It’s like Christmas Eve…

It’s “Baseball Eve”, the night before the first game of Spring Training. I’m excited. 

For me, my favorite Spring Training  game of the year is the first one because it’s the one where the most young players get to dress. It’s many players first taste of what playing in the majors will be like.

Usually, they only get to play a few innings but if you have been watching them for years, from rookie ball and up, it’s kind of exciting.

So tomorrow Ross and I will be there watching some of our friends play and it will be fun. This is the best part, seeing your friend get one step closer to their dream.

Ryan Howard Shines, Featherston Flies, Galvis Focuses as Spring Training Continues

Today it was almost like Ryan Howard was putting on a showcase. He looks good slimmer and more ready for the season than I’ve ever seen him.

He looks sharp and has obviously worked out in the off season.


Ryan Howard snags a ball at first

Ryan Howard at the bat
Newcomer Taylor Featherston didn’t want to be outdone and he flew through the air. 


Taylor Featherston flies through the air as Maikel Franco looks on
Maikel Franco looked focused. 
Maikel Franco

At the end the day, they did something I never saw, they donned “slide pants” and practiced sliding on special tarps. It looked like a lot of fun. 

Sliding in slide pants
After the Major Leaguers were done, the minor leaguers that have reported early took their turn.


Minor Leaguers work out

I was pleased to see Art Charles:


Art Charles
John Richy who was part of the Chase Utley deal with the Dodgers pitched today.


John Richy

And finally Tommy Joseph looked good and fully recovered from last year’s injuries.


It may have been a cold, breezy day, but it was a good day for baseball. 

Day 5 Spring Training 2016

Today was beautiful, it was 79 and sunny. It was almost hot with how intense the sun was, but if the weatherman is right, by Thursday we will be missing it as it’s expected to only 61.

So I found a few places in the sun and observed today’s action:


Coach Ernie Witt talks with Logan Moore and Cameron Rupp

Edubray Ramos in a pitching drill

Pitcher Jimmy Cordero covers first

Aaron Nola


Chris Leroux
Brock Stassi practices at first on the half field

JP Crawford takes practice on the half field

Newcomer Angelys Nina during infield practice on the half field


Mike Schmidt (red hat with neck cover) and Charlie Manuel (in red windbreaker) watch JP Crawford hit


Pete Mackanin comes in to watch BP
Roman Quinn takes the field to shag flies during BP


Odubel Herrerra

With that, that’s all from sunny Clearwater. Back at it tomorrow.

Quick How-To Guide  to Spring Training


While there is no “one way” to do spring training, here are a few helpful hints to make enjoying Phillies Spring Training easy:

  1. Wear comfortable shoes. If you park at Lot A next to the Carpenter Complex, it’s grass.  To walk into Carpenter  and  then out and around to Brighthouse is around half a mile each way. If you walk around between the fields at Carpenter then Brighthouse, you can easily walk over two miles.
  2. Wear sunscreen! There is very little shade.
  3. Before actual games start, everything is FREE! Parking, all practices at Carpenter and batting practice at Brighthouse everything is FREE! Once games start, the practice sessions/minor league training at Carpenter are still free but on game days you must pay for parking. Be aware that Lot A will fill up early on game days and the next closest lot is at Coachman Discgolf. Parking is cheaper but it’s about half a mile up Coachman. The other alternative is DiMaggio Field at Drew and Coachman. It’s closer to Brighthouse but farther from Carpenter.
  4. Before MLB games start, training at Carpenter starts somewhere between 10-1030 with stretching, then drills and so on. Brighthouse opens at 10:30 for batting practice. Most days MLB camp ends somewhere around noon. After that, some minor league players may work out.
  5. You can bring water/drinks to Carpenter. In Florida’s sun it’s important to stay hydrated. Right now, there is a hotdog and soda stand at Carpenter, however, in years past, once minor league camp starts the stand would close leaving the only refreshment as water fountains and a single soda machine.
  6. During batting practice at Brighthouse, Diamond Outfitters Souvenir Store is open as well as restroom facilities, however, no concessions are open.

Just remember, players are working so just because they are walking between fields or changing activities it doesn’t mean they can stop to sign autographs. Please be understanding if they politely decline or ask you to wait until practice is over.

If you are seeking autographs, there are two spots near the parking lot (one on each side) where you can try to get them. (Do not wait at the exit by Coachman, security will ask you to leave.)

So that’s our “how-to” guide for this year, please comment if you can think of any additional hints.

Day 4 of Spring Training 2016

It’s another beautiful day here in Baseball Land. The sun is shining, the grass is green, the orange and palm trees sway…oh wait, Irving Berlin wrote that for White Christmas, but it is fitting here today.The cold weather is gone and it’s a picture perfect day.

Pitchers had throwing from the mound and catchers are taking BP from the coaches.

The only out of the ordinary thing that happened was that David Buchanan took a line drive “come-backer” off of his shoulder. 


David Buchanan throws under the watchful eye of a trainer after getting hit with a line drive

Vince Velezquez gives max effort
Adam Morgan looks good on the mound

Zach Eflin warms up in the bullpen
Submariner Greg Burke

Ernesto Frieri
Catchers and some position players took batting practice:


Jorge Alfaro

Logan Moore
Tim Zier takes BP after last season’s injury

The highlight of batting practice was watching Carlos Alonso. He returned to the field showing no ill-affects of last year’s season-ending injury. In fact, he hit two out of the park and missed a third by only a few inches.


Carlos Alonso hits one out of the park.

That’s all from here in Clearwater, back at it again tomorrow!



Day 2 of Spring Training 2016

Today was a beautiful as yesterday. Highs in the 70s, tons of sun-just a picture postcard kind of day.

Pitchers and catchers did drills and had batting practice. There’s not much you can say, but the pictures tell the story:

 Pop-up drills: the focus was to get rid of the mask and then catch the ball:

Carlos Ruiz

Andrew Knapp


Gabriel Lino
Cameron Rupp

Logan Moore


The catchers also had batting practice:


Jorge Alfaro

Carlos Ruiz

Pitchers did fielding drills:


Jimmy Cordero

Andrew Bailey

 Later in the afternoon some of the minor league players took the field as well:


Zach Green
Roman Quinn


Carlos Alonso

For me, the highlight was seeing Carlos Alonso back on the field, seemingly none the worse for his devastating knee injury. 

Spring Training 2016 Begins

For the casual fan, the first day of pitchers and catchers isn’t the most exciting. They come out and spend about half an hour stretching then break into work groups and go to different fields with different coaches.

Then the coaches talk for about another twenty minutes (this is done somewhere on the field so fans can’t hear) and after that, they begin practicing. The first few days, they only pantomime throwing.


Aaron Nola during drills
Watching drills (especially when you’ve been doing this 7+ years) can get a little boring so Baseball Ross and I walked over to Bright House to watch position players take batting practice.

On the half field next to the stadium, Darin Ruf, Freddy Galvis and Andres Blanco were doing infield drills:


Darin Ruf at first
Freddy Galvis at second
Andres Blanco at third
Once inside, we saw:



Aaron Altherr
Brock Stassi takes one deep during BP


Cody Asche
Roman Quinn and JP Crawford

Roman Quinn
Andres Blanco and Freddy Galvis

Nick Williams and JP Crawford

The weather was the best in recent memory. I can’t wait for tomorrow!

Phillies, Blue Jays, Yankees and Pirates Minor League Spring Training Schedule Published

Today I was given a paper copy of the Spring Training schedule for the Phillies, Blue Jays, Yankees and Pirates minor league teams. As far as I know, it’s not online anywhere else. I hope it’s helpful…