Friday, June 28, 2019

Series Preview - Phillies at Marlins: June 28th to June 30th

2019 Chachi 1971 Topps Missing Links #10
2019 Chachi Fan Favorites #12
Friday 7:10, Saturday 4:10 and Sunday 1:10
Marlins Park - Miami, FL

At the Ballpark:  On Saturday, the first 10,000 fans will receive a Miguel Rojas bobblehead.  Sunday is Marlins kids pullover day for the first 5,000 kids.

1971 Topps Missing Links:  Manny Muniz appeared in five games for the Phillies, all in relief, as a September call-up.  In those five games, he went 0-1 with a 6.97 ERA over 10 1/3 innings pitched.  Muniz pitched in the Phillies system between 1967 and 1972, never appearing on an official Phillies baseball card.

The Phillies Room is taking a short summer break, and semi-regular posting will resume shortly.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Game 79 - 2019 Topps Opening Day #184 Maikel Franco

Phillies 7Mets 5
Game 79 - Tuesday Night, June 25th in Philadelphia
Record - 41-38, 2nd place, 5 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Behind a Maikel Franco two-run home run in the sixth, the Phillies came from behind to win this ballgame, 7-5.

What It Means:  Franco hit his second home run in as many days, as the Phillies rode a five-run sixth inning to their second win in a row.  Postgame, the players continued to give some credit to the lucky bamboo plant Brad Miller had brought into the clubhouse.  Some of that mojo rubbed off on Miller, who followed Franco's blast with a pinch-hit home run of his own, his first as a Phillie.

What Happened:  Scott Kingery led off the game with a home run (10) and Rhys Hoskins also homered (18) in the third.  Jake Arrieta had a mediocre outing, giving up five runs on nine hits in his six innings of work.  Hector Neris recorded the final four outs of the game for his 16th save.

Featured Card:  Franco gets the card for the second game in a row.

The Phillies Room will be taking a short summer break, and semi-regular posting will return shortly.  May the lucky bamboo continue to bring the team victories.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Game 78 - 2019 Bowman #47 Maikel Franco

Phillies 13, Mets 7
Game 78 - Monday Night, June 24th in Philadelphia
Record - 40-38, 2nd place, 5 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies and Mets combined for 34 hits in this slugfest ultimately won by the Phillies, 13-7.

What It Means:  A curve ball machine was utilized in a pregame drill and Brad Miller brought a lucky bamboo plant into the clubhouse.  The seven game losing streak is over. 

What Happened:  Four Phillies homered - Jean Segura (8), Rhys Hoskins (17), Maikel Franco (10) and Jay Bruce (21).  Segura had a four hit night, while Scott Kingery, Cesar Hernandez and Franco each had three hits.

Featured Card:  Franco was re-inserted back into the line-up and immediately paid dividends, going 3 for 4 with three RBIs and raising his average to .214 in the process.

2012 Topps Heritage #336
Transactions:  Reliever Fernando Salas had his contract purchased from Lehigh Valley and Enyel De Los Santos was sent back down.  Andrew McCutchen was moved to the 60-day IL to create a spot on the 40-man roster for Salas.  A nine-year Major League veteran, Salas had been pitching for Acereros de Monclova in the Mexican League when the Phillies signed him to a minor league deal on June 13th.

His best year came in 2011 when he saved 24 games for the Cardinals and pitched to a 2.28 ERA over 68 games.  He won a World Series ring that season when the Cardinals defeated the Phillies in the N.L.D.S. and went on to beat the Rangers.  As a relief pitcher, Salas' baseball card appearances are rare, with his most recent appearance coming in the 2017 Topps Update set.

Salas is a prime candidate for a future Phillies Missing Links card, going to those Phillies players who never appeared on a Phillies baseball card.

Arrived During the 2019 Season
  • Jay Bruce - of (6/2/19) - Acquired from the Seattle Mariners with cash considerations for Jake Scheiner.
  • Brad Miller - inf (6/13/19) - Purchased from the New York Yankees.
  • Fernando Salas - rhp (6/13/19) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the Acereros de Monclova of the Mexican League.
Departed During the 2019 Season
  • Aaron Altherr - of (5/12/19) - Selected off waivers by the San Francisco Giants.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Series Preview - Mets at Phillies: June 24th to June 27th

2019 Chachi Fan Favorites #11
2019 Chachi 1971 Topps Missing Links #18
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 7:05, Thursday 1:05
Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA

Mets 37-41, 4th place in the N.L. East, 9 games behind the Braves
Phillies 39-38, 2nd place in the N.L. East, 6 1/2 games behind the Braves

Mets Probables:  Steven Matz (5-5, 4.28), Walker Lockett (0-1, 23.14), Jason Vargas (3-3, 3.75), Zack Wheeler (6-5, 4.69)
Phillies Probables:  Jake Arrieta (6-6, 4.12), Zach Eflin (6-7, 2.83), Nick Pivetta (4-2, 5.54), Aaron Nola (6-2, 4.55)

At the Ballpark:  There are some theme nights scheduled, but otherwise no giveaways during this four game series with the Mets.  Following Thursday afternoon's game, kids can go down to the field to run the bases.

Mets Leaders
Average:  Jeff McNeil - .342
Runs:  Pete Alonso - 50
Home Runs:  Pete Alonso - 27
RBIs:  Pete Alonso - 61
Stolen Bases:  Amed Rosario - 9

Wins:  Zack Wheeler - 6
ERA:  Jacob deGrom - 3.25
Strikeouts:  Jacob deGrom - 121
Saves:  Edwin Diaz - 16

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Cesar Hernandez - .275
Runs:  Andrew McCutchen - 45
Home Runs:  Rhys Hoskins - 16
RBIs:  Bryce Harper - 52
Stolen Bases:  Jean Segura - 5

Wins:  Three tied with - 6
ERA:  Zach Eflin - 2.83
Strikeouts:  Aaron Nola - 100
Saves:  Hector Neris - 15

Game 77 - 2008 Topps #67 Wes Helms

Marlins 6Phillies 4
Game 77 - Sunday Afternoon, June 23rd in Philadelphia
Record - 39-38, 2nd place, 6 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  A lifeless Phillies team was swept by the last place Marlins in this 6-4 loss.

What It Means:  The Phillies are in complete and total free fall.  Look away.

What Happened:  The Phillies scored two quick first inning runs on a Jean Segura single and then they shut it down.  Two late inning sacrifice flies accounted for the other two Phillies runs.

Enyel De Los Santos was handed the ball for a spot start, and he lasted four innings, giving up four runs on seven hits.  Edgar Garcia gave up a few more runs on a pair of Marlins home runs.

Featured Card:  The last time the Phillies were swept by the Marlins at home was back in early August 2009.  In the final game of that series, also a Sunday afternoon game, former Phillie Wes Helms capped the Marlins' 12-3 win with a two-run, ninth inning home run off struggling closer Brad Lidge.

Transactions:  Edubray Ramos was optioned to Lehigh Valley before the game to make room for De Los Santos.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Game 76 - 2019 Phillies Team Issue 2 #19 Gabe Kapler MG

Marlins 5Phillies 3
Game 76 - Saturday Night, June 22nd in Philadelphia
Record - 39-37, 2nd place, 5 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The bullpen squandered another lead and the offense stayed quiet in this latest loss to the Marlins.

What It Means:  As a lifelong Phillies fan, I'm used to these periods of absolutely horrendous play from the team.  The fact that I'm used to it by now still doesn't make it any easier once we're in the midst of one of these runs.  I find myself telling people that I "need a break" from the Phillies and fortunately with a scheduled vacation coming up, I'll get that break.

In three weeks, the Phillies went from having a two game lead on the Braves in the division to being 5 1/2 games back.  That's a lot of bad baseball to endure.

What Happened:  Bryce Harper (13) and Rhys Hoskins (16) hit back-to-back home runs in the third and Harper singled home another run in the fifth to give the Phillies a 3-1 lead.  The Marlins scored four unanswered runs in the seventh and eighth off relievers Adam Morgan and JD Hammer.

Featured Card:  In the fourth inning, Gabe Kapler was ejected for the first time in his managerial career, arguing a checked swing third strike by Scott Kingery.  F bombs were dropped, dirt was kicked, but it still didn't energize an all but lifeless team.  Kapler was in a much better mood when he signed this card for me at the recent Phillies Phestival.

Game 75 - Chase Utley Celebrated; Phils Fall to Fish

2019 Chach Greatest Moments #3
Marlins 2Phillies 1
Game 75 - Friday Night, June 21st in Philadelphia
Record - 39-26, 2nd place, 4 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  On the night the Phillies and their fans celebrated Chase Utley, the 2019 Phillies couldn't deliver any offense in a punchless 2-1 loss to the Marlins.

What It Means:  The Phillies have lost nine of their last 11 games.  Since losing Andrew McCutchen to his knee injury on June 3rd, they've gone 6-10.

What Happened:  Aaron Nola threw a gem, allowing two runs (one earned) while striking out 10 over his eight innings of work.  The Phillies offense went 2 for 12 with runners in scoring position, managing nine hits and one run.  The one run came on a Roman Quinn steal of home in the third inning after Bryce Harper drew the catcher's throw by stealing second.

Featured Card:  Similar to what they had done for Jimmy Rollins in early May, the Phillies held an impressive pre-game "retirement" ceremony for all-time Phillie great Chase Utley.  Utley gave a short but sweet speech, thanking the club, his former managers and most importantly the Phillies fans.  Before the Phillies took the field to start the game, he ran out to second base one last time while Led Zeppelin's Kashmir blared throughout the ballpark.  The Phillies know how to do these things right.

Transactions:  Adam Morgan was activated from the Injured List and Cole Irvin was sent back down to Lehigh Valley.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Game 74 - 2019 Topps Opening Day #22 Bryce Harper

Nationals 7Phillies 4
Game 74 - Thursday Night, June 20th in Washington
Record - 39-35, 2nd place, 4 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Nick Pivetta couldn't escape the sixth inning and the Phillies couldn't complete the comeback in this 7-4 loss.

What It Means:  The Nationals swept the Phillies in this shortened (by rain) three-game series and now the Phils come back home for a seven-game homestand against the Marlins and Mets.

What Happened:  Jean Segura tied the game at 3-3 in the fifth with a solo home run (7).  The tie was broken in the sixth when Anthony Rendon hit a solo home run off Pivetta, and then Edubray Ramos allowed a three-run home run to Victor Robles after Pivetta had departed.  Jay Bruce had a three-hit night, including his 20th home run of the year in the seventh.

Featured Card:  In his second trip back to D.C., Bryce Harper went 1 for 9 with an RBI, four walks and three strikeouts.

Transactions:  After returning from the Injured List the night before, Pat Neshek found himself back on the list with a left hamstring strain suffered in Wednesday night's loss.  Ranger Suarez, who had been the 26th man for the double header, remained on the roster.

Game 73 - 2019 Topps Big League #372 N.L. WHIP Leaders

Nationals 2Phillies 0 (Game 2)
Game 73 - Wednesday Night, June 19th in Washington
Record - 39-34, 2nd place, 4 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  A pair of Nationals solo home runs was all Max Scherzer needed as the Phillies were easily handled by the ace in this 2-0 loss.

What It Means:  It's not going well.

What Happened:  Jake Arrieta pitched well, but Scherzer pitched better.  Arrieta went six innings allowing a home run to Brian Dozier.  Pat Neshek made his first appearance since coming off the injured list, allowed an eighth inning home run to Victor Robles.  Neshek then departed with a hamstring injury.

Featured Card:  The Phillies managed four hits off Scherzer, who was pitching with a black eye and a broken nose after he had bunted a ball off his face in a Tuesday pre-game exercise.  Scherzer and Aaron Nola share a trio of league leaders cards in the Topps Big League set, and it doesn't look as if they'll repeat the pairing in 2020 Topps releases.

Game 72 - 2017 Topps Heritage #329 Brad Miller

Nationals 6Phillies 2 (Game 1)
Game 72 - Wednesday Afternoon, June 19th in Washington
Record - 39-33, 2nd place, 3 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Patrick Corbin bested Zach Eflin as the Phillies offense fell flat again.

What It Means:  Summarizing these games has felt more like a chore than fun, so I've been avoiding it.  For purposes of completeness, here we go.  After two days of rain outs, the Phillies and Nationals resumed their schedule with a Wednesday day-night double header.

What Happened:  Eflin allowed three runs (two earned) in his six innings of work, but Corbin was better allowing a run on four hits.  The Phillies were 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position.  The Nationals put the game away when Brian Dozier and Gerardo Parra both homered off Cole Irvin in the eighth.

Featured Card:  Brad Miller collected his first Phillies RBI with triple in the ninth.  He's the 15th player in franchise history with the Miller surname, joining Bert (1897), Bob (1949-1958), Cyclone (1884), Ed (1948-1949), Elmer (1929), Hugh (1911), John (1920-1921), Keith (1988-1989), Leo (1923), Ralph (1920-1921), Roy (1912-1913), Russ (1927-1928), Stu (1956) and Trever (2000).

Transactions:  Ranger Suarez was added to the roster as the 26th man for the double header.
1958 Topps #326
1989 Topps #268

Friday, June 21, 2019

Series Preview - Marlins at Phillies: June 21st to June 23rd

2019 Chachi Fan Favorites #10
2019 Chachi 1971 Missing Links #3
Friday 7:05, Saturday 4:05 and Sunday 1:05
Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA

Marlins 27-46, 5th place in the N.L. East, 12 games behind the Braves
Phillies 39-35, 2nd place in the N.L. East, 4 1/2 games behind the Braves

Marlins Probables:  Sandy Alcantara (3-6, 3.73), Elieser Hernandez (0-2, 3.95), Jordan Yamamoto (2-0, 0.00)
Phillies Probables:  Aaron Nola (6-1, 4.89), Vince Velasquez (2-4, 4.71), Enyel De Los Santos (0-0, 6.43)

At the Ballpark:  The Phillies will pay tribute to Chase Utley in a special pregame ceremony tonight, with all fans receiving an Utley bobble head modeled after his appearance from the 2008 World Series Parade.  Following Saturday's game, country star Brett Eldredge will perform a concert on the field.  And on Sunday, all kids will receive a Rhys Hoskins wiffle ball and bat set.

Marlins Leaders
Average:  Miguel Rojas - .275
Runs:  Curtis Granderson - 27
Home Runs:  Jorge Alfaro and Brian Anderson - 9
RBIs:  Brian Anderson - 32
Stolen Bases:  Miguel Rojas - 5

Wins:  Pablo Lopez - 5
ERA:  Trevor Richards - 3.54
Strikeouts:  Caleb Smith - 82
Saves:  Sergio Romo - 13

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Jean Segura - .269
Runs:  Andrew McCutchen - 45
Home Runs:  Rhys Hoskins - 15
RBIs:  Bryce Harper - 50
Stolen Bases:  Cesar Hernandez and Jean Segura - 4

Wins:  Three tied with - 6
ERA:  Zach Eflin - 2.83
Strikeouts:  Aaron Nola - 90
Saves:  Hector Neris - 15

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

2019 Chachi #48 Brad Miller

Bradley Austin Miller

Bats:  Left  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'2"  Weight:  215
Opening Day Age:  29
Born:  October 18, 1989, Orlando, FL
Drafted:  Selected by the Texas Rangers in the 39th round of the June 2008 draft
Teams:  Seattle Mariners 2013-2015; Tampa Bay Rays 2016-2018; Milwaukee Brewers 2018; Cleveland Indians 2019; Phillies 2019
Acquired:  Purchased from the New York Yankees, June 13, 2019
Contract Status:  Signed through 2019

2013 Topps Update #US224
First Topps Flagship Base Card:  2013 Topps Update #US224
First Phillies Card:  N/A
First Phillies Team Issued Card:  N/A
First Topps Phillies Flagship Base Card:  N/A
Newest Card Added:  N/A

0 - Miller baseball cards in my collection per The Phillies Room Checklist as of 6/17/19.

Complete Chachi Checklist
2019 Chachi #48

2019 Chachi Set Checklist
Virtual Phillies Wall - Featuring Current Active Roster

Monday, June 17, 2019

Series Preview - Phillies at Nationals: June 17th to June 20th

1971 Topps #659
1971 Topps #628
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 7:05
Nationals Park - Washington, DC

Phillies 39-32, 2nd place in the N.L. East, 2 1/2 games behind the Braves
Nationals 33-38, 4th place in the N.L. East, 8 1/2 games behind the Braves

Phillies Probables:  Jake Arrieta (6-5, 4.31), Zach Eflin (6-6, 2.81), Nick Pivetta (4-1, 5.00), Aaron Nola (6-1, 4.89)
Nationals Probables:  Patrick Corbin (5-5, 4.11), Erick Fedde (1-1, 3.68), Max Scherzer (5-5, 2.81), Stephen Strasburg (7-4, 3.75)

At the Ballpark:  There are theme nights scheduled for each of these games, requiring a special ticket, but otherwise there are no giveaways for this series.

Phillies Leaders
Average:  J.T. Realmuto - .277
Runs:  Andrew McCutchen - 45
Home Runs:  Rhys Hoskins - 15
RBIs:  Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins - 49
Stolen Bases:  Cesar Hernandez and Jean Segura - 4

Wins:  Three tied with - 6
ERA:  Zach Eflin - 2.81
Strikeouts:  Aaron Nola - 90
Saves:  Hector Neris - 15

Nationals Leaders
Average:  Anthony Rendon - .321
Runs:  Anthony Rendon - 52
Home Runs:  Anthony Rendon - 16
RBIs:  Anthony Rendon - 50
Stolen Bases:  Trea Turner - 11

Wins:  Stephen Strasburg - 7
ERA:  Max Scherzer - 2.81
Strikeouts:  Max Scherzer - 136
Saves:  Sean Doolittle - 14

Game 71 - Father's Day at the IronPigs; Phillies Game Skipped

2019 Chachi Ballpark Visits #17
2019 Chachi Ballpark Visits #11
2019 Chachi Ballpark Visits #15
While Jenna took Ben to a family graduation party in Quakertown, Doug and I travelled a little further north to take in an IronPigs game in Allentown.  The rain held out until after the game was over, and it was a wonderful way to spend Father's Day.  Doug continued his minor league ballpark tradition of (a) getting many autographs and (b) getting a ball tossed to him at some point during the game.

Unfortunately, starting pitcher Enyel De Los Santos gave up a trio of home runs (two to Bobby Bradley) and the Clippers, the top affiliate for the Indians, won the game 3-1.  Following the game, the IronPigs opened up the outfield for a Father's Day catch on the field, which was the highlight of the afternoon for both of us.  The afternoon outing merited another 10 cards in the growing Ballpark Visits insert set.  Our next stop is scheduled for Lakewood in July to take in a BlueClaws game.

2019 Chachi Ballpark Visits #8
2019 Chachi Ballpark Visits #10
2019 Chachi Ballpark Visits #13
2019 Chachi Ballpark Visits #16
2019 Chachi Ballpark Visits #9
2019 Chachi Ballpark Visits #12
2019 Chachi Ballpark Visits #14
Meanwhile in Atlanta, the Phillies had a very bad day.

Braves 15Phillies 1
Game 71 - Sunday Afternoon, June 16th in Atlanta
Record - 39-32, 2nd place, 2 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The bullpen game concept completely backfired as the Braves demolished each Phillies pitcher presented to them.

What It Means:  With J.T. Realmuto and Jay Bruce out of the line-up with minor injuries, and no reliable fifth starter in sight, this was a massacre of a ballgame.  Moves will need to be made if the Phillies hope to catch the Braves, and they'll enter the week looking up and two and half games back.

What Happened:  Only utility player Sean Rodriguez, who pitched a scoreless eighth inning, escaped without allowing a Braves run.  Vince Velasquez (2 1/3 innings, 4 runs), Cole Irvin (3 2/3 innings, 6 runs) and Jerad Eickhoff (1 inning, 5 runs) were all torched.

Transactions:  Pat Neshek was activated from the Injured List and Irvin was recalled from the IronPigs.  Ranger Suarez and Edgar Garcia were sent back down, but neither arrived in Allentown in time for Sunday's IronPigs game.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Game 70 - 2019 Topps #331 Cesar Hernandez

Phillies 6Braves 5
Game 70 - Friday Night, June 15th in Atlanta
Record - 39-31, 2nd place, 1 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  In a much needed win, Cesar Hernandez came through with a clutch two-run single in the ninth to send the Phillies to a 6-5 victory.

What It Means:  The Phillies would try to go for the series win on Sunday afternoon.  (Spoiler alert:  It didn't go well.)

What Happened:  The Braves took a 5-4 lead in the fifth on a three-run home from Josh Donaldson that chased Aaron Nola from the game.  Nola's struggles continue, and he lasted only 4 1/3 innings, giving up five runs on six hits.  In the ninth, Scott Kingery started the rally with a single and Sean Rodriguez laid down a nice sacrifice bunt that was thrown into right field by pitcher Luke Jackson.  With Kingery at third and Rodriguez at second, Hernandez delivered his big hit.

Hector Neris redeemed himself with a scoreless ninth inning, recording his 15th save.

Featured Card:  Hernandez also hit his 7th home run in the fourth to give the Phillies, at the time, a 4-2 lead.

Game 69 - 1983 Fleer #169 Ron Reed

Braves 9Phillies 8
Game 69 - Thursday Night, June 14th in Atlanta
Record - 38-31, 2nd place, 2 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Leading by a score of 7-2 heading to the bottom of the seventh, the Phillies bullpen allowed seven Braves runs in the final three innings, losing the game in horrendously painful fashion, 9-8.

What It Means:  So much for a series sweep.

What Happened:  Everything was right with the world as the Phillies had home runs from Bryce Harper (12), Scott Kingery (8) and Rhys Hoskins (15).  Nick Pivetta was on the mound and cruising towards a victory and then everything fell apart.  Brian McCann did the most late damage, homering in the seventh and then hitting the bloop single in the ninth that would score the tying and winning runs.

2018 Topps #478
Hector Neris had been fairly dependable so far this season, but he could only retire two batters in the ninth before the Braves scored the three runs they needed to win the game.

Featured Card:  I was surprised to hear this was Neris' first blown save of the season, as I would have sworn he had been tagged with a few other blown saves.  That started me wondering - who has the most blown saves in franchise history, at least since the stat became official?  I was surprised to find out that Ron Reed holds the record with 31 blown saves.  Neris is fairly far down on the list with 11, and the list shown below presents every Phillies reliever with at least 10 blown saves.

Transactions:  On Thursday afternoon, the Phillies acquired utilityman Brad Miller from the Yankees for cash considerations and he was activated prior to this game.  I'm not that familiar with Miller and looking at his career statistics, I was surprised to see he had hit 30 home runs for the Rays in 2016.  He's a career .240 hitter over seven seasons with the Mariners, Rays, Brewers and Indians.

Miller appeared in a decent amount of 2018 baseball card releases, but it doesn't look as if he's made it into any 2019 sets yet.

Highlights from the 2019 Phillies Phestival (Part 2) #StrikeOutALS

2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #20
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #24
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #25
Yesterday, I include a summary of our time at this year's Phillies Phestival benefitting the ALS Association.  The first half of the cards I created to commemorate our day were included in that post, and this post gathers the remaining cards.

We're already anxiously awaiting next year's event!

2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #12
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #13
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #15
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #17
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #18
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #21
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #22
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #23
Phillies Phestival Memory Lane
2017 Part 1 and Part 2
2018 Part 1 and Part 2
2019 Part 1 and Part 2

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Highlights from the 2019 Phillies Phestival (Part 1) #StrikeOutALS

2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #1
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #19
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #16
On Thursday afternoon, we attended the annual Phillies Phestival, which raises money in the fight against ALS.  One of my collecting regrets (and a regret as a lifelong Phillies fan) is that we never even considered going to this event until three years ago.  As rookies in 2017, we meandered through the ballpark using our pre-assigned autograph tickets and paying cash for autographs when the lines died down.  In 2018, I attended the event on behalf of my employer, which unbeknownst to me, had been a long-time sponsor of the Phestival.  I became involved with the Philadelphia ALS Chapter over the past few years partly in tribute to our friend Bob who passed away in January 2019 after a courageous battle with the disease.  I'm looking forward to continuing (and increasing) my involvement in the coming years.

This year, we again attended as sponsors and it's the first year we were fully prepared to collect autographs as efficiently as possible while still having fun.  Sponsors are given a button to wear, which allows us to stand in any autograph line.  Within the sponsors packet were explicit instructions informing us we couldn't go to the front of any line, which makes complete sense, and that we couldn't go to the Bryce Harper photo booth.

2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #2
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #5
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #7
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #8
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #14
Similar to the past two years, I created a special set of Chachi cards to commemorate our day and the autographs we hunted down.  Here's a summary of what and how we did:
  • The sponsors assemble in the Diamond Club and my company's name was called around 2:45.  We made our way down to the field to meet with Phil Gosselin and Jay Bruce who would be signing autographs at our designated station.  I let Bruce know it was great not to boo him this season, and my son Doug talked to Gosselin about their mutual history with the All-Star Baseball Academy.  Gosselin is an alumni and Doug is currently on one of their travel teams.
  • 2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #3
    2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #4
    2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #6
  • We had a plan.  Doug and I took the left side of the ballpark while Jenna and Ben took the right side.  Doug and I started in the Hall of Fame Club, where the lines were very short to start and some of the tables had no lines.  We walked right into the suite where Gabe Kapler was signing and had two people in front of us.  Kapler's a fascinating guy.  Very intense, very polite, very engaging and he made his hat work.

  • Jenna and Ben made Aaron Nola their first target, so they had a longer wait to get started.  Doug and I had cleared four tables by the time they were getting Nola's autographs.
  • All the players were engaging and friendly, and even though there was a loose "no posed photographs" policy in place this year, pretty much everyone stopped to look and smile while we were taking pictures.  Rhys Hoskins said he remembered being in our Christmas card, although he may have just been being polite.
  • Ben's highlight was getting Maikel Franco to sign the back of his favorite Franco t-shirt.  He also talked to the broadcast team for awhile.  When he asked why they didn't have any cards to sign, Scott Franzke said it was because the Phillies couldn't get them all together at the same time.  He was then invited by Ben Davis to sign their table cloth, and he obliged.
  • Larry Andersen had run out of photo cards by the time we got to his station (with John Kruk and Mickey Morandini) so he offered Doug a cookie instead of an autograph.  Doug took him up on the offer.
  • I was bummed that none of the newer Phillies players had any photo cards produced for them to sign.  I had come prepared with a list of potential exclusive photo cards - Bruce, Edgar Garcia, JD Hammer, Adam Haseley and Ranger Suarez - but there were no new cards to be had.  Bruce and Gosselin had what looked like regular paper at their station with their names printed at the top.
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #9
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #10
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #11
  • When the autograph session time expired, we had visited all but three tables - J.T. Realmuto (by choice since we had already received his autographs in May), Charlie Manual (since we forgot to bring anything for him to sign) and Pat Neshek/Jim Gott.  The Neshek/Gott omission was a symptom of simply running out of time.  The only table we doubled up on was Scott Kingery's as we both had time to visit with him as the clock was ticking down.
  • We met up with fellow collector Steve and his son in time to stand in line for our mystery grab bags.  Our five bag haul was decent, with baseballs signed by Roman Quinn (two), Nick Pivetta, and Hector Neris.  We received a pair of Raul Ibanez bobble heads, three solar Liberty Bells, a Jimmy Rollins World Series ring and Jenna got her Mother's Day fleece she had wanted from the May giveaway.
We had a blast, the Phillies raised over $768,000 to aid in the fight against ALS, and we're already making our plans for next year's Phestival!  I've share Part 2 with the rest of the cards from the event in a post coming soon.

The almost completed checklist
Our grab bag haul
Phillies Phestival Memory Lane
2017 Part 1 and Part 2
2018 Part 1 and Part 2
2019 Part 1 and Part 2