The Old and the New

I can’t believe that I have been writing my blog for FIVE years! It’s astounding the amount of changes that have happened in that amount of time.

I’ve quit my job and moved 1,000 miles to pursue my love of all things baseball and Disney. We’ve moved from a condo into a house we have built.

New website home

But the biggest visible change for you, is the total reconstruction of my website, BASEBALLBETSY.com. Last week after a lot of soul-searching I decided I had to totally blow up my original site that I had built on Apples’ iWeb platform. I liked iWeb. It was incredibly easy for a noob like me to set up and run and it didn’t cost monthly fees for maintenance. Sadly, last fall Apple discontinued the program and also made it so it would not be supported on their new operating system, therefore, I could no longer update my old laptop without causing me to be unable to do anything to my website.

I contacted my hosting provider and signed up for their template service. I like it, I think the new website format is much more visually stunning and at least I can make changes and updates. The only negative was my first 9 months of my blog was accidentally erased in the move. I had been told that I could “orphan” that one page and then just add the link to that page from the new site. That wasn’t true so I lost all nine months of my blog.

I was really upset, who wouldn’t be? I lost hours and hours of work and photographs (at least as they were tied to the posts). Then I remembered, I had a copy of the original blog saved in iWeb on the laptop. Thank goodness.

I am now in the process of rebuilding and adding these original posts here.

I decided to use this to my advantage. I have reprocessed the photos and watermarked them so that hopefully, they won’t be stolen and I’ve been able to replace any dead and outdated links.

I think the thing that sticks out to me the most is the trip down memory lane. Seeing how my views have changed, how my style of blogging has changed and how the equipment I used to take photographs has so greatly improved. When I began I had this little Kodak single lens point and shoot camera that really wasn’t good for the high speed and low light action of night baseball. Photos were grainy at best and unusable over half the time. Now, I’ve moved up to a Nikon D3200 with a 200mm lens and it makes a world if difference. Even my iPhone has better resolution that that old Kodak!

So in the coming days I hope to finish recreating the old posts (there’s about 30 left, ugh) and hope to get it finished before Spring Training. New season, new website and a complete blog. That’s the goal.

I also hope you enjoy sort of a “Best of” series a look back at former Phillies like Hunter Pence, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Tuffy Gosewisch.

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New Aquisition John Richy Makes Clearwater Threshers Debut

John Richy, the newly acquired RHP from the Dodgers, made his debut with the Clearwater Threshers tonight.

Here are some pictures:  

    
 
  

Richy went 7 innings, 4 hits, no runs, 1 walk, 3 strike outs and a pick-off. A rather impressive debut for our new pitcher.

My only regret is that I won’t get to see more of him before the end of the season. Well, there’s only approximately 165 days until spring training….

A Tale of Two Balls

Sitting around the Carpenter Complex like I do, you see a lot of things. Some things are more memorable than others.

One of my favorite was sitting on a bench and talking with Roman Quinn. He was here at the end of the season last year with his wrist injury and is now rehabbing a new injury to his Achilles’ tendon.

You might think a guy with “swag” in his twitter handle might be a little pretentious, but let me tell you, that is not a word I thought of talking to Roman. He’s a sweet soft spoken guy who’s positivity is amazing considering his bad luck with injuries. He was quite impressive.

He was also kind enough to sign a ball for me.

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The other ball I collected this week has a more “colorful” history. Baseball Ross and I were watching one of the A+ (group 3) scrimmages and Hilton Richardson, a free agent signee who hadn’t played for 2 years, smacked a ball out over the right field fence at Ashburn Field. It bounced out on the macadam and disappeared.

Later when Ross and I were walking to the car I saw it…sunk in the drainage ditch next to the parking lot. It was barely visible above the green gunk but it was there and Ross, being the gentleman he is, carefully retrieved it for me.

It took three days of baking it in the hot car in the Florida sunshine to get it to dry out. It did however, retain the green hue of the algae. I caught up with the glasses wearing Hilton and got it autographed as well.

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I also found Richardson’s hit interesting as hit hit it about the same place that Chase Utley did last year when Chase was here in rehab. (Yes, I have that ball as well, though it stopped short of going in the water.)

Rainy Days Always get me Down

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:

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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:

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I was also fortunate enough to be given a bat, my FIRST bat! It was Freddy Galvis’!

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I think this was my best season for autographs!

Rain couldn’t dampen our fun

We were lucky when we got out tickets for the game, prime autograph seats.

My program is nearly full.

Talked to new catcher Wil Nieves, he’s a really great guy. He took time to talk to fans and signed a lot.

The best thing to happen was that as it began to sprinkle, Bobby Abreu and Domonic Brown were signing near us. Abreu signed and brown was right behind him. Just as he got to me it started to pour, those huge drops, I pulled the plastic cover back on my program and Brown signed it and pulled the plastic back up before turning and running for cover.

The game was fun as well even if we didn’t win.

Here’s a few shots I took.

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And the best mascot in baseball was there!

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Phillies Intra-Squad Game

It was a long day for me. After two hours of sleep (so forgive any errors contained in this post) I drove to Tampa International Airport to pick up a long time Phillies fan, my friend B. We’ve been friends since high school and she’s been planning this for a long time. She left Harrisburg at 2 AM to drive to Philly to grab her 6:30 AM flight. So her day was even longer than mine.

We went straight from the airport to the Carpenter Complex. She was excited because after being there only five minutes, she got her first autograph, Maikel Franco. (Talk about beginners luck!)

From there, we got in line for the FREE intra-squad game. We were lucky enough to snag front row seats in the area most likely for autographs. To continue her beginners luck, who did she get next? CHASE UTLEY and RYNE SANDBERG! Heck it took me several years to get Utley the first time.

All in all, it was a good day for me too. I snagged nine, on a program Ross brought me. I managed to get:

Chase Utley
Ryne Sandberg
Phillipe Aumont
Kelly Dugan
Cody Asche
Darrin Ruf
Ray Berris
Kenny Giles
Kevin Munson

Shown here with labels

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I will also apologize here that I did not pay enough attention to give you details of the game. Being with a long-time friend will sometimes distract you like that, especially when they are happy when they get their favorite player’s autograph!

I did take some pictures:
Jesse Biddle was the starting pitcher

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Ryan Howard rounds third after a long-hit homer

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Kenny Giles brought the heat and struck out two in his second inning

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And I’ll throw in this picture of Chase Utley because he’s B’s favorite

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It was a really fun day. Sometimes going with someone who’s so very excited, someone who’s crossing an item off their bucket list really makes you remember why you loved the game in the first place. Seeing a kid next to you nearly cry getting THAT special autograph they’ve always wanted and the only trying that makes them happier is that mom was going to take them to the gift store to get a case for it. Or the teenage boy who flew across a section to get a foul only to give it to an older lady who wasn’t fast enough.

Ahh, my love of baseball is renewed.

One of BEST days…

One of the best things about spring training is the “thrill of the chase”, and I’m not talking Chase Utley! The thrill of the chase is deciding what guy’s autographs you need, finding out what fields they’re on, and praying you time everything right so that you can grab their autograph.

It’s not always easy. I got Jonathan Papelbon the first day, I was in the right place at the right time, that one was easy. Then again, it took me seven years to get Jimmy Rollins autograph! The key is never giving up. You just got to keep trying. One day sometime you’ll likely time at all just so, and get that autograph.

Then there was this little boy, he had been trying for days to get Chase Utley’s autograph. It was the last day of his vacation and he was desperate. So when we were standing off to the side just the two of us, I told the little fella to say, “Mr. Utley, will you please sign my ball?” As the boy leaned over the fence, he called to Utley as I instructed, (and with me pointing frantically to the little guy) Chase stopped and signed. The kid was grinning from ear to ear! It made his trip!

That’s the way it was for me, too, may be the autograph Gods smiled on me for helping the little guy because I finally got Bobby Abreu. For five days I followed him around like a puppy dog not obviously of course, but kept tabs on where he was practicing, in the hopes of catching him in a signing mood. Today I got him between two of the fields between his practice sessions. I said, “Bobby would you sign my ball, pretty please with sugar on top?” So when he signed my ball, he signed it “To Sugar, Bobby Abreu”

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I thought that was pretty cool. No player has ever personalized anything to me before. It really kind of made my day. But my day only got better from there.

I’ve been recognized as Baseball Betsy before, but today was a first for me. This kind gentleman, whom I met before, actually asked for my autograph! It blew me away that he liked me so much that he would have me sign a ball. I never in my wildest dreams, when I started this blog, thought that anyone would want my autograph. So I signed the ball and took a picture of the two of us. It really made today a special day!

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Tomorrow’s practice is an abbreviated one as the Phillies have their annual golf outing.