Baseball Ross and I got up early in this beautiful 85* fall day and were rewarded by seeing the Phillies’ 4.3 million dollar prospect Jhailyn Ortiz take the field.
Baseball Ross and I made the hour-long trip to Lakeland on Monday to see The Phillies’ draft pick Aaron Nola, pitch in his very first professional game.
All the Phillies brass were there. Ruben Amaro Jr. , Charlie Manual, Dallas Green and more. The fans turned out to see the $3.3 million arm. The night previous, in Lakeland, attendance was 321. Last night, attendance was over 1000. Was this because of Aaron Nola? Or the fact that it was dollar night? Either way, attendance was triple the night before.
Nola got off to a good start. He looked sharp, like the prospect he will develop into. But then again, the things I will remember most about last night, wasn’t how good he was, but the weather.
Baseball Ross and I have made three trips to Lakeland in the last two years. We’ve only seen one-third of a game. The first two times we went to Lakeland we ended up sitting in the Steak and Shake for over two hours until the game was called off due to poor weather. We kept joking that we shouldn’t even bother to go over to see Nola pitch, because it would be rained out. We were almost right. The game started off under cover of clouds and they were threatening, threatening to let loose at any minute and in the second inning they did.
We headed up the stairs to the top of the grandstand where we were undercover. We stayed there for half an inning before heading back to our seats in the front row.
About two minutes after we got back to our seats in the front row, it started to rain again. I stayed in my seat taking pictures and trying to complete my “work “. Eventually, it started to rain hard. At that point, Angelo Mora hit a shot over the fence for a home run just as lightning cracked not far from the field.
That was it! At that point we ran for cover. I almost ran right into Charlie Manual! We both had a laugh over Mora’s home run and the crack of lightning. We ended up staying undercover for the rest of that inning. It was raining too hard and the lighting was too close to really feel good sitting out in the stands, but the game went on.
Once it stopped raining, we took our seats again and Aaron Nola took the mound. Just then the sun came out! It was like the rays were illuminating the Phillies’ “Golden Boy”.
During this third inning, Nola seemed to hit a wall. I’m not sure if it was that he ran out of adrenaline, or he was made uneasy by the amount of lightning just outside the stadium. The lightning continued for quite a while, not close enough to stop the game but enough to make one uneasy.
Once Nola was out of the game, Baseball Ross and I started for home. We were both wet, getting cold, and the lightning was still continuing. After looking at the radar and knowing another line of storms was coming, the smart thing to do was to head home.
I was glad we had made the trip. While he may not have had the most stellar, knock them down start, it is easy to see that Nola has potential. Is it enough to justify his $3.3 million contract? We won’t know for a while, but there’s hope.
Merry Christmas! My present is this, an interview with the Phillies’ NUMBER ONE rated prospect, Jesse Biddle. He’s a hometown boy and frankly, one of my favorites. He’s a great guy and I’m privileged to consider him a friend.
This summer, I was lucky to get to know Jesse a little bit along with Adam Morgan (who also was nice enough to talk with me (you can read it here)). Both guys were gracious enough to take the time to fill out my little questionnaire, and for which I am very grateful.
So here I post his interview for your reading pleasure…
1)Who was your baseball idol growing up?
My idols growing up were a mixture of Steve Carlton, Cole Hamels, and (I know he’s not a Phillie) Andy Pettitte. I love the way all 3 of them approach the game and pitch with such confidence and intensity.
2)Do you have any special sports memorabilia?
I think my favorite piece of sports memorabilia is my Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Richie Allen baseball card that they are on together because they were 1, 2, and 3 in the home run race in 1966.
3)If you weren’t playing baseball, what would you want to do?
I think I would definitely want to be a teacher just like my older brother, Sam is. Or else a Stunt Driver in hollywood.
4)What was your favorite moment of the 2012 season?
I don’t know if I can pin point a favorite moment from the season but the most memorable one was when Colton Murray knocked down the Tampa Yankees shortstop and I experienced my first bench clearing. I don’t think I ever learned the proper etiquette at my Quaker school.
5)What are your plans for the off season?
My plans for the offseason are pretty simple. Make up for 7 months away to my girlfriend, spend some quality time with my family and friends. And most importantly prepare myself for the 2013 season.
6)What are you most looking forward to next spring?
I am most looking forward to the feeling of seeing the hitter stand in for the first time in spring training. That is an image that I get in my head as soon as I get home for the offseason and I get excited about all the way until I throw that first pitch.
Again, I want to thank Jesse for taking the time to help out this little blogger. Spring Training is fast approaching and I for one, can’t wait!