February 2013

Mixed Bag On Day 2

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone. Looking for a unique gift for your sweetheart? Buy Phillies tickets or a red Phillies sweat shirt.

Mixed bag of activity on Day 2. Position players took batting practice at Bright House Field, hitting off of the coaching staff. Throwing BP, Juan Samuel was capless, revealing a little more gray hair.

J-Roll and Chase worked on the half field taking ground balls. Pitchers and catchers repeated Day 1, except for Groups 3-4 of the pitchers. Because of a slight rain, their throwing off the mound was moved indoors to the new training facility on the east end of Carpenter Field.

The 21,000-square foot facility includes a 5,000-square foot weight room, six indoor batting cages and a video room. The batting cages double as areas were pitchers can throw off the mound. The facility which replaced a red barn-type enclosure that housed four cages, is used primarily by minor leaguers. Those that live in the area year-round now have a great facility to work out.

The new facility provides the Phillies organization with the finest spring training set up in Florida, by far.

ElsewhereMLB Productions had a crew in camp doing interviews . . . Ryan did his media mass interview just before noon. Seven TV cameras were part of the media mass . . . Chase is doing a Philadelphia Magazine photo session on Friday. He’s the April cover story . . . According to baseballalmanac.com, 46 days until the April 1 season opener and 227 days until the end of the season . . . Chris Wheeler and Larry Andersen are the first Phillies broadcasters in camp.

Did You Ever Wonder?Why can a base runner can be called out for running in fair territory to reach first base which is in fair territory?

Day 1 Done

Day 1 is done without weather interference.

Pitchers did their normal first-day workout….exercise, long toss, bunting practice, holding runners on base, fielding drills, running, conditioning and weight room work. Groups 1 and 2 threw off the seven mounds located between the Schmidt and Roberts fields at Carpenter Field. Tomorrow, Groups 3 and 4 will do their bullpen sessions.

Catchers were part of the fielding drills, warmed up the pitchers and then took batting practice on Ashburn Field.

Communications Department has scheduled mass media interview sessions for key players in an effort to make it convenient for both the media and the player. It also takes a load of bodies out of the clubhouse. Doc and Chooch were the first two soloists. Ryan and Chase are next.

Ruben continued his weekly conference calls with his pro scouting staff in the afternoon. The Phillies will have multiple scouts following teams in both Florida and Arizona.

Spring Training History
Rich Westcott, who has written numerous books on baseball and the publisher of the Phillies Encyclopedia, authored an interesting story about different spring training sites in Phillies history. In 1883, their first year, spring training was in Philadelphia.

Check it out at http://www.phillies.com/alumni.

Spring Training Memories
Marty Bystrom (RHP, 1980-84).
“It was 1978. I was 18 years old and with the Spartanburg Phillies. 42 was my uniform number and my roommate was Manny Abreu. My fondest memory of the first day was how everyone threw so much harder than I did. I thought to myself, ‘Where did these guys come from?’ It was eye-opening for sure.
“I also felt so proud to put on the Phillies uniform. The thing I liked most was the challenge of facing hitters who were so much more experienced than I had faced in college. The things I liked the least was only getting soup and crackers for lunch and the Circle Jerk. We had to run in a circle in the outfield with glove in hand, full uniform and wearing spikes for 20 minutes. On each lap a coach would hit a ground ball so you had to bend down to field it. It was more of a mental conditioning process than physical.”

Pitchers/Catchers Begin Wednesday

Physicals and individual workouts took most of the day. Tomorrow, pitchers and catchers take to the Mike Schmidt field to officially start spring training, the Phillies 67th in Clearwater. Workout begins at 10 a.m. and is open to the public. Conclusion is around 12:45 p.m., pending the weather. Forecast calls for 50% chance of rain.

Pitchers are divided into four working groups. Daily instructions for each group are posted every morning on a bulletin board in the clubhouse. Once again, the day-by-day camp workout schedule is organized by Rich Dubee.

Full squad begins daily drills on Saturday.

Tomorrow is also the first day individual game tickets for the 2013 season go on sale starting at 8:30 a.m. in person at Citizens Bank Park or via the internet. Modell’s Sporting Goods Home Opener is April 5, 4:05 p.m. It is a historic opener in that it marks the first time the Phillies launch their home schedule against an American League club, the Kansas City Royals.

Tee Time
The entire staff played golf on Tuesday afternoon, an annual event held by Bill Giles. He’s been hosting the golf time and dinner ever since his first spring training with the Phillies in 1970.

The annual team golf outing is set for February 21.

The next day, the Phillies will play an intra-squad game starting at 12 noon at Bright House Field. Gates will open at 10:35 a.m. and there is no admission charge. Fans can sit wherever they wish, except the dugouts or bullpens.

45 Players Already In Camp

Equipment truck has been unloaded, lockers are now filled, an empty equipment room now stores supplies, including bubble gum and sunflower seeds, and players are drifting in.

Well, drifting in isn’t quite accurate. A total of 45 of the 60 players are in camp and worked out at Bright House Field today. Frank Coppenbarger doesn’t ever recall that many players on hand before the start and he’s in his 32nd major league spring training.

Around 9 a.m., Doc was throwing off one of the two mounds next to the half-field at Bright House. Four TV cameras and five still photographers were capturing Doc’s session. Seated behind and observing were pitching coach Rich Dubee and Scott Sheridan, the athletic trainer.

Mike Adams and Cliff Lee followed but the camera lens left the scene. Later on J-Roll was in one of the two indoor batting cages stretching out his throwing arm. “You now a closer,” he was asked. Big smile, “Hardly.”

Pitchers and catchers officially report Tuesday for physical exams. They take to the field for the first time on Wednesday, weather permitting. Daily workouts will be at 10 a.m. and open to the public.

Large meeting today in the second-floor conference room at the Paul Owens training facility includes Ruben and his staff, Charlie, his staff, minor league instructors in camp and the athletic training staff. Every player in camp will be reviewed briefly with Sheridan reporting on physical issues some players face.

The wedding dress? Yep, the equipment truck included a wedding dress this year. It belongs to Melissa Vincent who will marry Greg Casterioto, director, baseball communications, on Saturday evening on Clearwater Beach.

Their honeymoon? Riding the empty equipment truck back to Philadelphia. (just kidding).

Alumni NotesCookie Rojas was inducted into the Latino Baseball Hall of Fame at Casade Campo, DR, on Saturday night. He is the Hall’s representative from Cuba. Cookie is a Spanish broadcaster for Marlins home games.

Rob Ducey will be inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in June. A year ago, another Phillies alumnus, Rheal Cormier, was inducted.

Correction: In the January 29 blog, I mentioned that former 1B Ed Bouchee died at age 69. Thanks to Rich Walters pointing out Ed’s age was 79. My bad.

Birthday wishes this week…..11th, OF Ollie Brown (69) . . . 12th, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. (48) . . . 13th, SS Kevin Stocker (43), LHP Michael Mimbs (44) . . . 14th, INF Larry Milbourne (62) . . . 15th, RHP Barry Jones (48) . . . 16th, C Barry Foote (61).

Special Birthday wishes to INF Ford (Moon) Mullen, the oldest Phillies alumnus, who turned 96 on Saturday. Wished Ford a belated Happy Birthday today. How was your birthday, “Always have a good birthday. Friends and family.”

Condolences: learned that Bonnie Vukovich, widow of John, died on Saturday. Our deepest sympathy is extended to Vince, Nikki, and their families.

Alumni Features
Stories on Charlie Ferugson who won 99 games in four seasons before dying at age 25 and Mitch Williams are posted in http://www.phillies.com/alumni.

You’ll also find a vintage photo of spring training in 1979 at Carpenter Field.

Spring Training Memories
What do you remember about your very first spring training?

Mickey Morandini (2B, 1990-97; 2000)
“I was with the Spartanburg club in 1990 and we trained at Carpenter Field in Clearwater. I don’t remember much more than that I survived that first day. I loved the Florida weather, but didn’t like the alarm clock going off at 6 a.m.”

Twitter Following Truck Journey

Sixty-one lockers are empty in the Phillies clubhouse at Bright House Field. But, not for long.

The truck which left Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday full of supplies for spring training will be pulling into Bright House Field on Friday morning and then the unloading and unpacking begins for Frank Coppenbarger and his clubhouse crew.

Veterans’ lockers are on the north end of the clubhouse. Non-roster and rookies are at the opposite end.

Truck carries baseballs, bats, gum, sunflower seeds and plenty of other baseball needs. This year, the cargo includes a wedding dress. Yes, that’s not a typo. Check out Todd Zolecki’s story on this website for the details.

Phillies twitter is following the truck’s journey. If you are not following the Phillies on twitter, better get there. Lots of info and photos will be posted during camp.

Starting on Monday, there will be plenty of coverage of spring training. Zolecki will do his usual great job with news and features and writing his Zo Zone blog.

Scott Palmer will be posting video features. Phillies are the best in providing video. This blog resumes Monday-Friday postings. Will include some spring training memories of past and current players. Photographer Miles Kennedy will be posting a lot of digital images.

Phillies.com is your home for spring training.

Jersey Josh posted a question on Tuesday’s blog… when will the radio and TV schedule for spring training be available?

ComcastSportsNet announced its TV schedule yesterday. You can read all about it on this website. CSN’s Daily News Live will be live from Bright House Field next Monday through Friday.

WPHL’s TV schedule and the radio broadcast schedule should be coming along soon. All broadcast dates will be added to the spring training schedule on this website.

Alumni Notes
Kevin Millwood, who threw the last no-hitter at Veterans Stadium 10 years ago this April, has retired from the game, according to story in the Shelby (NC) Star.

Mandy Housenick in the Allentown Call reports that Brian Schneider is among nine former/current players traveling this week to a U. S. military base in Germany for “Spring Training with the Troops.”

John Kruk is leading a fund-raising campaign to build at softball field at Seacrest school in Naples, FL. The “Baseball & Barbecue” event will take place on Saturday at the Marco Island Marriott. Mike Schmidt and Buck Showalter are joining Kruk. You can register at seacrest.org. A limited number of tickets are available.

Paul Hagen of MLB.com has an interesting “Where Are You Now” feature about Mitch Williams on http://www.phillies.com/alumni. Definitely worth reading.

Two more Alumni have passed away. Edith Hougton, a female scout that worked for the Phillies after WW II, died on Saturday, eight days shy of her 101st birthday. First baseman Ed Glynn who made his debut in the majors with the Phillies in 1949, died this week at age 87. Our deepest sympathy is extended to both families.

Skinny Phanatic
A week ago, this blog’s question of the week: What would Phillie Phanatic look like if she/he/it was skinny?

Alicia Barnhart responded: “probably like a cucumber.”

Did You Ever Wonder
Why the last 7 seconds of a basketball game take 9 minutes?

Clearwater Time

What you can expect in spring training……

**Someday next week, Halladay will officially throw from the mound for the first time at Carpenter Field. Expect dozens of eyes to be glued on him: front office staff, field personnel, writers, athletic trainers, doctors, dentists (kidding) and lens from TV cameras, igital cameras and iPhones.

**Ospreys have been known to roost in the Carpenter Field light towers and they’ll be eyeing Doc from high above. But, who will know?

**Chase will play his first spring training game since 2010.

**Media will quote those famous unnamed scouts scrutinizing Halladay’s outings.

**Name players will be missing from their team’s lineups because of the World Baseball Classic.

**Bright House Field will again be the place to be.

**Media will provide daily updates on Jeter’s recovery from surgery.

**Spectacular sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico. Best place to view them, the deck of the Palm Pavilion on Clearwater Beach.

**This just in….if you want to see the sun rise….go to Miami.

**This just in….there is road construction on Route 19.

**Yankees will still be top draw at Bright House Field.

**Battle for second catching spot with Chooch starting the season on the suspended list.

**National media focus will switch from Clearwater to Dunedin and the new-look Blue Jays.

**Road construction on Route 19…oops, already said that.

**With the starting rotation set, focus will shift to bullpen berth battles.

**Another battle….back-up infielders.

**Lenny’s will serve the best breakfast in town.

**Ryan Howard will limp after fouling a ball off his foot setting off the panic alarm.

**Schmidt will come to camp and media will pester him about the Hall of Fame voting.

**J-Roll will proclaim the Phillies are the team to beat.

**Those baseball experts will disagree.

**Grouper burgers will be more popular on the beach than hamburgers.

**Charlie will get tired of answering the question if this is his last year.

**Winter blahs will officially end when Scott Franzke starts the first broadcast, “Welcome to beautiful Bright House Field.”