Pitching and defense. That combination can produce winning seasons.
Through 18 spring training games, pitching and defense are not jiving. Team ERA of 6.09 is highest among NL clubs. 25 errors is also high. Team .282 average is third. Domonic Brown leads all NL players with 15 hits and is second with 17 hits.
That’s why we have spring training. Defense miscues can be traced to windy conditions and fields that aren’t major league caliber. J-Roll’s glove is missing, too. Pitchers have given up 183 hits in 158 innings. The numbers are more staggering when you consider pitchers have twice combined on one-hitters.
Minor league pitchers Colby Shreve, Kyle Simon and Jordan Whatcott and catcher John Suomi are in uniform for today’s game against the Pirates . . . Busses for Friday’s game in Port Charlotte (Rays) leave at 8:15 a.m. . . . Group of Phillies sponsors are in Clearwater for the weekend.
Wall of Fame
Voting online ends on March 20 so get your votes in.
Received an e-mail inquiry from a fan wanting to know by Bake McBride isn’t among the 15 Alumni on this year’s ballot. Bake was on the first online ballot in 2005 but received minimal votes and was removed from the ballot.
The eligible candidates, and Bake is eligible, are reviewed every January and Bake will be given consideration again in 2014.
Spring Training Memories
Ricky Jordan (1B, 1988-94)
“It was Clearwater, 1984, training with the Spartanburg Phillies. I wore No. 6. Carpenter Field was so impressive. I had no idea that many players would be there. I always enjoyed and appreciated the hands-on instruction from the staff. I didn’t like the long distance running they made us do every day. Or the food for lunch: Soup, soup, soup.”
Spring training and regular season routines are totally different for the players.
During the spring, they arrive at Bright House Field early in the morning as most of the games are day games. Night games dominate the regular season. Players are required to be in the clubhouse three hours prior to a 7:05 p.m. game, for example, during the season.
The spring training routine takes on a different twist as there’s a night game in Tampa today against the Yankees. Busses leave Bright House Field at 3:15 p.m. Those not on the trip are required to be at Bright House Field for stretching and a short workout at 3:30 p.m. The game is being taped by the MLB Network and will be replayed at 8 a.m. tomorrow. Baseball and a late breakfast!
Tomorrow is back to a day game, the Pirates coming to Clearwater.
Cole Hamels Foundation will host an event after Thursday’s game on the half-field at Bright House Field . . . No minor league games at Carpenter Complex on Thursday but they resume on Friday. Fans are welcome to those 1 p.m. games free of charge . . . . WIP’s morning show with Angelo Cataldi will be live from the Tiki Bar on Thursday and Fridays, 5:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.
**March 10, 1955–With RHP Robin Roberts on the mound, Phillies defeat Detroit, 4-2, before 4,209 crowd in the first game at Jack Russell Stadium in Clearwater.
**March 10, 1962–Because the hotel doesn’t allow black guests, the Phillies leave the Jack Tar Harrison Hotel and move to Rocky Point Hotel, 20 miles outside of Clearwater, FL.
March 12, 1980–OF Chuck Klein elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
March 13, 1987–Phillies sign free agent catcher Lance Parrish.
Check out http://www.phillies.com/alumni for more Alumni information, including a vintage photo of the 1943 Phillies about to board a train in Philadelphia for spring training.
Spring Training Memories
Del Unser (OF, 1979-82; 1979-82; CH 1985-88)
“It was Lake Wales, Florida in 1967, the minor league camp of the Washington Senators. I remember it well because I had an appendectomy after two days and missed the rest of spring. June Raines was my roomie and he helped me get to the hospital.
“My fondest memory was going to the local pub and getting to know some of my new minor league teammates. During my rookie big league camp, I was assigned No. 30. The best part of that camp was making the big club and getting to see my wife in Louisville, Kentucky, before the last spring exhibition game.”
Spring training is half over. Second half starts this afternoon with the Tigers visiting Bright House Field. Tomorrow, it’s the Yankees in Tampa, the first of two night games on the schedule.
Phillies are 7-8-1 with 16 games left. The game against the Dominican Republic World Baseball Classic team was considered an exhibition and not included in the won-loss record. Only St. Louis has a winning record in spring training among NL teams, 8-7. Kansas City is running away with the best record, 13-1. Come April 1, all teams are 0-0. No foolin’.
Last week, including the DR game, Phillies pitchers had games in which they gave up 1, 28, 9, 12, 7, 16 and 1 hits. They started the week with a Monday 1-hitter at the Pirates and ended on Sunday with a 1-hitter at the Astros.
Don’t believe that’s ever happened in a Phillies spring training season.
Pitchers Brendan Lafferty and Ryan O’Sullivan came over from the minor league camp to be in uniform for today’s game . . . In case you missed it over the weekend, the Phillies cut a bunch of players and today Cloyd, Rosenberg, Robles, Gillies and Valle were sent to Carpenter Complex. That leaves 42 players, including 11 non-roster players . . . With the first round of the WBC out of the way, Phillies have two representatives left, J-Roll (USA) and Samuel (DR) . . . WPHT’s Chris Stigall will be broadcasting live from Bright House Field again tomorrow, 5:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. . . . Minor league games at the complex on Wednesday are Phillies-Pirates AAA and AA rosters. Game time is 1 p.m. No admission charge.
Spring Training Memories
Terry Harmon (INF, 1967; 1969-77)
“It was1967 in Clearwater. I wore No. 54. We stayed at the Fort Harrison Hotel with all the players and staff. One of the neatest things was going to Clearwater and the drive from the airport, all the beautiful palm trees and the water and then going to work and trying to save a position every year. All the preparation for spring training every year always led to aches and pains the first day. No matter how hard you worked at home, it was the same every spring.
“I loved spring training. It was a time to bring your family to Clearwater for six weeks or more, spend time on the beach and spend time with other families. I loved every minute of it. Every year I was on the ledge because I was a utility player and someone was always trying to get my job. I was lucky enough to hang on for a few years and have a great mediocre career.”
Back-to-back with Tampa Bay Rays. 8:45 a.m. buses left for Port Charlotte this morning. Tomorrow, the Rays and Phillies are at Bright House Field. PHL17 will televise the game in the Philadelphia market.
Sunday, buses depart at 8 a.m. for Kississmee and a game with the Astros. That game will taped and played on MLB Network at 10 a.m. Monday.
Monday is a day off for the entire squad, including this blog.
Players not on today’s trip worked out at Bright House Field and were done by 11 a.m. Next door at Carpenter Complex, minor league players continued their workouts. They have five groups of pitches and five groups of position players. Because of the large number of players (164) more than four fields are needed. One group walked up Old Coachman’s Road to the Joe DiMaggio Complex of three baseball fields and worked out there.
Minor league games against other teams will begin on Tuesday at Carpenter Complex. Two games will be played there and two teams will go on the road. Admission is free although the Phillies are home on Tuesday.
Group of Phillies sponsors arrive today for the weekend, an annual ritual . . . A group of fans on the Spring Training USA Tour will have brunch Saturday morning at Bright House Field . . . Phillies Alumni Sixto Lezcano will throw out the first ball tomorrow and Larry Christenson will attempt to catch it.
March 8, 1941–RHP Hugh Mulcahy is the first big league player drafted into the military in World War II.
March 10, 1955–With RHP Robin Roberts on the mound, Phillies defeat Detroit, 4-2, before 4,209 crowd in the first game at Jack Russell Stadium in Clearwater.
March 10, 1962–Because the hotel doesn’t allow black guests, the Phillies leave the Jack Tar Harrison Hotel and move to Rocky Point Hotel, 20 miles outside of Clearwater, FL.
More Phlashbacks can be found on http://www.phillies.com/alumni.
Twins come to town with a split squad today, meaning they have another squad playing elsewhere in Florida (home in Ft. Myers vs. Boston). With an uneven number of teams in both Florida and Arizona, split squads are a must during spring training.
Major League Baseball rules say teams must have four starters, including the starting pitcher, in their lineups. With the World Baseball Classic underway, it makes it more difficult to follow that mandate. The Twins have 13 players in the WBC, the Phillies 11.
Tomorrow, the Phillies journey 97 miles south to Port Charlotte to play the Rays. It is the only game this spring that isn’t on TV. Same two teams meet at Bright House on Saturday.
Sunday, an 87-mile trip east to play the Astros in Kissimmee. Monday is a day off.
The Phillies television schedule was announced yesterday. All 162 games during the season will be televised: Comcast SportsNet (101), PHL17 (45), The Comcast Network (9), FOX (6) and so far ESPN Sunday Night (1). ESPN has the right to add additional Sunday night national telecasts.
As a kid growing up &# years ago, only Sunday games were televised. There was nothing more depressing than turning on the TV on Sunday afternoon only to see Rainout Theater. Don’t like movies. Guess where that all started.
Utley was hit by a Strasburg pitch yesterday and Doc threw behind a Washington batter. The incident got a lot of media exposure and will add fuel the Phillies-Nationals rivalry during the season.
Brushbacks are part of baseball. Generally not in spring training. Do remember an incident in 1993, a Phillies game against the Cardinals in St. Petersburg that erupted into a fight. The Cardinals had hit a Phillies batter or two earlier in the spring and when Dave Hoillins got drilled in St. Pete, he charged the mound.
Spring Training Memories
Kevin Stocker (SS, 1993-97)
“I remember being so excited and nervous in spring training. Strangers became good teammates and friends. Once I was cut but brought back to the big club for a game in St. Petersburg. Hollins got hit by a pitch, charged the mound and before I knew what was going on, I was the only person on the bench. It was the first of four brawls that year. Needless to say, that was a tough team.
“I’m from the Northwest where we were stuck inside all winter working out. Getting to Clearwater with the warm weather and grass and finally getting to work out outside was the best part. For me, it was a treat. I know it is big business but the length of spring training was ridiculous. It would be nice if it could be shortened a little. That’s my opinion. At the same time, I can see both sides.”
Best thing about yesterday’s bashing by the Dominican Republic WBC team againts the Phillies is that it doesn’t count. Then again, any of the stats in spring training really don’t count.
28 hits against the Phillies in a spring training game? Have no idea. We really don’t track that kind of stuff in the Grapefruit League.
Since 1900, the most hits the Phillies have allowed is 28: at the Reds, 1902; vs. the Cardinals at Baker Bowl, 1929 and vs. the Giants, also at Baker Bowl, 1931.
Nationals in town this afternoon. Since they train on the other Florida coast, they don’t visit the west side often . . . Twins split squad is here tomorrow . . . Defensive drills took place prior to batting practice . . . Hall of Famer Jim Bunning will be visiting camp for three dates in a couple of weeks. He was elected to the Hall of Fame on this date in 1996.
Spring Training Memories
Mitch Williams (LHP, 1991-93)
“I was 19 years old and had been taken by the Rangers in the Rule 5 draft. It was my first big league camp. I was walking out early in the morning and I remember the Rangers had just gotten Cliff Johnson. Cliff was standing in right field and Mickey Rivers was sitting on the ground. I walked toward them and Mickey said, ‘Clifford, look at the head on this critter.’ I later learned that Mickey was one of the many real characters during my career.
“It was always great to reunite with your teammates every spring. I also remember all the aches and pains that came every year no matter how much winter ball you had played or how hard you had worked. The best part of spring training, though, was the end.”
Today’s game against the Dominican Republic is a warm-up for World Baseball Classic.
The DR club is considered a strong one.The USA, Japan, Cuba, Venezuela and DR are the power houses, although the DR was eliminated in the first round during the last Classic, 2009. DR’s first game is Thursday vs. Venezuela in Puerto Rico. The USA plays Mexico on Friday in Chase Field, Phoenix. Game time is 7 p.m.
The Phillies don’t have any players on the DR team. USA, only J-Roll. Several players, including Aumont, are on the Canadian team. The Phillies will scout that team to keep tabs on Aumont’s progress.
MLB Network will be televising a lot of the games.
Nationals tomorrow afternoon and Twins on Thursday in home games . . . Dave Cash will be throwing out the first ball tomorrow . . . Mike Missanelli of 97.5 in Philly is broadcasting live from Bright House Field the next two days . . . WVSR, Selinsgrove, PA, is also here those two days.
On this date in 1967, Carpenter Complex opened. The spring training complex was a vision of Paul Owens, then the director of minor leagues and scouting.
Consistent, centralized instruction and evaluation was impossible up until the complex opened. For example, in 1966, the Phillies big club was in Clearwater, AAA and AA clubs trained in Dade City, FL, and Class A players in Leesburg, FL.
The complex is named after the Carpenter family who owned the Phillies form 1943 through 1981. A year ago, a bronze bust of Owens was added to the clubhouse entrance of the complex. That clubhouse was named the Paul Owens Training Facility.
By building the complex, Owens was able to start a Florida Instructional League program that is an annual post-season tradition.
Al Monchak turns 96 today, thus becoming the oldest living Phillies Alumnus. His career was a brief one, 19 games with the Phillies in 1940. He was a shortstop/second baseman.
He then entered the military for World War II and never played in the big leagues again. He did have a lengthy career as a coach in the majors, 1971-1988.
With J-Roll away for the World Baseball Classic, Galvis and Betancourt will get the most playing time at shortstop. They will also be battling for a spot on the 25-man roster as a reserve infielder.
Both have versatility as does Fransden, who is on the 40-man roster as is Galvis. Betancourt is a non-roster invitee. Michael Young can also play more than one infield postion but the “true” shortstops ae Galvis and Betancourt.
Phillies are south in Bradenton to face the Pirates and then home the next three days . . . Tuesday, they will play the Dominican Republic team from the WBC. Coaching for the DR club is Juan Samuel . . . Minor league camp is in full swing daily, 10 a.m. starts for the workouts. Free parking and admission for fans except on days when the Phillies play next door at Bright House Field . . . The minor leaguers’ day began at 6 a.m. with concussion testing, followed by a two-hour photo session. Their day will end in early afternoon. 164 players are currently in camp.
Hard to Believe, Harry
Nine years ago today, the first game was played at Bright House Field. Marlon Byrd, Phillies centerfielder, got the first hit.
The Phlashback plus many others can be found on http://www.phillies.com/alumni.
The Alumni page will also contain a story about Ford (Moon) Mullen, who died last week at age 96. He was the oldest living Phillie. Condolences are extended to his widow, Jessie, and his family.
Spring Training Memories
Kevin Gross (RHP, 1983-88)
“It was 1981 with the Phillies in Clearwater. I don’t recall my uniform number other than it was a high number. We stayed at the Days Inn. I don’t remember my roomie, maybe Darren Daulton or Ed Wojna.
“I remember initially looking around at all the talent and saying to myself, ‘I have no chance of making it to the majors, let alone the minors.’ After several days I fit in pretty good and did well. The knowledge of the coaches and instructors was impressive and appreciated. I had never been around anything like that before. Waking up each morning to compete for a spot on a team was what I liked the most. I really didn’t have many things I didn’t like about it. I guess one thing would have been a little more time to go fishing.”
Some players are leaving camp. No, there have been no trades or releases. The World Baseball Classic stars next week and some of those in the Phillies camp are heading for their respective teams.
Eleven players and two coaches from the Phillies are involved with the WBC. Only the Brewers and Twins, 13 each, have more players.
Players include SS Jimmy Rollins (USA), RHP Phillippe Aumont (Canada), INF Pete Orr (Canada), OF Tyson Gillies (Canada), LHP Jay Johnson (Canada), RHP Rodrigo Lopez (Mexico), C John Suomi (Canada), C Sebastian Valle (Mexico), LHP Cesar Jimenez (Venezuela), INF Lucas Rojo (Brazil) and C Tim Kennelly (Australia).
First-base coach Juan Samuel will be coaching for the Dominican Republic, and Ernie Whitt, the Phillies’ minor league catching coordinator, will manage Team Canada.
On Tuesday, the Phillies will play the Dominican Republic team at Bright House Field.
Phillies play the Blue Jays in Dunedin on Saturday, a three-mile trip. Bus leaves at 11:30 a.m. which means batting practice will take place at Bright House Field. MLB Network will tape the game and air it at 4 p.m. on Saturday . . . Sunday is a split squad day for the Phillies, one team at home against the Blue Jays and one team in Sarasota against the Orioles . . . Rob Ducey, an outfielder who played for the Blue Jays and Phillies, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch on Sunday. In late June, Duceywill be inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame . . . Citizens Bank Park suite holders are in town for the weekend, which is expected to be on the chilly side. One Tampa TV station is calling for snow flurries during the wee hours of Sunday.
Carpenter Complex Notes
First full squad workout for 170 minor leaguers will take place on Sunday. Workouts are open to the public free of charge. Parking is limited when the Phillies are playing at Bright House Field.
Photo day for the minor leaguers is 6 a.m. on Monday.
Did You Know?
Randy Lerch was traded on this date a long time ago.
The 1893 Phillies dominated the National League offensively.
The distance from the pitching mound to home plate was changed 120 years ago.
You can find all this at http://www.phillies.com/alumni.
Voting for the 2013 Wall of Fame can also be found on this page.
Spring Training Memories
Ozzie Virgil (C, 1980-85)“I was in the Phillies minor league camp in 1977. I remember that I wore No. 44 but I didn’t have a roommate. Lucky me. What impressed me was how good every player was in camp. I enjoyed being in Florida and working to become a better player. The hardest part was seeing your friends get released and sent home.”
Wall of Fame election is now underway on this website. Voters have until 5 p.m. on March 20 to vote. Twelve Alumni are on the ballot. New names are 3B Pinky Whitney, 1B Fred Luderus and two managers, Danny Ozark and Harry Wright.
Complete details are at http://www.phillies.com/alumni.
Annual induction ceremonies will take place on Friday, August 2.
The friendly calendar on the wall says is it February 28, the last day of the month. Today is the sixth game this month, something that’s never happened before.
The World Baseball Classic, March 3-19, is the reason for the earlier start this year.
Will baseball ever become a year that starts on Valentine’s Day and ends on Halloween?
By contrast, Phillies spring training 70 years ago started on March 15 and ended on April 14. Regular season was 154 games in those days.
Jim Fregosi, special assistant to the Braves GM, Roger McDowell, their pitching coach and Gene Garber, guest pitching instructor, are at today’s game.
Garber is in the Braves camp for two weeks for the third straight year. When asked about making road trips, he responded, “Relievers always went on the trips.” When told that Mike Schmidt is a guest instructor with the Phillies and doesn’t go on the road, Gene replied, “That’s because he has HOF behind his name.”
MLB has begun to spit out spring training stats. Domonic leads the NL with six runs scored . . . Howard is among the leading hitters at .500 . . . Nine Phillies errors have let to six unearned runs . . . Bright House Field average attendance of 6,193 is second to the Yankees among Florida teams.
Bus leaves 9:45 a.m. tomorrow for a trip to Tampa and a game with the Yankees. Phillies will dress there and take BP . . . Tomorrow’s game will be taped and aired on the MLB network at 4 p.m.
Did You Ever Wonder?
Why it is called a sacrifice hit when it isn’t a hit?