January 2009

Spring Training in 5 Weeks

Five weeks from tomorrow, spring training in Clearwater, FL, officially begins for the defending World Champion Phillies.  Yep, pitchers and catchers will take to the fields at Carpenter Field and Bright House Field and baseball 2009 will be underway.

Individual game tickets in Clearwater went on sale yesterday for the first time.   Interest in these games is brisk.  If you are planning on going to Clearwater, be proactive as far as getting tickets, rather than reactive. 

Two of the 18 games to be played at Bright House Field are against World Baseball Classic teams, Canada and USA.  Today, USA Baseball announced 22 players who have made commitments.  The provisional 45-man roster is due in a week.  The final 28-man roster must be set by February 24. 

That roster will begin training under manager Davey Johnson on March 2 in Clearwater and play the Phillies three days later.  We’ll play the Canadian team on March 4.  The Canadian team, managed by Ernie Whitt our Clearwater Threshers manager for 2009, will train in nearby Dunedin, spring home of the Toronto Blue Jays.

Some of the game’s best players will be on the USA team which means they will be in Clearwater.

It should be an exciting spring training in Clearwater, for many reasons. 

Howard Honored
Tomorrow night in Kansas City, Ryan will receive the Josh Gibson Award as the National League’s top player during the annual Legacy Awards presented by the Negro League Baseball Museum.  This is the second time in three years that Howard has won the honor.


Network TV Dates

National television (ESPN Sunday night and FOX) have selected their dates for Phillies games.

The maximum number of times a team can appear on FOX Saturday telecasts is nine.  FOX has picked us for eight dates.  The ninth could be one of two late-season Saturdays, September 26 and October 3.

FOX dates are May 2-9-23, June 6, July 4-25, August 15 and September 12.   Game time for first two is 3:40 p.m.  All others are to be determined at this point.

ESPN can book a team for five maximum Sundays.  As defending World Champions, we will begin the season on Sunday night, April 5, 8:05 p.m.  The game against the Braves will be carried on ESPN2.

The network has four other potential games involving us, June 7, August 16 and 30 and September 13.

All of this information is posted on our 2009 schedule.



Chan Ho Chat

Chan Ho Park was in Philly yesterday to take a physical and sign a contract.

He’s on a world-wind tour, so to speak: Korea to Los Angeles to Philadelphia to LA to Korea and in another week, Japan.  Japan? “I work out there with a Korean team until spring training starts,” he explained.

Chan Ho chatted before heading to the Philly airport:

Your 2008 season: “Started, pitched short relief, long relief, closer and pinch runner. No pinch-hit.”

Philly debut: “I was rained out at Veterans Stadium during my first full year in the majors.  There were a lot of Korean fans and media there.  Not to disappoint them, I met with them after the game was called.”

Why Phillies: “A chance to be a starting pitcher and a chance to get into the postseason again.”

Impression of Philly? “Cheese steaks, kielbasas, Rocky and great history. Much different from LA.”

Tommy Lasorda: “My American father.  When we came here to play the Phillies, he took me to his hometown and restaurants.  Got me my first cheese steak.”

Why #61: “As an amateur in Korea I always wore 16.  When I joined the Dodgers that number belonged to pitching coach Ron Perranoski.  They offered me several choices and I picked 61.  It is the number one uniform jersey sold in Korea.”

Will the Phillies jerseys now take over? “Yes, I believe so; I hope so.  Red is the favorite color of Korean people.  That’s why they like the Red Sox, Phillies and Reds.”

Spring Training
Chan Ho mentioned getting ready for spring training by training in Japan.  Well, spring training is just right around the corner (40 days).  Individual game tickets will go on sale tomorrow monring at 9 o’clock. 



Pat the DH
Baseball can be a strange business.  Pat Burrell walked off the Citizens Bank Park field (Bruntlett pinch-ran) in Game 5 following a double that led to the winning run and the World Series Championship.  Little did anyone know at the time it was his last appearance in a Phillies uniform.

The Rays, a team he helped beat, have signed him to a two-year contract.  He’ll be their designated hitter, an ideal role.  Jason Stark of ESPN.com pointed out Pat was lifted as a defensive replacement in 100 of the 154 games he started in 2008.  I’m continually amazed at the stats that can be uncovered.

Baseball can be a strange business.  Last August, we made arrangements with the Rays to be the opponents for the annual On-Deck Series that is held at Citizens Bank Park just before the start of the season.

Little did anyone know at the time that the Phillies and Rays would wind up in the World Series.  So, the April 1-2 games take on a different light. 

Now, it will be Pat’s first Philadelphia appearance in an enemy uniform. 

Romero Situation
News that came out this morning was the suspension of J.C. by MLB.  Here’s our position on the situation:

“As part of the Basic Agreement, the club cannot comment on the specifics or the facts of this matter.  However, we can say that we care about JC and appreciate his contribution to our team.  We also staunchly support Major League Baseball’s drug policy and commend the efforts associated with the program.”

Ruben did a conference call with the media but other than this statement, he was unable to comment further regarding specifics of J. C.’s situation. 

Do we now begin the season with one lefty (Scott Eyre) in the pen?  Do we try to find another one?  Is there someone from within?  Ruben did talk about these questions a story written by Alden Gonzalez .

What was that?
Folks on an early morning Southwest flight to Las Vegas today noticed something occupying a seat, something that wasn’t human or of animal nature.

The thing was covered by a protective cloth.  Could it be an antique lamp?  Could it be a bird cage?  Could it be the World Series Trophy?

The first two guesses don’t count.  Yep, the WS Trophy was on its way to Vegas for a major meeting involving one of our major sponsors, AutoTrader.com.

Look for an announcement soon mapping our plans for a World Series Trophy Tour for the next three months.


Back in business

Back in the office again after a holiday break.  Spent yesterday flipping back and forth between the MLB Network and the Eagles/Vikings game.  MLB Network was replaying Game 4 of the World Series.  Love those replays because of the outcome.

It was really strange sitting there with the TV control.  Joe Buck was live on the Eagles game and on tape with the World Series game. 

Yes, thanks to the readers last year.  Of the top 100 blogs on MLB.com, Phillies Insider ranked 29th. 

Thanks, too, to the comments that were posted over the holiday break, especially to raysrenegade.mlb.blogs.com:

“I was in Philly a few years ago when the Rays played the Phillies in Citizens Ballpark.  I was so impressed with the features of the stadium. Ashburn Alley really caught me eye as well as the perfect sight lines down the lines in right field.  I was there for Games 4 and 5, but could not stay for Game 5.5 (World Series).

“Congrats again on a fantasic 2008, with a kick of a ring for the finger. Look forward to the April 1-2 series up in Citizens Park when hopefully the weather will be beautiful and the air crisp with springtime.”

Philly vs. New York
Congratulations to the Eagles, first for getting into the playoffs and second for yesterday’s win in Minneapolis.

Now, the Eagles face the Giants in the Meadowlands.  Philly vs. New York is a rivalry that is one of the best. 

Oh, everyone claims the Red Sox-Yankees and Dodgers-Giants are better in baseball but there’s nothing better right now than the Phillies vs. the Mets.  Both are very good teams and both have players that add spice to the rivalry by yapping.

Now, we have the Eagles and the Giants.  All of Philadelphia is rooting for the Birds.

Have you made your New Year’s resolutions?

This year I’m trying reverse resolutions:

–eat more
–exercise less
–like the Yankees
–start skydiving
–avoid fruit
–take Geritol
–smile less often
–supplement my diet with candy, ice cream, pies and cake
–blog more brilliantly

A friend said: “The best resolution is to forget the resolutions.” 

Happy Birthday
This month:
**Saturday, the 3rd: Darren Daulton (47)
**Yesterday: Charlie Manuel (65)
**Today: Danny Jackson (47) Milt Thompson (50), Bob Dernier (52)
**Tomorrow: Ruben Amaro Sr. (73)
**22nd: Carlos Ruiz (30)

This Date
In baseball history…
1920 – The Yankees announce the purchase of Babe Ruth. The deal had been delayed until Ruth agreed to terms believed to be $40,000 total for two years. 

Times have changed!