The Phillies take to the field tonight for the first real action of Spring Training in an exhibition game against Florida State. JA Happ will be the starting pitcher followed by Phillippe Aumont, Yohan Flande, Drew Naylor, Joe Savery, Jesus Sanchez and David Herndon. All eyes will be on Aumont as he was one of the prospects the Phillies got in the Cliff Lee trade. Many are anxious to see if the risk will pay off.
Shane Victorino has been left off the starting line-up for precautionary reasons.
Victorino has been suffering from a sore shoulder and the team will likely not want to push him. It does not seem serious, but it is usually better to be safe than sorry. John Mayberry Jr. will fill in at center and Greg Dobbs gets the nod as the DH. But as is usual in Spring games, the starters will probably not play long, giving the team a chance to look at some prospects. Game time is 7:05pm.
The game everyone is waiting for though is tomorrow’s match up against the Yankees with Roy Halladay on the mound. It will be the team’s first look at their off-season prize in live game action. The talk about Halladay’s work ethic, poise and electric arm has been non-stop since he signed. Finally, it is time to see some results. Tomorrow’s game starts at 1pm and will be carried on Comcast Sportsnet and then replayed on The MLB Network at 7pm.
And now for the disturbing news of the week: Phillies fans know Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning as the man who pitched the only perfect game in Phillies history on June 24, 1964 which happened to be Father’s Day as well. Considered one of the best Phillies players in history, Bunning is also one of only six pitchers ever to throw both a perfect game and a no-hitter in his career. So as a baseball player, Bunning gets two thumbs up. As a politician, not so much…
Bunning has served in the Kentucky State Senate since 1998 and in 2006, Time magazine dubbed him one of “America’s Five Worst Senators.” He routinely misses Senate floor votes and on Christmas Eve 2009, he was the only senator to skip the vote on the historic health care reform bill. Adding more fuel to the fire this month, Bunning single-handedly blocked a 30-day extension of federal unemployment benefits when more than 200,000 unemployed Americans were set to lose benefits. The proposal of unanimous consent on any legislation like this is generally reserved for situation where no one is going to object. Essentially, the proposal is thought to be a no-brainer….that is, for everyone on the planet except Jim Bunning.
The Senate was attempting to avoid a massive hit to the economy and considered the extension an emergency. After receiving public spankings from both Democrats and Republicans, Bunning finally relented on Tuesday night and the legislation was passed, but not before Bunning made a total as*s out of himself. Wait a second, I though the “as*s” was the symbol of the Democratic party?
We still love you in Philly Jim, but please, do America a favor and get out of politics while you still have some dignity left. Let us all remember you as the guy who tossed the only Phillies perfect game and not the guy who tried to make 200,000 angry, unemployed people storm his house, tie him and up and force him to watch tape of the 1964 Phillies collapse; they dropped 10 consecutive games at the end of the season and lost the Division after being in first place with a 3-game lead. This type of torture is cruel and unusual punishment. Please, don’t make us do it…we don’t want to remember that year either.
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Photos by Jenn
The Phillies and the world of baseball lost a legend today in Hall of Fame Broadcaster, Harry Kalas, 73. I was at Nationals Park when it happened, unaware of the events going on above me in the broadcast booth. When I saw the tribute photo on the scoreboard right before the game and realized what had happened, my heart sunk. Looking quickly at my cell phone which I had apparently left the ringer off, I saw the 8 missed calls from people trying to reach me so I would not be shocked by the news. But I had been wandering around the ballpark for 2 ½ hours at that point, and since I never looked at the phone, I had no idea. I sat down in my chair and cried, and much to my own surprise, I was not able to stop. By the 4th inning, the Nationals fan next to me finally decided to try cracking a few jokes to see if I would snap out of it. I tried to distract myself by taking photos, but I just couldn’t shake it.
The Phillies won the game, but I do not remember most of what happened. Harry had been with the team since 1971 and I just kept thinking, I was born in 1972 and had been listening to this man literally my entire life. To me, he was baseball. Not only that, but I have had the great privilege over the last four years or so to have occasionally spent time with Harry, talking about baseball and listening to his stories. I keep thinking about the last time we spoke this past January after an award dinner, when I teased him about his terrible smoking habit again; and again, he smiled and told me , “I know, I know.” I keep thinking about all the stories I am never going to hear again; I’ll never hear his signature, “It’s outta here!” or his famous rendition of “High Hopes.” I thought of Harry as a friend, as did nearly anyone who had the pleasure of meeting him. But that was just Harry; he made even the most casual fan feel like you had known him forever. The man had a big heart and you could feel it when he entered a room.
I had a very long two hour car ride home tonight where I tried desperately to drown out the voices in my head and fight back tears, but I am still at a loss. I know Harry would not want us to be mired in sadness, but how can we not. Harry touched the lives of everyone he met and anyone who ever heard his voice; baseball will never be the same without him. The world will never be the same without him. I try to tell myself that death is a part of life in which we will all someday share; that there is another Angel looking down upon us. But none of these things will bring comfort right now to the heavy hearts of all who knew Harry.
My heart goes out to Harry’s family and friends. Let us grieve for today, and tomorrow, celebrate a life that will never be forgotten. We will miss you, Harry.
Photos by Jenn