Archive for February, 2010

Sunday Links and Coffee (early spring training edition)

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

Welcome back to another edition of Sunday Links and Coffee, a series of links from around the baseball world to enjoy with your Sunday morning coffee. Our first edition now that spring training is underway begins with:

Kyle Halladay

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

If you’re going to follow someone around, you could do a lot worse than Roy Halladay. Kyle Kendrick (BlueClaws 2004-06) has apparently taken to the new Phillies ace, and even earned the nickname Kyle Halladay, as Tyler Kepner of the NY Times tweeted yesterday:

Phils’ Kyle Kendrick works out early with Halladay, plays catch with him, and has a reddish beard. Teammates are calling him “Kyle Halladay”

Kendrick made his big league debut in 2007 and won 21 games over the next two seasons (after skipping Triple-A). But he had a 5.49 ERA in 2008 and spent most of 2009 in Triple-A, having been effectively passed by JA Happ and others.

But entering 2010, Kendrick, who went 3-1, 1.96 in September with the Phillies, is in a competition with Jamie Moyer for the 5th starters job. And he’s trying to learn from one veteran (Halladay) to beat out another.

As Jim Salisbury notes here, Kendrick, who usually arrived at camp around 8 am, now arrives around 5:45 with Halladay.

“He’s in good shape, the best I’ve seen him in,” manager Charlie Manuel said on Friday. “He looks strong right now, and that’s good.”

Kendrick added: “My work ethic has gotten a lot better, I think,” Kendrick said. “Before, I just did my own thing. I didn’t really have a plan. Now I have a plan, thanks to Roy.”

Recommended Reading

Friday, February 19th, 2010

Not really BlueClaws related but this is a really good and interesting article (from Tyler Kepner in the NY Times) on Ross Ohlendorf, a former Yankee, now a Pirate pitcher, who interned last summer at the Department of Agriculture. Full article here.

It is a safe bet that Ohlendorf is the only [player in spring training] who spends some of his free time finishing a cost-benefit analysis on a program that traces disease in cattle, poultry, swine, goats and sheep, and its effect on farmers.

“If there are things that interest me, and I am interested in a lot of things, I try to make an effort to learn more about them,” Ohlendorf said Wednesday in an interview at a restaurant here after a morning practice in Bradenton, Fla. “If I’m going to do something, I want to put in the time to do a good job with it.”

Ohlendorf, 27, has the unusual combination of superior intelligence, athleticism, curiosity and drive. It helped him become a star at Princeton while earning a degree in operations research and financial engineering. It has helped him develop into a dependable major leaguer who was 11-10 with a 3.92 earned run average in 29 starts for Pittsburgh last season.


Ohlendorf had recently caught a ceremonial first pitch from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack at PNC Park. What if he applied for a 20-hour-a-week job at the department from the end of the Pirates’ season until mid-December, when his throwing program would begin in earnest?

He sent his résumé in an e-mail message to Doug McKalip, the confidential assistant to Secretary Vilsack. McKalip was impressed for reasons beyond baseball.

“Most of our interns just got out of graduate school, or they’ve finished a doctorate and want to work for a federal department as part of their experience,” he said. “But it’s pretty rare to have someone from an outside profession who’s willing to volunteer time and has the kind of background Ross brings. With his G.P.A., with his engineering and mathematics background, and also a direct role in a farming operation, Ross was especially qualified.”

Just Over a Week Left to Go…

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

Just over a week left on a couple of special offers. These are good through February 28th, so time is running out

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to act…

  • Book a Bushel package for the 2010 season and receive a free party deck ticket (a $34.95 value). Here is an order form for the package, which comes with free Monmouth basketball and Surflight Theatre tickets, plus your choice of Phillies tickets and AMC movie passes. Bushel options include: Yankees, Fireworks, Pick-Your-Own, Entertainers, etc…
  • This one is for our Little League teams…Book a Future BlueClaws or ClawStars outing before March 1st and get two free hours in the batting cage (a $160 value). What better place to get ready for the season than right here at FirstEnergy Park?

So there you go. Just wanted to pass along a bit of a heads up.

New Favorite Song

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

BlueClaws Rock (click here). Enjoy.

Looking Ahead: Jiwan James

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

We’re inside of two months away from Opening Day and we’re going to continue looking at some potential 2010 BlueClaws. Today, Jiwan James.

Previously: Sebastian Valle

One of the more intriguing prospects in the system, James was a two-way player in high school and actually began his career as a pitcher with the Phillies, throwing in 2007 and missing all of 2008 with injury. Last year, he moved over to outfield full-time and that’s where he is now.

Last year, he hit .264 with seven steals in 121 at bats with Williamsport in the NY-Penn League, and missed some time then too with a left wrist injury.

A 22nd round pick in 2007, he was discovered/signed by Chip Lawrence, the same scout who signed Domonic Brown in 2006. Brown, who had committed to play RB at Miami, was always more of a baseball-lean and signed. James, however, while he wanted to play baseball, couldn’t decide where (from an article on just a few days after the 2007 draft).

After being selected by Philadelphia in the 22nd round of the Major League draft the first week of June, the 6-foot-4, 185-pound James said he was surprised because he already had turned down a contract offer from the Phillies when they called to say they would take him in the sixth round..

That afternoon he said UF, playing for a junior college (where he would be draft-eligible again after just one year) and the Phillies were the options he was considering.

A few days later James said he was 80-percent sure he would be a Gator and had removed junior college from consideration. But less than a week later, after a few visits with Philadelphia management in Clearwater that number had dropped to 50 percent.

He was still uncertain when he travelled to Clearwater five days ago.

“When he went to visit the Phillies on Saturday (in Clearwater), they upped their money offer and he decided he was going to sign with them,” said Smith of James, a three-time Gainesville Sun small-school player of the year. “But I told him before he went not to sign anything until I see the contract, and I couldn’t go with him because it was my dad’s birthday. I wanted to make sure he got everything coming to him. So, he didn’t sign then.

“Then, (Monday) he met with (new UF coach Kevin) O’Sullivan at 5 (p.m.) and it went well, but Jiwan didn’t give a definitive answer. That night around 11, he decided he wanted to go to Florida, but woke up at 3 a.m. wavering.”

Reached by phone just before noon on Tuesday, James said he was registering for classes and would enroll at UF. But he called Smith an hour-and-a-half later to say he was unsure.

Smith said he told James to go to orientation later that afternoon to see how it went, but not to sign up for classes. They decided to meet in the evening with hopes of coming to a conclusion.

Which of course he did. He basically missed two years, pitching, but he has been called the best athlete in a system that looks long and hard for them. Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing Jiwan James play for Lakewood this year. Should be a lot of fun.

(Photo from

Snowman Contest Results

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

It was very hard to pick two winners in our snowman contest. We had over 30 entries and really appreciated the support this contest had, but a contest is a contest. So without further adieu, our two winners (to see all of the entries, head over to our Facebook page):


Eyeballs: Arielle and Brian Budd…Toms River, NJ


Cards: Josh and Steve Tillander…Beachwood, NJ

Some others that we liked…


Countdown 2010: Events/Concerts

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

Welcome back to Countdown 2010, our weekly series getting you ready for the 10th season of BlueClaws Baseball. This week…our top ten events/concerts that we’ve hosted here at FirstEnergy Park.

Previously: entertainers, bobblehead giveaways, celebrity visitors

Here goes…

10. Bob Dylan Show…2005, Dylan played the first concert ever at FirstEnergy Park with Willie Nelson. They came back in 2009 with John Mellencamp.



Eyre Apparent? Three Former ‘Claws in Mix

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

eyre-apparantOne of the intriguing sub-plots of Phillies Spring Training is replacing retired lefty releiver Scott Eyre, and three former BlueClaws are in the mix to do just that.

You’d have to consider Antonio Bastardo (2007) to be the favorite. He was on the post-season roster and even got a key strikeout of Jason Giambi against the Rockies. Bastardo, 24, dominated the SAL here in 2007, going 9-0, 1.87 over 15 starts with the BlueClaws. He made his big league debut in 2009.

He was here for parts of two years, but last summer Sergio Escalona (2007-2008) jumped straight from Double-A Reading to the big leagues, where he gave up seven runs in 13.2 innings. Escalona was a starter in 2007 but went 5-1, 3.43 out of the pen in 2008 before a promotion. Funny stuff from how Escalona was told of his promotion (by Reading manager Steve Roadcap):

Sergio Escalona (BlueClaws 2007-2008) was called to FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading early in the morning where Steve Roadcap was waiting.

“He said, ‘What were you doing last night? I heard the police had to go to the stadium,’” Escalona said. “I said, ‘No, I was home, watching TV, a movie, with my family.’

“He said, ‘I don’t know — the police are coming.’”

Roady was kidding of course, as Escalona was called up to the big leagues, where he got his first win on Sunday.

Last, but not least, Mike Zagurski (2006). A key reliever on the 2006 champion BlueClaws, Zagurski made his big league debut on May 25th, 2007, just months after wrapping up his season in Low-A (he has made the fastest jump ever from Lakewood to Philadelphia, and received a bobblehead doll in 2008). But he missed 2008 with an elbow injury and made it up to Reading in 2009.

Good luck to all three.

Fun With Numbers

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

In this post, we noted some of the things the Phillies are bringing to spring training this year. Now, we are going to have some fun with them. Here goes…

12 cases of sunflower seeds…well, at 700 seeds per bag (guess), and 24 bags per case, that’s a total of 201,600 sunflower seeds on their way to Clearwater. What does that mean?

If you made a square field of sunflower seeds, and put each seed three inches apart, it would be 149′ 9″ on each side. For what it’s worth.

There are 300 batting helmets on their way down. We calculated the volume of a cylinder with a radius of 4.5 inches and a height of 6 inches. The volume of a batting helmet is about 381 cubic inches, or just 1.65 gallons. 300 batting helmets then, would be 495 gallons (or about $1,727.55 worth of milk at $3.49 per gallon).

There are 1,200 bats headed to Clearwater. Assuming the average bat is 33 inches long, laid end-to-end, they would stretch 3,300 feet (or .625 miles or just less than two laps around the FirstEnergy Park concourse or one trip up and down the Empire State building and then back up to about the 64th floor).

Those bats weigh 36,000 ounces, or 2,250 pounds (or 2/3 of  a NASCAR vehicle or 2,284 bobblehead dolls).

There are 15,000 baseballs on their way down. That’s enough for 681 of the longest at bats of all time. Since there are 108 stitches on a baseball, that’s a total of 1.62 million stitches.

As a starting point for this section, notes about production of a baseball. In total, about 219 yards of wool is used, and wound very tight within the sphere. 219 yards in 15,000 baseballs is 9,855,000 feet (or 1,866 miles or Lakewood to 60 miles past Denver). The stitches come from 88 inches of waxed red thread (or 110,000 feet in this case…if the average Ryan Howard home run is 400 feet, then this works out to 275 home runs, or about six years worth).

Important Phillies Spring Training Dates

Monday, February 15th, 2010

spring-training-palm20101Well, that tim

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e has arrived, spring training. We’ve gathered some important dates for you to help get you ready for the six week push until Opening Day 2010. As follows…

  • February 17th: Pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater
  • February 18th: First workout
  • February 22nd: Position players report
  • February 23rd: First full squad workout
  • March 3rd: First spring training game (against Florida State)
  • March 4th: World Series rematch vs NYY (spring training style)
  • March 4th: Minor leaguers report to Clearwater
  • March 5th: First minor league workout
  • March 14th: Daylight Savings Time
  • March 19th: 2009 BlueClaws players and coaches will receive their championship rings in a ceremony before the 7:05 game against Baltimore
  • April 1st: Last game in Clearwater (vs Pittsburgh)
  • April 2nd/3rd: exhibition games vs Pittsburgh at Citizens Bank Park
  • April 5th: Opening Day at Washington
  • April 8th: BlueClaws Opening Day at Asheville

Also of note, from, some Phillies past spring training hosts…interesting stuff.

The Philadelphia Phillies have held spring training in the following locations: Philadelphia (1901); Washington, N.C. (1902); Richmond, Va. (1903); Savannah, Ga. (1904); Augusta, Ga. (1905); Savannah, Ga. (1906-1908); Southern Pines, N.C. (1909-1910); Birmingham, Ala. (1911); Hot Springs, Ark. (1912); Southern Pines, N.C. (1913); Wilmington, N.C. (1914); St. Petersburg (1915-1918); Charlotte (1919); Birmingham, Ala. (1920); Gainesville (1921); Leesburg, Fla. (1922-1924); Bradenton (1925-1927); Winter Haven (1928-1937); Biloxi, Miss. (1938); New Braunfels, Texas (1939); Miami Beach (1940-1942); Hershey, Penn. (1943); Wilmington, Del. (1944-1945); Miami Beach (1946); Clearwater (1947-present).

Snow Day / Truck Day

Monday, February 15th, 2010

truckphilliesNo, not that kind of snow day. But the day after a massive storm hit the Northeast, the Phillies packed up the truck and shipped off all of the baseball equipment to Clearwater, a sure sign of spring.

What goes on the truck? From Todd Zolecki:

The team loaded 15 cases of gum, 12 cases of sunflower seeds, 20 coolers, a palette worth of drink mix, 300 batting helmets, 350 pairs of shorts, 450 pairs of socks, 600 pairs of pants, 600 hats, 200 fleeces, 1,200 bats, 2,000 T-shirts, 10,000 cups, 15,000 baseballs and 150 pairs of batting gloves.

( photo)

Fantasy Baseball at the Ballpark?

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Interesting stuff…we just booked a fantasy baseball draft to be held in our executive conference center at FirstEnergy Park. That seems to be about as good of a use of the conference center as I could think of.

  • 12 people
  • dinner
  • space
  • tables
  • big board

And what better place to host a fantasy baseball draft than at a ballpark anyway?

Of course it’s almost time to get going on that stuff (last night I went over everything for the longtime keeper league that I’m a part of (coming off of an 11th of 12 place finish). If you’re interested in booking a fantasy baseball draft in the BlueClaws Executive Conference Center, call Brendan at 732-901-7000 ext 165.

Sunday Links and Coffee (Pre-Spring Training Edition)

Sunday, February 14th, 2010

Welcome to “Pitchers and Catchers” week. Phillies pitchers and catchers will report to Clearwater on Wednesday, we’re a few

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weeks away from the first spring training game, and the snow will melt by May 1st (just kidding). Sunday links for your coffee this morning:

  • A look at the 16 former BlueClaws a part of Phillies spring training.
  • Andy Martino in the Inquirer looks at the Phillies top prospects.
  • Dave Murphy looks at the future of Jayson Werth in Philly, and long term it doesn’t look all that bright, considering expected salary demands and the needs to lock up long term other players like Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, etc.
  • Five key spring training subplots for the Phillies, including Cole Hamels, Brad Lidge, and replacing Scott Eyre.


Enjoy shoveling (and get ready)…From Snow will begin to spread into New York and New England tomorrow night, continuing into Tuesday before tapering off into flurries and lake-effect snow showers by Wednesday.