One Man's Quest to Bring the Athletics Back to Philadelphia

One Man's Quest to Bring the Athletics Back to Philadelphia

J T. Ramsay is a local baseball geek who has started a movement dubbed "Bring Your A's Game" in an attempt to lure the Oakland Athletics back to Philadelphia. We chatted with him to see what his motivations were and how exactly the plan was coming along.

Enrico: Tell us a little bit about what exactly you're trying to do.

J T.: I'm trying to bring the A's back to their rightful home, here in the
City of Brotherly Love. It sounds crazy at first, but then when you hear
what's going on with the A's franchise, it's not that farfetched.
Oakland can't afford to keep them and San Jose can't afford to move
them, unless the Governator's cool with one of the cities in his
cash-strapped state okaying a half a billion dollar loan.

Will
the A's just be this tempest-tos't franchise, doomed to wander smaller
and smaller markets? I feel they deserve a better fate and thought, "Why
not move them back here?"

I know you're a diehard Phillies fan. What made you think Philadelphia needed a second baseball team?
Also, would you change your allegiance?

You're right. I bleed fire-engine red. My wife and I have practically raised my son in Section 143. 

I
love the Phillies, but I love Philadelphia and baseball so much that I
think we'd be a great home for the A's. They're the kind of working
class heroes Philly loves. Guys like Jack Cust and Dallas Braden would
be hometown favorites overnight. When I think about how few people saw
Braden's perfecto in person, I want to weep. The overflow crowd from
Citizen's Bank Park on Mother's Day would've been bigger than the 12,000
paid in Oakland that day. We're
a sport-crazed city. Of any city that doesn't have two baseball teams,
Philadelphia seems perfect for it. It'd be a beautiful homecoming.

As
far as allegiance goes, I don't think anything would have to change,
really. Philadelphians could have an AL and an NL team. It'd be another
opportunity to root against the Yankees and Red Sox. Who doesn't want that? They put up a new "With Love Philadelphia" billboard dedicated to them overnight!

One point Matt mentioned that I hadn't thought of is that most cities with
multiple fanbases have a rivalry, but those fanbases tend to hate each other.
Is that something we really want in Philly? Two different fanbases not liking
each other?

Yeah, I get that question a lot. Philadelphia fans don't have the
greatest reputation when it comes to anger management, but I don't think
a crosstown rivalry would be that bad. Rivalries rise and fall. I mean,
think about the Phillies-Mets rivalry. Isn't it a little sadder now
that they've folded like a deck of cards? The A's would have such a
honeymoon in this city that it would take a generation before anyone
felt animosity toward them. Heck, we'd finally have a winner in this town!

Look at what's happened to baseball rivalries today. The MLB has
tried to legislate new rivalries based on what will market well. None of
them, with the exception of Red Sox-Yankees and Cubs-Cards, seem all
that natural. Factor in interleague and you have some of baseball's
worst contrivances. It's a disservice to the fans. Don't Orioles fans
have it bad enough? Do they really need to watch a series against the
Nats when they play in the AL East?

A move like this restores order. Sure, you miss the
Battle by the Bay, but you'd revive a great tradition in Philadelphia,
which the A's and Phillies observed as far back as 1883, when the
original A's were still around (link) It's like the Big 5, but for professional baseball. Get rid of the On-Deck Series and play these games instead!


I think we can all agree a ball park located closer to Center City
would be pretty awesome. Did you have a particular location in mind?

I disagree with the downtown location, actually. I think there are
too many headaches involved in trying to do something downtown. The
Convention Center really crowded that opportunity out. Why not find a
location that's still convenient to regional rail and the Broad Street
line, closer to the A's original home? I think it would reintroduce the
concept of an actual neighborhood stadium, not just a neighborhood-style
stadium built alongside the interstate.

What can fans do to help with your cause?

Join and tell their friends. Find creative ways to bring their
A's games. You know how the Phanatic is all over town right now? I want
to see people take pictures with White Elephants all over town and share
them on Facebook and Flickr. Be creative! Show everyone just what a
great baseball town Philly is and how we miss our A's. Show your support
and join us for the first official Bring Your A's Game meet and greet
at Memorial Hall Field on September 19th. Details here.

Links:
Save the White Elephants. Join Bring Your A's Game
Share photos in our Flickr group
Follow Bring Your A's Game on Tumblr

Shibe Park image via

New Jersey product Tim Adleman limits Phillies to 1 hit over 8 innings

New Jersey product Tim Adleman limits Phillies to 1 hit over 8 innings

Cincinnati Reds starter Tim Adleman came into Friday night's start against the Phillies with an ERA above six, having allowed 10 runs in his last 5 2/3 innings. 

So, naturally, he gave up just one hit over eight scoreless innings. 

The 29-year-old righty dominated the Phillies in just his 20th career MLB start en route to his third win this season, pitching easily the best game of his young career in a 5-2 Reds' win (see game recap).

It was understandably the best that Reds manager Bryan Price had seen from Adleman.
 
"It wasn't just because of the line score," Price said. "It was really command-based. Really good both sides of the plate. Had a nice sinking fastball, could straighten it out when he needed to. A very, very good changeup. I don't think he even used a breaking ball there until the eighth inning.

"So it was really that good."

At just 100 pitches through eight, naturally the question for Price was whether to allow him the chance at a complete game. However, Price needed to get reliever Asher Wojciechowski work to get him ready for a start next week.

"I wanted to stay in there pretty badly, but you understand the move," Adleman said. "Wojo needed to get some work. It had been a while since he threw and it's a game in May. It's not a game that's deeper in the season. … I totally understand."

For his eight innings, Adleman attacked the Phillies' batters early in counts and didn't allow a batter to reach third all night. He retired the leadoff batter in all but one inning and allowed just four batters to reach base.

The Phillies' only threat came in the first inning. An Andres Blanco single was followed by an Aaron Altherr hit by pitch. That brought up Thursday's hero — Tommy Joseph — with two men on and just one out. Adleman utilized his changeup on a 1-2 pitch, inducing a weak grounder back to the mound for a 1-4-3 double play. 

In three at-bats against Joseph, Adleman recorded three groundball outs, all on the changeup, which is his primary off-speed offering.

"The scouting report is that he's a really good fastball hitter. Does a lot of damage on fastballs," Adleman said, "so if you can get him in situations where you're confident he's looking for a fastball and then cut a changeup on him, it can be really effective. Obviously, you have to keep it down, but that's the same with all your pitches."

Joseph's at-bats set the trend for the rest of the Phillies' lineup. The Reds' starter kept the ball down and didn't allow another baserunner until he walked Blanco to lead off the seventh. Sixteen of his 24 outs came on groundballs and only five pitches were hit past the infield. 

Adleman stated his goal was to use the Phillies' aggressiveness against them with strikes early in the count, and it worked. It was his first time pitching into the eighth inning in his career and he did so with almost exclusively his fastball and changeup.

"I think it had a lot to do with that little pause [in his delivery] and he did a good job changing speeds on us," Joseph said. "He basically did it with two pitches, which says a lot about how hard this game can be. Hats off to him. 

"Next time, we'll see if we can't get him back."

In a way, Adleman was getting the Phillies back. He made the third start of his career at Citizens Bank Park last year on May 14. He took the loss against Friday's starter, Aaron Nola, while allowing three runs in five innings.

Born in Staten Island, Adleman was raised in New Jersey, but grew up a Yankees fan. He hadn't been to CBP until college, when he faced Villanova while playing for Georgetown. 

At 29, he's a little old for a second-year starter because he took a winding road to the major leagues. Drafted by the Orioles in 2010, he was nearly out of baseball by 24. He spent two years in independent leagues before catching on with the Reds and debuting in the show last season.

The journeyman starter had struggled in his last few starts, which helped his ERA balloon to 6.19. However, his Friday night opponent seemed more than happy to take some air out of the balloon. Adleman became the fifth pitcher in the last six days to come into a start against the Phillies with an ERA of 5.00 or above and allow one run or less over at least five innings. 

"It feels good," Adleman said of his night. "Philly's a good young team and Nola is making quite a name for himself. He out-pitched me last year and coming into tonight I knew I had an opportunity to right the ship so to speak."

Pete Mackanin calls team meeting after Phillies hit low point with 21st loss in 26 games

Pete Mackanin calls team meeting after Phillies hit low point with 21st loss in 26 games

BOX SCORE

When the opposing pitcher comes in with an ERA that matches the area code for San Diego — 6.19 — and holds you scoreless on one single over eight innings, well …

You've reached the low point of your season.

And it's time for a team meeting.

Phillies manager Pete Mackanin called for a little powwow after his club suffered a 5-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night (see Instant Replay). Don't let the final score fool you. It wasn't that close. The loss was the Phillies' 21st in the last 26 games. They were held to three hits for the fourth time in the last six games — five losses — and have scored just nine runs over that span.

Mackanin acknowledged that this was the low point for his team, which owns the worst record in the majors at 16-30. Cincinnati starting pitcher Tim Adleman entered the game with a 6.19 ERA, but he pitched like an ace in holding the Phillies to just a first-inning single over his eight shutout innings (see story). Adleman walked two, struck out four and at one point set down 16 straight Phillies. The 29-year-old right-hander has made 20 starts in his big-league career and this was by far the best.

"Yeah," Mackanin said when asked if the loss was the season's low point. "We need to step it up. We're better than this. I know we're better than this. We've just got to start playing as aggressive as we can and take it to the other team. Be aggressive at the plate and pound the strike zone."

That apparently was Mackanin's message to the club in his postgame meeting, though he would not talk about it.

"He just wants to see us play with a little more fire and a little more energy," Aaron Altherr said. "You know, it's something we've got to do. Today wasn't too great. But, like I said, hopefully we can right the ship and start winning some games again."

Tommy Joseph was tight-lipped on the content of the team meeting.

"That's basically stuff that was between us," he said. "There's a pretty good understanding that we need to get going in here and that was really it. I think the rest is pretty self-explanatory and what he had to say is between us.

"It's definitely not a lack of effort. Everybody is out there trying to get the job done. I think there are certain nights when the job is getting done. When things start to spark a little bit, everybody feeds off that. Obviously there are some nights where that doesn't happen. It's definitely not from a lack of effort. Everybody is going out there busting their ass, so it's just a matter of sometimes it goes our way and sometimes it doesn't."

Mackanin used slumping Odubel Herrera in the leadoff spot for the first time this season and he produced a ninth-inning double after Adleman exited. The Phillies actually loaded the bases with one out in the ninth, but a fielder's choice groundball and then a strikeout by Maikel Franco, the potential tying run, ended the game. Franco struck out swinging wildly at a full-count breaking ball from Raisel Iglesias.

Joseph mentioned that Adleman changed speeds well and used a slight hesitation in his delivery to throw off hitters.

But was it more the pitcher or more just a bad offense?

"It's hard to tell," Mackanin said. "That's a daily question. Are we not hitting the ball like we should or is the pitcher that good? It seems like I look up and every other pitcher we face has a 6.00 ERA, but I think it's all because we're missing good pitches to hit. We're getting pitches to hit and we're not hitting them."

Aaron Nola did not have a good start. He gave up a pair of homers in falling behind, 3-0, after two innings, and, obviously, there was no coming back, not with this offense.

The Philies are 5-18 in the month of May.

Or should we say Mayday?

"We're trying to stay positive, as positive as we can throughout this stretch," Altherr said. "You know, it's tough sometimes when things are going the way they are. We're just going to keep being positive, keep trying to bring as much energy as we can to win some games."