Time for Phase II
From my perspective after decades of spring trainings, this time of the year has three phases: can’t wait to get here (I), can’t wait to start playing games (II) and can’t wait to get out of here (III).
Who’ll go north? We start finding out on Saturday, the opening day of the Grapefruit League. Many of the roster spots are set. But, there are some openings. And, there are impressions to be made should the Phillies need help in the season from their minor leaguers.
Two players are out of options, INF Kevin Fransden and OF John Mayberry Jr.
On Sunday, the Phillies head east for Lakeland and a meeting with the defending American League champion Detroit Tigers. On Saturday, a new sheet of paper will be posted on the clubhouse bulletin board. It will be a roster of all the players in camp. If your name is circled, congratulations, you have a seat on the bus.
Phillies are back home Monday (Tigers) and Tuesday (Yankees) afternoons.
Opening Day Notes
Para Commandos will parachute into Bright House Field about 15 minutes before the 1 o’clock game time . . . City dignitaries and Phillies top level executives will be introduced on the field; Scott Palmer will be the MC . . . Fans will receive a Coors Light Cooler Bag . . . Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos and former Phillies coach and manager, Lee Elia, will throw out the first balls . . . Topping off opening day will be Phillie Phanatic’s first appearance of 2013. Hey, the Phanatic needs spring training, too.
Spring Training Memories
Lee Elia (CH, 1980-81; 1985-87; MGR (1987-88)“First spring training was with the Phillies minor league camp in 1959 in Kissimmee, Florida. I don’t remember my uniform number but it was up there in the 60s or 70s. I couldn’t believe there were that many players in the camp, which really was for the Class A players only. We lived in a hotel, six to a room. If a roommate got released, someone else moved in.
“Growing up in Philadelphia and going to Florida every year was special. During the early years, we went south on the train. No more snow or cold weather, just sunshine, warm weather, palm trees, the smell of grass being cut, the sight of a baseball field. It meant the start of another season was at hand. I loved the game, so there was nothing I didn’t like about spring training.”