When last I blogged, I was going semi-insane from trying to get everything ready and organized for our trip to Florida for Spring Training. Well, now I’m back. We had a great time, but sadly, our trip had to come to an end, and we had to return home. Though it was sunny most days, it was definitely not as warm as I would have liked! Florida has been having some unusually cool weather so far this spring, and coupled with the steady wind, made sitting in the shade a bit nippy!
Or nipply, as Chevy Chase might say.
But, I have some Actual Work already that I need to do this afternoon, which of course will help to pay for some of the trip expenditures. So once I get a chunk of time, I will be back to compose an entry (or two) with coverage of all our Spring Training fun!
After a few days of waiting to find out who would be the Phillies’ World Series opponent, the Yankees sent the Angels back home, defeating them in Game 6 of the ALCS. I was kind of hoping they’d go to Game 7, so the winner would only have one day off, they’d be nice and tired, and hopefully CC would not be available the first game or so. No such luck.
Nonetheless, destiny was fulfilled, and I will not have to hear those freakin’ thunder sticks booming out of my TV any more.
So why do I say “destiny”?
If you’re a regular reader of Jane Heller’s Confessions of a She-Fan, you may recall an entry she wrote back in February, after consulting a tarot card reader on the fortunes of the Yankees this season. Here’s an excerpt from the tarot card reader’s comment clarifying the results of her reading:
… So, for all of you fans out there that would really like to see the Yankees win the championship, keep your thoughts and feelings positive and in this way we can co-create a resonant field of success that energetically supports their win. It’s just quantum physics.
The Phillies dropped their second exhibition game yesterday, losing to the Blue Jays 6-2. The good news from the game was that Carlos Carrasco and J.A. Happ each pitched two scoreless innings. Carrasco struck out three, without giving up any hits, and Happ struck out one while giving up one hit. So it looks like the competition for the fifth starters’ spot is already off to a blazing start.
What is not off to a blazing start is the Phils’ batting. Rather, the bats still seem to be hibernating. According to Charlie Manuel, “Our hitting is behind. But we haven’t seen a lot of live hitting yet. Our players didn’t get here until the 17th.”
Um, Charlie, wouldn’t the other teams be in the same boat too? The Pirates’ and Blue Jays’ bats apparently aren’t so far behind.
OK, I know these games don’t matter, etc. etc., and the runs have been given up not by the starting rotation guys, but by the non-roster invitees. But the Phils weren’t facing the other teams’ aces either, so let’s wake up those bats, please!
Breaking news! The Phillies have released Adam Eaton. Looks like the team will end up eating $9 million on Eaton: $8.5 million for this season, plus a $500,000 club option for 2010. I’d still love to know why the front office thought that signing a pitcher whose ERA has never been below 4.00 was a good idea. For three years, no less! I will be interested to see if he ends up getting picked up by another team.
Book Review time
Earlier this week, I finished reading Jane Heller’s book Confessions of a She-Fan. Keep in mind that I was only familiar with Jane from her MLBlog of the same name, and then only since the beginning of February when I started this blog.
I was initially taken aback (slightly) by the true depth of Jane’s vitriol towards the Red Sox and their Nation. Of course, Jane can’t use some of the words directed at said players and fans here on the blogs without getting in trouble!
Being neither a Yankees nor a Red Sox fan, I was able to enjoy the book without reliving the heartbreak of the 2007 season (for Yankees fans), or being offended (for Red Sox fans). In fact, quite a few times while reading I was laughing out loud, to the point that my husband or children were asking me what was so funny. I don’t want to give anything away here to any of you who haven’t read the book yet, so I won’t go into specifics, but suffice it to say that she-fans of any team will enjoy it!
The book is more than just a recap of the Yankees’ 2007 season, and Jane’s experiences following the team across the country for the second half of that season. She deftly interweaves stories of her early years of Yankee love, and her personal life as well, into the week by week travelogues.
Also woven into the mix are the various attempts by Jane to gain access to the pressbox and the team, and how she seems to be thwarted at every turn by one Jason Zillo, the Yankees’ media relations director. All she wants is to talk to just one Yankee! By the end of the book, any Yankee will do.
Though the book is subtitled “The Course of True Love With the New York Yankees”, it also touches on the course of true love with her real-life husband, Michael, who has accompanied Jane on this adventure. We see the ups and downs of her relationships with both Michael and the Yankees. As the old quote goes, “The course of true love never did run smooth.”
My favorite parts of the story are like bookends – one at the beginning (in the prologue), when Jane sights A-Rod in a Toronto restaurant, and one near the end, when Jane ventures into enemy territory at Fenway Park. After having been told to be on her best behavior and not draw attention to herself as a Yankee fan, what Jane finally does at the end of the game is worthy of a You-Tube moment!
Jane, I have found a comfortable home for your book here on my bookshelf, nestled in between Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth:
in order to avoid any karmic rage that could come down upon me! 🙂
(Carrasco/Happ photos by Miles Kennedy/Phillies)
Friday at the Phillies training camp in Clearwater had quite the photo shoot, featuring the team, manager, and coaches decked out in tuxedos, posing with the World Series trophy. Here’s a picture of them that ran in this morning’s Philadelphia Inquirer, as they get ready for the shoot:
The final shot will grace the cover of Phillies Magazine. To maintain exclusivity, only the official photographer was allowed to participate in the actual shoot. There is a video, parts of which are pretty funny, showing the players getting ready for the photo. Since I don’t know how to link video into my posts, here’s a link to the story on phillies.com.
What’s actually pretty amazing is that 23 out of 25 of the guys on the World Series roster are still Phillies this year. Only Pat Burrell and So Taguchi are no longer with the Phils – Pat of course having signed with Tampa Bay as a free agent, and Taguchi is a non-roster invitee of the Cubs this spring.
Many of the players and coaches had not worn a tux since their wedding day, and for Chris Coste it had been even longer. He last wore a tux to his high school prom, having gotten married while wearing a baseball uniform! Here is a picture of that special moment, from his book The 33-Year-Old Rookie:
Other Spring Training tidbits
Marcus Giles, a non-roster invitee, has been working out at third base. He could get some time there while Pedro Feliz continues to recover from off-season back surgery. Right now, Feliz’s status for opening day is uncertain.
According to pitching coach Rich Dubee, Adam Eaton “will get his time on the mound” even though he is not in the running for the fifth starter’s position. One can only hope that he will pitch well enough this spring to draw some trade interest.
Will Eaton go down as one of the worst Phillies signings ever? Let’s see, a three-year, $24.5 million contract, and what do we have to show for it? A record of 14 wins and 18 losses, an ERA hovering around 6.10. You decide.
On My Reading List
My Amazon shipment finally came on Thursday (yay!), with Jane Heller’s Confessions of a She-Fan and Joe Torre’s The Yankee Years. I have to say that when I was placing my order, it just felt kind of, oh, wrong to be ordering two books about the Yankees, being that I’m not a Yankee fan. But I do have other non-Phillie books, so I got over it.
Hmm, which to read first? I decided on Jane, and cracked open the book as soon as I took it out of the box, while standing in my kitchen. I was laughing (well, snorting – I tend to do that when I laugh) out loud by page 2! I’m trying not to read it too fast – I want to savor it.
If any of you other she-fans out there haven’t gotten it yet – what are you waiting for!? In fact, I think it’s easier to appreciate when you aren’t a Yankee fan – you don’t have to relive all the heartbreak of the 2007 season along with Jane. I’ll give a more in-depth review once I’ve finished it.
(tux photo by Eric Mencher, Philadelphia Inquirer; Coste photo by Julie’s Photography, from The 33-Year-Old Rookie; Eaton photo mine)
A few days ago, our favorite She-Fan, Jane Heller, mused on her blog that she had let her mind wander, and it was a dangerous thing. Not only did that give me a good chuckle, I was reminded of this comic strip from Calvin and Hobbes:
Well, that’s the way I feel today – my mind is wandering, and right now it hasn’t come back (and my husband might argue that it never will). So until some substantive news comes out of the Phillies training camp, I guess I’ll just have to let you know where my mind has been lately.
First, baseball cards. Yeah, the new ones are all shiny and slick, with amazing action photography, or portraits worthy of a magazine cover. Yawn. What I really like are some of the cards from years past, the ones showcasing a really bad hair day, or that just made you wonder.
This card of Gus Zernial has always been one of my favorites, ever since I saw a picture of it as a kid, in a book called The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading and Bubble Gum Book. Now there’s a mouthful!
Gus was an outfielder for the Philadelphia A’s at the time of this photo. He also played for the White Sox and Tigers during his career. The back of the card notes that Gus “tied the major league record for the most home runs in 3 straight games with 6 circuit clouts and hit 7 in 4 straight games to tie the American League mark.” So of course I wondered why the photo only had six balls stuck on the bat, and not seven. More is better, right?
Also, though it might be hard to see here, Gus is wearing an obviously pink t-shirt under his uniform. Pink? I didn’t think that was too popular for men back in the early 1950s.
I was lucky enough to meet Gus at a book-signing in 2007, sponsored by the Philadelphia A’s Historical Society. So of course I had to ask him these two questions that had been burning in my mind for years. As for the 6 vs 7 balls, he explained that the day he tied the mark with six homers in three games, a photographer set up this shot (the balls are actually scotch-taped to the bat). Then of course in the next game he hit another homer.
And the shirt? Gus had had to do his own laundry, and a red item had gotten in with the t-shirts, turning all of them pink.
This particular card of Oscar Gamble always cracks me up (I’ll try to refrain from the obvious Mickey Mouse references, but there, I’ve said it anyway!):
Oh, the questions in my mind! What would his hair look like fully unleashed? How many sizes too large was his cap, in order to accomodate all that hair? And what a nasty case of cap-head he must have had at the end of a game!
Earlier this morning, I was browsing around mlb.com, and came across a story about a book of batting lineup poetry, called Complete Lineups. I admit that I’m not much of a poetry fan, and I can’t say that the excerpts cited did much to inspire me to buy this book. How, exactly, is this poetry?
They are all apparently great British poets, by the way. But it did remind me of an actual lineup from a co-ed softball team I played on during my tenure at a “major pharmaceutical company”, as they always say on game shows (Why can’t they ever actually say where they work? I guess it’s considered free advertising or something.)
The top of the batting order was always this:
Go ahead, say it out loud. It just doen’t sound good, does it? I swear, though, that these are actual people I once worked with.
Well, I better go try to round up my mind. Be a mind-wrangler, if you will. And maybe I’d better build it a corral.
(Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson, Universal Press Syndicate)