Enjoyed our last Phillies game of the Spring this year today, in Dunedin’s beautifully quaint Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, home of the Toronto Blue Jays.
One of the early arrivals was Dallas Green, who never seems to miss a game in Dunedin. Something tells me he enjoys the relative anonymity and easy in, easy out there – although even at his advanced age he is still an imposing figure.
The afternoon was hot in FAES, as it always seems to be, and Dallas soon shed his jacket and donned the floppy sun hat as he chummed it up with Dave Montgomery two rows behind what’s left of the Phils’ brain trust.
Sean O’Sullivan was among the first players out, to limber up for the game – the Phillies starter for today by default.
I enjoy coming early on beautiful days like today, perched down the left field corner where the Phils players come out to warm up, soaking up the sights and sounds. The Jays’ flags atop the stadium signaled that there was a breeze, but it felt like false advertising owing to the heat of the mid-day sun.
Cameron Rupp with catching gear in tow makes his way out to LF to play long toss with O’Sullivan, helping him prepare to watch the Blue Jays launch his pitches over the center field fence.
Odubel Herrera is fast becoming a fan favorite, and seems to be warming up to the attention. He did, by the way, make a nice running grab back to the fence in center field, good to note because his defense out there has been such an adventure.
Sandberg, Bowa and the coaches saunter out to the makeshift bullpen area, with Larry shunning the fans but Ryne stopping to sign a thing or two.
Cody Asche appeared next, with Brian Bogusevic who is trying his best to nail down the RF spot now that Dom Brown will be starting the regular season on the DL.
Cody graciously stopped to sign autographs, with his baseball mother beaming in the background.
Cody’s back is apparently still bothering him, and my hunch is that he was out of the starting lineup so that he wouldn’t have to warm up, but on the bench in case he felt loose enough to come in for an at-bat toward the end of the game. Cesar Hernandez started in his place this afternoon.
Ryan Howard was in the lineup as the DH today, seen here going through his new pre-game ritual .
The beer vendor in Dunedin is the main entertainment at the stadium. Here he’s in the process of announcing: “Gotta start drinking now if you want to drink all day”.
Another entertainment feature is the “How fast can you dress in a Jays’ uni” contest. Though it’s usually done with kids, today it was a contest between two attractive young ladies – a page out of Dan McDonough’s playbook for Let’s Make A Deal!
Despite the Phillies winding up on the losing end of the score, it was a beautiful day at the ball park (that may be a recurring theme this year). Back to the beach, and a farewell to Spring Training 2015.