Opening Day Rosters Announced! Mitchell Makes the IRONPIGS!

Oink! Oink! Oink! That’s the IronPigs battle cry. It’s also something Derrick Mitchell and 21 other players will have to contend with this year at Coca Cola Park. (As of press time, 3 remaining roster spots  have not been decided.)

IronPigs roster can be found here

Also announcing their roster today were the Reading Phillies.

Reading Phillies roster can be found here

And finally the Lakewood BlueClaws also announced their roster.

Lakewood BlueClaws roster can be found here

I would also like to mention that the Clearwater Threshers have not yet announced their roster as of the time of this post. I will keep an eye out for it and will edit the post to add it when it’s announced.

Please keep in mind, that the rosters are not yet actually set in stone and some movement may occur as the final people are assigned to their teams.

So let’s raise a glass to those who made the teams! Congratulations to all.

Phightin’ for a place on the AAA roster, Derrick Mitchell plays hard and for others spring training with the Phillies comes to an end.

It’s coming down to the wire. There’s a lot on the line. With the end of spring training only days away there is a lot of jostling going on with the rosters, a trade and three more guys were cut today.

May be more importantly, there was a change to the rules at AAA and AA this year…the addition of a roster spot. Teams at this level can now carry 25 players instead of only 24. While this may not seem important, it is. This one position can make the difference to two guys who are sitting on the bubble. Teams generally carry the largest compliment of pitchers, so this extra spot may allow an extra position player, such as a fielder a chance to stay.

While earlier in the week Derrick Mitchell was listed on the grouping list in Group 2, which generally refers to players at AA, the last three days he has played with AAA (which is where he was playing when he was hit with the ball yesterday.)

Today, he was playing hard. He seems to have picked up his bat and went 2 for 4, (2 singles) and stole a base. A good showing. My husband Ross captured one of the solidly hit singles on video. You can see it HERE 

So his hard work is getting noticed.

On a sad note, the Phillies severed ties with four players today. As I reported earlier, Matt Rizzotti was traded to the Twins. Former BlueClaws players Bill Rice and Jeff Lanning were released. Also released was Brent Clevlen. Clevlen had experience in the Bigs, playing 59 games there. He had spent part of last year in Reading after being picked up after being released by both the Braves and the Reds.

Brent Clevlen on Harley Davidson Night in Reading in 2011

I wish all of those no longer in the organization the best of luck in all their future endeavors.

Matt Rizzotti gets traded!

Matt Rizzotti

The Deleware County Times is reporting that first baseman Matt Rizzotti (currently playing with the AAA Iron Pigs) was dealt to the Minnesota Twins this morning for “cash and considerations”.

I liked Rizzo. Nice guy, friendly to fans. This being said, if you’ve been reading my husband Baseball Ross’ Blog (Click HERE ) for any length of time, you’d have read about the outstanding spring training that Steve Susdorf has had. Susdorf spent last year in Reading in the outfield and was having a career season before injuring his knee.

This year, it was obvious that something was stirring as Susdorf had been moved to first, Rizzo’s traditional spot. Ross and I had been wondering with Susdorf playing there more than Rizzo if the times were  a changin’. It wasn’t that Rizzo wasn’t hitting, he was hitting .310 this spring after going 2 for4 yesterday.

So while the writing might have been on the wall, it doesn’t make it easy to lose a fan favorite.

I must admit I’ll miss Rizzo and I’m still reeling from losing another favorite, Brian Gump. Hopefully we’ll get to see these guys again.

Derrick Mitchell gets hit by a pitch, Ryne Sanberg gives Pittsburgh a piece of his mind

Sadly today, I was a bit under the weather…so I am grateful that my husband, Ross, was at the game today to see today’s shenanigans.

The inning before this event, Phillie Tom Cochran hit a Pirate with a pitch. The very next inning, first player Derrick Mitchell comes to the plate and with the first pitch he was hit!

Manager Ryne Sandberg was NOT happy, to say it politely. He sprung to Derrick’s defense and eventually had to be restrained from the Pirates’ manager. Ross happened to capture it all on film as he had been preparing to film Derrick’s at bat. I have included a link to my YouTube page where you can see it, but before I do, let me say that VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED for LANGUAGE.

You can see the video HERE

It was like going to a baseball game and a hockey game broke out.

After the melee, Derrick takes his base and he did finish the game.

In the end, the only action the umpire took was to warn the managers that the next pitcher who hit a batter would be ejected from the game. What?! There’s NO REASON to hit anyone on purpose! Let alone in spring training!!! It’s inexcusable! Moreover, the pitcher should have been ejected right away.

Ryne Sanberg was fully justified in calling out the Pirates’ manager for ordering such irresponsible behavior. It’s hard to believe that the Pirates manager wasn’t ejected. They are supposed to be adults, professionals and for a pitcher to hit someone on purpose is disgusting.

I give kudos to Sanberg for standing up for his player and if you watch the video, to the team as well for being there to back him up. I can only wish that there were some repercussions for the Pittsburgh pitcher.

Pop goes the Pods

After the lackadaisical day the Phils had yesterday, I took my time getting to my seat. I stayed in the shade behind home plate and only wandered to my sun-drenched seat in Section 118 a few minutes before the national anthem.

The first half of the first was average, Cliff Lee was slipping into his mid-season form. The Pirates pitcher was sooooo slow. so very slow. He gave up a run….then another….then Lee   sat the Pirates down…then Mr. Slow…Thome managed to come home…

This pitcher was so slow that people were heckling him, “Come on! Hurry it up! We’re baking to death out here!” and “It’s 85! Get a move on!”. Indeed he was slow, it took over forty minutes for only TWO innings. He gave up two more before they sat him down after pitching 3 innings.

Cliff Lee held them scoreless through six and in the 7th, Kyle Kendrick came in. Things were about to heat up…literally, the scoreboard read a sweltering 87 degrees.

It also started getting ugly. Kendrick was getting ready to pitch when Yamico Navarro put him arm back and started waving at the umpire. I assume he was trying to call for a time out…but the ump didn’t call it. The pitch was a strike. On the next pitch Kendrick pegged him on the arm and a pinch runner came in for Navarro.

It got uglier as during the bottom of the 7th, the Pirate pitcher beaned Miguel Abreu in retaliation for Kendrick’s hit on Navarro. Abreu was unhurt.

Antonio Bastardo came in at the top of the 8th with a 4-0 lead. Bastardo gave up 3 runs. After that, Cholly gave him the hook and brought in Michael Stutes. Stutes gave up another run so the game was tied.

Nothing happened until the bottom of the 9th. The game was tied and there was no one warming up for the Phils in the bullpen. This was it. There were two outs when Scott Posednik came up to the dish. They say revenge is a dish best served cold…and the Pirate pitcher threw AT Pods…The ball went behind him. Pods retaliated by taking the next pitch….

AND SENDING IT OVER THE RIGHT FIELD FENCE! Game winning home run! Take that you scalawags!

Posednik was the hero of the day and may be this will knock the Phils out of their phunk, err, funk. At least we know that Kendrick and Posednik still have some spunk.



Going through the motions…

When I’m not watching baseball, I’m a big fan of pop culture. One of my favorite TV shows is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In the season six special musical episode, “Once More With Feeling”, Buffy is lamenting that her life isn’t right since her friends brought her back from the dead. She sings:

Every single night the same arrangement,
I go out and fight the fight.
Still I always feel the strangest estrangement,
Nothing here is real, nothing here is right.
I’ve been making shows of trading blows,
just hoping no one knows
That I’ve been going through the motions,
walking through the part.
Nothing seems to penetrate my heart…

After watching the Phillies today, I got the distinct feeling that they too, are “going through the motions, walking through the part” and “nothing seems to penetrate my heart”, well their hearts.

I realize that spring training games don’t count, there’s no value as far as where they will end the season. At this point, they just want to be done and head back to Philly and play for real. Where does that leave us fans? We work hard to be able to go on vacation, catch a little sun and a game. It really bothers me that we, the fans who pay our money so that they can play a game for a living, sometimes end up leaving the park that they are “going through the motions, walking through the part.”

I also leave some of the blame with the front office. They have given us a team of veterans, all but 3 of them over 30. It’s hard for guys who’ve been in the league for years   to get revved up for spring training, but what about the young guns who would give their left arm to play just one game in the bigs?

I offer Freddy Galvis, the one rookie who gets to start. He plays with fire, even though it’s spring training. He comes to play, EVERY day. He has heart and while he knows that the odds are that when Chase Utley is healthy he’ll have to head to Lehigh Valley, he still gives 100% every day.

I get that with the way the front office is building the team, they are building it for NOW, they want to win this year…but what about next year? The year after that? You would think, that at least in spring training, they would try out a few young guys to give them experience, to see how they react and prepare them should one of the “old guns” get hurt. Face it, when you are over 36, 40 and 41 like Posednik, Contreras and Thome, odds are that you will get hurt. I don’t want them to and Lord knows I’d be happy as a clam if they were able to make it through unscathed, but the odds are against it. So why not let the young guys try so that if the need arises that they are ready?

Granted there’s a learning curve, but would you rather they work through the curve in spring training when the games don’t matter or when the season is on the line?

Let’s look at today. Well let’s don’t. You know what a fan I am, but this was probably the first MLB game I’ve ever gone to where I really couldn’t get engaged at all. Not just when they were down 2-0 to the Red Sox, but the whole way through. I don’t know if I could tell you one single play, other than the bunt that Victorino blew and the only reason I remember that was because I read about it on Twitter.

We started the game standing in the shade near the Tiki Pavillion and just casually looked over the fence to the Carpenter Complex to see how the minor league games were shaping up. After the 3rd inning we were so bored with the “big game” we walked around for a while, drank lemonade and chatted with friends. By the 5th inning we were standing by the scoreboard looking through the fence at the AA game.

At the Fence

Tyson Gilles was putting on a show. He was flying from one side of center to the other. He was hitting and running well. I got more entertainment by watching the AA team than I did watching the team I actually paid to see.

Now we have tickets for tomorrow’s game against the Pirates. Will I go? Of course I will, I still love them, but some days, it’s easier than others. May be tomorrow will be a better day? Other wise I might be the one, going through the motions…

Either way, it sure as heck beats sitting in an office all day.