Every morning, one can see four bicycles parked against the batting cage fence beyond the left field wall at Bright House Field.
The bikes belong to Dane Sardinha, Tagg Bozied, Joel Naughton and Matt Rizzotti, four minor leaguers in the Phillies big league camp. When Dane reported to camp this year, he walked a mile from La Quinta Hotel on Route 19 to Bright House Field. Knowing that Target was only a few miles away, he made the trek to the store and bought a bike for $100.
On his ride into work the next day, he saw three young players walking from their apartment to the ballpark. Sardinha told the guys the merits of riding. The next day, the Bike Club officially took root.
Sardinha looks at it this way, “It’s cheap on gas and there’s no insurance. After spring training, I’ll either leave the bike with one of the kids playing at Clearwater or throw it in a container and ship to Lehigh Valley”.
Charlie managed the Phillies split squad Sunday in Lakeland, spent the night in his Winter Haven home and met the Phillies in Tampa for their Monday afternoon game against the Yankees . . . Player bus left Bright House Field at 9:45 this morning. Players were dressed for the game and will return to Bright House Field to change and shower after the game . . . Orioles come to Clearwater on Tuesday afternoon; game will be broadcast on MLB.com by Scott Franzke and Chris Wheeler . . . When the Pirates were in Clearwater on Saturday, there were three former Phillies managers in the park, Dallas Green, Jim Fregosi (Atlanta scout) and Nick Leyva (Pirates third base coach) . . . Hard to believe but three weeks from today, the Phillies will head north . . . Mike Missanelli will be broadcasting live on 97.5 The Fanatic from the Tiki Bar both today and Tuesday, 2 p.m.-7 p.m. . . . Tuesday morning, the Baseball Assistance Team (BAT) will speak to the players in the clubhouse. BAT is an organization that provides financial assistance to those in baseball who are in need. Many players donate to the worthwhile cause.
(John Brazer, Director, Publicity, contributed to today’s blog).
Meet Joe Cynar. His office: second floor of the Paul Owens Clubhouse at the Carpenter Complex. His title: Manager, Minor League Equipment and Florida Training Complex Operations. His job: his title tells it all. Right now he is making sure 162 minor league players have the proper equipment for the first camp workout on Sunday.
Throughout spring training, Charlie and Dubee may ask for extra players from the minor league camp on a day-by-day basis. Once those names have been identified, Joe then e-mails those in the big league camp. His early morning e-mail today:
“The following players will be joining the major league club for today’s game against the Pirates: RHP Matt Anderson (#89) and RHP Jason Grilli (#93).”
So, Matt and Jason were at Bright House Field for the 9:30 a.m. bus departure for a trip south to Bradenton for a game with the Pirates.
Early this morning (like 5:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.), 92.5 WXTU and Wired 96.5 radio did live radio broadcasts from the Tiki Bar at Bright House Field. Roy Oswalt, Kyle Kendrick and David Herndon were guests on both shows.
Phillies return to Clearwater for a Saturday game against the Pirates and a Sunday game against a Rays split squad . . . Scott Franzke and Larry Andersen will be on the air both days. Yep, back-to-back work days for the two broadcasters . . . Sunday is also on WPHT TV (MyPhil), with Tom McCarthy, Chris Wheeler and Gary Mathews . . . Both games are also on MLB.com . . . Following Sunday’s game, fans can also tune in to WBCB AM (1490) out of Levittown to listen to a show hosted by John Brazer and Ricky Bottalico. That show can also be heard on WBCB’s website.
Mike Schmidt departs camp on Saturday . . . Phillies will have a couple of foursomes in Monday’s Robin Roberts Memorial Golf Tournament at the Temple Terrace, FL, Golf and Country Club, where Robbie was a regular. Last game Robbie saw was at Bright House Field last spring training. He passed away in May . . . Yet another Philadelphia radio station will be in camp for a live broadcast on Monday: the Fanatic Mike Missanelli Radio Show (950 AM) from Tiki Bar, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.
As mentioned earlier this week, RHP Nick Strincevich, who pitched for the Phillies in 1948, celebrated his 96th birthday in Valparaiso, IN. A year ago, the Phillies sent him a #36 jersey with his name on the back. This year, a Phillies cap and a special Alumni birthday card.
His daughter, Carol Perino, sent a touching e-mail to the Phillies:
“Let me start by saying that the Phillies’ regard for “Jumbo” is very touching. He is doing well, currently in a nursing home near my house in Valparaiso. He still has a remarkable sense of humor and when we kid him about being ready for spring training, he will show us how to grip the ball for various pitches. And while his memory may be fading, mementos like the beautiful Phillies jersey and cap bring a smile to his face.”
Today’s game was in Ft Myers…the longest bus trip of this year’s spring training.
As per MLB rules, teams must bring at least three starters to every road game. For this trip, the veterans were hoping that their name wasn’t posted on the board. Victorino, Brown and Francisco along with Cole were picked for this 2 1/2 hour trip south. Cole dazzled in his outing.
For the rest of the players that didn’t have to board the 7:45 a.m. bus, they still trickled in early in the morning to eat breakfast, hit the weight room or do other pre-field activities. Team stretching started at 9:30 at Bright House Field. At 10:00 a.m., the hitters took BP while the pitchers long tossed then before working on fielding drills on the back field. After the drills, the pitchers took to the batting cages for a friendly hitting competition.
Around noon, the players mostly dispersed after a long morning of workouts. As for the guys who traveled, the estimated time back to Clearwater will be around 7:00 p.m.
The team tomorrow has a shorter bus trip to Bradenton (about 45 minutes) to take on the Pirates. Game will be broadcast on MLB.com with Tom McCarthy and Gary Matthews.
Just a reminder about the Honorary Bat Girl Contest being sponsored by MLB and the Phillies. Open to ladies 18 and over.
(John Brazer, Director of Publicity, contributed to today’s blog).
When the 59 players arrive in the clubhouse each morning, the first thing they do is check “the board”. The board consists of a dry eraser board that lists the time the players need to be dressed and the precise stretching time on the field. An adjacent corkboard lists daily and weekly assignments.
Every Monday, Rich Dubee posts a sheet that has the daily pitching assignments in order of their appearance for each game of the week. Also listed is the roster of backup pitchers for each game as well as the pitchers that must do side work. The corkboard also has a big lineup card, posted daily by bench coach Pete Mackanin, which lists the starting lineup and the available hitters on the bench.
For road games, Mackanin posts a roster of the travelling party the day before. Bus time for the traveling squad and strech time for the players staying back are listed in bold next to the roster.
Frank Coppenbarger, the Director of Team Travel & Clubhouse Services, leaves 30 minutes after the bus leaves to serve as a safety net in case a bat, uniform, mitt or player is left behind. Coppenbarger often leaves each game in the 4th inning to bring back the batting practice laundry.
On Thursday, the Phillies head south to Ft. Myers to face the Red Sox. Two buses will depart from Bright House Field at 7:45 a.m. Players will dress and shower in Ft. Myers
Over the next couple of days, 162 players will be in the minor league camp, training at the Carpenter Complex. The camp ends with games on April 2 . . . Thursday’s game from Ft. Myers will be broadcast on MLB.com, Scott Franzke and Chris Wheeler . . . WIP’s Howard Eskin and Ike Reese will be live with their radio broadcast from the Tiki Bar, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday.
On Tuesday, the Oak Ridge Boys sang the anthem at Bright House Field. Joe Bonsall, a native Philadelphian and huge Phillies fan, e-mailed his reaction:
“You know common logic would say that when you get into your 60′s you might lose a little enthusiasm for things of childhood past. But for ME, THAT is just not the case. I have heard Phillies and Clearwater mentioned in the same breath since I was a kid but until Tuesday I had NEVER been there. Seeing my Phillies and singing the anthem was just as exciting to me as ever before.”
Joe, Richard Sterban and Duane Allen, three of the quartet, will be in Ft. Myers on Thursday to see the Phillies.
(John Brazer, Director of Publicity, contributed to today’s blog).
The legendary Oak Ridge Boys stopped in Clearwater to sing the National Anthem today. On Monday night, they played in Tallahassee but made a stop at Bright House Field before their show tonight in Lakeland.
Since two of the band members hail from the Philly area, they couldn’t have been more excited to perform in front of their beloved Phillies. Richard Sterban (Camden, NJ) and Joe Bonsall (from the Kensington & Allegheny area) were joined by fellow bandmates William Lee Golden and Duane Allen. Country star Billy Dean also accompanied them on the field.
Before they sang, Charlie Manuel introduced himself. Charlie told them that he has been listening to them for years. He also mentioned that his son listens constantly to the Oak Ridge Boys. First base coach Sam Perlozzo also got a chance to meet the band. After singing the National Anthem, the guys walked in front of the Phillies dugout and shook hands with a bunch of players. The highlight for Bonsall and Sterban was meeting Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt.
Phillies have two games, well sort of, on Wednesday . . . Orioles visit Bright House Field for a 1 p.m. Grapefruit League game . . . At 10 in the morning, the Blue Jays and Phillies meet in a “B” game at the Carpenter Complex . . . Orioles game will be broadcast on MLB.com by Jim Jackson and Chris Wheeler . . . The Howard Eskin and Ike Reese Show on WIP 610 AM out of Philly will be live from the Tiki Bar from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday . . . Reese will throw out the first ball for the Orioles game . . . Phillies minor league staff holds its first meeting on Wednesday in the Paul Owens Clubhouse meeting room. Players report on Thursday. Minor league games at the Carpenter Complex will be March 14 through April 2.
Special Birthday Wishes
Go to RHP Nick Strincevich, who pitched for the Phillies in 1948. He turns 96 today, which matches OF Alex Pitko as the oldest living Phillies Alumni. Strincevich was released by the Phillies 6/11/48 to make room for a rookie right-handed pitcher named Robin Roberts. Nick was the last player to wear #36 before Robbie.
(John Brazer, Director of Publicity for the Fightins’, contributed to today’s blog)
Somebody finally beat Roy Halladay to the ballpark this morning!
Ed Pendino, a Tampa-based radio engineer, arrived at Bright House Field at 3:45 a.m. to set-up a 94 WYSP radio broadcast featuring former Partridge Family actor, Danny Bonaduce. Danny flew to Clearwater on Sunday to spend a couple days broadcasting from the ballpark’s infamous Tiki Bar. If you want to catch his show in Philly, he’s on again Tuesday starting at 5:30 a.m. Cole, Ryan (Madson) and Chris Wheeler will be joining him on his show.
Bonaduce is an interesting story and a lifetime Phillies fan. When he was four, the family moved from Philly to LA because dad took a job as a writer on the Dick Van Dyke Show. Danny’s older siblings were big fans of Philadelphia sports teams and Danny followed suit. While David Cassidy would wear a Mets jersey on the set of the Partridge Family, Danny countered with a Phillies jersey.
After 30 years in tinsel town, Danny moved back to Philly in the fall of 2008 in time to see the World Series parade. He began his gig on WYSP early in 2009 and has been doing his show from Clearwater every spring.
On Tuesday, he will throw out the first ball at Bright House Field.
Several other Philly area radio stations will also have shows live from Clearwater next month. More information with be forthcoming.
Today, the Phillies played in nearby Dunedin, about a 10-minute bus ride. They took BP at Bright House Field before boarding an 11:30 a.m. bus for the best kind of road trip, a short one.
The Oak Ridge Boys will sing the Anthem on Tuesday (Tigers at Bright House Field). Jon Bonsall and Richard Sturbin, half of the quartet, are native Philadelphians and huge Phillies fans. They are performing Tuesday night in Lakeland . . . Tuesday’s 1 p.m. game will be televised in Philly on The Comcast Network (Tom McCarthy, Gary Matthews and Chris Wheeler) . . . Game can also be seen on MLB.com.
A Fan Wanted to Know…..
“What is a “B” game? “How is it different from a split-squad game?” “Are the rules different?” “Do the Phillies have a “B” game schedule?”
Spring training schedules are determined 3-4 months in advance. To fill open dates, teams will schedule a split-squad game at a ballpark. Admission is charged and the outcome is counted in the win-loss record. The Phillies will have a split squad on Sunday (home with the Rays; in Lakeland vs. the Tigers).
With a large number of pitchers needing game experience early in major league camps, teams will schedule “B” games, sometimes only couple of days in advance. Games are played in the morning (either in a ballpark or a minor league training complex). Stats aren’t kept and often times the number of innings can vary. Pitching coaches and hitting coaches keep charts of the number of inning pitched or at-bats and “B” games do figure in those charts.
Because of their close proximity, the Phillies and Blue Jays will often schedule “B” games. They met on Friday morning at Bright House Field and have scheduled another on Wednesday (10 a.m.), this time at the Carpenter Complex.
(John Brazer, Phillies Director of Publicity, contributed today’s blog. John didn’t mention it but he also arrived at the ballpark this morning to provide guests for the WYSP show. Seeing the sun rise over the right field wall is special, if you like getting up that early).
A shorter workout this morning was followed by the annual team golf tournament. Time for a little change and fun. Then, after today, the grind starts. Where and when that ends nobody knows. Everyone in Phillies nation is figuring the end won’t happen until the World Series is over.
With a roster pretty well set, there’s not much drama. Oh, right field and the bullpen is yet to be determined. And, a bench player. Versatility there might be the most important tool when it comes to that bench position. Wilson Valdez, who filled in so well a year ago in the infield, will get some exposure in the outfield, Charlie has said. Michael Martinez, a Rule 5 draftee as an infielder, will also see some time in the outfield. Non-roster Delwyn Young has played both the infield and outfielder.
Phillies have two games on tap for Saturday, a 10 a.m. “B” game against the Blue Jays at Bright House Field (free admission/gates open at 9:30) and a 1 p.m. game in Tampa against the Yankees, the start of the Grapefruit League schedule. Those two teams meet on Sunday in Clearwater. Both games will be broadcast on 1210 AM (The Big Talker), the Phillies radio network and MLB.com.
Sunday, the Phillies scouting coverage of spring training camps will begin. Mike Ondo, Director of Professional Scouting, will have every camp covered. That means major league scouts Howie Freiling, Dave Hollins, Jim Fregosi Jr. and Gordon Lakey will leave the Phillies camp for their assignments. Pat Gillick, Dallas Green and Charley Kerfeld will remain in Clearwater.
Back at Citizens Bank Park, work continues in preparation for the March 29-30 On-Deck Series (Pirates) and the April 1 season opener (Astros).
Installation of the new video board, which includes a closed-captioning display, is moving along as is the floor coating in the seating bowl. TVs are being replaced throughout the ballpark. Exhaust ducts of the various food areas are being cleaned, elevators are being checked and electricians are powering up the concessions stands. Bram Reynolds, who oversees the maintenance of the ballpark, simply put is best, “The ballpark is starting to wake up.”
Comcast SportsNet taped a special show with the Phillies five starters during the early days of the camp. It will be aired for the first time at 10:30 p.m. on Sunday . . . Every spring training game will be on the air in some fashion, including 15 games that will be broadcast on MLB.com. Fans can subscribe for audio and TV on this website . . . ESPN will televise the March 21 (Red Sox) and March 25 (Braves) from Bright House Field . . . Pat Gillick is being honored on Saturday night at the annual Clearwater For Youth banquet. Gillick is being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Coopeerstown, NY, this summer.
It’s game day! Just six days after the full squad reported, the Phillies are facing a team with different uniforms. The Florida State University Seminoles arrived this morning with a traveling party of more than 60. It’s much larger than they would bring for a road game during their season. But who can blame them for wanting to bring as many people as possible to watch the four-time Eastern Division Champions at Bright House Field. During the Phillies morning BP, a gaggle of FSU players surrounded the batting cage to watch Ryan and his teammates.
The Phillies clubhouse had a few more smiles this morning. When the games begin, it means the players no longer have to go through the same routine of drills that have occupied their days for the last week. Veterans can count on playing early, before heading to the showers and then to their favorite golf course or back to the beach condo with their families.
Today’s game isn’t being broadcast on radio or television, but the highlights will be all over the place. MLB Network called this morning to make sure we will have our phillies.com camera taping the game. There is increased interest because this is the first game being played this spring by any Major League team, in either Arizona or here in Florida.
Game highlights and player interviews will be on this site later this evening. Tonight’s video feed will also include a one-on-one interview with Doc Halladay.
Happy Spring Opening Day everybody!
Phillies and Blue Jays will play a “B” game at 10 a.m. Saturday at Bright House Field; gates open at 9:30 and there is no admission charge . . . That morning, another group of Phillies will bus to Tampa for their Grapefruit League opener against the Yankees. Same two teams open the Bright House Field portion of the spring training schedule on Sunday afternoon. Scott Franzke and Larry Andersen will broadcast both Yankee games on 1210 AM, The Big Talker, and MLB.com . . . Cliff Lee did an interview with ESPN The Magazine today . . . Baseball America’s top 100 prospects for 2011 has come out and the Phillies have four: OF Domonic Brown (4th), OF Jonathan Singleton (36th), RHP Brody Colvin (56th) and RHP Jarred Cosart (70th). Singleton is 19 years of age, Colvin and Cosart, 20.
(Scott Palmer contributed to today’s blog)
Another picture perfect Clearwater day brought more picture takers. The starting rotation was the focus of USA Today and Sports Illustrated. Legendary SI photographer Walter Ioss was here for S.I. A couple of years ago Walter did a cover shoot with Cole Hamels. He needed wide angle lens for this year’s photo op.
Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt has appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Michael Jack is in camp and today he met with the media (interview will be on phillies.com). Asked to comment on the possibility that Albert Pujols might wind up playing somewhere other than St. Louis, Schmitty said that looking back he is very happy to have started and ended his Major League career in a Phillies uniform and still have a great relationship with the ball club. Michael is here as a special guest instructor.
Yesterday, there was an oddity on the Mike Schmidt field at the Carpenter Complex. He was behind the cages while another Hall of Famer, Ryne Sandberg, was throwing batting practice. Last time the Phillies had a pair of Hall of Famers on one field at the Carpenter Complex was Richie Ashburn’s last spring training.
Michael Jack will also play in the team’s annual golf tournament on Friday. A hotly-contested draft to select the tournament teams was held this morning in the coaches’ meeting room. Sorry, ESPN did not cover the draft.
Michel Jack is such a good golfer that for a time he considered playing on what is now the Champions Tour. As a team captain he drafted Cliff and Ruben. Ryan Madson was also a captain and made the only trade during the draft. To get fellow reliever Dan Meyer, Madson traded away radio voice Scott Franzke to the team captained by bullpen coach Mick Billmeyer, who is obviously looking for more air time during Phillies broadcasts. Check this blog on Monday to see which Phillies team came away with the victory.
Front office executives and a small group of players will attend a Clearwater Chamber of Commerce reception in the Bright House Field suite level following Thursday’s game against Florida State University. The reception is an annual event . . .While tickets are going like hot cakes in Clearwater, not all the games at Bright House Field are sold out. Plenty of tickets remain for March 1, 3, 8 and 28 . . . Approximately 50 minor league players were in the Paul Owens Clubhouse at the Carpenter Complex even though the minor league camp doesn’t officially open until March 3 . . . Sarge and J-Roll are invited to the White House on Thursday by the President for the Motown Tribute.
New No. 1
For the first time at Citizens Bank Park, the number 1 souvenir sold last year was Silly Bandz. That item surpassed the seven-time champion Foam Finger in terms of sales for a single season. The Silly Bandz rise to the top isn’t a stretch.
(Scott Palmer again contributed to the blog today).
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).