Play Ball

32 players boarded 2 busses at 9:30 a.m. for the 1-hour, 5-minute journey south to Bradenton and the start of the Grapefruit League season this afternoon.

The other 32 players were in uniform at the same hour for a workout at Bright House Field: bunting for pitchers, pitchers’ fielding practice, affectionately known as PFP, batting practice and more bunting.

There was a familiar #12 shagging fly balls in left field during BP: Mickey Morandini.  The former Phillies second baseman (1900-97; 2000) is making his debut as a guest instructor for the next 15 days.  He’ll spend time in the big league camp and then move to the minor league camp next door at Carpenter Field for a few days next week. 

Charlie Manual and Joe Maddon were saluted at last night’s Governor’s Baseball Banquet at Tropicana Field.  The banquet tables were set up on the artificial turf in right field.  Two Phillies tables were about 20 feet from where Chase Utley’s two-run homer landed in Game # 1 of the World Series.  “Kind of got us started,” beamed Charlie. 

When Charlie spoke, he mentioned it was much quieter than the last time he was in the domed stadium.  “I’m glad you left your cowbells at home,” he laughed.

Camp Notes
First Clearwater game is tomorrow, 1:05 against the Blue Jays . . . Don’t forget, you can listen to spring training games on the internet (keep the volume low so your boss doesn’t get upset) . . . Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard will throw out the first ball . . . Philly radio station WIP will be on the air live from Bright House Field the next three days: 5:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. tomorrow and Friday and 8:00 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Saturday.  Angelo Cataldi, Rhea Hughes and Joe Waechter are here.

Blog Ranking
Todd Zolecki’s blog, The Zo Zone, moved into second place among MLBlogs for the period of Feb. 17-23.  Great to see that fans have welcomed Todd with such enthusiasm.

Todd first posted today at 10:29 a.m. from the Press Box in Bradenton.  More will come from him later.

Special Ceremony
Infielder John Kennedy, the first African-American to wear a Phillies uniform (1957), died in 1998.  His remains lay in an unmarked grave in historic Evergreen Cemetery in Jacksonville.

Florida State Senator Tony Hill (Jacksonville) and Dr. Wes Singletary, a historian, led a drive to have a marker placed at the grave site.  Scott Harward of Ocala Marble and Granite constructed and donated the marker which was dedicated yesterday morning.  Tazena Kennedy, Kennedy’s daughter, joined the commemoration.

Jacksonville is Brett Myers’ hometown. His dad, Phil, represented the Phillies at the event.  Phil presented Tazena with a Phillies jersey (Kennedy, 8) on behalf of Brett.

1 Comment

Thanks for telling us about John Kennedy and the Phillies:) A nice story in light of the Phillies’ awful history as one of the last (the last?) to desegregate in baseball.

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