Phillies Come Back to Win 8-4-Photos from the Game

This has been a tough spring. My foot injury kept me from going to any Phillies games until today, the last game. On the plus side, the ticket was FREE, so there’s that.

I have to be honest, I really didn’t feel like I was missing much, I love the minor league teams. Those guys are playing every game as it could be their last. Especially after the last round of cuts, it’s obvious that it COULD be their last. They play every game, every play. For many it’s not a job, it’s a passion. There’s something beautiful in that, something simple.

I did enjoy seeing the Phanatic:

Phanatic
Phanatic
I got to see Roman Quinn and Angelo Mora get the end of spring training awards:

Angelo Mora and Roman Quinn get the end of spring training awards.
Angelo Mora and Roman Quinn get the end of spring training awards.
Jeremy Hellickson pitched:

Jeremy Hellickson
Jeremy Hellickson
Peter Bourjos led off:

Peter Bourjos
Peter Bourjos
Then, in order:

Cesar Hernandez
Cesar Hernandez

Maikel Franco
Maikel Franco

Darin Ruf
Darin Ruf

Cameron Rupp
Cameron Rupp

Andres Blanco
Andres Blanco

Tyler Goeddel
Tyler Goeddel

Will Venable
Will Venable

Jeremy Hellickson
Jeremy Hellickson
As it was 0-0 when we needed to leave.  I was feeling like it was ok, that I wasn’t going to miss anything, I mean nothing happened the first time through the line up.

Baseball Ross and I wanted to stop by Carpenter to see some of the minor leaguers, there’s still a few I need to get pictures of…so we started walking. (Well he walked and I hobbled.) By the time we got over there, the Phillies were losing to the Astros 3-0. We sighed and settled in to watching the young ones….

Next thing I knew my phone started going nuts and the Phillies came back to win, 8-4. I guess this is a lesson…I leave, the Phillies win. You’re welcome Phillies fans!

 

 

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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 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.

It is the Spring of my Discontent

To paraphrase Steinbeck (and badly at that), it is the spring of my discontent. I love baseball, I do, but I’m so frustrated with it, so discontent.

There’s so many reasons…almost too many to count, but I’ll try.

1. The injury bug bit early, often and viciously. Roman Quinn, Jiwan James, Cole Hamels, Ethan Martin, Cameron Rupp, Kelly Dugan, Tommy Joseph, Mitch Walding, Adam Morgan, Hugo Arrocha, Josh Warner, Steven Inch, Nic Hanson, Chase Numata, Cory Bass, Darin Ruf, Rivar Angulo, Delvy Francisco, Mike Adams, Chris Bootcheck, Yoel Mecias, Anthony Phillips, Colin Klevin, Hoby Milner, Ryan Demmin, Aaron Altherr, Larry Greene, Zach Green, Brandon Short, Drew Anderson, Freddy Galvis, Andres Blanco and Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez. These are the guys I can think of right off the top of my head! While some of them have returned or are scheduled to return, there are still others that have no timeframe for return.

2. It’s barely a month into the season and Tyson Gillies was suspended for three games for destroying a bat rack in the clubhouse. To me this is a symptom of a larger problem, both with Gillies and the entire system. Gillies is developing a reputation as a guy with anger management issues. Another example happened just two weeks ago here in Florida. Kevin Walter was unhappy with the way things were going during a game in Tampa. He left the field, stormed into the locker room behind the dugout and from where I was sitting I could hear him swearing and a loud thump as if something was either thrown or a table tipped over. Just after that another Thresher player came out of the locker room with a worried look on his face. He stopped another player from going into the locker room saying “You DON’T want to go in there!”

It also is a symptom of how players (and fans) are frustrated with the lack of production and success in the organization. (Read on to number 3 for an example.)

3. The lack of wins. The records speak for themselves:

Phillies 13-12
Iron Pigs 11-13
Fightins 11-10
Threshers 5-19
Lakewood 7-16

Of the five teams currently playing in the organization, only TWO are above .500 and both of those teams are only ONE GAME over.

4. Misusing players. I have a prime example of this and it’s the one that had me totally stymied. Last season, there was only ONE Gold Glove winner in the entire Phillies system, Carlos Alonso. Carlos played 2nd for the Threshers and only made TWO errors all YEAR. ALL YEAR. He was promoted to Reading (and rightly so) and where did they have this Gold Glove winning second baseman play? Third and THE OUTFIELD! Really?!? REALLY?!? I’d have loved to sit in on the coaches meeting where they thought up that gem.

5. Bad umpiring. Last night was the end-all, be-all of bad calls. If you read my Twitter feed last night, you could tell how I was seething. The Threshers had been losing (again) and had battled back and had the winning run was at the plate. Pete Lavin had homered earlier in the game to spark the comeback and had come close to a second homer after that. Lavin came to the plate and Bright House Field was buzzing with anticipation. One foul, two fouls, three fouls, four fouls, it was easy to see that Lavin was pushing hard to be the hero. On the final call he checked his swing and from where Ross and I were sitting (and I later confirmed with another season ticket holder with another point of view) we did NOT see him break his wrists and the bat head did not cross the plate. The home plate ump called him out and didn’t even call the base ump to confirm! The game was over! Lavin was livid. If you know Pete, you know he rarely says anything to an ump, he’s fairly laid back. Last night, Lavin walked after the ump to discuss the call. The ump just walked away.

At that point, Nelson Prada got involved. When he started he seemed more in disbelief that the home plate ump didn’t even check with the base ump. I was just turning to leave when I heard Prada go ballistic! (While I am “censoring” this he used the full words) “That’s F*ing BS! That’s a F*ing BS call!”

I have to say, I was right there with Prada. While I’ve been known to occasionally heckle an ump and sitting behind home is great for that, I do not swear. There’s kids and it’s just not “proper”. Last night was the closest I’ve ever come to losing my cool and joining Prada with F-bombing the ump. My blood boiled! To end a game on a bogus call and not even check with the base ump when the winning run was at the plate was just bogus. I was so frustrated and angry. It took me a good hour after the game to cool off. I don’t think I’ve ever been that angry at a game.

I must admit I’m still sort of angry, angry and discontent enough that if Ethan Stewart and Colin Kelvin (returning from the DL) were not pitching today and tomorrow, I wouldn’t go.

If you want to see me try to decide if I’ll go tonight, watch this video, it’s pretty accurate as to how I’m feeling…

Starting Thursday, the Threshers are on the road, so I’ll get a break then, but man, I’ll be dragging myself in tonight. It’ll almost be like trying to drag myself into work on a “Monday morning”.

Let’s hope that Stewart and Kleven use this misfortune as a jumping off point so that we do not end the first month of the season with only 5 wins. If they do, we would be on pace to go 25-115 (assuming they’d continue with winning 5 games a month).

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!

Every Fifth Day is a Halladay

Today, Roy Halladay did not make the trip to Sarasota with the team, he stayed here to pitch in the AAA game against the Blue Jays.

It caused such a stir that the players from the AA game on the other field peered through the fence just to watch him warm up!

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I can’t say he’s doing well so far, he’s given up 3 runs in 3 innings, 2 walks, hit a batter, we also estimate he threw about 70 pitches.

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Carlos Ruiz was catching.

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Delmon Young is batting every inning.

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I’m enjoying myself. There’s nothing better than a day in the stands, sitting with friends and baseball. This is the life.