Results tagged ‘ Jimmy Rollins ’

Will Jimmy Find What He’s Looking For?

As expected, Jimmy Rollins became a free agent on Sunday, along with fellow Phillies Ross Gload, Raul Ibanez, Brad Lidge, Ryan Madson, Roy Oswalt, and Brian Schneider. The Phillies are in discussions with Rollins’ agent, but it may be tough to reach an agreement that gives him what he’s looking for:

Yep, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, he’s not a seeking a five-year contract, but a five-year contact.

I’ve heard of extended wear contacts, but they seem to top out at 30 days, making 5 years seem a bit extreme.

Good luck with that one, Jimmy!  ;-)

What The -bleep- Happened Last Night?

After Saturday night’s authoritative 11-6 thumping of the Cardinals (which really should have been 11-3 but for three meaningless runs scored in the top of the 9th), I had high hopes for Game 2 of the NLDS on Sunday.

The Phils jumped on Chris Carpenter for four early runs, and I was liking the chances of going up 2 games to none on the Cards. But then the unthinkable happened – Cliff Lee blew a four run lead. Granted, he didn’t seem to be at his sharpest last night – he allowed a leadoff triple in the first, and a leadoff double in the second, but managed to wiggle out of those jams. Things would start to unravel in the fourth, when the Cards pulled to within one run, and go further downhill from there.

In the meantime, Carpenter was yanked after three innings, and the parade of relievers must have lulled the Phillies into one of their all-too-frequent offensive stupors.

The Cardinal bullpen yielded only one hit the rest of the way, a single by Jimmy Rollins, which was quickly nullified when Rollins got picked off to end the seventh.

I should have known better than to get too optimistic. After all, the Cardinals are the only NL team to have a winning record against the Phils this year, so I certainly shouldn’t expect this series to be a cakewalk. Also, I’m a Phillies fan – a member of a group of people known for their pessimistic tendencies. I’m pretty sure it must be a chemical they put in our water ;-).

Today is an off day, so let’s hope the Phillies snap out of it, and get back to hitting (and winning) tomorrow in St. Louis. Especially you, Carlos Ruiz, and you, Placido Polanco, both hitless thus far! Let’s get to work!

Yes, They’ve Clinched, But I Still Don’t Like It When They Lose

As I predicted in my last post, the Phillies did indeed clinch the NL East over the weekend, prior to my attending of Monday night’s game against the Cardinals. By the looks of things during the game, you would have thought they were still hung over two days after the celebration.

It’s not that they didn’t have baserunners all night; in fact, they had the bases loaded in the bottom of the third with one out, but both Raul Ibanez and Placido Polanco struck out to eliminate any threat of scoring.

Then, after lulling the crowd into a semi-stupor, the Phils mounted just enough of a comeback in the bottom of the ninth to get our hopes up, only to fall just short of victory (or at least tying the game). Deja vu, this kind of thing happened the last time I was here, on August 26!

Bottom line, Phils lose, 4-3. Bleh!

A few Random Thoughts occurred to me during the game:

  • of the four games I’ve attended this season (a pitiful stat in itself), the Phils are 1-3. The only time they won was when I didn’t have my camera with me, due to rain. Probably just coincidence, but still annoying that my camera seems to bring bad luck.
  • I am never so fortunate as to have a small child seated in front of me; rather, they tend to be taller than average adults (sometimes excessively so).
  • Unlike me, most people seem to be incapable of sitting in their seat for the duration of the game. These people will inevitably step in front of me at the very moment I’m trying to take a picture.
  • With the exception of the people seated in front of me. They never move.

But the evening was not without some pluses. For one thing, I was able to satisfy my desire for more bobbleheads (yeah, I’m a sucker for them).

The newest addition to my bobblehead collection. I'm not sure it really resembles Polanco, though; the head's not nearly round enough. :-)

Due to an apparent surplus of Placido Polanco bobbleheads, one was given away free with each 2011 Phillies Yearbook purchased. Wouldn’t you know, I had gotten a yearbook last time. After some thought, I decided I’d probably be willing to pay 10 bucks for a bobblehead anyway, so I bought it. I now have a brand new 2011 yearbook for sale, a $10 value, half price if anyone’s interested. :-)

But enough of my ranting and raving. Forthwith, my photos from the game.

This Bud's For You - Speaking of Polanco, what's he doing out there with Albert Pujols? Granted, Polanco did spend some time with the Cards, so maybe he and Albert are "buds", as the ad on the outfield wall proclaims. But must he fraternize with the opposition right there in the middle of the field before the game?

"Everybody hands go up" - Shane Victorino seems to be acting out the lyrics to the DJ Khaled song "All I Do Is Win", which has frequently been heard this season at the stadium and during broadcasts. Problem is, they haven't won much lately, dropping 8 of their last 12 games, including four straight since clinching the division.

Update: Phinally! The Phils beat the Mets yesterday to break an eight game (!) losing streak.

The Passing of the Boa - Michael Schwimer is no longer the new kid in the 'pen, and Justin DeFratus now has the honor of wearing the boa-draped backpack. Watch out, Justin, it looks like the Phanatic's eyeing you up!

Shake and Bake - While on the basepaths, Rafael Furcal sported what looked like an oven mitt, presumably intended to protect his previously injured thumb. He shook things up enough, leading off the game with a double, moving to third on a passed ball, and scoring on Nick Punto's groundout. All this within the span of five pitches!

When Pigs Fly - Pigs weren't necessarily flying, but dogs were (hot dogs, that is). For the last Hatfield Dollar Dog night of the season, the Phanatic has help from Hatfield's Smiley the Pig on his mission to bombard the crowd with jet-propelled hot dogs. Look out, Chase!

"Vanna, I'd like to buy a vowel" - if I actually tried to pronounce the last name of St. Louis reliever Marc Rzepczynski out loud, I may very well sprain my tongue!

And finally - lest you think there was no game action, here's a shot of Jimmy Rollins sliding into third with an RBI triple in the bottom of the ninth, while Daniel Descalso awaits the throw. Carlos Ruiz scored on the play, and Rollins would score on a Shane Victorino ground out, but that would be it for the scoring, as Hunter Pence grounded out with two men on to end the game. Aaargh!

(all photos by me)

Random NLCS Thoughts (so far)

Games 1 and 2 of the NLCS are in the books, and the Phillies earned a split with the Giants. I’m not going to throw out a lot of stats, or bore you with yet another recap. That’s all available out there in plenty of places. Now, it’s time for my first batch of random thoughts.

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Giants catcher Buster Posey bears an uncanny resemblance to one of my neighbors. I’d post pictures here to prove it, but I don’t have a picture of said neighbor available. In fact, I just checked his Facebook profile, and he appears to have replaced it with a picture of Posey! Then again, it’s hard to tell the difference.

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Cody Ross, otherwise known as my least-favorite Marlin, has hit three (!) home runs so far in this series. Let’s see, Ross is with his fifth major-league team in seven seasons, and the Marlins apparently thought so highly of him that they released him in August, whence the Giants picked him up on a waiver claim. Somehow, he has turned into a post-season hitting machine, hitting .350 so far with 4 home runs and 6 RBI.

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Speaking of Ross (though I’d rather not), it looks like he has jumped on the “Fear the Beard” bandwagon, sprouting some facial hair that was not there when he was with the Marlins. In fact, his clean-shaven self always reminded me of an elf.

codyrosself.jpgProbably a South Pole elf. :-) 

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While we’re on the subject of beards, thanks to the wonderful technology of high-def close ups, I can confirm that it would be physically impossible for Tim Lincecum to grow one, since he appears to have approximately three facial hairs in total.

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Prior to last night, Jimmy Rollins had not had much success at the plate this postseason, with just one hit in the divisional series against the Reds. His first “hit” of the NLCS came when the Giants infield forgot how to call for a pop-up, and the ball dropped safely in the midst of Mike Fontenot, Jonathan Sanchez, Aubrey Huff, and Buster Posey.

I don't got it.jpgI’m always amused when highly-paid professionals mess up a basic part of the game that even 10-year-olds are expected to execute unless, of course, it is my team that is messing up. ;-)

Later in the game, Jimmy atoned for his lack of production by smacking a bases-loaded, three-run double to bust the game open. :-)

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Ryan Howard caused quite a stir among the Phaithful when he was spotted at Sunday afternoon’s Eagles game. Shouldn’t he have been preparing for that night’s baseball game, perhaps watching film or taking some extra swings in the cage? It’s not like he was ripping the cover off the ball in Game 1, and he would be going up against a tough lefty in Sanchez, against whom he has not had much success in the past.

howard eagles.jpgIf he had looked as pitiful as he had in Game 1, he would have had some explaining to do. On the contrary, Howard had two hits off Sanchez (a single and double), as well as a key walk in the first inning. Maybe Howard should go to a few more football games this postseason. :-)

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Poor Andres Torres! He struck out four times against Roy Oswalt last night, earing the dreaded Golden Sombrero:

golden sombrero.jpgDo I feel bad for him? No, not really.

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No game tonight, as it’s an off day as the series moves west to San Francisco for Game 3.

Let’s go, Phillies!

Phun At The Phestival

On Monday, the husband, kids, and myself attended the 21st annual Phillies Phestival at Citizens Bank Park. The Phestival benefits the Philadelphia chapter of the ALS Association, and raised over $800,000 this year. Click here and here for coverage on the Phillies website.

Although it was drizzling slightly when we arrived at the ballpark, it did not last long, and it turned into a pleasant evening. Since we had about an hour until the players would begin signing autographs at their booths, we decided to take a walk around the concourse and get something to eat, rather than stand in line while nothing was going on. Then again, we weren’t lucky enough to get tickets to the “big name” booths, i.e. Howard, Utley, Rollins, etc., so there was no burning need to get in line early.

First stop was Brad Lidge’s booth, as all three of us had this ticket. My husband feels no need to get autographs, and really, why would we both need one? So he is the designated bag holder while the kids and myself are in the lines.

So what brilliant thing did I blurt out as I was handing Brad a baseball to sign? “Hi, how’s the elbow?” Like he hadn’t heard that hundreds of times already! Duh! By the way, he said it was feeling great. As I thanked him and moved on, I overheard the guy behind me in line come up to the table – “Hi Brad, how’s the elbow?” I wonder if he got really tired of that question by the end of the evening.

My daughter had a ticket for the Kyle Kendrick/Ben Francisco booth, so my husband went with her while my son followed me around as I was taking pictures of the players at some of the other booths. He didn’t enjoy this part of the evening.

My next stop was the Cuban station, otherwise known as the Danys Baez/Jose Contreras autograph booth. Neither of them was particularly talkative – I can understand Contreras wouldn’t be, as he doesn’t speak much (any?) English and Baez usually acts as his “interpreter”. Maybe Baez wasn’t quite sure what to make of all of it.

My son had a ticket for the Placido Polanco station, but decided not to use it since he already had a Polanco autograph from the first Phestival I took him to about six years ago, during Polanco’s first stint as a Phillie. Since I also had a ball signed back then, I had Placido sign a photo of him that I had taken in Spring Training:

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While I was doing this, my husband took the kids to buy some grab bags, and also go in the clubhouse store. My son wanted to buy a Polanco t-shirt, but being a male, can’t be bothered to look at the tag to see what size it is. So he held one up in front of him, asking dad if he thought he’d “grow into it”. Lord only knows if my husband was actually paying attention, because when we got home, he tried it on and it fit like a dress. I took a look at the tag and said of course it was too big, it was an adult extra-large. So yeah, he’ll grow into it, maybe by the time he graduates high school! So I guess it’s mine for now. :-)

So here are some photos from the evening, of the players whose booths I could get to. Some were in locations where only people with tickets to those booths could get through, or were not easily accessible, such as Raul Ibanez, Jayson Werth, and Ryan Howard. Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay were in photo booths, which required purchase of a separate ticket.

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Brad Lidge’s elbow was feeling great, hopefully he didn’t get writer’s cramp!

Chase Utley is much better looking without his hair all gooped back.

Kyle Kendrick has a really big forehead, which I never noticed with his cap on.

 

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Ben Francisco was making his first Phestival appearance.

Why does Milt Thompson look so serious? Milt didn’t smile much in last year’s photo, and he still isn’t in this year’s version.

Since I had my camera turned vertically, J.C. Romero decided to turn his head, too. :-)

 

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Joe Blanton strikes a no-nonsense look.

Jimmy Rollins always looks like he’s having fun. Jimmy was one of several players on the DL who still chose to participate in the Phestival – kudos to them!

David Herndon signs a card for a fan.

 

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I hope Ryan Madson’s toe was carefully tucked under the table, so no one stepped on it.

I warned Danys Baez I was going to take a picture, but he still doesn’t quite look ready for it.

Jose Contreras signs a baseball for me.

 

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Team president and CEO David Montgomery was on hand to help out. He later walked past my husband while I was at the grab bag table with the kids, and thanked him (and us) for coming out.

Placido Polanco smiles for my camera.

Davey Lopes reaches for a ball from a fan. Davey also looks very serious all the time – he and Milt need to smile more often! :-)

 

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Jamie Moyer appears to be letting his hair get a little shaggier than usual.

Shane Victorino has a big grin – hmm, what is he up to?

J.A. Happ was another player on the DL who chose to appear at the Phestival.

 

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Is there a rule that coaches don’t smile? Rich Dubee follows the lead of Milt and Davey.

Carlos Ruiz signs a jersey.

I felt kind of bad for Wilson Valdez. Paired with Ruiz at a booth, many people walked right past him without stopping. He’s even holding two pens, ready and waiting to sign something. His photo was in the program, people! He did light up with a smile when I called his name for a photo op.

 

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Is it wise to hand your children over to Larry Andersen and Gary Matthews? And when did L.A. shave his beard?? He just looks so…so…different.

My daughter and I pose with the 2008 World Series trophy and the 2009 National League champion trophy.

Why are my son and husband grinning like that? Certainly not because they’re thinking about all the money we just spent on tickets, grab bags, food, and the gift shop (though it is going towards a good cause). No, apparently my daughter was sticking her fingers up in “rabbit ears” behind my head, unbeknownst to me.

Speaking of the gift shop, one of my purchases was the new Phillies coffee-table book, Phillies: An Extraordinary Tradition.


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I’ve only just begun to casually flip through it, but it looks to be a real visual feast, with plenty of photos covering the entire spectrum of Phillies history.

You may have noticed that I haven’t had much to say about the Phillies actual play recently. Well, that’s because I haven’t been too happy with it. The offense again failed to show up last night, as they were shut out 8-0 by the (ugh!) Mets.

Though I may frequently spew negative comments to my family while watching the games, I don’t really like to commit such thoughts to the permanency of the internet. I may be forced to break this self-imposed rule if they don’t start scoring some runs and winning some more games pretty soon! Only three games separate the first- and last-place teams in the NL East right now. Please, Phillies, I don’t deal with stress very well – enlarge that lead or I will eat way too much junk food, and it will be all your fault!

My Spring Training Adventure – Part 3

Before I get into my coverage of our final two games, you may recall me mentioning in my last entry that I thought Ed Smith Stadium looks like a motel. Well, I dug through my old photo albums, and found a photo from our visit in March 2000. At the time, it was the spring home of the Reds. Since then, the Reds have relocated to Arizona for Spring Training, and Ed Smith is now home to the Orioles. Here it is:

ed smith stadium0001.jpg

Unless it’s been refurbished in the past 10 years, this is what the exterior of the part behind home plate looks like. All those railings and doors look just like a motel to me.

 

March 16 – Day 6

After yet another mouth-watering breakfast at the Inn at the Bay, we made our way to Bright House Field for today’s Phillies-Tigers game. If I haven’t already mentioned it, the Inn at the Bay serves the most awesome breakfasts. We’ve stayed there five times, and we’ve almost never had the same breakfast twice. They are so filling, most days we don’t even need lunch!

Once again, we arrived when the gates opened. New Tiger Johnny Damon signed some autographs (for Phillies fans!) during batting practice. I’m still not too happy with Johnny over that stolen-base-thing last October:

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Cole Hamels was on the mound for the Phillies, going five innings with 2 hits, 1 run, and 4 stikeouts. He was looking pretty good this day:

hamels ST.JPG

Detroit’s Justin Verlander didn’t have such a great day, giving up home runs to Domonic Brown and Ryan Howard. Overall, he went 3 1/3 innings, with 4 runs on 3 hits:

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Speaking of Howard’s homer (his first of the spring), it came on the swing immediately following this shot:

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During a pitching change, Johnny Damon, Adam Everett, and Brandon Inge discuss the fly ball that got lost in the sun and just dropped into the Bermuda Triangle of turf between all three of them for a hit. They all appear to have sunglasses – guys, weren’t you using them?

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Phil Coke came on in relief of Verlander, and proceeded to give up Domonic Brown’s second homer of the day, a two-run shot. Phil’s pants look like they have enough extra fabric at the bottom for a whole ‘nuther pair:

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Domonic Brown had a great day at the plate, going 3-for-3 with two homers and an RBI single. As thanks, he got reassigned to the minor league camp after the game:

d brown.JPG

New Phillie Danys Baez came on to pitch a scoreless inning in relief:

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Greg Dobbs, playing third in place of the injured Placido Polanco, makes contact. Dobbs went 1-for-3 and scored a run:

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Jimmy Rollins stops to sign some autographs on his way to the clubhouse. This may have been a mistake, as he was stuck there for the next 10 minutes while fans continued to flock down the aisle. Jimmy is actually one of the most fan-friendly Phillies, so he didn’t seem to mind:

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Something I hadn’t seen before was a post-game batting practice. After the final out, the cage was wheeled back on the field, and Raul Ibanez, Carlos Ruiz, and Shane Victorino took additional BP. Shane seemed to be working on his bunting. Afterwards, Raul Ibanez and his son walk to the clubhouse with Charlie Manuel:

ibanez manuel.JPG

On the way out, we stopped for a photo of me in front of the entrance to the ballpark. Since I’m always the one taking the pictures, we need visual proof I was actually on this vacation:

i was there.JPG

 

March 17 – Day 7

St. Patrick’s Day dawned rather gray and dreary. On our way to the ballpark, it even rained a little bit. This had me concerned, because our “seats” for today were on the berm, the grassy area beyond the outfield fence. I wasn’t looking forward to sitting on soggy sod.

Not to fear though. By gametime, the skies had cleared and it turned into a sunny, pleasant afternoon for our final day in Florida.

During Phillies BP, Charlie Manuel had a chance to check out the mini-sized Charlie Manuel bat that will be given out to kids on July 6:

manuel bat.JPGRandy Winn and Brian Schneider are loitering behind the batting cage. Something has made Winn grin, though Schneider looks like he just ate a bug:

winn schneider.JPGThis trio of trouble is yukking it up at the expense of their fellow fielder, who just muffed a grounder during pre-game warmups:

trouble trio.JPGMark Texiera and Alex Rodriguez wait their turns in the batting cage. Just what is that huge wad hiding in A-Rod’s cheek? Gum? Sunflower seeds? Some chew? His ego?

tex arod.jpgPhillies broadcaster Chris Wheeler was on hand to sign copies of his book, “View From The Booth.” Yes, I bought one. There are some who don’t really like Wheels as a broadcaster, but I’ll be interested to read his take on things:

wheels.JPGJust before the game started, I met up with Confession of a She-Fan‘s Jane Heller and got interviewed by her on the She-Fan Cam. Click here to read Jane’s coverage of the game, and see the video clip.

In between BP and game time, the Phillies changed from their usual red and white uniforms to their bright green St. Patty’s day jerseys. Joe Blanton took to the mound for the Phillies. Blanton had a Blanton-like outing, going 5 innings, scattering 7 hits and giving up 2 runs:

green blanton.JPG

The last time my husband and I came to Spring Training, in 2007, we saw the Phillies host the Yankees on St. Patrick’s Day, and Andy Pettitte started for the Yankees. Three years later, we are seeing the Phillies host the Yankees on St. Patrick’s Day, and Andy Pettitte is starting for the Yankees. Deja vu!

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Randy Winn scores for the Yankees, as the throw to Carlos Ruiz is late:

winn run.JPG

Ryan Howard tosses the ball to first to get the out:

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The Flyin’ Hawaiian can’t fly quite far enough, as this ball got past Shane Victorino for an extra-base hit:

flyin hawaiian.JPG

The Phillie O’Phanatic get a bit, um, friendly with the third-base umpire. The mind shudders to imagine the offspring that would result from such an unholy union:

irish phanatic.JPGThe luck of the Irish was with Jayson Werth as he lauched a three-run homer, which sealed the outcome of the game in favor of the Phillies:

werth homer.JPG
Final score: Phillies 6, Yankees 2

Later that evening, we met up for dinner with Jane and her husband Michael, as it turned out that they were staying just three blocks away from us in St. Petersburg. We all enjoyed a delicious meal, and great conversation. The time flew by, and since we all had flights home the next day, finally had to bid each other good night.

Our flight home was much better than the first – no turbulence, and my husband and I actually got to sit next to each other this time.

(all photos by me, except the one of me, which was taken by my husband)

My Spring Training Adventure – Part 2

March 14 – Day 4

The Phillies had a road game today against the Orioles in Sarasota. We opted not to make the drive to Ed Smith Stadium, having been there once a number of years ago. It is not a picturesque ballpark. In fact, the exterior somewhat resembles a motel. I’ll have to dig out a photo from those pre-digital days, and scan it in for tomorrow.

Instead, we decided to take in a Blue Jays – Braves game in Dunedin, with a stop by the Phillies’ Carpenter Complex beforehand to check out some of the minor-league training camp action.

Brandon Duckworth, last with the Phillies in 2003, has returned to the organization on a minor-league contract after stints with Houston and Kansas City. As noted in Larry Shenk’s Phillies Insider blog, and evident in this photo, all the minor-leaguers wear their socks knee-high. No baggy “pajama” pants for these guys!

duckworth.jpg

 

Two minor-league shortstops work on fielding drills on one of the four practice fields in the complex:

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Minor-league pitchers wait between the batting cages to take their turn at a bunting drill:

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Prospect Anthony Hewitt, the Phils’ top pick in 2008, awaits his turn in the batting cage (is it just me, or do his feet look really big?):

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After checking out the workouts for about an hour, we made the approximately 10 minute drive to Dunedin, spring home of the Blue Jays. Sometimes going to a game in which I have no rooting interest is a nice break – I can relax and enjoy the game action without getting worked up about the outcome.

Brandon Morrow was on the hill for Toronto. Not a great day for him – he gave up six hits and four earned runs in three innings of work:

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Braves top prospect Jason Heyward makes contact early in the game. He had a good day, going 2 for 4 and scoring a run:

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Kris Medlen started the game for the Braves, pitching two shutout innings:

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The Blue Jays watch from the dugout as Aaron Hill makes contact:

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The Jays’ Jose Bautista was nearly caught in a rundown, but somehow managed to elude the tag of Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman to make it back safely to first:

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Some people will do just about anything to get a foul ball. Even the umpire seems to be watching the kid, and not the game:

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Blue Jays outfielder Chris Lubanski is out at second. Lubanski is a non-roster invitee to the Jays camp, having been signed to a minor-league deal after spending the past 6 seasons in the Royals organization. I’ve always kind of followed his progress, as he is a local guy from my area. Having signed right out of high school, he’s still pretty young, only 24:

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The Jays ended up dropping this game to the Braves, 8-5. After the game we enjoyed a refreshing postgame brew at the Dunedin Brewery, before enjoying Mexican food for dinner at one of our favorite restaurants when we are in Florida, Casa Tina.

 

March 15 – Day 5

From St. Petersburg, Bradenton is an easy drive of 40 minutes or so south over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. The Pirates were hosting the Phillies today, so we made the drive and got there just before the gates opened.

I parked myself in a prime spot right by the end of the Phillies dugout near the backstop. My husband is left to wander around the ballpark carrying my extra stuff while I’m clicking away at all the activity on the field.

The Phillies came out to stretch while the Pirates were finishing up their portion of batting practice. One anonymous Phillie decided to stick out from the crowd during this drill:

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As the players were walking in and out of the dugout, they were mere feet away from me (and everyone else). Most of them seemed to try to not even look up and make eye contact. New Phillie Brian Schneider did come over and sign some autographs for the fans, as did coach Davey Lopes and manager Charlie Manuel – thanks guys! Jayson Werth signed one or two autographs, no more, but I did manage to catch a glimpse of his stylin’ shades:

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ESPN’s Dick Vitale and the Schwab were on hand. Dick seemed to be getting a lesson on gloves from Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins. Dick then came over to the dugout and signed autographs for anybody who wanted one:

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Zach Duke was on the mound for the Pirates. Duke gave up one run and two hits in 3 2/3 innings. He struck out four, but also walked three:

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Roy Halladay pitched for the Phils. He gave up three hits and one run (his first of the spring) in five innings. He struck out six, and walked two:

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John Mayberry, Jr., making a start in center field, connects on this pitch to drive in a run with a sacrifice fly:

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Ryan Howard “admires” (not) his mile-high pop-up:

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Placido Polanco is helped off the field after injuring his knee. He stumbled near the mound while tracking down a wind-blown pop-up. Thankfully, the injury was not serious, as Polanco is now back in action after a few days of rest:

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Lastings Milledge is forced out at second, as Jimmy Rollins throws to first to try for the double play (the throw was not in time):

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The Pirate Parrot appears to be using a Phillies fan as a footrest. Yo, Parrot, what’s up with that?

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Chase Utley chases down a fly ball in the infield on a very windy day. He made the catch, though it wasn’t particularly graceful:

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The Phils came out on top in this game, winning 5-1. Another Phillies victory on another sunny, though windy, day!

On our way out of McKechnie Field, we stopped for a quick photo op at the large AT&T advertisement with a cutout where Zach Duke’s head would be. How do I look?

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Afterwards, we took a scenic detour to check out the beaches on Anna Maria Island before heading back to St. Pete. We even stopped to stick our feet into the sparkling Gulf waters, but that water is not very warm in March! That explained why we didn’t see anybody actually swimming.

Next up, the third (and final) installment, covering our last two games in Clearwater before we reluctantly had to head home.

(all photos by me)

My Spring Training Adventure – Part 1

I’ve finally had a chance to sit down and sort through the many (and I mean MANY) photos that I took during last week’s Florida trip. To make writing about it a less daunting task, I think I will break it apart into at least two, maybe even three, entries.

March 11 – Day 1

Since I’d neglected to go online and print out our boarding passes until very late the previous night, my husband and I were near the back of the line for boarding our Southwest flight from Philadelphia to Tampa. While waiting to board our plane, we realized that the Philadelphia Union soccer team was on our flight with us. Whereas MLB teams have their own charter flights, MLS teams (at least this one) fly on Southwest.

By the time hubby and I got on board, there were no seats left next to each other. So I ended up two rows ahead of him, in the middle seat between two of said soccer players. While soccer players are not exactly behemoths, they are by no means small people. The two I was sandwiched between were both over six feet tall.

OK, so this was going to be a bit cozy.

As there was a very large storm system apparently covering the entire eastern seaboard, we had the bumpiest flight I’ve ever experienced. I am not a fan of flying, especially during turbulence, and most especially when my husband is not next to me so I can squeeze the bejeesus out of his knee. Our approach to Tampa was particularly rough, and since I decided it would be inappropriate to grab the knees of total strangers, I made do with clutching the back of the seat in front of me. After we’d landed, we found out there had actually been tornado warnings in the Tampa Bay area just prior to our arrival. Yikes!

Outside-9838.jpgWe picked up our rental car and proceeded without incident to our lodging for the week, the Inn at the Bay Bed & Breakfast in St. Petersburg. If you’re ever staying in the Tampa/St. Pete area, I highly recommend it. After checking in, we went for a walk around downtown St. Pete, checking out the empty Al Lang Field, former spring home of the Tampa Bay Rays. It must still be used for something, as the field was nice and green and obviously still being maintained. We made it back to the Inn just in time, as it then started to rain. Later on, we enjoyed an ice cream dinner at Cold Stone Creamery (we’d had a really late lunch and weren’t very hungry).

March 12 – Day 2

The Phillies had split squad games today, one in Lakeland against the Tigers and one in Port Charlotte against the Rays. We toyed with the idea of driving to Port Charlotte, but the weather forecast was not very promising. Eventually, we decided not to risk driving an hour and a half, paying for parking and tickets, and getting rained out.

Good thing, too, as both games did end up getting rained out. In fact, it rained just about the entire day.

We opted instead to drive to Bright House Field to do our shopping in the team store on a non-game day, to avoid waiting in the long line that usually forms at games. We also stopped for lunch at the renowned Lenny’s, and left very full.

March 13 – Day 3

Our first game action! Yay! The Phillies were hosting the Twins today at Bright House Field. We arrived nice and early to be there when the gates opened. Here are some of the better pictures from the day.

Former Phillie Clay Condrey stops by to say “hi” during batting practice:

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J.C. Romero peeks out of the clubhouse to check things out during the Twins’ BP. Looks like he’s still eating his dessert:

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After March, Bright House Field is home to the Phillies single-A affiliate, the Clearwater Threshers. Thresher mascot Phinley was on hand pre-game:

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Catching the ceremonial first pitch from former Phillie, and current announcer, Larry Andersen, was another former Phil, Desi Relaford. It was bubble-blowing time:

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Prior to the game, Shane Victorino tips his cap to the crowd:

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J.A. Happ was on the mound for the Phillies. He pitched four shutout innings, allowing only one hit, and needed just 49 pitches to do so:

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The Twins countered with Carl Pavano, who threw three shutout innings without allowing a hit:

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There’s just a wee bit of a height difference between Jimmy Rollins and Justin Morneau:

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The Phils’ resident caveman, oops, I mean Jayson Werth, makes contact:

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Jose Contreras pitched a shutout inning in relief. How does he stretch his fingers apart like that?

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Gotta keep this ball away from me! Twins reliever Pat Neshek has one of the oddest looking pitching motions around:

neshek.jpgFinal score: Phillies 5, Twins 4

And finally, what better way to cap off a Phils win on a beautiful day at the ballpark, than with a beautiful sunset
?

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That’s it for tonight – Part 2 coming soon!

(all photos by me except for Inn at the Bay)

Oh….My….God!!!

Last night’s NLCS Game 4 was just a little too stressful for my tastes. After jumping out to an early lead in the first inning via a Ryan Howard long ball (which I missed, by the way, while helping my young procrastinator finish a school project which was due today), the Phils’ bats went silent as Randy Wolf found his groove for the next several innings.

Joe Blanton, on the other hand, started out strong, but then began to falter the second time through the Dodgers’ lineup. The Dodgers took a 4-2 lead, and I began to resemble this:

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Yep, I was giving some serious hairy eyeballs to the Dodgers, particularly when ManChild, oops I mean ManRam, was for once not “being Manny” in the outfield, as he ran in to make a shoestring catch on an Ibanez liner to end a Phillies scoring threat.

The Phils did manage to cut the margin to 4-3, but the Dodgers still held a one-run lead heading into the bottom of the ninth. But now it was payback time. Last Friday, it was the Phillies who blew the one-run lead in the bottom of the eighth to lose, 2-1, when their pitching began to unravel.

Jonathon Broxton, last night was your turn.

Broxton retired Ibanez for out number one. Matt Stairs came in to pinch hit, and worked a walk; Eric Bruntlett came in to pinch run. After Carlos Ruiz was hit by a pitch to put two men on base, Greg Dobbs came in to pinch hit and was retired on a humpback liner to third.

Two outs, I’m starting to imagine how bad my mood will be today.

Up to the plate comes Jimmy Rollins, who was only hitting .167 so far in the NLCS (not good, Jimmy). Miraculously, Jimmy smoked a liner to the gap in right to score both Bruntlett and Ruiz. Happiness ensued! I felt like doing this:

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but unfortunately I don’t live near a beach (must change that situation!).

In the postgame interview, Rollins looked like he was doing his best Etta James impersonation:

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Love the look, Jimmy – I hope we see it again this season!

The Joy of the NLCS Schedule (she says sarcastically)

So why is it that during the regular season, teams can play eight, nine, even ten games in a row, but come the postseason, they can’t seem to play more than two days in a row?? Why exactly do we need an off-day in the middle of the three games being played in Philadelphia? I’m sure it has something to do with TV and advertising revenues, but I don’t like it.

The Joy of Technology

It seems that StubHub experienced an “email glitch”, and accidentally sent messages to fans of the Mets that said,

“Be there alongside your New York Mets as they chase baseball immortality. Go to StubHub, where you’ll find a fantastic selection of tickets to every playoff game — so you experience the championship chase live and in person.”

Hee hee! I wonder if there were any dimbulb Mets fans who got confused and actually tried to order tickets?

Apparently fans of a few other non-playoff teams also got erroneous messages (see full story here), but I always take secret glee in the travails of Mets fans. Sorry, but I can’t help it :-).

Phils Take Game 1!

Some quick thoughts on yesterday’s game, before I settle in to watch Game 2 on TV. No visual aids today.

The “August” version of Cliff Lee was in the park yesterday, going the distance as the Phils beat the Rockies 5-1. Thank goodness it wasn’t “September” Lee that showed up! Today Cole Hamels takes the mound – let’s hope we get “2008 Postseason” Cole, and not the inconsistent 2009 version.

Though it looked like a nice sunny day, the gusting, swirling winds made for some entertaining fielding. On one pop-up, the ball must have taken a U-turn while in flight, as Jimmy Rollins first ran out to short left, then abruptly ran back towards third base before making the catch. The wind also robbed Jayson Werth, and possibly Ryan Howard, of homers.

I can breathe a little easier with the Phillies victory yesterday, but if they can win today I will definitely feel more comfortable.

Speaking of TV, I despise the coverage by TBS. They seemed to be having some sort of technical difficulties yesterday, as the sound kept cutting out. I also have it on good authority from Jenn of Phillies Phollowers, who was there in person, that the crowd was REALLY LOUD. You would not have known that from the broadcast – the crowd sounds were buried in the mix, leaving the announcers all too easy to hear. Maybe I should try muting the TV and listening to the local radio broadcast :-).

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