All Things Bubba

Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Andy in Japan

Judging from the katakana on the above screenshot, Andy's known in Japan as "Firippusu."

Andy Phillips homered in his first Major League at-bat, and apparently he's not wasting time in Japan, either. An anonymous tipster left a comment with a link to a YouTube video of Andy's first homer in Japan:

The Carp stats can be found here. Andy was 1 for 4 in his first game, but the one was that homer.

Thanks for the link, Anonymous! Very cool. Nice to see that Andy's doing well (so far, at least!).


posted by BubbaFan, 8:36 PM | link | 3 comments |

Monday, June 29, 2009

Tough losses

The McPaper has an article today about how the economic crisis is affecting retired athletes. These aren't the guys who blew it all on "booze, blow, bling or Bentleys." They're people who thought they were being careful and doing the right thing.

Recession hurts even the savviest of ex-athletes

...Carson has gotten calls from nervous ex-teammates and competitors who've lost their jobs. They're dealing with unemployment, unpaid bills and growing debt. With mortgage, car and tuition payments piling up, they're fearful for their future.

"You can hear the desperation in their voice," he says.

To help those in need, he forwards some of the personal appearance requests he gets on his website. His old mates are happy to get them, too, no matter how meager the pay or how modest the Pop Warner dinner.

"I've gotten two e-mails from guys who've told me flat-out: 'I need some help. Anything you can do would be greatly appreciated. I've been out of work for two years. I won't turn anything down. If somebody needs an autograph for $2, I'll give it to them.'"

Very sad. And I suspect there are a lot of ordinary people in the same boat...and that there will be a lot more before this is over.

The financial world is turning upside down, and people's expectations are being trashed. Boomers' retirement dreams are being downsized, if not fading away altogether. People already retired are going back to work. Those who did the right thing - buy and hold, dollar-cost averaging - are losing their shirts compared to people who just invested in CDs. I'm starting to think we were all handed a bill of goods. Those "safe" strategies don't work any more, if they ever did.

And no, I don't think those "green shoots" are for real. There's been a summer bounce in the economy, probably driven by the falling prices. Houses, stocks, vacations, clothes, etc., suddenly look cheap, because prices have fallen due to low demand. So some people are snapping up the "bargains." The same thing happened during the Great Depression. People rushed in to buy the "bargains," only to be ruined when prices dropped further. Rinse and repeat.

The problem is that the fundamentals of the economy are still terrible, and nothing has been done to fix it. The foundation is crumbling, but so far, all they've done is slap another coat of paint on the walls. Bad banks have not been forced to reveal their balance sheets and take their medicine. American consumers, responsible for 2/3 to 3/4 of the economy, have had their spending power slashed. Wages have not kept up with inflation for years; instead, we sustained our lifestyle via credit card debt, and home equity lines of credit. But now banks are cutting back on consumer credit, and falling housing prices mean people can no longer use their homes as ATMs. Wages can't rise to make up for that lack of spending power; the economy is too bad. With unemployment so high, people's earning power as well their credit lines are down. Until this reverses, the economy won't improve. Which might not be for years, if ever.


posted by BubbaFan, 4:47 PM | link | 0 comments |

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Andy Phillips, foreign studmuffin

The Hiroshima Toyo Carp have posted some photos of Andy Phillips at their official site.

Apparently, they think he's good-looking. According to the Google translation, it says (among other things):

Tom Cruise?!! Brad Pitt?!! Female fans must see!!! Phillips played in Japan's new foreign player studmuffin, held a press conference after signing.

It looks like the rest is what he said at the press conference. He thinks living in Japan will be a good experience for his family, some comments on the field and how he'll try to hit. He also says his lucky number is 2, hence his choice of 22 as a jersey number.

Yes, the Carp logo looks a lot like the Cincinnati Reds' logo. So much so that ESPN can't tell the difference.


posted by BubbaFan, 4:19 PM | link | 3 comments |

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Red skies at night, Yankees' delight

No, I didn't take this photo of last night's vivid sunset over Bailout Ballpark. I wish I did, but the photographer is Reuters' Shannon Stapleton. Awesome photo, man.

The Mets looked more like the Bad News Bears last night. Ridiculous errors. The Yanks did hit well. Especially Brett Gardner, who was 5 for 6 with a home run and a triple. (He'd have had a cycle if Sabathia weren't clogging up the bases in front of him for one of his singles.) His OPB is an insane .479 for June (and .417 for May). I doubt he can maintain that production; I doubt anyone can. But it's fun to watch while it lasts.

Andy Phillips issued a statement about his new job:

"I'm really looking forward to playing for a team that has a long history in such a great country," Phillips said on the team's official Web site. "I'll do every thing I can to help the team win a championship."

The Carp have an American manager: Marty Brown. Brown is from Oklahoma - where Andy is living (or was - his family will be moving to Japan with him). So he'll have someone to show him the ropes.


posted by BubbaFan, 5:25 PM | link | 0 comments |

Friday, June 26, 2009

And it's official

Andy Phillips will be playing in Japan.

Hiroshima acquires former Yankees first baseman Phillips

The Hiroshima Carp have agreed to a one-year, 40 million yen deal with former New York Yankees first baseman Andy Phillips, the club said Friday.

That's about the same as minimum wage in the big leagues - roughly $400,000. A lot more than he'd make with the Charlotte Knights, but less than half of what Aaron Guiel got when he went to Japan. But then, the season's almost half over now.

And if you're wondering how Ralph Malph is doing in the land of the rising sun...he's still playing for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows.

According to Baseball Reference:

In early 2007, Aaron signed a 1-year, $900,000 (US) contract with the Tokyo Yakult Swallows with a club option for a second year. His curly blond hair and gentle behavior earned him the nickname "Angel" from the team's fans. At the All-Star break, he was leading the Swallows with 18 homers and drawing walks but struggling to make contact. He homered in five straight games in September, tying the Yakult record held by Chuck Manuel and Larry Parrish. Guiel finished with a .245/.381/.493 batting line with 35 homers and 88 walks. He was 9th in the Central League in runs (78), tied Yoshinobu Takahashi and Tyrone Woods for second in homers (one behind leader Shuichi Murata), led in times hit by pitch (23), was second in strikeouts (147, trailing only Woods), was second in walks (also behind Woods) and finished 4th in OBP behind Norichika Aoki, Woods and Takahashi.

He was re-signed for $1.3 million (US) in 2008. Unfortunately, he succumbed to injury part way through the season and was sent down to the Yakult farm team for recovery, having played only 79 of 144 games and with a disappointing 11 homers and .200/.306/.396 batting line.

The Tokyo Yakult Swallows announced (in January 2009) that they have re-signed Aaron for the 2009 season. His remuneration has not been disclosed. He is also on the provisional Canadian roster for the 2009 World Baseball Classic. On June 14, Guiel hit a grand slam for the 10th straight hit by Yakult in a 14-10 win over the Orix Buffaloes, tying the NPB record; it would be broken when Yasushi Iihara followed with a double.

Here's a photo of him hitting that grand slam a couple of weeks ago:


posted by BubbaFan, 6:12 AM | link | 0 comments |

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Andy headed to Japan

"The ?Que Pasa? Kid" posted in the comments here that Andy Phillips might have quit the Charlotte Knights in order to play in Japan. Give the man a prize. He was right:

Baseball: Hiroshima set to sign White Sox minor leaguer Phillips

The Hiroshima Carp are in talks to acquire the services of Chicago White Sox minor league infielder Andy Phillips, team officials said Tuesday.

The 32-year-old Phillips has had a stint with Triple-A Charlotte this season. In the majors, he has a .250 batting average with 14 home runs and 70 RBIs in 259 games.

Aaron Guiel said when he went to Japan that the reason was because the pay was much better there (compared to the US minor leagues, I assume). He said he needed to provide for his family. (I think Guiel got at least a million dollars to play in Japan.) I would guess Andy's made a similar calculation.

UPDATE: Here's another article:

Carp close to deal with infielder Phillips

HIROSHIMA (Kyodo) The Hiroshima Carp are in talks to acquire the services of Chicago White Sox minor league infielder Andy Phillips, team officials said Tuesday.

The 32-year-old Phillips has had a stint with Triple-A Charlotte this season. In the majors, he has a .250 batting average with 14 home runs and 70 RBIs in 259 games.

"He is not known for powering hitting but he can also play outfield. I think that we should be able to iron out a deal shortly," said Hiroshima team owner Hajime Matsuda.

Phillips played four years for the New York Yankees from 2004 and is currently a free agent.


posted by BubbaFan, 6:08 AM | link | 2 comments |

Monday, June 22, 2009


Peter Abraham had this to say about Jim Leyritz:

Former Yankee Jim Leyritz is at the game and pressed himself up against the chain separating the fans from the field near the Yankees dugout so he could call out to players. Leyritz, who is facing a trial for killing a woman while drunk driving, was not granted a pass by the Marlins.

Man, that is just sad. Where's your pride, man?

The Yankees have been pretty sad lately, too. Brett Gardner has been playing well (he was 2 for 4 with a triple yesterday), but everyone else is struggling. Especially Melky. I'm thinking it may be time for Gardner to move back into CF.

posted by BubbaFan, 9:38 PM | link | 1 comments |

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Where are they now?

Yesterday was Juneteenth. Which, coincidentally, means that eleven years ago yesterday, Bubba Crosby became a pro baseball player, signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the team that drafted him in the first round. He probably wasn't expecting his career to turn out the way it did. Still, he's more fortunate than most players. His signing bonus was almost a million dollars. If he didn't invest it with Madoff or Stanford, he should be okay financially. And unlike the vast majority of baseball players, he has a four-year degree to put on his resume if he does decide to enter the job market.

Back when Bubba was a Yankee, their Triple-A club was well-stocked with young outfielders who seemed like they could contribute on the big league level, but were hopelessly blocked. Caja wants to know what happened to them.

Kevin Reese

Reese was released by the Yankees after an abysmal 2007 season in Scranton. He had a serious shoulder injury at the end of 2006, which may be the reason he fell off so much the next year. He got some minor league offers, but no invitations to big league spring training. He decided to retire from playing to spend more time with his family. He is now a scout for the Yankees.

Kevin Thompson

Thompson was signed by the Pirates last year, but suffered a hand injury early in the season, and was released shortly afterward. He signed with the independent league Newark Bears this year, and played a few games with them. After only three weeks, he was released.

It's kind of surprising that there's not more interest in Thompson. He's only 29 years old. There have long been rumors that Thompson has attitude issues. Maybe that has something to do with it. Or maybe it's just a reflection of how baseball has changed. Teams want superstars, or young and cheap prospects. A lot of players who would have carved out solid though not spectacular big league careers a few years ago are now finding they can't get jobs.

Bronson Sardinha

Bronson Sardinha may be the saddest case of all. His troubles are largely of his own making. The Yankees DFA'd him when he still had all his options left because they needed to get him off the 40-man roster. They still wanted him, though. After he cleared waivers, they offered him a good contract (his description) to stay with Scranton...but he turned it down. He thought he might get a better opportunity elsewhere. He ended up with the Tacoma Rainiers, the Mariners' AAA team. A few weeks into the season, Bronson was arrested for DWI. The Rainiers released him, just leaving him behind as they continued their road trip. He later signed with the Indians, and was demoted to their AA team. He wasn't happy about it.

Sardinha signed with the Tigers this year. He didn't make the big league roster, and was assigned to their double-A team after spring training. A couple of days after that, he was released. It seems to have been a decision by the Tigers to go with their own young prospects; several other free agents were also released that day.

Sardinha still wants to play, but no one will give him a shot. According to this interview with his brother Dane, Bronson has been unable to get a job anywhere - even in the independent leagues.

He's only 26 years old. He was the Yankees' first round draft pick in 2001, and got a million dollar signing bonus. And now he can't get a job.

Bronson Sardinha (right) and his brother Duke, in better days.

And as for Bubba...I haven't heard anything. I thought he might end up playing for an independent league team, or in Japan. Or maybe working as a coach or scout. I wish there were some news about what he's up to these days.

posted by BubbaFan, 10:12 AM | link | 1 comments |

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Where's Andy?

I must say, I'm surprised Andy Phillips hasn't signed with a new team yet. I wouldn't expect him to opt out of his contract with the White Sox unless he had another offer lined up. He has to know that this market is pretty terrible for veteran players like him. And if he didn't know it, his agent surely did.

Unless he just doesn't want to play. Maybe he's thinking of retirement, or just wants to take the rest of the season off. He's got a new baby at home and all.

Ugly, ugly series for the Yankees against the Nationals. They just aren't playing well. The Nationals are the worst team in baseball, and they came to Yankee Stadium and took two out of three. The Yanks were lucky they weren't swept. They won the first game thanks to truly terrible defense by CFer Elijah Dukes. He was so bad Corey Patterson, just called up from AAA, took over CF in the next two games.

Brett Gardner nearly brained himself tonight. He made a beautiful catch in CF, using his fantastic speed to track down a ball that seemed uncatchable. Then he crashed against the fence...which happened to be the plexiglas bullpen window. The back of his head slammed against the window, and he went down like a ton of bricks. It was pretty scary. He held onto the ball, though.

They ended up taking him off on the cart. He spoke to the media after the game, and seemed to be okay. He thinks he'll be able to play tomorrow. I'm kind of surprised they didn't want to do an MRI or something. He really seemed dazed when he hit that window. I thought he had a concussion for sure.

Gardner's been playing really well lately, after a rough start. I hope this doesn't throw him off.


posted by BubbaFan, 10:06 PM | link | 7 comments |

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Andy Phillips files for free agency

Looks like Andy Phillips is parting ways with the Charlotte Knights. According to the IL transaction report, he filed for free agency yesterday. I think that means it was his choice. He wasn't released, he chose to become a free agent. I assume he must have a contract that allows him to become a free agent if he's not called up by a certain time. That's not uncommon with veteran players who sign minor league contracts; Nick Green had a clause like that when he signed with Scranton last year.

Presumably, Andy has something else lined up, or he wouldn't give up his current job. I wonder if it might be the Reds. They liked him enough last year to sign him, call him up, and then reclaim him off waivers when they lost him to the Mets. Edwin Encarnacion, Cincinnati's starting third baseman, has been on the DL most of the season, and rumor has it that he's had a serious setback, meaning he's not coming back any time soon. The Reds had been using Adam Rosales and Jerry Hairston, Jr. at 3B, but neither has been very good. Rosales is a butcher on defense, and is not hitting his weight. Hairston made two errors last night that cost the Reds the game. There's the pride of Rice University, Paul Janish, but the Reds seem reluctant to use him as an everyday player. (I'm not sure why; he's a defensive wiz, and is hitting better than Rosales on the rare occasions he gets to play.)

Andy Phillips would be a defensive upgrade on Rosales and Hairston, and has more pop in his bat than Janish. (The Reds desperately need power hitting.) And he'd be really cheap, which is important for a team like the Reds in an economy like this.

I don't have any inside info. Just speculating. But it sounds like a perfect match to me. ;-)


posted by BubbaFan, 6:22 AM | link | 0 comments |

Monday, June 15, 2009

Power outage

The Charlotte Knights game was rained out, so Andy Phillips didn't play tonight. It seemed to me that he wasn't playing as well as he had been, so I checked his stats...yikes. He's really been in a slump this month. He's batting only .200 in June, and his OBP is a miserable .250. It's a small sample size, of course. He started out blistering hot, so perhaps it's inevitable that his numbers would go down.

Still...Andy's hit insanely well in AAA for the past few years. He's hit .300 or better since 2004, with good power. Indeed, I think that's why the Yankees kept him on the roster when players like Bubba Crosby and Nick Green were cut loose. The Yanks always had a thing for power hitters, and they liked Andy's stick. But this year, even when he was hitting well, he wasn't hitting with the usual power. Just a fluke? The result of his back injury? Something to keep an eye on, I guess.


posted by BubbaFan, 10:36 PM | link | 1 comments |

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Charlotte at SWB, May 15, 2009 - Game 1

Thursday's game was rained out, which meant a doubleheader on Friday. Apparently, the reason it took them so long to call the game was that Charlotte really didn't want to play a doubleheader Friday. It was getaway day for them, and they didn't want to hang around to play two. Therefore, the doubleheader started at 5:30pm - early even for a doubleheader. With each game only 7 innings (as is usually the case with minor league doubleheaders), the Knights should be able to leave town on time.

The early start time meant I would have to leave work early to get there on time. I wasn't sure I'd be able to get off early, so I didn't trade my raincheck for the doubleheader. Turns out, I was able to get the time off. There were no lower deck tickets available at game time, though. The first time this year that that happened. Probably because it was a doubleheader, and a Friday night (which means free fireworks after the game).

So I had to sit in the upper deck. I wasn't expecting that, so didn't have my really long lens. My photos aren't that great, but I'm posting a few anyway. ;-)

Andy Phillips before the game started:

You can really see the blond and red highlights in his hair.

Eh. Save your money for your daughter's education, Andy. You don't need highlights.

George Kontos started for SWB.

Carlos Torres started for Charlotte:

SWB scored in the bottom of the first. Austin Jackson walked, then Shelley Duncan hit a double:

Right fielder Josh Kroeger fields Duncan's double:

Austin Jackson scored from 1B.

Andy Phililps was 0 for 2 with a walk, but reached on an error.

Andy was playing 3B in the first game of the doubleheader, which gave me a good angle while he was warming up.

Mark Melancon pitched 1.2 innings.

Andy showing off his highlights. ;-)

Jackson's run in the first was the only one scored in the game. Charlotte 0, SWB 1.

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posted by BubbaFan, 12:44 AM | link | 1 comments |

Monday, June 08, 2009


The May 14th game in Scranton was rained out. Meant to post these photos, but didn't get around to it until now.

It didn't look too bad at first. And the weather report said the rain would clear by 7pm (or I wouldn't have bothered driving out there, since it's a bit of schlepp).

But it just kept getting worse and worse. I sat in the top row of my section; it was under the overhang, and therefore dry. There hardly anyone there, so nobody hassled me about sitting in someone else's seat.

Some fans arrived, took one look at the rain pouring down, and said, "No way is the game being played tonight."

The usher disagreed. "No, no. They'll get the game in. The radar shows that this will pass soon, and then it's clear skies for the rest of the night."

As he said this, the sky really opened up. The rain was coming down in buckets. It was raining about as hard as I have ever seen it rain anywhere (and I've seen tropical monsoons). The stands starting filling up with water.

And over the PA came the announcement: game rained out. Doubleheader tomorrow. Exchange your tickets at the box office.

So I had a long drive home. In pouring rain.

There was a really nice double rainbow as I left.

Yeah, I know. I shouldn't be taking photos while driving. I couldn't resist. It's been a long time since I've seen a double rainbow.

According to people who live in the area, it actually did stop raining shortly after they called the game, and it was clear the rest of the night.

I must have followed the storm as I drove home. It rained so heavily that many cars and trucks pulled over on the side of I-84 and parked, waiting for the rain to pass. I kept going, but I drove very slowly. I'm a bit of a leadfoot usually, but I was going as slow as 40 mph in a 65 mph zone at some points, just to keep from hydroplaning. Not a fun drive.

posted by BubbaFan, 7:45 PM | link | 0 comments |

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

National Bubba Day

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram notes that today, June 2, is "National Bubba Day." I had never heard of it, but apparently, there is such a thing.

They mention Bubba Crosby, and include this photo:

Great pic. It's so Bubba: diving catch, using both hands.

It's also pretty cool because the ball is in the frame. I've found that capturing the ball on the fly is one of the toughest shots to get in baseball photography. A falling ball moves much faster than you'd think. You can time pitching and hitting, but a batted ball is a different story.

posted by BubbaFan, 6:56 PM | link | 0 comments |