The History of the Phillies Spring Training Stadiums

Today Baseball Ross and I took a trip down memory lane as we visited all three of the Phillies’ Spring Training stadiums.

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We made a video of our tour and we hope you can like it. You can see it HERE.

You might find out some very interesting facts-like how of one of the Phillies’ stadiums figures into one of the Rolling Stones greatest hits!

 

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Enough is Enough! More Netting is Needed at Baseball Stadiums! Freddie Galvis is Right!

This is a subject that is a personal one for me and I’ll explain why later.

Last night, Freddie Galvis hit a fly ball that zoomed into the stands and hit a young girl in the face. She was injured and taken to Children’s Hospital. We had, ironically, just turned on the game when they were showing her being carried out of the stands. The accident obviously left Freddie shaken. He was quoted by Matt Breen’s article (Read the entire article HERE) as saying:

“What if I broke all her teeth. What if I broke her nose. If I hit her in one eye and she loses that. What are they going to do? They’re going to forget in three days,” Galvis said. “It’s going to be a big deal for two, three days. Everybody in TV, media, whatever. But after three days what’s going to happen? They’re going to forget. But that family won’t forget that. Do you think the little baby will forget that? It’s true life. It’s something you have to put before everything. Safety first. Safety.”

He’s right on so many levels. As I stated earlier, I have personal experience in this area. In 1997, I was at a Hershey Bears hockey game and was hit by a puck. It just wasn’t a gentle flip over the boards, it was a line drive. You ask if I was paying attention, I was. Much like a line drive this puck had been a wrap around shot, as it flew along the glass, it picked up speed as if it was the end skater in a line of skaters playing “crack the whip”.

I heard it coming. I had worked for the Bears for two years previously, (so I KNOW what a puck like that sounds like) and was on a date with Ross at the time. As I turned to see which way to move to get out of the way, I saw it leave where the glass went from high to low and whip into the crowd. It was so fast I had no chance to move and it hit me right between the eyes. I remember every thing distinctly-the split second I had to realize the puck was coming for me and the other infinitesimal amount of time to realize there was no way to move fast enough to get out of the way. I remember “pop” as my skull fractured. For just a fraction of a second, I worried that Ross had also been hit and as I turned to look at him, my vision was gone. I didn’t lose my sight, there was that much blood gushing down my face that I couldn’t see. I didn’t see anything until a few minutes later when the EMTs were holding gauze on the gaping wound and wiped the blood from my eyes.

It cost (in 1997) $500 to go the four miles to the Hershey Medical Center by ambulance. At the hospital they determined my injuries to be:

  • concussion
  • skull fracture
  • the front bone of my forehead had been pushed 1mm into my sinus cavity
  • the cut-required 15 stitches (5 interior, 10 exterior) for most of which I didn’t have any anesthetic.

The doctor explained that had it hit me almost anywhere else along my eye, I would have likely lost vision and had it hit the temple, well let’s just say there’d be no Baseball Betsy after that. Luckily I recovered, but I do have a rather impressive scar for my permanent souvenir.

5 years later, in the spring of 2002, 13 year old Brittanie Cecil was hit in the head at a Columbus Blue Jackets game and she passed away from her injuries two days later. It was the first fan death at an NHL game. By the next fall, the NHL had acted and required all venues to increase the height of the glass and to have the netting we see today. They didn’t wait. They acted.

But no one has ever died from a foul ball you say? Yes, someone has been killed by a foul ball at a Major League Baseball game! May 16, 1970, at Dodgers Stadium, Manny Mota hit a foul into the stands that hit 14 year old Alan Fish. Fish died four days later in an area hospital of “an inoperable head injury.” MLB did not change a thing.

This year (over 45 years later) they did encourage not require teams to increase the netting and many did, but only THREE of the THIRTY teams have netting that extends over the dugouts. Here in Clearwater, they also extended the netting to the inside end of the dugout approximately an additional 10 feet but here the netting does not go high enough. I’ve been hit/almost hit several times as well has Ross. Our seats are in the 5th row behind home. We do not get direct shots, in our case, if the foul is high enough it will soar over the top cross bar and then hit the suite level and ricochet into the crowd FROM BEHIND. Ross and I are pretty good at dodging them but I have seen many casual fans get hit in the back or back of the head because they are lulled into a false sense of security of sitting “behind the net”.

Let me know if I'm going to get one in the back of the head, ok?
Let me know if I’m going to get one in the back of the head, ok?

Fans deserve to be able to to expect safety when they attend an event. They expect professional organizations to look out for them. Instead they are told (as I was at the hockey games) that “patrons are warned of potential injury from objects leaving the playing surface.” They don’t warn of possible death and disfigurement.

Last year, Tonya Carpenter sustained life threatening injuries after a broken bat flew into the stands at Fenway Park in Boston. In the time I’ve been a season ticket holder here in Clearwater, I’ve seen several minor injuries and sadly, one elderly lady who was sitting over the first base dugout LOST AN EYE after being hit by a foul ball. But yet, even after the this years’ “extension” she wouldn’t have been safe.

In 2014, Bloomberg.com carried an article where their analysis is that 1,750 fans are injured EVERY YEAR at MLB games! You can read their article that also chronicles critical injuries to a 7 year old boy at a Cubs game HERE.

I’m hoping that Freddie Galvis can convince at least the Phillies, if not all of MLB, that WE NEED PROTECTION NOW! Not just for fans, but for players. How do you think Manny Mota feels knowing he killed a child? Freddie Galvis is right and MLB has to listen. How many more people have to be injured or die? I’m sure Alan Fish, who would have been 60 this year, would have asked for more netting, but he can’t.

 

 

Tropical Storm Colin Leaves His Mark on the Phillies’ Carpenter Complex

June 1st is the start of the “official” hurricane season. This year, it took only 6 days for the first serious storm to hit the Clearwater area. Tropical Storm Colin never got to hurricane status but there were a few serious wind gusts that topped 50mph and rain varied from “only” 5 inches to almost 9 inches in Pinellas county.

Due to the state of emergency that was declared by the governor and the horrible weather, the Threshers cancelled Monday’s game. Dropping our houseguests at the field this morning revealed the extent of the damage to the Carpenter Complex. I took a “behind the scenes” video from the private drive along the back side of Brighthouse Field looking towards Schmidt and the more severely flooded Ashburn field.You can see the video HERE.

I also took a few stills which I’ve included below:

Damage from TS Colin: Repairing the backstop screen
Damage from TS Colin: Repairing the backstop screen
Damage from TS Colin: Ashburn Field
Damage from TS Colin: Ashburn Field
Damage from TS Colin: Ashburn Field
Damage from TS Colin: Ashburn Field
Damage from TS Colin: Ashburn Field
Damage from TS Colin: Ashburn Field
Damage from TS Colin: Ashburn Field
Damage from TS Colin: Ashburn Field
Damage from TS Colin: Ashburn Field Batters Eye Damage
Damage from TS Colin: Ashburn Field Batters Eye Damage
Damage from TS Colin: Ashburn Field
Damage from TS Colin: Ashburn Field

Let’s hope this is the last of the flooding and damage pictures for this hurricane season.

 

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.

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.