It was a rough night in Clearwater. It showed the biggest problem with the Threshers this year, they are missing consistent hitting.
Colin Kleven (RHP) started and went five innings gave up 6 hits, 2 runs 3 walks and had 3 strike outs. He had little help from the bats, there were only 6 hits the entire game. The lone Threshers run was scored in the bottom of the sixth, when Drew Stankiewicz (2B) scored and Andrew Knapp’s (DH) ground out to short.
Another glaring problem is the number of men left on base, at seven. They were also only 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position.
While they seem to always try, last night, the bats were largely silent leaving an up hill battle for the pitching staff.
The Threshers and Manatees will go at it again at 1 Wednesday.
Colin Kleven put together his best performance of the season so far as he lead the Threshers to an 8-1 win over the rival Dunedin Blue Jays.
Willians Astudillo, who caught tonight, and first baseman Zachary Green each had two RBIs to aid in the run total. Also key to the win were three base hit for both second baseman Drew Staniewicz and center fielder Chase Harris.
The key to the game was the stellar performance of Kleven. Kleven was solid over his six innings and had a no hitter going for 4 2/3 of those six innings. He also held the Jays to a run on three hits over six innings while striking out six.
Coming in the seventh was LHP Harold Guerrero, who pitched two innings with two strike outs, two hits no runs. Will Morris, LHP, came in to close in the ninth giving up one hit and had one strike out.
It was a news-filled day with the additions of Koyie Hill to the coaching staff and Brodie Green to the roster.
The annual Season Ticket Holders’ Party was held tonight at Brighthouse Field. It was the best weather we have had in a week as the heat has seemed to abate a bit.
I was happily surprised to find that my ID has been issued in my nom de plume! I’ve had a name plate on my seat for two years, but I had to specially request it…so I was really happy to get this card!
Now, onto the team…
You can watch the video of the introductionsHERE–and I really recommend you do as this years’ team has a lot of personality. They were a lot of fun to watch.
Greg Legg, Manager
Rob Ducey, Hitting Coach
Steve Schrenk, Pitching Coach
Koyie Hill is a surprise. He isn’t given any specific coaching duty, just a member of the coaching “staff”.
Mark Leiter, Jr
Lee “Rocket Arm” Ridenhour
Brodie Green (Just added to the Threshers Roster today)
I really have a good feeling about this year’s team. I know quite a few of these guys and have a lot of faith in their talents. I think we will be very competitive this year and I am excited for the season to start!
This is NOT how you want to start “Spring” Training. It was only a high of 50 with 25mph winds blowing in from the North. It was sunny, but it really didn’t help very much. Sadly, tomorrow will likely be worse as there is a “hard freeze” warning here, meaning it will be under freezing for several hours. So it’s a little iffy if I will be there much tomorrow and if I am there, for how long.
The chilly weather didn’t deter the Phillies Phaithful who braved the elements to see their favorite players. Usually on the first day, the program starts with a talk to the pitchers and it traditionally was given at “Seven Mounds” or the pitching mounds behind the main complex building. Ross and I thought that they may get a late start and would have the meeting inside. We got to the complex at 11 to find that they were out at 10 and were already into the PFPs or Pitcher Fielding Practice.
The first day is always a blast for me. Baseball Ross and I have been going to Spring Training for so long that we have gotten to know a lot of the regulars and it’s almost like a family reunion. That first day is always full of handshakes, hugs and catching up.
I also got to see a few of my favorite minor leaguers, which to me is my favorite part. I’ve known a bunch of these guys for what has been their entire careers and it’s nice to be remembered for always being there.
After the MLBers were done around noon, Ross and I left to get warm and grab something to eat and on our way home we passed the complex to see some players out. We were treated by getting to watch some of our MiLBer friends pitching live batting practice.
It looks like our minor leaguers reported to camp healthy and in great shape. Carlos Alonso smacked two almost out of the park, one died half way up the fence BUT it had been hit INTO THOSE ROARING WINDS! One of the guys remarked to him, “Hey Los, how about saving some?”
Colin Kleven looked really sharp and had a really crisp breaking pitch. He left a big smile on pitching coach Steve Schrenk’s face.
I’ll admit it, I’ve slacked off a bit this summer. It’s hard not to. This has been one of the hottest summers in recent history and definitely the hottest since Baseball Ross and I moved to Florida full-time. Almost every day for over a week has had “feels like” temperatures over 100, with one day being 110!
With the heat like that, going to Gulf Coast League games at noon is brutal. At the Carpenter Complex, there is a trade off: if you want shade-you get no breeze, if you want a breeze-you get no shade. Regardless of where you sit, every available space for spectators is covered in heat-absorbing concrete.
Couple all the heat with a severe case of elbow tendinitis in my right elbow that kept me from being able to take pictures with anything heavier than an iPhone and you have a recipe for a long summer.
That being said, I have gotten to see a fair bit of baseball and a few things that helped me to love baseball again.
So I will list them here (in no particular order):
1. Winning a jersey in an auction that was worn by my favorite Williamsport Crosscutter. Ross and I have been good friends with Feliberto Sanchez since last year when he spent the year here in GCL and the Fall Instructional League. He’s a great kid and I just had to have the jersey. OK, the auction was for their “Ugly Christmas Sweater” promotion, but still, it was Sanchez’s jersey. There was only one problem. The Cutters never responded to my inquiry about proxy phone bidding. Luckily, Tim Luzier (@20schmidtfan) saw my plea and helped me out. I’m so grateful for his help.
2. Our crazy marathon trip to see every team in the Phillies minor league system–IN ONE WEEK. (You can read it and see the pictures in this post.) 3,200 miles (1,200 by car) and it was a blast. That being said, I’m not sure I’d do it again! It was very draining.
3. Seeing pitchers overcome difficulties and succeed. Colin Kleven had a back injury that prematurely ended his season in Clearwater last year. Seeing him come back and steadily progress has been great. As difficult of a season that Clearwater had, I always looked forward and went out of my way to see him pitch and was often rewarded by a strong performance.
I was also glad to see Jesse Biddle roar back in a rehab appearance here in Clearwater. Jesse’s difficulties this year, starting with a concussion caused by a hail stone, have been well documented. To see him tear it up in his first rehab appearance was just great. (You can read my blog about Jesse here.)
3. Seeing Aaron Nola’s first and second professional starts. That could be one of those things that in 10 years I’ll be bragging about it. You can read about his first start HERE and the second start HERE.
4. Getting to know Frank Viola III and learning about the knuckle ball. I had written a story about Frank’s return to baseball and one night, while Ross and I were at dinner the waiter came up to me and asked, “Would you happen to be Baseball Betsy?” I replied that I was and he smiled and said, “The gentleman at that table over there would like to buy you dessert.” (Now there’s a guy who knows the way to my heart!) I looked over and it was Frank and his mother. He had read the story and liked it. Ross and I ended up joining them and had a great time. I learned so much about the “mindset of the knuckleball”. If you’ve read my blog this summer, about a third of the posts were about knuckleballs.
Sadly, my heart was broken at the end of July when he was released. On the plus side, I made a new friend and that is amazing by itself.
5. Helping the Threshers mascot, Phinley win the Mascot Mania Challenge to be the best mascot in ALL of minor league baseball. It was a hard push, but after hundreds of tweets, retweets, online votes and my followers retweeting my tweets helped to make Phinley a winner. It was a matter of time since he was second last year.
I know looking at the picture above you can hear “You’re the Best Around” playing in your head.
6. Bark in the Park/Yappy Hour. To me, this is the best trend in all of baseball. Pay a few dollars to an animal charity for a “ticket” for your dog and they can join you at the game. We have two small shih tzus and over the years we have taken them to several BitPs. Sadly, Maggie our 14 year old, cannot endure the Florida heat so she was not able to attend this year, but Veronica our youngest, LOVES to go. I wrote a story about her game.
Just look at that face, you can tell she’s having a blast.
So there are the things I loved most about the summer of 2014, I couldn’t really even rank them because they were all pretty stellar.
It’s opening night! We got to Dunedin stadium and there was a line…
The Threshers line up—I love that Anthony Phillips wore high socks–Parr, Mora, Lavin, Martinez, Charles, Ferdinand, Carmona, Moore, Serna, Kleven.
Kleven on the bump
It’s now in the bottom of the sixth and we’re losing 7-0.
Oh well, tomorrow’s another day.
EDITED TO ADD:
Just after I wrote that, I walked out of the seating area and was about to leave when a foul ball came over the building and smacked the pavement not 10 feet from where I was walking! Not only that, but then I went to pick it up from where it bounced and I found another! BONUS!
Tonight was one of my favorite nights of the year, the introduction of the Clearwater Threshers to the season ticket holders.
It’s a catered affair and after dinner, the team is introduced to the season ticket holders. You can see the video HERE
I had fun trying to take pictures before the introductions with my friend, pitcher Colin Kleven making fun of me….
I got a nice panorama of the team..
I got to talk to several players and they seem like a good group of guys, I can’t wait to see them play this year.
There are a lot of benefits to being a season ticket holder other than the party, like this card:
As a season ticket holder, this card gives us entry to any Florida State League stadium to watch the Threshers play, while they are ON THE ROAD. It’s sort of neat knowing you could conceivably go to every Threshers game for one prepaid price.
I’ll use it for the first time tomorrow night as the Threshers open the season on the road, a whole five miles from Bright House and three blocks from my house in Dunedin…