After my last post, in which I discovered three clones of my Mike Stutes photo being used on various websites, I started to wonder if there were any more photos of mine floating around out there in cyberspace, uncredited. So I spent a morning googling again.
Lo and behold, I happened upon Freddy Galvis:
and finally a non-Phillie, Mets farmhand Eric Niesen:
I can kind of understand a Mets site not really being too keen on the idea of giving photo credit to a Phillies blog. 🙂
The funny thing is that the photos of Stutes, Brown, and Niesen all came from the very same blog post. Must have been a popular one. 🙂
I finally decided to contact the websites in question about their use of my pictures. I’m happy to report that all five got back to me right away (some of them within mere minutes!), and have added a photo credit to me on their sites. Many thanks to all of you for handling this so quickly!
The Phillies closed out their Grapefruit League play today with a 7-6 win over the Astros, and will now head north to prepare for Friday’s season opener against those same Astros. In addition to leaving behind sun and warmth (both of which seem to be in short supply around these parts), let’s hope they also leave behind the proverbial injury bug.
The Phils’ spring clubhouse seems to have suffered a heavy infestation – Domonic Brown is out following surgery on a broken bone in his hand; Chase Utley was sidelined the entire spring with a creaky knee, with no timetable for his return to action; and Brad Lidge is likely to go on the DL with pain in his shoulder.
Additionally, Jose Contreras missed a couple days with a scratched cornea, Placido Polanco hyperextended his elbow, and Shane Victorino and Roy Oswalt luckily avoided serious injury after running into Raul Ibanez, and being hit in the back of the neck with a line drive, respectively.
Enough already! Be gone, damn bug!
But “bug” is a vague word. Is the injury bug an insect-bug?
Or a bacteria-bug?
Do we need to call in an exterminator?
Or a vaccinator?
At the moment, I don’t care which it is, I just want this team healthy! Right now!
Just a couple of posts ago, at the start of Spring Training, I was, well, calm about the state of the Phillies. Of course, then I was blissfully ignorant of events that would transpire, and conspire to make me potentially lose my calm.
Then, Chase Utley was taking it easy because of some vague reports of “soreness”. Now, Utley has been diagnosed with patellar tendinitis in his right knee, has received a cortisone shot in said knee, and has yet to appear in a Spring Training game.
Then, Domonic Brown was simply looking for his first hit of Spring Training. Now, although Brown finally got a hit over the past weekend, he broke a bone in his right hand in the process, something called the hook of the hamate bone.
A tiny bone, to be sure. Surgery was performed this morning to remove the bone, and the expected recovery time is 4-6 weeks.
[OK, if this bone can be totally removed, what possible purpose does it serve? Why do we have it? Must be about as useful as an appendix, tonsils, and wisdom teeth.]
I don’t even want to get into the fact that yesterday, the offense appeared to still be trying to awaken from winter hibernation, and Roy Oswalt allowed two home runs in 2 2/3 innings of work.
Yes, I know, it’s still early, sometimes pitchers are “working on things” and “getting their work in”, and hitters are still trying to get their timing down and working out the kinks, yada, yada. So I will take a deep breath, and try to remain calm.
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For the final installment (for now) of “Not Who You Think It Is”, did you know that the Phillies have had not one, but two legends of rock on their roster? Well, not really, just in name only.
Phil Collins the rock star rose to fame first as the drummer for Genesis, followed by a very successful solo career. But being British, he likely never played baseball.
Phil Collins the ballplayer pitched for the Phillies from 1929-1935. The Phils of this span were mediocre at best, just scraping above .500 once (78-76 in 1932), and really stinky at their worst (52-102 in 1930). Collins himself was 72-79 with a 4.67 ERA during his stint with the Phils.
Jim Morrison the rock star was the frontman for The Doors from their inception in 1965, through 1971, when he died of a supposed drug overdose in Paris. There are some who believe that Morrison never actually died, and that he faked his death.
Jim Morrison the ballplayer debuted with the Phillies in 1977, and during his two seasons in Philadelphia compiled a .174 batting average while appearing in 58 games. In 1979, he went to the White Sox as the “player to be named later” in a deal that brought the Phillies Jack Kucek.
Jim Morrison the ballplayer was last spotted managing the Charlotte Stone Crabs, a minor-league affiliate of the Rays.
Jim Morrison the rock star was last spotted with Elvis, buying Slurpees at a 7-Eleven in rural Georgia.
Just like last year, the Reading Phillies are offering their Kids Club program for kids 12 and under, and amazingly, there is no charge to join. One of the perks of membership is a free ticket for kids to each of seven designated games during the season. How could we refuse such an offer? This past Sunday was the first Kids Club game of the year.
In addition to the free ticket, members of the Kids Club get to take part in a special pre-game activity for club members only. This game’s activity was an on-field photo session with almost all the R-Phils players, with the exception of that day’s starting pitcher and catcher.
Of course, the big draws, top prospect Domonic Brown and newest propects Phillippe Aumont and Tyson Gillies, were at opposite ends of the warning track, with everyone else arranged alphabetically in between. So we needed to make a choice – go to Brown first, or Gillies and Aumont?
We chose Domonic Brown, mostly because I foresee him being promoted from double-A Reading before either Gillies or Aumont. Here are the kids with Domonic:
Domonic generates a lot of speed with those incredibly skinny calves!
We then worked our way around the warning track, stopping for photos with various players, as well as the ever-popular Crazy Hot Dog Vendor. Unfortunately, just before we got to Gillies and Aumont, the photo session ended, as the players had to go prepare for the game. I did manage to snap a quick pic of the two as they headed back to the clubhouse. Gillies, who is legally deaf, wears hearing aids in both ears, and one can be seen here:
After wandering around, getting something to eat, and dealing with minor meltdowns at the gift shop, it was time for the game to start. On the mound for the R-Phils was Yohan Flande:
Flande was sharp through six shutout innings, giving up only one hit and two walks. Not a particularly hard thrower, he kept the Portland Sea Dogs batters off balance all afternoon. Here, Portland first baseman Lars Anderson has not hit the ball, he’s so far in front of it that the ball hasn’t even crossed the plate yet, and he’s already swung through it:
Starting for the Sea Dogs, a Red Sox affiliate, was Stephen Fife:
In the bottom of the first, he walked the speedy Brown, and then hit Tagg Bozied with a pitch, but managed to escape unscathed.
Domonic Brown makes it back to first in time on a pickoff attempt:
Bozied apparently shook off being hit on the hand/wrist (I couldn’t really tell exactly where – Bozied bats right-handed, so his back was to us, as we were seated on the third-base side) as he ripped a two-run double in the third to put Reading on the board.
After six innings, Reading was up 2-0 in this quick moving pitching duel. Then, the relievers came in. B.J. Rosenberg gave up four runs in the top of the seventh, on a solo home run by Lars Anderson, and a three-run homer by Jason Place. The Sea Dogs now led 4-2.
Rosenberg was later placed on the DL with a strained muscle, so maybe that explains the rough outing.
In the bottom of the seventh, Portland reliever Robert Coello returned the favor, allowing a three-run dinger to Tagg Bozied, the hero of the game, to put the R-Phils up 5-4. Bozied had knocked in all five of the R-Phils runs so far. Here he is about to be congratulated by Reading manager Steve Roadcap after his home run:
In the minors, the manager often doubles as the third base coach.
In other game action, Reading shortstop Freddy Galvis fields a ground ball and fires to first for the out:
Tyson Gillies attempts a bunt, but it ended up rolling foul:
Reading tacked on another run in the eighth, and held on to win 6-4. A great day at the ballpark, with the temperature comfortably in the low 70’s, and an R-Phils victory! Now we have to wait until May for the next Kids Club game.
Before I get into my coverage of our final two games, you may recall me mentioning in my last entry that I thought Ed Smith Stadium looks like a motel. Well, I dug through my old photo albums, and found a photo from our visit in March 2000. At the time, it was the spring home of the Reds. Since then, the Reds have relocated to Arizona for Spring Training, and Ed Smith is now home to the Orioles. Here it is:
Unless it’s been refurbished in the past 10 years, this is what the exterior of the part behind home plate looks like. All those railings and doors look just like a motel to me.
March 16 – Day 6
After yet another mouth-watering breakfast at the Inn at the Bay, we made our way to Bright House Field for today’s Phillies-Tigers game. If I haven’t already mentioned it, the Inn at the Bay serves the most awesome breakfasts. We’ve stayed there five times, and we’ve almost never had the same breakfast twice. They are so filling, most days we don’t even need lunch!
Once again, we arrived when the gates opened. New Tiger Johnny Damon signed some autographs (for Phillies fans!) during batting practice. I’m still not too happy with Johnny over that stolen-base-thing last October:
Cole Hamels was on the mound for the Phillies, going five innings with 2 hits, 1 run, and 4 stikeouts. He was looking pretty good this day:
Detroit’s Justin Verlander didn’t have such a great day, giving up home runs to Domonic Brown and Ryan Howard. Overall, he went 3 1/3 innings, with 4 runs on 3 hits:
Speaking of Howard’s homer (his first of the spring), it came on the swing immediately following this shot:
During a pitching change, Johnny Damon, Adam Everett, and Brandon Inge discuss the fly ball that got lost in the sun and just dropped into the Bermuda Triangle of turf between all three of them for a hit. They all appear to have sunglasses – guys, weren’t you using them?
Phil Coke came on in relief of Verlander, and proceeded to give up Domonic Brown’s second homer of the day, a two-run shot. Phil’s pants look like they have enough extra fabric at the bottom for a whole ‘nuther pair:
Domonic Brown had a great day at the plate, going 3-for-3 with two homers and an RBI single. As thanks, he got reassigned to the minor league camp after the game:
New Phillie Danys Baez came on to pitch a scoreless inning in relief:
Greg Dobbs, playing third in place of the injured Placido Polanco, makes contact. Dobbs went 1-for-3 and scored a run:
Jimmy Rollins stops to sign some autographs on his way to the clubhouse. This may have been a mistake, as he was stuck there for the next 10 minutes while fans continued to flock down the aisle. Jimmy is actually one of the most fan-friendly Phillies, so he didn’t seem to mind:
Something I hadn’t seen before was a post-game batting practice. After the final out, the cage was wheeled back on the field, and Raul Ibanez, Carlos Ruiz, and Shane Victorino took additional BP. Shane seemed to be working on his bunting. Afterwards, Raul Ibanez and his son walk to the clubhouse with Charlie Manuel:
On the way out, we stopped for a photo of me in front of the entrance to the ballpark. Since I’m always the one taking the pictures, we need visual proof I was actually on this vacation:
March 17 – Day 7
St. Patrick’s Day dawned rather gray and dreary. On our way to the ballpark, it even rained a little bit. This had me concerned, because our “seats” for today were on the berm, the grassy area beyond the outfield fence. I wasn’t looking forward to sitting on soggy sod.
Not to fear though. By gametime, the skies had cleared and it turned into a sunny, pleasant afternoon for our final day in Florida.
During Phillies BP, Charlie Manuel had a chance to check out the mini-sized Charlie Manuel bat that will be given out to kids on July 6:
Randy Winn and Brian Schneider are loitering behind the batting cage. Something has made Winn grin, though Schneider looks like he just ate a bug:
This trio of trouble is yukking it up at the expense of their fellow fielder, who just muffed a grounder during pre-game warmups:
Mark Texiera and Alex Rodriguez wait their turns in the batting cage. Just what is that huge wad hiding in A-Rod’s cheek? Gum? Sunflower seeds? Some chew? His ego?
Phillies broadcaster Chris Wheeler was on hand to sign copies of his book, “View From The Booth.” Yes, I bought one. There are some who don’t really like Wheels as a broadcaster, but I’ll be interested to read his take on things:
Just before the game started, I met up with Confession of a She-Fan‘s Jane Heller and got interviewed by her on the She-Fan Cam. Click here to read Jane’s coverage of the game, and see the video clip.
In between BP and game time, the Phillies changed from their usual red and white uniforms to their bright green St. Patty’s day jerseys. Joe Blanton took to the mound for the Phillies. Blanton had a Blanton-like outing, going 5 innings, scattering 7 hits and giving up 2 runs:
The last time my husband and I came to Spring Training, in 2007, we saw the Phillies host the Yankees on St. Patrick’s Day, and Andy Pettitte started for the Yankees. Three years later, we are seeing the Phillies host the Yankees on St. Patrick’s Day, and Andy Pettitte is starting for the Yankees. Deja vu!
Randy Winn scores for the Yankees, as the throw to Carlos Ruiz is late:
Ryan Howard tosses the ball to first to get the out:
The Flyin’ Hawaiian can’t fly quite far enough, as this ball got past Shane Victorino for an extra-base hit:
The Phillie O’Phanatic get a bit, um, friendly with the third-base umpire. The mind shudders to imagine the offspring that would result from such an unholy union:
The luck of the Irish was with Jayson Werth as he lauched a three-run homer, which sealed the outcome of the game in favor of the Phillies:
Final score: Phillies 6, Yankees 2
Later that evening, we met up for dinner with Jane and her husband Michael, as it turned out that they were staying just three blocks away from us in St. Petersburg. We all enjoyed a delicious meal, and great conversation. The time flew by, and since we all had flights home the next day, finally had to bid each other good night.
Our flight home was much better than the first – no turbulence, and my husband and I actually got to sit next to each other this time.
(all photos by me, except the one of me, which was taken by my husband)
Towards the end of the summer, I decided to pick out some of the better pictures I’d taken at Reading Phillies games this year, and see if I could get them autographed. This isn’t too difficult an endeavor at Reading – obviously it’s much smaller than major league ballparks, and the players have to actually walk across the public concourse to get from the clubhouse to the field. Out of eight photos, I managed to get four of them signed.
Judging by the resulting signatures, baseball players do not place much of a premium on good handwriting. Their grade-school teachers would be appalled!
Good thing these signatures are on photos, and not something generic, like a ball. Otherwise, I might be hard-pressed after a few months to identify the player in question. Here they are, in descending order of legibility.
Sergio at least seems to have tried to get most of the letters in there. The S and E are pretty obvious, accompanied by a bunch of other squiggles. Sergio has since been called up to the parent Phillies, to help bolster the injury-plagued bullpen. Good luck Sergio!
Kind of curvy and pretty (the signature, not the player), but it would be impossible to read if you didn’t know what it was. Quintin was named to the Eastern League’s Mid-season and Post-season All-Star squads (apparently they have two), and just missed (by one base) leading the league with stolen bases, with 48.
One of the Phillies’ top prospects, Domonic seems to be going the “initials” route with his signature, with the D and B seeming to be all that’s there. Brown began the season at single-A Clearwater, and was promoted to double-A Reading mid-season. He will likely play in the Arizona Fall League.
OK, I’ll give him the J, but the other part doesn’t even resemble an S. If this weren’t on a photo, I might think one of my kids was scribbling just to see if the pen was working. Joe was also named to the Eastern League Mid-season and Post-season All-Star squads, and was promoted to triple-A Lehigh Valley at the end of July.
I’ve “picked” a winner!
Not too many of you were feeling creative for my last caption contest, but nonetheless I’ve chosen my favorite.
“So, what are you harvesting today?”
Thanks to Julia of Julia’s Rants!
(all photos by me)
So I’m a little slow in getting around to writing this entry. The final Reading Phillies Kids Club game of the season was on August 30, and now it’s September 9. Better late than never!
The pre-game Kids Club activity for this evening was an on-field photo session with various R-Phils players. For some undetermined reason, neither of my kids felt like doing it. Hmm. As one might expect, top prospect Domonic Brown had the longest line of fans waiting for their photo op with him. The entire photo session ended up lasting all of 20 minutes, so in a way it was just as well that the kids decided not to get in line, as we may have ended up not getting our chance anyway.
In the meantime, my husband ran into the husband of one of my good friends, who was there with his kids. As they were loitering in front of the customer service booth, the woman behind the counter asked them if they wanted to participate in one of the on-field contests between innings, which required two adults and two children. My friend’s husband said “Yes!”, and my husband (who doesn’t like to be a public spectacle) said “My wife will do it.” Photographic proof is further down this post.
Here is prospect Domonic Brown prior to the start of the game(s):
Due to rainouts on the previous two nights, a double-header was scheduled, with the first game actually resuming in the bottom of the second inning, the point at which it had been suspended the previous night. So as the game began, the R-Phils were already on the losing end, 1-0.
Around the fourth or fifth inning, we were to go on field with another group to compete in the sling-shot contest. We had 30 seconds to try to shoot squishy balls through a hole in a target which was lowered from the grandstand roof. Here we are:
My friend’s husband is on the left, I’m on the right, and my son is the one in black. My friend’s son is obscured behind me. Neither we nor the other group got any balls through the target, though some came close. It’s a lot harder than it looks – the soft stuffed balls tend not to fly straight. I’ve never seen any go through at games I’ve been to, though occasionally someone does make it.
The first game finished quickly, with the same 1-0 score as when it started. After a short break, game two began. Not sure there was any real reason why, but this game was “Beatles Tribute Night”. All the player photos on the scoreboard had been modified to give them appropriate hairstyles. Here’s Domonic with a “Beatle-do”:
Better stick to your normal hairstyle!
By the third inning, my son kept complaining that his stomach hurt. Could it be because he’d eaten (in this order) a helmet of Dippin’ Dots, two hot dogs, a Sprite, and a massive order of french fries? Let’s just say things were a bit unsettled, and we ended up leaving early. Shortly after we left, the R-Phils pitching imploded, so I guess it wasn’t a tragedy that we left when we did.
Caption Contest Fun!
Once I got a chance to look through my photos from the night, I discovered I’d inadvertantly caught this moment:
That’s Domonic Brown in front, and a (thankfully) unidentified R-Phils player in the back. Give me your most creative captions, and I’ll be sure to “pick” a winner!
(all photos by me, except the one of me was taken by my husband)