Monthly Archives: November 2010

From the Desk of Decal – Villareal

From the LA Times:

The Dodgers added to their non-roster list for 2011 Tuesday, signing right-hander reliever Oscar Villarreal.
Villarreal has spent parts of six seasons in the National League but hasn’t pitched in the majors since part of 2008 with the Astros.
He has a career record of 24-15 with a 3.86 ERA, so it’s not like he was completely awful. Heck, last year in the Dodgers’ bullpen, that almost would have made him a star.
Villarreal, who turned 29 on Monday, was born in San Nicolás de los Garza, Mexico, and still lives with his family in Monterrey. He spent last season with the Phillies’ triple-A Lehigh club, going 4-3 with a 4.40 ERA in 49 games.

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Opinion Time – Fan Participation 11/29/2010

Again, my opinion..

Ivan Pavlov lived from September 14, 1849 to February 27, 1936. His legacy, or research to say, lives on…

For those who aren’t familiar with Ivan Pavlov, he was a Russian Physiologist who is famous for his work in the subject of conditional reflex. The story of how he trained his dogs with a bell, making them hungry upon a ring, can show us fans of how the sports world controls us.

Let’s look deeper…

Listen to the below clip:

So, did you find yourself clapping along and yelling out “HEY!” at the appropriate moment?

Let’s try this one:

Now myself, I don’t stand up and stomp.. but I see those that do and I see those who don’t.. but there are very few who don’t clap when the announcer yells out, “EVERYBODY CLAP YOUR HANDS!”

Yeah, just like the dog salivating over the ring of a bell. The popular show, “The Office”, also shows a character training a co-worker to ask for a mint each time he reboots his computer.

My point. Well, the PA announcer holds control over you. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. Sporting events are supposed to be fun and being led in cheers is a good time and leads to crowd noise (Which I highly approve of). At least we don’t have cheerleaders. Yeah I said it. I don’t like cheerleaders. At least not what cheerleading has become. How many cheerleaders lead cheers anymore? Very few. Can the voice of 15-20 young women at the sideline be heard by 60,000 people in a stadium with blaring music? Nope. That PA announcer can be heard though.

If you want a real thrill, attend an Ironpig’s Education day where the majority of the crowd are children. They jump. They dance. They yell on demand. They can sing the commercials and they can explain to you things that you wouldn’t believe. Last summer a 12 yr old explained to me what “Supermanning a Ho” meant. (Yes, this song was played regularly at the Coke) If you don’t have a child to explain it to you.. I would try google-ing it.

So with the control aspect of this it seems the fans lose creative thought. How many home made signs have you seen lately? Not as many as you saw in 2008. How many foam fingers do you see? A lot. How many jet balloons did you see released all at the same time? How many chants and cheers are started by fans? Not many.

Late in the game during the last home game of 2010 the Noise Nation attempted to get a cheer going to encourage Andy Tracy to enter the game. We placed people in every section of the park. We were the only ones cheering. Responses we got:

“He’s not in the game” (Yeah, we know.. we want him in the game)

“If they wanted us to chant it they would have it on the loudspeaker”

“Are we allowed to do our own cheers?”

Soon into our chant, the PA started off with more music and we dissolved back into the K korner in centerfield.. disappointed.

Where has the originality gone?

Where have the cheers gone?

Well, I guess we can try to overcome the Pavlov response to the PA system.. or we can just concede and become another drone.

Just my opinion… what’s yours?


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From the Desk of Decal – Andy Tracy Update

From Decal:

Another interesting tidbit heard along the way. Andy Tracy was 2-29 .069 for Aguilas in the Dominican League and then today (Wednesday) he was playing for Bravos de Margarita in the Venezuelan League. In game 1 of a doubleheader he pinch hit and walked. He started at first base in game 2 and went 1-2 with a double and run scored.


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A Fun Filled Great Night Out!

Last winter my pal Joe and I made a trip to the Ironpig’s Phillies Caravan charity event. We had a ball!

The event raises money for Ironpig’s Charities which in turn benefits the youth of the local area. Tickets and grants to youth organizations go a long way to help kids enjoy sports and much needed exercise.

One thing that they do support is the Miracle League of the Lehigh Valley. There is a beautiful park out in Schnecksville where kids can play on crutches and wheelchairs and have fun. I volunteered there once last summer and plan to help out more in the 2011 season. Very rewarding from many aspects. If you wonder where the charity money from Ironpig’s charities goes… take an afternoon and check out one of these games and you will see it is well worth it.

So about the Phillies Caravan. Last year we were treated to Charlie Manuel stories, speeches by Andy Tracy, Matt Provence, Ricky Bottalico and many others. There was an auction and although I couldn’t come close to any of the bids, just seeing some of the stuff being sold was amazing.

I won’t go on too much about this event. The food was great, booze was included and tickets were $80 a person. There is a discount for a table of 10.. details can be found on the Ironpig’s website. Anyone want to buy a table and invite me along? :-)

Really, if you get a chance to go.. go. You won’t regret it.


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Who is Sal Rende?

Well the Ironpigs now have a new manager in Ryne Sandberg and a couple days ago we found out that Hitting coach Greg Gross was replaced by Sal Rende.

My first thought was.. Who is Sal Rende? Minor league fans often find themselves asking these questions in the off season and thanks to baseball reference online I found some answers.


Infielder Sal Rende was drafted in the 28th round of the 1977 amateur draft by the Cleveland Indians. He played seven seasons in the minors, mostly with the Chattanooga Lookouts.

Rende was a manager in the minors for twelve seasons between 1984 and 1996. His teams finished with the best record four times and won four league titles in his first seven seasons. His teams finished no higher than 4th in his last five seasons. In 1999-2001 he was a coach for the Calgary Cannons. He was a coach for the Columbus Clippers in 2003, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons in 2004-2006 and the Ottawa Lynx in 2007. In 2008-2010, Rende was the Minor League Hitting Coordinator for the Philadelphia Phillies. In 2011, he will be the hitting coach for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

Rende has been involved in some personality conflicts of note. Carl Everett had a confrontation with Rende that led to Everett being ousted from the Florida Marlins organization. In 2003 Bucky Dent wanted to fire Rende from the Clippers over the handling of Drew Henson and Dent had to be talked out of quitting when the Columbus GM wouldn’t get rid of Rende.

Rende most recently managed in the Edmonton Trappers(Pacific Coast League) in 1993-94 and the Charlotte Knights in 1995-96. Only one of those teams finished with a winning record.

Looking at notes around the web it looks like Rende might bring a fire to the bench at The Coke that Greg Gross didn’t appear to.

Here’s to 2011!


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From the Desk of Decal – 11/20/10

From the Desk of Decal

Per Todd Zolecki, 12 players have been invited to spring training with the Phillies. Some of these names were already mentioned in other threads while I was pleasantly surprised at a few that were new to me. I’m starting to like what I see, especially with the left handed power bats to try to take advantage of that wind tunnel to right field.

1. Tagg Bozied, 7/24/79. 1B-3B-OF. Bats Right. .315-27-92 at Reading in 2010

2. Dane Sardinha, 4/8/79 Catcher

3. Eddie Bonine, 6/6/81, RHP. Went 4-1 4.63 in 2010 with the Detroit Tigers.

4. Matt Miller, 12/26/82, OF. Bats Right. Hit .325-10-81 at Colorado Springs in 2010. Played for the PCL team in the AAA allstar game at CCP.

5. Ryan Feierabend, 8/22/85. LHP. Was 5-8 5.14 in 2010 after missing ’09 due to Tommy John surgery. 2008: 7-2 2.49.

6. Juan Perez, 9/3/78. LHP. 4-3 2.96 for AAA Albuquerque in 2010. 53 strikeouts in 45 2/3 IP.

7. Erik Kratz, 6/15/80. Catcher. Bats Right. Hit .274-9/41 for Indianapolis. AAA allstar.

8. Jeff Larish, 10/11/82 1B/3B. Bats Left. Hit .284-20-74 with AAA Toledo & Sacramento in 2010.

9. Josh Barfield, 12/17/82. 2B. Bats Right. .294-5-36 at Portland in ’10.

10. Pete Orr, 6/8/79. 2B/3B/SS. Bats Left. .264-12-45 with 25 stolen bases for Syracuse.

11. Dan Meyer, 7/3/81. LHP. 1-2 3.38 for New Orleans

12. Brandon Moss, 9/16/83. Right Field. Bats Left. .266-22-96 for Indianapolis in 2010.

Also, Matt Rizzotti was added to the Phillies 40 man roster today so he will be protected in the upcoming Rule 5 draft. Also added to the 40 man roster were Justin De Fratus, Freddy Galvis, Harold Garcia and Cesar Hernandez.

SWB closer Jonathan Albaladejo was released by the Yankees so he can sign with a team in Japan for the 2011 season. He was 4-2 1.42 with 43 Saves for SWB in 2010 and also picked up the save by throwing a 1-2-3 ninth inning in the AAA allstar game on July 14th.


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More Transactions 11/19/2010

From multiple sources we’ve heard that Rich Thompson has re-signed with the Ironpigs. Rich is the only one to return for the 4th season of the team’s existance. Good to have him back. Also re-signed Nate Bump and Tagg Bozied (Reading).

Both Joe Bisenius and DeWayne Wise have filed for free agency.

Jeff Larish after sending a Joe Savery pitch into the Trough. Photo by Dennis

Special from Dennis:

“On June 10th, 2010 the Toledo Mud Hens hit 3 solo homeruns in the first inning off Joe Savery at Coca-Cola Park . The third homer was hit by Jeff Larish. Larish was signed by the Phillies today. He is 28 years old and splits his time between playing first and third base. He bats lefthanded and throws righthanded. Here’s a picture of him crossing homeplate after hitting his first inning homer.”

Looks like the organization is working on building us a team again this year. Let’s hope that there aren’t any opt out clauses….

Also of note from our friend Dean – Mickey Morandini will be managing the Williamsport Crosscutters this season. I wonder how Jorge Valendia is doing out there…



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