Let’s try and hold on to some of the magic of Florida Spring Training as the Phils transition with their two game “On Deck Series” against the Pirates from Pittsburgh tonight and tomorrow prior to the opener in Texas on Monday. I understand the psychology of the on-deck series. Let the fans get their baseball fix to tide them over until the home opener – which won’t be until April 7 this year. And more importantly, let the players practice for a couple of games under harsher weather conditions than what they trained in during the month on Clearwater.
The irony is that the Phillies will open up the season this year in Arlington, Texas, where the weather next week for the three game series is predicted to be exactly what it will be in Clearwater. So if the schedule makers had been thinking ahead they could have kept the last two games in Florida. But I suppose the on-deck mini-series at the Cit has now become a tradition of sorts, and they won’t change it back. I suspect no one thinking of a last minute ticket to the game tonight or tomorrow will have any trouble getting one.
It’s interesting to consider the plight of the Phils in light of the just-released announcement that the Eagles released talented WR DeSean Jackson outright. What reportedly troubled the Eagles about Jackson was his attitude. Can’t send a stronger message to the remaining players in the locker room that this kind of “I am what I am you’ll just have to accept me as is” attitude doesn’t benefit the team.
Perhaps Ryne Sandberg will take a page out of Chip Kelly’s management playbook and send a similar message to Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard. I’m fully aware they aren’t exact parallels, but he has to take more definitive action than his bench manager did in his former lifetime as manager of the Phillies. You may recall reports such as this, that petulant Bowa squared off with petulant Scott Rolen by complaining that the middle of the order was killing the Phillies. Here’s the message I’d send: If you continue to pop up instead of getting on base and moving runners over in the #2 spot, Jimmy, you’ll either ride the bench or be down in the #8 spot. If you continue to flail at marginal pitches from lefties, Ryan, you’ll platoon with Mayberry at first base. Period.
Will the Phillies have the baseballs to emulate Chip Kelly?