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PostHeaderIcon Phillies sign Burnett to 1-year deal

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A.J. Burnett will pitch for the Phillies in 2014 after signing a one-year, $16 million deal on Wednesday. (AP Photo)

A.J. Burnett will pitch for the Phillies in 2014 after signing a one-year, $16 million deal on Wednesday. (AP Photo)

In the wake of early spring injury news, the Phillies finally made a splash in the offseason. The Phillies and pitcher A.J. Burnett have agreed to a one-year, $16 million deal for the 2014 season.

Burnett has been on the free-agent market for months and was even debating retirement at one point. It was rumored the only team he would pitch for was the Pittsburgh Pirates, Burnett’s 2013 team. However, the Phillies managed to stay in the race for the right-hander, and signed him on Wednesday.

Burnett is a career 147-132 with a 3.99 ERA and 2,180 strikeouts in his 15-year career. The 37-year-old was 10-11 last season with a 3.30 ERA and 209 strikeouts.

Burnett has also pitched for the Marlins, Blue Jays and Yankees in his career.

The signing comes in the wake of news that Cole Hamels will not be ready on Opening Day due to shoulder tendinitis. Hamels hopes to be ready for the first week of the season.

That said, the Phillies, who already lacked starting pitching depth, certainly needed to make a desperate push for another starter, and preferably one that is a household name.

Burnett fits the bill and manages to give the Phillies an additional boost to the rotation.

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PostHeaderIcon Report: Moyer, Stairs to join Phillies broadcast team

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Former Phillies and members of the 2008 World Champions Jamie Moyer and Matt Stairs will reportedly join the Phillies broadcast booth in 2014. (Photo Courtesy of Philly.com)

Former Phillies and members of the 2008 World Champions Jamie Moyer and Matt Stairs will reportedly join the Phillies broadcast booth in 2014. (Photo Courtesy of Philly.com)

About a week ago, it was reported that the Phillies could go with two new faces in the broadcast booth to replace Chris Wheeler and Gary Matthews. When the pair was re-assigned to other positions within the organization, it was reported that Comcast would choose one person to serve as color analyst with Tom McCarthy in the Phillies television broadcast booth.

It appears that just days before spring training begins, the Phillies have made their decision. Former Phillies and members of the 2008 World Champions Jamie Moyer and Matt Stairs will join the broadcast team in 2014 according to Dennis Deitch of the Delco Daily Times. Read the rest of this entry »

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PostHeaderIcon Baseball and the American Tradition: Day 2

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Abner Doubleday is the believed creator of baseball. But some critics believe that is a myth. One of baseball's greatest legends is the origin of the game. (Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons)

Abner Doubleday is the believed creator of baseball. But some critics believe that is a myth. One of baseball’s greatest legends is the origin of the game. (Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons)

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to actually sit down and write about this, but I’m finally making the time.

The weather has been killing us. Typical of baseball sometimes, the weather has forced us to postpone a few classes. Our second week was finally held last Wednesday but some things have gotten in the way. This week, we had to postpone another week.

Day 2 of Baseball and the American Tradition was all about the origins of the game of baseball.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: Abner Doubleday invented the game of baseball in Cooperstown, N.Y. in 1839. As far as many of us know, that is the story of how baseball was born.

However, there is far more to it than that story. Read the rest of this entry »

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PostHeaderIcon Hall of Fame voting is child’s play, a flawed process

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Dan Le Batard relinquished his Hall of Fame vote to Deadspin. The Baseball Writers Association of America punished Le Batard by permanently stripping him of his vote. (Photo Courtesy of the SportsFanJournal.com)

Dan Le Batard relinquished his Hall of Fame vote to Deadspin. The Baseball Writers Association of America punished Le Batard by permanently stripping him of his vote. (Photo Courtesy of the SportsFanJournal.com)

Every year, the Baseball Writers Association of America sends out the annual Hall of Fame ballot to esteemed media members who have the privilege of decided who deserves enshrinement in Baseball’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. In the last two years, the process may have proven more flawed than ever before.

Last year, when the writers elected no players to the Hall in the first year of eligibility for the likes of Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa, I couldn’t agree more with what they had done.

There is a distinct honor to being a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer. Bonds, Clemens and Sosa had garnered too much negative attention to the game to be honored in such a way. The speculation killed everyone else’s chances. Craig Biggio finished his career with 3,000+ hits. How do we know he was clean? Mike Piazza may be the best hitting catcher ever. How do we know he was clean? Curt Schilling may be the greatest postseason pitcher of all-time. How do we know he was clean?

We don’t. That’s where this discussion begins. Read the rest of this entry »

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PostHeaderIcon Leading candidates for Phillies vacant broadcasting job

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Ricky Bottalico could be the leading candidate to enter the Phillies broadcast booth in 2014. (Courtesy of CSN Philly.com)

Ricky Bottalico could be the leading candidate to enter the Phillies broadcast booth in 2014. (Courtesy of CSN Philly.com)

In the wake of the Phillies announcement that Chris Wheeler and Gary Matthews stepping down from their roles with the Phillies broadcast team, the Phillies will have a vacancy to fill in the booth. Right away, a few candidates come to mind.

First off, Comcast has the say on who they want to hire, but will consult the Phillies before making the final decision. They would like to replace both Wheeler and Matthews with one color analyst for the television broadcasts. Read the rest of this entry »

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PostHeaderIcon Wheeler, Matthews out of broadcast booth; does Comcast have greater say?

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Chris Wheeler and Gary Matthews will no longer be members of the Phillies broadcast team in 2014. (Photo Courtesy of The Zo Zone/Phillies.com)

Chris Wheeler and Gary Matthews will no longer be members of the Phillies broadcast team in 2014. (Photo Courtesy of Todd Zolecki/The Zo Zone, Phillies.com)

On Wednesday, the news that longtime Phillies broadcaster Chris Wheeler and analyst Gary Matthews would be making an exit from the broadcast booth. The news was a big deal, but not for the reason everyone made it to be.

The news was greeted with celebration, a sense that both Wheeler and Matthews were insults to broadcasting.

The change was long overdue, there’s no question about it. Wheeler had started at the position in 1977. At the time, he was working in public relations with the team and took his wealth of knowledge about baseball and the Phillies and brought it to the broadcast.

I never hated Wheeler. At times, I didn’t agree with him, and towards the end, his comments were often spoken after the fact, as if the fans watching weren’t intelligent enough on their own to figure it out for themselves. Matthews was entertaining, no doubt about it, but he didn’t seem to add insight. He was a former Phillie there to provide color to the broadcast and that he did.

The change is even bigger news because of the Phillies recent TV deal with Comcast SportsNet. The decision was not made by the Phillies. CSN Philly made the call to change the broadcasts. Read the rest of this entry »

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PostHeaderIcon Three for Cooperstown: Maddux, Glavine, Thomas to enter Hall in 2014

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Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine will be enshrined in Cooperstown this July, being elected on the first ballot of eligibility. (Barbara Jean Germano/USA Today)

Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine will be enshrined in Cooperstown this July, being elected on the first ballot of eligibility. (Barbara Jean Germano/USA Today)

The National Baseball Hall of Fame will welcome three new player inductees to join the three managers already announced. Atlanta Braves pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine and White Sox slugger Frank Thomas received the call to the Hall on Wednesday as part of the Class of 2014.

Maddux played 23 seasons from 1986 to 2008, 11 of them with the Braves. He finished with a 355-227 record, a 3.16 ERA and 3,371 strikeouts that included numerous playoff appearances and a World Series in 1995. He was an eight-time All-Star, four-time Cy Young Award winner and led the league in wins three times and ERA four times. He was also an 18-time Gold Glove winner, the most of any pitcher and the most of any player at any position in the history of baseball. He received 97.2 percent of the vote, easily eclipsing the 75 percent requirement and falling just short of Tom Seaver’s all-time percentage mark with 98.8.

Joining Maddux is his longtime teammate Tom Glavine. Glavine pitched with the Braves and Mets in 22 seasons. Glavine went 305-203 in his career with a 3.54 ERA and 2,607 strikeouts. Also a member of the 1995 World Champion Braves, he was a two-time Cy Young Award winner, a 10-time All-Star and also the World Series MVP in 1995. He also led the league in wins five times. He finished with 91.9 percent of the vote.

Thomas played 16 of his 19 seasons with the White Sox. A two-time MVP and a five-time All-Star, Thomas hit 521 home runs in his career. During the heart of the steroid era, it wasn’t just all power to Thomas’ game. He finished his career with a .301 batting average, driving in 1,704 runs in his career as well. Thomas wasn’t as unanimous of a choice, but did receive more than enough of the votes, getting 83.7 percent. Read the rest of this entry »

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PostHeaderIcon Judgment Day: Selections for this year’s Hall of Fame ballot

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Greg Maddux is a first-year candidate on the Hall of Fame ballot. Results will be unveiled on Wednesday. (Bob Rosato/Sports Illustrated)

Greg Maddux is a first-year candidate on the Hall of Fame ballot. Results will be unveiled on Wednesday. (Bob Rosato/Sports Illustrated)

Every year, the Baseball Writers of America Association submits their ballots and casts votes for the players they believe should enter the Hall of Fame. Last year, perhaps the most-anticipated list of candidates was unveiled and not a single player entered the Hall of Fame.

Here’s what we know for the July 2014 ceremony: three managers – Tony La Russa, Bobby Cox and Joe Torre – are all going to be inductees. The players that have the chance to join them will be revealed later today at 2 p.m.

The list grows every year, with many new faces all warranting serious consideration. Again, a lot comes into context with the voters: who is under suspicion of steroid use, cheating, violating the integrity of the game.

I have seen several ballots that writers have now revealed in the coming days leading to the announcement and I agree that everyone has their own opinion to decide how they want to vote and have to give the benefit of the doubt to those under speculation. But that doesn’t mean certain players don’t appear more suspicious than others.

Last year, I listed seven players I would have voted into the Hall of Fame. Obviously, I was way off with my selection, but in some cases, on par with many of the ballots cast by the most-esteemed writers.

So this year, I’m doing it again. Here are the players I would vote into the Hall of Fame. Read the rest of this entry »

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PostHeaderIcon Phillies, CSN Philly reach extension on TV deal

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The Phillies and Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia have agreed to an extension that will keep the Phillies broadcasts on the station well beyond 2015. (Photo courtesy of NBC Sports Group)

The Phillies and Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia have agreed to an extension that will keep the Phillies broadcasts on the station well beyond 2015. (Photo courtesy of NBC Sports Group)

The Phillies television broadcasting contract with Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia was set to expire after the 2015 season. But the Phillies and CSN have extended the partnership well into the future.

According to David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News, the Phillies and CSN Philly have agreed to a long-term extension that will keep the Phillies on their airwaves “well beyond 2015.” A spokesperson for CSN Philly confirmed the news with Murphy, but would not offer terms of the deal.

There has been a lot of hoopla about the Phillies impending TV deal mainly due to the funding they would get as a result of selling the broadcasting rights. In the previous contract, the Phillies made approximately $35 million each season.

Many teams in Major League Baseball have gone in this direction, starting with the New York Yankees and YES Network. The Red Sox, Rangers, Dodgers and Angels have all joined the teams that have significant TV broadcasting deals.

The source also confirmed that the length of the deal is in the range of 25 years and will end the Phillies long-time partnership with WPHL-17. CSN Philly’s partnership with NBC Sports will likely mean some games are broadcast locally on NBC stations in the Delaware Valley, likely the similar Sunday schedule that PHL had in previous years.

While the terms of the deal were not revealed, the Dodgers reached a similar 25-year TV deal earlier this year with a value in the range of $7 billion.

The Phillies and CSN Philly have had a partnership since the incarnation of the network in 1997. More details about scheduling will be known in the coming months.

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PostHeaderIcon One Look Back: The Top 10 moments of 2013

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Freddy Galvis' walk-off home run off Aroldis Chapman was one of the highlights of a down year for the Phillies. (Kevin Durso/Phillies Network)

Freddy Galvis’ walk-off home run off Aroldis Chapman was one of the highlights of a down year for the Phillies. (Kevin Durso/Phillies Network)

As the Philadelphia Phillies downward spiral continues, it isn’t hard to look back on 2013 and say good riddance. There isn’t a lot to look forward to and right about now there isn’t a lot of fond memories to look back on.

2013 did provide some false hope. Even in 2012, when the Phillies five-year playoff run ended, they managed to still be somewhat in the race in September. In this case, a strong finish to the first-half of the season made it seem the Phillies still had something left. That wasn’t the case.

Here is the 2013 season: the good, the bad, the happy, the sad and everything in between. Instead of a top-10 games list, this is a top-10 moments list, in reverse order. Read the rest of this entry »

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