Wrote a piece on the professional side about a book subtitled When Pigs Fly, but yesterday Miriam and I took a diversionary trip to Where Pigs Fly. It’s the not-so-famous home of the Phillies minor league Triple A affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, nestled in beautiful Allentown, PA. Perhaps that’s not a fair statement – the location is well-known to Philly sports fans. It’s a beautiful region, and now former home to the Eagles football summer camp. It felt more like camp yesterday than a ballpark, with the 10:30 AM start time for the game, and the stadium flooded with school kids on class trips in honor of Education Day. Here’s a visual tour with some subtitles.
Beer at 10:30 AM? No problem – it’s the Le-HIGH Valley.
Wow. Forgot how many Phutile third basemen Phils have had since Schmidt. Pork Illustrated? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Wait ’til all the Pig Puns coming below.
See that guy in the navy sweater vest and short sleeves? I couldn’t get a closer look at him, or even a chat. The Pig usher was tough on Phans sticking to their designated sections, and we were a few over, but I’d bet my ticket stub on the fact that that’s Dave Montgomery – the Phils’ President. My hunch is that with the punchless Phils on a West Coast trip, Dave was getting a first-hand look at any bats that might be of assistance to the Big Club.
Here’s the Phils best shot at some power, Darin Ruf, who they say is looking more comfortable defensively in left field. My hunch is he’ll be up before long, as he can’t be much worse than our OF production right now, which hovers close to nil.
If for whatever reason Ruf isn’t ready, I bring up Cody Asche to get playing time at 3B and let Michael Young – who seems to know how to get on base – take over the leadoff spot. He can play SS – and I’d gladly take a few errors there compared to Rollins’ futility as a leadoff hitter now that Revere has proven he’s not an option. Young can also spell Utley at 2B, and he even started 40 games at 1B for the Rangers last year – and you don’t have to convince me that Ryan Howard needs a day off every now and then, and now and then, and now and then …
Dave Brundage is the new manager of the Pigs this year, replacing Ryne Sandberg, and like all baseball lifers has taken a shining to Cody Asche’s work ethic. Brundage was a Phils fourth round amateur draft pick in 1984, a career minor leaguer, but well thought of in baseball circles. If he says Asche is ready, chances are we’ll see Asche in Philly once the Fightins show they’ve officially lost their Fight.
Yo, I’m not saying Cody’s numbers look great on the scoreboard thus far. I’m saying that I’m tired of seeing high priced ballplayers provide mediocre results. Some kids like Cody rise to the occasion -witness what his Pig teammate Pettibone is doing on the mound in Philly.
And from what I gather, Cody’s defense is progressing nicely at third …
What’s that Cincy Reds fan doing in Lehigh Valley? Well the Pigs were playing the Bats, those sluggers from Louisville, as in Kentucky – that state that’s a suburb of Cincinnati. So a pleasant surprise to see Billy Hamilton at the plate for the Bats, Cody’s old buddy from the Peoria Javalinas in the AFL last year.
You know, this piece has run on pretty long, so I’ll save all the Pig Puns for Part Two.