Phillies

Ryan Howard recalls historic peak in glimpse of NBCSP special

Ryan Howard recalls historic peak in glimpse of NBCSP special

Ryan Howard will be in Philadelphia for his retirement ceremony on Sunday, July 14.

You can watch the ceremony live from Citizens Bank Park on Phillies Pregame Live just before the Phils take on the Washington Nationals. But before that, be sure to tune in at 12 p.m. for a special sitdown with the former Phillies slugger.

In the clip above, Howard recalls his historic 2006 season, in which he hit .313 with 58 homers and 149 RBIs and won the NL MVP.

It’s Phillies Focus: Ryan Howard, our exclusive chat with The Big Piece on his career in Phillies pinstripes. If you can’t make the 12 p.m. debut, or you live outside of the Delaware Valley, find out how you can still catch the special interview below.

If you live in the Philadelphia area

If you live in the area and subscribe to NBC Sports Philadelphia, below is a list of other currently scheduled re-air dates. All are set to air on NBC Sports Philadelphia unless otherwise noted. Set your DVR!

  • Monday, July 15 – 11:45am & 11:15pm
  • Thursday, July 18 – 6:45pm
  • Saturday, July 20 -- 3:15pm (NBC Sports Philadelphia Plus)
  • Thursday, July 25 – 11:30pm
  • Saturday, August 3 – 3:45pm
  • Thursday, August 8 – 9:00pm
     

If you live outside of the Philadelphia area

Displaced Philly fans can access Phillies Focus: Ryan Howard on demand through NBC Sports Gold Philly Pass. Use promo code RYAN for $5 off the annual price. This offer expires August 9. Access Philly Pass here

Philly Pass also provides subscribers access to exclusive interviews with Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins, our Signing Harper documentary special, the 2008 World Series parade, every Phillies Pre and Postgame Live show, and plenty of other great Philly sports content.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

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Mets fans angrily send GM money after Phillies destroyed their offseason

Mets fans angrily send GM money after Phillies destroyed their offseason

The internet lets sports fans tease and taunt nearly everyone directly, from opposing players to their own mascots: just @ them. But the front office is a notable, and large, exception - the people pulling the strings (and purse strings) are normally absent from social media.

Which means, when the Phillies swooped in this past offseason to hire Joe Girardi and sign Zack Wheeler away from hopeful Mets fans, their fans needed to get creative with their venting.

Enter Venmo, and Mets General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen.

Dozens of fans began swarming Van Wagenen's account on Venmo, the user-to-user app used to directly exchange money through smartphones, offering financial support for the stingy franchise, according to a story Thursday from the New York Times' James Wagner.

They were particularly angry at being bested (twice!) by the Phillies:

"There was only one logical response in Frankie Wlton's mind. When Wilton, a lifelong Mets fan, read that his favorite team hadn't made an offer to re-sign pitcher Zack Wheeler, who instead joined the rival Philadelphia Phillies on a five-year, $118 million deal in December, he opened his cellphone and scrolled to Venmo. (...) After Wilton futilely searched Venmo for the Mets' principal owner, Fred Wilpon, and his son Jeff, the team's chief operating officer, he was surprised to find General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen on the app. Wilton sent him one cent with a tongue-in-cheek message: "Spare change for the poor."

(...)

"'Hire Girardi and bring back the black jerseys,' wrote a fan named Dan Healy when he sent Van Wagenen money via Venmo on Oct. 17, a week before Girardi was hired by the Philadelphia Phillies."

How New York, right? Where Philadelphia sports fans hit their teams with boos, NY fans hit their teams in the wallet. (Philly fans also hit their GM with glam-rock, but that's another story.)

Interestingly, Phillies fans have felt the same kind of penny-pinching ire this offseason, despite landing an ideal manager and signing Wheeler to a nine-digit contract. 

Managing partner John Middleton was briefly painted this offseason as actively avoiding the luxury tax by not pursing a blockbuster trade for the Rockies' Nolan Arenado and/or the Cubs' Kris Bryant, two difference-making players who would cost a pretty penny. A quick Twitter search for the #PayTheTax hashtag turns up plenty of perturbed Phillies fans.

Middleton said in October he wouldn't want to dip into the tax just to be a postseason afterthought. President Andy MacPhail said earlier this month (see story) that while the team is "not reluctant to go over" the tax line, they want to think about how it would impact the team for the next few years, not just one season, because of the compounding penalties.

It's understandable... but, considering the Harper investment, Phillies fans also want a title run sooner rather than later.

However, Phillies fans, take some solace: while you still may want ownership to #PayTheTax, at least you're not scouring Venmo for @JohnMiddleton to vent your frustrations.

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Joe Girardi impressed with Jean Segura, smitten with Phillies catching prospect Rafael Marchan

Joe Girardi impressed with Jean Segura, smitten with Phillies catching prospect Rafael Marchan

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Six games into the exhibition schedule, Joe Girardi is really liking what he sees of two players.

One might end up being his third baseman this season.

The other will play in the low minors.

Jean Segura played well at third base in the Phillies’ 5-4 win over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday. He made a nifty backhand stop of a ball off the bat of Nelson Cruz to start a 5-4-3 double play in the first inning. He also had a pair of hits, including a double. He is 4 for 9 with two doubles in the early going.

“Jean had a really good day,” Girardi said. “That (double play) was not an easy play. What I like is it’s smooth, it’s not panicky. Looks like he’s been doing it.”

The Phillies are evaluating Segura’s ability to play third base. They are also taking stock of his comfort level at the position because he has never played there before. If Segura can handle third base, he will open the season there and Scott Kingery will play second base, his best position.

So far this spring, Segura has played three games at third base. If he continues to look good there, would the Phillies even bother to look at him at second, where he does have experience, this spring?

“That’s a conversation we’d have in a week or so,” Girardi said. “We have to continue to see what it looks like. Scott looks good at second. If Jean looks comfortable at third and it seems like Didi and him have a good thing going there, we might just leave him. I don’t know. It’s too early.”

Segura played shortstop for the Phillies last season. He is moving from that position to make room for Didi Gregorius, who signed a one-year, $14 million contract in December.

CATCHING THE BOSS’ EYE

Girardi, who caught for 15 seasons in the big leagues, has become smitten with Rafael Marchan, a catching prospect from Venezuela who turned 21 on Tuesday.

“The kid does a lot of things right,” said Girardi.

Marchan has gotten a chance to play in big-league camp because Andrew Knapp (oblique) and Deivy Grullon (tooth infection) have missed some time.

Phillies officials felt comfortable enough with Marchan’s defense to give him the start with Zach Eflin on the mound Wednesday. Marchan responded with two hits and was praised for his work behind the plate by Eflin. Marchan had one miscue -- he overran a high, spinning pop up -- but Girardi chalked that up to inexperience.

“I told him, ‘You finally made a mistake -- the pop up,’“ Girardi said with a laugh. “He just went after it too quickly.”

Girardi called Marchan “a master” blocker of balls in the dirt earlier this week.

Marchan is a 5-foot-9 switch-hitter. He was a shortstop until he started working out for teams as a catcher in 2015 and the Phillies signed him for $200,000. He has played 136 professional games in Single A the last two seasons and hit .285. He has yet to hit a homer in pro ball, but that doesn’t concern Girardi.

“Here’s my thought,” Girardi said. “He doesn’t have to show power. He just has to hit, be an adequate hitter, or he could become a really good hitter. Take his walks, handle the bat. Defensively, he’s going to save you runs by catching. Those are RBIs for me. He’s going to save you a lot of runs catching.”

Marchan went unselected in the Rule 5 draft in December, not surprising because of his age, experience level and still-developing bat. But if he has a good year in 2020, he might not get through the draft.

Girardi thinks Marchan can develop into a big-leaguer, much like another converted infielder once did with the Phillies.

“I’m not comparing here, but Carlos Ruiz was not a great hitter when he first came up,” Girardi said. “He’s got talent and you hope he figures out the bat part of it because if he does, you have something really special.”

That’s high praise.

HEALTH CHECK

Girardi said Adam Haseley checked out fine in concussion protocol but would not return to action for another day or two. Haseley banged his head on the ground attempting a diving catch on Tuesday.

Outfielder Matt Szczur has yet to play because of a hamstring injury. Reliever Robert Stock has forearm pain and will be examined on Thursday.

UP NEXT

The Phillies play the Red Sox in Fort Myers on Thursday. Nick Pivetta will start.

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