When the Phillies-Braves spring training game got underway at 1:05 today, I was struck by how many empty seats there were. It wasn’t because everyone was hung up in traffic getting to Bright House. It’s probably a combination of things, including the Phils mediocrity last year and their moves over the winter, not exactly the type of acquisitions that bring fans out to the ballpark. Then of course, one might blame the economy – the favorite explanation for why any venture that has been a success is struggling these days.
Having said that, there is a little intrigue this Spring, and one of the side stories is whether Charlie Manuel will finally bump Jimmy Rollins down from the top spot where he has been perched with his modest On Base Percentage as a leadoff hitter. Today we got to see what the lineup looked like with Revere #1 and Rollins #2. It seemed to ignite the offense, and Revere got aboard on a walk and scored the first of three runs in the bottom of the 1st.
Another side story to Spring Training is how Ryan Howard will fare. To be sure, he looks very gimpy when running the bases. Though he’s hitting the ball well, my hunch is that he may not be recovered well enough to hold up during the season. If he hits well enough this season, we’ll overlook his gimpiness on the basepaths. The opposite field home run today, Howard’s first of the spring, was a good sign.
The Phils big offensive show today gave fans an opportunity to get an extra dose of players in camp trying to prove something: Mayberry, Inciarte, Asche, Joseph, Galvis, and Gillies.