One of My Favorite Things

As I’ve written before, one of my favorite things is watching a player start playing and see him climb up the ranks.

I first saw Jesse Biddle pitch in his very first professional game in Williamsport. ( you can read the story HERE).

Back on that first night he played they had auctioned off the jerseys and Jesse’s had gone for over $200 so it was a little too rich for my blood so I didn’t win. I’d thought about it over the years and really wished I had been able to get it.

So one evening near the end of last season I had wandered into the Diamond Outfitters store and there it was…Jesse’s 4th of July Threshers jersey! It made a great birthday present.

As I had gotten to know Jesse a little over the summer I kept meaning to ask him to sign it, but soon the season was over and I missed my chance.

Today, I remembered to bring it with me and he was kind enough to sign it.


Close up


Next up: getting it framed!

Closing time, every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end

As I was listening to my Sirius XM radio, this song came on the 90’s on 9, it’s Third Eye Blind’s Closing time…it’s the last line of the song and quite apropos for this afternoon. It’s the final game of the disastrous 2012 season for the Phillies. Appropriately, here in Clearwater we are sitting in the middle of a raging thunderstorm and pouring rain.

If I was a mystery writer, I’d start this post with, “It was a dark and stormy night, a murder is being committed…”

It may not be night, but at least the death of the 2012 season will let us begin the grieving process and begin to hope for a brighter 2013. (Ironically, as I typed that last light there was a bright flash of lightning and a sharp crack of thunder, HA!)

At least there were a few bright spots…

Freddy Galvis proved he can play in the Bigs.

Darin Ruf was the bright and shining shooting star at the end of the season.

Tyler Cloyd can hang with the big boys.

I really do have some hope. At least looking at the farm system and the guys who, if given a chance, might just give this team the shot in the arm it needs. Now if only Charlie and Ruben will give them a chance….

But that’s a blog for next spring.

Now I’m going to sit down with a good glass of iced tea and say goodbye to the painful 2012 season.


The Good, The Bad and the Ugly–Phillies Style

I just don’t know what happened to this season. I don’t. While I never expected the amazing-ness of recreating the 2008 season, I certainly expected that we’d do better than we did.

May be I’ve become spoiled. I mean, had this happened in the late 90s it would have been the norm, what was expected, but since the miracle of the 2008 season, all the seasons that we’ve been in the hunt, a threat to contend with, this season came as a smack to the face.

What or whom is to blame? The injuries? Trades? Lack of production/effort? Bad management?

Does it matter?

There is so much blame to go around. Rabid Ruben Amarro, Jr., Uncle Chuckles…the injury bug…I could go on. So much of the 2012 season with the Phillies was so ugly that I don’t think I can ever look at the season without putting a metaphorical bag over its head.

We all know what made the season Ugly (and I do mean to use the capital U, it was THAT ugly) and over the next four months every pundit will claim to know the cause of this years’ debacle. So why should I rehash it?

The Bad? Hmm. There were some things that I would say were bad, but did not merit being called ugly. Not many because I feel like 2012 was such a craptastic season that almost all the negatives were so strongly negative that really there wasn’t much bad for me, it all turned Ugly. Top it with the cherry that was Ryan Howard breaking his big toe. Does a year any more Ugly than that?

Bad, trading players to other teams…and then they  made contributions for their new teams. Shane Vicotrino, Joe Blanton, Hunter Pence, Scott Posednik and Rich Thompson were traded away.

I liked Posednik and Thompson. I’d watched the two of them last year in Lehigh Valley. I got to talk to Pods in Spring Training and he seemed like a nice guy. Thompson had been with the IronPigs from the beginning and to see him traded away was like a kick in the teeth, especially when they traded away Pence and Victorino just a month later. Thompson at least got traded to his hometown team, but he might have been good to keep here, he’s a decent fielder and considering his salary was considerably lower, it would have given us some more space under the cap to try to find someone for third base.

Bad was Freddy Galvis coming out to a hot and roaring start…giving hope that may be the season could at least be decent…only to have him sidelined by not only a back injury but a fifty game suspension for PEDs.

Bad was also how the front office kept inflating the attendance numbers to try to keep the “sold out” streak at CBP going. I mean any fool with eyes could see the large areas of empty seats. You can’t tell me that THAT many people purchased tickets then didn’t go. I’m sorry. Talk about “massaging” data!

The good. Hmm…when it comes to the big boys, frankly there’s not a lot for me. I look at Darin “Babe” Ruf…that makes me happy. I look at Tyler Cloyd…that’s another bright and shining star. What do these guys have in common? They’re young and offer promise…may be that’s what the big Phils need…HOPE…not another older player signed for a year or two to fill in a gap. Hope can go a long way in inspiring a team to do better.

For me…the things I’ll remember about the 2012 season all had to do with the minor league levels. Granted, I had a lot of contact with the players at this level…but that’s what will shine for me. This year, frankly, I want to forget the majority of the Big Phillies year and focus on the guys who give me hope that may be once management decides to give the younger guys a chance to play that may be, we can become great again.

I look at Jesse Biddle, Austin Wright, Adam Morgan, Tyler Knigge Cody Asche, Tyson Gillies, Darin Ruf, Tyler Cloyd, Jake Deikman and think…that we might just have something there…we have a massive amount of talent and potential that THEY are our future..THEY are the ones to help pull this team up.

This is what keeps me going, the hope that may be these guys that I’ve watched this summer and in some cases, several summers, that these guys can get us to the big game…whether Rabid Ruben and Uncle Chuckles give them the chance before any of them are old enough to qualify for social security remains to be seen.


As I read over what I had written, I realize I sound bitter. As a fan who live and dies with her teams, this year has been so hard to take. So much potential seemed to have been squandered. Personally, I lay a lot of the blame with management who seems stuck on bringing in and then keeping in older guys who just don’t seem to be getting it done on a regular basis…which would be understandable, IF there weren’t some kids in the farm system that might just have the potential to get the job done, as well as the veterans are but would also give hope to the future. That’s what makes me bitter.

I’ve said it before and I’l say it again, I’d rather lose because we have younger players learning to play at the Major League level than losing because the players we have are at the end of a great career and can’t manage to keep playing everyday at that same Major League Level.

Now…that I have that rant off my chest…I’ll start blogging about the Fall Instructional League…and my lists of “BEST OF” for this year….so keep reading…I’ll be back soon



It’s good to see you again…

It’s been a good couple of weeks if you live in/around Clearwater, like Baseball Ross and I.  With all of the players that have been injured (not that we wanted that to happen) we’ve had the opportunity to see many of them rehabbing here in Clearwater.

In just the last few weeks, we’ve seen Freddy Galvis, Drew Naylor, Derrick Mitchell, Tyson Gillies among others.

It’s even better when we can see the guys return to action. As I wrote on Tuesday, Derrick Mitchell is “back in the saddle”. He’s had at least one homer, a triple and several well hit balls that without the wind, most likely would have left Ashburn Field.

I’ve also gotten to see another guy I’ve been watching for a few years return to play, Tyson Gillies.

Tyson Gillies Returns to Clearwater

During my “hiatus” a few weeks ago, I was at the Carpenter Complex watching a Gulf Coast Phillies game. I was walking over to the bleachers to sit down and who was sitting on a stool also watching the game? Drew Naylor. I said, “Hello” and asked how he was. He was very nice and we had a nice conversation about how his rehab was coming along.

Fast forward to last night, Drew returned to the bump.

Drew Naylor Returns to the Mound

It was good to see my favorite Aussie back in action.

Hopefully, they’ll all return back to their respective teams in the near future. Until they do, I’ll be happily going to every home game to watch them play and cheer them on.

Derrick Mitchell–Back in the Saddle Again

Derrick Mitchell had been on a tear. One Saturday night in June, he hit EIGHT RBIs during a double header, one GRAND SLAM home run and in the second game of the evening, he rustled up four more RBIs. It was one of those nights where it made the future seem limitless…

Then…the next night…

During the 9th inning he was hit on the hand by a pitch.

Pins and surgery followed. It’s been eight weeks since Derrick’s been on the field…but he’s back.

He played yesterday with the Gulf Coast League Phillies in a game in Orlando against the GCL Braves. He hit a home run and had a put out as he played centerfield.

Derrick Mitchell Returns to Play

Today, the team returned to Ashburn field and Derrick was the designated hitter. He went 1 for 5 today…but that one…

Derrick Mitchell hits a double, the ball was just a foot or so away from being a home run.

You can watch video of the hit HERE

It’s good to see him back on the diamond and hopefully back in Lehigh Valley soon.

Dashing for Diamonds on the Diamond

Baseball Ross and I are moving to Dunedin, a town right next to Clearwater. Ironically we’ll be the same distance from Brighthouse Field where the Threshers play, but we’ll be coming from the North, instead of the South.

I mention this because Dunedin has it’s own Florida State League team, the Dunedin Blue Jays. They are affiliated with the Toronto Blue Jays. Their stadium is only a few blocks from our new house and we are trying to get to know the team as they are so close to the house.

Dunedin is much different from Brighthouse. Unfortunately, they usually only draw about 100-200 fans per game, much different from the 800-1000 or so that attend most Threshers game. Ross and I usually get a laugh as they now have a Booster Club section, but we have never seen more than six people sitting there. Dunedin, however, has lower ticket prices than Clearwater. For SIX BUCKS, you get to sit anywhere in the stadium, if you like sitting behind the plate, it’s a savings of 3.50 per ticket, per game.

Dunedin doesn’t have the on field, between innings entertainment like Clearwater does. They have some, but not as involved and not as frequent. What they DO have is iPad Friday. The first Friday of each month this season, they’ve given away a brand new iPad during the 8th inning. With the attendance at the games, (you must have purchased a ticket, people with comp tickets are not eligible) a 1 in 200 or so chance at an iPad isn’t too shabby.

Alas, we were at all but one of the games and we didn’t win. *pouts* Last night in addition to the iPad giveaway, it was Ladies Night. At the gate there were two Jays players handing out carnations to every lady in attendance. Ladies were also given a free raffle ticket. The ticket was good for the raffle where they gave away more than THIRTY prizes from local stores. There were things like an hour long massage, six months of haircuts, cookie baskets, MaryKay cosmetics and more. (sadly, I didn’t win anything)

The most fun thing was…what you might call the “Dash for the Diamonds”. After the game, ladies who had signed a waiver (guess they were expecting us to kill each other) would take the field. They covered the entire outfield with 500 jewelry boxes. There were 18 smaller prizes and one box contained a diamond ring!

The rules were simple, we had 3 minutes to grab as many boxes as you could…

If you have seen the movie, “The Hunger Games”, this was just like the “launch” scene at the beginning of the Games, where Katness Everdeen and her competitors run toward the cornucopia to grab supplies and weapons. It really felt like that except instead of being 15 and fighting our lives, most of us were middle aged and praying not to blow out a knee.


Ladies dash for diamonds…notice the 2 ladies in the middle, one in yellow and one in purple who fell!

At least 2 ladies wiped out soon after starting the dash.

Scrambling to grab jewelry boxes, would I get one? More importantly, would I survive?

While they allotted 3 minutes to grab the boxes the whole thing was over in about 30 seconds!

I was proud of myself, not only did I not fall, I managed to grab six boxes. Sadly, I didn’t win one of their prizes, however,  I got to go home with the best prize of all…Baseball Ross!!!!

While I didn’t win, I did have a blast! It really was fun, the ladies that participated in the dash really seemed to have fun with it and we all had a laugh.

I think I’m going to like my new home town.

Amarro denies “Shopping Hamels”

It was only yesterday and even earlier today when it seemed every major news source was reporting that the Phillies were burning up the phone lines looking to gauge interest in Cole Hamels. Heck, even CBS Sports reported that “Cole will not sign with the phillies”.

Today, Rabid Ruben claims that they plan to keep Hamels “in our uniform in the short term and long term” as reported in the Inquirer by Matt Gelb.

It makes me wonder what caused such a shift in 24 hours? Fan outrage? Since trading Hamels at this point would amount to a “rental” did they not find a good enough deal? Did people call can cancel season ticket orders for next year?

Who knows?