Series Preview: Mets vs. Phillies Interview with Fightin Phillies

Posted on by Kerel Cooper

In preparation for the New York Mets vs. Philadelphia Phillies three game series this weekend, I chatted with Rich Baxter of Fightin Phillies and fellow Baseball Bloggers Alliance member. Read below as we discuss Ryan Howard, the Phillies chances of winning the NL East and much more.

Q. Can you tell the readers a little about yourself and
A. I am the sole proprietor of the blog and have been podcasting a Phillies internet radio show called “Phillies Talk” with a friend of mine named Jim Mulry in addition to the blog, I started out 5 years ago writing and podcasting about all Philly sports but narrowed my focus to the Phillies in the middle of 2007. I am a Sunday season ticket holder for the past few years of the Phillies and enjoy going to the games an writing and podcasting about the Phils.

Q. The Phillies have been to the World Series two years in a row. What chances do you give them to make it again in 2010?
A. Well,the odds have to be against them. Three World Series appearences in a row is about as rare as a snowstorm in Florida in May, but I think this team can do it only because they know what it takes to get there. Getting to the World Series is another matter, I still think that everything has to align for a team to make it. Great play, solid fundamentals, and a little bit of luck get you a long way in the playoffs. Do they have the pitching staff to win it all?

Q. Which team in the NL East has the best chance of dethrowning the Phillies and why?
A. Early in the season I predicted the Mets would give the Phils the best run at dethroning them. Of course I’ve been saying that for a couple of years now. I always meant it too. There is no logical reason the Mets shouldn’t be able to contend. They have the talent, but I think they needed a GM/managerial change about a year ago.

Q. Is there one area of the team you would like to see the Phillies improve upon during the season?
A. Starting pitching after Halladay has been inconsistent. Will this be the reason the Phillies don’t make the playoffs in 2010?

Q. The Phillies and Ryan Howard recently agreed to a 5yr $125 million extension. Howard is currently 31 years old. Do you think the Phillies gave him too long or too much money?
A. He is only 30 as of today the day he agreed to the contract extension, but I think the Phillies did what they thought was right. They offered a contract and the money sounded right to Howard and Company. Was it surprise that it happened now? Yes, I think it came out of the blue and no one expected the Phillies to step up and make this commitment. Howard has been consistent in his run production over the years, he has also struck out a lot in the process. It is scary to think how much better Ryan Howard can improve if he just gets more hits. $20-$25 million a year is now the going rate for real superstars in baseball, and the Phillies organization believes Howard is one of them.

Also, you can check out the Mets questions I answered for Rich over at Fightin Phillies. Special thanks to Rich for taking the time to answer my questions. Be sure to check out Rich over at Fightin Phillies.

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