The Secret Lies in the Mind and Heart, Not in the Arm

They came 7,430 strong to FirstEnergy Park in Lakewood, NJ tonight, and chances are the majority were there to see Phillies major league center-fielder Shane Victorino make the second of his two rehab starts for their single A affiliate, the Lakewood Blue Claws.  You wouldn’t know it by the program cover, printed long in advance of the club knowing Victorino would draw a big crowd by minor league standards.  Showing no visible ill effects of his hamstring injury, Victorino went 0-4 with two strikeouts, unlike the previous night when he was in the middle of a rally or two.  Yet on this night, the cover  illustrating pitching coach Steve Schrenk mentoring last years’ Phils top draft pick, 19 year-old Jesse Biddle, who grew up in Philly as a Phils fan, proved to be the real story.  Biddle pitched seven strong innings for his third consecutive victory after opening the season with five consecutive losses, discovering that the secret of pitching lies as much in what you do between starts as during the start.  It’s as much in the mind and in the heart as it is in the arm.

But let’s not overlook Victorino, who was wearing # 23 and patrolled center field for the first seven innings.  He was, after all, the main attraction for the local fan base of a team that has been plagued by injuries this season yet is managing to stay on top of the NL East.  The Blue Claws have been South Atlantic League champions for the past two years, but the Jersey park was overrun with Victorino T’s and jerseys while its own team’s fan shop attracted few passersby.  There was even a Wilson Valdez t-shirt sighting, now that he shares a record book stat with Babe Ruth.  Here is a photo montage of tonight’s game, featuring Miriam, me, and three of the Goldstein girls,  punctuated by fireworks as the exclamation at game’s end, of course.

About Leonard J. Press, O.D., FAAO, FCOVD

Developmental Optometry is my passion as well as occupation. Blogging allows me to share thoughts in a unique visual style.
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4 Responses to The Secret Lies in the Mind and Heart, Not in the Arm

  1. Daniel Wohlgelernter says:

    beautiful stuff, Len. Real Americana with poetic flair ! I’m truly impressed by the Blue Claws’ program cover; that’s a whole lot of creativity for a single A team ! Please answer this simple question from a simple-minded man: How does Shane Victorino, a .280-.300 major league hitter, go 0-4 with 2 strikeouts agaisnt Class A pitching ? What’s up with that ?

    • Len Press says:

      Thanks, Dan. Agreed re: the creativity of the program cover! Regarding Shane, my best guess is that he may be pushing the comeback too fast and was feeling the effects of his first game last night. He was very impatient at the plate – as I recall he swung at either the first or second pitch each time up, and didn’t run particularly well though slow for Shane is normal speed for most. We’ll see what happens in his next couple of rehab starts at Reading.

  2. Daniel Wohlgelernter says:

    glad to see that you have your “night vision” goggles on, Len.

    BTW, me thinks that the Blue Claws might have put up a better fight agaisnt the Mets on Sunday than the “B” team who played for the Phils.

    • Len Press says:

      Me thinks thou art correct, Dan. If it weren’t for the body type, I might have wondered if Blanton hadn’t slipped into Worley’s uni. The kid looked shell-shocked out there. As for the “B” team, Raul squanders a big bases load opportunity early when they had Niese on the ropes. As we know, baseball like all sports is a huge momentum game, and after Niese retired Ibanez and Mayberry Jr. with the sacks full he gained confidence and they couldn’t touch him again. Raul came back with a garbage time solo HR later. And what’s up with J-Roll, opening the flood gates early with an error, then running the Phils out of a comeback inning in the top of the 8th by making the third out at second based, trying to stretch a single into an untenable double. Oh well, we’re still up by two on the Fish and hopefully at season’s end we won’t look back on Charlie’s decision to punt this game with a spring training roster.

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