I Can’t Believe My Baseball Ears !

I know that I haven’t posted anything for quite some time, but what I’ve been hearing from some so called baseball experts has really set me off. First it was pitch count which I am totally against and now it’s this ridiculous phrase, ” He’s not pitching to contact” in other words the batter isn’t putting the ball in play enough. Why isn’t he putting the ball in play ? Well because the pitcher is striking him out. Isn’t that the objective of the pitcher. It sure as hell was when I was playing. The more the batter puts the ball in play the higher percentage he will have of getting on base. Isn’t the pitcher supposed to keep the opposing team off the base? The best way of doing that is striking the batter out. However in the world of baseball we live in today everyone wants to save the pitchers arm. But saying it is a “BAD THING” to strike a batter out is totally ludicrous. Yes that’s what they’re saying about Cliff Lee 107 K’s, the National League leader and right behind with 106 Roy Halliday.
Maybe there’s some kind of conspiracy behind this. The numbers are down across the board in all offensive categories so let’s just let the batter hit the ball. Why not just tell him what’s coming ? Maybe they can throw the ball underhand. How about lowering the mound again. Ah what the heck, just pitch off a flat surface. Do you have any suggestions? Let me know what you think.

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Take Away Title’s

Wow ! What if Major League Baseball did what the NCAA does to the school’s that use players who have done something illegal. Take away all their teams wins and championship’s or title’s. Could you imagine MLB commissioner Bud Selig holding a news conference and making an announcement that he was taking away a World Series Crown from The New York Yankees. That’s right baby.. Forfeit everything. You Lose, you or one of your players cheated. You had an unfair advantage. You didn’t play by the rules. Do something at a level such as that and then none of those steroid Home Run Bombers would ever gain consideration for Baseball’s Hall of Fame. That’s what is needed to be done to really understand the severity of the problem.

Vick Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere !

In spite of Michael Vick’s recent episode down south don’t look for the Eagle QB to be released by the team. The Philly football squad re-signed this athlete for a reason… Any Reid is intrigued by this guy… With Donovan McNabb out of the picture Reid does not have to worry about hurting old number 5’s feelings. If you paid attention, last year Vick participated in about 10 percent of the offensive plays when McNabb was the starter. However, when Kevin Kolb was at the helm that number increased to almost 20 percent. Look forward to seeing more of Michael Vick at the QB position. Reid, who has a tremendous ego, when it comes to offense, will look to utilize Vick, not only for the Wildcat but also to run Reid’s version of the West Coast offense. Reid believes he has that athletic mobile quarterback who is capable of throwing the short pass and taking off and running when it is needed. Michael Vick missed two years of football and as a result was not up to NFL playing shape. A source has told me that Vick has improved his time running the 40 over the last year and Reid will attempt to profit on that by giving the so called; “Bad Boy of Football” more time on the field. Now if Kolb becomes a little shaky expect to see Vick as the starting Quarterback.

THANKS & THOUGHTS

First of all I would like to thank everyone who has purchased my book “HARDBALL & HARDSHIP”. I”d especially like to acknowledge all of the individuals for their very kind and positive comments and reviews in reference to the book. Who would have thought that a neighborhood kid from Southwest Philly would be capable of such an endeavor. Once again my sincere thanks to everyone and pass the word that the book is still for sale. ..Now moving on. … I’m sure everyone is sick and tired of the snow that has blanketed our area for the past several weeks. I’ll bet you’re also tired of the thousands of weather reports and live “On Location” shots from across the Tri-State area detailing the conditions at various sites. Also, I know you are overwhelmed with all the sophisticated language and statistics that are used by the Weather People. Who cares ? Just give the damn report, which is usually wrong anyway, and move on to the news and sports. Noooo.. They pre-empt programming and continue on for HOURS with their boring coverage. A very long time ago I was in Florida watching the news and the first 15 minutes was dedicated to the weather. This was an everyday thing. I said to a friend of mine, ” If this amount of time is ever spent on the weather up in Philly, I’ll never watch the news again.” Well, what do you know? It sure has hell happened. It’s not just during a storm of some sort, but it’s every night regardless of the severity. I’ll venture to say that the Weather Person on any local television station is ON THE AIR more than the lead anchor person. In other words, the face of the weather person is shown more than the anchor. It’s just crazy, isn’t it ? … Man the Philly news boys are all over Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay. Pretty soon there may be a TV channel dedicated just to him. Can you say the “Halladay Channel “. First though they are working on a “TIGER” network. It just doesn’t stop….. Hopefully the Phillies didn’t make a mistake when they opted not to sign their former third baseman Pedro Feliz. That man can flat out play third base. In fact he’s the best that our hometown squad has seen around here since Scott Rolen. Maybe since Mike Schmidt. The Phillies brass are banking on Placido Polanco to fill that void. I’m sure they know that Polanco won’t field as well as Feliz but are hoping that his bat will make up for his defensive liabilities. There’s one more factor that should be thrown in to the equation. Not only did Feliz make most of the fielding plays, but his throws to first base were right on the money. I know he made Ryan Howard’s job much easier at first base with his accurate tosses. Mister Howard may have to move a little bit more to retreat Polanco’s throws to save the new third bagger some errors. … Don’t forget, comments are always welcome.

String Band Division Line of March is a Farce

Yes, that’s right, the way the line of march is determined by the String Band Division in the annual mummers parade is a farce, joke and we can add ridiculous and ludicrous and any other term that’s needed. The top bands from the previous year usually appear near the end of the line up and that my friends is an unfair advantage. That is why, in my opinion the Fralinger String Band has won eight consecutive first prizes. How the positions are determined may be a bit difficult to explain but I will try my best later on, but let me first say that the order of march by the other divisions in the parade are the result of simply picking a number out of a hat. Why can’t the String Bands do the same ? What if I told you that the 1927 New York Yankees arguably the greatest baseball team of all time batted in the bottom of the ninth inning of every game they played. Well that’s how it is when the string bands march on New Years Day. As stated before the drawing for positions is weighed heavily in favor of the top bands, here is my attempt to explain it. There are four sealed envelops, with the letters A,B,C and D. These envelops have four or five numbers in them ranging from 1 to 17, representing the number of bands in the parade in 2010. Envelop “C” may have the numbers 16, 12,7 and 2. The envelops are in the hands of city officials. Before the numbers are exposed the bands must pick a letter. After each band has their letter a representative walks over to the city official who has their assigned letter. In this case the four bands with the letter “C” will march in one of those above mentioned positions [16,12,7 or 2]. Here’s the catch. The band who finished higher in the previous parade will select first. Obviously the top band will choose the higher number. So as a result a band such as Fralinger will always march at the end of the String Band Division and the judges know this and as a result scores are held back on prior bands. I’ve listened to the judges tapes and have heard a comment such as; “Yes, that was a great performance, but there’s still a few good ones to come, but I’ll see what I can do.” What they should do is give you what you deserve and not hold back points. In any subjective scoring system such as gymnastics or figure skating the participants who perform near the end of the competition will generally score higher than those who start at the beginning. Let me add that this is by no means a knock against the Fralinger String Band. They are a very strong and hard working band. OK, they still may have won in 2010 but I doubt that they would have won 8 times in a row. It’s only human nature for one to express or write down that something that was just seen was the greatest that they have ever seen. How many times has an individual witnesses an outstanding athletic play and say; “Wow, that’s the greatest catch, dunk or whatever that I’ve ever saw.” In most cases it’s “What have you done for me lately? ” . Here, it’s ; “What have I seen or heard lately? ” Let me know how you feel. Your comments are more than welcome. Happy New Year.

“HARDBALL & HARDSHIP” FREE SHIPPING !!

A special Christmas offer is now available when you purchase my book “HARDBALL & HARDSHIP”. We will send you the book, with no shipping charge, by mailing a check for $18.95 to Katherine Carfagno to this address: 2732 Plover St. Phila., Pa. 19153. That’s right, “WE PAY THE SHIPPING CHARGE”. This is a great offer to all of those looking for an easy stocking stuffer or a last minute gift for the holiday’s. Here’s wishing everyone a “MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR” !!!
NOTE : This offer is NOT available through Pay Pal. Do not click the “Buy now” icon to the right if you want this offer. Just mail directly to the above name and address.

Former Phillies coach John Vukovich proves prophetic

In my book “HARDBALL & HARDSHIP” I mention in Chapter 28 titled, “So You Think He Can Play”, a conversation I had with former Phillies coach the late John Vukovich. The chapter is in reference to Phillies second baseman Chase Utley. Vukovich speaks to me as he hits ground balls to Utley in 2003. As Vuke hits grounders he chats about some of Utley’s defensive deficiencies. One of them being his ability to turn the double play. Well welcome to the 2009 NLCS and in particular the first two games. As we know by now, Utley has had his problems the past few days. Since the series began on Thursday I have received many E mails, phone calls and text messages from people who have read the book with all of them recalling Chapter 28. Here is some of what Vuke said to me on that day: ” Watch this Frog, he can’t go to his right or left. He has a hard time fielding the ball when he has to move laterally….. “Frog, this guy’s in the big leagues, he has to at least get his glove on them. “Watch his feet, he’s off balance… watch when he throws the ball, it’s not that good for a big leaguer. Here’s something that I didn’t put in the book. Did you know that the Phillies wanted Utley to play third base because they knew all along how bad Utley was playing second base in the minor leagues. Yes, he’s an average second baseman now, but let’s hope he didn’t cost Philadelphia another parade down Broad Street. Rest In Peace Vuke .

Book Now available at Mummers Museum

” HARDBALL & HARDSHIP” is now available at the Philadelphia Mummers Museum at 2nd St and Washington Ave. The word is spreading fast that author Mark “Frog” Carfagno has put a nice blend of Family, Friendships, Neighborhood, and of course baseball in his writings. Frog has appeared as a guest on Comcast Sports Net Daily News Live. He also has been a guest on several Sports Talk Radio shows including AM 610 WIP in Philadelphia. WCHE 1520 AM in West Chester, Pa. WBCB 1490 AM Levittown, Pa. and WNJC 1340 AM in South Jersey. Frog has also been popular with the print media, being mentioned in the Philadelphia Daily News and Inquirer and also the Delaware County Times. He was the subject of a feature article in the South Philadelphia Review. With Christmas fast approaching the book makes for a great stocking stuffer. The book also may be purchased on this site through Pay Pal or by check.

“Hardball & Hardship” Available by Mail and PayPal

You can order a copy of my new book, “Hardball & Hardship” by clicking on the PayPal button to the right, under the picture of the front cover. You don’t need a PayPal account to use the service.

If you prefer, you can send a check for $22.95 ($18.95 purchase price, plus $4 shipping and handling) to:

Mark Carfagno
2732 Plover Street
Philadelphia, PA 19153

Please make the check payable to: Katherine Carfagno

Also, after you have read the book, please feel free to leave a comment so that they can be documented for future reference. Thanks.

HARDBALL & HARDSHIP by Mark “Frog” Carfagno

I’ve just completed writing a book titled “HARDBALL & HARDSHIP”. It’s about my life growing up as a young child in Southwest Philadelphia and later about working in baseball for the Philadelphia Phillies for 33 years.

You will find many behind the scenes stories from my 33 years working as a groundskeeper at Veterans Stadium and a few that are quite comical.

I don’t just stop there. Look also for my strong opinions on these topics: Sports Talk Radio, Sports Announcers, Instant Replay and a look at one of Philadelphia’s greatest traditions, the Mummers.

For more details check out this site in the near future.

Thanks.

Frog