Around the NL East: Phillies Stand Up to Bullying, Umps Get Stuck in D.C. Traffic, Mets Want Giancarlo, Marlins Just Want Attendance

Dale Zanine-US PRESSWIRE

Across the baseball landscape, April showers come into play, creating rainouts, and in some cases, massive snow issues in some regions. Gotta love April baseball!

Welcome back to the basement.

2013phi_medium

Phillies to dedicate May game to child slain from excessive bullying - TGP
Sometimes, I think of all the PSAs and the spreading awareness of bullying is just a case of the world just needing to toughen up and show a thicker skin. But when bullying crosses the line and it turns into such excessive violence that results in death, then that's a completely different story. Seriously, whether you have children or not, whether you don't bother to read anything else in this article, please read this story. It's one of the best things written on an SBNation site that I've ever read.

How to be a fan of a mediocre team, again - TGP
I know a lot of yous guys like to lurk and hate on TGP, but this is still a pretty good message to not just Phillies fans, but to any fan of a team that is struggling out the gate, and possibly looking at a fairly unimpressive season. It really boils down to the simple words of not taking things too seriously. Lord knows that I've got enough of my hair turning white without baseball results being a part of the reasons.

Did you know there are Phillies fans already putting Halladay's head on the block? - Phillies Zone
Two starts, two losses, a 14.73 ERA, and there are already people writing Roy Halladay's eulogy. It's like there are still fans out there that don't understand that for every winner, there's a loser, and that this isn't the first time in the history of baseball that a player has had a rough start to a season. As for Halladay himself, he's claiming that his problems are 95% mental; the weight of that 5% of decreased velocity, aging, and a bad back sure must be really heavy.

Ever the opportunist, one Roy tweets availability while another Roy stinks it up - Phillies Nation
Hey, hey, hey you guys, did you know that Roy Oswalt is feeling good, and is available? He said so himself; while Roy Halladay was getting shellshocked, conveniently. Although he denies that his tweeting timing had nothing to do with it, he really couldn't have picked a better opportunity to remind everyone of his availability and that he loved Philly.

Rich Dubee claims all issues are solely on the pitchers themselves - High Cheese
Hm, hard to tell how I feel about this. In one hand, Dubee's essentially throwing Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels under the bus, citing that their lackluster starts are all on them. But in the other hand, we've all seen before how pitching and hitting coaches are often the sacrificial lambs, fired for no real reason other than to exorcise false demons of underperforming, and I could see Dubee not wanting to plant any potential seeds that it's his fault that two talented guys are performing like crap.

Freddy Galvis hasn't made a single start yet - Phillies Zone
I find this a little puzzling, considering Charlie Manuel is 116 years old, and old staunch veteran managers like him always cite the importance of utilizing players on the bench. And considering Michael Young, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley, the three guys that Galvis would likely be giving breathers to are a combined age of 150, it's odd to me that Galvis hasn't had at least one start yet, to give one of those guys a breather. Even Fredi has given days off to Jason Heyward and B.J. Upton already, and they're a combined age of like 50.

HELP IS ON THE WAY - High Cheese
Delmon Young could start rehabbing soon, the division is the Phils!

"He hasn’t had to run the bases a lot because he hasn’t been getting on all that much," Amaro said.

Guess who else is having attendance issues? - Crossing Broad
Remember the years when the Phillies' average attendance used to exceed 100% on a regular basis, due to standing room tickets? Yeah, not so much anymore lately.

2013was_medium

Jayson Werth feels like his squad is like the 2008 Phillies - Nats Insider
Not just necessarily because they're a good squad, but mostly in the fact that the Nationals are a team that have been seeing a lot of pitches. He goes to compare Denard Span to Jimmy Rollins, and that he too is seeing a lot of pitches, but that also himself, Harper and Zimmerman are along the lines of the days when it was Utley, Howard and himself when the Phillies won a World Series.

Moneybags has been a little shaky to start the season - Nationals Journal
Despite getting a big three-year deal from the Nationals, Rafael Soriano hasn't really lived up to expectations so far, with a blown save, four earned runs and two homers allowed.

Stephen Strasburg wishes Davey Johnson would lengthen the leash - The Bog
That seems to be the sentiment by young Nationals pitchers, whom at this point can really only just dream that they'll ever pitch a complete game in their careers.

In spite of how powerful MLB umpires think they are, even they still succumb to D.C. traffic - Nationals Journal
Of all the years I've been watching baseball, I can't really ever remember this happening before. But I guess that with baseball returning to Washington as of 2005, it was bound to happen, since there are few places in the country with as bad traffic as Washington D.C. does.

In home runs slightly less impressive than Juan Franscico's - Nats Enquirer
Bryce Harper hit a diminutive 420-foot home run to the second deck of Nationals Park en route to beating the White Sox.

Paul Konerko has high praise for Bryce Harper - Nationals Journal
After Harper snapped his bat on his own back during the backswing of a hit, 37-year old veteran Paul Konerko stood at first base with the young phenom. And he was kind of in awe at the advanced stage of ability that Harper shows at the age of 20, compared to when he was 20 himself.

Adam LaRoche and the most eventful home run ever - The Bog
Men kissing behind the plate and the guy reading the newspaper during the game, catching the ball seem to be the highlights of when Adam LaRoche goes yard.

Apparently doing things other than watching the game seems to be a common occurrence at Nats Park - The Bog
Including doing your taxes, and reading books while behind home plate.

Anthony Rendon is being shuffled around in the minors - MASN
Touted infield prospect Anthony Rendon, is having a unique season so far. With pretty much every spot he would be playing currently blocked on the Nationals, the organization is doing everything they can to help his stock by having him play a variety of positions to see which one is the best for him.

Matt Skole on the other hand, suffers injury - Nationals Journal
Another touted prospect, Matt Skole will miss about at least a month with a microfracture in his left wrist. We all know how bad wrist injuries can be.

Another Harper prepares for the minor league season - MASN
Bryce Harper's older brother, Bryan is preparing for the start of the season, as he will be the sole lefty-reliever for the Hagerstown Suns. His dreams it to ultimately make it to the big leagues so he can pitch on the same team with his younger brother, but at the age of 23 in Low-A, it leads to wonder if he can get there or not.

2013mia_medium

Jeffrey Loria's not an evil owner, he's just a bad one - Fish Stripes
I guess this is all about perspective, but I can't say I fully agree. I think a bad owner would be one that is completely unaware that practicing fire sales and making ill-advised moves really isn't the best course of action, and as easy as it is to assume the dumbest out of Jeffrey Loria, even he has to be aware that such repeated tactics are ever going to get anywhere. I think it makes him sort of evil, because he has to know that scrapping talent for prospects creates opportunities to catch lightning in a bottle, but also is a big risk. However, it's also a risk that cultivates the environment of low salaries, which in turn become more money to pocket via profit sharing and park revenue, which I'm sure he's quite aware of.

Giancarlo Stanton seems to think his walk totals are relative to his talent - Palm Beach Post
I like Giancarlo Stanton. He's the kind of guy that captures imagination, and is the kind of guy kids need to see as kids to dream of becoming prodigious sluggers. But there's no way he should think that his seven walks in (at the time I'm writing this) seven games is really a product of improved patience. Who else is really a threat on this Marlins roster besides from him? There's no reason other than his own impatience why he shouldn't be among the majors' leaders in walks this season.

Jose Fernandez's debut was pretty good - Fish Bytes
Granted, it was against the Mets, but they have been killing the ball as of the start of the season, so it's worth mentioning that 20-year old Jose Fernandez's debut of eight strikeouts, one run allowed in five innings was pretty decent. In fact, he joins some pretty small company of guys who have debuted at 21 or younger and struck out eight.

Will he impact attendance at all? - Sun Sentinel
The theory is that Jose Fernandez's Cuban heritage should put a few more butts in the seats in very Cuban-populated South Florida in a ballpark located right on the edge of Little Havana. Unfortunately, history proves that Cubans and hometown products are met with the same enthusiasm as everyone else: next to none. Considering they're playing the Phillies, they will probably have a good number of Phillies fans in attendance, which should please Jeffrey Loria.

Marlins Park attendance drops 59% between first and second games - Fish Stripes
And you want to know the saddest part? It's not only one of their worst drop offs between first and second games, it's actually one of their best.

It doesn't really help when they kick out their own fans - Marlins Diehards
Sure, they were protesting the state of the team, and their general dislike for Jeffrey Loria, but they're still proclaimed Marlins fans. But security and park management didn't really like their signs, their shirts, or their message, and promptly escorted them out of the park before they could even get to their seats. These bros also happen to run a website called Rage Against the Marlins, and also happened to be the ones who propogated the petition to the White House's website to wrest the Marlins away from Jeffrey Loria.

Lots of unintentional, ironic humor and hyperbole in this link - Miami Herald
I think the Braves and Turner Field are a little safe from any substantial attendance criticism as long as the Marlins exist.

"We have ticket promotions to every game," said Marlins president David Samson, who would not say how many tickets to Monday’s game were sold at full price.

This year, when the sales rep from the Marlins called seeing if he would renew, the 40-year-old man from Pinecrest had a ready response:

"I told the season ticket guy to go to hell," Solares said. "We might not come to another game again."

But I think this is my favorite one: when one guy asked his long-time friends who used to be season ticket holders to come out to Opening Day, just for tradition:

"If you do that," he argued, "the terrorists win."

2013nym_medium

Matt Harvey continues to shine - AA
Sure, it's only been two starts, but Matt Harvey is looking pretty good out of the gate. This week, he stifled the Phillies with a seven-inning performance where he struck out nine Phillies, and has a pretty tiny ERA of just 0.64, with a FIP of 1.14. This is the kind of performance that usually wins pitcher of the month awards.

The Mets might consider thanking Scott Boras for Harvey - NY Daily News
An interesting story of the could-be that North Carolina could have had a rotation of Madison Bumgarner, Rick Porcello and Matt Harvey all at the same time, but due to some finagling by Scott Boras, Harvey ended up going to college while the other two guys went pro. Years later, Harvey was eligible again, and signed for significantly less money than other teams paid for Bumgarner and Porcello, and for the financially nitpicky Mets, they owe it to Boras.

John Buck is trying to build as much value as he can before he's traded - MetsBlog
You know what other Met is having a hot start? John Buck. At the time I'm writing this, Buck is pretty much halfway to matching his home run total from 2012, a third of the way to his RBI total, and is hitting .375/.371/.875 nine games in. But there's still a high probability that he will be traded once it's time to call Travis d'Arnaud up to the big leagues, so he may as well make himself as appealing as possible, so that a contender might want him.

What the Mets have to look forward to in Minnesota this weekend for Interleague - NY Daily News
This is one of the few drawbacks to having Interleague available in months outside of June. Or having to go to Colorado.

You know who's not starting so hot? - MetsBlog
Ike Davis. Then again, is this really that much of a surprise? Unfortunately for Ike, there's no Valley Fever to blame this year, but as long as he finishes the season strong again, I suppose everything will be tolerable.

Zack Wheeler to receive MRI on a blister - NY Post
Freaking blisters, man. Amazing how something so small in such an inconvenient location, results in such detrimental results. It makes me think of just how many starts that guys like Josh Beckett have missed or imploded in because of a tiny patch of hardened and dried out skin on a fingertip.

Shaun Marcum to pitch in simulated games soon - MetsBlog
And if all goes well with simulated games, then he'll eventually make his way into rehab starts with the low minors. At this rate, we might expect to see him back with the Mets in maybe mid-May.

David Wright thinks Ruben Tejada is a Gold Glove-caliber shortstop - MetsBlog
The key word in this statement is "caliber," because it's going to be near impossible for any shortstop to be considered for a Gold Glove as long as they play in the same league, much less division as Simba.

A list of outfielders the Mets have their eyes on, possibly - NY Post
Some of them are funny, most of them would require a king's ransom, and some of them are slightly more logical, in the sense that they're really not that great (read: Alfonso Soriano). But I'd be willing to bet that five of these seven names would never actually happen.

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