Last Day at Bright House

Last Day

Finally flagged down Charlie Manuel after the game today to get him to sign one of my favorite photos – a cameo shot I took of him with John Mayberry Jr. in the dugout in a quiet moment after a spring training game a few years ago.


Meanwhile, after the Phillies gave up on him, JMJ is enjoying a resurgence with the New York Mets over in Port St. Lucie this spring, hitting a ridiculous .405 in 42 ABs, with 3 HRs, 9 RBIs, 8 walks and a gawdy 1.136 OPS.  I know – it’s “only” spring training!  Speaking of which, today was our last home game at Bright House before our scheduled flight back to Jersey.

A fun time for some girls in the parking lot prior to the game, enjoying a bachelorette gathering with the bride-to-be veiled under a Phillie Phanatic hat.


Quite an entertaining game on a beautiful 72 degree afternoon with nary a cloud in the sky.  Chase Utley with two huge HRs onto Rt. 19 over the RF wall, and Ben Revere with a great leaping catch to snare a ball over the LF wall.  Looks like Ben will start the season in LF and Odubel (Doooob!) will start in CF.  We’ll see how long that lasts, as only Doooobs’ bat will keep him in the lineup, and he’s falling into very bad undisciplined hacking at the plate of late, picking up bad habit from Ryan Howard who continues to look good while striking out.  Jonathan Papelbon had a brain cramp today forgetting to cover first base on roller beyond the mound – no doubt dreaming of life in another city.  Jeff Francouer unleashed another laser from RF, this time to third base just a little bit high to nab a Tiger who tagged up from 2nd.  Unlikely that Jeff makes the last cut.  Freddy Galvis looked sloppy in the field, and also suffered a brain cramp – getting picked off at first base.  Mike Schmidt spent most of the afternoon on the dugout railing in his beekeeper hat, no doubt wondering if his presence was having any impact on the players.

Today’s game ended in a tie at 4-4 after 9 innings, both sides agreeing that there was no point in going on.  Even Dallas Green was ready to hit the beach!




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Creedence Clearwater Revival

Four years back I blogged about Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR) signifying springtime renewal for me, having no thought that there was any direct connection between the two Clearwaters – Fogerty’s band and the Florida Spring Training Home of the Phillies.


One of the Beachcomber’s owners threw me a curve over the weekend, spinning a yarn about the name “Clearwater” in CCR having been derived from the town, but just to set the record straight, it ain’t so.  The facts about Jim Morrison of the Doors hailing from Clearwater speak for themselves.  But CCR was a California group who took the name “Creedence” from a friend of a friend of the band.  About the only thing Forgerty and Morrison had in common was wearing black leather pants in concert.

The Clearwater part of CCR’s name, if Wiki is to be believed, stems from the slogan of a 1960s Olympia beer commercial, “it’s the water”.  But that can’t be right – because the Olympia ads promote “Artesian” brewing water, not clear water.

Although … if Wiki is to believed … Olympia Brewing Company was owned at one time by Heileman’s Brewing Company.  Might that be a connection to the Heilman’s Beachcomber yarn about CCR hanging around Clearwater?  Perhaps some things are best left to the imagination …

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Sweet Moment at Bright House

An odd day at the park yesterday.  First of all, this character who had clearly oversampled Beers of the World, and was wandering behind the Phils’ dugout, back to the field, yelling “Ole [as in Olay], Ole, Ole, Ole … ”



Then some nice exchanges between our former Hall of Fame third baseman and our future Hall of Fame third baseman (we can always hope, right?).


Aside from Uncle Cody trading notes, you can see where Schmitty hides his beekeeper sun hat with the cord hanging out.  (I know — too much information.)

Speaking of “Ole, ole, ole …”, in the middle innings the Phanatic came rolling out with someone sitting on the back of his scooter in Mexican gear with a pancho and sombrero, shaking maracas.  The public address announcer asked the Phanatic if he knew who the fellow was who he is transporting — he threw off his pancho, took off the sombrero, and put aside his maracas as the announcer revealed that he was a 2011 West Point Grad returning from having been in Kuwait for a year, and his parents came out of the stands who didn’t know he was back!  I didn’t catch his name, but he was on the West Point baseball team for all 4 years, and the crowd gave him a standing ovation as he hugged his parents.  The Phillies may be struggling as a team, but touches like this make coming to the ballpark a sweeter experience.

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Dunedin Waterways at Sunset

The view in and around the dock at Dunedin Marina at sunset, including Bon Appetite, just a little bit North up the Gulf Coast from Clearwater, at point #14 on your map …













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Behind-the-Scenes with the Phils

A boring game this afternoon, with Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez proving that he’s no Severino,  provides opportunity for some behind-the-scenes stuff.  A few days ago was Phillies Alumni Day, an annual feature of Spring Training.  The most popular ex-Phil signing was Don Carman.  Just kidding – it was the guy two seats away from him.


IMG_4747The heck with standing in long lines for autographs.  Today Miriam surprised me with an item from the Silent Auction today – a signed collage from some key 1964 Phillies, when Dick Allen was Richie Allen.


So here’s a bit of trivia for you, prompted by the guy in this jersey sitting a few rows in front of us:


Stan Lopata has to be the best Phillies catcher to wear #29, which he did from 1949-1958.  A current, aspiring Phillies catcher, Cameron Rupp, sports #29.  Two other catchers wore the number between Lopata and Rupp, Pat Corrales for those infamous 1964 Phillies, and Darren Daulton who briefly wore it in 1983 before switching to #10.

Speaking of uniforms, you can now buy a game-worn jersey from opening day in Clearwater, 2015, featuring the patch that celebrates the Centennial of the City.


Better get to Diamond Outfitters fast, because these beauts are sure to be hot sellers at $199 per jersey.  Quite a few guys were hanging around the rack this afternoon, eyeing the Stumpo jersey.



High uniform numbers are commonplace among minor leaguers in Spring Training, but today we spotted one at the other end of the line, number Zero sported by one of the Astros.


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Jim Morrison and the Clearwater Connection


Had no clue, until deciding to take a walk this morning over to view the placards in the large picture windows of the building opposite the downtown Clearwater Starbucks, that Jim Morrison had a connection to this place.  A report from the Florida zone indicates that he lived in his grandparents’ house both as an infant/toddler in the mid 1940s, and then again when he was a junior college student in the early ’60s.  Here was the home, at 314 N. Osceola Avenue.

Morrison 314-N-Osceola-Ave-Clearwater

Morrison Map

The house was torn down in 2005, prompting this great retrospective piece in the St. Pete Times entitled Mary and Jim to the end.  Next time I take a stroll down Pier 60 on Clearwater Beach I’ll think of Jim and his first love, Mary Werbelow, walking the same pier.

From the Best of the Doors, though there are tunes and lyrics mostly linked to our adolescence in the late ’60s, what resonates now is the lyric from Waiting For The Sun: “Can you feel it, now that Spring has come, that it’s time to live in the scattered sun.”




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The Multi-sensory Multi-tasker

Hunter Press, 16 month-old multi-tasker, already devouring the iPhone.  Get this — he can tell when the screen is on lock mode just by looking at it.  Fair to say, a different form of learning.  The pros and cons are a discussion for another day, or even another forum, but fair to say the kid is sharp, as biased as a I am …







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