Updated Spring Training list

First round of “shuffling” is complete:

20130313-130652.jpg

Closing time, every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end

As I was listening to my Sirius XM radio, this song came on the 90’s on 9, it’s Third Eye Blind’s Closing time…it’s the last line of the song and quite apropos for this afternoon. It’s the final game of the disastrous 2012 season for the Phillies. Appropriately, here in Clearwater we are sitting in the middle of a raging thunderstorm and pouring rain.

If I was a mystery writer, I’d start this post with, “It was a dark and stormy night, a murder is being committed…”

It may not be night, but at least the death of the 2012 season will let us begin the grieving process and begin to hope for a brighter 2013. (Ironically, as I typed that last light there was a bright flash of lightning and a sharp crack of thunder, HA!)

At least there were a few bright spots…

Freddy Galvis proved he can play in the Bigs.

Darin Ruf was the bright and shining shooting star at the end of the season.

Tyler Cloyd can hang with the big boys.

I really do have some hope. At least looking at the farm system and the guys who, if given a chance, might just give this team the shot in the arm it needs. Now if only Charlie and Ruben will give them a chance….

But that’s a blog for next spring.

Now I’m going to sit down with a good glass of iced tea and say goodbye to the painful 2012 season.

 

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly–Phillies Style

I just don’t know what happened to this season. I don’t. While I never expected the amazing-ness of recreating the 2008 season, I certainly expected that we’d do better than we did.

May be I’ve become spoiled. I mean, had this happened in the late 90s it would have been the norm, what was expected, but since the miracle of the 2008 season, all the seasons that we’ve been in the hunt, a threat to contend with, this season came as a smack to the face.

What or whom is to blame? The injuries? Trades? Lack of production/effort? Bad management?

Does it matter?

There is so much blame to go around. Rabid Ruben Amarro, Jr., Uncle Chuckles…the injury bug…I could go on. So much of the 2012 season with the Phillies was so ugly that I don’t think I can ever look at the season without putting a metaphorical bag over its head.

We all know what made the season Ugly (and I do mean to use the capital U, it was THAT ugly) and over the next four months every pundit will claim to know the cause of this years’ debacle. So why should I rehash it?

The Bad? Hmm. There were some things that I would say were bad, but did not merit being called ugly. Not many because I feel like 2012 was such a craptastic season that almost all the negatives were so strongly negative that really there wasn’t much bad for me, it all turned Ugly. Top it with the cherry that was Ryan Howard breaking his big toe. Does a year any more Ugly than that?

Bad, trading players to other teams…and then they  made contributions for their new teams. Shane Vicotrino, Joe Blanton, Hunter Pence, Scott Posednik and Rich Thompson were traded away.

I liked Posednik and Thompson. I’d watched the two of them last year in Lehigh Valley. I got to talk to Pods in Spring Training and he seemed like a nice guy. Thompson had been with the IronPigs from the beginning and to see him traded away was like a kick in the teeth, especially when they traded away Pence and Victorino just a month later. Thompson at least got traded to his hometown team, but he might have been good to keep here, he’s a decent fielder and considering his salary was considerably lower, it would have given us some more space under the cap to try to find someone for third base.

Bad was Freddy Galvis coming out to a hot and roaring start…giving hope that may be the season could at least be decent…only to have him sidelined by not only a back injury but a fifty game suspension for PEDs.

Bad was also how the front office kept inflating the attendance numbers to try to keep the “sold out” streak at CBP going. I mean any fool with eyes could see the large areas of empty seats. You can’t tell me that THAT many people purchased tickets then didn’t go. I’m sorry. Talk about “massaging” data!

The good. Hmm…when it comes to the big boys, frankly there’s not a lot for me. I look at Darin “Babe” Ruf…that makes me happy. I look at Tyler Cloyd…that’s another bright and shining star. What do these guys have in common? They’re young and offer promise…may be that’s what the big Phils need…HOPE…not another older player signed for a year or two to fill in a gap. Hope can go a long way in inspiring a team to do better.

For me…the things I’ll remember about the 2012 season all had to do with the minor league levels. Granted, I had a lot of contact with the players at this level…but that’s what will shine for me. This year, frankly, I want to forget the majority of the Big Phillies year and focus on the guys who give me hope that may be once management decides to give the younger guys a chance to play that may be, we can become great again.

I look at Jesse Biddle, Austin Wright, Adam Morgan, Tyler Knigge Cody Asche, Tyson Gillies, Darin Ruf, Tyler Cloyd, Jake Deikman and think…that we might just have something there…we have a massive amount of talent and potential that THEY are our future..THEY are the ones to help pull this team up.

This is what keeps me going, the hope that may be these guys that I’ve watched this summer and in some cases, several summers, that these guys can get us to the big game…whether Rabid Ruben and Uncle Chuckles give them the chance before any of them are old enough to qualify for social security remains to be seen.

 

As I read over what I had written, I realize I sound bitter. As a fan who live and dies with her teams, this year has been so hard to take. So much potential seemed to have been squandered. Personally, I lay a lot of the blame with management who seems stuck on bringing in and then keeping in older guys who just don’t seem to be getting it done on a regular basis…which would be understandable, IF there weren’t some kids in the farm system that might just have the potential to get the job done, as well as the veterans are but would also give hope to the future. That’s what makes me bitter.

I’ve said it before and I’l say it again, I’d rather lose because we have younger players learning to play at the Major League level than losing because the players we have are at the end of a great career and can’t manage to keep playing everyday at that same Major League Level.

Now…that I have that rant off my chest…I’ll start blogging about the Fall Instructional League…and my lists of “BEST OF” for this year….so keep reading…I’ll be back soon

 

 

A Howling Good Time at Bark in the Park!

The entire "Baseball" family, Maggie, Veronica, Betsy and Ross
The entire “Baseball” family, Maggie, Veronica, Betsy and Ross

Last night was “Bark in the Park”, a night to take your pup to the park. Our girls, Shih Tzus, are small and very well behaved but would they be able to handle the crowd?

Maggie will be 11 and Veronica is 4. The weather was perfect and they had on their little pink baseball jerseys and their Reading Phillies leashes. We carried them where it was crowded because they are so small, they are easy for people to step on.

Ryan "Mad Dog" Madson
Ryan “Mad Dog” Madson

The give away was a Ryan “Mad Dog” Madson statue. Likely one of the nicest statues I’ve seen as a giveaway.

First up, dinner! There is a place that is out of the way where Ross and I usually eat our hotdogs so I went there with the puppies and waited. They shared a bit of hot dog and we bought them water. (The only “diva” behavior they have is that they will NOT drink from a community bowl”)

We then went over to the fence to watch the R-Phils players walk in. Tyler Cloyd, the starting pitcher, saw the girls and stopped to give them a scratch on the head. They loved it.

We went up to our seats. Each puppy was entitled to a seat with the purchase of their ticket. However, with our girls being so small, they shared.

Maggie and Veronica share their seat
Maggie and Veronica share their seat

I was afraid that the crowd noise might frighten them but they didn’t really seem to mind once they got settled. There was another Shih Tzu sitting behind them. Once each pup said, “Hello”, they all settled in.

I think the funniest part of the night was when the National Anthem was sung. While the ladies who performed were talented, many dogs howled along. It was so hilarious!

For the first three or four innings, there was no one sitting directly in front of us so Maggie and Veronica sat up and seemed to actually be watching the game.

Maggie and Veronica watching the Reading Phillies
Maggie and Veronica watching the Reading Phillies

It was only after people sat in front of us that they finally laid down on the seat. The R-Phils were off to a rough start. They fell behind early. By the 8th inning they were battling back. Maggie put on her rally cap.

Maggie wears her rally cap
Maggie wears her rally cap

The R-Phils tied it up! Lucky puppy! The tension mounted as the R-Phils battled. Maggie finally decided she had enough…she couldn’t watch anymore.

Maggie can't bear to watch
Maggie can’t bear to watch

It wasn’t long after that that the game went into the 10th inning. Even Veronica, my peppy puppy, was exhausted.

Veronica falls asleep in the 10th using her sister as a pillow
Veronica falls asleep in the 10th using her sister as a pillow

Unfortunately, the Bowie Baysox were able to take the lead and hold it.

Even though our boys lost…we had a great time. I had never thought that our “fuzzy children” would have been able to have such an absolutely wonderful time. I didn’t see a single dog in attendance that misbehaved any more than any human child. There was one dachshund who did get a little barky at the end of the night…but then again there was a two-year old screaming as well.

For me, this literally was easily one of the top twenty nights of my life. The weather was perfect and we were able to spend the night with our pups doing something we love. I don’t think life can be much better than that.

That’s what I love about baseball. Fun for the whole family, whether your family members have two legs or four.