Aaron Nola’s First Game

Baseball Ross and I made the hour-long trip to Lakeland on Monday to see The Phillies’ draft pick Aaron Nola, pitch in his very first professional game.

All the Phillies brass were there. Ruben Amaro Jr. , Charlie Manual, Dallas Green and more. The fans turned out to see the $3.3 million arm. The night previous, in Lakeland, attendance was 321. Last night, attendance was over 1000. Was this because of Aaron Nola? Or the fact that it was dollar night? Either way, attendance was triple the night before.




Nola got off to a good start. He looked sharp, like the prospect he will develop into. But then again, the things I will remember most about last night, wasn’t how good he was, but the weather.

Baseball Ross and I have made three trips to Lakeland in the last two years. We’ve only seen one-third of a game. The first two times we went to Lakeland we ended up sitting in the Steak and Shake for over two hours until the game was called off due to poor weather. We kept joking that we shouldn’t even bother to go over to see Nola pitch, because it would be rained out. We were almost right. The game started off under cover of clouds and they were threatening, threatening to let loose at any minute and in the second inning they did.

We headed up the stairs to the top of the grandstand where we were undercover. We stayed there for half an inning before heading back to our seats in the front row.

About two minutes after we got back to our seats in the front row, it started to rain again. I stayed in my seat taking pictures and trying to complete my “work “. Eventually, it started to rain hard. At that point, Angelo Mora hit a shot over the fence for a home run just as lightning cracked not far from the field.

That was it! At that point we ran for cover. I almost ran right into Charlie Manual! We both had a laugh over Mora’s home run and the crack of lightning. We ended up staying undercover for the rest of that inning. It was raining too hard and the lighting was too close to really feel good sitting out in the stands, but the game went on.

Once it stopped raining, we took our seats again and Aaron Nola took the mound. Just then the sun came out! It was like the rays were illuminating the Phillies’ “Golden Boy”.



During this third inning, Nola seemed to hit a wall. I’m not sure if it was that he ran out of adrenaline, or he was made uneasy by the amount of lightning just outside the stadium. The lightning continued for quite a while, not close enough to stop the game but enough to make one uneasy.

Once Nola was out of the game, Baseball Ross and I started for home. We were both wet, getting cold, and the lightning was still continuing. After looking at the radar and knowing another line of storms was coming, the smart thing to do was to head home.

I was glad we had made the trip. While he may not have had the most stellar, knock them down start, it is easy to see that Nola has potential. Is it enough to justify his $3.3 million contract? We won’t know for a while, but there’s hope.

Aaron Nola to Debut for the Threshers Tonight

The Phillies 3.3 million dollar man is scheduled to make his first professional start tonight for the Threshers against the Lakeland Flying Tigers.

Baseball Ross and I plan to be there…however, every single time we have gone to Lakeland, the game has been rained out. Currently there is a forecast for storms inland (Lakeland is about an hour inland from Clearwater) so we shall see if it holds off long enough/ends soon enough for the game to be played.


Tyson Gillies Released.

I wasn’t surprised, I don’t think anyone could be. Approximately two weeks ago, the Phillies removed Tyson Gillies from the 40 man roster and he cleared waivers to remain with the IronPigs.

Baseball Ross and I got to see Tyson play his second to last game as an IronPig on Tuesday during our marathon trip north.



Tyson was acquired in the Cliff Lee trade. He was one of those players that most people either loved or hated.

I have to say that he was always nice to me. From recommending a meal at a restaurant I’d never eaten at before, to always posing for a photo he was kind to me. The interaction that sticks out to me happened last summer.

Tyson always seems to find himself in trouble and last summer he apparently had “words” with the team bus driver and was suspended and sent to Clearwater for a few days. Ross and I were leaving the Carpenter complex as he was walking in. I said hello and he came over and gave me the biggest hug. He seemed so genuinely glad that someone cared.

To be fair, Tyson has had his share of troubles, from a drug charge that was later dropped, inappropriate tweets and his recent incident of destroying a bat-rack, he also played all-out.

Tyson always played dialed to “11”, there was no half way, no pacing himself. It was why I liked to watch him. He could run so fast and I don’t know if I’ve ever seen him “dog” a play. This often led to him injuring himself, pulling muscles or in one case, slamming into Jiwan James and landing himself on the DL for quite a while with a concussion.

I honestly think his “dialed to 11” temperament which made him successful also worked against him in the end. He always tried so hard and when things were not going well, it was beyond frustrating, leading to his angry outbursts. I’m no psychiatrist, but I think he just wanted to be the best.

In the end, may be parting ways with the Phillies will give him a fresh start, a new perspective, and I wish him all the best.

What a Whirlwind!

Baseball Ross and I are winding up our crazy trip north today. It’s been full of good things, friends family and baseball.

We flew 1,000 miles from Florida to Harrisburg, Pa, where we stayed as a central point to our travels. Our schedule was something like this:

Monday-State College (for Crosscutters)
Tuesday-Lehigh Valley

But wait! There’s more!

That’s right! Friday we will wind up with a Gulf Coast League Phillies game at noon and a Threshers game at 7…we will have seen every Phillies Pharm team in 8 days and travelled over 3,200 miles–1,200 by car!

I have tons of pictures to download and plan to recap the games and facilities once I arrive home.

It’s worth mentioning that flying from St. Pete/Clearwater to Harrisburg was awesome! No lines and no hassle!

Right now, Ross and I are checking out of the hotel and making a stop at Chocolate World on the way to the airport…because no trip north is complete without fresh chocolate!

Opening Day of the New York-Penn League

Baseball Ross and I recently travelled over 1,100 miles from Clearwater to Williamsport to see the “kids” we’ve been watching since last March move into their first summer of “real” baseball.

The look on their faces when they saw that we made the trip made it all worth while!

Your 2014 Williamsport Crosscutters

Alejandro Arteaga was the starting pitcher


Cord Sandberg led off and fouls a ball off of his calf, ouch!


Deivy Grullon looked good at the plate


Ricky Bielski looked good, with no hits in his first two innings


Rhashawn, the Director of Smiles and Williamsport Icon sang “Take me out to the ballgame


It was a great time, even if our Cutters took the loss.

Every New Beginning Comes from Some Other Beginning’s End

Extended Spring Training has ended and now it’s time for short-season New York-Penn League to start.

It’s been the best of times and the worst of times. We watched some good friends get promoted to Williamsport and others were either left for the Gulf Coast League, sent to the Dominican Summer League (DSL) or given their outright release.

Last summer was the first summer that Baseball Ross and I spent nearly every day sitting in the stifling noon-day heat watching these young guys play in the rookie league of GCL.

GCL is special for the simple fact that the fans that go are either related to the players or die-hards. What other kind of crazy people would sit out in the heat at noon? There usually are only 5 or 6 “non family” members there so the players get to know you and you really feel invested in their progress.

The short-season New York-Penn League starts on Friday and Ross and I will be on our way to Pennsylvania. We are hoping to see Williamsport, then AA Reading, AAA Lehigh Valley and A- Lakewood, though not necessarily in that order. Couple that with seeing the GCL Phillies and the A+ Threshers the day we return and we will have seen EVERY team in the Phillies’ minor League system! By the end of the week, I will wager that we will travel close to THREE THOUSAND MILES!

I think we are going to be tired!

I plan to blog as we go so be sure to check back!