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)
There is no love lost between Tommy Lasorda and the Phillie Phanatic. It is well documented that Lasorda took exception to being run over (in effigy, not real life) by the Phanatic on his ATV. But why would a creature as lovable as the Phanatic
resort to such violence?
An unnamed source has recently provided the background information leading up to this heinous act. Recall that prior to the Dodgers’ move to Los Angeles, they were based in Brooklyn.
And long before the Phanatic was a gleam in his mother Phoebe’s eye,
she had, during her rebellious younger days, taken a “girls only” trip from her home in the Galapagos Islands to, of all places, Brooklyn.
While there, she and her friends met the young Lasorda.
Phoebe and Tommy hit it off, and, well, things happened.
Since the gestational period of the phanaticus species lasts several years, Lasorda and the Dodgers had already moved to California by the time Phoebe gave up the illegitimate child for adoption.
After this, Phoebe settled down, and many years later, the Phanatic was born. Phoebe was able to keep her secret for awhile, but eventually the Phanatic learned the truth. When he did, he was so mad he turned completely red!
Then, the next time the Dodgers visited Philadelphia, the Phanatic showed Tommy how he really felt. The Phanatic was almost arrested,
but thankfully the charges were dropped.
So what had gotten the Phanatic’s knickers in a twist? Not only the fact that his mom and Tommy Lasorda had had an illegitimate love child, but that he now had a half-brother that he not only knew already, but did not get along with very well. For the result of this unholy union was none other than
Mr. Met! The Phanatic’s least favorite mascot!
Tommy, or should I say Mr. Lasorda, in the infinitesimally small chance that you are actually reading this, please look at the calendar before you get your knickers in a twist!
(first Phanatic photo and Mr. Met photo mine; red Phanatic from delawareonline.com; Phoebe from shop.mlb.com; Phanatic mugshot from brotherlylovehate.com)
Ahh, the hot dog, linked with baseball for what seems like, well, forever. If not forever, then at least 100 years or so, though the actual date of the momentous marriage of American favorites is not exactly known. Hot dogs are also referred to as frankfurters, franks, wieners, or wienies, though I personally can’t use the last two and keep a straight face, due to my son’s use of those terms to mean something else entirely.
According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, the hot dogs consumed at MLB ballparks during the 2008 season would round the bases 41,667 times – enough to stretch from Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. to AT&T Park in San Francisco! That’s a lot of dogs!
Babe Ruth supposedly liked hot dogs – a lot. Legend has it that the Babe gorged himself on 12 to 18 hot dogs before collapsing on a train ride in April 1925. A week later he underwent surgery for an intestinal abscess. This dried-up, partially consumed hot dog on display at the Baseball Reliquary was supposedly part of that binge.
What I’d like to know is why someone saved this? Eww! And where has it been for the all the intervening years? Somebody’s attic must have really reeked!
In all likelihood, the vast majority of hot dogs consumed at baseball games are purchased at concession stands, or from the vendor if you don’t want to get out of your seat. But why have your hot dog just handed to you, when it can come flying through the air instead!
At Reading Phillies games, the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor will fling your hot dog with all his might. Unfortunately there are occasional delivery “malfunctions”, as seen here:
I’ve circled the errant hot dog. Presumably some “lucky” fan only got a bun. The Crazy Hot Dog Vendor is actually pretty popular – so much so that he even had his own bobble head given away at a game.
But sometimes the dogs need to travel farther. In Salem, VA, the Avalanche mascot Muggsy will fire them into the stands with this nifty contraption:
The vast reaches of a major league stadium require something even more powerful. Something like this howitzer of hot dog delivery systems, employed by the Phillie Phanatic:
The main problem tends to be that frequently, bits of hot dog, bun, and wrapper rain down on the fans in the rows in between the launcher and the intended target. Oh well, I guess the old-fashioned way is best after all. So no matter how your hot dog is delivered to you this season, enjoy! And don’t think too much about what’s actually in it.
As promised, here are the answers to yesterday’s quiz.
1) Simon and Garfunkel. The line is from the song “Mrs. Robinson”, featured in the movie “The Graduate”.
2) Centerfield, from the song of the same name.
3) Bruce Springsteen, from the song “Glory Days”.
4) Phil “The Scooter” Rizzuto, in the song “Paradise by the Dashboard Light”.
5) Manny Ramirez. The song is called “Moonshot Manny”.
6) “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now”
7) Sister Sledge
8) Bay Sluggas, Inc.
9) Bernie Williams
b) Black Train Jack, on the album “No Reward”. I saw this CD and was tempted to buy it simply because I really like that photo, and I was intrigued by their use of it. But I didn’t. So I have no idea what their music even sounds like.