The History of the Phillies Spring Training Stadiums

Today Baseball Ross and I took a trip down memory lane as we visited all three of the Phillies’ Spring Training stadiums.

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We made a video of our tour and we hope you can like it. You can see it HERE.

You might find out some very interesting facts-like how of one of the Phillies’ stadiums figures into one of the Rolling Stones greatest hits!

 

A Visit to Ryan Howard’s Mansion

Ryan Howard's Recently Completed Mansion in Belleair Beach Florids

Ryan Howard’s Recently Completed Mansion in Belleair Beach Florida

If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you will know I’ve made several visits over the years to check on the progress and eventual completion of Ryan Howard’s mega-mansion that includes two pools, 2 elevators, a lazy river, a bowling alley and much, much more.

You can read my previous blogs (in order) HERE, HERE and HERE.

Today was a perfect day for a walk on a public beach. Yes, Howard’s house is on a public beach so you can walk by and take a look at his lazy river and pool. The house is located at 1700 Gulf Boulevard in Belleair Beach, Florida. Please note there is NO public parking on the streets of Belleair Beach and the closest PUBLIC parking lot is a half mile away. The beach access two lots down from Howard’s home is for Belleair Beach residents only by permit. Do not park there unless you want your car towed.

Half a mile north of his home is Morgan Park, located at 2650 Gulf Boulevard. This is Belleair Beach’s ONLY public parking beach access. It is right on the beach and is a PAID lot. The park is hard to find and this is the only marker.

Morgan Park 2650 Gulf Boulevard

Morgan Park 2650 Gulf Boulevard

There are bathrooms, outdoor showers and a small shelter. There are no drinking fountains. Be aware it is a very small lot.

Ross and I put together a video with many shots of the house and surrounding area. You can watch it HERE.

Hope you enjoy the video.

Our New Vlog Goes Live!

Well it’s finally happened. We made a vlog. It’s a first try so it may not be award winning, but hey, we all have to start somewhere!

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This spring, Baseball Ross and I hope to post videos from Spring Training along with our written blogs. We hope with the addition of all the new video options we can increase our coverage.

So here’s vlog number one, my thoughts, pictures and video about the Phillies’ new baseball academy in the Dominican Republic. If you watch closely, you may see a familiar Williamsport Crosscutter! Watch HERE.

 

Phillies Open New Academy in the Dominican Republic

Today was an important day for the future of the Phillies Academy in the Dominican Republic. The Phillies’ new facility opened to much fanfare.

The new facility is a joint project with the Minnesota Twins. According to the press release the facility in Boca Chica, Dominican Republic is described as an “$18 million, 85,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility is housed on 45 acres. Prospects for both teams will reside and train at the academy, participate in an education program and take part in a cultural development program…Each side of the academy includes three full-sized fields, bullpen mounds, agility field, covered batting cages, dormitory space for up to 78 prospects, dining hall, weight room, training room, video coaching room and three classrooms for English language and Spanish instruction in multiple high school level topics.Additionally, the Twins and Phillies will share a kitchen facility, an auditorium consisting of 98 theater-style seats and a maintenance building.”

“Today is an exciting day for the Phillies and the Twins and for the future of our respective franchises,” said Phillies President Andy MacPhail.“This new facility allows both teams to provide on-field training and development, off-the-field cultural development and educational advancement, all of which are vital to becoming a successful baseball player in the United States.”

Many of the Phillies brass were in attendance including the Phamous Philly Phanatic who posed with former Williamsport Crosscutter and Recipient of the Williamsport Crosscutters Booster Club Fan Favorite Award, Feliberto Sanchez who is newly minted as the Assistant Pitching Coach at the Dominican Academy.

New Phillies Assistant Pitching Coach at the Dominican Academy, Feliberto Sanchez and the Phanatic

New Phillies Assistant Pitching Coach at the Dominican Academy, Feliberto Sanchez and the Phanatic

Included was a picture of the facility…

Diagram of the Joint Complex of the Phillies and Twins in the Dominican Republic.

Diagram of the Joint Complex of the Phillies and Twins in the Dominican Republic.

Now, what you do not see in the standard coverage is actual photographs of the facility, however, due to the kindness of my Dominican friends, I can provide them here.

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Phillies Dominican Complex

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Phillies Dominican Complex

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A View of the Pitching Mounds and the Buildings in the Background

One of the fields at the new Dominican Academy

One of the fields at the new Dominican Academy

Auditorium Facility at the Dominican Academy

Auditorium Facility at the Dominican Academy

Merry Christmas to all…


Today is Christmas Eve and the first night of Hanukkah. Baseball Ross and I wish you the happiest and healthiest of holidays.

Maggie and Veronica tear into their gifts.

Maggie stands in the midst of the wrapping paper

I leave you with this, perhaps the best reading of The Night Before Christmas as read by the late, great Harry Kalas:
Watch HERE.

The best present of all? Only 51 days until pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training!

A merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Josh Tobias goes to Red Sox for Clay Buchholtz

It was announced this morning that former Clearwater Thresher Josh Tobias has been traded to the dreaded Boston Red Sox for RHP Clay Buchholtz.


Tobias started with Lakewood and ended with Clearwater. He is young but showing strong potential. Buchholtz is on the downside of a good career. He has one  year (and 13-million dollars) remaining in his current contract. He may be ok as a temporary stop gap measure while waiting for some of the minor league pitchers continue to develop and mature. That being said, Buchholtz has had issues in the past, ending up in the bullpen on more than one occasion.

Tobias, while young, has shown signs of great potential, with a strong bat. Tobias has a .301 batting average while in the Phillies’ system. You can see his bat strength in this video from the final game of the Threshers season where he hit a strong homer to right. See HERE.

Will the gamble of giving up potential talent for a stop gap pitcher pan out? Only time will tell.

Another Serious Injury to a Fan-This Time at the World Series 

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know I’m an advocate for additional netting at baseball stadiums. I advocated this even before the little girl was severely injured by Freddie Galvis this season at Citizens Bank Park. You can read my earlier post HERE.

What you didn’t see was a fan who was knocked UNCONSCIOUS during Game 7 of the World Series! It wasn’t covered on TV! Why? Because MLB doesn’t want to admit it can be life altering to attend a game. 

Photo of Fan injured at game 7 of the World Series. (Photo courtesy of Grant Cordone Twitter video)


The New York Times ran an article outlining not only the injurysustained during   Game 7 but also how an elderly woman was hit in the cheek fracturing the bone and destroying her eye. The woman is now permanently disabled and unable to leave her home due to her impaired and limited vision. You can read the NYT article HERE.

How many people have to get injured, disfigured or even DIE, yes people have been killed at baseball games, before fans are protected? Is getting a free baseball so great that it outweighs the danger?

In 1970, a Manny Mota foul hit young Alan Fish at Dodgers Stadium…three days later Alan Fish was dead. Manny Mota has to live the rest of this life knowing he killed a kid. Still, MLB does nothing.

When a young girl was killed at an NHL game, the NHL acted swiftly and within a few months ALL arenas were required to have protective netting. 

Baseball argues that fans are warned of possible injury from objects leaving the playing surface…but are fans who sit over the dugout warned that they are sitting in the “Danger Zone”? Does it say on your ticket  that you could be at risk of serious injury? Do they make sure that fans are nimble enough to move out of the way of a 100mph line drive foul?

People come to games and think they are safe, and most are, but I can guarantee you that those who have been injured or have seen some of these injuries will be sitting behind the net-if they can afford it as the only “safe” seats are behind home.

May be the answer is movable netting, similar to the netting used to proctect fans in the end zone from extra points at football games. With those, you still have the intimacy but without the danger. 

Even as a photographer, I’d rather sit behind netting. With a decent camera, you can compensate for the netting. Even still, I want to be safe. I was hit by a puck at an AHL game I understand how painful and life threatening being hit by a projectile can be. Trust me, I am lucky to be alive. 

Sadly, Alan Fish can’t say that.