The first official Spring Training game for the Phillies will take place on Saturday. I am excited for baseball! But there is also a little sadness that I cannot be in Clearwater this year to enjoy the first crack of the bat under the warm Florida sunshine. If you are lucky enough to be heading south, enjoy it!
Spring Training is a magical moment in time where players are generally happy, relaxed and having a good time. The fan-friendly atmosphere and nice weather draws big crowds each year. And while the games are interesting, they really don’t mean much. The real reason to head to Clearwater is to mingle with other fans, chat with players, get autographs and photos and, most importantly, get a closer look at how major leaguers behave when their guard is down.
You may notice a lot of smiles, laughter and silly hijinks. To demonstrate, and also to get you in the Spring Training frame of mind, here are some of my favorite photos and moments from years past in Clearwater:
First up, the normally quiet and reserved Chase Utley laughs out loud and on another occasion, poses and smiles for me:
Jimmy Rollins waves hello and later attempts to play golf with his bat and ball:
Phillies alum Mike Schmidt has some fun with Reggie Jackson; Charlie Manuel jokes around with his players:
Remember Fan Fest? For some reason, the Phillies have cancelled this annual tradition of meeting players and getting autographs. But it was amazing while it lasted. Here are Chad Durbin and Kyle Kendrick signing and posing for me:
I attended a few Team USA games while in Clearwater. The most memorable moment was watching Jimmy Rollins and Derek Jeter of the Yankees field balls side-by-side during warm-ups. The second photo is Chooch, Carlos Ruiz, making an odd face at batting practice:
Here we have the Big Man, Ryan Howard, yucking it up on the field and later doing his impersonation of an airplane (or maybe he was just playing 1st base?):
And finally, just me and my camera hanging out by the field before batting practice. You can see how close fans can get to the field:
Are you ready to pack your bags yet? Wishing I was….sigh. Maybe next year :O)
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Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
People on the internet have been freaking out about Saturday being the end of the world. For the Phillies, it may actually be true.
The first casualties of the week are Joe Blanton and Shane Victorino. Blanton was on the DL in April and the beginning of May with right elbow soreness. Upon his return, Blanton said the elbow was still sore, but he could pitch.
My first issue with this is why did the Phillies allow him to go on when he was still sore? Second, why did Blanton hide how bad the elbow obviously was? I can maybe answer the second question. Blanton saw his job in jeopardy with how well Vance Worley pitched in his absence and felt that he need to come back soon. That is my guess.
Blanton bailed on the Phillies 20 minutes before Thursday night’s game, saying it was too painful to go on. He then spoke to reporters at Comcast Sportsnet and admitted he came back from the DL too early and that maybe he should have been “more honest” about his condition.
As a result of Blanton’s last minute bail, Kyle Kendrick was forced to start the game with no preparation at all. He gave up five runs, including two of Jason Giambi’s homers. Danyz Baez gave up the third. Shocking, I know (insert your own sarcastic comment here). The Phillies lost the game, 7-1.
All seven Rockies runs were scored thanks to the three home runs by Jason Giambi, which led me to these thoughts:
You Might Be A Steroid User If:
– You have grey hair and you hit three home runs in one game
– Your batting average was .115 before hitting three home runs in one game
– Your name is “Jason Giambi”
– Your batting average was .115 yesterday and your name is used in the same sentence as “Babe Ruth.”
Yes, Giambi is now one of only four players over the age of 40 to ever hit three home runs in a game. The others are Babe Ruth, Stan Musial and Reggie Jackson. While this is an impressive feat, I think that Kendrick and Baez pitching may have had a little to do with it.
So Blanton is headed to the DL and now, so is Shane Victorino. An MRI revealed that Victorino has a second degree hamstring strain. He will be the 12th Phillie on the DL this year. The Phillies will announce later who will replace each player.
Hold on to your seats, Phillies fans. This ride is about to get bumpier.
Photo by Jenn Zambri Photography
*Read more about the Phillies at my other home page, Phightin’ Phils Phorum in the MTR Media network*
During Spring Training this year, I predicted a Phillies – Yankees World Series. It was more of a wish than a realistic thought at the time, but nonetheless, I have gotten my wish :O) Apparently, Jimmy Rollins made the very same prediction; what can I tell you? Great minds think alike.
Not only will this be an epic battle of David and Goliath – the Yanks with 26 World Championships and the Phillies with only 2 – but it has been my lifelong dream to witness these two teams do battle on the grandest stage in baseball. You see, I have two favorite teams in every sport – one NL and one AL. These are my two teams! This about sums up how I feel right now:
The Phillies are my #1 of course, and you can read why on the About Me page. But I grew up in central NJ and the Yanks were always on TV. If I asked for a Phillies hat for Christmas, I got a Yankees hat. So while it was forced upon me at first, I grew to enjoy watching Reggie Jackson whack balls out of the park. And the crazy facial hair of Goose Gossage made me giggle. Lou Piniella, Thurman Munson, the 1977-78 World Series…classic stuff. And then in the 90’s, it was all about Derek Jeter…
I am SO excited!! How about everyone else out there? What is YOUR dream World Series and why? Feel free to share in the comments and you may be in my next blog!
In the meantime, Go Phillies! (and a slightly less enthusiastic, Go Yanks :O)
Photos by Jenn