Listen to Betsy!

Today, I had the privilege of appearing on Jay Floyd and Mr. Tug’s PhoulBallz Podcast.

It was really fun as we talked about players like: Ranfi Casimiro, Rhys Hoskins, Grenny Cumana, Carlos Alonso, Perci Garner, Adam Morgan and many more!

If you’d like to listen, I come in at the 17 minute mark..

Phoul Ballz Podcast 75

Enjoy!

It’s All About the Pitching

Today Cliff Lee hit the mound for the first time since his injury last season.

Cliff Lee hits the mound for the first time since his injury
Cliff Lee hits the mound for the first time since his injury

Lee looked mostly like his “Old Self” and didn’t show any signs of discomfort, though he did not pitch very long.

It got me to thinking about the machinations that a pitcher goes through just to throw a pitch. Just look at Kenny Giles’ body position in the picture below:

Kenny Giles
Kenny Giles

Now, while that may look painful to the “Average Joe”, it works for Giles. How many other guys can hit 100? They don’t call him “Hundred Miles Giles” for nothing.

As I was running an errand between MLB and MiLB workouts, I got to thinking about injuries to pitchers and the stresses that their bodies must go through because of the force needed to throw. So when I got back to the field, I decided to film two pitchers in slow motion just to get a better idea of what might be happening. (I plan on trying this the next time I see Giles.)

This is former Thresher Perci Garner. I also filmed Kyle Bogese.

Edited to add: If you have headphones, turn up the sound on the videos…the crack of the ball smacking the mitt is astounding.

Bogese is an interesting story himself. This Trinity University graduate was discovered in a walk on try out last summer and came to Clearwater late for the Gulf Coast League. He was only one of four players that were found that way. Trinity’s story on Bogese claims he can throw at 97 mph. I can’t verify that as there are no public speed guns at the Carpenter complex.

If you study the slow motion video, you can get a little better feel of the force placed on areas such as the elbow or wrist. I thought it was interesting.

Upcoming Event: On Friday I will be talking with Jay Floyd of Phoulballz.com on his podcast at 1 p.m. (est). You can find his podcast here.

 

 

Baseball Made us a Family

Today I got to pick up one of my “Baseball Sons” at the airport. I was glad to do it, though the craziness of actually getting to get him IN the car was mind-blowing!

I made it to airport in plenty of time and sat in the cell phone lot until his flight landed. This is where Groundhog Day happened. My son didn’t have a cell phone so I waited the prescribed 25 minutes after his flight landed then headed to the terminal. On the first pass, I saw him in the terminal, he waved and I pulled to the curb thinking he was on his way through the doors. Then Broomhilda of the TSA pounded on my window and told me to move. Apparently, if your passenger isn’t trying to throw their luggage in the back of your car as you drive by going 35 mph you can’t pause to let them in. So I had to pull out and drive the entire way around airport.

Round two: Apparently, my son had to go back to wait for his bags, so before Broomhilda could get her mitts on my car window for the second time, I kept going. Around the airport I went.

Round three: This time, I couldn’t see my son anymore. I was worried butthankfully, Broomhilda was on break, so no worries for my windows. Back around the airport again.

Round four: After this trip, with my son still not in sight I decided to go park in the short term lot. Let me just say, Dante’s Inferno has nine levels of hell and Tampa International’s garage has twelve levels…so you can get where this is going. I’ve never gotten lost in a parking garage before, hopelessly lost. By the time I gave up, found the exit and spiraled down the nine levels I somehow had gotten up, I came to find that the ONE lane from the garage split into ten different pay kiosks…half of which were closed and the open ones were irregularly spaced with no rhyme or reason as to why that one was open.

Upon leaving the pay kiosk, the ten lanes immediately winnow down to THREE with each lane going to a different destination: back into the garage, airport exit and back to the terminal. My problem was that to get to the lane to return to the terminal I had to cut across seven lanes and as soon as you enter the lane for the terminal, three lanes from the main traffic merge into that lane. How I survived, I do not know.

Luckily, this time my son was at the curb, I slowed to 15 mph and he tossed his bag in and we kept going…(OK, I did get to stop but it seemed like I only slowed.)

It was so good to have my boy back. I delivered him to the Carpenter Complex. He checked in and then was ready to go to his hotel. When we got back to the car, he handed me the gift he had for Ross and I. It was a plaque he had had made, with a picture of him pitching that he had autographed. To the side was a sweet message “to his parents”. The specifics are just for us, but let it suffice it to say, it was literally the sweetest, most thoughtful gift I’ve ever received. It was hard to drive with the tears in my eyes.

Knowing that Ross and I have become part of this young man’s life is mind blowing and heart melting. Baseball brought us together. Baseball made us a family.

 

 

Day Five of Spring Training 2015

Today was one of those day where there wasn’t a lot of things that were out of the ordinary going on. Pitchers and catchers took batting practice, did drills and ran. Position players took batting practice and did fielding drills. Ryan Howard reportedly was at Brighthouse taking batting practice, but we did not make it over there Later in the afternoon, there was some workouts/long tossing by the minor leaguers that have reported early.

I think that sometimes a picture can speak more than a lot of esoteric comments on what is going on. So I present some pictures….

 

Baseball Ross snapped this pic of Tommy Joseph whom Ross said was looking good.
Baseball Ross snapped this pic of Tommy Joseph whom Ross said was looking good.
Cameron Rupp during batting practice
Cameron Rupp during batting practice
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Major League pitchers running.
I got to see new Phillie, Aaron Harang
I got to see new Phillie, Aaron Harang
Jesse Biddle
Jesse Biddle
Ray Burris offered Cameron Rupp words of encouragement
Ray Burris offered Cameron Rupp words of encouragement

 

It’s the Freddy Galvis Show

Freddy Galvis is the man of the hour. With the Jimmy Rollins trade, Galvis has been the one to watch…and it seems that everyone IS watching. For Galvis, he seems to be putting on a how-to clinic and showing he deserves the starting role.

Below, hitting instructor Mike Schmidt offers pointers as Galvis enters the batting cage.

Mike Schmidt offers Freddy Galvis Hitting advice as Galvis enters the batting cage
Mike Schmidt offers Freddy Galvis Hitting advice as Galvis enters the batting cage
Freddy Galvis relaxes for a moment while awaiting fly balls
Freddy Galvis relaxes for a moment while awaiting fly balls

When I say everyone has their eyes on Galvis, I mean everyone in the Phillies’ front office as shown below where they are watching Galvis during infield drills.

Ruben Amaro (black hat), Ed Wade (white hat), Charlie Kerfeld (red hoodie), Dallas Green (white brimmed hat) and Pat Gillick (red hat) look on as Galvis puts on a show
Ruben Amaro (black hat), Ed Wade (white hat), Charlie Kerfeld (red hoodie), Dallas Green (white brimmed hat) and Pat Gillick (red hat) look on as Galvis puts on a show

Galvis

Galvis

Galvis

Galvis

Like the star of the show, Galvis even signed autographs. You see, last spring a friend of mine came a cross a bat of Galvis’ that had been discarded since it was broken. My friend knew what a baseball fan I am so he rescued it and I returned home from a Spring Training game last season to find it gleaming in the late afternoon sun on my front porch. So today, I took my very first game used bat to the field with the goal of getting it signed.

After Galvis finished batting, I asked if he could sign before he went to the outfield…he said he’d get me when he was finished, however, he was called to the half field to practice in front of the brass so he could not return.

Later, Baseball Ross saw him over at the Carpenter Complex taking bunting practice, again in front of the brass, so I trotted over there. When he was done, he saw me and came over. I have to say this is one of the most meticulous autographs I’ve ever gotten and I am so appreciative that he did such a great job.

Freddy Galvis Bat

 

To put the proverbial cherry on my “sundae”, I happened to run into a friend who “restores” broken bats. My friend can take a broken bat (even one that’s unstable like mine) and work his magic to make it look almost like new. He offered to work on the crack on my bat so I won’t have to worry about it splitting in the future. There’s not many people in this world I’d trust one of my prized possessions to, but this guy’s the best. So in a few days I’ll have a really nice piece for my collection.

I’m so glad I have the opportunity to spend every day in the sun at Spring Training. It’s one of the best things I know.

 

Cancer-Free Darren Daulton Triumphantly Returns to Clearwater

Today was one of those great days that you will remember for years to come as one of those days where you brag, “I WAS THERE!” Today, Darren Dalton announced he is now free of cancer and he returned to Brighthouse Field for Spring Training. If you’d like more details of Daulton’s ordeal please read HERE.

Darren Daulton salutes the crowd at Brighthouse
Darren Daulton salutes the crowd at Brighthouse

Say what you will about Ruben Amaro, he was genuinely happy to see Daulton as you can see in the pictures below.

Ruben Amaro shakes Darren Daulton's hand
Ruben Amaro shakes Darren Daulton’s hand
Amaro embraces Daulton on this happy day
Amaro embraces Daulton on this happy day

It was great to see Daulton so vibrant and full of life return to Spring Training. I was honored to be a witness.

 

Day Three of Phillies Spring Training 2015

Finally, a “Chamber of Commerce” kind of day! After two days that were more like spring in Philadelphia rather than the beginning of Spring Training in Florida, the sun was shining and it was warm enough for shorts. Now this is the life!

Baseball Ross and I got to the Carpenter Complex a little after 10. Since I had not had a chance to watch batting practice yet, we headed directly to Brighthouse. Batting practice is more laid back and the players seem to enjoy themselves more than during other drills. It’s the best place to get autographs as well.

Tools of the Trade
Tools of the Trade

You get to see things like this:

Cody Asche Smashes One
Cody Asche smashes the ball as Mike Schmidt looks on

Aaron Altherr shagged flies in the outfield.

Aaron Altherr
Aaron Altherr

You also get a chance to see players in a more relaxed atmosphere.

Ben Revere shares a smile
Ben Revere shares a smile

Or may be they are thinking about the future.

Darin Ruf Contemplates the Future
Darin Ruf Contemplates the Future

After batting practice, the infielders head over to the half field next to Brighthouse to participate in infield drills and consult with coaches.

The Half Field next to Brighthouse where they practice infield drills.
The half field next to Brighthouse where they practice infield drills.
Freddy Galvis Fields the Ball
Freddy Galvis fields the ball
Mike Schmidt discusses hitting with Freddy Galvis
Mike Schmidt discusses fielding with Freddy Galvis

It was a great day and I was lucky enough to get Darin Ruf’s autograph!

Darin Ruf autographed ball
Darin Ruf autographed ball

This is what I love about Spring Training and I can’t wait to go back tomorrow.

Day Two of Phillies Spring Training 2015

Day two of spring dawned cold, so cold that records were broken throughout the Tampa Bay area. At our house in Dunedin, the temperatures when I woke up were at freezing.

Amazingly enough, by the time we got to the Carpenter Complex, t temperature was similar to yesterday’s temperature at 47°, but the wind had died down. It was a much more comfortable day.

I began the day watching the major-league pitchers in their PFPs.

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I was happy to see my old friend Jesse Biddle on the mound. He looks good, confident and prepared for this season.

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Adam Morgan was sharp and showed no sign of the shoulder injury that played him last summer. After making the play shown above, the coaches shouted, “Great play, Adam!”

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Cole Hamels.

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Justin DeFratus looked nimble.

We also ventured over to the half field next to Bright House stadium. Here, we saw Cody Asche and Darin Ruf taking ground balls.

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Cody Asche

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Darin Ruf

Baseball Ross and I stayed until The major-league players broke for lunch. Ross and I grabbed lunch ourselves then returned to catch the minor-league players who are already in camp practice. The pitchers have been throwing live batting practice to several of the position players who have reported early as well.

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First thing we saw as we returned, was Roman Quinn working in the outfield. Moments later, he looked happy to be taking batting practice.

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It was a much better day weather wise but we hurried home as today was “Tardy Mardi Gras” in Dunedin. Since the weather was horrid on Tuesday, the parade with more than 50 floats and tons of beads, doubloons, candy and toys was held tonight. It was a blast and I think I did rather well.

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Tomorrow the weather is predicted to be in the 70s so here’s to better days.

Pitchers and Catchers Report, Day One of Phillies Spring Training 2015

This is NOT how you want to start “Spring” Training. It was only a high of 50 with 25mph winds blowing in from the North. It was sunny, but it really didn’t help very much. Sadly, tomorrow will likely be worse as there is a “hard freeze” warning here, meaning it will be under freezing for several hours. So it’s a little iffy if I will be there much tomorrow and if I am there, for how long.

The chilly weather didn’t deter the Phillies Phaithful who braved the elements to see their favorite players. Usually on the first day, the program starts with a talk to the pitchers and it traditionally was given at “Seven Mounds” or the pitching mounds behind the main complex building. Ross and I thought that they may get a late start and would have the meeting inside. We got to the complex at 11 to find that they were out at 10 and were already into the PFPs or Pitcher Fielding Practice.

Jake Diekman
Jake Diekman
Kenny Giles
Kenny Giles
Camels Looks Unamused
Hamels Looks Unamused
Cliff Lee
Cliff Lee

 

Jonathan Papelbon
Jonathan Papelbon 

The first day is always a blast for me. Baseball Ross and I have been going to Spring Training for so long that we have gotten to know a lot of the regulars and it’s almost like a family reunion. That first day is always full of handshakes, hugs and catching up.

I also got to see a few of my favorite minor leaguers, which to me is my favorite part. I’ve known a bunch of these guys for what has been their entire careers and it’s nice to be remembered for always being there.

After the MLBers were done around noon, Ross and I left to get warm and grab something to eat and on our way home we passed the complex to see some players out. We were treated by getting to watch some of our MiLBer friends pitching live batting practice.

Carlos Alonso
Carlos Alonso
Cord Sandberg
Cord Sandberg
Colin Kleven
Colin Kleven
Seth Rosin
Seth Rosin
Austin Wright
Austin Wright

It looks like our minor leaguers reported to camp healthy and in great shape. Carlos Alonso smacked two almost out of the park, one died half way up the fence BUT it had been hit INTO THOSE ROARING WINDS! One of the guys remarked to him, “Hey Los, how about saving some?”

Colin Kleven looked really sharp and had a really crisp breaking pitch. He left a big smile on pitching coach Steve Schrenk’s face.

That’s it from Day One.

 

 

A Blog From The Heart

There’s a lot to look forward to with Spring Training coming next week, however, there is something worth mentioning, the players that won’t be there.

Baseball Ross and I have had the privilege of getting to know many of the young players and a few of those who have been around a while. We have even been lucky enough to call many of them friends (If you’ve gotten cookies from me, you know you’re special.) Sadly, some won’t be back this year. Some didn’t heal well from an injury, or were traded, or were released.

What I’d want them to know, they’re not forgotten. While I’m looking forward to Spring Training, there are a few faces that I will truly miss and it will feel like there are little holes where they used to be.

Sadly, baseball is a business so things change and this is the hard part about being involved with the younger players, there is no tenure. While the rewards are great watching the young ones succeed, I’ve cried over a few that are no longer with the team.

So this blog is for them. Just a note on Valentine’s Day (ok, it’s the day after but the inspiration came before midnight) that they are still in my heart and I do miss my friends where ever they are.

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