Doc 1st on the mound
When Bright House Field security guard Ron Holzwarth opened the gate for Roy Halladay at 4:45 this morning, the start of the 2011 baseball season officially began.
The Phillies are one of 11 teams to open today for pitchers and catchers. Judging by the list of local and national media in attendance, it’s easy to see that the Phillies are the “story” of spring training.
The clubhouse in Clearwater opens every day to the media at 8 a.m. At 8:01, the clubhouse was packed. The local writers milled around the clubhouse catching up with the players they cover on a regular basis including Todd Zolecki (MLB.com), Jim Salisbury (CSNPHILLY.COM), Bob Brookover and Matt Gelb (Inquirer), Paul Hagen, Bill Conlin and David Murphy (Daily News), Ryan Lawrence (Delco Times), Mandy Housenick (The Morning Call), Anthony San Filippo (Trenton Times) and David Hale (Wilmington News Journal).
Local TV personalities lined up their first interviews of the Spring including Beasley Reece (CBS), Michael Barkann (CSN), Jamie Apody (ABC), John Clark (NBC) and Anthony Gargano (Fox). Gargano will also be broadcasting his radio show on WIP live from the Tiki Bar this week. Michael Smerconish from WPHT interviewed Charlie Manuel, Brad Lidge and Frank Coppenbarger (Director of Team Travel and Clubhouse Services). Jack O’Rourke from KYW Radio is marking his 15th year covering the team.
On a national basis, the list is impressive…Jayson Stark and Buster Olney (ESPN.com), Gary Smith and Jon Heyman (Sports Illustrated), Hal Bodley (MLB.com), Scott Miller (CBSSports.com), Seth Livingstone (USA Today), Matt Yallof (MLB Network), Ken Davidoff (Newsday), Ken Rosenthal (FOX), Jeff Passan (Yahoo! Sports), Tyler Kepner (NY Times), Kevin Kernan (NY Post) and Dave Sheinen (Washington Post).
At 10:01 a.m., a pop was heard when a baseball met a newly broken-in glove. Pitching coach Rich Dubee has divided his pitchers into four groups. Groups 1 and 2 threw off seven bullpen mounds at Carpenter Field. Doc was the first of the starters to throw. Since Doc has been working out in Clearwater for most of the winter, it was no surprise that he looked like he hadn’t missed a beat. Cole replaced Doc on the hill and also threw effortlessly.
The most humorous moment came when Gulf Coast League manager Roly deArmas was pressed into action behind the plate. It was Roly’s misfortunate to be the one catching former Tigers pitcher, Eddie Bonine, who features a knuckleball. It brought to mind that Bob Uecker used to say the best way to catch a knuckleball is to wait until it stops rolling and pick it up.
Following the workout, the overflow media contingent turned the Bright House Field lunchroom into a full blown conference as RCRCJ (Roy, Cliff, Roy, Cole, Joe) talked about the high expectations everyone has for this staff. Complete coverage is on phillies.com.
All in all it was a very busy first day here in Clearwater, much more hype than the 10 other camps that opened today. Spring has officially arrived!
(Contributors today were John Brazer (Director, Publicity) and Scott Palmer (Director, Public Affairs) for the Phillies. Palmer’s video interviews are on phillies.com, Monday through Fridays).