Let’s Go Nova!

For many years, the Philadelphia Phillies had a tradition of playing an exhibition game against a college baseball team on the day before beginning their official grapefruit league season.  The tradition actually dates back to 1899, when Villanova University first played a Philadelphia major league team in exhibition.   In recent years it has been the University of Tampa, but the Phils eliminated that pre-Spring Training opening game from their schedule in 2018.  In its place they substituted an exhibition game with Villanova, restoring the old tradition.  No one will confuse the Wildcats’ baseball team with the basketball team’s W-L record, but the point is that this is a great experience for the student athletes and their families.


This morning I bumped into a gentleman in the Hilton Starbucks on Mandalay Ave.  Making conversation, I learned that he was the father of one of the players who was actually going to be the starting pitcher in this afternoon’s 1:00 game when Nova will face a squad of Phillies minor league prospects.  J.P. Radvany is a senior who is a first baseman/DH, but because the team is short-handed pitchers and has played alot of tournament games lately, he’ll be spearheading the pitching by committee today.


Today’s game comes toward the tail end of Villanova’s participation in the Snowbird Baseball Classic.  In last year’s game, which Nova lost 5-1, the Phillies played a number of prospects who have a bright future in the organization, most of whom were in single A at the time.  They included Mickey Moniak, Jhailyn Ortiz, Deivy Grullon, Luke Williams, Tyler Bettencourt, Tyler Viza, and yesterday’s starting pitcher Drew Anderson.  And in addition, two of our favorite Arizona Fall League alumni that Coop and I bumped into at the Complex earlier this week, Big Bopper Darick Hall and the converted pitcher Aaron Brown.



Last year’s game attracted the eyes of Phillies advisors Charlie Manuel and Larry Bowa.  The major league club is traveling to Disney World to play the Atlanta Braves today, and no way will Charlie or Bow will make the trip.  Chances are they’ll be right where they were last year when Villanova visited, with a watchful eye on up and coming prospects.   And for the Wildcats players and parents, today’s 1:00 game will be much more exciting than a trip to Disney.  It’s another beautiful day in paradise and who knows?  We may just mosey on over to the Stadium to take in another field of dreams experience.  It’s a beautiful day for a ball game …


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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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2 Responses to Let’s Go Nova!

  1. Don Thompson says:

    Hey Doc, Been working the Cubs’ ST games in Mesa, AZ. Coming to AZ Fall Ball? They moved the season up to the middle of September through October. Give me a shout if you come out. Good stuff.
    Don Thompson

    • Hi Don – glad to hear you’re still at it! Sorry to see that Ian Happ had a rough spring and was sent down to AAA. Hopefully he’ll bounce back better than ever! I saw that they moved the season up, and yes – we hope to make it out again and will give you a shout!

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