Opening Game of the Grapefruit League Is Bitter and Sweet

It was a sell out game with the Yankees to start the Grapefruit League schedule. It was hitters’ day with high winds out towards left.

While the Yankees managed to get out to an early 1-0, Hunter Pence came to the plate with a man on base and did what he’s done every day in spring training, he hit it out of the park. This gave the Phils a 2-1 lead.

Cole Hamels looked good in the 2nd and after that, Charlie Manuel began to take the regulars out of the game. Hamels said after the game that he had felt good which is very important considering he had a bone fragment/chip the size of a tic tac removed from his elbow in the off season.

The Phils quickly fell behind and went on to lose 8-5.

Now some fans are discouraged that they lost the opener, but I’m not. Why?
In my opinion, you have to look at these “pre-season” games differently than you would a regular season game. Why, you ask? For me the key is to look at the score when the regulars came out, they were winning 2-1. After that, there were a lot of substitutions. Hamels was done for the day. While the replacements are all very talented, they haven’t played together as a team as much which changes the dynamics of the game.

To me, after the top of the 3rd, you need to look at the remainder of game as a series of personal achievements. I look to the key events of the bottom of the 9th when Kevin Frandsen hit a homer. It was almost as pretty as the one hit earlier in the week.

Then, with a man on, Tyson Gillies was up. He smacked that ball and it, too, was gone. Tyson’s been hot all week and he looks to be ready to make the leap onto the stage of the Big Show. He also had chased down some balls in the outfield during the game. He lived up to the nickname given to him by Hunter Pence, “The Mongoose”.

Pence had called Tyson that because he said the Tyson was fast and seemed to be running everywhere.

After last year’s injury-plagued season, it’s great to see that not only has Tyson recovered but flourished.

So am I disappointed that they didn’t win? Sort of…I mean I’m a fan so I always want to see them win; BUT, as I stated above, these early games are really more about personal achievement, and seeing how new players might be able to fit into the regular rotation, so I’m not disappointed in the least.

Baseball is back…and that makes life good.

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