It’s Tebow Time! Tebow-Mania comes to Spectrum Field

When was the last time you saw the home team PROMOTING a player FROM THE OPPOSING team? 

Apparently, Tebow-Mania has created such a frenzy, that the Threshers are promoting an opposing player. Not only that, they are THROWING HIM A 30th BIRTHDAY PARTY!

What in the ever-loving…..

Ok, I have nothing against Tebow. I admire the guy for staying true to himself, his convictions and for chasing his dream. I hope to get his autograph for just those reasons alone. What I don’t get is why my team is using an opposing player for promotion.

Granted, there’s been studies of the “Tebow-effect” on Minor League ball. Wherever he plays, attendance soars. Tampa usually draws around 700-800 a game, Saturday night they had 7,157–almost TEN TIMES normal. May be if the teams advertised like this for all the games, attendance would be higher too. The Threshers have been advertising this on local cable quite a bit, where the rest of the summer I’ve only seen a handful of commercials. 

Spectrum Field is speculating that we will have “Spring Training-Like” crowds with at least one night being close to being sold out, if not sold out. Spectrum Field seats around 7,600 and can hold around 10,000 with berm and standing room added.

So we shall see what happens. Stay tuned to my Twitter @BaseballBetsy for updates as they happen tonight as well as pictures and photos of the spectacle.

Darren Daulton Passes Away at Age 55


It is with a heavy heart that I heard that Darren “Dutch” Daulton passed away today at age 55. Daulton, who was inducted to the Phillies Wall of Fame in 2010, was originally diagnosed with glioblastoma in 2013.

He recovered and made a triumphant return to Spring Training in 2015. I was there that day.  He had looked like a new man and he strode proudly onto the field while fans called out to him. (You can read my article about that day HERE.)

I will always keep this picture of him in my mind and hope that he rests in peace now that his long fight against cancer is over.

Blue Jays’ Josh Donaldson Makes a Rehab Appearance

While I was raised in Pennsylvania, since moving to Dunedin, the spring training home of the Toronto Blue Jays, I’ve grown to have a soft spot for “Canada’s Team”. They are my favorite American League team.

A dear friend who blogs about the Jays messaged me last night saying he had heard that Josh Donaldson was going to play in a minor league game. My interest was piqued.

Here’s the thing, while the Jays were playing the Phillies, there was no way to know what team Donaldson would play for. There were 4 teams to choose from, the low A teams at the Jays’ complex and the AA and AAA teams at the Phillies. While the logical choice would think AAA, since they were playing at the Carpenter Complex, would they have Donaldson play with the A kids so that he would stay at their training facility? I took a chance and went to the AAA game at the Carpenter Complex. The Jays’ bus arrived. No Donaldson. Shucks. I debated driving the 5 miles (back) to Dunedin but since we had come in Baseball Ross’ car, I stayed. I was rewarded when they posted the line up and Donaldson was scheduled to take 3 at-bats.

I was happy, at least I was in the right place. 15 minutes before game time…no Donaldson. 5 minutes before game time…no Donaldson. Gametime? Nope. He got there (as it would seem planned) soon after the game started. He got the trainer and they took off for the Phillies indoor batting cages. He soon returned and was inserted into the line up.

Josh Donaldson times the ball before his first at bat.

Donaldson was up against the Phillies Alec Asher. He fouled a ball or two and then…I think at this point I need to say that this was one on the absolutely windiest days I’ve ever seen for a baseball game. We had some gusts of wind that made it hard for me to stand and take photos. This would come into play for the next pitch to Donaldson.

  

Donaldson squared up Asher’s pitch, it got caught up in the gusts to left-center, it just kept going. The Phillies outfielder stopped running and watched…it was going, going…..Then the breeze hit the side wall of Spectrum Field and it became a stiff “air-curtain”.  Donaldson, who had taken one look at the ball and assumed it was gone…looked on in horror. He had already started for the dug out. He was almost through the door when he realized it hit the air-curtain and it was slowing down..this was the same time the outfielder realized it and he started running at a full speed. The ball dropped as if it hit a physical wall and dropped right along the fence! The stunned outfielder missed it and it hit the ground.

It was then that Donaldson laughed and went, “Uh-oh!” and started for first (while still holding his bat) in what could only be called a “penguin-style” waddle. Everyone one laughed.

Josh Donaldson’s “penguin” walk to first with the bat.

In the article that includes an interview with Donaldson that I’ll post at the end of the blog, they incorrectly state that the ball was caught.

Donaldson went on to bat three more times but didn’t have a hit. His timing seemed good but many of the balls went foul and the wind was the cause of many of the balls going foul instead of down the line.

After he was done, he packed up immediately to leave but he took time to sign autographs…

Josh Donaldson Autograph

And I got one! (I have really slowed down on collecting autographs the last year or two, in fact my goal was 2 this year, Donaldson and Bautista. I’m 50% done!)

He was even so kind to allow people to walk with him to his car and he continued to sign and take pictures with fans before he left.

Josh Donaldson

When Donaldson left, the Jays were up 2-0. They were not running the scoreboards so I do not know what the final was…once Donaldson was gone, I started going back and forth between the three games that were going on at the time and lost track.

Donaldson was interviewed by the plethora of media that was in attendance and he seemed pleased with his performance. You can see coverage of the interview HERE.

I think my favorite moment and the moment that showed what a class act Donaldson is, was when Donaldson was done, he went to the player whose place in the line up he took with his at-bats and thanked him for allowing him to do so. I’ve seen a lot of major leaguers step into a minor league game to get a few plate appearances in but I’ve never seen anyone thank the player he displaced. It was a first class move.

So that was the highlight of my day…and may be of my spring training. *Sigh* I love baseball.

Phillies Acquire Ambidextrous Pat Venditte!

Today the Phillies acquired AMBIDEXTROUS reliever Pat Venditte from the Mariners for Joey Curletta. We were there when Joey Curletta was told he had been traded. At the time, that was all we knew. Curletta was sitting on the bench during the minor league intrasquad game. He didn’t even know where he was going, he was only told he had been traded and that he needed to go pack.

I hadn’t gotten to know Curletta who was acquired in the Carlos Ruiz trade. I’d seen him around this year but never got the chance to talk.

I was, however, very excited that the Phillies have acquired Venditte! I, like Venditte, am one of those rare people who are ambidextrous. I first became aware of Venditte when an associated press article ran the headline, “Amphibious Pitcher Makes Debut”.

Pat Venditte, Amphibious Pitcher (photo courtesy of the SportingNews.com)

Being ambidextrous isn’t common. According to the American Psychological Association, 90% of the population is right-handed with the remaining 10% being left handed, or a mild combination of left and right handedness. They estimate that only 1% of the population is actually, truly ambidextrous. I was raised “right” and only discovered that I was ambidextrous when I hurt my right hand in an accident. It took less than a week to be able to sign my name with my left similarly to my right handed signature. Full-blown legible writing didn’t take much longer. I’ve gotten to the point that I can sign either way and it usually is dependent on what hand is free to grab the pen. It really comes in handy when painting. I’m an amateur painter and there are times where being able to paint with the “other” hand is just easier so that you don’t drag your hand through paint or you can get a better angle with the brush.

Right hand


Left hand

 

Venditte is currently playing in the World Baseball Classic for Team Italy and will join the Phillies here in Clearwater as soon as they are eliminated or the tournament is over. I’m excited to see him and hope I can get his autograph. Us 1%-ers need to stick together, or is that walk hand in hand in hand in hand?

Phillies Start of Spring Training Games with a Win Over the University of Tampa

It was a great day for baseball and the Phillies young guns made it even better with a win.

Dylan Cozens smacks a homer to drive in J.P. Crawford

Dylan Cozens smacks a homer to drive in J.P. Crawford

Baseball Ross and I were impressed with the play of Dylan Cozens, Roman Quinn and Jorge Alfaro. We put together a video of pictures and clips along with our thoughts on the game. You can watch the video HERE.

Phillies Spring Training Day 7–February 20, 2017

It was another day of drills and batting practice. It was also a day of a little bit of levity.

Freddy Galvis

Freddy Galvis

During the pop-up drill, Freddy Galvis came from third base all the way in to the first base line, just in front of the plate…but when he got there, he missed the ball. Not to let him off easy, Luis Garcia who had “pitched” and was backing up Galvis, threw his glove to the ground before throwing his hands in the air and kicking his glove across the grass. He did it with the over-dramatic flair, all the while, he was pretending to be angry. It was hilarious! (There’s photos of this in the vlog for today.)

Betsy and Odubel Hererra

Betsy and Odubel Hererra

There’s a ton of pictures including Odubel Hererra, Mickey Moniak, Aaron Brown, Andres Blanco, Nick Pavetta, Alberto Tirado, Elniery Garcia, Cole Stobbe, Jorge Alfaro, Roman Quinn, Ben Lively, Jeremy Hellickson and Dylan Cozens. You can see the video HERE.

The 2017 Philadelphia Phillies Major League Spring Training Roster

The 2017 Philadelphia Phillies Major League Spring Training roster was released today. I am including a copy for you.

The 2017 Phillies MLB Spring Training Roster

The 2017 Phillies MLB Spring Training Roster