It’s official! We pulled into the preferred parking lot, and if for any reason you wonder if you’re in the right place, this license plate dispels any doubt.
Welcome to our first report from Spring Training 2014. The official program looks good with the 2104 logo, and the temperature was a balmy 78 when the sun poked through the rapidly bunching clouds.
The Phanatic was on hand to aid Scott Palmer with the opening ceremonies, as David Montgomery and the Mayor of Clearwater tossed verbal bouquets to one another.
Good news that the Phanatic will be present at every home game in Clearwater. Looks like the Furry Phil from the Galapagos Islands imported his Phan Club to Florida.
But even the Phanatic needs spring training to get back into regular season shape. His Hot Dog Launcher was erratic, with trajectories leaving the roof and dugouts with as many dogs as the fans in the stands.
It was old homecoming day at the ballpark, as Larry Bowa, Mickey Morandini, and Juan “Sammy” Samuel trotted out to polite applause from the Phillies Phaithful.
Wow! There sure are a lot of ballplayers in camp on opening day. Pre-game found almost as many players on the field as fans in the seats.
Fans streaming into the stadium were serenaded with “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” by a ragtime looking bunch adjacent to the main entrance.
Here was the lineup for today’s game:
Beautiful dual rendering of O Canada and the Star Spangled Banner, and we’re ready to play ball!
The Canadians from Toronto score first, but Ben Revere plates the Phils’ first run on a lined single up the middle from Ryan Howard, who looks decidedly more comfortable at the plate.
Speaking of looking comfortable at the plate, Bobby Abreu did not the first time when he whiffed, but much more so on two subsequent ABs on which he walked both times. Would be a nice story if he made the club and contributed.
Both Dom Brown and Cody Asche had body language that said they had arrived. Of course, it’s relatively easy to look comfortable in Spring Training, yet another reason why we love it here.
Rupp and Franco replaced Chooch and Asche, as the understudies made their way onto the field in search of an AB before the rain rolled in.
The cumulonimbus clouds heaping up were too much to wait out, and we headed for the exits just as the skies opened with the wet stuff. Nimble to the parking lot we’re not anymore, yet I managed to lap a senior citizen or two on the way to Hertz’s Mustang. Looks like we’ll have to wait another day before the top can come down.
The game was called rather quickly, prior to the bottom of the 7th, with the Blue Jays ahead 4-3. No worries — we’re back at it tomorrow with the Jays in Dunedin. Looking forward to it already.