Having Ryan Howard anchoring the lineup is nice and all, but the reason to love this team (and think they have a shot to win it all) is the rotation, which could be the best in the N.L." Kind of gives me goosebumps.

Notes about this issue that should interest phans:
  • Freddy Garcia pitches to the scoreboard, not the venue
  • Cole Hamels is 'special'...whatever that means
  • Sporting News apparently dug up the dirt on Victorino's pregame rituals. Twenty minutes before every game he showers then walks through the clubhouse with his towell, loofa sponge and bottle of exotic Hawaiian gel soaps. I don't even have a clever comment to write after reading this. But I want to know how they found this out and why they felt the need to publish it.
  • It scouts our team and next to some players has a DOWN arrow, while other players have an UP arrow. I assume this is projections on where their play is heading into this season. The players with UP arrows: Hamels, Victorino and Rollins. Players with DOWN arrows: Burrell and Madson. (I won't go into a Burrell rant here)
  • The Phillies are projected to finish 2nd in the NL East. From what it sounds like, however, these guys aren't too hot on the Mets chances in October due to their weak rotation.
  • The Phillies are listed as the team in National League that is on the rise. And I quote "The time in Philly is now." The Reds are the team heading for a fall.
  • The Power Poll rating all of the Majors has the Phillies as the fifth best team in baseball. Twins, Tigers, Yankees and Mets are before them.
  • Of the 23 questions asked to the editors in the beginning of this issue, one was "How many homeruns will Ryan Howard hit?" The six different responses were: 51, 30, 47, 42, 50, 45. I say 50 (as listed to the right) and I can't possibly sit here and be okay with someone predicting 30. Also, the editor who predicted 45 says that Howard will have more intentional walks than homeruns. (see the poll to the right and weigh in on the topic)
Overall, this was a good issue and I recommend it for anyone who wants decent scouting reports on players on each team. I also don't completely disagree with all of their predictions. I don't think the Twins will be that good this year compared to what they did last season and I personally see the Phils winning the division. They also have a look towards the free agent class of 2007 and some interesting names pop up. Ichiro stood out because we all know of Gillick's love affair with players he had on his previous teams. Hmmm....


I came across this video of our man hitting a bomb in Japan while browsing YouTube.

Two things to watch here:
  1. The funny sounds the fans around the camera make. Apparently there are other languages besides English and this one is known as 'Japanese.' Never heard of it...
  2. The flowers Howard receives after stepping on home plate. Perhaps we should adapt this custom in America. Every time a Phillie hits a homerun, Gavin Floyd can bring them flowers or a perhaps a box of chocolates. Hey, we all know he isn't going to last 2 innings in the American League, we might as well make his life useful.

Youtube video

The video I posted about Burrell this morning was edited and therefor the link stop working. Click here if you want to see the truth that people wish to ignore. Thanks again to Chris from I’ve Made a Huge Tiny Mistake for the find.

Also, I wanted to save Carson's rant on Burrell-haters from this morning's post. Enjoy:

"That was a great video. We all know Pat Burrell isn't perfect, but he's not the enemy that the fans of Philly are making him out to be either. We need him on this team! He's not "the man", but he is a damn fine baseball player. He can be counted on for 30+ hr and 100+ rbi, and last I checked that's better than a lot of other scrubs out there. I'm sick and tired to having to explain to retards the worth of Pat Burrell. Only an idiot would dismiss a near .900 OPS...that's how you score run fucksticks! Damn, I'm getting pissed typing this...I wish I could beat some sense into some of those lame-brain Burrell haters!"

...I couldn't have said it better myself

Monday, February 26

Driven to Deep Center Caption Contest: The Curious Mr. Burrell

What is Pat the Bat doing with this little girl? And what of that magical arrow? Comment now and whoever leaves the best / funniest caption will recieve a MAJOR AWARD! (my respect)

PS. I too, apologize for the lack of fresh material. I was actually doing schoolwork this week for once in my miserable life. Just a note, posts on the terrible secrets held by the New York Mets, the INDISPENSABLE Aaron Rowand, and more DtDC Photo Contests in the days and weeks to come. Especially once the season starts and I master PhotoShop.

Sunday, February 25

Quick Notes

I have been sick and extremely busy the past few days, so I am sorry that there have been no recent posts. I was hoping a team member would step up and write some things while I was down, but I guess I wish for too much. So here are a few quick notes that are on my mind. Better posts this week, I promise.
  • Utley the Hippie? No, just trying to stop Global Warming. Whatever, just hit over .300, knock in over 100, and give me a World Series and you can stop world hunger and save the dolphins for all I care. What a good dude he is, though.
  • I just got "Long Drive: The 2006 Phillies Video Yearbook" delivered to my place. I recommend. If you aren't already pumped for the season (you are probably dead then) this video well get you jacked up like your drinking red balls. "Cocaine in a can baby!!"
  • This is from a few days ago, but when I read the title: "Burrell Recalls College Days," I thought I was about to read some stories filled with 5 lady orgies, kegs of Jack Daniels and good old fashioned panty raids. What a disappointment...
  • I have been trying to think of some good, original and new nicknames for our boys in red. I will list them as I come up with them. For now I have... King Ut for Chase, The General for Rollins (see previous post for reasoning) and Mr. Sucky Poo Poo Pants for Floyd (this has been mentioned numerous times on this site). And for good measure, here he is:

Tuesday, February 20

I am ready for war...

Here it is, my battle cry. Rollins is doing his part to fire up the troops and I love every single minute of it. And instead of Phillies fans complaining about it and thinking he should shut up and just play the game, let us all embrace it. So join Jimmy and lace up your combat boots, load that AK-47 and prepare for battle.

Dear Jimmy,
As our general, we salute you. Lead us through this season and carry us towards victory over our enemy of the East. Show us the way to dismantle the bomb known as the Mets and provide us with the fire power to surge in October.


Sgt. Skeeter

Take note of these dates:

April 16 & 17
June 29 & 30 and July 1
August 27, 28, 29 & 30

....All Phillies phans report to Citizens Bank Park as our boys take on the Mets. Be sure to wear your army fatigues (Phillies Red) and bring your battle cries (boos). I want a rivalry like none other. I want Met/Phillies game to be nationally televised. I want "Mets Suck" chants. I want bench clearing brawls. I want a WAR!!!!

Usually fans should watch their mouth in terms of cockiness and predictions, however, in this case I am going all out. THE METS WILL NOT WIN THIS YEAR! THE BRAVES WILL NOT WIN THIS YEAR! I am not worried about eating these words. I am not scared of a Mets fan who tries to invade our park/our home/our life. I am not concerned about our boys ability to get it done. I am gearing up for World War III.

So play your Rocky music, wear your Howard shirt, never take off your Phillies hat. Don't ever utter "I think we have a good shot this year" or "We'll see how the season plays out." Show this city and this country that the Phillies are indeed the team to beat. Let Jimmy do his thing. All we have to do is follow our general.

If this doesn't fire you up or make you crave an ultimate rivalry, maybe these will. Listed in the comment section two days ago:
Mr.M said...

Phillies SUCK!!... Let's Go Mets!!

2:34 PM
And then just yesterday...
Mr.M said...

this just in from Clearwater

12:42 AM

Click those links.

Now join me...

Monday, February 19

69 in the Loss Column, Get Ready for a Sexy Season

I have been wanting to do this post for a very long time now and couldn't think of the best time to write it. I thought the eve of opening day would be fitting or possibly when the positions on the team are settled. But I have no patience and was antsy to make my prediction on the season so here it is...

I feel extremely optimistic about this season, but unlike some of the years in the past, I have good reason. We don't know who will be filling out our bench and our bullpen still is extremely shotty, however, I am going out on a limb here to predict 93 wins for this team. Even though this team may not seem like a 90+ win team at this exact moment, I have faith that Gillick will address our needs in the upcoming month and a half. Some may call this blind faith.

My initial reasoning for saying 93 was a half-hearted joke because of the 1993 season. I feel this team has an incredible similarity to that team and 93 wins would be a cool way to link the two clubs. I also think the Phillies will overtake the East and that 93 wins is good enough to win the division.

I eventually became more and more convinced, however, that the 2007 Phillies have a very good shot at 93 IF they put some key pieces together. So for the remainder of this post, let's pretend that Gillick WILL fix the minor holes this club has. This is how the wins will break down this season for the Phillies. How do I know? Uhmm, I called Miss Cleo.

As listed to the right:
16 wins for Garcia
14 for Hamels
15 for Myers
12 for Moyer
10 for Eaton
Total: 67

*Note, this is all contingent on all starters remaining healthy for the entire season

Last season, if I counted correctly, our bullpen amassed 24 wins. The bullpen for the upcoming season, however, can't possibly be as poor as it was in 2006. Once again I am saying this based on sheer optimism and faith in Gillick that he will improve it before the season begins. And even though wins don't entirely tell the story on a bullpen's overall performance, let us assume that this season we will add a couple of W's to that number. The total we have now is 93.

So what did we learn? Did I break down key stats, match-ups and projections to add up the wins for the Phillies? Not even a little. I merely just sat at my computer and wrote what I felt from the standpoint of what I truly am: a die-hard Phillies fan. Which after all, at the end of the day is all I can call myself. I have no real statistical evidence behind my 93-69 prediction. I'm not a stathead and rarely run off numbers to prove a point or make predictions. Does this make me unintelligent? Very possible.

But what I do positively know is the last time the Phillies made the playoffs. In 1993, this town was painted red. Still, to this day, every time you hear the number 93 you immediately think of that team, that year, that fat ass at first, that mound of tobacco in center, that ladies man behind the plate, the song 'wild thing', and of course that bitch Joe Carter. The 2007 club has not even set foot on a field together and already the city is in love with them. Fourteen years later, we are on the verge of experiencing a, what seems to be, amazing team with an amazing cast. All I want to get across is the next time the Phillies will make the playoffs is in 2007. So why can't that magical number, 93, be the link between greatness?

The Law of Attraction states that positive thoughts determine your reality. "You get what you think about; your thoughts determine your destiny." I'm not sold on this metaphysical idea of life, however, for this season I am willing to give it a serious shot. Join me in the pursuit of...


The X Factor

It is still over a month away from opening day. Spring training games haven't even started yet. Actually, position players aren't even required to be in Clearwater until tomorrow...but I got that itch and I know you do too. So this may be a premature topic but who is the Phillies X-Factor this season? I have come up with a few opinions on who could be a key determinant to playoff possibilities in 2007. We will call these guys the X-Men...

  • Antonio Alfonseca, This is a no brainer to me. If this six-fingered freak of nature can return to 2004 form, I believe a good amount of our bullpen woes are covered. An outstanding year from him means reliable set-up work, which is something we haven't seen in quite sometime.
  • Health, mainly of Tom Gordon and Adam Eaton. If their health remains in check, I believe their performance will as well. Also, with these two remaining on the team in their assigned positions, it keeps the rest of the team in order. If Eaton were to get hurt, we would need call up someone from the minors who isn't quite ready or bring in (gasp) Madson from the bullpen. If Gordon breaks down, the bullpen breaks down.
  • Jayson Werth, It is odd to call a 4th outfielder an X-factor, however, many actions may happen that call upon him to perform at a higher level. Rowand may be traded. Burrell, although it is a VERY long shot, may get traded thus killing my spirits. And it is possible that Victorino may not be able to perform over a full season. Anyone of these may have Werth playing in a more prominent role.
  • Fundamentals, This isn't a player but the fundamental play of the Phillies was downright embarrassing at times last season. And not only did it make me hang my head in shame, it easily cost us a few games. I have read that the coaching staff is stressing this in Spring Training, which is a very encouraging thing to hear.
  • Manuel's managerial abilities, Do I have to explain this one?

There are more, I'm sure, but this is what I could think of for now. As the season approaches, I will post more X-Factors that will be key to NL East DOMINATION!

The "Nation of Domination" AKA 2007 Phillies

Saturday, February 17

The Case for Jon Lieber

The general consensus in Philadelphia was that the arrival of Adam Eaton was Jon Lieber's curtain call. First the rumors swirled that he was heading to Milwaukee, then to Texas, then to Boston, then maybe to the Rockford Peaches. But he just hauled up to Phillies Spring Training in an armor-plated Ford F1-Bauer. Pat Gillick has yet to move Lieber for either Derrick Turnbow, Akinori Otsuka, Mike Lowell, Kevin Mench, or Hank Blaylock. I'd like to have any of those guys on the Phils, but I'm here to argue that Ol' Round Belly should stay on the mound in South Philly for one more year.

I don't want to be the one to say it, but as good as the Phils rotation is, there are still a couple of guys that have a slight history of breaking down. And it would stand to reason that carrying Starter Insurance wouldn't be such a bad idea. The Bullpen currently looks like this:

  1. Tom Gordon (closer)
  2. Ryan Madson
  3. Geoff Geary
  4. Antonio Alfonseca
  5. Fabio Castro
  6. Eude Brito (pictured)
  7. Clay Condrey
  8. Brian Sanches
  9. Matt Smith

A lot better than last year, granted, but not ONE of those guys can step in and start. Madson did that last year and we missed the Wild Card by 3 games thanks, in no small part, to his 9 losses and 5.69 ERA. I blame Sucky Poo Poo Pants Floyd for that more than anyone, but, thankfully, that skidmark won't be playing for us in 2007. Madson will, and I like him in the 7th inning, but under NO circumstances should he start. The argument for giving Lieber his walking papers is that we need to really bolster this bullpen, but do we need a Linebrink or a Otsuka if we shore up the middle relievers and Manuel does a better job managing the starters so guys like Madson are fresh. The early reports from Clearwater are that Antonio Alfonseca is in the best shape he's been in for a while and his velocity is back up around 96. This is by no means a barometer of what he's going to do all year, but if he stays consistent, there's your 8th inning guy. Fabio Castro eats innings, Eude Brito was a pleasant surprise last year, Matt Smith showed a lot of promise with a .87 ERA in 20.2 innings pitched, and you always know what you're getting out of Geoff Geary. I'm much more confident in the Bullpen going into 2007 than I was in 2006. I do, however, understand the argument that we also need Gordon Insurance should he go down, hence Linebrink or Otsuka. Alfonseca, however, closed on every team he's been on in the past when he was 100% and it sounds like he is again. In a pinch, I'll trust Madson in the 8th inning. The problem is that this is all contingent on Manuel having half a Goddamn clue what he's doing with said bullpen, so therein lies the risk.

Now what would we do with six starters if Jon Lieber remains a Phillie? The easy answer is put Eaton in the bullpen and have Lieber as your 4th or 5th starter. Problem is that the scouting report on Eaton is he heats up and gets stronger after a couple of innings of work, a classic earmark of a starter. Plus, I just don't think he's that good of a starter, so why just take his worst innings for $9mil a year? I hope he has an amazing year, I hope I eat my words, but I just get nervous knowing Adam Eaton will be out there every fifth day. The more difficult choice, because it's rarely been done before, is to trot out a six-man rotation for the first few months of the season. It would be great for guys like Jamie Moyer who'd be pitching in September with plenty of rest, but might alienate younger guys like Free-Agent-To-Be Freddy Garcia, who probably wants his win totals up. (I still think he's re-signing with us, though.) This move might give the Bullpen more rest, however, and let Gillick take his time deciding who he'd like to bring in to suppliment Gordon instead of having to make a quick move if the 'Pen underperforms.

I think keeping Lieber and then supplimenting the Bullpen another way is the best thing for Gillick to do. Lieber truely wants to pitch here and I believe he is better than Adam Eaton. That said, if it comes down to Rowand vs. Lieber, the Ol' Donut Hole's gotta go. It's common knowledge that Rowand will hit 91 Home-Runs this year, but besides that, we're not as deep at Outfield as I would like to be. I have no faith in Roberson or Bourn. Jayson Werth is a nice fourth outfielder but, true to Phillies form, can't stay healthy. Yes, Victorino is a better defensive outfielder, but he'll still be starting in Right anyway and we just flat-out have no one to replace "Crash" Rowand if he goes.

If the Lieber trade is good, I'm sure Gillick will do the right thing, but at the end of the day, everyone knows it's just not right to separate a fat man from his cheesesteaks.

Other Phillies Notes:

  • Burrell getting married is a VERY GOOD thing. Dallas Green was right, and even though Burrell won't admit it, his nightlife was always a problem. I'm sure the new Missus will curb that particular hobby.

  • As mentioned above, finding a fourth outfielder might just be a more important priority to Pat Gillick than Bullpen help.

  • "I hope you don't see a change in me. I'll manage the same way."-Charlie Manuel, Philadelphia Daily News. Oh, thank GOD! For a minute there I thought I was going into the season confident in this team.

  • More from Manuel in the PDN: "I know I'm not easy. I can be very red-assed and mean as anybody." Really? REALLY?

  • Chris Coste better make the roster or I'll kill Anna Nico-nevermind.

One Personal Note (sorry Skeet)

  • Happy Trails, Keith Foulke, the REAL 2004 World Series MVP.

Thursday, February 15

2007 MLB Preview Review - Part 2: Street & Smith's

After being depressed with what Lindy's projected for the Phillies this season, I was determined to find a magazine that agreed with my opinion on this team. Well, I found it today at a sleazy qwiki-mart named "Voorhees Tobacco and News" in the form of Street and Smith's Baseball. Let me give you the rundown of what they think.

American League

East: Red Sox
Central: Tigers
West: Angels
Wild Card: Yankees
MVP: Guerrero
Cy Young: Santana
Manager of the Year: Scioscia
Rookie of the Year: Matsuzaka

National League
Central: Cardinals
West: Dodgers
Wild Card: Mets
MVP: Pujols
Cy Young: Zambrano
Manager of the Year: MANUEL...???
Rookie of the Year: Tulowitzki

First thing, awesome prediction on their part of the NL East. The Phillies finally get some recognition. Second thing, manager of the year should not equal Charlie Manuel. The only thing Manuel and the word manager should have in common is the first 3 letters of their names. See: MANuel and MANager. I'm so clever

Other notes on this issue that should interest Phans...
  • The prelude to the NL East basically talks all about how the Phillies have improved and the other teams haven't. They praise Pat Gillick
  • The prelude also has a full page pic of my boy...Pat the Bat
  • Division's Best Sense of Humor: Charlie Manuel. I guess they meant to laugh at and not laugh with
  • Division's Best Intellect: Jamie Moyer. Brought here to mentor the young boys into full-blown badasses
  • Phillies defense was rated a 2 out of 5. A bit low, in my opinion
  • A rival scout sized up Howard and says he doesn't get enough credit for his defense. He also said it seems nearly impossible to get him out. His suggestion was to throw him high heat, but he wouldn't be surprised if he hits them out too. Basically, Howard is a god.
  • The Phillies were the only team in the NL East with a 'stock report' going up. All of the other teams were rated as steady.
  • Interesting stat: Garcia is 19-6 with a 2.34 ERA in his career against the NL. Over the past two seasons he is 7-0.
  • .....I smell a pennant

Overall, I suggest you pick this edition up. Street and Smith's has good fantasy rankings and a superb overview of every team. It is usually my February magazine of choice. I often say I don't like projections or predictions, but these I can definitely live with.

Also, if you can think of a good one, be sure to write a caption for the Manuel picture in the post below

Driven to Deep Center Contest: Find a Caption for This Photo

What is making Uncle Charlie so mad? Leave your comments and give our fearless leader a voice!

Peter Forsberg: You'll Be Missed

Philadelphia Flyer from 2005-2007

I'm not here to debate whether it was a good trade or not, I'm just gonna miss watching this guy play for my team every night. Short-lived as it was, thanks for all the fun, Petey.

Wednesday, February 14

Technically Speaking, It's Still Only Winter Training

It is a BEAUTIFUL time of the year. Well, not here in Philly since I almost crashed my car on 76 yesterday due to the horribleness of snow, but in Clearwater it is lovely. And I'm not talking just about the palm trees, white sandy beaches or blue ocean. I am talking about the Kings Of Philly showing up at camp to let the Phillies brass know that they are good little boys. To prevent me from rambling on about how excited I am, I will just list some things that are on my mind as Spring Training officially begins.

  1. Pat Burrell is engaged, which brought a slight tear to my eye. How can this site stay up and running if we can't still talk about his massive pimping ability? I guess it's nice that he is settling down or whatever, but come on Pat...you could have become the first male ever to sleep with EVERY woman EVER!!!
  2. It is wonderful to see players report early. Especially our franchise boys, Utley and Howard. Nothing clever to say here, it is just a nice situation.
  3. Pat Burrell was interviewed and asked all the dumb questions we knew were coming. And he said ALL the right things. He is putting last year behind him (even though it wasn't nearly as bad as this world thinks) and is looking forward to help the team in 2007. He didn't bitch, complain or make excuses. Also, every article ever written about Burrell that shows up on MLB.com has the numbers .222 somewhere in there. Ken Mandel HAS to remind everyone of RISP. I'd like to see "Pat Burrell had a down year in homeruns and RBIs last season although he did remain constant with his OBP and only hit 3 less homeruns in 100 less ABs."
  4. I will be rooting for Coste AGAIN this spring. If you told me on September 24, after the Phillies beat the Marlins thanks largely to Coste's clutch 3-run homer, that Chris would be fighting for a spot this spring, I'd call you a Nazi and slap your mother. Well...thankfully you didn't tell me that cause I would look like a fool for degrading your momma for no reason.
  5. Non-Phillies related. But Carlos Zambrano, while he is an absolutely amazing talent, has turned into a cocky ass. Here, he talks about how is walking from the Cubs if an extension isn't given before the season starts. He refers to himself as the "Big-Z." What a prick. Maybe I am just being unrealistic in this day and age, but its depressing to see a player that cares only about money and not being on a team that wants him or has a chance to win.

All in all, this picture will give all phans a reason to smile

And another homerun question for you all to ponder...
Who will hit more homeruns, Burrell or Utley?

Tuesday, February 13

Hi, I'll be Your Author This Evening

Hello out there to Phillies Nation! My name is Mike Muller and I'm joining the team here at Driven to Deep Center. Skeeter (or Mikey, as I've known him for eight years) is my roommate and frequent (hetero) companion at Citizens Bank Park. I've been a Phillies fan all my life, especially in the storybook 1993 season when I was eight years old. Since you'll be hearing me blather on about every bit of Phillies minutiae over the 2007 season, I figured I'd tell you a little bit about myself, as well as the shit I'm obsessed with and will probably reference a lot.

  • South Park and 24, Eric Cartman and Jack Bauer are models any young man should live by.

  • Hockey: my Marilyn Monroe to Baseball's Jackie Kennedy. Although with the way the Flyers are playing this year, I guess this season is when Marilyn is found drugged up, naked, and dead.

  • Back to the Future, one of the most culturally significant films of the 20th Century.

  • Boston. My family is from there so I have a certain affinity for the Red Sox and Pats.

  • My favorite Phillies of all time are Curt Schilling and Tug McGraw.

  • I'm not a stathead, I'm an old-fashioned Baseball guy. I care a lot about the way a player carries himself and the attitude he has toward the game. I hate guys who play for the paycheck.

  • There isn't an obscenity in the English language to express my distate for Scott Boras...but I'll try. I fucking hate Scott Boras.

  • Aaron Rowand WILL hit 91 Home-Runs this year.

That's about it, really. I love Baseball and I'm excited to be writing about a team that I think is gonna be fun to watch this year. I'm no different than any other Baseball fan you know, I like boobs, beer, Dollar Dog Night, and Ryan Howard. So here's hoping you get a few laughs from my feeble posts and maybe a new perspective on the Fightin' Phils.

Monday, February 12

New Kid on the Block

Driven to Deep Center has just added a new contributor to the site: Muller. My roommate and long-time Phillies fan (his dad was boys with Tug McGraw) has been watching me blog about the Fightins for over 4 months now and has decided he wanted to contribute to the cause. He will add a new perspective to the site and will undoubtedly bring a new wave of humor. What I can tell you about him:

- He hates the Yankees with an indescribable passion
- Aaron Rowand is his god, mainly because he hit 91 homeruns for him in MVP Baseball
- He wishes he was Jack Bauer
- He would go gay for Shane Victorino

Okay, now a random Phillies question for you to think amongst yourself
Who will hit more homeruns, Jimmy Rollins or Wes Helms?

Sunday, February 11

2007 MLB Preview Review - Part 1: Lindy's

It is February and aside from the massive blizzard we MAY get this week, all we have to look forward to is Spring Training. And with the baseball lifestyle just about to get under way, the preview magazines are coming into publication. I briefly went browsing around a supermarket today and picked up the only one Genuardi's had: Lindy's. And like a lot of things I read, I disagreed with their predictions. Here is my rant on Lindy's Baseball preview. (keep in mind that I am a die-hard Phillies fan and may be viewed as a biased individual)

Lindy's Fearless Forecasts for 2007

Manager of the Year
AL - Torre
NL - Piniella

AL - Ortiz
NL - Reyes (Grrrrrr)

AL - Delmon Young, Devil Rays (Big shock)
NL - Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies

Cy Young
AL - Halladay ( I can NEVER bet against Sanatana)
NL - Zambrano

Rookie Pitcher of the Year
AL - Matsuzaka (Another Shocker)
NL - Pelfrey (Another Grrrrrr)

Division Winners
AL East - Yankees
AL Central - Tigers
AL West - Angels

NL East - Mets (AHHHHHH)
NL Central - Cubs
NL West - Dodgers

Wild Cards
AL - Red Sox
NL - Padres (AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!)

AL Champion - Yankees
NL Champion - Dodgers

World Series Champion - Yankees (Vomit, Barf, Puke, Disgust...)

Well, our boys in red aren't on this list at all. So where did they finish? 3rd in the division. Behind the Mets and Bravos. Obviously I horribly disagree with this and was slightly angered by it. But this does raise a good point. The Braves are still a very dangerous threat to us in the division. Maybe I am the only one who was completely focused on the Mets and sort of over looked Atlanta. I still don't think this gives our boys enough credit. I wasn't expecting them to print a first place finish but I would have liked at least a second place one.

Interesting notes on the Phillies pages:
- Matt Smith was listed as our top prospect (uhmm....)
- Burrell's 2007 line: .266/26/92 (gross, look to the right for the truth)
- Our infield was rated a 7.0 which is "Well Above Average"
- Rotation was rated a 6.0 which is "Above Average"
- 54 Homeruns for Rhyno
- .307 AVG for Victorino

Other notes from around the Majors
- They have Cleveland finishing 4th in the division. I picture them a lot higher.
- I have to say that the wild card winner from the NL has to come out of the East. If we are slated to be third behind the Mets and Braves, who is going to win more games than us and Atlanta? The Padres? They got pitching but I can't vision them finishing better than the Phils or Braves.
- There is a nice article on Howard and how much of a stud he is.

Overall, these magazines are just ways for me to waste my time, but like Carson has often ranted about, games are won on the field and prediction nuts and statheads are jackasses. I am going to eventually pick all the 2007 editions up and rant about them on here. Then, my prediction post will follow. Guess who will be on top of the NL east?

Wednesday, February 7


With all this fantasy baseball talk in the air and spring training being just around the corner, I am getting very antsy for the season to begin. So in the spirit of fantasy, I thought I should share mine with the world. And don't worry, I won't get too graphic...

- I fantasize of a radio station that isn't dragged down with constant negativity

- I fantasize of a bullpen that won't make me cry during the 7th, 8th, and/or 9th innnings

- I fantasize of a shortstop who is not streaky throughout the season

- I fantasize of a left fielder to play like it is 2002

- I fantasize of over 200 strikeouts from our lefty phenom

- I fantasize of 50+ homeruns

- I fantasize of Chris Wheeler catching a case of eternal laryngitis

- I fantasize of NOT seeing the words 'DL' and 'Hamels' in the same sentence

- I fantasize of not hearing boos when they aren't warranted

- I fantasize of laughing every time I see the Mets pitching staff

- I fantasize of meeting a hot 22 year old girl at a game, who's passions are the Phillies, video games, cartoons and g-strings

- I fantasize of seeing Lieber pitch for an American League team

- I fantasize of 20+ swipes from our little Hawaiian

- I fantasize of Chris Coste contributing to our team in 2007

- I fantasize of seeing Heidi Strobel during Bikini-Fun Day at Citizens Bank Park

- I fantasize of Bikini-Fun Day at Citizens Bank Park

- And most importantly, I fantasize of seeing October baseball in Philadelphia

May all of mine and your fantasies become a reality this season.

Three Carmens. Every man's fantassy

2007 Phillies Crystal Ball: Shane Victorino vs Aaron Rowand

Today, instead of the boring analysis of a single player, I thought it would be better to square two of our players off in a cage match. Two men battling viciously over a spot they both deserve. It might get intense, sweaty and dirty. Think Wrestlemania V, when Macho Man and Hulk Hogan fought each other to end their bitter feud. So I bring to you the Flyin' Hawaiian vs Crash Rowand...

As it currently stands, during this balls-freezing cold front that is destroying the northeast, the center field job belongs to Aaron Rowand. He has the most experience in that position and was brought here to patrol the center of CBP. He covers a lot of ground and plays very hard (how many time have you heard that?). Victorino is slated to take over in right. He has a tremendous arm, which is ideal for RF. He, like Rowand, also covers a ton of the field and plays balls-out. He is sort of a Hawaiian clone of Rowand with a better cannon. This set-up, while it may leave some to be desired at the plate, covers a ton of ground in the outfield. We will be able to just put Burrell on the foul-line, which allows him to be closer to the stands and all the drunk college girls screaming for him. Everyone is happy

But that is if Opening day was tomorrow, which it obviously isn't. For all we know, Rowand may be patrolling Petco park this summer. So for a second, let us pretend that we have the choice to pick which one would be our center fielder. Who should it be?

2006 numbers

462 PA
6 HR 46 RBIs
12.1 VORP

445 PA
12 HR 47 RBI
8.8 VORP

Overall, in nearly identical plate appearances, Victorino had the better year. Taken into account is the fact that he is faster, a better thrower, younger and has a WAY cooler batter stance (Aaron seems like he is about to take a painful dump). Not to degrade Rowand and his inspiring play, but Victorino offered more last year. Plus, he is a switch hitter...which is always nice

So how about 2007? Was Victorino's season a fluke or a sign that he can improve to become an everyday player? Was Rowand's year sub par due to his May trip to the DL? Or was his 2004 season the fluke?

Baseball Prospectus is projecting lines that me and you both could come up with. Their numbers on both Victorino and Rowand are strikingly similar with neither one protruding as a standout over the other. So let's use slightly different measures:

Speed - Victorino
Defense - Tie
Arm - Victorino
Power - Rowand
Reliability - Rowand (Shane still hasn't played a whole season)
Average - Tie (I have no reason for either one to be better)
Strikeouts - Victorino (in a good way)
And the most important one (in my opinion): The best hitter for the 2-hole - Victorino

Overall, Victorino is the more valuable player to the Phillies for this season and the future. His main flaw is his inexperience for a whole season's play. Can we count on him? I believe we can. We have to find out eventually if he is our center field answer for the next few years. Rowand, while I love the guy, is expendable ONLY if we can get a decent replacement for RF. The winner of the match for center field is the flyin' Hawaiian.
Of course, none of this really matters because they won't be heading into Spring Training battling for the center field spot. Rowand is likely gone after this season. This is merely my boredom speaking out saying I want Victorino to be our center fielder and Rowand and Lieber shipped out for a RF and bullpen help.


Also, from mlb.com:

"Burrell, responding to a challenge, will make foes pay for pitching around Ryan Howard with a 40-homer, 120-RBI season."
...Sweet music to my ears

Monday, February 5

Marketing the Phillies

Well the Super Bowl is over and done with. With the exception of the Pro Bowl, Football is gone into the past and we can focus on the one thing that makes me smile: Baseball, namely the team hailing from Philadelphia. But the Super Bowl commercials got me thinking. Besides the fact that most of them were wretched this year (the two dudes kissing commercial I think gave me aids), I came to realize that the Phillies Marketing staff is blessed with what the 2007 team presents. Since I am a genius marketing major (not at all), let's look at what this group presents to this city in terms of marketability.

Chase Utley
- Everything Philadelphia wants, needs, loves and strives to be. Plays his heart out every single game. Never complains about the media or fans. Isn't a media whore and said the magical words "I want to retire in Philadelphia." This is a wet dream for someone looking to make Philadelphia like this team. I have said many times before in my life, "The day I hear Philadelphia fans boo Chase Utley is the day I truly hang my head as a Philadelphia sports fan." There is truly nothing to dislike about Utley. You could put him on the front of every program and ticket for the next 7+ and no one would complain. Also, chicks love him.

Cole Hamels
- The new kid in town. Our pitching hope for the future. With all the offensive sluts we have, we were all starved for some legitimate pitching in this town. Cole is still young, slightly inexperienced and hasn't had the opportunity to prove his hype. But given what we all know (fingers crossed) is going to come from this 23 year old stud, the Phillies have another gold mine on their hands. Confident, LEFTY, married to a hottie... Hamels is another jackpot. Also, chicks love him.

Jimmy Rollins
- Remember Scooby Doo? Of course you do. It was a classic. Now, remember scrappy doo, Scooby's annoying little nephew who never shut up and thought he was the toughest dog on the block, even though he was only 2-feet tall. Well, with the exception of being annoying, this fits J-Roll to a T. He is a short little ballplayer, who is always quoted in the paper and thinks he is the baddest brother out there. "I can definitely break DiMaggio's streak." "We are the team to beat." And I love every minute of it. We need someone with confidence and a slightly cocky attitude to bring life to this team. Jimmy does all the marketing for himself. The job from the Phillies standpoint is to just put a microphone in front of him after games. Also, chicks love him... he is such a smooth dresser

Ryan Howard
- Do I really have to waste my time with a paragraph for this one? His numbers and performance do everything the Phillies need. Howard just signed with the Creative Artists Agency and that will pretty much take care of the marketing aspect altogether. Read here for their client list and then think about the amount of exposure this kid is going to get. He will be everywhere in about a year. The Phillies don't even have to lift a finger. Also, once again...chicks love him.

And the parts of our team who aren't so prone to being good marketing tools:

Charlie Manuel
- No one likes a dumb hillbilly who has the speaking skills of a 2nd grader. He could never do a commercial because he would stumble over his words on every take. Trust me, chicks don't love him

Antonio Alfonseca
- Cross gloves and those fitted 'toe socks' off the list of potential advertisers looking at Antonio

Abraham Nunez
- No bat, broken english, and his name is Abe...what marketing good could come from him?

And finally, the one man I think presents the best marketing chances for the Phillies organization ...the player who we so often praise here at Driven To Deep Center: Patrick Brian Burrell

How can you not promote that? Also, I should note that this is second time I posted this picture on this site. I am so ashamed of myself.

Sunday, February 4

2007 Phillies Crystal Ball: Ryan Madson

Mad-dog struggled (mightily) last summer. He started off pitching relatively well in the rotation in his first 2 starts and surprised/encouraged fans. Then, the Gavin Floyd effect came about. He started to suck and became rapidly inconsistent. Luckily, for us, Hamels came up and allowed Ryan to travel back to the bullpen where he belongs. Then, when we couldn't stomach Floyd anymore, Madson came back to the rotation and remained an inconsistent 5th man for our rotation until Wolf returned from the DL. Here is his 2006 numbers

11 wins, 9 losses
5.70 ERA
1.68 WHIP
134 IP
20 homeruns allowed
-5 stuff


It has long been suspected that while Madson was spectacular in 2004, part of the reasoning behind this was the league was not used to his stuff. Once Ryan traveled around the league a few times, his changeup seemed to become less effective and thus he became very hittable. The reason he failed in the rotation was his inability to control and throw a 3rd pitch. He showed signs of being unstoppable (16 inning Mets game, June 29 at Baltimore), however, he couldn't always effectively command his 3 pitches. This is the main reasoning Madson is meant more for the bullpen.

Here is what we feel we can expect from Madson in the upcoming season...

Baseball Prospectus' 2007 EQA Distribution Graph:

At 50%, they are projecting an ERA of 4.38 with a WHIP of 1.42 and 65 IP

Overall, I feel this is what we can (and should) expect of Ryan this upcoming season. Until he shows us otherwise, I have no rhyme or reason for thinking we can count on Madson for anything more than a 7th inning relief pitcher. 8th inning set-up man is out of the question, in my opinion, since he is probably going to run up a WHIP of around 1.40. I do, however, feel this year will be more similar to his 2005 season, rather than his 2006. Comfortability is a feeling Madson probably never felt switching back and forth from the rotation to the bullpen.

If Gillick is serious about obtaining an 8th inning set-up man (with so-called closer experience), then Madson will be our 7th inning man, which I am fine with. He and Geary can split that inning and until Gordon hits the DL or one of them has a breakout/spectacular first half, will remain there for the season. He is still young, 26, and does have the chance to once again be a valuable part of our bullpen. This year I feel we can expect an ERA between 4.25 and 4.50, however, this is relative to how Manuel chooses to use him. And that is what scares me most: Manuel's inability to manage a bullpen.

If used correctly, this lanky bastard can be a consistent contributor and help us get to the 93 wins I feel is coming this season. (more on the 93 wins in a later post)

Also... the super bowl was a letdown. All those fumbles made Chicago and Indianapolis look like high school players. Stupid rain ruining my night
and another thing that is still ruining me:

Friday, February 2

I am going crazy...

I just recently bought a rubik's cube and have not put it down. It has taken over my life. I don't think I can be happy until I solve it. Sorry, it may cause for limited posts on this site. Once I have completed it, I'll be back...or until I freak out and break it.

This may sound like a joke but I am not kidding. This is the most addicting puzzle I have ever had. Damn anyone who can do this. And damn Rubik for taking me away from the Phillies.

Phillies notes...
- Myers got a freakin sweet deal that makes me happy
- Aaron Rowand will hopefully not return in 2007 for the Phillies. I love the guy, but I love a stronger bullpen more.
- Chase Utley is cool
- Ryan Howard hits homeruns
- Pat Burrell probably nailed my sister

LATER... I'll be back with better posts once this goddamn cube is away from me