Could the Blue Jays Stay in Dunedin Longer than the First Two Home Stands?

I first became a Toronto Blue Jays fan when we moved to Dunedin, Florida nine years ago. Living just 4 blocks from TD Ballpark, I found myself being invested in my new “hometown” team. It wasn’t long after my love for baseball became known that I was appointed by the Mayor of Dunedin to the Dunedin Stadium Advisory Committee.

We worked with the City of Dunedin and the Jays and provided input on what would be come the news updated stadium and player development facilities that everyone is raving about. When the Jays announced that they would play the first two home stands here in Dunedin, I was thrilled.

Due to the limited Covid “pod” seating protocols, tickets for these major league games sold out on the primary market very quickly and the prices escalated even quicker on the secondary market. Luckily, we managed to procure tickets to the first major league game that will ever be played here in Dunedin, when the Jays will face off against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. I will finally get a chance to see Mike Trout!

We also managed to grab one more ticket to the first game in the series against the Yankees. Once we paid for those two games, we decided that we had spent enough, at least we could see Trout and Aaron Judge play practically in our own backyard!

We are still wondering where the Jays will go at the end of April as in Toronto they have decreed that sporting events cannot restart until July 1st and then without fans.

Then today in an article in The Athletic by Kaitlyn McGrath, Mark Shapiro President and CEO of the Jays states:

…knowing that we can’t come back to Toronto before July 1, unless something changes dramatically. It’s feeling like playing here (in Dunedin) past early June is going to probably be a challenge, just weather-wise. I’d stick with what I’ve mentioned before, that the solution to our season probably lies in a combination of Dunedin, Buffalo and Toronto, with significant involvement and feedback from our players.

…That’s why we haven’t come up with a final date yet. Obviously, we’re probably going to be in Dunedin a little longer than we’ve communicated. We’re still working through that. But we also will likely not remain here over the summer.

So it seems that we may just get at least another few weeks of Major League Baseball! They may not be here all season, but I’m happy with as many games as we can get!

In the article Shapiro notes that due to the weather here in Florida, the Jays may move to Buffalo where they played last year at the Buffalo Bisons stadium. My only question is if they are playing there, where will the Bisons play? Here in Dunedin, they would likely have the option to move the Low A, Southeast League (the old Florida State League) back to Jack Russell Stadium where the Dunedin Jays played two summers ago while the downtown stadium was renovated.

At this point, at least in public, it’s all conjecture. If I had any sway, which I don’t, I’d keep them here. Of course, that’s because who doesn’t want to be able to walk four blocks to a major league game?

Baseball Betsy and Jays President/CEO Mark Shapiro

Phillies Finally Sign Baseball’s Premier Catcher, JT Realmuto

Let’s be honest, even die hard Phillies fans were sweating this one out, no one knew if the Phillies would cough up the dough to make (in the words of the Inky’s Matt Breen) “Baseball’s Premier Catcher” JT Realmuto stay in Philly.

I know I bit my nails to the quick. I really didn’t think they could come up with enough money to give Realmuto his dream to be the highest average annual value for a catcher in the history of baseball. The “magic number” they agreed upon was $23.1 million per season over five years for a grand total of *drumroll* $155.5 MILLION DOLLARS.

For the next three years, the Phillies look to have a rather beefy team with Realmuto, Bryce Harper, Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler. They also just inked Rhys Hoskins to keep him at first…hopefully, “Rookie Season Rhys” will return and be a bigger contributor this season.

After the abysmal year that was 2020, both on and off the field, may be, just may be, there’s a light at the end of this long tunnel between championship wins. Let’s just hope it’s not the headlight of an oncoming train.

Phillies 2020 Minor League Roster Released!

Below you will find the first edition of the Phillies Minor League Spring Training 2020 Roster

Phillies 2020 Minor League Spring Training Roster

Chace Numata, Always Smiling

Today, we heard the terrible news that former Phillies minor league catcher Chace Numata passed away from a severe head injury he suffered as a result of a skateboarding accident.

I didn’t know him that well. The summer he was in Clearwater we had two pitchers staying with us and we waited for them in the players parking lot after every game. We’d see Chace many nights skating from the stadium to his car, with that smile on his face. That smile was so warm but at the same time it seemed like he knew a secret that no one else knew. It was almost boyish and it lit up his face like the sun.

He’d see us sitting there in our car and give us that smile and a nod and continue on his way. I thought it was just a “Hello, I see you here every night” thing but to my surprise it wasn’t.

This spring he was in town with a friend for a wedding and I ran into him at Starbucks. He recognized me before I recognized him and he gave me that amazing smile!

“Hey, Betsy! How are you! It’s so good to see you!” He said as he gave me a hearty hug,

I was surprised he even knew my name. You’d have thought we’d have been life-long friends and he made you feel like the most important person in the world while he was speaking to you.

We talked a few minutes and we went our separate ways. I remember saying to Ross how amazed I was not only that he knew me by name but was also first to give me a hearty hug.

When I heard he’d passed today, the world seemed to be just a little less special without that wonderful smile in it any longer. We lost one of the good ones today.

Rest In Peace, Chace.

BRYCE HARPER Is in Clearwater!

I just saw BryceForceOne fly over my home in Dunedin! I have the close-up of Middleton’s plane complete with Phillies logo as well as the flight tracker data as proof!

ETA: Ross had just left to walk our dog when the plane was due to fly over. If you know him, you know he’s rather stoic…imagine my surprise when I heard him yelling from about 3 houses down, “YOU SEE IT? IT’S THE PHILLIES’ PLANE! YOU SEE IT!”

That was worth $330 million right there.

Another Fan Killed by Foul Ball at Dodger Stadium

I found this article today reporting that the LA County Corner has revealed that Linda Goldbloom died in August as a result of head trauma received from a batted foul ball at an LA Dodgers game. You can read ESPN’s article HERE.

Linda Goldbloom was a long time fan, mother of three and grandmother of seven.

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you’ll know I wrote about another post about ANOTHER fatality at Dodgers stadium, Alan Fish. You can read that article HERE. That came after Freddie Galvis complained after one of his fouls hit a small girl in the face. I also wrote about the fan injured during World Series play in 2016 HERE.

Those are not the only fatalities. There is another, Clarence Stagemyer was killed in 1943 when he was hit in the head by a thrown ball.

Ross and I saw a similar situation in Lakewood back when Carlos Carrasco was with the BlueClaws. In this situation, part of the problem was inattentive parents who allowed their toddler to wander down the row. The toddler was a few seats away in the 2nd row when a ball was over thrown from third to first and it sailed into the stands. It hit the toddler square in the back, right between the shoulder blades.

I will never forget the sick “pop” it made as all the air left the toddler’s body. He didn’t scream. He didn’t make a sound. That’s why it was so scary. Luckily there was a doctor in the next section, who jumped into action. It took a few moments before there was a huge sucking sound and the toddler took a huge gulp of air and then started to cry. I was never so glad to hear a baby cry as I was that night.

As technology advances and players become stronger, foul balls will become faster, harder and more dangerous. Protecting fans has to be priority one.

I was glad that the Phillies raised the net behind home and extended it over the dugouts. It’s a great first step. Before the raising of the net, Ross and I would get hit by foul ball ricochets a few times a year and have several near misses. Last year, just one and it was straight up.

I get that snagging a free foul ball is part of the excitement, who doesn’t like to go home with one? For me, it lost its luster a bit when I saw an elderly woman lose an eye.

The ballparks are trying to cater more to millennials, making Instagram spots and other social media events to drive in the young ones. While this is great, they also need to realize that when people are looking at their phones and socializing, they are not watching the game and keeping an eye out for balls and bats that enter the stands.

Hopefully, MLB will take a look at spectator safety and increase the netting. It took one death for the NHL to act, in just a few months, they added more netting to protect fans. MLB has three deaths and not much has changed.

Phillies Play First Fall Instructional League Game-First Round Pick Alec Bohm Goes Yard

Fall Instructional League games are much like spring training games, they are more relaxed, coaches can end or “roll” an inning and pitchers often pitch only an inning.

Someone forgot to tell Phillies’ First Round draft pick Alec Bohm…he sent a ball almost out of Spectrum Field! He hit a blazing line drive that hit off near to top of the “F” on the sign above Frenchy’s Tiki Bar! It was a thunderous hit that even the sound was no-doubt-about it. I managed to catch this swing, landing and Bohm’s bat flip and run around the bases…

Phillies Release Fall Instructional League Roster and Schedule

After a spring where the Phillies never released a workgroup player list, I was beginning to think that we would never find out the schedule nor roster for the Fall Instructional League.

Then this morning–SURPRISE! They actually posted it. Seeing as Alec Bohm will be there, I have a feeling that Baseball Ross and I will be checking in to see the goings-on at instructs. Watch this space and Baseball Ross’ blog for pictures and articles starting next week.

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Phillies No. 2 Pick Alec Bohm

Here is the roster:

PITCHERS: Blake Bennett, RHP; Ben Brown, RHP; Starlyn Castillo, RHP; Jose Conopoima, RHP; Gabriel Cotto, LHP; Jonas De La Cruz, RHP; Maikel Garrido, LHP; Juan Geraldo, RHP; Kyle Glogoski, RHP; Michael Gomez, RHP; Rafi Gonell, RHP; Cristian Hernandez, RHP; Jake Kinney, RHP; Hsin-Chieh Lin, RHP; Jordi Martinez, LHP; Robinson Martinez, RHP; Tyler McKay, RHP; Jhordany Mezquita, LHP (No. 26); Juan Miranda, LHP; Efrain Morales, RHP; Francisco Morales, RHP (No. 13); Luis Pacheco, RHP; Nicoly Pina, RHP; Dominic Pipkin, RHP (No. 24); Mark Potter, RHP; Alfonso Puello, RHP; Brandon Ramey, RHP; Dalvin Rosario, RHP; Austin Ross, RHP; Yeison Sanchez, RHP; Victor Santos, RHP; Manuel Silva, LHP; Jaylen Smith, LHP; Manuel Urias, RHP; Victor Vargas, RHP

CATCHERS: Juan Aparicio, Arturo De Freitas, Mitchell Edwards, Freddy Francisco, Abrahan Gutierrez, Rafael Marchan, Logan O’Hoppe, Cesar Rodriguez

INFIELDERS: Alec Bohm (No. 2), Guarner, Luis Garcia, Juan Herrera, Matt Kroon, Seth Lancaster, Curtis Mead, Jose Mercado, Luke Miller, Luis Rojas, Logan Simmons, Cole Stobbe, Madison Stokes, Nicolas Torres, Christian Valerio, Rixon Wingrove

OUTFIELDERS: Ben Akilinski, Jose Cedeno, Carlos De La Cruz, Julio Francisco, Luis Matos, Simon Muzziotti (No. 30), Jhailyn Ortiz (No. 7), Ben Pelletier, Johan Rojas, Yerwin Trejo, Matt Vierling

The schedule:

Mon. Sept. 24 – vs. Blue Jays
Tues. Sept. 25 – at Orioles
Wed. Sept. 26 – at Pirates
Thurs. Sept. 27 – Camp day
Fri. Sept. 28 – vs. Pirates
Sat. Sept. 29 – Camp day
Mon. Oct. 1 – at Pirates
Tues. Oct. 2 – vs. Orioles
Wed. Oct. 3 – Camp day
Thurs. Oct. 4 – at Orioles
Fri. Oct. 5 – vs. Braves
Sat. Oct. 6 – vs. Orioles
Mon. Oct. 8 – at Braves
Tues. Oct. 9 – vs. Yankees
Wed. Oct. 10 – Camp day
Thurs. Oct. 11 – at Yankees
Fri. – Oct. 12 – vs. Yankees

Note: a “camp day” is a day where they may scrimmage or do drills have a short day or have off the field meetings so you may not see them on the field.

If you would like to read the announcement, you can read it HERE.

Threshers LHP McKenzie Mills to Marlins in trade for Justin Bour

Today the Phillies picked up 1B Justin Bour for cash and minor league LHP McKenzie Mills.

Mills has had a mediocre year, he has an ERA of 3.51, but is only 2-5 on the season. He’s also given up 7 home runs in 89 innings.

Here is the last picture of Mills in a Clearwater Threshers uniform last night as he walked out in the 5th inning:

This picture is from his last start at home with the Threshers last week:

May be a change of scenery will be just what he needs.

Easter Drinks at Ryan Howard’s Mansion

It was a very special Easter for Baseball Ross and I…we had drinks at Ryan Howard’s Mansion in Belair Beach.

We had a lovely drive over the bridge and the weather was perfect we couldn’t have asked for more.

Notice I didn’t say IN Ryan Howard’s house, just at the house.

April Fools!