Phase 2

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Hard to believe but season #12 at Bright House Field begins this afternoon with a game against the Yankees, as it did in the 2004 inaugural opener. Year #69 for the Phillies in Clearwater.  It begins Phase 2 of my spring training experiences, playing games.  Phase 1 was starting spring training; 3, let’s get the real season started.

Opening day ceremonies will take place as normal and then it’s PLAY BALL.  No Derek Jeter for the Yankees and no Jimmy Rollins for the Phillies.  A new era of shortstops begins for both team.

Rollins’ #11 is being put on ice by the Phillies.  It’ll be a long time until someone wears that number again.   Jeter’s #2 will be retired someday by the Yankees.  He’s a lock for being enshrined in Baseball’s Hall of Fame.  Rollins could get there, depending upon the final years of his career.  Phillies policy is that a player has to be a Hall of Famer before a uniform number is retired.

Phil-Ins
Same two teams meet tomorrow in Tampa where the Yankees train.  Phillies buses leave at 9:15 a.m. The travel roster will be posted today on a large bulletin board in the middle of the clubhouse. If your name is circled, you are on the busses.  Otherwise, report to Bright House Field by 8:30 for a short workout.

MLB Network and MLB.com will carry tomorrow’s game.

Next Clearwater game for the Phillies is Friday, the Yankees again.

Just Wondering
Which player will have more stories written…..A-Rod and his return or Cole and his rumors?

Alumni Birthdays
Today: RHP Bobby Munoz (47) . . . Wednesday: OF Lee Tinsley (46), 1B Brian Hunter (46), CH Sam Perlozzo (64) . . . Thursday: RHP Ryan Franklin (42), OF Brian L. Hunter (44), RHP Steve Ontiveros (54), RHP Doug Bird (65), RHP Kent Tekulve (68), OF Jacke Davis (79), INF Al Monchak (98) . . . Friday: RHP Terry Adams (42), INF Cookie Rojas (76) . . . Saturday: OF Keith Miller (52), CH Galen Cisco (79) . . . Sunday: 3B Dick Allen (73) . . . Monday: C Benito Santiago (50), LHP Terry Mulholland (52).

Phun Fact
The Phillies were the first of the current major-league teams to train in Florida when they spent two weeks in Jacksonville in 1889.

Spring Training Memories
Andy Ashby (RHP, 1991-1992; 2000)
“I signed in 1986 so my first spring training was the following year. Remember walking in the first day and seeing all the lockers.  Everything was so well organized.  I was scared to death at the beginning that I would be on the wrong field.  Things started to calm down, formed new friendships and began to learn the Phillies way.  We stayed at the Days Inn near the complex.  Bob Evans restaurant was next to the motel.  My first number was 72.  It was a mesh jersey and I still have it someplace.  Always liked spring training.  As you progressed you saw some of your friends reach the majors and you remember how he worked his butt off. It gave me incentive. Once in the major league camp and being a pitcher, it seemed to be a bit easier.  There were days when you were finished at 10 a.m.  It wasn’t like that in the minor leagues. What didn’t I like? (laughing) “Coming in from 90 degree heat and having hot soup for lunch.”

Book Signings
**March 7, Dallas Green, The Mouth That Roared; 11:45 a.m. to 12.45 p.m.
**March 13, I’ll be signing my book, If These Walls Could Talk; 11:45 a.m. to 121>45 p.m.
**March 21, Dallas Green, The Mouth That Roared; 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Bright House Field, Main Concourse, Section 120.

 

 

Scouts Galore

2006_Rowand Getty-Miles (57622727)

The most famous catch in the history of Citizens Bank Park happened when center fielder Aaron Rowand crashed into the fence and busted nose.  The date was May 11, 2006, against the Mets.  He underwent seven hours of surgery and was back in the starting lineup 16 days later.  Aaron’s in Clearwater through Sunday as a guest instructor, a first for him.

Eyes
As everybody knows, the Phillies are in the process of changing the face of the club, seeking to get younger and more athletic.   Rollins, Byrd and Bastardo are gone.  More may follow.

Scouts from other clubs will be eyeing the Phillies every day during the Grapefruit Leaguegames. There will be very few empty seats where the scouts sit behind home plate.

The Phillies, too, will have scouts throughout Florida and Arizona, scheduled by Mike Ondo, Director, Pro Scouting.  Combing Florida are Sonny Bowers, Howie Freiling, Dave Hollins, Jon Mercurio, Ed Wade and Roy Tanner.  Charley Kerfeld, Special Assistant to the GM, hangs his hat in Clearwater but will be spending a lot time in other Florida ballparks.

Scouts in Arizona include Craig Colbert, Steve Jongewaard, Jesse Levis, Del Usner, Dan Wright and Gordon Lakey.  Every Wednesday morning, Ruben hosts a conference call with all of the pro scouts, getting updates from other camps.

Two senior advisers, Dallas Green and Charlie Manuel, will spend their time with the Phillies during spring training.  Dallas sees many games but will also watch the Phillies minor leaguers when they begin camp. Charlie will work with hitters in Clearwater when the Phillies are on the road while also checking young hitters at Carpenter Complex.

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Among the visiting scouts is Brandon Duckworth, former Phillies pitcher who’s in his second year working for the Yankees. Duckworth is the young dude in the picture above.

Phil-Ins
Yankees at Bright House Field tomorrow afternoon kicks off the Grapefruit League season.  Game is on Comcast SportsNet, Phillies radio, MLB Network (tape delayed) and MLB.com. Gates open at 10:30 a.m. for the 1 p.m. game.

Bat boy will be Chris Lang, 11-year-old grandson of the late Phillies manager, Danny Ozark.  One of Chris’s Christmas wishes was to see “Poppie’s team” play. His family is driving over from Vero Beach.

ESPN TV will have a crew in Clearwater tomorrow to tape interviews.

New Alumni Notes have been posted on http://www.phillies.com/alumni. Look for Pat Burrell’s photo. Also, check out  a vintage “A Peek of the Past” photo, members of the 1915 Phillies fishing in St. Petersburg.

Phun Fact
100 years ago the Phillies trained in St. Petersburg’s Coffee Pot Park. If you haven’t seen the story about spring training back then, go to http://www.phillies.com/alumni.  Phillies went on to win their first ever National League pennant.

Spring Training Memories
Marlon Anderson (2B, 1998-2002)
“1996 at Carpenter Field.  Stayed at the Econ-O-Lodge or Holiday Inn, right down the street. My roommate was Torrey Pettiford, a teammate the year before at Batavia. Walking in the clubhouse the first time made me a little nervous.  First few days was uneasy, making sure I was at the right place at the right time according to the daily schedule.  Always liked spring training because of the relaxed atmosphere.  There was no pressure.  It was a matter of getting your body and mind in shape for the season.  What didn’t I like?  The early mornings every day.  Getting up at 7 a.m., totally a different lifestyle than the season.”

Book Signings
**March 7, Dallas Green, The Mouth That Roared; 11:45 a.m. to 12.45 p.m.
**March 13, I’ll be signing my book, If These Walls Could Talk; 11:45 a.m. to 121>45 p.m.
**March 21, Dallas Green, The Mouth That Roared; 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Bright House Field, Main Concourse, Section 120.

 

 

Burrell & 100 Years Ago

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Pat Burrell was a slugger.  All sluggers blast home runs, drive in runs, strike out and go in slumps.  Pat was no different.  But, the fans never really got on him.  Del Ennis was booed badly in the 1950s, Mike Schmidt in the 1970s and now Ryan Howard is hearing it.

As was announced yesterday, Pat is going into the Wall of Fame on July 31.  Some people don’t think he belongs.  Others do.  It seems to be that way ever year.

Charlie Manuel, as the 2014 inductee, gets to induct Pat come July.  That’s neat.  We’ll figure out a way to surprise Pat as far as unveiling his plaque. Pat will also be the guest of honor at the Alumni Luncheon for Seniors, Thursday noon, July 30.  Ticket information will be announced later.  He’ll also be on hand for Alumni Night on August 1 and Sunday, the final day of Alumni weekend.

100 Years Ago

Bob Warrington, a Philadelphia native who is a baseball history buff, has authored an interesting story about the Phillies’ spring training in 1915.  Check it out at http://www.phillies.com/alumni.

That 1915 team went on to win the first pennant in Phillies history.  More stories about that team and that season will be posted on http://www.phillies.com/alumni the next eight months.

We certainly know of the Whiz Kids, the 1980 World Champions, 1983 and 1993 pennant winners and have lived through the golden era of 2007-2011.  But, we don’t know much about the National League pennant winners of 100 years ago..  That’s the purpose of these online stories coming up.

Sunday
An exhibition game involving the Phillies and the University of Tampa at Bright House Field is scheduled for Sunday, 1:05 p.m. It is a big event for UT.  The president and notable Alumni will throw out the first ball, the band, cheerleaders, dance team and mascot will all be there. Gates open at 10:35 a.m., the same for all Clearwater games.

Also on tap Sunday, Baseball Chapel will take place early in the morning.  BC holds services at every major league and minor league team throughout the season.

Phillies broadcasters will have their annual production meeting with Ruben and Ryne after the game. It’s a chance for the broadcasters to catch up on the camp and players. Tom McCarthy, Matt Stairs, Ben Davis and Greg Murphy will be on TV for the first time Tuesday afternoon (Yankees at Clearwater).  Scott Franzke and Larry Andersen will have their first radio broadcast that day.

Phun Fact
It took four years to build Veterans Stadium and 62 seconds to implode it.

Book Signings
**March 7, Dallas Green, The Mouth That Roared; 11:45 a.m. to 12.45 p.m.
**March 13, I’ll be signing my book, If These Walls Could Talk; 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.
**March 21, Dallas Green, The Mouth That Roared; 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Bright House Field, Main Concourse, third base side.

What Is A Half Field?

half field

 

What you see is a half field, which probably raises a question, “What’s a half field?” Glad you asked.

Well, there’s no outfield which is why it is called a half field….I guess.  It is a place where infielders can work on defense (fielding grounders, throwing, turning double plays), pitchers can do their PFP drills (pitchers fielding practice, pick offs) and catchers can work on refining their skills in blocking balls in the dirt, always a fun drill.  It also a place that children of players will use sometimes while waiting for dad after games.

Where is this place?  Glad you asked.  It is located on the west side of Bright House Field, opposite the entrance to the Phillies offices and clubhouse.

Today
Day 3 is pretty much like the first two days.  This pattern will continue the next two days.  Sunday, the Phillies play the University of Tampa at 1:05 p.m. at Bright House.

Phil-Ins
Major League Baseball schedules photo days in each camp. For the Phillies that day is tomorrow. Wire services, licensees and networks will set up stations in the Bright House Field in-door batting cages as well as locations outside. Players will parade through starting as early as 6:30 a.m.  Ever try smiling for a photographer at that hour?

Players and their wives will began posing for a new Phillies Cookbook tomorrow and continue on Saturday.  Community Outreach is in charge of the product which will go on sale at Citizens Bank Park during the season.

The annual Clearwater Chamber of Commerce reception will be held at 5 p.m. tomorrow in the party suites at Bright House Field.  Club executives and a handful of players will attend.

Saturday morning features Major League Baseball oral cancer screening for all players. That night, Chase Utley will be honored at the annual Clearwater For Youth banquet.

Aaron Rowand arrives in camp on Sunday and will be a guest instructor until March 8.

Monday morning begins with domestic violence training for players, coaches and staff, something that MLB is scheduling for each camp.  Workout that day will be shortened for the annual team golf outing in the afternoon.

ICYMI
A new video board and side LED “ribbon” display will be ready for Sunday’s game with the U. of Tampa.  The board is larger, brighter and will offer more video features.

Check out the video on this site for complete details including the debut of some Citizens Bank Park food favorites in spring training.  Two of Bull’s BBQ’s sandwiches are among the new items.

Phun Fact
Greg Luzinski hit the most upper deck home runs in Veterans Stadium history, eight.  His first big league home run landed in the upper deck in left field.  He also is the only player to hit a home run off the Philadelphia Phil and Phyllis/Liberty Bell home run display in dead center field.

Book Signings
**March 7, Dallas Green, The Mouth That Roared; 11:45 a.m. to 12.45 p.m.

**March 13, I’ll be signing my book, If These Walls Could Talk; 11:45 a.m. to 121>45 p.m.

**March 21, Dallas Green, The Mouth That Roared; 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Bright House Field, Main Concourse, third base side.

Just Wondering
During photo day tomorrow how many times will photographers say “cheese”? Which raises the question, what do photographers say when they are taking pictures of cheese?

Day 2

feb 24 cc sign

Day 2 today follows Day 1 (yep, really). All four fields at Carpenter Complex will be used again.  Sign is mounted on a fence as the players leave their Bright House Field Clubhouse for workouts at Carpenter.

feb 24 fans

Fans lined the bleachers at Carpenter Complex to watch first day of workouts on Schmidt Field.

Elderly to youth.  Yep, Larry Andersen (left) is passing on some pitching knowledge to David Buchanan.

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Drying time for jerseys following Day 1.

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Off The Fields
Today, video tapings will take place pre- and post-workout in the multi-media room.  Video will be used on Phillies telecasts and PhanaVision . . . “What’s New at Bright House Field” will be revealed for the media in the left field concourse at 1:30.

Tomorrow, is signing day in the multi-media room.  Over 8,000 items (balls, caps, bats) will be signed by the players for the team’s Community Outreach department.  That begins at 8 and continues after the workout . . . Players will also undergo eye exams starting at 8 . . . And, players are also measured for new uniforms by Majestic.  Each player gets two home and two road uniforms.

Phun Fact
Dan Plesac recorded the last out in the history of Veterans Stadium, fanning Atlanta CF Ryan Langerhans in the top of the ninth inning, September 28, 2003. He’s also on record as allowing the fifth and final hit in the career of Larry Andersen, an eighth-inning single to right field, April 18, 1993, at Wrigley Field.

Plesac is in camp as a guest instructor through Friday.  So is LA.  Perhaps we can recreate LA’s historic at-bat off Plesac.  This time it would be in slow motion.

Day 1

Introductions and speeches are out of the so it’s to the fields for everyone in Day 1 of spring training.  Officially.  A week from today and the games begin.  Six weeks from today and it’s baseball for real.

five catchers

Catchers have their work cut out for them.  Daily they are needed to warm up pitchers.  Then, there’s catching batting practice.  Eventually, Grapefruit League games.  Plus dragging around a large equipment bag filled with their gear.  If you can catch and throw, your chances at a lengthy big league career are enhanced. But, you have to be willing to work.

Alumni Birthdays
Wednesday : 1B-OF Danny Cater (75) . . . Thursday: RHP Scott Service (48) . . . Friday: RHP Cliff Politte (48), OF Matt Stairs (47), C-!B John Wockenfuss (66) . . . Sunday: LHP Omar Daal (43) . . . Tuesday: OF Ron Gant (50), SS Chico Fernandez (83).

This Date
February 25, 1972: Phillies GM John Quinn pulled off his last trade, sending Rick Wise to the Cardinals for Steve Carlton.

Pace of Game
MLB has made some changes to speed up the pace of game.  The pace helps dictate the length of games.

Here’s a drastic idea: remove time of game from box scores. Baseball isn’t played by a clock so why should it be clocked.  Length of games isn’t an issue in the NBA, NFL, NHL or Senior Citizens bingo.

Phun Fact
Dallas Green is in his 60th year in pro ball.  He recounted his first spring training ever, 1956:

“Bob Conley, Don Cardwell, Chris Short and I were invited to a mini-camp before the big league camp opened in Clearwater. Short and I rode the train from Wilmington, Delaware. We stayed at the West Coast Hotel, three to a room. We weren’t allowed to have cars so we walked everywhere. We were kept around to throw BP TO Hamner, Jones, Ennis, Ashburn and those guys. We were young, wild, could throw hard and we were trying to impress everyone. The vets hated us, didn’t want to face us.

“Later, I was sent to Bennettsville, SC, where the Phillies low minor league players trained. I wore No. 177 or 176.”

Shocking
Over the course of the last year, Phillies Insider has had one view each from Norway, Libya, Cambodia, Tajikista, Guadeloupe, Senegal, Slovenia, Colombia, Madagascar, Argentina, Ukraine, Hong Kong, Virgin Islands, Pakistan, Algeria, Guam, Jamaica, Montenegro, Morocco, Estonia.

Big Day Tomorrow

A dozen infielders and outfielders have their physicals today and then tomorrow spring drills begin for 58 players wearing Phillies uniforms.  Six weeks from tomorrow, the season opens: Red Sox vs. Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.  Opening day roster limit is 25.

Four fields (Ashburn, Roberts, Carlton and Schmidt) at Carpenter Complex plus Bright House Field will be in use.

Tomorrow’s schedule:

8:00 a.m., Ryne oversees a meeting of his staff and all the instructors to review the schedule.  This happens every morning.

8:30 a.m., players are due to report but they’ll be there plenty early.

9:15 a.m., team meeting with introduction of non-uniform personnel, general rules and policies.

10:15 a.m., bunt defense on Schmidt field for everyone.

11 a.m., pitchers long toss on Schmidt, position players on Ashburn.

11:20 a.m., team fundamentals, two groups, Schmidt and Ashburn fields again.

11:25 a.m., groups 1 and 2 pitchers begin warming for live batting practice.  Six catchers in camp get to warm up the pitchers, a chore they face daily.

11:45 a.m., live batting practice for four groups of hitters; Ashburn, Schmidt, Carlton and Roberts fields.

12:10 p.m., pitchers conditioning at Bright House Field.

12:20 p.m., staff batting practice on all four fields.  Staff meaning coaches and instructors in camp.  Guest instructors are not required to throw BP!

12:50 p.m., defensive work.  Infielders on Ashburn, outfielders on Roberts and catchers on Carlton.

1:25 p.m., conditioning for position players on Ashburn field.

Additional one-on-one sessions with certain players can continue following conditioning.

Fans are welcome to attend the workouts. Parking is free and there’s no admission charge. Bleachers are available at Carpenter Complex and fans can wonder around to catch what’s going on each field.  Food and souvenirs are available at Carpenter Complex.  The Diamond Outfitters store at Bright House Field is also open.

Elsewhere

You’ll read about Chase Utley’s media session later on phillies.com.  He’s meeting with the media after today’s workout.

Players are drifting into the multi-purpose room near the clubhouse these days to tape video features for Phanavision during the season.  Phillie Phanatic has a photo shoot today.  Not sure the subject but I’m often unsure of Phanatic’s doings.  Life must have been boring before the Phanatic came into being in 1978.

Phun Fact
The year is 2004 and the two Paul Owens Award winners are in the big league camp. You might not recognize them because of their uniform numbers: Cole Hamels (79) and Ryan Howard (65).

Sunday Visitor
Darren Daulton stopped by Bright House Field on Sunday and spent time chatting with Mike Schmidt.  If you haven’t read it, Todd Zolecki’s story on Daulton being cancer free is a must.

schmidt daulton

P-C On field

Carpenter plates

Seven home plates and seven mounds (covered by a tarp) await pitchers and catchers as spring training starts this morning.  These mounds are located between the clubhouse and large indoor batting cages at Carpenter Complex. They’ll be used heavily until April.

Carpenter mounds

A total of 28 pitchers, which includes five non-roster arms and six catchers, of which three are also non-roster, will work out today.  Not all pitchers will throw off these mounds as pitchers will be divided into groups.

Ryne will speak to the group before they take the field around 10 a.m.  His main address will be next Tuesday, the first day of workout for the entire team.

In addition to Ryne’s major league staff, 12 instructors from the minor league camp will be working during the big league camp.

Guest instructors in uniform today include Larry Andersen, Dave Hollins, Mike Schmidt and Charlie Manuel.  Other guest instructors will spend time in Clearwater later. Hollins will be in uniform through March 1, LA, March 3, Schmidt, March 17 while Manuel will be here the entire camp.

More Media Sessions
Jon Papelbon will meet with writers and broadcasters in the Media Room after tomorrow’s workout; Cole, following Saturday’s practice and Chase Utley, Monday.

Complete Coverage
Fans can follow the club right here on phillies.com. Beat writer Todd Zolecki will file daily reports, video interviews will be provided by Scott Palmer, photographer Miles Kennedy will provide images for multiple uses and several employees will feed social media.  This blog will be posted from time to time.

Phun Fact
Larry Bowa played in the last game at Connie Mack Stadium, got the first hit in the first game at Veterans Stadium, managed the Phillies in the last game at the Vet and the first game at Citizens Bank Park.  Last ejection at the Vet and Jack Russell Memorial Stadium? Bowa

Two More Days

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A large meeting room on the second floor of the Paul Owens Training Facility at Carpenter Complex was empty yesterday.  Today it isn’t.  Ruben and Ryne plus all the coaches and instructors, athletic trainers, baseball administration officials and president Pat Gillick have filled the room.  They’re reviewing every player that is in camp, 40-man roster and the non-roster players.  That’ll continue into tomorrow before the annual Bill Giles golf tourney in the afternoon.

Pitchers and catchers are due in camp tomorrow.  They’ll undergo physical examinations and then hit the Carpenter Complex four fields Thursday.  Daily works begin at 10 a.m. and are open to the public free of charge.   Infielders and outfielders get their exams on Monday and begin drills on Tuesday.

Media Sessions
Ryne Sandberg will hold a session with the media tomorrow; Cliff Lee, Thursday.

Elsewhere
ICYMI: Minor league contracts signed over the weekend: RHP Joe Blanton (Royals), RHP B.J. Rosenberg (Dodgers) and C Lou Marson (Reds).

Phillies scouts have now begun looking over amateur players.   This past weekend, four college teams played doubleheaders at Bright House Field, USF, Cal State Fullerton, Alabama St. and Louisville.

In the first-year player draft this June, the Phillies will have the 10th selection in the first round.

Alumni Birthdays
Wednesday: RHP Tyler Green (45), LHP Kyle Abbott (47), RHP Rocky Childress (53) . . .
Thursday: RHP Dave Stewart (58) . . . Saturday: OF Ted Savage (78) . . . Sunday: OF Joe Lefebvre (59), OF Mike Rogodzinski (67) . . . Monday: RHP Jason Boyd (42), OF John Morris (54).

Phun Fact
Larry Bowa played in the last game at Connie Mack Stadium, got the first hit in the first game at Veterans Stadium, managed the Phillies in the last game at the Vet and the first game at Citizens Bank Park.  Last ejection at the Vet and Jack Russell Memorial Stadium? Bowa.

 

Spring Is Coming

ST truck in FLA

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:

balls

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.

bats

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.

caps

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.

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