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Monthly Archives: December 2010

D League: 2010 Top 10 Moments in MLB

So after I worked on the Phillies top moments of 2010, I got to work on my next list for The D League, in which I’m the MLB columnist.

So check out my list and have fun in agreeing or disagreeing with it:

Pitching, memories and mile stones oh my!

2010 was dubbed the year of the pitchers and saw itself some fine performances off the mound. It also said goodbye to some of the greatest names in baseball history and said hello to new faces. Others ended droughts that seemed like an eternity.

Here is a look at the top 10 moments of the 2010 Major League Baseball season.

Read the rest here…

2010 Moment: #1 The Perfect Game

Ace Roy Halladay celebrates with catcher Carlos Ruiz after his perfect game May 29.

The Phillies offense was in a rut. So what could Roy Halladay do? Be perfect.

At a time when runs were hard to come by, the Phillies’ Roy Halladay needed only one run to best the Marlins, throwing the 20th perfect game in the Major League history.

The image of third baseman Juan Castro fielding the ball, spinning and throwing to first baseman Ryan Howard is burnt into the minds of every Phillies fan. We held our breath in the ninth, and like Carlos Ruiz jumping into the arms of Doc, we celebrated when the 27th out was recorded.

“It’s something you never think about,” Halladay said. “It’s hard to explain. There’s days where things just kind of click and things happen, and it’s something you obviously never go out and try and do. But it’s a great feeling.”

Halladay was quick to thank his catcher, Ruiz, who also caught Doc’s no-no in the post season. Chooch calls one of the best games in baseball and is a defensive asset behind the plate.

“Really, just trying to go one pitch at a time,” Halladay said about how he maintained focus. “I know it’s a cliche, but I feel like when I’m most effective, that’s what I’m doing is pitch for pitch and just trying to execute pitches. I can’t say enough about the job that [catcher Carlos] Ruiz did tonight, really. I felt like he was calling a great game up until the fourth or fifth, and at that point, I just felt like I’d let him take over and go with him.

Halladay out-dueled Josh Johnson, who’s only run surrendered was an unearned score off an error in the third. Johnson went seven innings, allowing an unearned run and striking out six.

But the main story goes to Halladay, who struck out 11 and needed 115 pitches for the perfection. It was the second perfect game in Phillies history – the first belonging to Jim Bunning on Father’s Day in 1964 – and it was the first no-hitter since Kevin Millwood’s gem in 2003.

An interesting tidbit was after the perfect game in Florida, the Marlins sold the rest of the un-bought tickets from the perfect game at face value.

This year was the year of the pitcher and one of the finest moments all season belonged to Roy Halladay himself.

Top 10
10. Chooch’s walk-off HR against St. Louis
9. Taser bro
8. Moyer’s CG/SHO
7. Hamels dominates Reds
6. Broxton Meltdown Part III
5. Oswalt plays LF
4. Six-run rally against Reds
3. Doc playoff no-no
2. Cliff Lee returns
1. Doc’s perfecto

2010 Moment: #2 Welcome home, Cliff

It’s the most recent of the top 10 and it was one of the highest moments of a disappointing 2010 that did not end in a championship.

The Phillies were the “mystery team” in the hunt for Lee, offering less money and years and using their charm to pull Lee away from the Rangers and Yankees.

To really get a taste of the impact of the Lee signing, read my column on the D League.

Top 10
10. Chooch’s walk-off HR against St. Louis
9. Taser bro
8. Moyer’s CG/SHO
7. Hamels dominates Reds
6. Broxton Meltdown Part III
5. Oswalt plays LF
4. Six-run rally against Reds
3. Doc playoff no-no
2. Cliff Lee returns
1.

Phillies sign Romero

J.C. Romero was brought back to the Phillies, signing a $1.1 million deal. It was basically the same contract the Phils offered Dennys Reyes, who wound up not signing with the Phils after failing a physical.

As soon as the season ended for the Phils, their first move made was declining Romero’s option for 2011. This was to either get Romero for much cheaper or to look for a better option. The former wound up being the outcome.

Last season, Romero was 1-0 with a 3.68 ERA in 60 appearances. The big concern with Romero last season was that he walked 29 batters in 36.2 IP. He’s had control issues in the past but this was a complete low. If he wants to make a difference in the Phils pen next season, he will have to compete with other left-handers, including Antonio Bastardo, who played extremely well at the end of the season.

2010 Moment: #3 Welcome to Doctober

Only one other person in Major League history has thrown a no-hitter in the post season: Don Larsen’s 1956 perfect game in the World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010 will go down as one of the most memorable days for Roy Halladay. Not only did Halladay no-hit the Cincinnati Reds, the best offensive team in the National League during 2010, but it was done in his first career playoff start. Playing his entire career in Toronto, Doc failed to reach the post season until he was traded to the Phillies in December 2009.

Halladay needed only 104 pitches – 79 of which were strikes – to make quick work of the Reds. He walked only one batter, Jay Bruce in a controversial fifth inning at-bat, and struck out eight. With a 2-2 count to Bruce, Doc’s fastball, which appeared to cross the plate, was called for a ball. He walked Bruce on the next pitch.

This was the first time I was able to watch a Phillies no-hitter in full. I saw the last two innings of Kevin Millwood’s no-no in 2003 and was at work when Halladay threw his perfect game in May (my father was in the back giving me the pitch-by-pitch because were were busy all night).

Carlos Ruiz made the no-hitter happen. With two outs and an 0-2 count to Brandon Phillips, Ruiz made a spectacular play when Phillips hit a soft grounder and dropped the bat by the ball. Ruiz picked up the ball cleanly with his bare hand and made a perfect throw from his knees to just beat the runner and seal Doc’s no-hitter.

Here is the ninth inning courtesy of TheSituation103′s YouTube page.


Top 10
10. Chooch’s walk-off HR against St. Louis
9. Taser bro
8. Moyer’s CG/SHO
7. Hamels dominates Reds
6. Broxton Meltdown Part III
5. Oswalt plays LF
4. Six-run rally against Reds
3. Doc playoff no-no
2.
1.

A new song for the Halladays

Not many athletes can say they were put in a song, let alone a Christmas song. Gord Bamford, a country singer from Alberta, Canada, wrote a Christmas song titled “Baseball Glove” about a young boy who wanted a baseball glove autographed by Roy Halladay.

Bamford, who was born in Australia but grew up in Alberta, is a diehard Toronto Blue Jays fan and avid baseball fan. He wrote the song in 2009 when Doc was still in Toronto.

Halladay said he was surprised that someone wrote a Christmas song about him.

“I liked it,” he said. “He did a good job with it.”

Bamford gave Todd Zolecki some quotes about the song.

“I wanted to do a Christmas song because I had never done one,” Bamford said. “But I wanted to do something a little bit different than a traditional Christmas song. So with my love of baseball, and at the time, the Toronto Blue Jays and Halladay, it just kind of fit in there.”

Bamford said writing Halladay into the song made perfect sense.

“He never gets rattled,” he said. “As a pitcher you’ve got to have a strong head as well as a strong arm. When he was in Toronto, you’d hear about his charity work. It seems like he’s just a good citizen and a good person and definitely a role model for young kids.”

Bamford said he is going to put out a Christmas album next holiday season and it will include “Baseball Glove.”

 

2010 Moment: #4 Another Miracle v. Cincy

As I was making the list of 15, including the honorable mentions, I realized that four of the moments came against the Reds. This moment is one of the early turning points of the season.

Slugger Ryan Howard hits the two-run walk-off homer in the 10th inning.

Heading into the All-Star break, the Phillies were struggling with health and the bats. The game prior to this, Brian Schneider hit a walk-off homer in the 12th. But with the Phillies trailing 7-1 in the bottom of the ninth, a win didn’t seem evident.

Shane Victorino led off the inning with a double to right. Raul Ibanez then flew out and Victorino scooted to third. Ryan Howard followed up with an RBI single to make it a 7-2 ball game. Jayson Werth then singled and Greg Dobbs, who pretty much disappeared all season, hit a three-run home run off the foul pole to make it a 7-5 game.

But Cincy got the second out of the inning right away with a fly out by Brian Schneider. The pinch-hitter Cody Ransom hit a two-run homer to right-center, tying the game up and completing the six-run ninth-inning rally.

Howard then finished the come back, hitting a two-run homer in the bottom of the 10th, knocking off the Reds, 9-7, in typical Phillies fashion.

Top 10
10. Chooch’s walk-off HR against St. Louis
9. Taser bro
8. Moyer’s CG/SHO
7. Hamels dominates Reds
6. Broxton Meltdown Part III
5. Oswalt plays LF
4. Six-run rally against Reds
3.
2.
1.

2010 Moment: #5 Now batting, left fielder… Roy Oswalt!

You can thank Scott Berry and a very PO’ed Ryan Howard for this moment. This whole August 24th meeting between the Phillies and Houston Astros was just a weird one.

A month after being traded from his life time team in Houston to the Philies, Roy Oswalt was set to face his former team. But heading into the four-game series, Oswalt was not set to start in any of the games, which was disappointing for Houston fans at home watching. But Oswalt wound up playing left field, giving fans in attendance and at home for both teams something to remember.

Phillies third baseman Placido Polanco had to restrain Ryan Howard from committing a crime on the diamond. Too bad the only crime was Howard being robbed.

But let’s fast forward 14 innings of this game. And I know what you’re thinking when you see “14″: they did have a 14th inning stretch. With runners on second and third and two outs, Howard stepped up to the plate. Earlier in the game, Howard got called on a check-swing, being ruled that he went around. Howard disagreed with that call but put it behind him.

The same situation presented itself again to Howard, who finished the night 0-for-7 with five strike outs. On a 1-2 count, Howard held up his swing but Berry, umping the third-base line, pulled the trigger and then put his hands on his arms to mock Howard.

Howard charged at Berry, who ejected

him and probably soiled himself in the process as Placido Polanco (standing on third) and third base coach Sam Perlozzo had to restrain the charging Howard.

But this left the Phillies with a problem. Having exhausted all of their bench players, the Phillies needed to fill the void at first. Raul Ibanez moved from left to play first, which settled that problem. But who is going to play left field?

Citizens Bank Park erupted when they say a #44 jersey emerge from the dugout. Oswalt jogged out to left field to finish the game and bat in the four-spot left vacant by Howard. On the first play of the inning, a fly ball was hit to left field. Oswalt caught it and the place erupted again.

But the high didn’t last too long. A costly error by Ibanez led to a two-run 15th for the Astros and Oswalt was forced to bat with two outs and two men on. Oswalt grounded out to end the game (Houston won 4-2 in 16 innings), but the memory of him jogging out to left field and making a catch will never be forgotten.

Top 10
10. Chooch’s walk-off HR against St. Louis
9. Taser bro
8. Moyer’s CG/SHO
7. Hamels dominates Reds
6. Broxton Meltdown Part III
5. Oswalt plays LF
4.
3.
2.
1.

An Introspective Look into Who Roy Halladay really is

This was originally written back in January to give a literary picture to the Temple Ambler Campus who Roy Halladay is. Sadly it never got publish because, the that issue of the Temple Column, Temple Ambler’s student run newspaper, never got published.

There is one thing that Roy Halladay hates the most and that's a visit from Rich Dubee.

Now I have seen Roy Halladay pitch many times before in his pre-Philadelphia days. The very first time I saw him pitch up at Yankee Stadium for the Blue Jays, I could tell he was the real deal. I watched Roy pitch up in Toronto over many summers dating back to at least 2004 thanks to my friends from Toronto and the GTA (Greater Toronto Area). I admire Halladay so much that I started to tailor my pitching mechanics like his. So when Roy was traded last December to the Phillies (a few days after my 20th birthday I might add), I decided to create a website that had “facts” about Roy. The following is a somewhat humorous look at who Roy Halladay truly is.

And so I ask the question: So you think you know who Roy Halladay is?

You could look at his baseball card, but all that will tell you is that he is a six-foot, four-inch, 230-pound right-handed starter for the Philadelphia Phillies. If you look at a website like Baseball Reference, all that will tell you is how he pitched (stat wise) prior to being traded to Philadelphia and of course his current numbers with Philadelphia. It’ll also tell you that Roy is a 13-year Major League veteran who has played 12 of those 13 years with the Toronto Blues Jays. Well, Wikipedia defines Roy Halladay “as a Major League starting pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies.

So I ask the question who exactly is Harry Leroy Halladay (the third)? Well after do some very extensive, painstaking, humorous, and ridiculous research, I have started to put together a picture of who exactly Roy Halladay is. Here is what I found out. Please be advised: don’t read while in class, at a wedding, a funeral, or any place that would condone laughter of the boisterous variety, just sayin’.

First off, Roy Halladay isn’t right-handed, he is just bored. The only reason why Roy pitches right-handed, is because pitching left-handed was too easy and he needed a challenge. The fact is, Roy could throw left-handed and still strikeout 10 Mets batters (or 10 Yankees, your choice).

Roy Halladay is actually related to the infamous gunslinger, Doc Holliday. The only thing is, Roy Halladay uses fastballs instead of guns and bullets.

The truth about Halladay height as well; Roy is actually 100 feet tall, he had to shorten himself to the required “under 100 feet tall” Major League Baseball standard/requirement. He does this so that way hitters might have a chance against him.

The fact is: that Roy Halladay is more than just a person. He is a myth and a legendary folk hero. I mean how else could someone out pitch Nolan Ryan and Grover Cleveland Alexander before he was even born? Or could it be than Roy is a figure of mythology much like Odysseus or Achilles? In short I don’t know.

Okay so here is the deal after I did my research: yes, Halladay is a right-handed pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies. We all know that. But Roy is also a legendary pitcher, just ask the New York Yankees whenever they had to face him.

There is some scientific proof of who Roy Halladay is. It’s not a lot of proof but there is some. Scientists have tried to find out what the chemical makeup of Roy Halladay. They discovered that the chemical formula, for Roy Halladay is IP9H0BB0K27. Though moreover on the scientific makeup of Halladay, he has his own Periodic Table of Elements. The Table reads: 1Cu (Cutter) 2Cv (curveball), 3Ch (changeup), 4Fu (Brushback), and 5Sk (Sinker). As scientists discovered, any exposure to 4Fu causes instant death.

Or did you know that Roy Halladay defies the laws of Physics? Though someone will tell, actually, everyone will tell you that you can’t break the laws of Physics, so scientists had to develop a new theory which has become universally known as the “Roy Halladay Law”. Or how about that whole Pythagorean theory of “A Squared + B Squared = C Squared,” thing? Well it’s not that… what is it in reality? “A Squared + B Squared =Roy Halladay”.

Top nerds at NASA and even Al Gore are trying to study Roy Halladay and harness his coolness under pressure to combat Global Warming. Or did you know that Roy Halladay is a concentrated mixture of 10% luck, 20% skill, 15% concentrated power of will, 5% pleasure, 50% pain, and 100% reason to remember the name.

Roy Halladay could run for President of the United States and Governor of Pennsylvania, but he is/will be too busy, helping the Phillies win the Division. Speaking of politics and Roy Halladay: Halladay is used by the United States as an effective and legal use of “Torture”. The application of mental or physical torture in order to obtain information or confession from a prisoner is commonly referred to as the “third degree”. The only confirmed act that guarantees 100 percent success in securing information is showing the prisoner a life-size cutout of Halladay holding a baseball, from 60’6″ away. There is a little know fact: for years execution options for convicted death row inmates have included Hanging, Electrocution, Injection and Facing Roy Halladay. To date, none have chosen to face Roy Halladay.

Even religion is affected by Roy Halladay. For a person to be canonized into sainthood by the Catholic Church, there must be proof of at least ONE miracle needs to be established. Of all the miracles recognized, it can be said that no saint has ever gotten so much as a foul tip off of a Roy Halladay fastball and it might never be achieved. Moreover, if people converted to “Halladay-ism,” it would end all of the world’s religious problems and issues.

Did you know that Roy Halladay has a PhD? Of course you did if you have been reading along or have been watching any of his starts. Roy Halladay has PhD in K’s. But did he need to go to college to get it? No. Roy Halladay didn’t need to go to college, because he already had a PhD in strikeouts from a Baseball powerhouse school known as: Dominant Mastery University. Of course Roy Halladay is proof that you don’t need a PhD, MD, or Ed.D to be a doctor or suffer through Med School for that matter.

Did you also know that Roy Halladay could be used as a sort of “self-help” or cure for maladies, bad pitching mechanics and bullpen woes? Yep, in fact, I had issues while I was a pitcher in high school. I changed my pitching mechanics to mimic Roy Halladay. I won 20 games and my Earned Run Average dropped five whole points [not 0.05 or 0.50 not even 0.55 but 5.00] to 0.57.

This one time Roy Halladay cut his hair and donated it to “Locks of Love” so an 11 year old cancer patient, Kelly, could feel normal. Upon receiving Roy’s hair, she was instantly cured of cancer, grew nine inches, and could throw a changeup that even Roy was impressed with.

So that is Roy Halladay, roughly in a condensed version of a nutshell. Roy Halladay is a robust and unique pitcher, ballplayer and individual. So much so, that this very article could not contain the amount of facts on who Roy Halladay exactly is. Just remember these last bits about Roy: all of Roy’s bad outings are intentional as to give his biographer a story arc.

Finally, Jay-Z has 99 problems and Roy is ALL of them.

2010 Moment: Honorable Mentions

In every great winning season, you had to know that there were more than just 10 great moments. The list is halfway complete and as it winds down, the top seems to be more and more obvious.

A couple of these moments were suggested by you guys on Twitter but they just couldn’t crack my Top 10. So here are five of the honorable mentions:

Werth’s spring training beard: Twitter went absolutely berserk when Todd Zolecki took pictures and posted them up on his blog and Twitter. The pictures: Jayson Werth sporting a beard that rivaled Jesus.

The phenomenon of Werth showing up to camp in a contract year in a full beard took Phillies fans by storm. Shirts, Twitter names, and all sorts of other hairy puns were made. Most famously, the Twitter account of @JWerthsBeard was born, becoming one of the most popular tweeps in the Phillies Twitterverse.

Best record in baseball: It’s not really one moment per-say but the entire season wrapped into one. The Phillies battled the injuries and the poor offense to compile the best record in baseball

The Phillies had over 20 players spending time on the designated list – Werth was the only starter to not land on the DL. At one point, the Phillies trailed the Atlanta Braves by seven games in the division and rattled off a remarkable second half effort to lock up the division and earn the best record in baseball on the last day, finishing a game ahead of the Yankees.

Trade for Roy Oswalt: The Phillies were going to go after Cliff Lee but ultimately lost to the Texas Rangers in that bid. So they settled with the next best option: Roy Oswalt. In order to land the right-hander, the Phils sent J.A. Happ and a couple prospects to Houston.

Oswalt’s impact on the Phillies was almost immediate. Despite getting hit around hard by the Nationals in his Phillies debut, Oswalt compiled a 7-1 and 1.74 ERA with 82.2 innings pitched, 73 strike outs and 21 walks in 12 starts.

Brian Schneider’s walk-off against Cincy: This was submitted by Schneider himself off of Facebook (or at least I believe it’s him). The Phillies were struggling greatly heading into the All-Star break and they had a four-game home stand against the Reds. The Phillies swept the Reds with the first three games all going to extra innings.

Brad Lidge blew the save in the ninth inning. We get to the bottom of the 12th now. With one out, Schneider crushed the offering to send the Phillies to a series-opening win as they tried to right their sinking ship.

Dobbs sent to minors: This was submitted by @PHLSportsFan as a joke. But yes, with how poorly Dobbs played all year, a collective sigh of relief was let out when the Phillies optioned him to AAA in July/August.

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