Here ya go!
It started as a chilly day and warmed up as the players took the field. The first day of full team practice added the position players to the mix as well as some additional minor leaguers.
You can watch our video below to see players such as Mark Lieter, Jr, Aaron Altherr, Michael Mariot, Elniery Garcia, Freddy Galvis, Odubel Hererra, Brock Stassi, Tyler Viza, Caleb Eldridge, Roman Quinn, Miguel Nunez, Rhys Hoskins, Alberto Tirado and Jeff Singer. To watch the video, click HERE.
The 2017 Philadelphia Phillies Major League Spring Training roster was released today. I am including a copy for you.
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.
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:
Once inside, we saw:
The weather was the best in recent memory. I can’t wait for tomorrow!
To paraphrase Steinbeck (and badly at that), it is the spring of my discontent. I love baseball, I do, but I’m so frustrated with it, so discontent.
There’s so many reasons…almost too many to count, but I’ll try.
1. The injury bug bit early, often and viciously. Roman Quinn, Jiwan James, Cole Hamels, Ethan Martin, Cameron Rupp, Kelly Dugan, Tommy Joseph, Mitch Walding, Adam Morgan, Hugo Arrocha, Josh Warner, Steven Inch, Nic Hanson, Chase Numata, Cory Bass, Darin Ruf, Rivar Angulo, Delvy Francisco, Mike Adams, Chris Bootcheck, Yoel Mecias, Anthony Phillips, Colin Klevin, Hoby Milner, Ryan Demmin, Aaron Altherr, Larry Greene, Zach Green, Brandon Short, Drew Anderson, Freddy Galvis, Andres Blanco and Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez. These are the guys I can think of right off the top of my head! While some of them have returned or are scheduled to return, there are still others that have no timeframe for return.
2. It’s barely a month into the season and Tyson Gillies was suspended for three games for destroying a bat rack in the clubhouse. To me this is a symptom of a larger problem, both with Gillies and the entire system. Gillies is developing a reputation as a guy with anger management issues. Another example happened just two weeks ago here in Florida. Kevin Walter was unhappy with the way things were going during a game in Tampa. He left the field, stormed into the locker room behind the dugout and from where I was sitting I could hear him swearing and a loud thump as if something was either thrown or a table tipped over. Just after that another Thresher player came out of the locker room with a worried look on his face. He stopped another player from going into the locker room saying “You DON’T want to go in there!”
It also is a symptom of how players (and fans) are frustrated with the lack of production and success in the organization. (Read on to number 3 for an example.)
3. The lack of wins. The records speak for themselves:
Iron Pigs 11-13
Of the five teams currently playing in the organization, only TWO are above .500 and both of those teams are only ONE GAME over.
4. Misusing players. I have a prime example of this and it’s the one that had me totally stymied. Last season, there was only ONE Gold Glove winner in the entire Phillies system, Carlos Alonso. Carlos played 2nd for the Threshers and only made TWO errors all YEAR. ALL YEAR. He was promoted to Reading (and rightly so) and where did they have this Gold Glove winning second baseman play? Third and THE OUTFIELD! Really?!? REALLY?!? I’d have loved to sit in on the coaches meeting where they thought up that gem.
5. Bad umpiring. Last night was the end-all, be-all of bad calls. If you read my Twitter feed last night, you could tell how I was seething. The Threshers had been losing (again) and had battled back and had the winning run was at the plate. Pete Lavin had homered earlier in the game to spark the comeback and had come close to a second homer after that. Lavin came to the plate and Bright House Field was buzzing with anticipation. One foul, two fouls, three fouls, four fouls, it was easy to see that Lavin was pushing hard to be the hero. On the final call he checked his swing and from where Ross and I were sitting (and I later confirmed with another season ticket holder with another point of view) we did NOT see him break his wrists and the bat head did not cross the plate. The home plate ump called him out and didn’t even call the base ump to confirm! The game was over! Lavin was livid. If you know Pete, you know he rarely says anything to an ump, he’s fairly laid back. Last night, Lavin walked after the ump to discuss the call. The ump just walked away.
At that point, Nelson Prada got involved. When he started he seemed more in disbelief that the home plate ump didn’t even check with the base ump. I was just turning to leave when I heard Prada go ballistic! (While I am “censoring” this he used the full words) “That’s F*ing BS! That’s a F*ing BS call!”
I have to say, I was right there with Prada. While I’ve been known to occasionally heckle an ump and sitting behind home is great for that, I do not swear. There’s kids and it’s just not “proper”. Last night was the closest I’ve ever come to losing my cool and joining Prada with F-bombing the ump. My blood boiled! To end a game on a bogus call and not even check with the base ump when the winning run was at the plate was just bogus. I was so frustrated and angry. It took me a good hour after the game to cool off. I don’t think I’ve ever been that angry at a game.
I must admit I’m still sort of angry, angry and discontent enough that if Ethan Stewart and Colin Kelvin (returning from the DL) were not pitching today and tomorrow, I wouldn’t go.
If you want to see me try to decide if I’ll go tonight, watch this video, it’s pretty accurate as to how I’m feeling…
Starting Thursday, the Threshers are on the road, so I’ll get a break then, but man, I’ll be dragging myself in tonight. It’ll almost be like trying to drag myself into work on a “Monday morning”.
Let’s hope that Stewart and Kleven use this misfortune as a jumping off point so that we do not end the first month of the season with only 5 wins. If they do, we would be on pace to go 25-115 (assuming they’d continue with winning 5 games a month).
It was a stormy day, thunder storm warnings and tornado warnings. Needless to say, Ross and I decided to stay home.
It gave me a chance to organize the autographs I’ve collected this spring:
I can’t even begin to decipher all the names but I can tell you that the following players are on there, somewhere: Bobby Abreu, Domonic brown, Phillipe Aumont, Justin DeFratus, Cody Asche, Tony Gwynn Jr, Ruben Amaro Jr, Darin Ruf, Wil Nieves, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Maikel Franco, Kevin Frandsen, Kenny Giles,
Kelly Dugan, Aaron Altherr, Marlon Byrd, Ben Revere…I think.
I also got quite a few balls signed:
I was also fortunate enough to be given a bat, my FIRST bat! It was Freddy Galvis’!
Sometimes the worst part about living in Clearwater during spring training is that sometimes real life gets in the way of your baseball life. Baseball Ross and I had to cut today short to return home to meet with a handyman to do some work around our house.
That doesn’t mean we didn’t get to see the beginning of today’s workouts. Today’s workouts, started much like all the other workouts, The team gathers around one of the mounds and one of the coaches lecture about what they are going to work on for the day.
After that, the team spreads out over several fields to continue stretching and start the drills for their appropriate position.
At one point, I saw Ryne Sandberg apparently lecturing Chase Utley while Chase was stretching.
In what seems like some good news, Aaron Altherr was working out without wearing the brace on his right wrist. As I mentioned yesterday, Aaron told me that his wrist is coming along nicely and he hopes to be back on track soon.
Though, I have to admit my favorite picture of the day, is this one I took of Jimmy Rollins. It was one of those rare moments where it seems like he was having a lot of fun!
We hope to be back out on the fields tomorrow watching practice, however, there is some bad weather moving in and there is a chance that it may rain so outdoor practice may or may not happen. If it does, Baseball Ross and I will be there.
It was another beautiful day here in Clearwater. The sun was shining, temperatures were in the mid 70s, it was a great day for baseball.
The day began with pitching drills,
One person not taking part in drills today was Aaron Altherr. He was sporting a brace on his injured right wrist. I talked to him, he said that his wrist is feeling good and seems to be on track.
Roy Halladay, guest instructor, has been making regular rounds to each of the fields to observe and offer his advice.
I also got to see Cody Asche take drills at third-base, this time from a better vantage point than in previous days. I also was able to get his autograph today on a major-league ball. As I told him when I talked to him, “I’ve been waiting a long time to give you a major-league ball to sign.” He laughed, and said, “so have I.”
But today, the highlight was getting hall of fame player Ryne Sandberg’s autograph. I was also able to get this really cool picture. If you know where to look, you can find me in the picture.
This was a great day for baseball, I had a great time, got a little sun, it just doesn’t get better than this!