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Day 2

feb 24 cc sign

Day 2 today follows Day 1 (yep, really). All four fields at Carpenter Complex will be used again.  Sign is mounted on a fence as the players leave their Bright House Field Clubhouse for workouts at Carpenter.

feb 24 fans

Fans lined the bleachers at Carpenter Complex to watch first day of workouts on Schmidt Field.

Elderly to youth.  Yep, Larry Andersen (left) is passing on some pitching knowledge to David Buchanan.

feb 24 la

Drying time for jerseys following Day 1.

feb 24 drying

Off The Fields
Today, video tapings will take place pre- and post-workout in the multi-media room.  Video will be used on Phillies telecasts and PhanaVision . . . “What’s New at Bright House Field” will be revealed for the media in the left field concourse at 1:30.

Tomorrow, is signing day in the multi-media room.  Over 8,000 items (balls, caps, bats) will be signed by the players for the team’s Community Outreach department.  That begins at 8 and continues after the workout . . . Players will also undergo eye exams starting at 8 . . . And, players are also measured for new uniforms by Majestic.  Each player gets two home and two road uniforms.

Phun Fact
Dan Plesac recorded the last out in the history of Veterans Stadium, fanning Atlanta CF Ryan Langerhans in the top of the ninth inning, September 28, 2003. He’s also on record as allowing the fifth and final hit in the career of Larry Andersen, an eighth-inning single to right field, April 18, 1993, at Wrigley Field.

Plesac is in camp as a guest instructor through Friday.  So is LA.  Perhaps we can recreate LA’s historic at-bat off Plesac.  This time it would be in slow motion.

Day 1

Introductions and speeches are out of the so it’s to the fields for everyone in Day 1 of spring training.  Officially.  A week from today and the games begin.  Six weeks from today and it’s baseball for real.

five catchers

Catchers have their work cut out for them.  Daily they are needed to warm up pitchers.  Then, there’s catching batting practice.  Eventually, Grapefruit League games.  Plus dragging around a large equipment bag filled with their gear.  If you can catch and throw, your chances at a lengthy big league career are enhanced. But, you have to be willing to work.

Alumni Birthdays
Wednesday : 1B-OF Danny Cater (75) . . . Thursday: RHP Scott Service (48) . . . Friday: RHP Cliff Politte (48), OF Matt Stairs (47), C-!B John Wockenfuss (66) . . . Sunday: LHP Omar Daal (43) . . . Tuesday: OF Ron Gant (50), SS Chico Fernandez (83).

This Date
February 25, 1972: Phillies GM John Quinn pulled off his last trade, sending Rick Wise to the Cardinals for Steve Carlton.

Pace of Game
MLB has made some changes to speed up the pace of game.  The pace helps dictate the length of games.

Here’s a drastic idea: remove time of game from box scores. Baseball isn’t played by a clock so why should it be clocked.  Length of games isn’t an issue in the NBA, NFL, NHL or Senior Citizens bingo.

Phun Fact
Dallas Green is in his 60th year in pro ball.  He recounted his first spring training ever, 1956:

“Bob Conley, Don Cardwell, Chris Short and I were invited to a mini-camp before the big league camp opened in Clearwater. Short and I rode the train from Wilmington, Delaware. We stayed at the West Coast Hotel, three to a room. We weren’t allowed to have cars so we walked everywhere. We were kept around to throw BP TO Hamner, Jones, Ennis, Ashburn and those guys. We were young, wild, could throw hard and we were trying to impress everyone. The vets hated us, didn’t want to face us.

“Later, I was sent to Bennettsville, SC, where the Phillies low minor league players trained. I wore No. 177 or 176.”

Over the course of the last year, Phillies Insider has had one view each from Norway, Libya, Cambodia, Tajikista, Guadeloupe, Senegal, Slovenia, Colombia, Madagascar, Argentina, Ukraine, Hong Kong, Virgin Islands, Pakistan, Algeria, Guam, Jamaica, Montenegro, Morocco, Estonia.

Big Day Tomorrow

A dozen infielders and outfielders have their physicals today and then tomorrow spring drills begin for 58 players wearing Phillies uniforms.  Six weeks from tomorrow, the season opens: Red Sox vs. Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.  Opening day roster limit is 25.

Four fields (Ashburn, Roberts, Carlton and Schmidt) at Carpenter Complex plus Bright House Field will be in use.

Tomorrow’s schedule:

8:00 a.m., Ryne oversees a meeting of his staff and all the instructors to review the schedule.  This happens every morning.

8:30 a.m., players are due to report but they’ll be there plenty early.

9:15 a.m., team meeting with introduction of non-uniform personnel, general rules and policies.

10:15 a.m., bunt defense on Schmidt field for everyone.

11 a.m., pitchers long toss on Schmidt, position players on Ashburn.

11:20 a.m., team fundamentals, two groups, Schmidt and Ashburn fields again.

11:25 a.m., groups 1 and 2 pitchers begin warming for live batting practice.  Six catchers in camp get to warm up the pitchers, a chore they face daily.

11:45 a.m., live batting practice for four groups of hitters; Ashburn, Schmidt, Carlton and Roberts fields.

12:10 p.m., pitchers conditioning at Bright House Field.

12:20 p.m., staff batting practice on all four fields.  Staff meaning coaches and instructors in camp.  Guest instructors are not required to throw BP!

12:50 p.m., defensive work.  Infielders on Ashburn, outfielders on Roberts and catchers on Carlton.

1:25 p.m., conditioning for position players on Ashburn field.

Additional one-on-one sessions with certain players can continue following conditioning.

Fans are welcome to attend the workouts. Parking is free and there’s no admission charge. Bleachers are available at Carpenter Complex and fans can wonder around to catch what’s going on each field.  Food and souvenirs are available at Carpenter Complex.  The Diamond Outfitters store at Bright House Field is also open.


You’ll read about Chase Utley’s media session later on  He’s meeting with the media after today’s workout.

Players are drifting into the multi-purpose room near the clubhouse these days to tape video features for Phanavision during the season.  Phillie Phanatic has a photo shoot today.  Not sure the subject but I’m often unsure of Phanatic’s doings.  Life must have been boring before the Phanatic came into being in 1978.

Phun Fact
The year is 2004 and the two Paul Owens Award winners are in the big league camp. You might not recognize them because of their uniform numbers: Cole Hamels (79) and Ryan Howard (65).

Sunday Visitor
Darren Daulton stopped by Bright House Field on Sunday and spent time chatting with Mike Schmidt.  If you haven’t read it, Todd Zolecki’s story on Daulton being cancer free is a must.

schmidt daulton

P-C On field

Carpenter plates

Seven home plates and seven mounds (covered by a tarp) await pitchers and catchers as spring training starts this morning.  These mounds are located between the clubhouse and large indoor batting cages at Carpenter Complex. They’ll be used heavily until April.

Carpenter mounds

A total of 28 pitchers, which includes five non-roster arms and six catchers, of which three are also non-roster, will work out today.  Not all pitchers will throw off these mounds as pitchers will be divided into groups.

Ryne will speak to the group before they take the field around 10 a.m.  His main address will be next Tuesday, the first day of workout for the entire team.

In addition to Ryne’s major league staff, 12 instructors from the minor league camp will be working during the big league camp.

Guest instructors in uniform today include Larry Andersen, Dave Hollins, Mike Schmidt and Charlie Manuel.  Other guest instructors will spend time in Clearwater later. Hollins will be in uniform through March 1, LA, March 3, Schmidt, March 17 while Manuel will be here the entire camp.

More Media Sessions
Jon Papelbon will meet with writers and broadcasters in the Media Room after tomorrow’s workout; Cole, following Saturday’s practice and Chase Utley, Monday.

Complete Coverage
Fans can follow the club right here on Beat writer Todd Zolecki will file daily reports, video interviews will be provided by Scott Palmer, photographer Miles Kennedy will provide images for multiple uses and several employees will feed social media.  This blog will be posted from time to time.

Phun Fact
Larry Bowa played in the last game at Connie Mack Stadium, got the first hit in the first game at Veterans Stadium, managed the Phillies in the last game at the Vet and the first game at Citizens Bank Park.  Last ejection at the Vet and Jack Russell Memorial Stadium? Bowa

Two More Days

A large meeting room on the second floor of the Paul Owens Training Facility at Carpenter Complex was empty yesterday.  Today it isn’t.  Ruben and Ryne plus all the coaches and instructors, athletic trainers, baseball administration officials and president Pat Gillick have filled the room.  They’re reviewing every player that is in camp, 40-man roster and the non-roster players.  That’ll continue into tomorrow before the annual Bill Giles golf tourney in the afternoon.

Pitchers and catchers are due in camp tomorrow.  They’ll undergo physical examinations and then hit the Carpenter Complex four fields Thursday.  Daily works begin at 10 a.m. and are open to the public free of charge.   Infielders and outfielders get their exams on Monday and begin drills on Tuesday.

Media Sessions
Ryne Sandberg will hold a session with the media tomorrow; Cliff Lee, Thursday.

ICYMI: Minor league contracts signed over the weekend: RHP Joe Blanton (Royals), RHP B.J. Rosenberg (Dodgers) and C Lou Marson (Reds).

Phillies scouts have now begun looking over amateur players.   This past weekend, four college teams played doubleheaders at Bright House Field, USF, Cal State Fullerton, Alabama St. and Louisville.

In the first-year player draft this June, the Phillies will have the 10th selection in the first round.

Alumni Birthdays
Wednesday: RHP Tyler Green (45), LHP Kyle Abbott (47), RHP Rocky Childress (53) . . .
Thursday: RHP Dave Stewart (58) . . . Saturday: OF Ted Savage (78) . . . Sunday: OF Joe Lefebvre (59), OF Mike Rogodzinski (67) . . . Monday: RHP Jason Boyd (42), OF John Morris (54).

Phun Fact
Larry Bowa played in the last game at Connie Mack Stadium, got the first hit in the first game at Veterans Stadium, managed the Phillies in the last game at the Vet and the first game at Citizens Bank Park.  Last ejection at the Vet and Jack Russell Memorial Stadium? Bowa.


Spring Is Coming

ST truck in FLA

The equipment truck that left Citizens Bank Park on Friday morning for Bright House Field arrived Sunday morning in bright, sunny Clearwater.

Led by Frank Coppenbarger (Director, Team Travel & Clubhouse Services), Phil Sheridan (Manager, Home Clubhouse), Danny O’Rourke (Manager, Equipment & Umpire Services), Kevin Steinhour (Manager, Visiting Clubhouse) and 25 other pair of hands, the job of unloading the truck began at 8. Within an hour, everything was off the truck and in the Phillies clubhouse or equipment storage room.  According to Frank, that was a record time. “Of course, we had 30 people working,” he mused.

By 1 p.m., the empty lockers were filled with uniforms, shoes, gloves, undergarments, jackets, caps, socks.  Name plates are in position above each locker.

The empty equipment storage room is now packed.  Among the stacks you’ll find:


2,400 baseballs. Soon they come out a dozen at a time.  What do baseballs face? being beat up by bats, grass stains, dirt stains, endless rubbing by pitchers, landing in the hands of lucky fans in the seats and bad calls by umpires.  Beyond right field is a pond, where creatures called alligators have been known to live. Do alligators get indigestion from dining on baseballs? If Howard really gets a hold of one and wind is blowing toward right, a ball could land on Route 19, setting off who knows what. Some baseballs will be autographed by players and become a keepsake. It’s all part of the life of a baseball.


The 1,200 bats are stored here.  Regulars have a larger stock than the non-regulars.Some bats will produce hits and runs.  Some, outs.  Some will completely miss hitting a ball.  And, some will break.


Need a cap?  What size?  You’ll notice “BP” on boxes.  They are the ones the players will wear for workouts and spring games. Caps can get dirty and sweaty.  Pitchers often will adjust them while on the mound, off and on, off and on.  Don’t caps fit right?  Are pitchers a creature of routines?  Afraid to throw the ball?  Adjusting the cap to calm their anger after the umpire missed a pitch? All of the above?

According the calendar, winter is still.  Baseball is about to begin, a comforting sign that spring is coming.

Chase Longest Tenured


For 1,187 games, Jimmy Rollins was at shortstop for the Phillies and Chase Utley was stationed on the other side of second base.  No other SS-2B combo ever played that many games together.  Two kids from California became household names in Philadelphia.

They were part of the core that brought five straight Division titles, two pennants, back-to-back World Series appearances and one World Championship.  It goes down as the greatest run in Phillies history.

Dismantling of the core began with the trade of Rollins to the Dodgers.  Rollins was the longest-tenured player in baseball, 14-plus seasons in pinstripes. With his departure, Utley assumes that position, parts of 12 seasons.

The torch for most games with another teammate has been passed on to Ryan Howard and Chase.  They’ve started 1,078 games on the right side of the diamond.  No one else can currently match that.


Howard, Utley and Rollins started 910 regular season games together, the most in baseball history. The previous record (886 G) was held by the Dodgers’ Steve Garvey (1B), Davey Lopes (2B) and Bill Russell (SS).

Position players work out first time in Clearwater on February 24.  It is well documented, the Phillies continue to look to move more veterans as they rebuild, retool, restructure….whatever you want to call it.  Perhaps Chase and Ryan will no longer be side-by-side when the season starts.  Perhaps they will be.

Entire Careers
Stan Musial was a Cardinal, Ernie Banks a Cub, Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio, Yankees.  More recently, Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera played their entire careers with the Yankees.

With free agency, the odds of players staying with one team their entire careers is diminishing.

In the history of the Phillies there are four players with double-digit years of not wearing any other uniform: 3B Mike Schmidt, 18; RHP Larry Christenson, 11; INF Terry Harmon and RHP Bob Miller, 10 each.  Jimmy, Chase and Ryan were in the mix.  Now only Chase and Ryan have a chance.

Cody in OF?

Lockers in the south end of the Phillies clubhouse at Bright House Field are empty right now.  This is the area in which rookies and most non-roster players will dress.

Sunday morning the equipment truck arrives at Bright House Field.  The process of unloading the truck begins early that day. The empty lockers will no longer be empty. President Pat Gillick checked in on Saturday and Dallas Green arrives in Clearwater tonight.

Pitchers and catchers will undergo physicals on Wednesday, February 17 and work out the next day at Carpenter Complex.  Full squad’s first workout is February 24.

Approximately a dozen players that will be in the big league camp are working out on their own. Cody Asche is one and he’s working in the outfield with instructors Rob Ducey and Andy Abad.  Idea is to see if he has the flexibility to play another position.

Weekend Tweet
Jake Diekman: “Let the drive begin.  Spring training bound.  Baseball is back!”

On The Air
It won’t be long until you hear the radio-TV voices of the Phillies once again.  The first spring training game is March 3, the Yankees at Bright House Field. It will be televised by Comcast Sportsnet and aired on CBS Radio in Philly.

CSN will televise six games with The Comcast Network carrying 12 more. will carry seven and CBS radio will broadcast 14 games.  Two road games will be on ESPN TV.

Fan Favorite
Paul Hagen’s penned another “Where Are They Now” posted on Featured this time is Chris Coste, a fan favorite.  Be sure to check it out.

Alumni Birthdays
Today: INF Kevin Sefcik (44), OF Lenny Dykstra (52), LHP Larry McWilliams (61) . . .
Wednesday: OF Ollie Brown (71) . . . Thursday: OF Ruben Amaro Jr. (50), RHP Dennis Springer (50) . . . Friday: SS Kevin Stocker (45), LHP Mike Mimbs (46) . . . Saturday: INF Larry Milbourne (64), RHP Bob Terlecki (70) . . . Sunday: RHP Ugueth Urbina (41), RHP Barry Jones (52) . . . Monday: C Barry Foote (63),\.

Phun Fact
Steve Carlton posted a 241-161 record while pitching for the Phillies. 57.3% of his wins came at Veterans Stadium (138-62).  He also owns the best single-season record (17-3).


Ah, Spring Training


Spring training.  That wonderful time of the baseball calendar that happens at this time of the year.  Leave cold, gray Philly for sunny, warm Clearwater? With glee.

Always enjoyed spring training even though you worked seven days a week for six-seven weeks.  It didn’t seem like work.  The players weren’t grumpy, the managers weren’t grumpy and the media wasn’t probing.

Obviously, a lot has changed since my first spring in 1964.

Everybody stayed at the Fort Harrison Hotel in downtown Clearwater: all players, the manager, coaches, writers, broadcasters and club officials.

There is no hotel headquarter.  Everyone rents condos on the beach.

The General Manager, Director of Minor Leagues, traveling secretary and myself were the only executives to spend the entire time in Clearwater.

Nearly 20 persons are there fulltime with another 10-12 having periodic work assignments.

There were no offices at Jack Russell Stadium. We worked out of our hotel rooms.  Oh, the manager had an office at the park, a small, cement block room with no heat or air conditioning.

The front office staff occupies the entire third floor at Bright House Field.   The space is vacant the rest of the time as the Clearwater Threshers offices occupy the second level.  Truly a first-class facility.

When we had a home game, a ticket window was open at Jack Russell Stadium.  Tickets weren’t sold in advance.  Matter of fact, we carried tickets with us and gave them to anyone who wanted one.  Total attendance in 1964 was 17,418.

Big business.  Tickets are in demand at Bright House Field where sell-outs are frequent. Ever since Bright House Field opened in 2004, spring attendance tops 100,000.

Players spent spring training getting in shape.  Salaries weren’t as astronomical and players spent the winter working on some sort of a job.

Players come to camp in shape because they work out all winter.  Many come to Clearwater early.  Facilities at Carpenter Field complex are available to any player, majors or minors, year round.

Daily workouts at Jack Russell Stadium began at 10 a.m. and ended around 5.  With only one diamond, it took a long time for hitters and pitchers to get in their work.  Oh, there was a second field about a block away.  Rookies spent time there.  Weight room? None. Instead, waiting to take showers in the small shower room.

Between facilities at Bright House Field (game field, half-field and indoor batting cage) and four diamonds, a large indoor facility with pitching mounds and batting cages next door at Carpenter Field, a lot of players can get in a lot of work in a short period of time. Weight rooms are also available in both places.

Social media meant wining and dining writers and broadcasters. Still carrying those extra pounds.

Social media is where the world lives: twitter, instragram, facebook, tumblr, google+, pinterest.

Daily chore included cleaning the bird dirt from the Press Box table top.  Birds nested in the steel beams overhead in the open press box.

Press box is heated and air conditioned.  Birds not allowed.

We’ve come a long way.

A Month Away

Well, one month from today it is play ball at Bright House Field.  Yep, the 2015 Grapefruit League season gets started with the Phillies hosting the Yankees.  1:05 p.m. for the first pitch.

Sixteen games will be played in Clearwater this spring. There’s also a March 1 game against the University of Tampa.

Monday’s Tweet
C Cameron Rupp; “Today’s the day!! Off to Clearwater! Its baseball season…..Texas I’ll miss you, it’s been real. Florida is home for a couple months!”

Guest Instructors
ICYMI: Ruben and Ryne yesterday announced eight Alumni will spend time in camp as instructors: Larry Andersen, Roy Halladay, Dave Hollins, Greg Luzinski, Charlie Manuel, Dan Plesac, Aaron Rowand and Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt. It is the first time for Plesac and Rowand.

Voting Deadline
Voting for the 2015 Phillies Toyota Wall of Fame ends at 5 p.m. this Friday.  Vote as often as you wish.

Today: RHP Freddie Toliver (54), LHP Mike Wallace (64), OF Bake McBride (66) . . .
Wednesday: C Chris Coste (42), LHP Dan Plesac (53) . . . Thursday: GM Lee Thomas (79) . . . Sunday: 1B Costen Shockley (73) . . . Monday: C Todd Pratt (48), 1B John Kruk (54), RHP Jim Nash (70).

Unfamiliar Faces
What do Tom Barry, Anderson Garcia, Al Verbal and Bill Webb have in common?
They were among 14 pitchers with a very limited cup of coffee with the Phillies. How limited? Check out

Phun Fact
Richie Ashburn was an All-Star centerfielder who played left field in the first major league game he ever saw on opening day 1948; ended his career with the Mets in 1962 and played second base in his final game.  His first hit came in his first game, off Johnny Sain; his 2,000th hit came off Carlton Willey; his Phillies record hit (#2,111) came off Bob Buhl and his last hit as Phillie also came off Buhl.  All three pitched for the Braves. His very last hit in the majors came in his last at-bat.  The pitcher?  Buhl, then with the Cubs. Each hit was a single.

GM John Quinn once told Ashburn he hits too many singles.  Ashburn bristled: “If I hit them any harder, they’d be outs.”




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