Sunday, March 31, 2013

Hamels, Howard Preview Phillies Opening Day

The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce sponsored on Friday "Paint the Town Red," a Phillies opening week ritual for 30 years. Phillies Cole Hamels, Ryan Howard, and new Phillie Mike Young took questions. Owner Bill Giles, CEO David Montgomery, general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr, manager Charlie Manuel were also on hand.

The Phillie Phanatic is red for Red Week.

Ryan Howard said he is feeling "pretty good." To get ready for the season, he channeled Cal Ripken. He played for two weeks straight during spring training. While he was candid that he is slower, he thinks he has found a way to be more efficient.

A bearded Cole Hamels acknowledged it was a "tremendous honor to be selected opening day pitcher." At spring training, Cole's fastballs were averaging 92 mph. He is hoping with cheering from the fans that it will get up to 93 mph.

Mike Young, who played in two World Series games as a Texas Ranger, made it clear that he wants to finally score a World Series ring. "Losing the World Series is tough," he said.

Hamels, who was first allowed to pitch at the age of 10, said, "There is nothing better than pitching a no hitter at Citizen's Bank Park.

Howard was candid that it is hard to come back after a losing season.

Both Howard and Young had good things to say about Phillies prospect Cody Asche. Hamels thought highly of pitching prospects Adam Morgan and Jonathan Pettibone.

Hamels and Howard's two favorite players were Ken Griffey Jr, and Tony Gwynn. Howards also added Barry Bonds to the list. Young picked Don Mattingly.

Owner Bill Giles, who said that ticket sales are down 10% this year, defended the price of Phillies tickets.
"They are cheaper than Sixers and Flyers tickets. People don't like the price they don't have to come."

Forbes magazine recently named the Phillies Franchise the 5th most valuable franchise in major league Baseball. Giles does not think it is likely that the Phillies will move up higher in the rankings.

"We were sold out three years in a row. But a lot of the value is determined by television rights. We can't compete with New York and Los Angeles," he explained.

Montgomery, who is a part owner, does not care about the rankings at all.

"I care about winning not the value of the franchise," he said,

He explained how they pick between two players with equal stats.

"If two players look the same on paper, then we choose the one with the better character. If they both have the same numbers and character, we go with the younger one. We bet on the future," Montgomery said.

Amaro assured that Delmon Young isn't an anti-Semite.

'He's a good kid from a good family. He was drunk and did something stupid that got a lot of attention because he was a celebrity. He was trying to protect the pickpocket," he said..

Cole Hamels was booed when he said that he had chosen Wichita State in his NCAA bracket.

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