Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

Phillies fans might not want to read this one

Cole Hamels (2010 file photo - credit: Paul Hadsall)
Cole Hamels (2010 file photo – credit: Paul Hadsall)

Philadelphia Phillies spring training camp is probably going to be pretty awkward this year.

Consider Cole Hamels‘ statements in an interview with USA Today’s Bob Nightengale:

“I just want to win. That’s all. That’s all any competitor wants. And I know it’s not going to happen here. This isn’t what I expected. It’s not what the Phillies expected, either. But it’s reality.”

While we’d all be inclined to agree with Hamels’ assessment of the Phillies’ chances, it’s still pretty shocking to see a baseball player speak that openly about his team being a bad one. But then again, Hamels doesn’t really see the Phillies as his team anymore – he wants out.

“I want to go to a place where I can win again,” Hamels told USA Today Sports. “It’s not like I’m a hired gun. I’ve got four or five years left on my contract. I want to help that team win just like I did here.”

So, that’s going to be an interesting storyline to watch until Ruben Amaro Jr. does finally trade away his ace for whatever return he can get.

Ryan Howard (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Ryan Howard (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

The Phillies’ first base situation is another potential source of fun.

Amaro made no secret of wanting Ryan Howard off of his team. In a December radio interview with 97.5 The Fanatic’s Mike Missanelli, the Phillies GM said, “We’ve talked to Ryan. And I told him that in our situation it would probably bode better for the organization not with him but without him. With that said if he’s with us, then we’ll work around him.”

Howard is still a Phillie, and it looks like he’s still the starting first baseman… for now.

Manager Ryne Sandberg offered this ambivalent endorsement to MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki:

“Right now, unless he gets unseated, he’s the first baseman. He needs to prepare himself to be the best first baseman he can be.”

The implosion of the Phillies “dynasty” continues like a slow-motion train wreck.

Posted in Autographs, Baseball, Uncategorized

Autograph of the week: Phillies prospect Aaron Nola

 

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Aaron Nola was the Philadelphia Phillies’ first round pick in this year’s amateur draft. The seventh overall selection in the draft, Nola received a $3.3 million signing bonus when he agreed to a contract in June and was assigned to the Phillies’ Single-A team in Clearwater, Florida.

Nola made 11 starts in the Florida State League before being promoted to Double-A Reading to finish the season. When the Fightin Phils visited Trenton to end the season on Labor Day weekend, Nola signed the Autograph Card pictured above for me.

While many younger players don’t like to sign the blank cards, Nola had no problem with it (perhaps because he has yet to appear on a baseball card since turning pro.)

Nola finished his first season with a combined record of 4-3 with a 2.93 ERA, 45 strikeouts and just 10 walks in 55.1 innings. If he continues to progress at this rate, an appearance in Philadelphia before the end of 2015 might not out of the question.

Posted in Autographs, Baseball, Baseball Cards, Uncategorized

Autograph of the Week: Phillies prospect Jesse Biddle

Jesse Biddle, a 22-year-old Philadelphia native, has been ranked among the top prospects in baseball for the past three seasons.

Last summer, Biddle pitched at CitiField in the All-Star Futures game. This summer, he spent time recovering from a concussion caused by a piece of hail.

Though Biddle’s final record with the Reading Fightin Phils is an ugly one (3-10, 5.03 ERA, 1.482 WHIP), he had several strong performances late in the season that offer hope for a better 2015.

Signed Jesse Biddle 2011 Topps Pro Debut Minor League Materials baseball card from my collection
Signed Jesse Biddle 2011 Topps Pro Debut Minor League Materials baseball card from my collection

I’ve had this relic card from Topps’ 2011 Pro Debut set for a few years now. I was finally able to get it signed last weekend when Reading visited Trenton for a season-ending series.

Although my friend Bart and I decided to leave before the rain-delayed game eventually started, I was able to get a couple dozen baseball cards signed before the bad weather arrived.

Rainbow over Trenton Transit Center (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Rainbow over Trenton Transit Center (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Mets photos from Philly