In my experience, spring training comes in three phases, let’s get started, let’s play games and let’s get out of here. Phase two starts today with the first Grapefruit League game and the Phillies in their red spring training jerseys. While the game won’t be a sellout, there’s nothing more beautiful than a packed Bright House Field.
With games underway in Florida and Arizona, Mike Ondo, Director of Professional Scouting, has his staff covering both states. Florida includes Jon Mercurio,
Howie Freiling, Jesse Levis, Dave Hollins, Ed Wade and Roy Tanner. Covering Arizona are Dan Wright, Craig Colbert, Jeff Harris, Del Unser, Gordon Lakey and Steve Jongewaard.
A year ago at this time, Jonathan Papelbon, Ken Giles, Justin DeFratus and Jake Diekman were in the Phillies bullpen. All have departed.
Plenty of arms competing for a bullpen spot starting today.
Included are four left-handers, Daniel Stumpf, Elvis Araujo, James Russell and Bobby
LaFromboise. Stumpf is a rule 5 draftee, Araujo was great last year but struggled with command in Venezuela this winter, Russell has the most big league experience but he’s attempting to bounce back from a tough 2015 and LaFromboise is a non-roster invitee who’s bounced around on waiver claims.
Third annual Alumni Day is scheduled for Sunday, March 20. More on that later . . . Don’t forget to vote for the 2016 Wall of Fame inductee: http://www.phillies.com/wof . . . Chris Wheeler will have another Clearwater report on Thursday . . . Carlos Ruiz will miss several games in a couple of weeks to play for his native country, Panama, in the World Baseball Classic.
Spring Training Memories
Tommy Greene (RHP, 1990-95)
“The first year was 1986. Location, Days Inn in West Palm Beach, FL. My first day there I remember walking to my room on the second floor, over-looking the balcony rail and seeing about 12 girls. One of them, Wendy Darling, eventually became my wife. She was on spring break sunning by the pool. Baseball definitely blessed my Life!!!
“I remember the cast of characters we had there in 1991, my first camp with the Phillies, the foundation of the 1993 team. Also, meeting and getting to know my new pitching coach Johnny Padres. What a great and funny guy. Also, I remember Roger McDowell throwing a pack of fire crackers in the bathroom early in the morning scaring everyone to death. You had to always know where he was at back then.
“I liked seeing the guys again and also the smell and sounds of the ballpark. I liked working to get ready to compete as a team. I loved the challenge. I disliked the standing around in the wind shagging BP after we had gotten all our work in for the day. The standing and cooling down made you so stiff.”
The very first spring training game in Clearwater was held March 15, 1923. The Brooklyn Robins (Dodgers) defeated the Boston Braves, 12-7, at Clearwater Athletic Field, located near the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and Seminole Street. Original capacity was 3,000 seats in a wooden grandstand.