Welcome to Woodlake Country Club in Lakewood for tonight’s Phillies Winter Tour stop, featuring, among others, the World Series trophy, won by the Phillies for the first time since 1980. We’ll be live-blogging the event tonight, so keep it right here for continuous updates, including interviews with the guests. Any questions for the guests, please leave them in the comment section. Enjoy.
Guests will begin arriving at 5 pm, with the press conference scheduled for 6:30.
4:24: We’re good to go. Any questions, feel free to submit them via the comments section.
4:45: With “Hero,” by Enrique Iglesias, in the background, the trophy has been taken out of it’s protective box, and photos will begin shortly.
4:58: Craig Solomon of the Phillies, the keeper of the trophy, checks in and says he hasn’t yet dropped the 30 pound trophy (hopefully he won’t tonight, but no guarantees). He was recently in Las Vegas at an auto convention, and will soon head to Tuscon, Florida, and elsewhere, including the other Winter Tour stops in Williamsport, Lehigh Valley, and Reading.
5:26: Josh Ellis’ interview with trophy keeper Craig Solomon has been posted here.
5:28: The Phanatic has arrived. Now it’s a party.
5:40: Buster checks in. He seems happy to see his mentor, the Phanatic, and is also dressed up for the occasion. He’s sporting a tuxedo, and I don’t mean a tuxedo t-shirt.
5:59: Just spoke with Kenny Campbell, a 10 year old who fell out of the right field seats at Citizens Bank Park in August. Back soon with the link.
6:02: Buster checks in…”hyikrfeghyjkufdergthuikuvfdrghbgdfghjkkjhngtdfrgtjikjuhfgthjjuyhuj.” And now he is walking away. Thanks for that contribution Buster.
6:11: Here’s a clip with young Kenny Campbell, of Brick, and family on the Today Show in August after his incident at Citizens Bank Park. Talked to him for a ClawCast, which you can listen to right here.
7:07: Sorry for the delay, was down at the press conference. We’ll be updating you here for the rest of the night. The program is about to begin.
7:10: Tom McCarthy opens the program to a huge ovation. It will be tough for someone to top that one. He begins with a bald joke.
7:19: Caught up with Greg Legg downstairs at the press conference. He’s ready to go for another season, his 27th in professional baseball, every single one with the Phillies. Here’s the interview.
7:23: Great gesture by the Jersey Shore Boy Scouts of America. They let Tom McCarthy draw a raffle ticket for a spot at the head table. There are two winners. Which is impossible.
7:24: A young lady from the back, gets to go all the way up to the head table.
7:26: Tom McCarthy checked in downstairs before he began to emcee the event. He claims BlueClaws General Manager Geoff Brown stole his hair style and several ties. But beyond that, we spoke about the upcoming Mets/Phillies pennant race from a unique perspective. McCarthy called Mets games in 2007 and Phillies games in 2008.
7:35: Salad and blogging.
7:37: By the way, all the photos were done in about an hour and 45 minutes. That was 450 pictures in 105 minutes. Which works out to 4.28 pictures per minute and one picture every 14 seconds. Not bad.
7:42: JA Happ will have his “Made the Phillies” bobble-head night at FirstEnergy Park on June 30th. Just announced by Tom McCarthy. So we’re breaking news here at the Winter Tour.
7:45: Lisa Carone, BlueClaws special events manager and blog friend, checks in and thanks everyone here (which of course means they’re not following along) at the Winter Tour for a great turnout in 2009.
7:50: Couple of more interviews we’re putting up as I type. Stay tuned.
7:56: Really enjoyed talking to Chuck LaMar, the Phillies Assistant GM for Player Development and Scouting, a new title this year after the front office reshuffling. LaMar was the original GM of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and really build the core of the team that went from 5th place in the AL East in 2007 to the World Series in 2008. It was LaMar who brought in Kazmir, Shields, Upton, and Crawford, and it was LaMar’s new team, the Phillies, who won the Series in 2008, beating the Rays. An interesting interview, hope he comes out to Lakewood this year.
8:00: The program is set to resume here in a few minutes.
8:05: A few new pictures coming up and then a salmon break.
8:08: McCarthy: “People always ask what it was like to be around the team in September. I tell them that it was even better in October.” Sounds about right.
8:09: Lost in the shuffle sometimes between the Curse of the Bambino and the Curse of the Billy Goat, the Phillies were able to reverse the Curse of Billy Penn.
8:11: Greg Legg and Dusty Wathan first to be introduced by Tom McCarthy.
8:19: Chuck LaMar up at the podium now. He notes all the homegrown talent in the organization and the lineup during the World Series. Talking about Raul Ibanez, “His makeup is outstanding.” Ibanez was signed last month and will replace Pat Burrell, now with Tampa Bay.
8:21: Chan Ho Park comes up, that’s an upset. LaMar says Park will have to earn a spot in the rotation (JA Happ, Kyle Kendrick, Carlos Carrasco will be in the mix), and could be in the bullpen this year.
8:20: McCarthy notes the reports are positive on Chase Utley. LaMar on whether Utley can be ready for Opening Day: “I sure wouldn’t bet against it.” Interesting.
8:23: I promised my mother I wouldn’t spill anything on myself. So far so good.
8:25: Marti Wolever, Phillies Director of Scouting, is up at the podium, and says that Cole Hamels, when he was drafted at 18, had the maturity of a 25 year old.
8:26: Wolever: “Our young guys can play, and I think they proved it this year. We’re going to live by that philosophy [development] and we’re very pleased with our farm system.”
8:28: Given the chance to talk about some recent BlueClaws, Wolever goes straight to Kyle Drabek and Dominic Brown. Talked to Steve Noworyta, Phillies Director of Minor Leagues, last week, and he mentioned that Drabek is his sleeper to make it to Philadelphia in 2009.
8:30: Steve Noworyta is called up to the podium and talks about winning the World Series. “I told my kids to enjoy this moment, because you don’t know if it will ever happen again.”
8:32: The Phillies people LOVE their 2008 draft. We’ll go into details on this in the coming weeks, but a lot of these guys may be BlueClaws in 2009.
8:36: Great ovation for Tim Gradoville. Tom McCarthy suggests a bobble-head doll for the Phillies new bullpen catcher.
8:38: JA Happ on his bobble-head doll: “Very exciting.” On spring training: “Always competition, but that’s what makes it fun. I’ll be ready to go.”
8:40: Happ thinks his time in the big-leagues in 2008 will help him win a spot in the rotation in 2009. Happ on Jamie Moyer: “He’s such a good resource, just having my locker near his was great. He’s always willing to talk, and he goes beyond baseball. He’s an unbelievable resource and a great guy.”
8:43: Some housekeeping notes. Here are a slew of interviews done by Josh Ellis during the press conference portion of the program from earlier today. Here’s one with new BlueClaws manager Dusty Wathan. Josh also had a chance to talk to Phils Assistant GM Scott Proefrock, new Phils bullpen catcher Tim Gradoville, and finally, Phillies Director of Scouting Marti Wolever.
8:46: Another upset: Happ says his greatest career milestone was NOT his bobble-head doll, but rather getting his first major league win.
9:02: As the enormous line for JA Happ’s autograph begins to shrink as he fires off signature after signature, we’re winding down this Winter Tour stop here at Woodlake. We’ll be back to wrap it all up in a bit.
9:28: So we (Josh and I) sat in the back of the room as we blogged the event. The Zinger of the Night Award goes to BlueClaws marketing manager and blog contributor Zack Rosenberg, who wondered aloud if we were playing Battleship. Good one Zack.
9:34: That’s all folks. Thanks for reading. Next live blog: FanFest on March 7th. Back with more tomorrow here on BlueClaws Blog.