Cody Asche Back in Uniform

I was pleasantly surprised to see my favorite Phillies fielder back in uniform tonight. He dons the grey and red of the Threshers for the game against the Tampa Yankees. 

Cody is playing left and batting second.



Asche had been sidelined since spring training with an oblique injury.

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Scenes From Phillies Minor League Spring Training-March 26, 2016

Today was one of those days where there was so much going on on three of the four fields at the Carpenter Complex that I could have used a twin or even a triplet to help me try to cover all the action. I’m still stuck using my knee scooter, which has actually turned out to be a help, I can zip around faster than I can walk and when I pick a spot to set up, I can sit on the cushioned seat right against the fence without obstructing anyone’s view.

There was a bit of a kerfuffle trying to get into the parking lot so we were delayed a bit, but as I walked up to Roberts Field in the back, I was pleased to see Cody Asche back at the plate. I was even more pleased to see him smack the ball so hard that it landed at the base of the hill to US 19! It was definitely one of the longest hits I’ve ever seen on that field. You can see pictures of the hit HERE.

Mitch Walding also had a great day, with two home runs, one that I have a picture of and one that Baseball Ross has on video. You can see it HERE.

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Mitch Walding
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Mitch Walding

Dylan Cozens also hit two home runs, I managed to get a picture of one of them.

Dylan Cozens

Here’s some pictures from the rest of the day, my only regret is that I got to Schmidt field in time to see David Buchanan’s last pitch and didn’t have time to get my camera up to get a shot.

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Christian Merraro
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Jorge Alfarro
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Jorge Alfaro
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Zach Eflin
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Zach Eflin
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JP Crawford gets hit by his foul
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Andrew Pullin
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Aaron Brown
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Aaron Nola
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Tommy Joseph
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Colton Murray
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Ben Lively
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Ben Lively
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KC Serna
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Carlos Alonso
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Herlis Rodriguez
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Rhys Hoskins
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KC Serna
 
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Jesmel Valentin
The most unique thing I saw today was a true submariner, Ben Rowen of the Jays. I think he has the lowest release point of any submariner I’ve ever seen.

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Ben Rowen
It was a great day for baseball and I can’t wait to do it again tomorrow.

“Smache Asche” is back!

I got to the Carpenter Complex just as Cody Asche got to the plate. I wasn’t aware he was going to play and was happy to see him at the plate.

I was then rewarded by getting to see him hit a long homer at Robin Roberts field that landed at the base of Rt 19! 

In the words of the great Harry Kalas, “That ball is outta here!”

 

Cody Asche

 
Cody Asche
  

Spring Training 2016 Begins

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.

 

Aaron Nola during drills
 
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:

 

Darin Ruf at first
  
Freddy Galvis at second
  
Andres Blanco at third
 
Once inside, we saw:

 

  

Aaron Altherr
  
Brock Stassi takes one deep during BP
  

  

Cody Asche
  
Roman Quinn and JP Crawford

  
Roman Quinn
  
Andres Blanco and Freddy Galvis

  
Nick Williams and JP Crawford

The weather was the best in recent memory. I can’t wait for tomorrow!

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.

Day Two of Phillies Spring Training 2015

Day two of spring dawned cold, so cold that records were broken throughout the Tampa Bay area. At our house in Dunedin, the temperatures when I woke up were at freezing.

Amazingly enough, by the time we got to the Carpenter Complex, t temperature was similar to yesterday’s temperature at 47°, but the wind had died down. It was a much more comfortable day.

I began the day watching the major-league pitchers in their PFPs.

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I was happy to see my old friend Jesse Biddle on the mound. He looks good, confident and prepared for this season.

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Adam Morgan was sharp and showed no sign of the shoulder injury that played him last summer. After making the play shown above, the coaches shouted, “Great play, Adam!”

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Cole Hamels.

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Justin DeFratus looked nimble.

We also ventured over to the half field next to Bright House stadium. Here, we saw Cody Asche and Darin Ruf taking ground balls.

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Cody Asche

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Darin Ruf

Baseball Ross and I stayed until The major-league players broke for lunch. Ross and I grabbed lunch ourselves then returned to catch the minor-league players who are already in camp practice. The pitchers have been throwing live batting practice to several of the position players who have reported early as well.

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First thing we saw as we returned, was Roman Quinn working in the outfield. Moments later, he looked happy to be taking batting practice.

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It was a much better day weather wise but we hurried home as today was “Tardy Mardi Gras” in Dunedin. Since the weather was horrid on Tuesday, the parade with more than 50 floats and tons of beads, doubloons, candy and toys was held tonight. It was a blast and I think I did rather well.

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Tomorrow the weather is predicted to be in the 70s so here’s to better days.

7 Teams, 8 Games, 3,200 Miles-A Trip of a Lifetime

It was during the long, cold winter that Baseball Ross and I were sitting and dreaming of warmer days. Somehow we got on the topic of “epic trips” and started brainstorming…what if…

At some point one of us said, “what if we saw every single team in the Phillies farm system in a week?” Sure, it sounded so easy when we were sitting there in the living room all wrapped in blankets (It was during the polar vortex and even here in Florida, we had wind chills in the teens) but putting it into action was a whole other story.

We scoured the schedules of all the teams looking for a time when all of them would either be at home or at an away game that would not only be an easy drive from Harrisburg (we have family there to see) but also coordinated with the pitching schedules of our favorite pitchers. What made it even more difficult is that the rotation for the Williamsport Crosscutters would be the last released, the day before their season began.

We found one week, actually 9 days, where we could see the last game of Extended Spring Training, get on a plane and fly to Harrisburg, the next night we drove to Williamsport saw the Crosscutters, then back to Harrisburg, then drove to Lakewood to see the BlueClaws, then back to Harrisburg, then to State College to see the Cutters again so we could see Feliberto Sanchez pitch, then back to Harrisburg, then we drove to Lehigh Valley to see the IronPigs, then back to Harrisburg, then we drove to Reading to see the Fightin’ Phils, then back to Harrisburg, then we hopped on a plane flew back to Clearwater and the next day see the first game of the Gulf Coast League Phillies and a Threshers game. We flew a total of 2,000 miles and drove an amazing 1,200 more. It really was a trip of a lifetime, because I really don’t want to do that all again in a week!

Williamsport

It was opening night. It had rained and was threatening to rain again (this would become an ongoing theme of the trip).  I did a blog on that night and you can read it HERE. The downside of all the driving (4 hours in the car for Williamsport) was that it did take a lot out of me so I only did this one blog while on the trip.

Lakewood

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We were here to see our friend, Ranfy Casimiro pitch. He’s a great kid and people never stop staring when they see us together. I’m barely 5 feet tall, he’s 6′ 8″! We are totally “the long and the short of it”.

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We were lucky enough to also catch Cody Asche make a rehab appearance here in Lakewood. (This would also be a reoccurring theme as we saw him in Clearwater before we left, then Lakewood…)

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The best was seeing Casimiro pitch one of the best games of his career.

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I also was lucky enough to meet Jay Floyd of Phoul Ballz. He had interviewed me last year on his podcast along with Mr. Tug. (You can listen to the podcast HERE)

While it didn’t rain, it was cold, 64 degrees!

State College to see Williamsport again

Our friend Feliberto Sanchez pitched in State College against the Spikes.

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For me this was sort of a homecoming. I went to Penn State, albeit the Harrisburg campus, but I have many fond memories of going to State College.

What trip to Happy Valley would be complete without a trip to the CREAMERY? If you ever go to Penn State a trip to the Creamery is a must.

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State College’s stadium is right next to Beaver Stadium. It also lies in the shadow of Mount Nittany. As this was the first game, it seemed that the grounds crew groomed the mound to be a miniature Mount Nittany. It was high and seemed to have steep drop offs instead of gradual sloping sides like a “normal” mound.

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We also got to see Ricky Bielski pitch

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The thing that sticks out in my mind is the lightning. It only rained for about five minutes that night but the lightning was all around the stadium. Long, bright bolts of lightning were striking all around the stadium. I was amazed that there wasn’t a delay. Ironically, the next night the new Lion LED sign that was added to Beaver Stadium just across the street was struck by lightning!

 

Lehigh Valley

There were many things on this leg of the trip that were memorable.

Three words: Aw Shucks Corn

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Seriously, it’s my favorite ballpark food of all time. I am ashamed to admit I ate two ears of it.

Four words: Bacon-scented Tee-shirts

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Seriously! I love bacon, but this is taking it just a little far don’t you think?

 

I finally got to meet @cherylpursell and @Kram209! Cheryl takes amazing pictures and Kram well he’s the biggest Pigs fan there is. He was also gracious enough to present me with a CODY ASCHE BOBBLEHEAD! (*FAINTS*)

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He was also kind enough to show me around Coca Cola Park.

 

The funny thing was, Cody Asche was making a rehab appearance there in Lehigh Valley so we got not only to see him play again, but got to see him next to his bobble head.

 

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I also was witness to long time Pharm-hand Tyson Gillies second to last appearance as a Pig before his release.

Reading

I got to see Jesse Biddle pitch.

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I also saw my friend Carlos Alonso

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I also met @Mr.Tug who was with PhoulBallz and is now the photographer of the Reading Fightin Phils! Meeting people is fun so before the night was done, @mikeyesh dropped by to say, “Hi” to Ross and I.

The next day, we flew back to Clearwater. By Friday we were up at ant Englebert field to see the GCL Phillies.

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Trey Williams

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All the draft picks were there including Aaron Nola, who could be called the 3.3 Million Dollar Arm.

All the Phillies Brass were there

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Nola didn’t pitch that day…

And finally to complete the trip, the Threshers game at night to catch a rehabbing Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez.

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The highlight was seeing JP Crawford in his first at bat with the Threshers.

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In all that traveling we managed to see my brother, his girlfriend and my niece as well as the two girls who grew up next door next to me as a girl who are like sisters to me. We even stopped at Hershey’s Chocolate World on the way to the airport.

20140705-222241-80561610.jpg It was a really good trip. We never really got rained on, saw next to no traffic and had no car mishaps. We didn’t even have any flight delays, in fact our planes arrived early!

I don’t think our crazy trip could have worked out any better! That being said, I sure am glad to be home.