… battled one another once again in the brilliant sunshine of spring over little balls tossed purposefully into the stands.
From the Phillies standpoint, the game was as ugly as the weather was beautiful. You may recall a couple of weeks ago reading here that Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Yao-Hsun Yang plunked Phils’ third baseman Cody Asche hard enough to require an early exit from the game and missing several subsequent ones. On Friday in Bradenton Yang was wild again, walking Mayberry and Asche on eight consecutive pitches and unceremoniously hitting the next batter. Let’s just say there may be some bad blood now between the two squads.
In the top of the 5th inning, Jonathan Papelbon buzzed the Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen with some chin music. Pirates reliever Bryan Morris promptly hit Cody Asche in the bottom of the inning in apparent retaliation. Both benches were promptly warned.
Michael Martinez, Phillies unsuper sub for the last couple of years, made a cameo appearance for the Pirates and reminded the crowd why we don’t miss him. On his second swinging strikeout his bat helicoptered into the seats behind first base. It seemed like the ushers retrieved the bat for Martinez, but no one was quite sure why having his own bat back would make a difference in his hitting. But it’s not our problem anymore!
Today was really Phillies Arizona Fall League alumni day. Mike Nesseth and Kyle Simon each got an inning of work in, and Cameron Rupp logged time behind the plate after Chooch departed.
I like to see Rupp exchanging notes about Nesseth and Simon with McClure. In prior years you’d see Manuel and Dubee lounging in their beach chairs, relatively unresponsive and uncommunicative during the games. The crew of Sandberg, Bowa, and McClure is up and down and interactive. True, the Phils don’t have much to show for it thus far, but if anyone can squeeze more toothpaste out of a crusty tube, it may just be these guys.
McClure seems like a decent enough family man, but he has never served as pitching coach for a major league club with a winning record. The way things have appeared thus far, it appears his streak will remain intact.
Was nice to see Greg “The Bull” Luzinski line up along the base path for the pre-game anthem, and to catch a glimpse of Mike Schmidt in the TV announcers’ booth doing his Sunday afternoon gig. Some years nostalgia is all we have.
Miriam flies back to NJ in the AM a day ahead of me and I will join her for a Brooklyn wedding on Tuesday. Though I will see the sea of green tomorrow, she will not and we therefore donned the St. Patty’s colors on Purim, all quite kosher on this protracted ecumenical weekend.