Atlanta Braves Sign Big Piece Ryan Howard to Minor League Deal! 

MLB reports that the Atlanta Braves have signed former Phillies’ 1B Ryan Howard to a contract!


The report states that Howard will report to Braves’ extended spring training in Kissamee then to AAA Gwinnett in Georgia.

Guess those $80k in doorknobs won’t pay for themselves! If you want to see the nicest house of any minor league player, you can see my article HERE! (Complete with video!)

Day 2 of Phillies Spring Training 2017

The clouds started rolling in this morning but we were able to get a full day of spring training in before the rain came.

It was an eventful day. We saw the pitchers warming up then went to the stadium to watch batting practice. Then we returned to the Carpenter Complex in time to catch the catchers take BP then do pop-up drills.

Baseball Ross and I put together a rather extensive video of today’s activities, you can watch it HERE.

The best picture of the day is when Logan Moore ran into the fence right in front of me during pop-up practice. You can see it in the video above and of course, I keep shooting when he did. This is what I got:

Logan Moore

Logan Moore

Below you will find some more stills from the day:

Dylan Cozens

Dylan Cozens

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Andrew Pullin

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Brock Stassi

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Roman Quinn

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Odubel Hererra

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Tommy Joseph

Cameron Perkins

Cameron Perkins

Rhys Hoskins and Scott Kingery

Rhys Hoskins and Scott Kingery

Ryan Hanigan almost runs into the pitching machine.

Ryan Hanigan almost runs into the pitching machine.

Andrew Knapp

Andrew Knapp

Cameron Rupp

Cameron Rupp

Jorge Alfaro

Jorge Alfaro

Chace Numata

Chace Numata

A Visit to Ryan Howard’s Mansion

Ryan Howard's Recently Completed Mansion in Belleair Beach Florids

Ryan Howard’s Recently Completed Mansion in Belleair Beach Florida

If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you will know I’ve made several visits over the years to check on the progress and eventual completion of Ryan Howard’s mega-mansion that includes two pools, 2 elevators, a lazy river, a bowling alley and much, much more.

You can read my previous blogs (in order) HERE, HERE and HERE.

Today was a perfect day for a walk on a public beach. Yes, Howard’s house is on a public beach so you can walk by and take a look at his lazy river and pool. The house is located at 1700 Gulf Boulevard in Belleair Beach, Florida. Please note there is NO public parking on the streets of Belleair Beach and the closest PUBLIC parking lot is a half mile away. The beach access two lots down from Howard’s home is for Belleair Beach residents only by permit. Do not park there unless you want your car towed.

Half a mile north of his home is Morgan Park, located at 2650 Gulf Boulevard. This is Belleair Beach’s ONLY public parking beach access. It is right on the beach and is a PAID lot. The park is hard to find and this is the only marker.

Morgan Park 2650 Gulf Boulevard

Morgan Park 2650 Gulf Boulevard

There are bathrooms, outdoor showers and a small shelter. There are no drinking fountains. Be aware it is a very small lot.

Ross and I put together a video with many shots of the house and surrounding area. You can watch it HERE.

Hope you enjoy the video.

I’m Overwhelmed….

Baseball Betsy Speaks!

Baseball Betsy Speaks!

It’s been a crazy couple of days. Monday night was the official presentation of the Blue Jays plan to stay in Dunedin. (You can read my post about that HERE.)

I’m not one to make public speeches and I’m terrified about speaking in public, but Monday night, I could not keep silent. I spoke up and explained why keeping the Blue Jays in Dunedin is so important to me. (If you want to see my speak, you can click HERE.)

I didn’t do anything except say what was in my heart…the applause startled me. I’ve never gotten applause before. What has happened since has been amazing. Jays President Mark Shapiro thanked me personally, members of City Council…random people I didn’t know before…this morning I even got a text message from another person that I never expected, just to say thank you.

I’m astounded and thankful. 

While I usually write about the Phillies, it IS important to note that Mark Shapiro noted the Jays special relationship with the Phillies in Clearwater as part of what makes Dunedin special. So this isn’t just a “Jays” issue, it’s a spring training and Florida State League issue.

So as a fan of baseball in Pinellas County, let me just say this…

GO JAYS!

Now, the hard work begins.

16 Days and Counting

mlb spring training logo fla

There’s sixteen days until pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training. I’m excited.

The best thing of living where I do is that I am almost equidistant from two MLB teams, the Phillies and the Blue Jays. I can walk three blocks to the Jays’ Stadium, however, their minor league complex is 3 miles from my home. The Phillies are five miles away.

The Phillies are a team in the midst of major confusion and rebuilding. They’ve picked up a gross ton of free agents that are older and also have the greatest number of prospects on the top 100 list at seven. It will be interesting to see how they blend the experience of the veterans with the raw talent of these up and comers.

The Blue Jays are a team who came “Oh-So-Close” to making the World Series. They haven’t made as many changes but have made strong choices and look to be cocked and loaded to take a shot at the top.

Which team will prevail? What approach will bear fruit? It’s only 9 months until we find out.

In the meantime, I’ll be at both camps to keep tabs on their progress.

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.