The Old and the New

I can’t believe that I have been writing my blog for FIVE years! It’s astounding the amount of changes that have happened in that amount of time.

I’ve quit my job and moved 1,000 miles to pursue my love of all things baseball and Disney. We’ve moved from a condo into a house we have built.

New website home

But the biggest visible change for you, is the total reconstruction of my website, BASEBALLBETSY.com. Last week after a lot of soul-searching I decided I had to totally blow up my original site that I had built on Apples’ iWeb platform. I liked iWeb. It was incredibly easy for a noob like me to set up and run and it didn’t cost monthly fees for maintenance. Sadly, last fall Apple discontinued the program and also made it so it would not be supported on their new operating system, therefore, I could no longer update my old laptop without causing me to be unable to do anything to my website.

I contacted my hosting provider and signed up for their template service. I like it, I think the new website format is much more visually stunning and at least I can make changes and updates. The only negative was my first 9 months of my blog was accidentally erased in the move. I had been told that I could “orphan” that one page and then just add the link to that page from the new site. That wasn’t true so I lost all nine months of my blog.

I was really upset, who wouldn’t be? I lost hours and hours of work and photographs (at least as they were tied to the posts). Then I remembered, I had a copy of the original blog saved in iWeb on the laptop. Thank goodness.

I am now in the process of rebuilding and adding these original posts here.

I decided to use this to my advantage. I have reprocessed the photos and watermarked them so that hopefully, they won’t be stolen and I’ve been able to replace any dead and outdated links.

I think the thing that sticks out to me the most is the trip down memory lane. Seeing how my views have changed, how my style of blogging has changed and how the equipment I used to take photographs has so greatly improved. When I began I had this little Kodak single lens point and shoot camera that really wasn’t good for the high speed and low light action of night baseball. Photos were grainy at best and unusable over half the time. Now, I’ve moved up to a Nikon D3200 with a 200mm lens and it makes a world if difference. Even my iPhone has better resolution that that old Kodak!

So in the coming days I hope to finish recreating the old posts (there’s about 30 left, ugh) and hope to get it finished before Spring Training. New season, new website and a complete blog. That’s the goal.

I also hope you enjoy sort of a “Best of” series a look back at former Phillies like Hunter Pence, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Tuffy Gosewisch.

If I Were Jimmy Rollins, I Wouldn’t Make Ryne Sandberg Mad

You know, two years ago Ross happened to be at a spring training game where Ryne Sandberg lost his temper. It happened after two of our guys were hit by pitches by the pirates.

To me, I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of an angry Sandberg, if you don’t believe me, watch the video. Please note that there is profanity. You can click HERE to go to the blog and see the video.

May be J Roll should keep this in mind the next time he might tick off Ryno.

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!

Spring training day five – old and new

As I think about today, I realize there’s two things on my mind, the old and the new. The old? Players like Abreu and Rollins even Howard and Utley. I’m also thinking of the young.

I was able to get Chase Utley’s autograph today. And seeing him up close I realize that in my mind, I still see him as a 25-year-old, even though that’s not true. I see Abreu and for some reason he does seem like he’s been a player forever.

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It’s almost like what’s old is new. Baseball is a cycle. A player starts, he rises and comes down if you’re lucky you get to see him the whole way through. Like Abreu. He was my mother-in-law’s favorite player. Even when she was at the end of her life, she always wanted to see Abreu play. She’s been gone now, for several years and now her Bobby Abreu is back and it’s sort of bittersweet for me.

And I think of the new, not only like Cody Asche and Darren Ruf but also of some younger guys in the farm system.

Some of the players from the lower levels have started to trickle into camp. I’ve seen Carlos Alonzo, Steve Susdorf,Hoby Milner, Perci Garner and many others. And I’ve also seen some of last year’s Gulf Coast League Phillies trickle into camp.

One of those boys, Rivar Anguilo, made my day today. Sometimes, when you go to the rookie league games. There’s only three or four spectators. If you are one of the people who goes all the time the players get to know you and you get to know them. Last summer, I got to know quite a few of these younger players. Rivar was one of those guys. I made cookies for the boys last summer, I only did it two or three times, but I guess Rivar remembered. When he came into camp today and saw me standing there, his face lit up, it was a huge smile! He came right over and not only did he shake my hand strongly, he gave me a great big kiss on the cheek!

I think that made my weekend! Just to know that little bit of kindness meant so much to someone that six months later they are that happy to see you. People sometimes ask me why I like the lower levels of baseball and this is one reason why. Just a few minutes out of my week to make some cookies for some boys and it must have made an impression.

Just another reason to love baseball.

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It was a short day for me, but an interesting one

Sometimes the worst part about living in Clearwater during spring training is that sometimes real life gets in the way of your baseball life. Baseball Ross and I had to cut today short to return home to meet with a handyman to do some work around our house.

That doesn’t mean we didn’t get to see the beginning of today’s workouts. Today’s workouts, started much like all the other workouts, The team gathers around one of the mounds and one of the coaches lecture about what they are going to work on for the day.

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After that, the team spreads out over several fields to continue stretching and start the drills for their appropriate position.

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At one point, I saw Ryne Sandberg apparently lecturing Chase Utley while Chase was stretching.

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In what seems like some good news, Aaron Altherr was working out without wearing the brace on his right wrist. As I mentioned yesterday, Aaron told me that his wrist is coming along nicely and he hopes to be back on track soon.

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Though, I have to admit my favorite picture of the day, is this one I took of Jimmy Rollins. It was one of those rare moments where it seems like he was having a lot of fun!

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We hope to be back out on the fields tomorrow watching practice, however, there is some bad weather moving in and there is a chance that it may rain so outdoor practice may or may not happen. If it does, Baseball Ross and I will be there.

Thinking about things-Day 4

It’s been four days since pitchers and catchers officially reported to camp. Newly signed pitcher AJ Burnett held a press conference and is in camp. Today was also the day when the last two remaining position players reported. Historically, Jimmy Rollins has been one of the last, but this year he was joined by returning Phillie Bobby Abreu.

Bobby Abreu was greeted warmly by fans as he walked to the clubhouse after taking batting practice. He returned the favor with a nice tip of his cap.

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I almost felt like I was in a time warp. What’s old is new again.

Cole Hamels participated in pitching drills again today.

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Another thing I like to see is that pitcher Jesse Biddle wears high socks. Last year ended the long standing tradition of rookies having to wear high socks and most of the younger players immediately adopted the long pants. The other reason I like him in long socks is that it makes him easy to pick out at a distance.

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Every once in a while, while watching everyone go about their business, you catch a moment, a fleeting glimpse that gives a little peek inside them. Sometimes my favorite pictures are these some of these.

I took one this morning, it’s Cody Asche leaning on the batting cage with a pensive look.

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It’s the End of the World as I Know it, and I Feel Fine…

Ok, it’s not the end of the world, but it is the end of the “ticketed” baseball season for me, in all likelihood.

So these are all my tickets for the games we paid for this year (minus a couple that ended up in the laundry). What I have here is SIXTY-SEVEN tickets. This does NOT include all the free/unticketed Spring Training, Extended Spring Training, or Gulf Coast League games!

2013 Tickets (well most of them)
2013 Tickets (well most of them)

I think I can honestly guesstimate that Baseball Ross and I went to over 140 games this year. Ross even more than that, as there were a couple of games I missed for either illness, another commitment or when I was away on vacation.

With Fall Instructional League coming next week, I will add a couple more games to that list….

My project for next season is to buy a journal and log every game I go to. That way I will have an accurate accounting of how many games I’ve actually attended.

It’s been a memorable year. I got some of the autographs I’ve really coveted, Jimmy Rollins and Carlos Ruiz, I got to know some really great players and it’s all been one amazing year.

In the coming days I will be posting my end of the season articles….and with the year we’ve had, there’s a lot to cover….

Stay Tuned….

 

 

Spring Training So Far

Here we are, Spring Training is in full swing. Ahh, my favorite time of year. BaseballRoss and I started coming here for Spring Training years ago

and loved it so much we moved here.

From the time that pitchers and catchers report to the days where the MiLB players fill the Carpenter Complex and there’s four or more games going at once. THIS is what we live for.

So, today, just as the MiLB players arrive, I thought I’d stop and recount a few of my favorite moments so far:

Adam Morgan Pitches in the Intra-Squad Game
Adam Morgan Pitches in the Intra-Squad Game

1. Watching Adam Morgan pitch in the intra-squad game. It’s no secret I like Adam. He’s a great guy who took time in the off season to answer a questionnaire for my little blog. (You can read it HERE)

Adam took the mound and pitched against experienced MLB players and acted as if he had been pitching against them for years. It always makes me smile to see a guy who was in Clearwater last summer making a big impression.

Chase Utley
Chase Utley

2. Watching Chase Utley run. It doesn’t seem like it should be something that stands out. I watched Chase run in base running drills and was blown away. Not only did he not seem to have any pain, he was running better than a LOT of the younger guys. He had great speed and looks in better shape than I think I’ve ever seen him. It was simply amazing and wonderful that he seems to be at his best.

Cody Asche at Third During the Intra-Squad Game
Cody Asche at Third During the Intra-Squad Game

3. Watching Cody Asche play. Cody is another player who started last season in Clearwater and to see him invited to the MLB camp and playing well is great to see.

Jimmy Rollins
Jimmy Rollins

4. FINALLY getting Jimmy Rollins’ autograph. I’ve been seriously collecting autographs for six years. Until this year I NEVER got Jimmy’s. It’s been killing me. Two days, I missed him by only one or two people. Then the day came and he stopped (after I had told him about trying for six years) and signed my ball, slowly and deliberately. It’s one of the BEST autographs I’ve ever gotten and I cherish it.

Cole Hamels
Cole Hamels

5. Cole Hamels’ pitching. He’s earned the big contract and the honor of being the opening day pitcher. He’s pitching well and I can’t wait for opening day.

HONORABLE MENTION:

Smashed and Trashed
Smashed and Trashed

During the opening game, the Astros were taking batting practice and someone nailed a ball that sailed out over the Tiki Bar and landed with a CRASH, right on someone’s windshield. Hope they have insurance!

Tomorrow the Phils play the Blue Jays and I’ll be there, though I may freeze as it is expected to be one of the coldest days of the year (though it looks like the earlier forecast of SNOW won’t happen.) They are also calling for drizzle so it may be a miserable day to watch in the stands.