Archive for January, 2008

Time to get things going

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

What’s happening BlueClaws fans? Alex Gyr, Media and Public Relations Assistant, here for my first and definitely not last blog posting.

It’s hard to believe that this is already my fourth week as a member of the BlueClaws front office. It feels like just yesterday I was back home in beautiful Northern California, trying to figure out not only how I was going to get myself and the few warm pieces of clothing I owned across the country to Lakewood, but also what the heck a BlueClaw actually was.

But now, nearly a month into my stay in New Jersey, I’m finally feeling at home, learning how to dress for the cold and at least have a little understanding about the crustacean that we are named after.

Now that I am beginning to get settled, it is time to get the creative juices flowing. This is just the first of many postings that I plan to put up on this space over the course of the next eight months or so. I have a lot of ideas about what this blog can become and I’m excited to get the ball rolling.

I have one goal with this blog above all others: to connect with you. I want to make this a place for you, a place to come and be a part of your team. You are what make the BlueClaws such a great organization and more than anything else, so let’s get the conversation going.

Got a great story about your favorite BlueClaw experience? Let everybody in on it. Think you know how we can make things around here better? We want to hear that too. Whatever you have got, bring it on (just keep it clean).

But your involvement also takes a commitment on my end. I have to create a reason to keep you coming back. I think this site should be used not only to discuss what is going on here around the office, but it should also be a forum to discuss the latest BlueClaws and Phillies news. I’m not planning to break any stories create any controversy, but I am hoping to give an insider’s perspective into the world of BlueClaws baseball.

So starting today, this will be a spot you can check to get the latest on what is going on here in the office and out in the field. It won’t be an every day thing, at least until the season starts, but I do hope to get updates on as often as I can. And again, if you have ideas about what this site can become, let me hear it in the comments section.

I think before I can get to the baseball news, I need to say a few words about myself. My perspective won’t mean a thing unless you know where I am coming from.

I am 22-years old and a West Coaster from birth. I was born in San Francisco, but have lived in Palo Alto, California nearly my whole life. I went to school minutes away from my house at Stanford University. I graduated with a degree in Public Policy (basically a glorified Economics degree) in June 2007, but nearly every second I had outside of class was spent covering Stanford sports. I spent three years calling Stanford Baseball on the radio, two years calling men’s basketball and spent three years covering football and editing for the Stanford Daily. I was on the road nearly every other weekend for three years and feel amazingly lucky that I got to cover Pac-10 sports for as long as I did (you will quickly notice my devotion to the Pac-10, the Conference of Champions).

After graduation, I moved to Chicago, where I covered the Chicago White Sox for MLB.com for the 2007 season. The Sox may not have been the most talented team last season, but I was on hand to witness a few moments that I will never forget, including most notably, Jim Thome’s 500th career home run. 

I grew up a staunch 49ers, San Francisco Giants and Golden State Warriors fan (yes, even the Warriors). We may or may not get into my feelings on Barry Bonds, but let’s just say most people probably don’t agree with me on that one.

So there you go, that is me. I will be calling all of the home games with Brendan Burke this season and doing the pre- and post-game shows when the team is on the road. I’ll also be in charge of the ClawCasts, our official podcasts, so definitely check that out on a regular basis at www.clawcasts.com.

In BlueClaws and Phillies news, Baseball America released its list of the top 10 Phillies prospects and seven of the 10 have played for Lakewood. Carlos Carrasco, who was one of the stars of the 2006 South Atlantic League Championship team, was named the organizations top prospect. Adrian Cardenas (No. 2) and Kyle Drabek (No. 5), both on the 2007 roster, were also named on the list.

This is great news for both the BlueClaws and the Phillies. It shows that Lakewood is a crucial step in the development program for the organizations top prospects and a place that players can improve and move on to the next level.

Baseball America rated the Phillies as the 22nd best farm system overall, but Minor League Director Steve Noworyta and his staff look like they have things headed in the right direction. Of course, it is hard to argue with some of the recent success of the homegrown talent. The last two NL MVPs, Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins, both came through the Phillies farm system and former BlueClaws Howard and Cole Hamels should be All Stars for years to come. Carrasco is one of the top pitching prospects in the game and looks like he could join Hamels in the rotation within the next year or two.

Finally, let’s wish good luck to Mike Lieberthal, who decided to step away from the game after 14 seasons, 13 of which were spent in a Philadelphia uniform. Lieberthal was twice an All-Star and retires with Phillies records for most games played by a catcher (1,139) and most home runs by a catcher (149).

He spent last season with the Dodgers, but will clearly be remembered for his time behind the plate in Philadelphia. Good luck and enjoy retirement.

I’ll be back later this week with some thoughts on the most recent Phillies signings and some information on upcoming BlueClaws events.

Let It Snow

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

As a meeting let out of our Leadership Room today, the attendees were all talking about the snow storm going on outside.  Naturally, everyone not near a window immediately found one and a blanket covering the field at FirstEnergy Park.  Always neat to see our field outlined in snow because the infield clears quicker than the grass.  So you have this perfect outline that you could seemingly play on if you really wanted to do so.

More amusing still was one of our new interns who hails from Northern California.  Snow on the field was a novelty for him and he quickly snapped a few digital shots to send westward to family and friends. 

Even more amusing is when you recount some of the stranger weather related happenings at the ballpark over the years.  Opening day was notorious for rain for a couple of years and did you know the BlueClaws first head groundskeeper was the first of his kind to ever be ejected from a professional baseball game???

Do you have a strange weather-related tale to share?  We’d to love hear about it!  Post it here and to trade your story with us and other BlueClaws fans.

87 Days

Monday, January 7th, 2008

First Monday in the office of 2008.  Did you know there are only 87 days until opening day?  Well we do.  Around here, the holiday break is really over and it’s time to start the big push to get ready for April 3.  There’s discussions of the new fun we’re adding here (stay tuned for that) as well as additions and alterations to existing things you’ve seen here in the past. 

Today in particular is an interesting annual event at the office as our class of 2008 interns starts full time. Most staffers here were at one time in the same seat they are in right now for orientation and those who never sat there did so at another team.  It’s an important step towards a career in sports and all of them seem excited to get moving.