World Series is ‘icing’ for Gillick
If GM sticks to word and doesn’t return, he leaves Phils a winner
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
Well, look like Pat is going to leave on a high note. Congratulations. You’d made the right deals that would help get this team over the top.
PHILADELPHIA — If Phillies general manager Pat Gillick is indeed riding off into the sunset for the fourth time in his storied career, he couldn’t have picked a better way to go out.
Fifteen years after his Blue Jays defeated the Phillies in the 1993 World Series, he was on the other side of field, as the Phillies won the second World Series title in their 126-season history by defeating the Rays in five games on Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park.
Gillick’s contract expires on Friday, the day the big parade is planned to head up Broad Street from Center City to the Sports Complex. It will be the Phillies’ first championship parade since 1980.
“You always want to walk away as a winner,” Gillick said as a sellout crowd bellowed in collective glee around him after the Phillies defeated the Rays, 4-3, in the resumption of suspended Game 5 on Wednesday night. “You always want to win. Every time you go out there you want to win. That’s what’s important to me. Winning like this is kind of special and kind of puts the icing on everything for me.”
To their chagrin, Gillick has told the Phils he’s not coming back in 2009, and he’s holding fast to that stance.
Instead, Gillick, 71, said he’s moving back to Seattle, one of his previous general manager spots, because his wife is living there and the distance has become too great.
It’s become a pattern in Gillick’s tremendous career. He’s gone to a place — Toronto, Baltimore, Seattle and now Philadelphia — and brought success. And when he leaves, the sunshine of that success seems to leave with him.
This is his third World Series victory, following the ultimate success with the Blue Jays in 1992 and 1993. And the Orioles and the Mariners both made it as far as the American League Championship Series under his reign.
A PERFECT HOME RUN
|Since the LCS began in 1969, nine teams have gone undefeated at home in the postseason.|
With the Phillies, he joined a veteran management team that includes general partner Dave Montgomery, chairman Bill Giles and Gillick’s adviser Dallas Green.
All three were with the club when it defeated the Royals in 1980 and lost to Jays in 1993. Green was the manager of the 1980 team.
Montgomery said in the din of the immediate postgame celebration that it will indeed be a sad day if Gillick follows through and leaves the team. It was Gillick, joining manager Charlie Manuel after Larry Bowa was fired in 2004 and Ed Wade was let go in 2005, who helped pull the team together.
“Well, we’re really very disappointed if that’s Pat’s decision,” Montgomery said. “But at the same time, he gave us three spectacular years. And I know we all learned a lot from him. The fact of the matter is that every move is important and that’s exactly what Pat teaches you. It’s not just the big moves, it’s every move imaginable.”
Gillick has done this all before. He left the Blue Jays after 18 years and two World Series titles in 1994. He resurfaced with the Orioles in 1996, stayed there three years through two losses in the ALCS and left in 1998.
He joined the Mariners for four years in 2000 and presided over teams that lost to the Yankees in the 2000 and 2001 ALCS. His family was in Toronto at the time, and when he left in 2003, it was supposedly for good as a full-time general manager.
But in 2006, he had to scratch the itch one more time, and he replaced Wade as GM of the Phillies to take them to the next step into the postseason, which they’ve done in consecutive years for the first time since 1980-81. The effect of Gillick’s effort has been immeasurable.
“So far, it’s almost impossible to put this in any perspective,” Montgomery said. “You can see the fan support. It’s unbelievable and we managed to get through the postseason at home undefeated [7-0]. The support is enormous.”
The key to this season was Gillick acquiring closer Brad Lidge from the Astros last offseason. Lidge saved Wednesday night’s finale and was 48-for-48 in save attempts this year, an element the Phillies just didn’t have on their 2007 team that was swept by Colorado in its NL Division Series. He added Joe Blanton to the pitching rotation at midseason and Matt Stairs to the bench.
Blanton won a pair of postseason games, including Game 4 of the World Series here on Sunday night. Stairs has been used sparingly, but his two-run, pinch-hit homer in the eighth inning of Game 4 of the NLCS helped defeat the Dodgers in Los Angeles.
“You really need 25 people in the NL to be competitive,” Gillick said. “You need a bench and you need a bullpen. There are a lot of people you have to fill in and there are a lot of people you need to put in the right slots, the right pegs in the right holes. We’ve been able to do that over the last few years and you saw the culmination of it tonight.”
Now it has come around full circle. From his Jays beating the Phillies on Joe Carter’s walk-off Game 6 homer in 1993 to his Phillies defeating the Rays in the great suspended Game 5 of 2008.
Life couldn’t be any sweeter.
“Does this cap my career? You never know,” Gillick said. “Now I’m just worrying about having a good time tonight, visiting with our players. We’ll worry about what happens down the line.” (H/T WorldSeries.com, MLB.com)
Once again, congratulation Pat. You made the right deals and decisions in the front office that give you the chance to leave here a champ. I just hope that your successor will have equal success once he takes over from you on Friday.
The Phillies have won the 2008 World Series, winning the series four games to one, as they would outscore the Rays in the final three and a half innings of this past Monday’s suspended game five, 4-3. As play resumed, Rays’ manager Joe Maddon would decide to leave Grant Balfour in the game. Pinch hitter Geoff Jenkins would be the first batter to face him in the Phillies’ half of the sixth, and he would greet him with a hard hit double to center. Jimmy Rollins would follow with an excellent sacrifice bunt, that would go 5-3 for the inning’s first out, as he would move Jenkins over to third base. Then, with the Rays’ infield pulled in to prevent a run, Jayson Werth would hit a pop up into shallow center field. Ray’s second baseman Akinori Iwamura would be unable to make an over-the-shoulder basket catch of the ball, as it would drop in for a RBI single, scoring Jenkins, and giving the Phillies a 3-2 lead. Balfour is then taken out of the ballgame by Maddon and is replaced on the mound by J.P. Howell. Howell would then end the inning by first getting Utley to strike out swinging for the inning’s second out, and after Werth would steal second, he would get Ryan Howard to pop out to third for the final out of the inning. Charlie Manuel would then put out in place of Cole Hamels, who is now in line to be the game’s winning pitching, Ryan Madson. Madson would proceed to strike out Dioner Navarro looking for the inning’s first out. But then he would give up a solo home run to Rocco Baldelli to left, tying the game up at three apiece, and thus denying Hamels his chance to make World Series history by winning all five of his starts. Jason Bartlett would then follow with a single. The next batter, Howell, would sacrifice the runner over to second, 1-4, for the inning’s second out, as he put a runner in scoring position. Madson is then replaced by J.C. Romero. Iwamura would then hit a ground ball towards second base, that Utley would be able to grab, but would then have no play to make at first, as Iwamura would get an infield single. But, Utley would then throw a strike towards home plate as he would see Bartlett trying to score from second on the play. His throw would beat Bartlett to home plate and then Carlos Ruiz would tag out a sliding Bartlett to keep the game tied at three all. In the Phillies’ half of the seventh, Pat Burrell would start the inning off with a double to left center field. As he would be replaced on second base by pinch runner Eric Bruntlett, the Rays would replace Howell on the mound with Chad Bradford. Shane Victorino would then hit the ball to the right side of the infield, after being unable to put down a bunt, for the inning’s first out, 4-3, while Bruntlett would move on over to third base. This move would once again force the Rays to bring in their infield. Pedro Feliz would take advantage of this move as he would hit a RBI single to center, scoring Bruntlett and giving the Phillies’ a 4-3 lead. Ruiz would then follow Feliz by hitting into a force out, 4-6, wiping out Feliz at second for the second out. Romero would then bat for himself and proceed to hit into a force out, 4-6, for the inning’s final out. Romero would then stay in to pitch the eighth. Chris Crawford would start the inning off with a single. B.J. Upton would then hit into a 6-4-3 double play, doubling up Crawford at second base, putting no one on base with two men out. Romero would then end the inning by getting Carlos Pena to fly out to left for the final out. In the Phillies’ eighth, the Rays would send out David Price to keep the game close. Prince would proceed to get Rollins to fly out to left for the inning’s first out and then would strike out Werth for out number two. Utley would then get on base with a walk. After Utley would steal second, Howard would end the inning by striking out. In the Rays’ ninth, the Phillies would hand the ball over to Brad Lidge to end the game. Lidge would get Evan Longorio to pop out to Utley for the first out of the inning. Navarro would then get on base with a single. Navarro would be replaced at first by pinch runner Fernando Perez, while pinch hitter Ben Zobrist would come to the plate. After Perez would steal second base, Lidge would get Zobrist out as he lines out directly to the right fielder for the second out of the inning. Maddon would then send out pinch hitter Eric Hinske to try and take the lead with one swing of the bat. Instead, Lidge would strike Hinske out for the game’s final out, as he would record his forty-eighth straight save in forty-eight attempts and his seventh save of the post-season, and lead to the start of a celebration among the Phillies, as they would win their second World Championship in the team’s 126 years of existance.
Cole Hamels would get a no-decision, as he would pitch six strong innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits and a walk, while striking out three. Ryan Madson would pitch two-thrids of an inning, giving up an earned run on two hits, while striking out one. J.C. Romero would get the win as he pitches a scoreless inning and a third, giving up only two hits. His series’ record is now 2-0 with an 0.00 ERA. Brad Lidge would record his second save of the series, pitching a scoreless inning, as he would give up just a hit, while striking out one, as he records his forty-eighth straight save, and his seventh in the post-season. Scott Kazmir would also get a no-decision, as he would go only four innings plus two batters, giving up two earned runs on four hits, six walks and a hit batsman, while striking out five. Grant Balfour would pitch an inning and a third, giving up an earned run on two hits. J.P. Howell would get the lost as he would pitch two-thirds of an inning plus one batter, giving up an earned run on one hit, while striking out one. His series’ record is now 0-2 with an ERA of 7.71. Chad Bradford would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up only one hit. David Price would also pitch a scoreless inning, giving up just a walk, while striking out two.
During the celebration, which would include Bud Selig giving David Montgomery, Pat Gillick and Charlie Manuel the World Series Trophy, Cole Hamels would be announced as being the 2008 World Series MVP. It would later be announced that the city of Philadelphia plans to hold its World Series parade on Friday. And it would appear that the parade wouldl be shown on at least one of the local networks. I can’t wait. 🙂
Now that the Phillies have won the series, I would like to first apologize for the number of times that I’ve shown a lack faith in the guys actually being able to get into the World Series. Next, I would like to laugh in the face of the so-called experts who during the post-season have never given the Phillies the chance to win the Series, including FOX. Ha-HA, in your face, experts. Lastly, I would like to congratulate the Tampa Bay Rays for doing as well as they did this season to get into the World Series as well. I am sure that they’ll be back in the series at some point during the next few years.
Next stop, the victory parade. I love a parade, etc. etc. 🙂
“Or a Stanley Cup,” the Canadian-born hockey fan said Saturday from Wrigley Field, where he joined his new Phillies teammates. “It depends on what uniform is on. When you get near the end of your [baseball] playing career, the sacrifices you make, you just want to get a ring and go from there.”
With his hockey career having ended in high school, Stairs embarked on a professional baseball vocation when he signed with the Expos on Jan. 17, 1989. Still playing at age 40, now for his 11th team, the Phillies give him a much better chance of reaching that goal than his former team, the Blue Jays.
“It’s tough leaving Toronto, being Canadian, but when they told me I was going to Philly, I was like, ‘Nice,'” said Stairs, who served as an assistant hockey coach for John Bapst High School in Bangor, Maine, during the offseason. “[The Phillies] are a team in the hunt, in a park I enjoy playing in. There’s an opportunity to win, and whatever my role is, is fine.”
That role will mostly be pinch-hitting, though manager Charlie Manuel said he’ll work Stairs in at the corner outfield spots, especially against tough righties. The Phillies will assume the balance of Stairs’ $2.25 million salary for this season and $1 million for 2009. The Jays will receive a player to be named after the conclusion of the World Series, according to Phillies general manager Pat Gillick.
The Phillies had been looking for a left-handed bat since losing Geoff Jenkins on Aug. 23 to a strained right hip flexor, and there’s little chance he’ll return when eligible on Sept. 7. Philadelphia claimed Stairs off waivers, limiting the Blue Jays to one trading partner.
“We lost Jenkins and were short left-handed,” Gillick said. “Consequently, to get an experienced guy who can play some and hit off the bench can’t hurt. We had claimed him, so they either had to make a deal with us or keep him on the roster.”
Motivated by wanting to find a spot for top hitting prospect Travis Snider, Toronto quickly agreed with Philadelphia, but haggled over money and the quality of the player to be named.
None of this matters to Stairs, who has been part of two playoff teams, with Boston in 1995 and Oakland in 2000. He understands that staying loose is important during the final weeks.
“My approach is it doesn’t matter if you’re 100 games out or 100 games up,” Stairs said. “Every day and every at-bat, you have the same approach. At this point, you have to stay loose and have fun. I’ve been on teams before where you get in a race and everyone gets tight.”
Stairs said Thursday that he would’ve liked to finish his career with the Jays and “party down Yonge Street” if they won a World Series. He’ll just have to adjust.
“When you get to be my age, you don’t want to move around as much as I have,” said Stairs, who learned about Philadelphia from former Flyer Mark Recchi. “I’ll have to find a new street in Philadelphia and party down there, maybe look for Rocky Balboa and hang out there.”
Perhaps on Broad Street. (H/T Phillies.com)
So, the hold up was over money? Why am I not surprised. I’m just surprised the Phillies have decided to eat up the balance of Stairs’ contract. Either the idiots are desperate, or they’d finally decided to stop buying on the cheap and to start buying to win. Either way, this vet better help tp get this team moving forward to the playoff.
The only thing missing is the official press release. Phillies general manager Pat Gillick said Friday that he couldn’t comment, though sources have confirmed the acquisition of Stairs for an unidentified Minor Leaguer.
ESPN’s Buster Olney reported that the Phillies would send left-hander Fabio Castro to Toronto. Castro, who is 8-4 with a 4.71 ERA this season at two Minor League levels, was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley after Friday’s game.
Philadelphia didn’t make a corresponding roster move, with a team spokesman saying one would be made before Saturday’s game.
“If you’re guessing that it could be in the state of Pennsylvania,” Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi said, “I’m not going to tell you you’re wrong, but, I’m not going to tell you anything else.”
Ricciardi, speaking to reporters at Yankee Stadium before Friday’s Jays-Yankees game, adding that his club hoped to complete the trade by Saturday at the latest.
The Jays designated the 40-year-old Stairs for assignment Thursday to make room for top outfield prospect Travis Snider. The Phillies had been searching for a left-handed hitter off the bench, and intensified that search after potentially losing Geoff Jenkins for the season with a strained right hip flexor.
Stairs is hitting .250 this season with 11 homers and 44 RBIs, and is a career .279 pinch-hitter with 12 home runs. He could join the Phillies on Saturday.
One potential holdup could be money. Stairs signed a two-year deal for $3.25 million in November. He would earn what remains of his $2.25 million salary for this season and $1 million in 2009.
For Stairs to be eligible for Philadelphia’s postseason roster, he would have to be in the organization by midnight Aug. 31.
He would be the second player the Phillies plucked from another club’s waiver wire. Earlier this month, they landed lefty Scott Eyre from the Cubs for Minor Leaguer Brian Schlitter. In seven appearances for the Phils, Eyre has thrown eight scoreless innings. (H/T Phillies.com)
Well, all I can say is I hope this guy’s bat will help this team, since they need help badly right now as far as the offense is concerned, especially with Geoff Jenkins possibly gone for the rest of the season. As for whether they have sealed the deal or not, just eat as much of the money he is own by the Blue Jays and get his butt over here. You want to win this division or not? I’m talking to you you silent morons. Just get it nailed down. NOW!!!!
The Phillies go to Atlanta to end their present three cities, nine games, road trip, as they return to the city where they have had their last good series. The first place Phillies (43-39) will face the fourth place Braves (40-43) for the first of three night games to be played at Turner Field. Tonight’s game will start at 7:00 pm Eastern. The floundering Phillies will send to the mound Kyle Kendrick (7-3, 4.59), who is coming off a dominating victory over the Athletics on June 25, where he pitched a career high eight innings, giving up only four hits, as he shut down the Athletics, in the Phillies’ 4-0 victory. He has already faced the Braves twice this year, pitching very well in both starts. His 2008 record against Atlanta is 1-0 with a no-decision, in a game which the Phillies would also win, as he pitched a combined eleven and a third innings, giving up only five earned runs on ten hits. Behind him, the Phillies are 12-4, the best record among all Phillies’ staters. He will be shooting for his eighth win of the year, while trying to set the tone as the Phillies hope to regain their winning ways before heading into the All-Star break. The Braves will counter with rookie Charlie Morton (1-1, 4.24), who is coming off a lost against the Brew crew on June 24, where he would pitch seven innings, giving up only two earned runs on seven hits in the Braves’ 4-1 lost. In his first three career starts, he has pitched seventeen innings, giving up only eight earned runs on seventeen scattered hits. He will be trying for his second win of his young career, while hoping to become yet another young pitcher who will be a future pain in the Phillies’ collective side.
The Phillies’ offense heads into Atlanta, hoping to forget what has gone wrong during their last six series, and try to regain what they were doing right when they swept the Braves here back in early June. Charlie Manuel’s explosive offense will see if a return to more familiar pitching will lead to a return to what the players know that they are very capable of, beating other teams’ pitchers into submission with their bats. Of course, to do that they will have to be more patient at the plate, staying away from first, second and third pitch swinging, and general bad batting selection while standing in the batter’s box, as well as staying aggressive on the basepaths once they do get on base, so that they can support the generally good starting pitching that they have been getting during their recent slide, good pitching that would most times be racking up wins if not for the team’s present general offensive slump. Jimmy Rollins especially needs to start thinking while he is in the batter’s box, and forgo swinging at the first pitch thrown at him, since they seems to be leading him into making mostly easy outs, and keeping him off the bases, so that he is unable to cause problems for the opposing team. If there is one silver lining coming out of what has just happened during the last six series, the Phillies should now know where the holes are, and have already started to decide what they will have to do to plug them up if they expect to get into the playoffs and beyond. Now, if Pat Gillick will be willing to pull the trigger on some trades by the end of the month, if they are not able to fill the holes up with some good players from within their minor league system.
The Phillies are now leading the Marlins by a half-game as the fish defeated the Nationals in the first game of their three games set at home. The Mets are now trailing the Phillies by three and a half games, as they lost the first of their four games with the Redbirds in St. Louis. The Braves trail the Phillies by four games as they prepare for their three games series with the first place Phillies in Atlanta. The Phillies will be trying to hold onto first place, hoping to recatch the lightening that had lead to their sweep of the Braves, while hoping that the Braves won’t be able to get revenge for that early June sweep.
“I can’t say enough about Brett’s willingness to accept this assignment,” Gillick said. “He understood and is eager to get back on track again. He’s struggling right now, but he is a quality Major League pitcher who we are going to need in the second half of the season.”
Myers accepted the assignment, and because he has five-plus years in the Majors, he had the option to reject the demotion. Myers will start on Wednesday night against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, the Triple-A affiliate of the Yankees.
“How many starts he will make there is something we’ll monitor,” Gillick said.
Myers, transitioning back to the starting rotation this season after making 48 appearances out of the Phillies’ bullpen last year, is 3-9 with a 5.84 ERA in 17 starts, having allowed 115 hits — including 24 home runs — in 101 2/3 innings. (H/T Phillies.com)
Okay, that answers at least the question of what they’re to do with Myers. And, I’ll say this, at least he had enough sense to accept the temporary demotion to Triple-A so that he can find out what is his problem. Not they Phillies have to answer the second part of the equation, what are going to do about Myers’ spot in the rotation? I’d been hearing that the Phillies plan to move Cole Hamels up a day. That may work for this week, but what are they going to do between now and the All-Star break? I hope whatever they supply as an answer will be a good one, else the Phillies are going to be toast before the break.
Durbin’s long and winding road to Philadelphia began in Spring Valley, Ill., where he grew up. A gifted athlete, he claims that no one person pushed him into the game of baseball. His parents, Deb and Joe Pearson, were both very athletic and excelled in other sports in their youth, just not baseball. So what got Durbin into America’s pastime?
“Cubs baseball on WGN,” recalled Durbin. “I loved watching Ryne Sandberg play. I learned a lot of baseball by watching the Cubs play and I was a fan until I started to play pro ball.”
When his family moved down south to Baton Rouge, La., a then 12-year-old Durbin maintained his allegiance to the Cubs. Since the southern climate allowed baseball to be played year-round, Durbin began to pitch in addition to playing shortstop. He starred in baseball and basketball at Woodlawn High School and was named the Louisiana Class 4-A High School Most Valuable Player as a shortstop his senior year.
Despite receiving a few offers to play basketball at local colleges (he was an excellent ball handler) and signing a letter of intent to play baseball at Louisiana State University, Durbin ended his tenure as a Cubs fan when the Kansas City Royals selected him in the third round of the 1996 First-Year Player Draft right out of high school.
After spending three years in the Royals’ farm system between stops in Michigan, Delaware, Kansas and Nebraska, Durbin finally got his first taste of the Majors when he made his debut in relief for Kansas City in 1999 at the age of 21.
“I made my debut in old Tiger Stadium in the last series ever there. That was pretty cool and something I’ll never forget.”
After stints with KC, Cleveland and Arizona and a year in the Nationals organization, Durbin found himself back in Detroit, this time pitching for the team he debuted against. Although he only appeared in three games for the 2006 American League champion Tigers, Durbin played a large role in the team’s Triple-A championship that year as the Toledo Mud Hens won the International League crown. In that season, Durbin pitched as a starter and led the league in strikeouts, while ranking fifth in ERA and tied for fifth in wins.
Durbin began the 2007 season in Detroit’s starting rotation before being moved to the bullpen in June. Overall, he made 47 starts in 67 total appearances during his two years in the Tigers’ organization. When he became available in the free-agent market, he caught the eye of several teams, but the Phillies, who needed pitching depth, were especially interested because of Durbin’s versatility.
Heading into this season, Gillick was asked about Durbin’s role. “Chad is going to fit in real well with our club. He gives Charlie [Manuel] and [pitching coach Rich] Dubee the option of starting or middle relief, and he’s a competitor.”
Durbin, who has taken a blue-collar approach to his role with the club, finds his situation with the Phillies similar to his time with Detroit.
“I feel like I can help wherever,” Durbin said. “If it’s starting, if it’s middle relief, if it’s the seventh inning or if it’s long relief, I don’t care. I want to help this team win. I’ll go out there and do what they tell me to do. If everybody is healthy and pitching well, then we’re in pretty good shape. That’s better for the team.”
So far this season, Durbin has proven to be a valuable offseason acquisition. Entering Thursday, he had allowed seven earned runs in 41 2/3 innings pitched to post a 1.51 ERA over 28 appearances.
“I’m just finding a role among guys that have big roles not only on this team but in the league. I’m just trying to find my niche and play my part.”
In addition to playing his part on the diamond, Durbin has taken on some new roles off the field.
First, he became a father when he and his wife Crystal welcomed their first child, son Cade, into the world nine months ago. “I always anticipated being a good dad, and when Cade finally arrived, it just felt like I was always meant to be one,” said Durbin.
Then last month, with the help of his business partner, Jake Chapman, he launched his own business, an online recruiting community called Showcase U (www.showcaseu.com). According to Durbin, the site is designed to take athletes to the next level by letting them showcase themselves in an online community. High school and college athletes can post video of themselves on the site, plus they can find equipment and workout camp information and verify their statistics.
“We’ve put three years into this,” Durbin explained. “Showcase U is a way for coaches, student-athletes, parents and facilities to interact. Coaches can search through their database. Kids can post video. It’s going to be really easy for smaller colleges to recruit kids. It’s the next level. The idea is, showcase yourself.”
A pitcher, father and an entrepreneur, Durbin plans to showcase his versatility to Phillies fans all season long. (H/T Phillies.com)
Looks like Gillick hit the bulleyes when he went to get Durbin during the past off-season, along with Brad ‘Auto-Save’ Lidge. Hopefully he’ll be able to continue what he is presently doing for the club as middle relief. Might be a good move on Charlie Manuel’s part if he allows Durbin to start a game or two so that Brett Myers will be allowed to get his act together.