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Remembering Harry Kalas

 

There are certain moments in our lives that we can’t forget no matter how hard we try. That holds true for the happiest of moments and for the most somber moments as well. Many of us still remember where we were on April 13th five years ago today.

On that day we were preparing to enjoy a Phillies vs. Nationals tilt that took a backseat to the passing of a legend.

The Phillies, baseball and the world lost one of its greatest voices when Harry Kalas passed away. The legendary Phillies broadcaster was preparing to call a game when he passed out in the broadcast booth. Since that day, Phillies baseball just has not sounded quite the same.

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For the Phillies Time Heals All Wounds

choochI’ve spent some time following the Phillies this preseason it’s fair to say that they’re in line for a fairytale season. That fairytale unfortunately is Humpty Dumpty. The Phillies are a fragile, bumbling, egg seemingly bound to splatter across the city and truly stink up the joint if you’re a pessimist. If you’re not so perpetually hateful of joy, then they’re a wildcard contender firmly swaying on the fence. Either way, no one is comfortable.

At this point, everyone knows the story. A young team raised through the farm system came together and built a truly great era of Phillies baseball that arguably underachieved with one championship. Now that team is old, overpaid, and not nearly as likely to contend in October.

How unlikely are they to contend? ESPN figures the Phillies to be the second worst team in the entire league placing them ahead of only the Sixers-esque Houston Astros with a projected win total of 66 games. If you’d like to go with Vegas odds, the Phillies are projected in the ballpark of 77 wins for the year. In other words, it’s a good time to check out mytopsportsbooks.com.

However, the point of all this is not to discuss the problems of this year. In fact, I’m not interested in next year all that much either. I don’t care if Humpty Dumpty can stay together, I want a different fantasy–and it won’t be soon before long.

Why? The core issue of the Phillies problem isn’t actually age. It’s sentiment. the Phillies are an organization that has supported their beloved veterans to a fault. They’re the anti-Banner Eagles causing a frustrating, yet admirable quandry.

Therefore, the only way to quash the love-fest is to have it die. In 2016, the World Series era will have died a horrible death. Jimmy Rollins will be gone, as will Cliff Lee (likely opt out), Jonathan Papelbon (expiring contract), and Chase Utley (retirement). The Phillies will be left with nothing but Carlos Ruiz, Cole Hamels, and Ryan Howard (then 38, 33, and 37 respectively) to symbolize a bygone era. Fortunately the Phillies will likely spend the rest

By removing those contracts, the Phillies will have freed up what is $64 million dollars in payroll this season. They’re currently spending $180 million total in 2014. Add in the value that management won’t spend on last ditch effort signings like AJ Burnett ($15 million) and Marlon Byrd ($8 million), they’ll have a ton of money to rebuild with a more stable foundation (and maybe a new GM?).

Also, by virtue of a low likelihood of success, the odds of the organization again hitching their cart to current players is unlikely. They won’t hold the same high-profile cache which leads to over-valuing your own players.

Am I fantasizing here? Yes. But since I can’t push Humpty Dumpty off the wall myself, I’ll dream of a clean slate.

Around the Cooler 3/20/14: Locker Room Politics

rollins200517 Here’s what we’re talking about:

  • The curious cases of DeSean Jackson and Jimmy Rollins (0:00)
  • The Flyers are heating up! How does their next week look? (22:00)
  • March Madness, draft prospects, and the importance of winning (29:30)
  • The viability of two sport athletes in today’s game (39:00)


Play on your Mobile Device or Right Click to Download: Around the Cooler 3-20-14

What are you talking about around the wooder cooler this week? Leave us a comment!

Follow us on Twitter @TheWooderCooler

Musical theme written by Matthew Schwalm.

A.J. Burnett Inks One-Year Deal With Phillies

A.J. Burnett will join the Phillies rotation for 2014. (credit: USA Today)

A.J. Burnett will join the Phillies rotation for 2014. (credit: USA Today)

So if you have not already heard, the Phillies and GM Ruben Amaro Jr. have signed right-handed pitcher A.J. Burnett, 37, to a one-year $16 million deal today. The deal comes on the day that pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training.

The move becomes the biggest of the off-season for the Phillies if you still want to consider it the off-season. If not, the biggest move is probably the announcement that Chris Wheeler and Sarge will be replaced by Jamie Moyer and Matt Stairs.

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Around the Cooler 11/20/13: Slick Nick

 Here’s what we’re talking about:

  • A season after Washburn washed out, the Eagles’ D-Line is looking good again (0:00)
  • Nick Foles and the Spread Eagle offense (13:00)
  • Why the Phillies won’t be competitive again until Ruben gets fired (25:30)


Play on your Mobile Device or Right Click to Download: Around the Cooler 11-20-13

What are you talking about around the wooder cooler this week? Leave us a comment!

Follow us on Twitter @TheWooderCooler

Musical theme written by Matthew Schwalm.

Around the Cooler 11/14/13: Back on the Right Track?

 

Here’s what we’re talking about:

Grumpy No More?

Grumpy No More?

  • Are Giroux and the Flyers back on track?
  • Zac Rinaldo on the PK, the 4th line and this week’s why is Jay rosehill on this team? (8:17)
  • Simmonds is on the block. We’re talking trades! Also, are the Flyers lucky? (15:45)
  • The Eagles took care of business. Impressive win? And, of course, reviewing Nick Foles! (24:13)


Play on your Mobile Device or Right Click to Download: Around the Cooler 11-14-13

What are you talking about around the wooder cooler this week? Leave us a comment!

Follow us on Twitter @TheWooderCooler

Musical theme written by Matthew Schwalm.

Phillies Offseason Begins!

photo via the700level

photo via the700level

Because baseball season essentially never ends, the off-season is underway for the Phillies.

The most notable news to date is that the Phills didn’t send qualifying offers to Carlos Ruiz and Doc Halladay. I honestly didn’t know if the front office had it in them, but they made the smart play and now we’ll hopefully be moving on.

Now one of the positions that the Phillies desperately need help at, which is solid in free agency, is the outfield. Jacoby Ellsbury, Nelson Cruz, Carlos Beltran and more will all be discussed as options by desperate Phillies fans.

However, I wanted to take the time to mention a piece from The Good Phight which goes into detail regarding trade options in the outfield. It’s routinely fantastic piece from them and worth the read from Phillies fans delving into offseason madness.

Make sure to check it out here:

http://www.thegoodphight.com/2013/11/4/5064044/phillies-outfield-trade-targets

Around the Cooler 8/16/13: A Golden Era Dies in Philly; Two Careers Begin

It's the end of an era

It’s the end of an era

Here’s what we’re talking about:

  • The Phillies have fired Charlie Manuel. Does Ryne Sandberg’s hiring fix anything?
  • Chip Kelly put on a show Thursday night. We discuss why we’re so geeked out!
  • The Sixers added a new coach of their own with Brett Brown. We get into Brown’s qualities, basketball economics, and what to expect from future additions to the squad.


Play on your Mobile Device or Right Click to Download: Around the Cooler 08-14-13

What are you talking about around the wooder cooler this week? Leave us a comment!

Follow us on Twitter @TheWooderCooler

Musical theme written by Matthew Schwalm.

Can the Phillies really turn it around? A statistical defense of the run differential argument

If you’ve been following our podcasts for the last few months, you’ve heard our spring optimism fade into depressed summer resignation: The Phillies aren’t good, won’t get better, and should start to sacrifice their immediate assets in hopes of building a brighter (long-term) future.

I routinely cited their dismal run differential as evidence that their true talent level was far below their middling record, and suggested that it was nearly inconceivable that they could continue to hold on to their mediocrity, much less make a legitimate run at winning the division.

But last week I read an article by Joecatz of The Good Phight that piqued my interest and had me challenging my assumptions. If you didn’t click over there, here are some of the money quotes:

  • At the 90 game mark, the 2012 Phillies had a run differential of -23. Over the remainder of the season, without Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino, and later Joe Blanton, They went 42-30 with a run differential of +29. Must be an anomaly, right? 
  • Well, of the remaining 8 teams that at the 90 game point had – run differentials, 4 of those teams (5 total) went on to have positive run differentials the rest of the way. The Phillies +29 was the lowest total of any of those teams. 
  • There were 7 teams with positive run differentials in the first 90 games of 2012. 3 of those teams showed a negative run differential the rest of the way

The reason run differential swings so dramatically at the mid point of the season, league wide, is because of the trade deadline. Teams change. Rosters change, people change. 

– Joecatz, TheGoodPhight.com

Joe makes some valid points here. But while Joe was mostly arguing thats using run differential to predict 2nd half results with certainty was ill-advised — and I’m never, ever a proponent of certainty — I didn’t really believe that you could just write off run differential as a midseason predictor of 2nd-half results either. And so, the following…

Click to enlargeData drawn from baseball-reference.com

Figure 1
Click to enlarge
Data drawn from baseball-reference.com

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Around the Cooler 07/12/13 – Flyers Free Agency Wrap and the Philthy Phillies have two All Stars

Here’s what we’re talking about:

  • The Flyers are probably done making big moves this summer. How did they come out? (00:00)
  • The Phillies have two All-Stars! Dom Brown and Cliff Lee get some applause (17:00)
  • This team keeps playing with our emotions. Despite giving up a half a run per game, the Phillies are still hovering around .500. Is it time to re-evaluate our “Sell it all!” trade deadline mantra? (28:00)


Play on your Mobile Device or Right Click to Download: Around the Cooler 07-12-13

What are you talking about around the water cooler this week? Leave us a comment!

Follow us on Twitter @TheWooderCooler

Musical theme written by Matthew Schwalm.

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