How to Get Your Phillies Phix
Hardcore Phillies Phan? Looking to take your Phandom to a new level? Want to be the Phillies Guru at work? If you answered â€œYesâ€ to any of these questions then the Maple Street Press 2010 Phillies Annual is a must have.
The kind people at MSP provided me with a complimentary copy of their publication and at first I assumed it would be just be a collection of stories singing the Phillies’ praises without looking at the team with an objective eye. I was as wrong as Brad Lidge not covering third base after Johnny Damon stole second in Game 4 of last year’s World Series. MSP has done an outstanding job exploring every aspect of the team from the â€œ10 Burning Questions for 2010â€ all the way down to an in-depth look at their farm system and an overview of the teamâ€™s top prospects.
Before you start to read it I suggest you actually start with one of the last articles, â€œTales from the Dark Ages.â€Â The reason I say this is because it will give you a deeper appreciation of this particular time in Philly baseball history when you are reminded of what the team once was. The piece chronicles the pathetic state of the organization from 1936-1945 with some pretty entertaining stories of the team and its characters, and afterward you will realize that you are probably living in the Golden Era of Phillies baseball.
MSP did a fantastic job providing interesting pieces and detailed stats. One article titled â€œCole Hamels: Day & Nightâ€ discusses the rather amazing phenomenon of how Hamels struggles so much pitching during the day. Where the annual distinguishes itself with this piece is by digging into all of his day/night splits over the last three seasons compared to the other top pitchers in the game along with a comprehensive breakdown of his pitch selection ranging from the type thrown to whether it was swung on and missed. Stat Heaven!
Another piece was in the â€œBy the Numbersâ€ section which gave an intriguing look on why batting the newly acquired Placido Polanco second could be a mistake. This got my attention because all you heard from the Phils and the media is how Polanco is the ideal number two hitter for their lineup and it was a big reason of why they signed him. Iâ€™ll admit that I was drinking the red and white Kool-Aid, but after reading this I do not know if I would be so locked into Polanco in the number two hole. Valid points were made that maybe they were too quick in dropping Shane Victorino down in the lineup.
Easily the best part is the roster overview and player profiles. Most preview publications can be tossed out after reading them, but MSP has given us one that can be used all season long. For each position player you get colorful, easy to read charts with everything you ever dreamed to ask: season splits, spray zones, hit zones, scouting reports, strengths and weaknesses and the players’ contract status along with their salary (you never get used to seeing those numbers). If you are a fan it is good to know that Chase Utley is here through 2013 and then you can start chewing on your fingers when realizing that Ryan Howard has just one more season left after 2010 on his contract.
Not to be outdone, the pitching profile provides charts and stats that are just as informative if not more so. One of the better charts is one where they show what type of pitch each hurler uses at different times in the count and how often they use it.
Living in a time where the average fan wants the most bang for his buck, MSP more than delivers with a publication that you can use all season long and hopefully well into mid-October if you are a Phillies fan.
Matt Aber is a baseball enthusiast who cannot wait for Opening Day. He is an advocate of the national organization called The Miracle League which allows special needs children to play baseball.
He encourages you to support this worthy cause and learn more at www.miracleleague.com
Disclaimer: I was provided with a free copy of the book being reviewed by the publisher, but received no payment or other consideration for this review.