It's Officially the Offseason


Get your wood-burning stove ready. It was an action packed 2008, and if you’re a big baseball fan you were not ready for it to come to an end. But we all know that for the true baseball bleacher bum, you’re never ready to concede that it’s not baseball season.

We’ve got a lot of things planned for this offseason to keep you entertained. Some surprises. Some interviews. Some off-topic rambling about stuff that pertains to your everyday life. We’re trying to get a weekly podcast show up and running (if you think you can help us get off the ground with podcasting, send us an email to diamondhoggers_at_gmail_dot_com. We would be in debt to you forever). We will keep it rockin’ like only we know how here at Diamond Hoggers. Before we know it, there will be flowers blooming, and spring blossoms, and girls wearing short shorts once again. The crack of the bat isn’t that far off. So add us to your favorites and check back daily, you won’t be disappointed.

With 158 days until Opening Day 2009, you’ll need to do something to pass the time.

Manuel-speak

NBC ran a story today. Their lead byline was that after the big World Series victory Charlie Manuel won’t be so easy to poke fun at anymore. Guess again.

This kid actually has Charlie’s accent and mannerisms down quite well. Brownie points are earned for looking away from the camera and staring at his shoes. One might wonder, don’t kids have anything better to do with their time? I know I never did.

Well Played, Sir

We found ourselves rooting against you time and again. We’ve been doing it for a while. You went from journeyman, role-playing outfielder/afterthought to a World Series Champion. Seemingly overnight. You got big hits. You played way over your head. You did it all while looking like you had contracted some type of rare uncurable disease. Someone googled with “Jason Werth dying” as a search term and stumbled upon this blog during your triumphant run. But it was not about to stop you, was it?

Tell us, what does champagne taste like mixed with Skoal? We’ve been close many times, but have never had the honor of celebrating such a special occasion. Whats it like to have to wear swimmer’s goggles because the booze is coming down in such a frenzy? Was your mom part of the action last night? Charles Barkley. Vincent Papali. Tug Mccgraw. Now Jayson Werth. It’s like it was always meant to be.

You were one of the only Major Leaguers we didn’t suffer envy from, until last night, Jayson with a “Y”. You’re a hero now man. To some anyways. You’ll probably be entertaining some enticing contract offers soon. But will you cut your hair? Will you shave? When you go to the White House will you wear a tie? Such questions are pondered. If your name can be scratched on the epitaph of a World Series trophy, its not that far-fetched to believe ours might have been able to be as well; if just things were a bit different.

Throwing it around: Phillies World Champions Edition

The Phillies are world champions! If you’re a fan, enjoy today. You’re most likely experiencing something that I will never be lucky to feel again. What it feels like when you are the best franchise in the world’s most captivating and dominant sport. At least people from the south side of Chicago know they’re in my shoes as well.

Here is the best of what is being strung about the interwebs today, pertaining to that rowdy little victory in Philly last night:

-A pretty good post from a guy I don’t get along with, nor like. That’s when you know it’s good stuff. [Deadspin]
-The Phillies Zone goes on record. [The Phillies Zone]
-It’s Phinally party time in Philadelphia! [Sports Illustrated]
-Rays fan, you just like; took a bottle to the head and shit. [YouTube]
-Hot off the press over at Bugs. [Bugs & Cranks]
-“The difference between this Phillies team and so many of the teams of the past is that for this team, even if you wouldn’t quite let yourself believe it until you saw it, instead of waiting to see them lose we’ve been waiting to see them win.” [Phillies Flow]
-Second place, best in show, awarded to….. [Rays Index]
-Girls, 20 of them, all Phillies fans. [Uncoached]

Your 2008 World Champion Philadelphia Phillies

Game 5 part ii was not short on drama. The teams traded blows, had a runner thrown out at the plate, and the Rays stranded a runner on second in the 9th as Brad Lidge ended it with a strikeout. Philadelphia has their first baseball championship tonight since 1980. What that town must be like on South Street tonight.

So in the end, whats the take home message of these 2008 Philadelphia Phillies? They beat what seemed to be a team of destiny in the Rays. Everyone said before this series that Tampa Bay was the superior team, and I agreed; but knew Philadelphia would prevail. Experience trumps all at this level in the postseason and this was the first dance for many more of the Tampa players. Then you look at Charlie Manuel, he’s had a world’s more of postseason experience in comparison to Joe Maddon.

The difference is that this was Philly’s one ride at the top of the mountain. Tampa Bay will have more chances. Maybe they never get back to this zenith, but they will have more staying power than the Phillies.

So for Utley, Howard, Lidge, Victorino, Stairs, Hamels, and Rollins; you live on in Philadelphia sports immortality.

The baseball offseason has officially started. Get that hot-stove ready.

World Series Game 5 Rainout-Gate

Last night’s game 5 of the World Series was postponed until today. Philly fans weren’t happy about it. We’ve got people pulling for Tampa Bay that think it’s a travesty that the poor little Rays have to play in the cold, wet, damp weather because afterall; they’re used to such comfy, warm conditions. Philly fans are upset because they were ready for their victory parade. The casual baseball fan is mad because he/she doesn’t know what the hell is going on. I’ve also heard that some people lost their parlays last night because the game was rained out, so anyone who happened to bet this game lost their money in error if it was involved in a parlay.

Couple of things here:

-My friend knows I’m a rabid baseball fan. First thing he asks me is if they’ll re-start the rained out game in the 5th inning or if they’ll re-start the game. If you’re trying baseball out as an experiment or whatever or have been living in some cave all your life; then I’m happy to say that you will not have to re-watch this game as if it never happened. Game will re-start in the top of the 6th inning with the Rays batting. The reason it wasn’t a completed game in favor of one or the other is because the game is tied. Otherwise if Philly or Tampa was ahead, they could have called it a game and that would have been that. There would have been more crying.

-I’m real tired of hearing people feel sorry for the Rays. Look, these guys are professional athletes. I played ball in college and growing up in Ohio I played more games in freezing weather every year than I ever did 70 or 80 degree days. These guys would not use the weather as an excuse for their poor play. I am sure that the Rays would tell you its no excuse and if they wouldn’t they’re pussybaskets. I don’t care that they are a dome team. You learn to adapt. Ever heard the expression “be an athlete”? These guys will either get it done come rain, snow, hell, or brimstone; or they aren’t deserving of the champions label. The weather isn’t making them suck, the Phillies hitting in the clutch more than they are is making them suck.

-I hope the Rays find a way to win (their 3-4-5, especially Longoria and Pena must hit if it’s going to happen) because I am not ready to not have anymore baseball on this season. I also don’t particularly like the idea of Philadelphia natives (asswipes as it is) getting to celebrate like it’s 1980 again. It ain’t. Both of these teams are lucky that there are no premiere teams in the league this season. Yes I sound like a bitter twatbag.

Tonight it could all come to an end

You know why we’re pulling for Tampa Bay tonight? If for not other reason, then because it will push the sun up in the sky for a few more days and give us just a little more baseball to squeeze out of the year 2008. The matter at hand is that Philly can wrap things up tonight, and from the beginning of this thing we had Philly winning it in 5.

One difference we feel this year that we’ve never really felt before is that NFL football really isn’t creating a diversion making the transition from the MLB season easier. Nope, not at all. We want it to be Opening Day 2009 already. We want to see if the Reds can make it to the playoffs and if Jay Bruce can drive in 100 runs. We want to see where Adam Dunn is going to end up playing. We want to start drafting a new fantasy team now. To hell with quarterback controversies and waiting all week for 60 minutes of football action. We like baseball because it is there with you every single day. We aren’t ready to stop checking box scores or waiting all day to see the 5th guy in a rotation go up against a spot starter.

We want there to still be kids across the street from our house playing on the empty field at the park. We wanna long toss in the cold. The thing about baseball–that we love and so many others around the nation–is well, life distances you from the game sometimes. Sometimes we get tied up in our jobs or pulled in another direction in life. You get far away from that game that you love and that was at one point all that mattered to you (if you love it in the same sense we do). But the reason that baseball is the grand sport and so beloved is because when you are ready to return to it; when life slows down even for just a day, it’s that same old beautiful game. That same game that takes you to a different spot in your life, when things weren’t so busy or maddening. It’s simplistic and practical. It’s grounding. There’s something surreal and comforting about it.

For all these reasons, we wish the season could go on forever. The truth is, baseball could be over for 2008 tonight. Get ready to go crazy Philadelphia, we think Cole Hamels has it on lock down.

Tropicana Field will not die in vain. The Tampa Bay Rays do the undoable by winning game two 4-2, sending the series back to Philadelphia tied at 1 game a piece. The Phillies mounted a late rally but fell short. Charlie Manuel always looks like he has hot steaming loads of oatmeal in his pants. Scott Shields gets the win in what was a must have ballgame for Tampa. [The Heater]

Throwing it around

We’re on the cusp of the World Series with a huge game to be played tonight. We haven’t thrown it around the interwebs in a while, we’ll do so right now. Join us tonight for our Tampa/Boston game 7 liveblog. It will be better than the NFL game that is on tonight.

-Have you heard? Moneyball the movie is coming. [Variety.com]
-No clue where he is headed, but its pretty obvious Jake Peavy is on the trading block. [Yahoo]
-The Rays are staring down elimination now. [Deadspin]
-That Mets home-run-catcher-ball-guy got to go to the Tonight Show for his accomplishments. [Snaggin' Baseballs]
-Tampa Bay, win or lose, has earned one Boston fan’s respect. [Bugs & Cranks]