SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2020
Perfect day for a baseball game. It was sunny and into the mid 70’s. Beware that you will have to pass through metal detectors to get into the park and walk through heavily armed police to get in. I knew that the Pirates would bring a ton of kids, or who he’s? and they did. To make matters worse, the Pirates were playing a split squad. That meant that anyone with any seniority didn’t make the bus trip up from Bradenton. I knew they were rebuilding and completely broke that team down by trading away anyone who had any value. They also cleaned out the manager and coaching staff and the front office.
This is the earliest that I can remember the games starting. Actually if I am remembering right, it’s almost a week early. I’m not sure spring break has started yet. It’s surely not in full swing. It made me wonder what the attendance would be like. As it turned out, the official count was 6,989. That is somewhat below the Phillies norm, but when you consider that the average attendance for a Florida spring training game last year was 6,318, it’s not bad. It was light early last year, but improved as the Spring Training/Spring Break moved along.
Nola started and pitched two scoreless innings. There were 3 hits, but only1 was solid. Actually, Segura screwed one play up, but the scorekeeper gave the guy a hit and another play he messed up Gregorius. It’s a new position for him and he will need to learn his limitations. Based on today’s game, Gregorius has a lot more range into the hole that Segura did and if Segura is going to play third alongside of him he is going to have to learn what to let go. One thing to add here, the scorekeepers in spring training are very lenient towards the fielders. Watching Gregorius for the first half of the game, It’s a pleasure watching a shortstop who can actually play it. The Phils haven’t had any one since they traded Galvis.
After Nola came a string of long shot pitchers. The only ones I was familiar with were Jo Jo Romero and Austin Davis. For those who are not familiar with spring training, there are two things at play here that irritates a lot of fans. The first is that the teams sign a lot of Quad A players to sure up the AAA team. In getting them to sign, they promise them that they will invite them to camp and give them a legitimate chance to make the major league club. Usually they will get them in several early games to get them out of the way and then one by one they send them to the minor league camp. Every now and then they find someone who can actually help them… remember Chris Coste? The other thing is that the major league coaches and manager want to get a chance to look at them and evaluate them. They don’t get a chance to see them during the season. The important thing to keep mind is that it is not about winning. It’s about getting ready for the season, sorting and evaluating.
You hear a lot about windblown hits in Florida and sometimes they lead to great plays Roman Quinn made two today. Because of the wind gusts, he misjudged both of them. One was a diving web job and the other one was a leaping catch at the wall. I really wish he could stay healthy. His speed and defensive ability would be a big help at the top of the order. He could score a lot of runs and save a lot.
Just Thinking: Bruce could be a valuable bench. He had the big hit today and drove in 2 runs with a double. He is not a bad outfielder, he just can’t run, but he has a strong arm. A 20 year old kid named Marchan came into the game and gunned down a runner stealing. It looked like his mechanics were good and his arm really strong. He hasn’t shown to be much of a hitter. I think I’ll keep an eye on him.