DAY ONE: GETTING MY PHIL(S)

Lisa here, while Jonathan is on vacation … except that it sort of feels like I’m on vacation too (only sort of, because after hours of writing in the evening, my back reminds me that I’m not) …

Checking in after Day One of my first (of two) spring training trips … am down here on the Gulf Coast of Florida and couldn’t be happier. For whatever reason, my last two years of spring training "assignments" were significantly shorter and limited me to the "other side" of Florida. Which I also like … but I LOVE this side of the state … and am very excited to be able to check in with you all from 10 camps over the next few weeks …

And I was especially happy to visit the Phillies in Clearwater on Day One. A perfect way to kick off the trip …

Because of my absence from the area, I had not seen the new stadium — aka Bright House Networks Field. Wow, Clearwater Threshers fans, you guys must be in heaven during the Florida State League season (not so subtle plea to my bosses, when you’re making up those travel assignments, don’t be afraid to send me back here!) …

In a way it was sort of bittersweet because I have wonderful memories of Jack Russell Stadium … it was the first spring training park to which we brought our daughter when she was a baby (have a great pic of her in her daddy-backpack with a big Clearwater Phillies cap shading her eyes) … though I also remember stepping in a fire ants nest in the parking lot, not my favorite spring training memory!

But this place is gorgeous. I love the ring of palm trees surrounding the outfield. And I especially love the Frenchy’s Tiki Hut up in left field.

It’s also very player friendly … the dugouts have two tiers of seats, one bench in the sun (or stars in the evening I guess) right near the front, and another row in the back under cover in case it’s drizzling. Plenty of room for everyone.

It was one of the first days of intersquad games and a cut-down day from big league camp, so they moved back the starting time for the games from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. to let the guys get a chance to settle in.

Back in the day when they played at JRS, the minor leaguers at Carpenter Complex got very few random fans watching their morning workouts (the new stadium is adjacent to the old complex, so I had no trouble finding it even without a GPS). But on this day, there were dozens of fans ringing Richie Ashburn field to watch some of the non-roster invitees taking BP … in fact, more fans there than later in the day when the actual games began and Brett Myers pitched a few innings on the back field.

Got a chance to chat for awhile with Phillies outfielder Greg Golson, their first-round pick in 2004. He had just come down that morning from his Major League camp experience and had nothing but raves for the players who took him under their wing, such as fellow centerfielders Michael Bourn and Chris Roberson, as well as pitcher Tom Gordon. Great kid, just a pleasure to talk to … I have a feeling he will put up some good numbers with the Threshers this season.

Anyway, it’s time to hit the road again … all the way to Dunedin (a 15-minute drive) to check in with Toronto Blue Jays camp …

It’s a tough job but someone has to do it …

3 Comments

hey Lisa, good to hear you’re keeping busy even with ATM no longer with us(tear). a little off topic but what do you think about Alay Solar getting released by the mets? seems like they never really gave him much of a shot. might there have been a problem with him that is yet unknown or was it more just the Mets wanting to move on?

Hey Trevor …

I confess I was absolutely stunned to read that myself! I have no inside info, since I’ve been sitting here at my computer working on my Toronto Blue Jays camp notebook since reading the news item … but I wondered the exact same thing …

It seems a little hasty, given the bonus he was given, the stuff he has (or was reported to have) and the fact that he did have some success as recently as a year ago, to just outright release him if the only reason was wanting to “move on,” a poor start to spring training notwithstanding.

I’ll be interested in reading the New York beat writers’ take on this that is sure to come streaming in over the next few hours …

One thing, though, this makes my rotisserie roster decisions a little easier :)

Lisa,

Can’t say enough about how the show has helped me in getting to know almost all the prospects and more in the minors. You and Jonathan were a part of my day and it’s difficult to figure out that you won’t be there in the same format. Anyway…

Could you tell us a little more about the Blue Jays organization? By that I mean the coaching staff and the way Spring Training is handled? I’m a huge BJ fan and ‘analyst’, and I would like to get your opinion as well as Jonathan’s.

Thank you very much!

Dave Rouleau

Blue Jays’ Dugout

http://www.bluejaysdugout.blogspot.com

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