Why did the chicken cross the road? Why, to get to Atlantic Farms, of course …
Entertaining the Park Ridge Press contingent – Ethan, Ella, and Eva – at Jenkinson’s. Nothing like grandchildren enjoying pure fun …
Siren Song … Follow the River … Michael Dulin.
Loved being on Clearwater Beach for a month (plus), but good to be back on Point Pleasant Beach, with an interlude featuring Johnny Beach & Dr. Cheeko @ Martell’s on a gorgeous sunny spring afternoon … and to the Lake House again.
Hard to believe that it was eleven years ago that Chris Coste, a 33 year-old journeyman ballplayer who had never played in the majors, had a blistering spring but didn’t make the Phillies out of Clearwater. Brock Stassi, a 27 year-old, was at risk for the same fate as a non-roster invitee to spring training this year. Not drafted until the 33rd round in 2011, Stassi got off to a rough start in low A ball. He seemed to blossom in advanced A in Clearwater, then struggled the following year (2014) in AA at Reading. A repeat year in Reading served him well, and in 2015 he shined enough to be promoted to AAA where he did reasonably well. But nothing compared to the blistering Coste-like spring he enjoyed this month.
So there he was, up on the stadium board this afternoon with a .339 batting average punctuated by 6 HR and 17 RBI while the Phillies were being throttled by the Yankees 14-1. But still now word as to whether Stassi had made the team as a bench player, despite the fact that they desperately needed his left-handed power bat and could benefit from his versatility in playing left field reasonable well to complement his natural slick fielding at first base.
And this evening, word came that Stassi had officially made the club. Seeing his reaction can make grown men misty-eyed.
One of Spring Training’s great secrets in Clearwater is the opportunity to see minor league games on the back fields of Carpenter Complex located adjacent to the major league field.
You can park your car and stroll right into the cloverleaf of four fields, named after each of the four Phillies Hall of Famers of the modern era, Richie Ashburn, Robin Roberts, Steve Carlton, and Mike Schmidt, where you’ll find at least one or two minor league teams playing a game. When you’ve heard that non 40 man roster players have been assigned to the minor league complex as cuts are made during spring training, this is what they mean. If you keep you ears open you might bump into Sal Agostinelli, International Scouting Directory for the Phils.
Given the proximity of Dunedin to Clearwater, you’ll often find the Phillies minor leaguers competing against players for the Blue Jays’ system. Names now recognizable to Phillies fans such as catcher Jorge Alfaro or outfielder Dylan Cozens, and to Blue Jays fans such as first baseman Rowdy Tellez, are readily accessible. It’s like being at a high school game with a handful of fans in the stands – more intimate than any other setting because they’re not playing in a stadium that seats thousands. A nice chance to see some of these prospects up close and personal in an intimate setting, particularly on a day or time when the big club isn’t playing. You might even see an old familiar face, like former Phils’ third baseman Charlie Hayes, now a coach for the rookie club of the Gulf Coast League Phillies, who still favors uniform #13, and a touching sight such as Dallas Green’s empty parking spot.