Entries Tagged as '2007 Spring Training Trip'

CACTUS LEAGUE REPORT: 3/21 Day & Night

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Nick Swisher

3/21 Day: Got to Tempe Diablo Stadium early to see the Angels host the Diamondbacks. It was gonna be another scorcher with temps in the mid 90s, seemed hotter in the sun (which was where our seats were). Not much veggie fare, washed down some nachos with a couple of beers, heavily tipped at concession stand as tips were going to Shriners Hospital. Met a real estate agent from LA who said he’d set me up with tix right by the Dodger dugout if I ever came out to Chavez Ravine. Ran into Bernie, an Angels fan we sat by two years ago. Hard to tell who was whom as both teams wore red & white uniforms. The Halos had this one under control from the outset, besting the Snakes 8-3. Darren Oliver got a standing ovation when he entered the game, from DonS. Alberto Callaspo & Conor Jackson each had three hits for Arizona. The paramedics rushed to our section, when a foul ball hit off a little girl’s knee. Angels catcher Jose Molina was 3 for 3, including a bunt single & a stolen base. LA’s thirdsacker Chone Figgins suffered a broken finger.

3/21 Night: It was a real rush job getting to Surprise from Tempe in rush hour, with the KC night game starting at 6:05 PM. Grabbed a Rubio’s burrito just as Oakland DH Mike Piazza launched a first inning blast, putting the A’s up 1-0, which was an indication of things to come. In the 3rd inning Oakland hit back-to-back-to-back jacks, by Nick Swisher, Mark Ellis, & Dan Johnson on three consecutive pitches, all off Royals starter Brian Bannister. Adam Melhuse followed with a 1st pitch single, I said, “He should be farmed out for failing to hit a home run”. After three innings it was a TD apiece. The Royals left Joe Blanton off the hook in the 2nd, when Ryan Shealy was thrown out at third on a steal attempt & Angel Berroa was picked off first. My old White Sox buddy Ross Gload was 3 for 4, raising his spring average to .459, while future superstar Alex Gordon ripped two doubles in four times to the plate, lifting his average to .390. The A’s got to Cody Ross for two 9th inning runs, tagging him with the 11-10 loss. Surprise is the best park in Arizona, while Clearwater is the best in Florida.

CACTUS LEAGUE REPORT: 3/20 Day & Night

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Manny Alexander

3/20 Day: Before we even got our fannies into our seats the White Sox took a 1-0 lead off Rich Harden & the Oakland A’s, Pablo Ozuna got a leadoff double and scored on a two out base hit by Jermaine Dye. With Knuckleballer Charlie Haeger (KevinS has an in with the Sox) on the bump for the Sox I could taste the dollar coming my way from DonS via our friendly wager on who would surrender more runs, Harden or Haeger. But when Uncle Lou Merloni dropped a three run bomb on an un-knuckleball my dillusions of grandeur vanished. Sox dropped this one, 5-3, Josh Fields got two backward K’s, one with two on & two out to end the game.

3/20 Night: It was Manny Alexander in Peoria, AZ. After somebody who sounded alot like Teddy Ballgame yelled out, “Retire ya bum!” Manny lined an RBI extra inning two out single to mercifully end it, it was gonna end after 10 innings no matter what. Justin Germano, SD’s 2002 Minor League Pitcher of the Year, who was recently claimed off waivers from the Phillies, was the winning pitcher for the Padres. The Angels got a triple play against the Padres in the very first inning when Josh Bard swung & missed strike three, Todd Walker who was on 1st stopped running & was tagged out, and Brian Giles who was on 3rd strayed just far enough to be tagged out. DonS stated, “We eat teams that run the bases like that alive!”, but it wasn’t to be. Although Royce Ring of SD allowed 4 hits & walked in a run in 1/3 of an inning, which put the Halos up 6-3 after 5 1/2. Ervin Santana sat in the dugout far too long, and spit out the lead, surrendering 4 in the bottom of the sixth to put the Padres up a run. Alexander made an error, which woke up the fat guy in the stands, who bellowed, the error produced an unearned run off Trevor Hoffman, which setup Manny’s heroics, 8-7 SD. I pick both teams to win their divisions in 2007.

CACTUS LEAGUE REPORT: 3/18 & 3/19

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3/18: Saw the White Sox play the Padres in Peoria, AZ.
Peoria is alot farther than I’d remembered it being
from Phoenix, about 40 minutes. Got to the game with
tailgating time to spare before the game started. 95
degrees, very hot, but who’s complaining, with beer in
the house. John Danks is competing with Gavin Floyd
for the 5th spot in the Sox rotation, Danks threw
better, but Floyd put up the better numbers. Adrian
Gonzalez, a lefty hitter, bombed one 460 to center off
the southpaw Danks. And leftfielder(?) Russell
Branyan hit an opposite field drive to left, two
(charged) errors on him. Boomer Wells got boomered by
the Southsiders to the tune of seven runs in three
innings, they weren’t saying Boomer. Paul Konerko
nailed one to left and Ryan Sweeney rode one out to
right, late in the game. Good Guys two TD’s, SD 7.

3/19: Went to see the Cubbies do battle against the
Brewers in Maryvale (Maryvale – see generic, no
frills, new ballpark, in bad part of Phoenix). The
beers were going down easy before the game. Wanted to
see three kids and saw all three, Ryan Braun, Felix
Pie, & Jake Fox. If I were the Cubs (thank God I’m
not) I’d play Pie in CF, Alfonso Soriano in LF, &
Jones in right. Alfonso was a no show, with Felix in
RF & Jacque in center, Murton was in left. There were
some 16 year old bikini clad girls hooting it up for
Matt, his face turned as red as his hair. Braun
fouled off three 0-2 pitches before getting all of a
three run bomb to center. Jake Fox (one of at least
six Cub catchers) was called out when an 0-2 pitch
crossed the plate. Final score 11-7 Cubbies over the
Brew Crew.

Baseball Zealot Radio: One last podcast from the Grapefruit League

It was fun, it was sunny, but it’s finally time for Teddy to leave Florida and come back to Chicago. But he called in one more time and left us one more report for Baseball Zealot Radio.

Take a listen to his latest podcast about the happenings at Dunedin and Clearwater.

If you haven’t already, check out Teddy’s articles he’s written while watching the Grapefruit League action.

You can download the show from Baseball Zealot Radio’s website

or Listen to it via iTunes.

Stay tuned as BZR will have reports from the Cactus League in Arizona soon!

Baseball Zealot Radio Show #15: Teddy Calls in from the Grapefruit League Part II

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Teddy Ballgame calls in and chats with Tom and Chuck about what’s goin’ on in Spring Training in Florida.

Download the show at the Baseball Zealot Radio web site.

Or listen to it via iTunes.

 

TEDDY BALLGAME GETS LAST TASTE OF GRAPEFRUIT

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March 7th was the last game of 2007 Spring Training in
the Sunshine State. This game was played between the
two host teams of all the games I’ve watched thus far,
the Blue Jays went 10 minutes south on US-19 from
Dunedin to Clearwater, where they met the Phillies, at
Bright House Field. Yesterday neither team had a home
game, so I went to Tampa Bay Downs. I bet on Tammi in
the 2nd race and My Philly in the 6th race, ended up
$160 to the good.

Got to Bright House Field about 12:15, saw Dallas
Green putting mustard on his hot dog, while I
purchased a lemonade, heard Robin Roberts was on hand,
but didn’t actually see him. It was a balmy 76
degrees, so I was able to watch the game in the shade,
from my favorite spot, behind home plate.

Brett Myers was wild, while Gustavo Chacin was on his
game, which resulted in a 2-0 Toronto lead, could’ve
been worse if Shane Victorino hadn’t made a nice catch
at the wall & gun down a runner at the plate on a
single passed Chase Utley. That lead went away when
Pat Burrell hit a majestic drive to leftfield that
just kept going, with Ryan Howard on base, and then
Wes Helms put the Phillies up with a solo shot.

It stayed 3-2 Philadelphia, until Jason Smith hit one
out in the top of the 8th to tie it at three. In the
bottom of the 10th Brennan King launched a three run,
walkoff homer, to end the game and my Florida
preseason baseball for 2007.

Getting off the elevator, I ran into a cute girl who
sells Phillie souvenirs. I used to see her all the
time when I’d come to Clearwater in years past to
watch the Phillies workout before the preseason games
began. It’s always good to see old friends,
especially pretty young blonde friends.

Did a couple of other cool things in Florida today, on
my way to breakfast I saw a couple of dolphins
swimming in brackish water outside my hotel room and
then saw Wild Hogs (highly recommend it, VERY FUNNY)
after baseball.

BIG COUNTRY GOES BIG FLY

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March 5th was my fifth of six Grapefruit games I’ll
attend this Spring. It was my 2nd trip to Dunedin in
the past three days, two days ago it was cold, rainy,
with a strong wind, today there was no rain, and this
time I was smart enough to watch the game from field
level, in the sun – MUCH better!

Big Country, Brad Eldred, opened the scoring for the
Buccos with a BIG FLY (his 3rd of the preseason) over
the leftfield wall. Vernon Wells knocked one out for
the Jays. But Eddie Garabito was the hitting star for
the Pirates, with a homer, two RBIs, & two runs
scored. Zach Duke looked very similar to what I saw
last year, masterful out of the windup, pitiful out of
the stretch. ISU’s own Jeremy Accardo struckout two
in one perfect inning for the Jays. The game ended in
an eight, eight tie.

Baseball Zealot Radio gets a report from Teddy Ballgame

The latest episode of Baseball Zealot Radio is out. Teddy gives a call from Florida and reports from the Grapefruit League. We talk about Ryan Howard, Tomo Ohka and a munchkin.



You can download the show from BZR’s web page.

Listen to our show via iTunes!

2/3 OF THE EARTH IS COVERED BY WATER

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The rest is covered by Maddox was the line always
spoken about the former Gold Glove Phillie
centerfielder. Garry threw out the first ball before
my 4th Grapefruit League game of the spring. Although
the temperature didn’t get much above 65 degrees, I
was in the sunshine and some of the 9,000 fans on hand
were almost better to look at than the ballgame.

The Yankees were in the HOUSE! They only brought five
players, Robinson Cano (who switched from #22 to #24,
in prep for a returning Rocket), Johnny Damon (a joke
from his Red Sox days says, looks like Jesus, throws
like Mary), Jason Giambi, Melky Cabrera, & Miguel
Cairo.

The Zealot wanted me to keep my eyes open for Illini
Grad Chris Basak. I called the Zealot when I saw
Chris playing 3B for the Bombers, while I was on the
phone, a grounder to third, resulted in a 5-3 routine
play. I yelled out, “I-L-L”, “I-N-I”! Basak got to
the plate three times, a hard grounder through the
leftside for an RBI single, a bases loaded liner that
died in centerfielder Chris Roberson’s glove after a
long run (that kid can FLY), and a bouncer to SS which
Basak busted down the line & was called out on a
bang-bang play. A Yankee fan said Basak lined a homer
to left Friday at Al Lang Field. GO CHRIS GO!!!

The starting pitchers were long gone when the final
was posted 10-5 Yankees. Cole Hammels looked solid
for the Phillies, but you could tell it was Spring
Training as Carl Pavano started for NY.

Reporting from Spring Training: Worth Every Penny

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Day two in the Sunshine State saw me in at Brighthouse
Field where the Philadelphia Phillies opened their
61st consecutive years of Spring Training in
Clearwater, FL. 61 consecutive years is the 2nd most
for any MLB team at a town for spring training, can
you name the longest?

The Cleveland Indians were the visitors and even
brought fewer big leaguers than Boston brought to
Dunedin the day before. Jason Michaels, Casey Blake,
& Andy Marte were the only major leaguers to make the
trip.

A ball was fouled straight back, bounced off the back
wall behind the plate, rolled to a halt a few feet
from me, and the guy I was talking with picked up the
souvineer. A better souvineer was launched in the
opposite direction as Ryan Howard CONNECTED bombing
one 460 feet over the centerfield scoreboard. This
kid is gonna be good, MVP, and just signed for
$900,000. I think the Phillies should have signed him
for more money, not because they had to, but because
it is the right thing to do.

NickyV and I saw him on a baseball roadtrip a couple
of years back. Howard ripped a double in Cincinnati
and NickyV exclaimed, “WHO IS THAT!” NickyV was smart
enough to grab him for his APBA team the State Street
Sluggers, coincidence – the Sluggers made their 1st
playoff appearance in ten years after drafting Ryan.

I saw Ryan Howard on HBO’s Real Sports. Turns out
Howard’s mother controls his money and gives him an
allowance. Gumbel commented, “Howard is the only MVP
to get an allowance from his mother”. Howard’s mother
gives him a hard time when he goes over his minutes on
his cellphone.

All you Fantasy Leaguers out there, listen up, Shane
Victorino is going to have a breakout year, possibly
.330 with doubles & steals, batting between Rollins &
Utley, with Howard driving them in. Shane is a
HUSTLER, always giving 110%, he was halfway to 2nd,
before retreating and settling for a single, he’s fun
to watch!