Category Archives: Phillie Phanatic

Opening Day Blues

Yesterday was my first proper Opening Day in Philly since 2006. It was also my son’s first ever Opening Day. The weather was gorgeous, 2015 Topps OD Phanaticbut as every Phillie fan who saw yesterday’s game knows, this year’s team reeks. I’d use the modifier “offensive” to describe the team’s performance, but that would require the Phillies to have an offense in the first place.

I know; that was a cheap shot

However, that doesn’t change the fact that this was easily the worst Opening Day I’ve experienced in all my years of following the Phillies. However, to be fair, it wasn’t as bad as the 1990 home opener (which was the team’s fourth game of the year) that I witnessed from the 700 level of The Vet, but that’s damning with faint praise.

Some additional thoughts that occurred to me while while watching the massacre and getting a slight sunburn in the 400 level seats of CBP:

  • During the game, I kept trying to recall the starting lineup of the ’97 Phillies in an effort to compare the two teams. At a superficial level, the two clubs are fairly similar. They’re both incredibly bad clubs surrounding an ace pitcher (Schilling/Hamels) and one legitimate All-Star caliber starter (Rolen/Utley). However, the ’97 Schilling-Rolen combo will almost certainly prove to be better than than the ’15 Hamels-Utley combo. I plan on taking a closer look at the ’97 squad to get a better idea of how they compare.
  • One position where 1988 Score JeltzI know the ’97 team exceeds the ’15 version: shortstop. Freddy Galvis may have a great glove, but Kevin Stocker was no slouch defensively. Furthermore, Stocker was actually competent with the bat. Galvis, on the other hand, appears to be the second coming of Steve Jeltz, sans the Jheri curl.
  • I am still stunned that this team gave two of its outfielder jobs to Grady Sizemore and Jeff Francoeur. (I’ll let you decide which one of them is the better analog to Danny Tartabull.) I’m willing to wager money that both of them will be flat-out released–not traded, there won’t be any takers–by no later than the All-Star break. Seriously, I’d rather the Phillies play any outfielder in Lehigh Valley or Reading over these two.
  • By picking Francoeur and Andres Blanco over Darin Ruf for pinch hitting opportunities, Ryne Sandberg seems intent on never giving Darin Ruf a chance to prove that he may be a late-bloomer in the Raul Ibanez mold. This is exactly the kind of squad that should be taking advantage of a situation like Ruf. Instead, we’re wasting at bats on those thirty-something impersonations of major leagers.
  • Why were the Phillies wearing their red pinstripes yesterday and not their standard day game alternate cream uniforms?
  • Did Odubel Herrera Scoreboard PicHerrera really anger someone in the Phillies front office or does he have the same problem as Chandler Bing when someone asks him to smile for a photo? In the profile picture displayed on the scoreboard while he’s at bat, he looks like he just smoked a massive amount of high-octane Guatemalan refer. While this is nowhere near as bad as the photo the team used on Dave Wehrmeister’s sole Phillies card, it still looks comically bad.
  • How long before Utley decides that waving his 5-10 rights is the only way to save his sanity and then marches into Amaro’s office to scream, “Uncle!”

I also purchased both the Phillies Team Issue set and the 2o15 Topps Phillies Team Set while at the game. Although I have opened them both and took a quick look at them, I haven’t looked at them very closely. Truth be told, after the four-hour drive back home to Northern Virginia, I really wasn’t much in a mood to check out the contents last night, and today I made getting this post online a higher priority. I’m off to do that now and hope that they provide a better value than the product on the field yesterday.

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Opening Day!

2014 Topps OD PhanaticAppropriately, my complete team set of 2014 Topps Opening Day arrived today. Every year the Opening Day set proves just how much nicer the flagship Topp set issue looks without foil, and I once again curse Topps for adhering to some weird self-imposed belief that the regular set must have foil. As I entered the Opening Day cards into my Excel spreadsheets, I noted that I now own 55 different Phanatic cards. Mind you, the Phillies team issued sets over the past 3+ decades are responsible for the bulk of them, but it still boggles my mind that I own more cards of the Phanatic than I do of either Tug McGraw or Bob Boone. In another couple years, assuming he continues to appear in both team-issued sets and in Opening Day Mascots insert sets, he’ll surpass Jamie Moyer, Steve Bedrosian, Garry Maddox, and potentially even Mitch Williams in my collection. However, no matter how many more Phanatic cards I eventually add to the colleciton, I doubt we will see another one as awesome as the one Upper Deck printed in 2009.

Featured card: 2014 Topps Opening Day Mascots #M-13

2012 Topps Opening Day Mascots

Set Type: Insert
Card dimensions:
2½” x 3½”
Additional Information: Inserted in packs of 2012 Topps Opening Day.

M-14 Phillie Phanatic

Intro to The Year in Phillies Cards Review

Featured Cards: 2011 Topps Diamond Anniversary #511, Philadelphia Phillies; 2011 Topps Opening Day Mascots #M-17, Phillies Phanatic; 2011 Topps Heritage #72, Philly’s Men Up the Middle

While I’ve only maintained this blog for eight months, I’ve actually spent over 20 years regularly writing for a variety of different venues. In all that time, I’ve never composed a year-in-review piece (or series) of any kind. In addition, Bowman Sterling is the only unreleased 2011 issue at this time, and given the nature of the set, I doubt that it will have much impact on anything I might want to say about the Phillies baseball cards issued this calendar year. Therefore, now seemed like a perfect time to finally end the drought and leap headlong into such a project.

Unfortunately, because we are now in the second year of Topps’s second era of monopoly control over the industry, this probably won’t be as fun as it would have been 15 years ago when we had six different manufacturers running the presses day and night in an effort to separate us from our money. However, I plan to make this as positive as possible. I have two overriding guidelines for my 2011 Phillies Cards in Review series: 1) all topics I choose and all cards I feature are grounded in my own collection of 2011 cards, and 2) keep it overwhelming positive. I have spent a lot of time bashing Topps over the past eight months, and will likely continue to do so in 2012. Granted, it’s almost certain that I’ll work in some good-spirited snark into what I want to say, but I will do what I can to keep it to keep the true negativity an absolute minimum.

So, in the vein of keeping it positive, here is a tentative list of subjects (in approximate order of appearance) for my 2011 Phillies Cards in Review Series:

Rookie Card of the Year
Parallel Card of the Year
Parallel Series of the Year
Insert Card of the Year
Insert Series of the Year
Autograph Card of the Year
Memorabilia Card of the Year
Card Back Design of the Year
Base Card of the Year
Set of the Year

Along the way, I will almost certainly throw in a few more subjects as they strike my fancy. For example, I have a card in mind for Most Amusing Card of the Year, but that post may actually end up with an entirely different name — I’m still mulling it over. In addition, any Phillies news that occurs will certainly take precedence over any entries in this series. Nonetheless, I plan to have some fun with this and hope to complete the series before 2012 begins. I’ll start tomorrow with my pick for Phillies Rookie Card of the Year.

Rain Delay

Featured Card: 2009 Upper Deck Historic Firsts #HF-3, Phillie Phanatic

I was at yesterday’s game, waited out the 71-minute rain delay in its entirety and then waited around to see Brad Lidge plunk-in the winning run for the Nats. Given what I sat stood through yesterday and the amount of time the Phillies have lost to rain delays over the past four days, it somehow seemed appropriate to finally break this card out and highlight it.

The card also serves as a kind of “rain delay” placeholder for 14,000 Phillies while I work on my next multiple-card post highlighting Topps’s issues with reprinting/recycling its vintage issues. Part two of this past Wednesday’s post is coming next.