Michael Jack in camp
A familiar face roamed the Carpenter Complex fields today on another picture perfect day in Clearwater. Phillies Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt checked into camp, as always looking tanned and relaxed. Michael Jack is a special guest instructor. He will be here until March 5th giving him a chance to not only watch our lineup in the batting cage, but just like everybody else, check out our starting rotation.
All of the players were at Bright House Field early this morning because it was photo day, another ritual of spring training. But not everyone smiled for the camera. Joe Blanton said he likes his baseball card to look serious. Smiling and posing, however, was no problem for Ryan Howard. Tongue firmly in cheek, the Big Piece talked with phillies.com about his fondness for the camera. This year Ryan said he was going for a look he called “Professionally Sexy”. A combination of soft and super sensitive for the fans. You can watch Ryan strike a pose tonight on this site.
Big crowds continue to be the rule of the day. Most of the “snowbirds” from up north were talking about their beloved Phillies and also the most recent snowfall they missed back in the Delaware Valley. Their attention was on Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, and Joe, who threw their scheduled batting practice sessions. Lee looked great, by the way, throwing all of his pitches.
When the pitchers weren’t on the mound they were taking part in another ritual of spring training, sliding practice. To make this as safe as possible they slid in their socks, and over a padded surface. Still, pitching coach Rich Dubee admits that he held his breath until everyone was finished. By the way, Closer Brad Lidge sat this one out, serving as a judge.
The MLB Network called asking if phillies.com would be sending up highlights of Thursday’s game against Florida State University on the satellite. They are interested because it’s the first organized spring training game by any Major League team. And, the answer is yes we will have it, and you can see it Thursday evening on this site.
Let the games begin!
A couple of years ago, the Phillies played FSU whose catcher was a kid named Buster Posey, now a member of the World Champion Giants . . . Videos that will appear this evening on phillies.com include Photo Day and interviews with Charlie and David Herndon . . . Doesn’t look as if there will be intra-squad games this year with FSU on Thursday, a shortened workout day on Friday (players’ annual golf outing) and the start of the Grapefruit League on Saturday.
(Scott Palmer contributed to today’s blog).