Spring Is Coming
The equipment truck that left Citizens Bank Park on Friday morning for Bright House Field arrived Sunday morning in bright, sunny Clearwater.
Led by Frank Coppenbarger (Director, Team Travel & Clubhouse Services), Phil Sheridan (Manager, Home Clubhouse), Danny O’Rourke (Manager, Equipment & Umpire Services), Kevin Steinhour (Manager, Visiting Clubhouse) and 25 other pair of hands, the job of unloading the truck began at 8. Within an hour, everything was off the truck and in the Phillies clubhouse or equipment storage room. According to Frank, that was a record time. “Of course, we had 30 people working,” he mused.
By 1 p.m., the empty lockers were filled with uniforms, shoes, gloves, undergarments, jackets, caps, socks. Name plates are in position above each locker.
The empty equipment storage room is now packed. Among the stacks you’ll find:
2,400 baseballs. Soon they come out a dozen at a time. What do baseballs face? being beat up by bats, grass stains, dirt stains, endless rubbing by pitchers, landing in the hands of lucky fans in the seats and bad calls by umpires. Beyond right field is a pond, where creatures called alligators have been known to live. Do alligators get indigestion from dining on baseballs? If Howard really gets a hold of one and wind is blowing toward right, a ball could land on Route 19, setting off who knows what. Some baseballs will be autographed by players and become a keepsake. It’s all part of the life of a baseball.
The 1,200 bats are stored here. Regulars have a larger stock than the non-regulars.Some bats will produce hits and runs. Some, outs. Some will completely miss hitting a ball. And, some will break.
Need a cap? What size? You’ll notice “BP” on boxes. They are the ones the players will wear for workouts and spring games. Caps can get dirty and sweaty. Pitchers often will adjust them while on the mound, off and on, off and on. Don’t caps fit right? Are pitchers a creature of routines? Afraid to throw the ball? Adjusting the cap to calm their anger after the umpire missed a pitch? All of the above?
According the calendar, winter is still. Baseball is about to begin, a comforting sign that spring is coming.