Happy New Year from Crashburn Alley

On behalf of everyone here at Crashburn Alley, I would like to wish you all a happy new year and thank you for making this site a regular part of your daily web-surfing routine. It has been very rewarding to talk Phillies with you (or, for those of you who read and don’t comment, talk at you) throughout the years. I hope you all have fun celebrating the new year and enjoy a happy and healthy 2015. We’ll still be here when the hangovers go away, ready to tackle the next Phillies-related issue.

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Phillies Trade Marlon Byrd to the Reds

Per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports:

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Even Bad Baseball Is Glorious: 2014 Phillies Highlights

In 1962, the expansion New York Mets finished an almost unfathomable 40-120 and became the unfortunate standard bearer for bad baseball. Just how bad were the ’62 Mets? Despite finishing 16 games under .500, the 2014 Phillies record was three games nearer to the 102 win 2011 Phillies season than it was the ’62 Mets. Yet over a full baseball season, moments of joy, no matter how fleeting, are inescapable. The ’62 Mets still won forty games and among those wins were nine (!) walk-off victories which inevitably thrilled the home crowd. In the first game of a doubleheader on June 22, 1962, a pitcher named Al Jackson hurled a one-hit shutout to lead those hapless Mets to a 2-0 victory over the Houston Colts (an outfielder for the Mets you might’ve heard of before, Richie Ashburn, homered that day.) On Opening Day Gus Bell recorded the first hit in franchise history and Gil Hodges hit the first home run. Why am I recapping highlights of the ’62 Mets season? Because one of the great joys in baseball is this: when baseball is awful, it’s still absolutely wonderful.

As we prepare to close out 2014, it is most certainly worth a moment of reflection on the good, great, and immortal baseball moments Phillies fans were privy to over the past year. In organizing the list below, I allowed myself to remember the 2014 Phillies moments ranging from the absurd to the dramatic to the dominant that made me feel good things and rank them without any pretense of objectivity. This list is purely based on my emotional preferences and the only rule is one that evolved organically as I formed the list — just one highlight per person/group — but even that one rule is broken once.

On with the show. The ten Phillies highlights that brought me the most joy in 2014:

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Crash Bag, Vol. 1: Crash Bag 2.0

We find ourselves at the end of an era. As Jimmy Rollins trades in his beautiful red Phillies pinstripes for plain old Dodger blue, our very own Michael Baumann (officially) ends his tenure as your beloved Crash Bag curator. Like Rollins, Baumann was remarkably consistent, at one point boasting 99 consecutive weeks of Crash Baggery. And just as Jimmy was the best Phillies shortstop of all time, Baumann was the best Crash Bag…Guy…in Crashburn Alley history. So what if he was also the only one, and thus the best by default! The point is, I’m honored to take over as your NEW Crash Bag guy. Anyway, I hope I can be more J.P. Crawford than Freddy Galvis, but there’s a long way to go before we find out (and hopefully, being J.P. Crawford turns out to be a good thing). Remember to use the hashtag #crashbag on the twitters. Let’s get to the questions.

Rollins is gone. It’s been almost two weeks since the news broke, but still, those words are tough to read. He was the man. He’s one of three players in baseball history with 400 steals, 200 homers, and 100 triples. The other two guys are Johnny Damon and Paul Molitor. By the time he retires, Rollins will likely be the only player EVER with 500 steals, 250 homers, and 100 triples. His departure leaves a gaping hole in the middle of the infield, at the top of the lineup, and in our hearts. Sniff.

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What’s on Phillies Players’ Holiday Wishlists?

The Jimmy Rollins trade recently became official after more than a week of anticipation. Things have otherwise been quiet in Philliestown. The most newsworthy item that came out recently was their odds of winning the 2015 World Series diminishing further — now 100/1 according to 32Red Sport and Casino, compared to 15/2 for the Dodgers and the Washington Nationals per Paddy Power  — when the Rollins trade news broke. Let’s break up the monotony with a light-hearted look at what might be on the holiday wishlists of various Phillies players.

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Phillies Linked to Asdrubal Cabrera

With the departure of Jimmy Rollins, the Phillies face their first opening at shortstop in nearly a decade and a half. Yesterday Jerry Crasnick reported that the Phillies could be looking at 37-year-old Rafael Furcal as a possibility to help fill the gap until J.P. Crawford‘s arrival in Philly. Today’s Crasnick report is a much more appealing rumor.

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Ruben Amaro, Jr.: Phillies Better Off Without Ryan Howard

Quoting an interview with Mike Missanelli on 97.5 The Fanatic, Matt Lombardo of NJ Advance Media reports that Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. told first baseman Ryan Howard that the team would be better off without him. When asked about the possibility of releasing Howard, Amaro said that isn’t an option because he’s “too productive and too important” to the team.

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Phillies Kicking the Tires on Rafael Furcal

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Phillies are kicking the tires on middle infielder Rafael Furcal, currently playing in the Dominican Winter League. With Jimmy Rollins now having been officially traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Freddy Galvis is the team’s everyday shortstop. However, as Crasnick notes, some scouts see Galvis more as a utility player than a starting shortstop.

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