Spring Training Review
Back on February 5 we looked ahead to spring training and what you could expect. Now it is time to look back…..the annual spring training review. Drum roll please……………
**Chase Utley showed more mobility at second base and on the bases and picked it up with the bat the last week.
**Weather summary: wore more socks than shorts. March was 6 degrees colder than January.
**Experts are overlooking the Phillies but that’s OK. We were on the other end a year ago and ended out of the playoffs. Games are played on grass and dirt and not paper and iPads.
**Domonic Brown was the most improved hitter with a slimmer Ryan Howard a close second.
**Catcher Tommy Joseph and third baseman Cody Asche were the most impressive young position players; left-handed pitcher Adam Morgan, best looking young pitcher.
**Extreme week: Phillies pitchers allowed one hit at the Pirates on March 4 and 28 the next day (vs. Dominican Republic). On March 9, they allowed 16 hits against the Rays and one the next day at the Astros.
**Worst advertisement goes to a motorcycle business that opened in Tampa with a special deal, buy a motorcycle and receive a free gun.
**Strawberry shortcake won my favorite Bright House Field food award for the third straight spring. Sorry, hot dogs.
**Best looking pitcher: hands down, Hamels.
**Best restaurant award: Heilman’s Beachcomber on Clearwater Beach for the 50th straight year.
**For first time ever, Bright House Field topped 11,000 for a game, doing it three times.
**Goosebumps replaced sun tans.
**Dallas writer Gerry Fraley: “Michael Young is in same class as Dale Murphy as outstanding human beings.”
**Best sign: “If you want breakfast in bed, sleep in the kitchen,” Village Inn restaurant.
**Annual traffic headache: Clearwater Beach during spring break.
**Most impressive newcomer: Ben Revere. He may turn into the most popular Ben in Philadelphia since Franklin.
**Most impressive bullpen arms: Michael Adams and Phillippe Aumont.
One Final Spring Training Memory
Larry Andersen (RHP, 1983-86; 1993-94)
“Let’s see, that was 1972 which means it was 41 years ago. And you want me to remember what? Heck, I can’t remember where I left my shoes when I get up every morning.
“Well, it was in Tucson, Arizona and I was one of many minor leaguers with the Indians. We stayed at the Flamingo Hotel. At least I think so. I don’t remember my roommate. But I do remember my number, 112…I think.
“I was nervous and scared and, after one day, fighting blisters from the Kangaroo spikes. What did I like? Absolutely nothing. I grew up in Washington (State) so the warm weather was nice. But I couldn’t handle the Arizona heat. I really struggled, especially all that running. I hated mornings. Getting up early and riding a bus for a few hours, that wasn’t fun. I slept through most of the bus rides; matter of fact, I slept through most of my spring trainings which was rather apparent if you saw me pitch.
“I do remember being in the Mariners big league camp in 1981. Maury Wills was the manager. There was another pitcher in camp who looked like me, or so they say. Brian Allard. He was five years younger so I don’t know how we looked alike. I guess it was because we both had hair. Anyway, Maury got us mixed up. He’d call me Brian, and him, Larry. I was having a great spring, which was unusual. Brian was having a terrible spring. I was stressed out that Maury would pick him because he called him Larry. Happy ending, though, I made the club.”