March 2010

Play Ball!

Judgment day is here.  Granted, the Phillies don’t have many openings on their 25-man roster for opening day.  Chase will be back at second base, trust me.

Bullpen and bench options do exist.  Non-roster veterans who will probably wind up at Lehigh Valley and young prospects in camp,are all trying to make impressions for one reason or the other.  They’ll be judged starting with tonight’s game against Florida State University.

Grapefruit League season begins tomorrow afternoon. columnist, Hal Bodley, reports that 120 days after the World Series ended, the Yankees and Phillies meet on the field again.  Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt will toss the ceremonial first ball, along with Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard and PGA golfer, John Daly.

Two “B” games have been added to the Bright House Field schedule, Friday and next Wednesday.  Both are against the Blue Jays and both begin at 10 a.m.  Gates open at 9:30 a.m. and there is no admission charge.

WIP Radio out of Philadelphia will broadcast live from the Tiki Bar the next two days, 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Alumni Memories
A daily feature will be spring training memories by Phillies Alumni, who were asked three questions:  (1) Memories of their very first spring training; (2) What they liked the most about spring training, and (3) What did they like the least.

Tim McCarver (C, 1970-72; 1975-80)
“Let’s see, had to be 1960 in St. Petersburg in the Cardinals minor league camp. Don’t remember my uniform number other than it was under three digits. Some weren’t. My roomie was Geoff Long, a pitcher who later became a first baseman. I remember in 1963 I was in the big league camp and I was awful. I was pressing. Heck, I missed catching some pitches by six inches. There was stress early in my career not knowing where I would be playing that season. Seemed like you were always trying to impress someone. As an older major leaguer, there was less pressure and you kind of developed a confident work ethic. What didn’t I like? Catching. (Laughter.) It was my job but all the catching in spring training got old. Then, there was the small talk the first couple of days every spring. I remember in 1971, I came to Clearwater and passed out five business cards: ‘I drove down’; ‘My weight is fine’; ‘I’m staying on the beach’; ‘The family is fine’; “I had a nice winter.'” (more laughter)

Next Post: tomorrow.




Ready for Phase 2

Short day as the team golf tournament is scheduled for 1 this afternoon.  A chance for some fun and relaxation before the games begin.  12 teams of six players each are set for the scramble golf outing.  It most likely will be aired on the Comedy Channel as opposed to the Golf Channel.

To me, spring training comes in three phases: (1) can’t wait to get here; (2) let’s play some games, and (3) let’s get out of here.

Phase 2 begins tomorrow night with the Florida State University baseball team playing the Phils. Reporting time for players is 3:45 p.m.; game is at 7:05 p.m.  Tickets are available.

The Grapefruit League season begins on Thursday afternoon, the World Champion Yankees vs. the NL Champion Phillies at Bright House Field.  Gates open at 10:35 for the 1:05 afternoon game.  You can follow the game on Comcast SportsNet, WPHT 1210 AM and

Jared from Subway fame is here today.  He and Ryan Howard will be taping a Subway commercial on the field after the workout. 

MLB Network
30 Clubs in 30 Days is the agenda for the MLB Network.  A crew will be in Clearwater on Friday.  Each camp visit will turn into an hour-long feature on that particular club.

MLB Network, the network’s signature studio show during the regular season, is now on the air every evening at 6 ET.

Historical Blog
Today is the 800th Phillies Insider.  Don’t know where that ranks in Blog History because records aren’t kept and the vast majority of the world doesn’t care. 

If you had trouble sleeping, hope Phillies Insider helped put you to sleep. 

Perhaps 800 blogs are more hysterical than historical. 

Alumni Memories
A daily feature will be spring training memories by Phillies Alumni, who were asked three questions:  (1) Memories of their very first spring training; (2) What they liked the most about spring training, and (3) What did they like the least.

Von Hayes (OF-1B, 1983-91)
“My first spring training was in Tucson, Arizona, with the Cleveland Indians. I wore number 62 and my first roommate was Chris Bando. It was my first year out of college and I went directly to the Major League camp. I was overwhelmed to say the least. The thing I remember most about my first day was how terrifying Cliff Johnson looked. While the rest of the team stretched, Cliff was on his own program smoking cigs and generally letting everyone know how miserable he was to be in Cleveland that year. Regardless of it all, that man could hit!  The best part of spring training is at the beginning when you get a chance to see your teammates again before the games start. It’s a no-stress, fun-time that always produces good memories. The worst part of spring training was always how long it was. I always felt that a week of practice and about 10 games was all I needed to be ready to play. I always thought the pitchers should still report in February and let the rest of the team report somewhere around the middle of March. Let them throw against a wall for a month until we got there. Just kidding, but a week less wouldn’t have hurt!”

Next Post: Tomorrow



Plenty of BP

Fundamentals, batting practice, conditioning, batting practice, fundamentals, conditioning.  Say hello to day 12 of spring training. 

Pitchers threw batting practice at 11:25 p.m.  BP resumed at 12:15 with the coaches throwing to the four hitting groups.

It is the final day for a full workout. Tomorrow, the workout is shorter because of the annual team golf tournament at 1 p.m.  Weather may wipe out both as rain and another cold front is coming.  Wednesday night, Florida State University against the Phillies at Bright House Field.

Grapefruit League kicks off in grand style on Thursday afternoon, Yankees in sold-out Bright House Field.  Sabathia vs. Halladay.  Not bad for starters.  Comcast SportsNet for TV and WPHT 1210 AM for radio, plus

Off the field, Philadelphia Magazine is in day two of three days of photography sessions with some of the players.

Happy 95th
Right-handed pitcher Nick Stincevich, who pitched in six games with the Phillies in 1948, turns 95 today.  He joins OF Alex Pitko as the second oldest Phillie; 1B Art Mahan is 96.

Strincevich’s claim to Phillies fame is that he was the last player to wear #36 before Robin Roberts.  He was released by the Phillies on June 18, the same day Roberts was brought up to the majors from Wilmington.  “I walked in the clubhouse and there was #36 hanging in my locker. We didn’t have names on jerseys then,” recalls Roberts.  “This person walks up to me.  ‘Good luck.  I hope you are a better pitcher then me.’  Turns out it was Nick.”

As a birthday present, we are sending a Phillies #36 jersey to Nick.

Alumni Memories
A daily feature will be spring training memories by Phillies Alumni, who were asked three questions:  (1) Memories of their very first spring training; (2) What they liked the most about spring training, and (3) What did they like the least.

Greg Luzinski (OF, 1970-80)
“My first day was 1969, an invitee to spring training. Wore #19 from day one. I remember being in the back room at Jack Russell Stadium with all the other rookies. I was a first baseman that first year and Deron Johnson, the team’s first baseman, took me under his wings even though I was technically fighting for his job later on. He helped me out a lot from day one. Once January came every year, you got anxious for spring training. We used to get there and spend time getting in shape. That’s different today as the players are in better shape. Clearwater was a great place to bring the kids. We’d stay on the beach near other families. The kids had a better time than we did. Didn’t care for road trips, especially the three-day trips. You could get more work done when you played home games compared to road games. Plus back then, to go south from Clearwater you had to take Route 41. With all the traffic lights, trips took longer than today.”

Blogging Ballgirls
The Phillies ballgirl team is set for 2010.  You can find their blog on this site often throughout the season.  They provide a different insight into the Phillies and their fans.

Next Post: tomorrow.