Spring (Training) Has Sprung

The Phils kicked off Spring Training 2011 today with a news conference to show off their much-ballyhooed-before-they’ve-even-thrown-a-pitch-together rotation. I’m not sure what the whole point was, really, as no new ground was covered. The questions were predictable, as were the responses.

All five starters were present.

Yes, five. Of course, the way the media have been hyping the “Four Aces”, one could be forgiven for forgetting that there is, in fact, a fifth starter. You know, the Other Guy, Joe Blanton.

At one point, one of the media members led off a question to Cole Hamels by stating that he was the “only one with a ring”. Uh, hellooo? Joe Blanton was on the ’08 staff too. Said reporter quickly corrected himself. I guess he’s been listening to all that hype a bit too much.

The pitchers themselves seem to be trying to downplay the whole “Four Aces” thing. When asked which of the nicknames for the rotation they liked best, Cliff Lee asked what they were. Someone out of range of the microphone rattled off a few. Kudos to Cliff for pointing out that all he heard in those nicknames were references to four guys, but there were five guys up on the podium.

Even after the conference had ended, Comcast’s Michael Barkann referred to the “Mount Rushmore” of rotations in his wrap-up.

Mount_Rushmore.jpgYo, Michael! Mount Rushmore only has four heads!

Mount_Rushmore copy.jpgHmm, not a bad image. But look! There’s a bit of space there to squeeze in a fifth head.

Mount_Rushmore_5.jpgOK, so it’s a wee bit smaller than the others. Let’s just hope that the starting five can live up to the “monumental” expectations already being thrown their way.



  1. raysrenegade

    Pure Joe Blanton is going to get a much attention as Little Joe Cartwright on “Bonanza”.
    Sure he will get noticed, even called snazzy and reliable,but in the end, the girl will go to the older, more seasoned members of the rotation.
    I guess you can be glad the media did not throw the hype machine into full gear onthe first day. Maybe it, like the drop on a sinker or the hitter present bat speed just needs time to adequately adjust itself. Expect the hype machine to be running on all8 cylinders by March 31st…Varoom, Varoom!

    Rays Renegade

  2. rrrt

    Peter, I’m sure we could have come up with more interesting questions! Not sure MLB would go for that idea, though….

    Renegade, granted he’s not on the level of the other four, but I’ll happily take Blanton as #5. He’s got an above .500 W/L record for his career, so that works for me.

    Jane, you should try Photoshop some time. You would definitely come up with some amusing images!

    Mike, if you’re threatening me with Oliver Perez, I may start laughing. 😉 Good to see you back, and glad to know I wasn’t the only one hibernating this winter.

    Jenn, I like it!

  3. greg1969

    To compound all that “Four (not Five) Aces” talk, there was the “talk” that Blanton was on the trading block. One would have been forgiven for thinking that Blanton was radioactive, or something. He seemed to be “out the door” more than once. Hmmm…

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