Meeting John Middleton-Phillies Owner

Today I was enjoying my free ticket to the Phillies game. Threshers season ticket holders are given a chance to see the Phillies one game a year. Part of a section is reserved and tickets are dispensed on a first come, first served basis. It’s a great time as you get to see a lot of your friends you haven’t seen since September.

Ross and I arrived early and walked around. I saw that there was someone garnering a lot of attention. It wasn’t a player. Phillies owner John Middleton was signing autographs. By this time, we were eating lunch and I had just sat down, so it was either abandon lunch for an autograph or let it go. Lunch won. I was sad about not getting the autograph but I really didn’t have a choice.

After lunch, I was feeling good as I’m recovering from my foot surgery so we walked a lap around the field. When we came back around Mr. Middleton was almost to the concourse and still signing.

I grabbed my “limited edition, only available for 24 hours” Topps Now card of Bryce Harper’s debut for the Phillies and asked Mr. Middleton to sign it. He did and said he hadn’t seen one nor did he have one and that he thought it was cool.

After he walked away, I realized I had a second copy in my bag. So I ran back and caught up to him and gave him the copy.

He grabbed my shoulder, smiled and said, “thank you so much that is unbelievably kind and thoughtful of you!” He shook my hand a couple times before thanking me again and heading to the owners suite.

I think so many people ask him for things that he really appreciated that someone would think to make such a gesture. I was glad to do something for the man who brought us Bryce Harper….

Speaking of Bryce Harper…stay tuned for my report on the game tomorrow…Here’s a hint…

Bryce Harper’s first home run as a Phillie
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What Does it Take For A Warning to be Issued? Jays’ Pitchers Take Shots at Phils

What does it take for a warning to be issued? Does someone have to be permanently injured or disfigured? Don’t get me wrong, I live in Dunedin so I do support the Jays, but I’m seriously reconsidering that after what I’ve seen in the last two games.

Is it because of Harper? The Jays didn’t play like that the first game–which was the day the Phillies signed Harper.

Then during Harper’s debut, the brush-backs started. First, Jean Segura:

Jean Segura barely dodges a pitch

Then during Rhys Hoskins’ second at bat, his first after his 2-run homer, he was nearly got nailed in the face:

Rhys Hoskins nearly hit in the head by a pitch

Rhys Hoskins nearly hit in the head by a pitch

Today, Harper was nailed in the ankle. See Harper getting hit HERE.

Harper after getting hit (Photo courtesy of Sports Center)

I know that after Hoskins was nearly decapitated no warning was issued…and not today after Harper got hit.

After the game a steaming Hoskins said he Elias ready to back up Harper if he would have charged the mound.

I’ll be at the last matchup VS the Jays next week. Hopefully, there won’t be a repeat of this kind of behavior.

Odubel Herrera and Cesar Hernandez Make Rehab Appearances in Minor League Game

Guess I just got lucky, went to the first minor league game of the season and managed to catch both Odubel Herrera and Cesar Hernandez making rehab appearances. I saw Odubel made 3 at bats and Hernandez 2 (they may have batted more, but as I was covering 2 games-They may have batted more.) Neither played the field.

Many times in minor league spring games, rehabbing major leaguers will bat at the top of every inning until they get their work done.

Odubel Herrera
Cesar Hernandez

Bryce Harper Takes Batting Practice And Signs Autographs Before Phillies Debut

Hello Fans!

I managed to get my hands on a much-coveted ticket to today’s game where Bryce Harper will Make his Phillies debut. It’s a sell-out!

I got in as soon as the gates opened and managed to get to see Harper take 2 at bats before heading into the locker room.

Afterwards they lead him out through the Hooters Diamond Dugout to avoid the crowd.

He did come to sign for those of us standing there…I didn’t ask since I got one Thursday..but I did say to him, “Hey, Bryce thanks for the autograph on Thursday, I really appreciate it!” He stopped, looked to see who said that, met my eyes and said, “you’re welcome, glad to.”

He’s defiantly not “who they said he is”. He’s thoughtful and appreciative to his fans. So much better than I could have expected.

2019 Phillies Minor League Roster Released

I am happy to finally be able to post the 2019 Phillies Minor League Roster. Unlike previous years, there is no division by “workgroup”. Historically, each workgroup would signify what team each player could end up on. Since Kapler has become manager, there are no longer workgroups and just the one issue of the list. Any releases will be hard to track.

So here it is:

The Side Of Bryce Harper You Don’t Hear Much About

“He’s arrogant!” “He’s such a jerk, flipping his hair!” Don’t forget the famous quote, “That’s a clown question.”

That’s the sort of impression you get from the media about Bryce Harper. To be honest, I wasn’t that thrilled at the prospect of getting Harper, I mean who needs that kind of attitude? I was happy for what he could do for us, but that attitude? What I’ve witnessed over the last few days seems very much different from what I thought Bryce Harper was like.

Bryce Harper walking into batting practice

Today, was something 180° from the “image” the image media foists on him. The Harper I saw was soft-spoken, thoughtful and giving of his time.

Bryce Harper hit a home run to left with the very first pitch during BP.

Harper took live BP off of several minor league pitchers on Roberts field. Video of Harper vs Trevor Bettincourt is HERE. Harper vs Addison Russ is HERE. After each pitcher finished his set, Harper went over, shook their hand and told them what they did well or if there was something that could be improved. He was generous with his knowledge and time.

Bryce Harper shakes Addison Russ’ hand after batting practice.

This doesn’t sound like the guy the media told us he was…does it? He seems so invested in making everyone around him better. That’s not the “selfish jerk” image that was given to him. It’s ANYTHING BUT.  I always try to believe the best in everyone which is why I went into the whole Harper thing this week with an open mind. At the press conference to introduce him to the team he said everything you’d want your new franchise player to say. Then to see him today, spending time and sharing knowledge with these young, up and coming pitchers…that’s class. It’s pure class.

Bryce Harper

After practice, there were may be 15 people there waiting for autographs, myself included. He came and signed for everyone. I told him, “Thank you for coming to Philadelphia, we are glad to have you here.” He looked at the ball he signed for me and said, “Same.” A simple, one word answer that was soft and unassuming. He simply is glad to be here. What more do you need?

Bryce Harper signed my ball!

I think my favorite story of the day, however, is this one. Standing next to me was this man. he was there with his baby. A year ago his wife gave Harper the sonogram to show her husband and that’s how she told him they were expecting! He had the picture from last year on a poster…

Bryce Harper’s biggest little fan…

It was the greatest thing I’ve seen in a long time. Before you ask, Harper did sign the little guy’s jersey for his bedroom wall. Just one more bit of proof that Harper is NOT what they want you to think he is, he actually is what we need him to be, a decent soft spoken leader that is kind and respectful to the fans that love him. Welcome to Philly, Bryce, welcome to Philly.