Pitchers and Catchers Report, Day One of Phillies Spring Training 2015

This is NOT how you want to start “Spring” Training. It was only a high of 50 with 25mph winds blowing in from the North. It was sunny, but it really didn’t help very much. Sadly, tomorrow will likely be worse as there is a “hard freeze” warning here, meaning it will be under freezing for several hours. So it’s a little iffy if I will be there much tomorrow and if I am there, for how long.

The chilly weather didn’t deter the Phillies Phaithful who braved the elements to see their favorite players. Usually on the first day, the program starts with a talk to the pitchers and it traditionally was given at “Seven Mounds” or the pitching mounds behind the main complex building. Ross and I thought that they may get a late start and would have the meeting inside. We got to the complex at 11 to find that they were out at 10 and were already into the PFPs or Pitcher Fielding Practice.

Jake Diekman
Jake Diekman
Kenny Giles
Kenny Giles
Camels Looks Unamused
Hamels Looks Unamused
Cliff Lee
Cliff Lee

 

Jonathan Papelbon
Jonathan Papelbon 

The first day is always a blast for me. Baseball Ross and I have been going to Spring Training for so long that we have gotten to know a lot of the regulars and it’s almost like a family reunion. That first day is always full of handshakes, hugs and catching up.

I also got to see a few of my favorite minor leaguers, which to me is my favorite part. I’ve known a bunch of these guys for what has been their entire careers and it’s nice to be remembered for always being there.

After the MLBers were done around noon, Ross and I left to get warm and grab something to eat and on our way home we passed the complex to see some players out. We were treated by getting to watch some of our MiLBer friends pitching live batting practice.

Carlos Alonso
Carlos Alonso
Cord Sandberg
Cord Sandberg
Colin Kleven
Colin Kleven
Seth Rosin
Seth Rosin
Austin Wright
Austin Wright

It looks like our minor leaguers reported to camp healthy and in great shape. Carlos Alonso smacked two almost out of the park, one died half way up the fence BUT it had been hit INTO THOSE ROARING WINDS! One of the guys remarked to him, “Hey Los, how about saving some?”

Colin Kleven looked really sharp and had a really crisp breaking pitch. He left a big smile on pitching coach Steve Schrenk’s face.

That’s it from Day One.

 

 

ARM–Another Ruben Mistake?

As someone who had faithfully followed Phillies baseball for a decade and knowing some of the players eight years, you get attached to them, invested in their progress. You watch them progress and succeed and get oh so close to catching their dream.

Two years ago, I wrote about Derrick Mitchell and how excited we were that he had gotten a chance to play with the big team ( you can read that blog HERE) and how all had hoped that at the worst, he’d end up a September call up. That didn’t happen. It didn’t happen last year either. During the off season, Derrick signed with the Braves and guess what? After being in camp a few WEEKS (he reported to the minor league camp)they have given him a shot in the big game. He pinch-ran, then hit a sac-fly RBI in the seventh. Not too bad! A mistake by Amaro.

Seth Rosin, RHP, was with us last year. He was solid but the Phillies didn’t protect him and we lost him during the Rule 5 draft. He’s now on the 25-man roster with the Dodgers. Another Ruben Mistake.

Tuffy Gosewisch was a good catcher with a lot of promise, but apparently the Phillies didn’t think so as they traded him to the Diamondbacks for a half-used stick of pine tar. Gosewisch has joined Rosin in Australia and has also made the Diamondbacks 25-man roster. Another Ruben Mistake.

What do these three guys have in common? They weren’t given a look by the Phillies and have gone on to find success with other teams. More importantly, these are the ones we can think of just off the top of our heads.

How many times can the Phillies do this? I just keep thinking, ARM, Another Ruben Mistake. Maybe Amaro forgets that three strikes and you’re out. Mitchell-Strike One, Rosin-Strike Two, Gosewisch-Strike Three—you’re outta here…well we can wisch.

20140322-192312.jpg
(Original phot from fightinforphilly.com edits are mine)>

A Great Time in Reading, Even Though They Lost

Twilight in Baseballtown
Twilight in Baseballtown

Back in Baseballtown, it was good to be home.  There’s something special about First Energy Stadium, to me. I love it’s brick, the way the players have to cross the concourse to get from the locker room to the field, the BEST hotdogs in all of baseball, the ostriches.

Wait! Ostriches?

The Ostrich

Ok, I’m not sure I like the ostriches. There’s a whole load of reasons and I’m not really into the “rebranding”, but I’m not going into that now. Let’s just look at this picture of a large bird in a little truck and leave it at that.

I really had a good time. I got to see my favorite players, Derrick Mitchell, Jesse Biddle, Kelly Dugan, Austin Wright, and Seth Rosin before the game.

Derrick Mitchell led off. Now before I start, I want to go back to two years ago this week. Back then Baseball Ross and I lived in Harrisburg, PA and we went to a lot of games in Reading. I had talked to Derrick Mitchell that night and had complimented him on his home run the night before and asked him to hit one for me for my birthday. He laughed and said, “It doesn’t work that way.” Well that night it did. He hit a home run for me for my birthday. I always tell Derrick that that was one of the coolest birthday presents I had ever gotten. (If you want to read the blog from that night and see the video, you can click HERE)

So Derrick was up to bat and then…it happened (again) he KILLED a ball right over left center near the 370 sign.

Derrick Mitchell sends one over the fence
Derrick Mitchell sends one over the fence

Another homer…and what is this week??? That’s right, my birthday.  After the game, I saw Derrick, he had remembered that my birthday was this week and he even said, “I felt really good after that first one, I’d have hoped to hit you a second for your birthday.” It blew me away, that he could remember! (And people wonder why Derrick is my favorite.)

I also have to mention a funny thing that happened after the game…I was talking to Derrick as I mentioned above and a kid about ten years old kept interrupting while Derrick and I were talking. When Derrick left to go back to the locker room, we said our goodbyes and he gave me a hug. The kid then looked at me and asked me if Derrick was my dad! (ROTFL) Considering that I had been feeling, err older since it is my birthday this week, that kid really made me feel good.

I got to see Kelly Dugan and Maikel Franco in their Fightins uniforms for the first time as well…

Maikel Franco
Maikel Franco
Kelly Dugan
Kelly Dugan

Another cool thing that happened was that I got to visit the press box. I had the privilege of becoming friends with a talented local writer who kindly invited me to visit him in the press box. It was my first time in a press box during a game. I found it quite cool and was grateful to have had the chance to check out the game from that very different perspective.

Something that Ross and I love is the Berks hot dogs. When you see as many games as we do, you get stuck eating a lot of food from the concessions. Over the years, you get to appreciate the places with good food and loathe others where the food is not palatable. I love the concessions in Reading. The Berks hotdogs are the best in baseball.

Reading lost that night, but while I wish they had won, I still had a great time. I saw my favorite players, had a homer hit for my birthday, saw my new friend in the press box, saw my favorite usher and had a great hot dog. We saw a beautiful sunset (picture at the top of the page).

It was an awesome night in Baseballtown.

12 Days but not much to say.

I felt the need to just mention that there are 12 days left until pitchers and catchers report.

Last year at this time, I felt excited, full of anticipation of the upcoming season. This year…I’m mixed.

I’m looking forward to seeing my favorite guys, some of whom I feel privileged to call “friend”. Derrick Mitchell, Jesse Biddle, Adam Morgan, Austin Wright, Perci Garner, Cody Asche, Tyson Gillies, Tyler Knigge and Seth Rosin, I’m anxious to see these guys.

Other than that, I’m just flat.

I’ve been frustrated and disappointed by some of the “deals” that Ruben Amarro Jr. has made. I think the thing that has made me so angry and frustrated is that I truly believe that we have a great wealth of talent in the farm system. Some of these guys, in my opinion, could step into the holes that RAJ just “filled”. Guys who have played well and have been waiting in the wings for a shot at the big time. Instead, RAJ has brought in older, “experienced” players…or in my opinion, past their prime to take the spots.

I’ve written on this several times in the two years that I’ve had my blog. I would rather lose a couple of games due to a young guy’s “Learning Curve” rather than losing because an “experienced” player isn’t in the condition needed to make a play. I see that letting the younger player play builds for the future, helps us long term whereas the older “seasoned” player might do ok now, but they’re not going to be able to help us in the long term.

The best news I’d heard was that Cody Asche and Adam Morgan were invited to the MLB training camp. THAT gives me some hope, but knowing RAJ even these guys will be stuck in the limbo known as Lehigh Valley for years to come.

I’m sorry if I’m sounding down. I should be looking forward to the upcoming season. Instead, I feel like it’s going to be deja vu all over again…

At least I’ll get to see my friends in the upcoming days and that makes me happy. I’ll focus on that.