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.
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.
Dylan Cozens also hit two home runs, I managed to get a picture of one of them.
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.
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.
It was a great day for baseball and I can’t wait to do it again tomorrow.
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!”
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!
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.
You get to see things like this:
Aaron Altherr shagged flies in the outfield.
You also get a chance to see players in a more relaxed atmosphere.
Or may be they are thinking about 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.
It was a great day and I was lucky enough to get Darin Ruf’s autograph!
This is what I love about Spring Training and I can’t wait to go back tomorrow.
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.
We also ventured over to the half field next to Bright House stadium. Here, we saw Cody Asche and Darin Ruf taking ground balls.
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.
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.
Tomorrow the weather is predicted to be in the 70s so here’s to better days.
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!
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.
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”.
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…)
The best was seeing Casimiro pitch one of the best games of his career.
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.
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.
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.
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!
There were many things on this leg of the trip that were memorable.
Three words: Aw Shucks Corn
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
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*)
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.
I also was witness to long time Pharm-hand Tyson Gillies second to last appearance as a Pig before his release.
I got to see Jesse Biddle pitch.
I also saw my friend Carlos Alonso
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.
All the Phillies Brass were there
Nola didn’t pitch that day…
And finally to complete the trip, the Threshers game at night to catch a rehabbing Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez.
The highlight was seeing JP Crawford in his first at bat with the Threshers.
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.
I don’t think our crazy trip could have worked out any better! That being said, I sure am glad to be home.
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’!
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:
Shown here with labels
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
Ryan Howard rounds third after a long-hit homer
Kenny Giles brought the heat and struck out two in his second inning
And I’ll throw in this picture of Chase Utley because he’s B’s favorite
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.
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!