Archive for the ‘ Dailies ’ Category

"Outta Here!"

Playing much of the game in a light rain, the Phillies closed the door on the 65th year of spring training in Clearwater this afternoon.  Let the record show the official ending came at 3:41 p.m. and 69 degrees.

As Harry Kalas would have said, spring training is “outta here!”

Dallas Green, a real veteran of spring trainings in this city, said the weather was the best he’s even experienced.  Suppose the rain today can be attributed to the Clearwater baseball gods’ tears.

Team was scheduled to leave on a Delta charter this evening for Philadelphia.  Three buses left Bright House Field at 4:40 p.m. during a big league thunderstorm.

Next is the On-Deck Series at Citizens Bank Park against the Pirates, 7:05 p.m. on Tuesday and 4:05 p.m. on Wednesday. 

Season opens at 1 p.m. Friday against Houston. The Astros played in Clearwater today, travel to Oklahoma City on Tuesday for a night game against their AAA club, fly to Houston for a Wednesday game against the Red Sox and then fly to Philly on Thursday following a workout at Minute Maid Park.

Phillies set a new Bright House Field attendance record: 157,201 for 16 games.  Total is second-best to the Yankees in Florida . . . 20 wins for the Phillies is another spring training record (19-11 in 2006 is the old record) . . . Doc finished the Grapefruit League season with a 0.42 ERA, a number that seems as it is from outer space . . . LHP Juan Perez, C Dane Sardinha, RHP Michael Stutes will go north with the Phillies as extra players . . . Deadline for the 25-man opening day roster is 11 a.m. on Thursday . . . INF Brian Bocock (wrist), OF Domonic Brown (wrist) and RHP Brian Schlitter (elbow) will remain on rehab in Clearwater . . . Before today’s game, the Phillies announced three annual spring training award winners: Bill Giles Award (SS Troy Hanzawa), Larry Rojas Award (C Francisco Diaz) and John Vukovich Award (Greg Legg) . . . Pat Gillick, who will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in July, will be in Toronto to throw out the first ball for the Blue Jays season opener on Friday.  Phillies will honor Pat after his Cooperstown induction.

Gas Can Award

Thursday afternoon produced another sell out but the string of five consecutive record crowds was broken.  Braves on Friday should be another sell out.  That game will be televised by ESPN.

Offense looked more like slumber than lumber in loss to the Twins on Thursday..  But, it is still spring training.  Five more games to go before the On-Deck Series next Tuesday and Wednesday against the Pirates at Citizens Bank Park.

Thursday was a busy media day.  Mary Carillo from HBO Real Sports was set up on the half-field for interviews before, during and after the game.  Dallas Green was interviewed about his granddaughter’s tragic passing by an ESPN crew for Sportscenter.  Marshall Harris and a crew from Comcast SportsNet arrived in Clearwater early in the morning and went right to work.  The MLB Baseball Network is in camp today and Friday and Sirius XM Radio was at Bright House Field.

Gas Can Award
Has to go to Assistant GM Scott Proefrock.  He was driving some Phillies executives, including David Montgomery, to Wednesday’s game in Port Charlotte.  Driving in the left lane of I-75, he ran out of gas.

AAA finally arrived and bailed them out.  When they finally arrived in Port Charlotte, the game was half over.

On top of that, he asked his passengers for toll money as he didn’t have an E-Z Pass.

Thursday morning, he presented Montgomery with a gas can for future trips.

Needless to say, Scott spent the day getting ribbed. 



Carpenter Complex Scene

Not a cloud in the blue sky.  Breeze from the south, temperature at 78 degrees. 

Not a seat was filled at Bright House Field for a very good reason…..the Phillies were in Port Charlotte to face the Rays.

Next door at Carpenter Complex, two minor league games were played on the Roberts and Schmidt fields.  Yankees and Phillies minor leaguers, AAA and AA squads.  Bleachers between the two fields were pretty much filled. Fans were also standing along the Roberts field first base side. 

Overhead, Dallas Green, Benny Looper and Chuck LaMar were observing.  When Michael Stutes walked to the Roberts field mound, Dallas moved to behind home plate from the Schmidt field, the perch above the field.  Stutes faced six hitters and struck out five in two innings.  As he exited, fans cheered and Dallas went back to the Schmidt field perch.

Yesterday, I mentioned there were six more Florida games.  Well, that was wrong.  Forgot that on Saturday, the Phillies will have a split squad day, Toronto at home and in Sarasota for the Orioles. 

Twins on Thursday and Braves on Friday will also be Clearwater games.  Friday’s game against a Braves split squad will be televised on ESPN.

Two interesting press releases were sent out today.

One was from the Phillies, announcing the new food options at Citizens Bank Park.  Yep, you can now by a Tastykake at a Phillies game.  Can’t beat that.

The other came from MLB, a report on the top individual player jersey sales of 2010, a top 20 list.  The Phillies have the most players among that group, four (Halladay #3, Utley # 4, Lee #5 and Howard #18). 

The report also listed the top 10 teams in the sale of officially licensed MLB merchandise.  The Phillies were fourth, behind the Yankees, Red Sox and Dodgers.

Phillies fans certainly are passionate about their ballclub.

Down To Six

Then there were six . . . . six more Florida Grapefruit League games.

Phillies travel to Port Charlotte on Wednesday to face the Rays.  Bus leaves at 8:45 a.m. and traveling squad will dress and shower there.  Rest of players in the big league camp will work out at Bright House and then have the rest of the day off.

Phillies are back in Clearwater on Thursday for the Twins.  Next two games will be broadcast on 

On Wednesday afternoon at Carpenter Field, the Phillies AAA and AA squads will play their counterparts from the Yankees. Games begin at 1 p.m.

ESPN will televise the Friday afternoon game (Braves split squad) from Bright House Field . . . MLB Network’s 30 teams in 30 days feature will be with the Phillies on Thursday and Friday . . . Dom Giordano, 1210 AM The Big Talker, will broadcast live from the Tiki Bar from 9 a.m.-12 noon, both Thursday and Friday . . . Ruben will have his weekly conference call on Wednesday morning with his staff and the Phillies pro scouts that are following other clubs in spring training in Florida and Arizona. Player transactions will increase over the next 8-10 days . . . Another indication that spring training is nearing the end came in an e-mail from Frank Coppenbarger, the team travel and clubhouse equipment guru, “Just a reminder the equipment truck bound for Philadelphia will load and depart on Sunday morning, March 27.”

Alumni Memories
With opening day fast approaching, Phillies Alumni were asked for their fondest memory of opening day in the minor leagues or majors.

Mickey Morandini, (2B,1990-97; 2000)
“Has to be seeing Mike Ryan catch a ball dropped from a helicopter. I know I couldn’t have done that.” 



One More Week To Go

One more week to go.  Yep, the Phillies will fly north a week from today and play the Pirates in the On-Deck Series, March 29 and 30, at Citizens Bank Park. 

So, with one more week to go, we know this:  the starting rotation is set and Ryan will play first and bat fourth.  Oh, J-Roll, Shane, Polly, Raul and Carlos will be in the lineup at their same positions.  Where they will bat is a different story.

The absence of Chase changes a lot of things, primarily the batting order.  Right field, 11 or 12 pitchers, how many back-up infielders and the batting order are questions that need to be answered before the April 1 season opener.

As of today, the Phillies have 38 players in camp, including non-roster invitees (including Luis Castillo).   The breakdown: 16 pitchers, 5 catchers, 11 infielders and 6 outfielders.  Opening day roster limit is 25.

Sunday was yet another record attendance day at Bright House Field.  It marked the fourth straight home game that a new mark was established.  With the Red Sox today, it might well be five in a row . . . Broadcaster Scott Franzke has signed a five-year contract which is great news for fans who enjoy the radio broadcasts . . . Chris Coste will be a pre and post-game commentator 9-10 times a month on Comcast SportsNet.  Tommy John surgery kept him from playing all of 2010 and may have ended his career . . . Lakewood’s 2010 South Atlantic League champions received their rings pre-game on Sunday; Gulf Coast League champion Phillies get theirs today . . . Phillies are on the road Tuesday (Dunedin) and Wednesday (Port Charlotte).  Phillies AAA and AA squads will be at Carpenter Complex each afternoon at 1.

Alumni Memories
Opening day is right around the corner.  Phillies Alumni were asked for their fondest opening day memory, minor leagues or majors.
Del Unser, (OF, 1973-74; 1979-82; CH, 1985-88)
“Playing with the Washington Senators, all the Presidential openers in Washington D.C. in the late 60’s.  Also, getting our 1980 World Series rings in the 1981 home opener.” 

They Said It
“Bob Gibson is the luckiest pitcher I ever saw.  He always pitches when the other team doesn’t score any runs,” Tim McCarver.   



TV for next 3

Big TV weekend coming up for the Phillies.

Saturday, the game will be televised by the Comcast Network (at Orioles), Sunday, Comcast SportsNet (Yankees) and Monday, ESPN (Red Sox). Games can also be seen on MLB.TV and heard on radio on WPHT AM, The Big Talker, and the Phillies radio network will carry the Saturday and Sunday games.

After this weekend, there are eight more spring training games in Florida for the Fightins’  Hard to believe, Harry.

Phillies AAA and AA squads will play the Blue Jays at Carpenter Complex on Saturday, 1 p.m. starts, while the big club is out of town. That evening the staff will hold a meeting to discuss potential in-season rosters of the Phillies minor league clubs . . . Another group of Phillies fans on the Spring Training USA tours will be at the park on Sunday morning . . . After the game, John Brazer and Ricky Bottalico will broadcast live from the Tiki Bar on WBCB in Levittown, PA . . . On Monday, Wheels will be signing his book on at 10:35 a.m. in the main concourse . . . WPHT AM’s Chris Stigall will broadcast his Monday show live from the Tiki Bar, 5:30 p.m.-9 p.m. . . . Phillies Charities, Inc., will be hosting an auction, also on Monday . . . Second group of Phillies sponsors are here for the weekend.

Meet John, Jason and Dan

When the Phillies set up camp at Bright House Field starting in mid-February, the front office from Philadelphia relies heavily on the Clearwater Threshers staff that works here the entire calendar year. The entire Clearwater staff is a huge help in making sure the camp runs smoothly and that fans have a great experience at Bright House Field. 

Let’s meet three particular employees that are vital to the Spring Training experience.
John Timberlake: Yes…he is the uncle of the famous singer and actor, Justin Timberlake. For the Phillies, he is the general Manager of the Clearwater Threshers and the Director of Florida Operations. John oversees the entire Spring Training operation from catering to merchandise. Timberlake is celebrating his 25th year with the Phillies and even served as a guest co-host for a radio show that aired back in Philly this past Sunday.
Jason Adams: Jason is the Assistant General Manager and in charge of ticketing. When he started 12 years ago, we sold 67,000 tickets for the entire Spring Training season at Jack Russell Stadium. This Spring Training, Adams will sell over 145,000 tickets at Bright House Field. Jason also oversees the IT department and print publications, including pocket schedules, programs and brochures.
Dan McDonough: Dan, Assistant GM for Sales, is the most visible of the three since he can be seen on the dugout twice a game with a “random contestant”. Funny how the random contestant is always a good-looking female that he just happened to find in the stands. He also sells the suites and the Hooters Diamond Dugout, handles the postgame entertainment at Frenchy’s Tiki Pavilion and even sings “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” at every home game. Dan arrived in Clearwater from Philly in the fall of 1995.

Team Notes
Today is another road game but it is more like a home game.  Team took BP at Bright House Field and then caught an 11:30 a.m. bus for Dunedin, which is about a 10-minute ride.  They’ll dress and shower in their own clubhouse.

Wednesday is a day off in the big league camp.  Except for Doc who will take his regular turn by pitching in a 1 p.m. minor league game at the Carpenter Complex against a Pittsburgh minor league club.

Phillies’ amateur scouts are in camp though Friday; international scouts will be here from Mar. 20-26.  Most of their time will be spent at the Complex watching the minor leaguers . . . Phillies and Blue Jays will play a “B” game at 10 a.m. on Thursday at the Complex . . . WIP’s Anthony Gargano and Glenn Macnow will be live from the Tiki bar on Thursday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Broadcasting Schedule
Phillies are home for a 1:05 night game (Blue Jays) on Thursday.  Game will be broadcast on by Scott Franzke and Sarge.  Phillies will wear green hats, a St. Patrick’s Day tradition started in the late 1970s by the late Tug McGraw.

Friday’s game (Pirates at Clearwater) will also be on, Franzke and Wheels. Phillies are on TV Saturday (The Comcast Network), Sunday (Comcast SportsNet) and Monday (ESPN).

Alumni Memories
Opening day is fast approaching.  We’ve asked Phillies Alumni for their most memorable opening day moment, minor leagues or majors.

Gary Matthews, (OF, 1981-83)
“Two stand out…1973 and 1986.  In 1973, I was very proud to be in the opening day lineup my rookie year with the San Francisco Giants when we played the Reds at Riverfront Stadium. On the other end of the spectrum, having been in the starting lineup for 13 consecutive years, I was shocked to not see my name in the 1986 opening day lineup with the Cubs. Brian Dayett was penciled in for left field instead of me…in fact, he roomed with me the year before when he was getting a cup of coffee with the team and now he was replacing me in the opening day lineup!”

(John Brazer, Director, Publicity, once again contributed to today’s blog.  Next Phillies Insider will be posted Friday evening).




Breakfast for 800

Thanks to the Phillies and Blue Jays, Kevin Schauer gets no sleep. So, you want to know who is Kevin Schauer?

Well, Schauer is a chef at Lenny’s Restaurant in Clearwater. Besides preparing food for the countless Phillies fans that flock to the popular restaurant located minutes from Bright House Field, he also is the chef for the Blue Jays and Phillies organizations.

Kevin’s day begins at 12:30 a.m. and is at the restaurant by 20 minutes later. Right away, he starts to prepare the pre-game meals for both organizations. He cooks 800 breakfasts, 250 lunches for the Toronto minor leaguers and 70 lunches for the Toronto major league team.

After preparing the meals, he arrives at Bright House Field at 5:15 a.m. From then until 9:30 a.m., players and coaches will wander in and order omelets, eggs over easy, pancakes or grab some of the prepared foods like oatmeal, bagels and yogurt.

Once he is finished there, Kevin heads back to Lenny’s to coordinate the meals he started preparing in the wee hours of the morning and to make sure they reach their destination.

He will also cook for the restaurant patrons. Lenny’s is only open for breakfast and dinner. So, does he get a break at night? Of course not…he has to host dinner for 140 Phillies minor leaguers who eat at Lenny’s every night. On Sunday night, he cooked 220 pounds of chicken wings, 40 pounds of chicken tenders, 40 pounds of french fries, 20 pounds of rice and 6 gallons of ice cream.

Last week, he made 220 quesadillas, 215 one-pound burgers and 650 pieces of chicken for three different meals.

“I try to change the menu as much as possible”, said Schauer. “I also have to be aware of the cultural differences of the ballplayers. The Latino players don’t eat many green vegetables like broccoli and green beans. I have to make sure I include corn, carrots or yuca”.

Schauer has a great chance of being the team chef in Clearwater for many years since the Phillies have made the playoffs every year since he started cooking for them in 2007. And, once the team heads north on March 28th, he finally gets a chance to sleep.

Phillies are in Kissimmee today (8 a.m. bus) and Dunedin tomorrow (11:30 a.m. bus), off on Wednesday and play four of their next five games at Bright House Field starting on Thursday night . . . Team heads north two weeks from today . . . Next two games will be online at with Tom McCarthy and Sarge (today), Tom and Wheels on Tuesday . . . Two minor league games will be played at the Carpenter Complex starting today and nearly every day the rest of the month.  Phillies AAA and AA squads will play the same from the Blue Jays, 1 p.m. starts.  Admission is free. On Tuesday, the two games involved are the Class A squads of the Phillies and Jays . . . Temple basketball was aired on 1210 AM, the Big Talker on Saturday, giving Scott Franzke and Larry Andersen a day off.  This Friday’s broadcast will now be on that station . . . Matt Cord of WMMR FM is in camp the next two days to tape interviews.

Alumni Memories
Opening day is fast approaching.  We’ve asked Phillies Alumni for their most memorable opening day moment, minor leagues or majors.
Greg Luzinski, (OF, 1970-80)
“Hitting a home run in the 1980 home opener against the Expos at the Vet.  Little did we know at the time what was in store for us that October.”

They Said It
“Ninety percent of this game is half mental,” Yogi Berra.

(John Brazer, Director, Publicity, contributed to today’s blog and does dine at Lenny’s).


Flock of Road Games

Road trip to Sarasota today to play the Orioles.  If you are on the travel roster, better be at Bright House Field for the 9 a.m. bus departure.  Players will dress and shower in Sarasota and then bus back to Clearwater, a tentative 6 p.m. arrival.  Those who are not on the travel roster will have part of the day off. 

Saturday is another split-squad day for the Phillies, one group will play the Pirates in Bradenton while the other will be at Bright House Field to take on the Rays.  Game will be televised on Comcast SportsNet and

That morning, starting at 8:45, the Spring Training USA Brunch will take place at Bright House Field.  125 Phillies fans are on the trip, one of three for the month.

Sunday, long ride south to Ft. Myers, this time to face the Twins.  Bus departure is 7:45 a.m.  With daylight savings kicking in at 2 a.m. on Sunday, what are the chances a player or two will miss the bus because they forget to move their clocks ahead?  Another telecast in Philly, this one on WPHL

Both games will be broadcast on 12110 AM, the Big talker, as well as the Phillies radio network and 

Sunday, the Legends Game will be played at Bright House field at 5:30 p.m., an event hosted by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association. A number of Phillies Alumni will be there. 

That evening, John Brazer, Director of Publicity, will broadcast live from Bright House Field on WBCB in Levittown, PA.

Phillies are on the road again Monday (Kissimmee) and Tuesday (Dunedin).  Wednesday is a day off.  But, if you are looking for some free baseball, minor league games begin on Monday at the Carpenter Field Complex.  Two games are on the schedule each day, 1 p.m. starts.

One day, the AAA and AA squads will play (Blue Jays on Monday) and the next day, two Class A squads will be there (Pirates on Tuesday).  Don’t be surprised if some of the big league Phillies make an appearance in these games.

Alumni Memories
Opening day is fast approaching.  We’ve asked Phillies Alumni for their most memorable opening day moment, minor leagues or majors.

Jim Eisenreich, (OF, 1993-96)
“1993, my first with the Phillies.  We opened the season in Houston and I was not in the lineup but since my teammate who was going to start overslept, I was inserted in right field.  I remember making a catch down the right field line–it was actually a foul ball–but heard some fan comments about not being bad for an ‘old guy.’  We won the game which was the most important part of the day.”


Meet Opie

If you’ve had a chance to make it down to Spring Training or to a regular season Threshers game, chances are you have seen Opie Cheek hard at work. Since 1988, Opie has worked on the grounds crew in Clearwater and currently serves as the head groundskeeper.

Cheek’s day usually starts at 7:00 a.m. His first stop is to the coach’s office to meet with Rich Dubee and get the daily itinerary. For game days, Opie and his four other employees start dragging the warning track, cutting the infield grass, chalking the lines and watering the infield in time for BP that starts at 10 a.m.

His crew also has to make sure the half-field and bullpen areas are ready (The half-field is located adjacent to the player parking lot).  Every morning, pitchers use the half-field for fielding drills while the hitters are working on the regular field.

After BP, Opie’s crew has to leaf-rake the warning track to pick up all the gum and sunflower seeds discarded during BP. Once BP ends, the crew gets the field ready for game time. During the game, the infield gets dragged at the top of the 3rd and top of the 6th. After the game, the crew has to make sure all fields are good to go for the next day.

Opie often watches J Roll and the starting pitcher to see whether their actions indicate that the dirt needs hardening or softening. If they are constantly “pawing” the dirt, his crew will spring into action at the appropriate time.

In 2005, the Threshers gave away a “Opie Cheek Bobbinghead Doll”, the first honor ever bestowed on a groundskeeper at any level. When Mike Schmidt tried to tease Opie the next day about the giveaway, Cheek responded, “All my bobbing head dolls are gone but we still have a palette full of yours left over”!

Back to Bright House Field for a game with the Yankees on Thursday.  Game will be televised in Philly (The Comcast Network) and also . . . WIP’s morning show will be broadcasting live from the Tiki Bar Thursday and Friday, 5:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., with Angelo Cataldi, Al Morganti, Rhea Hughes, Joe Conklin and producer Joe Weachter . . . Mike Gill from 97.3 ESPN in Atlantic City will be broadcasting both days from 3 p.m. – 7 p.m., also at the Tiki Bar . . . . . . . Group of Phillies sponsors arrives in camp Thursday for the weekend . . . Orientation will take place at 9 a.m. Thursday for all minor leaguers.  They will gather on the Steve Carlton field for introductions of the entire minor league staff and numerous club executives.  David Montgomery, Ruben and Charlie will speak as will Chuck LaMar . . . According to February rankings, Phillies Insider is 20th among the top 50 blog on, the MLB Pros category.  Thanks goes to you for that ranking . . . Todd Zolecki continues to hold down the top spot among Beat Writers, which is great news.

Alumni Memories
Opening day is fast approaching.  We’ve asked Alumni for their most memorable opening day moment, minor leagues or majors.  From time to time we will post their memories.

Jim Bunning (RHP, 1965-67; 19970-71): “Pitching and winning the first game in Veterans Stadium in 1971 and beating my old manager, Gene Mauch.”


(John Brazer, Director, Publicity, contributed to today’s blog).