has turned the final corner toward the finish line. Spring training comes in three phases, in my
experience: (1) Can’t wait to get here; (2) Daily practices become so routine
that you can’t wait to start playing games; (3) The exhibition games eventually
make you anxious: "Bring on the season!"
During the final
days of spring training shaping the opening day roster takes precedent. Players in the big league camp are returned to the minors for the most part. Players in the minor league camp face a different fate. A few days ago 20 Phillies minor leaguers were released. Gone.
Leftover thoughts from the 60th spring season in Clearwater:
Frequent mileage: Rookie outfielders
Shane Victorino and Chris Roberson made all 14 road trips and put in 751 miles
riding buses. "Beats not being on the bus," philosophized Roberson.
Oh no: John Vukovich, Special Assistant to General Manager Pat Gillick, spent his spring scouting the Phillies, Yankees, Devil Rays and Blue Jays. Late in the spring, he hopped in his car and headed for an afternoon game in St. Petersburg to catch the Rays. As he pulled up to an empty Progress Energy Park, he learned the game was a 7:05 night game as originally scheduled. At least
no one ribbed Vuke.
Interesting sign: A hand-printed sign in the press box at
Marchant Stadium in Lakeland: "Everyone Brings Great Joy to This Press Box… Some when they arrive… Some when they leave."
How times have changed: The Phillies’ game
against the Red Sox drew a stadium, Clearwater, and Pinellas County record 9,893 fans on
the final Sunday Florida afternoon. That fell just short of the Phillies’ entire spring training attendance in 1960: 10,269.