It’s Only Spring Training

“I’m not concerned; it’s only spring training.”  Famous last words.  Except when you can’t throw a baseball without pain, like Cliff Lee.  Or you still have trouble with a swollen ankle two months after you twisted it, like Chase Utley.  So there’s no cause for concern that Cole Hamels got tagged for a 2 run homer early, because he was just working on his fastball (which evidently still needs work).

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So there was old Phillies manager Nick Leyva coaching first base for today’s opponent, the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Nick was only 35 years old when Lee Thomas imported him to be the Phillies manager in 1989.  The team that year only won 67 games, a total the Phils of this  year may not reach.  By early 1991 Leyva was gone, but baseball graciously recycled him as a coach in various organizations.  Leyva’s time managing the Phils in 1989 was made famous by Michael Jack Schmidt’s tearful retirement speech on May 28.  Among the many reasons he cried might have been how awful the Phils were at the time.

Mike can be seen this spring training helping other ballplayers with their dream to be successful major leaguers.  One of the few candidates on the Phils to be a rising star is Cody Asche, and Schmitty was in his beekeeper sun hat yesterday hanging with Cody and his compression sleeve, keeping the swelling down from having gotten plunked with a pitch on Monday.

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This is in addition to Chase Utley having taken Cody under his wing on a regular basis, including sharing adjacent lockers.

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Although the Pirates manager, Clint Hurdle, came over to Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg around the 8th inning to ask if they could play another inning because he had shlepped some relievers from Bradenton who hadn’t gotten into the game yet (including the ex-Phil, Hot Rod Lincoln – see story here), Ryne evidently didn’t get word up to any of the announcers upstairs.  So as Russ Canzler dug out the throw from shortstop for the last official putout of the game, Tommy Mac started to so the TV wrap with newbie Ben Davis, and Chris Wheeler, oblivious to what was happening, announced the final totals and attendance for the game while someone hit the button cueing up Sweet Caroline.

Once the confusion subsided, and the bonus time played on, Dominick Brown went Downtown for his league-leading first unofficial home run, and the first Phillies non-non-roster invitee this Spring to put the ball over the fence (which, rumor has it, includes batting practice).

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Not only did the remaining fans experience bonus baseball, but as the afternoon unofficially ended those exiting were treated to another round of Sweet Caroline.  Oh Magoo ….

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About Leonard J. Press, O.D., FAAO, FCOVD

Developmental Optometry is my passion as well as occupation. Blogging allows me to share thoughts in a unique visual style.
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5 Responses to It’s Only Spring Training

  1. doctuhdon says:

    I greatly appreciate the daily progress reports from spring training camp, Len. I particularly like your observations of the interactions between players and coaches. It’s disappointing that we don’t get to hear or read these types of insights from the beat writers; why are they not watching the dugout interactions during these games? Meanwhile, what’s happening with Franco?

  2. Glad you’re enjoying the reports, Dan. Wish I could be less cynical about the club. Guess the beat writers are beat at this point – they have to try and deal the players directly, whereas I can freelance. Franco remains solid in the field, but doesn’t look any better at the plate than he did last spring, or or during his Fall call-up last year. I wouldn’t mind seeing him get more playing time at 1B. Ryan Howard looks like he dropped 20 lbs. but also looks like he’ll drop 20 pts. off the average. His bat speed is another year slower, and he has shown nothing at the plate. After his second whiff, a swinging strike three, he was audibly heard to bark a word that rhymes with SUCK! as he stomped back to the dugout. He has to be a big downer for the club at this point and although the fans are polite enough to still cheer for him in Clearwater when he’s announced, you know that won’t be the case in Philly. I suspect he’s going to be the focal point of the fans’ frustrations this season, watching the club vie for the record of most losses in a season.

  3. Aaron Altherr looks good in the OF, and it was great to see Tommy Joseph catching yesterday. Neither has shown much with the bat though. None of the best prospects, Nola, Quinn, or Crawford, are in major league spring training. They’re in the minor league complex, shielded from the fans, so they don’t develop a complex.

  4. doctuhdon says:

    Odubel Herrera – tastes great or less filling ???

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