First Games of Phillies Minor League Camp

Baseball Ross and I had a prior commitment so we were only able to stop in for a little while to see the AAA Phillies vs the AAA Blue Jays and the AA Phillies vs the AA Blue Jays atCarpenter.

I focused on the AA game as Ruan Howard was making a guest appearance.

 

Ryan Howard
 The thing that made me be a fangirl today was right after I took this shot, I put the camera down and said hello and Ryan Howard actually looked at me and said hello. First time that’s happened to me, so I was tickled.

Here are some pictures from the game:
 

Carlos Tocci

Carlos Tocci about to hit the ball.

 

Severino Gonzalez

Severino Gonzalez was the starting pitcher.

 

Ryan Howard
Ryan Howard was inserted into the line up whenever he was ready.   
 
Mitch Walding

 
Zach Green
  
When we left, it was the bottom of the 3rd, the Jays were up 2-0 and a friend of mine stated the score was the same when he left in the 9th.

Even if we didn’t win, it still was a great day for baseball. 

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Ryan Howard Shines, Featherston Flies, Galvis Focuses as Spring Training Continues

Today it was almost like Ryan Howard was putting on a showcase. He looks good slimmer and more ready for the season than I’ve ever seen him.

  
He looks sharp and has obviously worked out in the off season.

 

Ryan Howard snags a ball at first

  
Ryan Howard at the bat
 
Newcomer Taylor Featherston didn’t want to be outdone and he flew through the air. 

 

Taylor Featherston flies through the air as Maikel Franco looks on
   
Maikel Franco looked focused. 
Maikel Franco
 

At the end the day, they did something I never saw, they donned “slide pants” and practiced sliding on special tarps. It looked like a lot of fun. 

Sliding in slide pants
 
After the Major Leaguers were done, the minor leaguers that have reported early took their turn.

 

Minor Leaguers work out

I was pleased to see Art Charles:

 

Art Charles
  
John Richy who was part of the Chase Utley deal with the Dodgers pitched today.

 

John Richy

And finally Tommy Joseph looked good and fully recovered from last year’s injuries.

  

It may have been a cold, breezy day, but it was a good day for baseball. 

Ryan Howard’s House-Still a Work in Progress-After Almost Four Years

Happy Labor Day!  And who deserves a holiday more than the hard working people still laboring on Ryan Howard’s 17,500 square foot home.

The home on Gulf Boulevard in Belleair Shore, has beach access, a lazy river and according to The Tampa Bay Times, “$80,000 worth of doorknobs”. Current property records estimate the value of the property is listed in the tax records at $9 million.

Back in February of 2014, I posted pictures of the house in a blog, you can read it HERE.

Today, Baseball Ross and I went for a drive by the Howard Manse. We were surprised that it was still obviously unfinished. Granted, most of the unfinished work was on a second parcel of land that Howard acquired from a neighbor who sold reportedly because they didn’t want to live next to a “tourist attraction”.

So here’s some pictures I took for your curiosity:

   

  

  

  

  

  

  

Day Five of Spring Training 2015

Today was one of those day where there wasn’t a lot of things that were out of the ordinary going on. Pitchers and catchers took batting practice, did drills and ran. Position players took batting practice and did fielding drills. Ryan Howard reportedly was at Brighthouse taking batting practice, but we did not make it over there Later in the afternoon, there was some workouts/long tossing by the minor leaguers that have reported early.

I think that sometimes a picture can speak more than a lot of esoteric comments on what is going on. So I present some pictures….

 

Baseball Ross snapped this pic of Tommy Joseph whom Ross said was looking good.
Baseball Ross snapped this pic of Tommy Joseph whom Ross said was looking good.
Cameron Rupp during batting practice
Cameron Rupp during batting practice
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Major League pitchers running.
I got to see new Phillie, Aaron Harang
I got to see new Phillie, Aaron Harang
Jesse Biddle
Jesse Biddle
Ray Burris offered Cameron Rupp words of encouragement
Ray Burris offered Cameron Rupp words of encouragement

 

The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Pinellas County

Ok, I may not be Mark Twain, but today’s story of the Phillies baseball game does involve a jumping frog.

Baseball Ross, our visiting friend, B and I managed to snag seats in the front row along the third base side. It was a beautiful sunny day, one of the best in a long while. It was at the beginning of the fourth inning when the Hooters Girl turned and said, “Look! It’s a little frog!”

Everyone turned to look and indeed, there was a little yellow frog poking his head out from between the padding and the concrete retaining wall. When it realized we all were staring at it, it ducked back under the padding. The Hooters girl then poked the padding and that’s when it happened!

The frog jumped and easily leapt a good two feet…right onto B’s hand! She screamed and threw her hands up! I screamed thinking she had done that because a ball was coming with us! The frog then leapt and ended up under the front row. Several people screamed that they didn’t like frogs, but the gentleman on B’s other side and I became very concerned that someone would step on the little guy.

So we tried go get to where we could corral him. Eventually, the gentleman managed to grab him and toss him back on the field…the Hooters girl was not happy with that! She took the opportunity to take a bathroom break and leave the field.

The poor little guy looked traumatized by the ordeal.

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It was then that Mike the security guy came by and I gave him my cup and Mike got another guard to capture the frog dubbed, “Ryan Hopper” back to the wetlands outside the stadium.

We also learned today that sitting next to the Hooters Girl (when she’s not hiding from a frog) can get you on TV.

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Can you see us?

Soon after the “Celebrated Jumping Frog” Ryan Hopper was returned to the swamp, we realized we were up 9-3, we decided that since it was B’s final night here in Clearwater we’d take her to the beach and every Phillies fan’s “Mecca” the “Taj Mahal” known as Ryan Howard’s house.

Started over two years ago, Casa de Howard isn’t even nearly done.

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From the street, it’s vast, three times the size of the surrounding properties.

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The house is situated on a PUBLIC beach, only a few blocks from a public beach access lot.

The house is a monstrosity and the rumors of a “lazy river” running THROUGH the house are true.

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You can’t quite see it, but there are concrete bridges crossing the river.

It really was larger than any house I’ve ever seen and from Ross and I just finishing having our little house built last year, let me assure you that Howard’s place isn’t even close to being done.

May be by the time B returns on her next visit, Howard’s house will be completed…..or if it’s like everything else when it comes to construction, may be not.

Phillies Intra-Squad Game

It was a long day for me. After two hours of sleep (so forgive any errors contained in this post) I drove to Tampa International Airport to pick up a long time Phillies fan, my friend B. We’ve been friends since high school and she’s been planning this for a long time. She left Harrisburg at 2 AM to drive to Philly to grab her 6:30 AM flight. So her day was even longer than mine.

We went straight from the airport to the Carpenter Complex. She was excited because after being there only five minutes, she got her first autograph, Maikel Franco. (Talk about beginners luck!)

From there, we got in line for the FREE intra-squad game. We were lucky enough to snag front row seats in the area most likely for autographs. To continue her beginners luck, who did she get next? CHASE UTLEY and RYNE SANDBERG! Heck it took me several years to get Utley the first time.

All in all, it was a good day for me too. I snagged nine, on a program Ross brought me. I managed to get:

Chase Utley
Ryne Sandberg
Phillipe Aumont
Kelly Dugan
Cody Asche
Darrin Ruf
Ray Berris
Kenny Giles
Kevin Munson

Shown here with labels

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I will also apologize here that I did not pay enough attention to give you details of the game. Being with a long-time friend will sometimes distract you like that, especially when they are happy when they get their favorite player’s autograph!

I did take some pictures:
Jesse Biddle was the starting pitcher

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Ryan Howard rounds third after a long-hit homer

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Kenny Giles brought the heat and struck out two in his second inning

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And I’ll throw in this picture of Chase Utley because he’s B’s favorite

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It was a really fun day. Sometimes going with someone who’s so very excited, someone who’s crossing an item off their bucket list really makes you remember why you loved the game in the first place. Seeing a kid next to you nearly cry getting THAT special autograph they’ve always wanted and the only trying that makes them happier is that mom was going to take them to the gift store to get a case for it. Or the teenage boy who flew across a section to get a foul only to give it to an older lady who wasn’t fast enough.

Ahh, my love of baseball is renewed.

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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