Archive for February, 2008

Dave Schofield from Spring Training: Post 2

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

As the first snows fall at the Jersey shore and all the bracket buster hoops games are played, this photographer spends time getting together his equipment for the yearly trip to Florida. I am Dave Schofield and I am the BlueClaws team photographer.

Like the Phillies and future Phils, I spend much of my time in the Clearwater area. March 4 is the big day when I photograph the prospective IronPigs, Threshers and BlueClaws of 2008. I work with Miles Kennedy the Phillies team photographer. We set up in the weight room in the Carpenter Complex, the minor league facility for the Philadelphia Phillies. The start is always an early one for us, since the Phillies want the minor leaguers out onto the field by 9 AM. This means that Miles and I set up the night before and begin shooting every minor leaguer in camp by 7 AM! Miles will shoot the players with a Phillies hat on and I will shoot them with the minor league hats on.  The players also are undergoing physicals and testing, so on their first day back at camp, they are a busy bunch.

During my three week stay in Florida, I will photograph many spring training exhibition games. The minor league teams do not actually play games against other teams until about March 13th. When they start their games, they will play against the Yankees, BlueJays and Rays minor leaguers. The work groups are divided up into Lehigh Valley, Reading, Clearwater, Lakewood and Williamsport. With up to 35 players in each work group, no one is really sure where they will be playing in April until the final week of spring training. This is when the minor league rosters will be trimmed to 25 players. I am very fortunate to be able to meet up with the players to photograph them before the grueling two a day workouts begin. Even after games start, the players will work out in the morning for 3 hours.  They then go into the clubhouse for lunch coming back to play a nine inning game at 1PM each day.

While I am in Florida, I shoot for a few other teams as well. I photograph the entire New York Yankees farm system, doing their head shots and some posed images as well. I photograph the New Hampshire FisherCats as well as the Carolina MudCats. I also photograph game action in the major league exhibition games for Baseball America, Yankees Magazine, Boston Baseball and the Phillies Magazine.

Though I am very busy while I am in Florida, I am able to work in sunshine and warm temperatures. Every couple of days, I will be sending back information on the Phillies spring training and the future BlueClaws I see. I will write and provide photographs of spring training action. If anyone has any questions they want to ask me about spring training, just email me at ducky022@optonline.net and I will try to answer them.

Look for my spring training articles on blueclaws.com

Dave Schofield

Dave Schofield from Spring Training: Post 1

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

Throuhout Spring Training, BlueClaws photographer Dave Schofield will be posting about his experiences in Clearwater. Here is his first entry:

This recent cold snap has snapped me out of my winter funk and gotten me geared up for my annual trip to Clearwater for spring training. On March 1, 2008 I will shoot my first Phillies game of the year against the New York Yankees in Brighthouse Networks Field in Clearwater. Former BlueClaws Joe Bisenius, Cole Hamels, J.A. Happ, Kyle Kendrick, Scott Mathieson and Mike Zagurski are pitchers on the 40 man roster and will surely pitch in the first few games of spring training.

Jason Jarimillo and Carlos Ruiz will share the catching with Chris Coste. Rounding out the former BlueClaws on the 40 man are  Brad Harman and Ryan Howard. Players invited to Big League spring training and former BlueClaws are Carlos Carrasco,  Josh Outman, Tuffy Gosewisch, Tim Gradoville, Lou Marson, Jason Donald and Greg Golson.

Throughout Spring Training I will be reporting on the activities of past and future BlueClaws. Stay tuned for game reports and photos from Clearwater as we anxiously await the opener of Season 8 at FirstEnergy. Follow along and see if you can pick some of the players who will perform in Lakewood this season. Once Spring Training starts, I will list my email address and you can ask questions and make comments on the 2008 season.

A Super Week at FirstEnergy Park

Thursday, February 7th, 2008

It has been another busy week here at FirstEnergy Park, with everyone trying to get set for the 2008 season (56 days until Opening Day!). But this week was a little different than any I had experienced with the BlueClaws so far, mostly thanks to Eli Manning and his friends.

One of the great things about working in sports is that nearly everyone you work with is, quite obviously, a sports fan. And around here most are Giants fans and pretty vocal about it. The week leading up to the game was actually a little calmer than I expected and most of the trash talking was being done by our one die hard Pats fan, who was clearly brimming with confidence.

And then they played the game…

As a neutral observer, Monday was a lot of fun. I haven’t experienced a major sports championship since the 49ers won the Super Bowl in 1994, so it was really incredible to see how happy the Giants fans were around here. No one, except maybe the most optimistic Big Blue supporters, gave them much of a shot and yet they managed to pull it off. Pretty awesome. Except for everyone’s favorite Patriots fan, who has been hearing it non-stop from all sides for the last four days. I would feel worse for him if it weren’t for those three Super Bowl championships in the last seven seasons. Winning like that kind of dampens my sympathy.

A bunch of the guys ended up heading using an off-day on Tuesday to head to Manhattan to see the championship parade. From talking with a few of them who went, it sounds like it was an incredible experience. Few cities celebrate a championship like New York and this time around, it was maybe even bigger and more emotional because of the scope of the upset.

Just one final comment on the Super Bowl before I get to a little baseball stuff: this Super Bowl rocked.

Again, I’m a Niners fan. I’m resigned to the fact that my team is giving away its top pick in this year’s draft to the Patriots and probably won’t be good for a long, long time. But as an impartial observer, this was the best Super Bowl I had ever seen. Think back to the other great championship games in the last 15 years: 1997 when Elway won his first Super Bowl as a massive underdog, 1999 when the Rams held off the Titans, 2001 with Tom Brady and New England coming from no where to stun St. Louis, 2003 when the Pats squeaked it out against Carolina. In my book, none of these comes close to this year’s game in terms of great plays, pure excitement and an unexpected result.

So, congratulations Giants fans. Hang on to that feeling.

Do you have a cool Super Bowl story? Share it with your fellow BlueClaws fans in the comments section below.

On the baseball front, we are coming ever closer to pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training in Clearwater. The first Spring Training exhibition game is February 26, meaning that we are just 19 days from seeing our first professional baseball of the new year.

The Phillies have put out the bios of everyone in their minor league system, but we’ll still have to wait a while before we get a definitive look at the 2008 BlueClaws roster. The Phillies have not been afraid to put top talent in Lakewood and this year should be no exception. The Phillies picked up a pretty solid crop of players in the 2007 Draft, including standout Rice lefthander Joe Savery, and we could see some of those players on the field at FirstEnergy Park this season.

What are your hopes for the 2008 season? Any players you are hoping to see in a BlueClaws uniform this year? Give your two cents in our comments section.