Archive for February, 2009

Blog for Us, and Win

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

We want you to be able to follow your favorite former BlueClaws players, all year long, and we’ve partnered up with another site to help. BlueClaws Blog is giving you a chance to get a free three-month subscription, a $24.95 value, to PhillyBaseballNews.com, and we’re opening up our blog to help. You can write a blog post for us, and we’ll give you the subscription in return.

  • Why are you a Phillies fan?
  • Who are your favorite former BlueClaws players?
  • How did you become a BlueClaws fan?
  • What are your thoughts on the Phillies heading into 2009?
  • Anything Phillies or BlueClaws related is fair game.

Write up a post for us, and email it to ggiombarrese@blueclaws.com. We’ll post it to BlueClaws Blog and you’ll get a three-month subscription to PhillyBaseballNews.com. Simple as that.

Wear it and Win!

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

Buster ParadeIt’s baaaaaaack! Wear it and Win returns in 2009! At four area St. Patrick’s Day Parades, if our staff sees you wearing any BlueClaws apparel, you will be given FREE tickets to Opening Day on April 9th.

The parade schedule is as follows:

  • March 1st – Belmar St. Patrick’s Day Parade
  • March 14th – Seaside Heights St. Patrick’s Day Parade
  • March 21st – Highlands St. Patrick’s Day Parade
  • March 28th – Keansburg St. Patrick’s Day Parade

We’ll see you at the parade, and we will see you at Opening Day! 

BREAKING NEWS: Kids to Eat Free at EVERY 2009 BlueClaws Home Game

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Kids Eat FreeYesterday, we promised you big news, and here it is. Just across the presses, the BlueClaws and the Trenton Thunder have partnered to provide the biggest value package for families in Minor League Baseball history, as all children 12 and under will eat for free at each club’s 2009 home games.

“We want to bring some joy back to Jersey,” said Joe Finley, President of both ballclubs. “Our teams are an important part of their respective communities, and this is our way of helping everyone in both areas.”

To read the full release, click below…

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70 in 70: Number 51

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

BluePenOur 70 in 70 countdown to Opening Day continues. Just 51 days to go until the BlueClaws opener, and here’s a great chance to talk about the BlueClaws BluePen, our answer to the Monster Seats, Dawg Pound, or Cameron Crazies.

51 seats in the first three rows of the BluePen, which is located down the right field line in section 101, right behind the BlueClaws bullpen. Each BluePen seat, which will have a special seatback, can be ordered individually or as part of a group. The package comes with the following:

  • Seat just behind the BlueClaws bullpen
  • $10 gift card, for use anywhere in ballpark
  • Special BluePen rally towel
  • Chance to participate in BluePen-only promotions
  • Chance to win a BluePen-only prize each night

For more information or to order today, call the BlueClaws Ticket Office at 732-901-7000 and press option 3.

Note: This was NOT the big news we referenced in the previous post. Stay tuned for that later.

Big News Tuesday

Monday, February 16th, 2009

Breaking NewsJust a quick heads up, we have some big news coming to this space on Tuesday. Be sure to check back. You won’t be disappointed.

Minor League Memories: Part Six

Monday, February 16th, 2009

Our Minor League Memories feature continues with a look at some more wacky weather. For the past collections of our favorite memories, click here.

For me…sunny skies, maybe a few clouds to offer some relief, a temperature of 78 degrees and a light wind blowing out to left field. That sets the scene for a perfect day at the park. Maybe you like it a little warmer, with no clouds in sight, or maybe a bit cooler with no wind. However you like the weather at the ballpark, you don’t want it like this.

Too hot:
One summer in Hagerstown for Group Sales Manager Julie Goldberg was a bit uncomfortable. Much like you can’t control what ping-pong ball will be pulled each night in the lottery; you can’t what Mother Nature will have in store for you on any given day.

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Q&A: Kyle Drabek (Part Two)

Monday, February 16th, 2009

Former BlueClaws pitcher Kyle Drabek took a few minutes last week to talk with BlueClaws Blog about his 2008 season and his future with the organization. Part one of the interview can be found here

Question: How was your experience in the Hawai’i Winter League? 

Kyle Drabek: It was great, I met a bunch of new guys and learned a lot of new stuff; being able to play there was just a great experience. I was able to come back and get some more innings in and I think that really helped my arm out a lot. 

Q: Did you get to experience any of the Hawaiian culture? What were some of the more interesting things you did in Hawai’i? 

KD: I really just went to the beach a lot, we had two kids from Hawai’i that were on my team and they would take us around and show us a bunch of stuff. However, I did go to Pearl Harbor which was a great experience. 

Q: What’s your best pitch right now, and what is something that you are working on for the upcoming season? 

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70 in 70: Number 52

Monday, February 16th, 2009

FirstEnergy Park70 in 70 rolls on, just 52 days away from the 2009 opener on April 9th. Today, we note that the BlueClaws in their history have had a 52 crowds of over 8,200 in just eight short years at the Jersey Shore. If you back it up to 8,000 the number jumps up to 81.

The BlueClaws have also led the South Atlantic League in attendance in each season of play, and in 2007, became the fastest team in SAL or New Jersey history to reach 3 million fans. This year: 4 million.

Couldn’t do it without you guys, the best fans in baseball.

Thanks. Back later.

Video of the Week: Who’s Bored?

Sunday, February 15th, 2009

Someone is ready for the season.

Spring Training Preview w/ David Murphy

Sunday, February 15th, 2009

With Phillies pitchers and catchers now in Clearwater for Spring Training, we had the chance to talk with David Murphy, who covers the Phillies for the Philadelphia Daily News.

Spring Training LogoQuestion: How would you handicap the Phillies fifth starter competition?

David Murphy: I think JA Happ is the slight favorite. But really I think that any of the four can play himself into that role, though I would have doubts about Carrasco’s chances. I just think the Phillies want to see him down in AAA for another season, or at least a half season.

Chan-Ho Park pitched well last year, and quit the South Korean team to concentrate on winning a spot. The Phillies were sincere about letting him compete for a spot, but with Romero suspended, he is probably needed in the pen. If he proves he’s the most capable, they’ll put him in the rotation, but if it’s even, they’ll go to Happ or Kendrick.

Q: Do you think Jason Donald has a shot to make the team?

DM: I do. He’s been down here working out at second and third, which he hasn’t done except in the Arizona Fall League. It comes down to whether they can trust him in the field. I wouldn’t say he’s likely to make it, but the Phillies are taking him seriously at this point.

Q: How is Chase Utley progressing?

DM: He took grounders yesterday, and it sounds like he’ll start swinging in the near future, maybe two weeks or so. I think the biggest news is that there is no news. Everyone keeps waiting for a set-back. Opening Day is as realistic as it was a month ago.

Q: What did you make of Ryan Howard’s contract extension?

DM: It’s not as newsworthy as some made it out to be, they just avoided arbitration for three years. It was basically an insurance policy against Howard winning arbitration this year. If Howard had won this year for $18 million, then over the whole deal, they definately saved some money.

Q: Your thoughts on Ruben Amaro’s first offseason?

DM: I thought it went about as well as could be expected. It was a short offseason. Ruben was new, had to fill a staff, and they had so many arbitration guys. I think he did a real good job. Ultimately though, it will probably be judged based on how well Raul Ibanez does.

Q: Are the Phillies better prepared to get contributions from minor leaguers than in year’s past?

DM: While I don’t think the farm system is at a level they would like just yet, they can expect contributions a lot more than in year’s past. Last year, minor league depth was one of the glaring weaknesses of the organization. Beyond Donald and Carrasco, they still are a little short on prospects who are big league ready, but they did improve their depth significantly.

Q: Your thoughts on the Mets?

DM: They clearly tailored their offseason around the Phillies. Tim Redding, who beat the Phils a few times last year, resignign Oliver Perez, who beat the Phillies too, and getting a top notch closer. They still have concerns at second base and maybe left field. They’re better than they were last year but I still think the Phillies are better built for the long haul.

70 in 70: Number 53

Sunday, February 15th, 2009

Our 70 in 70 countdown to Opening Day rolls on. Just 53 days to go, and let’s take a look at former BlueClaws pitcher Kyle Kendrick.

A seventh round pick out of Mount Vernon, Washington in 2003, Kendrick struggled in his first two years in Lakewood, 2004 and 2005, going 3-11 and splitting time with Batavia. But the third time was the charm, and over seven starts, Kendrick had a 2.15 ERA and struck out more than a batter per inning, easily a career best. On May 3rd (53), 2006, he was named Phillies Minor League Pitcher of the Week, and was soon promoted.

A huge, and important surprise in 2007, Kendrick went 10-4 for the big league club after a call-up from Reading. Last year, he went 11-9 but lost his rotation spot at the end of the season, and this year in camp he is in a four-way battle (with Chan-Ho Park, Carlos Carrasco, and JA Happ) for the fifth-starter spot in the Phillies rotation.

What happened to Kendrick at the end of last year? Sam Donnellon of the Philadelphia Daily News asked him a few weeks ago.

“I just didn’t pitch very well,” he said. “People say I was tired, but it really started becoming a mental thing. I got tired mentally, and then it just snowballed from there.”

Click here to read the rest of a good article about Kendrick and his preparations for 2009.

New BlueClaws TV

Saturday, February 14th, 2009

Enjoy.

Scouting Carlos Carrasco

Saturday, February 14th, 2009

Jonathan Mayo’s blog at mlb.com, “Big, Bald, and Beautiful,” takes a look at Carlos Carrasco, who finished 28th in an earlier survey of professional scouts, who ranked the top 50 prospects in baseball. Lou Marson (scouting report here) was ranked 43rd.

  • Tall, athletic body, ideal for pitcher. Quick arm action, good mechanics. Quick worker. Plus stuff with future command. Live arm. Fastball jumps on hitters, sinks and tails. Downer curve with bite, plus at times. Cut-like slider. Can change slot on change, good late sink and deception, looks like splitter. Good feel for pitching, can get outs, strikeouts on all pitches. Future top of rotation type.

Both Carrasco and Marson were members of the 2006 BlueClaws SAL Championship club.

70 in 70: Number 54

Saturday, February 14th, 2009

70 in 70 rolls on and we’re 54 days away from the BlueClaws 2009 opener. But today is the day that Phillies pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater for the unofficial beginning of spring, and the official beginning of Spring Training. Number 54, more than anyone else, was the reason the Phillies won the World Series last year.

Number 54 was Brad Lidge. Acquired in November for Michael Bourn, who stole 57 bases for the 2004 BlueClaws, and others, Lidge was a perfect 41-41 in saves in the regular season and saved seven more games without a blemish in the post-season.

Bob Lemon once said “The two most important things in life are good friends and a strong bullpen.” The Phillies have that due in large part to Lidge.

Here’s a nice story on Lidge from this week by Nick Fierro of the Express-Times.