SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2020
It turned out to be a really beautiful day, but at 10:00 when I got to the Carpenter Complex, it was 64 degrees with a chilly wind blowing out of the northeast. The ballplayers were all wearing jackets, or pullovers. I can’t blame them, I had my Phillies jacket on myself. By early afternoon though it was in the upper 70’s and a near perfect day. There were only position players out on the field, about 30 of them on two fields long tossing. It turned out, that they were all position players. I wound up having to park in the handicapped area. Ordinarily, I don’t like to park there because it just outside the outfield fence. I’ve seen cars hit there during batting practice. With my luck, it will go right through the windshield. By the way, if you are coming down, you can park at any Clearwater city meter, or parking lot free with a handicapped hanger, or license.
I don’t mind the long tossing and the stretching drills, it gives me a chance to renew old acquaintances that I really only see during spring training, down at these fields. The crowds are growing. I have been wondering why the parking lot at the DiMaggio Complex has been so full this week. That is the huge parking lot across the street from Spectrum Field that most people park in during the Phillies home games. Come to find out, the city was hosting a large softball tournament, parking them there and shuttling the participants in Jolly Trollies to the fields. The lot was full. This area depends on tourism and they are constantly doing a lot of things like that tournament to fill the hotels, stores and restaurants.
The players went from the long tossing to taking infield ground balls. As I watched Kingery field at third base, I couldn’t help but be reminded that I had not seen Segura. I would think that a guy who was being moved to a position that he had not played in a while would want to get an early start. Aside from Kingery… Harrison, Walker, Torreyes, and Forsythe all had to be in the mix. If Segura’s hitting drops off any more that position could be in play.
In this drill there were 4 coaches standing at home plate, each hitting grounders to the 4 infield positions at the same time. In addition, some of the fielders are throwing the ball after they catch it to first and home and to a guy standing half way up first base. Balls were flying everywhere, but there was very little waiting around to get your turn. It would be a good idea to stay alert.
The pitchers and catchers came out at 10:50 and began stretching. Most of the position players disappeared. While they were doing that, I watched a guy take out his cell phone, attach it to a little stand and sit it on top of a garbage can. He stood in front and started to rant against the new rule that a pitcher must pitch to 3 batters. He maintained that the front offices were doing this to shorten the game and that the fans didn’t really care. Somebody said that he did that for a blog somewhere. All I could think of was that we live in a changing age.
I guess, in baseball, I usually get to see something that I haven’t seen before. The pitchers went into fielding drills and then after that, bunting. They had a session where the pitchers stood at second base and bunted the ball from there rather than home plate. I wonder what the advantage of that is? They were working on their pickoff moves when I left at 12:30. I checked the google map to see how congested the traffic to the beach was and it told me that it would take an hour and forty-five minutes to get to the beach. That is ordinarily about a 25 minute drive. Well, on a beautiful Saturday afternoon? II had to rough it and go to Frenchy’s in Dunedin.