Archive for February, 2011

The T(witter)-Leaves

Monday, February 28th, 2011

One of the cool things about Spring Training this year is that a few players are Tweeting the experience, not to mention all of the reporters being on Twitter for instantaneous analysis and breaking news.

Justin De Fratus (BlueClaws 2009)

2day wasnt great. Struggled w/ FB command. But had a good slider. Not the end of the world Gotta take the good w/ bad. 1st one outa the way.

Michael Schwimer

got lit up like a christmas tree… and deserved every bit of it… falling behind 2-0 to 4 of 6 hitters isnt gonna get it done

Sometimes you get stuff like this, from David Hale of the Delaware Online.

Note from Charlie on DeFratus: “He’s the first guy here at the ballpark aside from Halladay. Halladay beats him, but he’s getting close.”

Jiwan James (BlueClaws 2010) notes that former BlueClaw Anthony Gose won their poker game last night but…

It has been confirmed. GOSE cheated. We been playin with 51 cards the whole night. 7 of hearts been in the box all night. SMH!!!

Jarred Cosart (BlueClaws 2010) does a great job answering fans questions and posting pictures like this one.

Personally, via Twitter, you can really get a lot more out of Spring Training from 1,150 miles away. Give it a shot!

And follow the BlueClaws.

Reunion on Hold

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

2007 BlueClaws pitcher Kyle Drabek was scheduled to pitch against the Phillies tomorrow, ironically against Roy Halladay, but he has been scratched due to a neck injury.

Drabek, with Travis d’Arnaud and Michael Taylor, were traded to the Blue Jays for Halladay in December of 2009.

Paul Hagen in the Daily News:

Past, present and future will not experience their previously-scheduled collision in Dunedin on Monday.

Blue Jays righthander Kyle Drabek, the centerpiece of the three-prospect package that landed the Phillies Roy Halladay last offseason, has been scratched from his scheduled start against Halladay and the Phillies.

Drabek is suffering from a stiff neck and will not pitch during this round of the Blue Jays’ rotation.

Drabek will have other chances to face the Phillies. They play frequently during Spring Training, being 5 minutes apart, and the two clubs will meet this year during inter-league play.

Taylor, meanwhile, was immediately flipped to the Athletics and had a sub-par year in Triple-A. He’s trying to rebound this year and get his first crack at the big leagues.

Jane Lee has the story on MLB.com:

Taylor took to the daily grind that is the regular season without so much as reminding himself that fun is supposed to be synonymous with baseball. He never pouted, but “every person in the world could have told you I wanted to do better.”

“I’m kind of a light-hearted guy, pretty jovial, and I think last year was really the first time ever in my career where it got to the point where I was thinking more about what I needed to do to get to the big leagues instead of just trying to enjoy the game,” Taylor said. “It ended up making me kinda miserable.”

Sunday Links and Coffee

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

Here we go with another edition of Sunday Links and Coffee, some links from around the baseball world that you can enjoy with your Sunday morning java. Enjoy. First from a Phillies perspective…

  • Phil Sheridan in the Inquirer says that Clearwater is still Clearwater. Florida is still Florida. But the Phillies aren’t exactly the Phillies anymore. That is certainly a good thing, but it is still sort of jarring.
  • Bob Brookover in the Inquirer notes that: If you drew a line from Ryan Howard’s corner locker on the left side of the spacious room to Brad Lidge’s locker in the middle of the rectangular clubhouse, you’d find 33 guys who have played in a combined 15,104 games and collected 10,527 hits, 1,223 home runs, 5,177 RBIs, 814 victories, 367 saves, two MVP awards, one World Series MVP, and three Cy Young Awards. The 27 players to the right of Lidge have combined for 1,436 games, 621 hits, 42 home runs, 483 RBIs, 27 wins, and 10 saves. Fourteen have never played in a big-league game. He answers the question of why?
  • Dave Murphy on prospect Tyson Gillies rebounding from a difficult (on and off the field) 2010. I didn’t know he (Gillies) served as an extra in Coke commercials.
  • Matt Gelb in the Inquirer on Cole Hamels’ spring debut. The Phillies handed Hamels the ball for starters. Pitching coach Rich Dubee deemed Hamels capable of throwing in a game after simply watching his initial bullpen session of the spring, so the lanky lefthander was the choice.

And a few from outside Philadelphia…

  • Bill Madden the Daily News on…realignment. Four divisions of seven teams. Interesting. Using a consensus of the half-dozen managers and executives surveyed for this exercise, here’s how baseball could evolve over the next 10 years: Geographically realigned divisions: Seven teams, four divisions Designated hitter: Grandfathered for three years under the new four-division format, then goes away. Rosters: Expanded to 27 with a limit to three September call-ups and the stipulation that only 27 players, to be designated by the manager before each game, can be active. For the now, however, look for the biggest changes coming out of the next collective bargaining agreement to be a bonus slotting system in the draft and the ability of clubs to trade draft picks.
  • In the Daily News…the Players Association isn’t concerned about the Mets ability to pay players after theri $25 million loan from MLB.
  • Jon Heyman of SI.com on Bryce Harper, who could open with Hagerstown and play at FirstEnergy Park May 13th.
  • Kirk Gibson, new D’Backs manager, is changing the culture, says Tom Verducci of SI.com: Gibson is pushing his players to hit the weight room more. He has instructed his pitchers to work more on their hitting and bunting. He has brought in Navy SEALS to talk about commitment and teamwork. He has banned all cell phone conversations from the clubhouse — and no texting, iPads and computer usage 30 minutes before the first pitch of games. That’s a radical departure for a clubhouse that had been chock full of remote control vehicles, air soft guns and assorted other toys — all gone now.
  • Jayson Stark on ESPN.com on the Rays: On the day he assembled a whole new generation of Tampa Bay Rays for the first time this spring, Joe Maddon repeated one of those fabled Maddon-isms that form the essence of what makes the Rays’ manager/philosopher-king a one-of-a-kind leader. “You’ve gotta believe it,” Maddon told these men, “before you see it.”

There you go. Enjoy. Five weeks until the real games.

Jellybeans

Friday, February 25th, 2011

jellybeansfullOne new addition to the FanFest menu, and there are going to be more, stay tuned, is a jellybean guessing contest.

We are going to put jellybeans into one of the SAL Championship Trophies, and closest guess will win a BlueClaws prize pack. A buck a guess, to BlueClaws Charities.

Now, how do you go about winning such a contest?

It just so happens that a blog called Cleverness, Getting Diggy With It has a few ideas.

Strategies for Victory

There are a couple of strategies you may use in calculating the number of jellybeans in a jar or other container.  In order of increasing complexity, they are:

1) Guess

It’s just a game. Arm yourself with the knowledge that there are 930 jelly beans in a US gallon (about 245 / litre) and venture a WAG.  I suspect you wouldn’t be reading this if that’s all you were after, loser.  So…

2) Count them

Don’t count each bean, of course, but if you are allowed to lift the container, you can count the number of jelly beans in one row (remember to compensate for tapering at the bottom of the container) and multiply that number times the number of jellybeans the container is tall.  This will yield a very good estimate.

3) Equate them

This strategy is best if you are “guessing” the number of jellybeans in a known volume.  In fact, it’s almost fool-proof in that situation.  You need to know:

a) The approximate volume of one jelly bean can be thought of as a small cylinder 2 cm long and 1.5 cm in diameter (Precisely articulated as: Volume of 1 Jelly Bean = h(pi)(d/2)^2 = 2cm x 3 (1.5cm/2)^2 = 3.375 or 27/8 cubic centimeters)

b) Due to the Jelly Bean spape and irregularities, there is considerable airspace in the container, along with the jelly beans.  It can be assumed that 20% of a given volume is air rather than jellybeans (though for very small or irregularly shaped containers, this figure might be slightly more… never estimate more than 25% air by volume.  Really 20% is the best value to use for n > 100)

So, to get your answer, you will want to determine the number of cubic centimeters in the container volume and multiply that number by can simply use a calculator to divide the volume of the container in cubic centimeters by 2.7 (3.375 * .8 to allow for air space).  Google is a great too for doing all of this.  For example a search for “cubic centimeters per gallon” and Google returns “1 US gallon = 3 785.4118 cubic centimeters”.  You can then use Google (they call it Google Calculator but you use the normal search engine box) to calculate your answer.  5 gallon bucket = 5 x 3785.4 = 18,927.  You just pop ’round the gorn-and-scumbles, and, Jack’s a doughnut, there you are!

That is fascinating.

Six Weeks Until First Thirsty Thursday…

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

…and the start of baseball. 42 days to go until Opening Day 2011. Hard to believe but we’re flying right along.

In addition to the awesome mug on the right, Thirsty Thursday Club members will receive a special Thirsty Wednesday this year, on June 15th. With your membership card, you’ll be able to get $1 beers at this Wednesday home game.

So, in total, the Thirsty Thursday Club includes the following:

  • Seven undated tickets good for Thursdays (and one Wednesday).
  • These can be used all at once (bring you and six friends, keep the mug) or at seven different games.
  • The glass mug shown at the right.
  • A membership card.

To sign up, call Kevin Fenstermacher at 732-901-7000 ext 115.

The first five people that call Kevin today and MENTION THE PROMO CODE TWITTER will receive a ceremonial first pitch at a 2011 Thirsty Thursday game.

That is all. Carry on.

Baseball America Top 100

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

This popped into my email earlier from Baseball America: their annual top 100 prospect rankings.

Phillies on the list (year with BlueClaws):

  • 4. Domonic Brown (08)
  • 39. Jonathan Singleton (10)
  • 56. Brody Colvin (10)
  • 70. Jarred Cosart (10)

Other notables:

  • 1. Bryce Harper, WAS – Could be with Hagerstown this year. Their first visit to Lakewood is May 13 – 16.
  • 11. Jameson Taillon, PIT – the #2 overall pick last year could spend 2011 with West Virginia. They come to Lakewood in August and the BlueClaws go there in both May & July.
  • 29. Kyle Drabek, TOR – With the BlueClaws in 2007 and traded to Toronto in the Halladay deal.
  • 30. Gary Sanchez, NYY – Catcher could be with Charleston this year.
  • 31. Casey Kelly, SD – Was with Greenville (Boston) in ’09 before being traded in the Adrian Gonzalez deal this winter. He pitched for half of 2009 and then played shortstop for the 2nd half.
  • 36. Travis d’Arnaud, TOR – With the BlueClaws in 2009 and then traded as part of Halladay deal.
  • 94. Jonathan Villar, HOU – With the BlueClaws until the trade deadline in 2010 when he was a part of the Roy Oswalt trade.
  • The Royals. They set a record with 9 of the top 100.

Here is a podcast from BA regarding the rankings.

Here are top 100 rankings dating back 20 years. This is something we’re going to sift through one day.

Road to Lakewood: Relief Pitchers

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Here’s out last positional grouping of potential 2011 BlueClaws, the relief pitchers. We’ve looked at starters, infielders, and outfielders, and today we round out a potential roster. Obviously not everyone on this list will be here (we listed nine for probably seven spots and that doesn’t include some potential starters who could be relievers), but these are a few of the guys we’ll look for when the spring training games start.

Note: The Road to Lakewood is presented by Viridian Energy. Click here for information about how you can “Go Green” and save money on your electric bill. It’s fast, it’s easy, and you save, all with Viridian Energy…Power with Purpose.

Previously in this Series: Road to Lakewood, The Infield, Road to Lakewood: The Outfield, Road to Lakewood: Starting Pitchers.

Bradley Blanks: Bradley was undrafted out of University of South Carolina Upstate back in 2008. He played Independent league ball in Evansville after graduating for one year, took a year off of baseball in 2009, then started back in Independent ball in 2010 for the Windy City Thunderbolts. The Phillies noticed him and signed the 25-year-old to a contract last July. He reported to Williamsport where he pitched in relief in 16 games, going 4-1 with a 2.71 ERA and 1 save.

Jacob Borup: The Phillies nabbed Jake with the 23rd pick last June as a redshirt sophomore out of Arizona State. He has started and pitched in relief in his career, but we have him with the relievers here (guess). He was a starter at ASU, and then he went 2-1 with a 2.68 ERA in 16 appearances (4 starts) last year with Williamsport. Great read on Borup from the ASU student paper who has a pretty interesting back story. He graduated Mountain View High School in Mesa, AZ in 2005. Jake redshirted his first year as a Sun Devil, following his freshmen year he headed to Charleston, WV to complete a two year Mission through the Mormon Church. He returned to school, pitched well for two years, and the Phillies took notice selecting him in the 23rd round.

Garrett Claypool: Garrett was a 32nd round pick by the Oakland A’s in 2009, decided to return to UCLA for his senior season, and it turned out to be a smart move. He had his best season as a collegiate going 8-3 with a 2.29 ERA and limiting the opposition to a .174 batting average, best on the team and second-lowest among Pac-10 pitchers, and the Phillies nabbed him in the 11th round last June. He reported to Williamsport and went 3-3 with a 3.18 ERA in 12 appearances (4 starts). He also struck out 45 over just 34 innings for the Crosscutters. Here is a profile on the 6’2, 170 pound righty over on PhuturePhillies.com. Garrett is another young guy with experience starting and relieving and we did put him in the starter list too. He was throwing in the high 80’s at UCLA, but was up to 92-93 in Williamsport.

Juary Gomez: Gomez is a very raw 20-year-old out of Aragua, Venezuela. After two seasons with the Phillies Venezuelan Summer League team, he came to America last season and dominated. He started out with the Phillies Gulf Coast League team and pitched to the tune of a 0.66 ERA in 27.1 IP over 20 appearances. Juary also closed out 17 games and collected 9 saves. He made one appearance for Williamsport late last season and could certainly come right to Lakewood this year.

Matt Hutchison: Matt was picked by Philadelphia in the 25th round last June out of UNLV. He started and closed for the Rebels, going 6-4 with 4 saves and a 4.46 ERA as a senior. Beginning with the GCL Phillies, he threw 34.1 innings over 13 appearances with a 2.36 ERA and a 4-0 record. He made a few appearances with Clearwater at the tail end of the season. Matt is a 22-year-old native of Lancaster, CA. Here is his UNLV bio.

Chase Johnson: The Phillies nabbed Chase in the 21st round of the amateur player draft back in 2009 out of South Mountain Community College. He is a big, bulky righty who just looks like a closer at 6’5”, 245 pounds. In 2009 with the GCL Phillies, he threw 29.2 innings over 15 appearances, striking out 35 and finishing with a 3.94 ERA. Then he followed that up by spending 2010 as the closer for the Williamsport Crosscutters. In 26 appearances he threw 29 innings, posted a 2.79 ERA, and collected 15 saves. With experience the past two years closing out games, he very well could anchor the back end of the BlueClaws bullpen in 2011.

Eric Pettis: We had Eric with the starters, but we’ll put him here too…Almost immediately after being drafted by Philadelphia in the 35th round out of UC Irvine last June, he was thrust into the starting rotation for Williamsport. He started 5 games, pitched in 20 games total and finished the regular season a dazzling 8-0 with a 1.37 ERA (67 Ks and 7 BBs in 59 IP). Williamsport got knocked out on the last day (Sunday before Labor Day), and on the bus home, Chris Truby told Pettis he was coming to Lakewood for their playoffs, and he appeared in three of the seven playoff games. Here is a great interview with Eric over at PhuturePhillies.com and one with BlueClaws Blog in which he talks about Tweeting. His 2011 is kind of a mystery. He could be in Lakewood’s rotation or bullpen (he pitched in the pen to limit his innings), or he could be in Clearwater’s bullpen too. Considering how dominant he was with Williamsport, it wouldn’t be shocking if he skipped Lakewood this year.

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Congrats to Hacksaw Jim Duggan

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

hacksaw-blog1Congratulations go out to Hacksaw Jim Duggan, who last night, it was announced, will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame the night before WrestleMania on April 2nd.

Hacksaw was at FirstEnergy Park in June of 2009 to sign autographs and pose for pictures, such as the one shown on the right (I think you could sneak a fastball buy him on the inside corner, but that’s just me).

He joins a line of wrestlers that have appeared at FirstEnergy Park:

King Kong Bundy
Mick Foley
Ted “The Million Dollar Man” DiBiase
Jerry “The King” Lawler
Sergeant Slaughter

George “The Animal” Steele

Those noted in bold are already the Hall of Fame and King Kong Bondy and Mick Foley figure to be certain entries.

This year, we’ll have the Iron Sheik and Nickolai Volkoff on June 11th.

On a side note, here is a hilarious interview given by the Million Dollar Man on the Shore Sports Network last year. And below is Hacksaw’s entrance music.

J-Roll, Jeter, Jiwan

Monday, February 21st, 2011

jiwan-dive1J, J & J…aka Jimmy Rollins, Derek Jeter, and 2010 BlueClaws centerfielder Jiwan James.

Jiwan did a Q&A with A Road to Perfection, a Phillies blog run by Phillies fan Christina (Twitter).

Me: Who was your favorite MLB player growing up and present? Why?

Jiwan: Derek Jeter of the Yankees. He was winning ring after ring when I was growing up. He was never talked about in a bad way and he’s a great role model.

Me: Who do you look up to the most in the Phillies organization?

Jiwan: J. Roll (Jimmy Rollins). He has been with the Phillies his whole career. He’s an established big league player. Also, he is someone that I could talk to about the game whenever.

There’s a lot more in there that you should read, and you can follow Jiwan on Twitter here.

(He caught that ball in the picture)

Sunday Links & Coffee

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

As Spring Training rolls along and full-squad workouts begin, here’s another set of links from around the baseball world to enjoy with your morning coffee. Let’s get to it, first some Phillies stories.

  • In today’s Inquirer, Bob Brookover says 2001 BlueClaw Carlos Ruiz is the muse for the Phillies starting rotation: If all goes according to plan, this will be a Phillies season filled with Rembrandts, Picassos, van Goghs, and da Vincis, and almost all these masterpieces will be produced on the same sturdy canvas that is Carlos Ruiz’s catcher’s mitt.
  • Charlie Manuel says Domonic Brown has a great chance to get upwards of 400 at bats with the Phillies this year. Matt Gelb has the story in the Inquirer. “The more experience we can get him in spring training, the faster he may be able to be an everyday player in the big leagues. If he has a good spring and he makes our team, I’m looking at a guy who is going to get 350, 400 at-bats. That’s a minor-league season. In a first year in the big leagues, that’s good.”
  • Dave Murphy with a strong defense of Ryan Howard and his declining power numbers, noting among other things the timing of his injury last year, and the improved pitching in the NL East.
  • On that note, Matt Gelb notes that Charlie Manuel wants Howard to move closer to the plate. Manuel explained, Howard was hitting these balls to left so well because of the way he was standing at the plate. He turned his power field into left when it should have been right field.
  • Jimmy Rollins predicts 100 wins, and can’t imagine himself in another uniform.
    Rollins was asked if he could imagine himself not being a part of the Phillies, the only organization he has ever known. He started to get sentimental, recalling when a wide-eyed 17-year-old kid first arrived at the Carpenter Complex in Clearwater wishing he was playing for a team on the West Coast – or a team that won, like the Atlanta Braves.

    Now? Jimmy Rollins embodies the Phillies’ rise from irrelevancy to the model franchise of the National League. And if this is to be his final season in Philadelphia, maybe his departure would mark the beginning of the next chapter.

And a few from around baseball.

Enjoy. Happy Sunday. Only six more weeks until the real games start.

New ‘Claws Manager Ready for Spring Training

Friday, February 18th, 2011

truby-spring-interviewWhen he tried to fly (twice) to Lakewood earlier this month for the Phillies Winter Tour, he got caught in what was described as a “once in 25 year storm” in the Midwest, and never made it.

No such problems are expected for Truby next week, when he departs for Clearwater and his 19th Spring Training, an exciting time for him and any baseball lifer.

“I just like to see the players again, see how much they worked out, and see their energy, especially the first few weeks,” he said earlier today. “The energy level is at an all-time high. It’s a great time of year that we all look forward to. It’s hard to leave home, but it’s exciting all the way around to get back in the flow of baseball.”

BlueClaws Blog Spring Training Reports are brought to you by Viridian Energy: Click here to ‘Go Green’ and save money on your electric bill.

Last year, he worked with Lance Carter and Jorge Velandia, first year coaches. This year, Truby will work with veterans Greg Legg and Steve Schrenk, both of whom were with the BlueClaws last year.

“Legger’s been in the organization about 80 years,” Truby joked (actually 29). “I’m going to lean on him a lot, just to pick his brain.

Truby spoke to Schrenk yesterday and noted his “energy level is very high, even though he just got back from Australia” (where he managed this winter).

He added: “I still go into it like I did as a player, trying to pick up things from different people. Mark’s (Parent) been around. (Ryne, now Lehigh Valley manager) Sandberg has an incredible amount of experience. It’s good baseball people. You can always learn something.

Seeing friends from last year is one of the best parts of Spring Training for everyone, every year. But part of the charm is, in reality, baseball.

“I just like the whole setting of batting practice. You get a chance to talk to the guys, about baseball, about anything really,” said Truby. “There’s some down time. You get to know the players on an individual basis, on a personal level. Combine that with the baseball work, from a coaches standpoint, that’s the most beneficial.”

For Truby, this will be the first time he breaks camp as a manger of a full-season team. Meaning, when teams wind down camp the first Saturday in April, he’ll be getting ready for a real game, rather than extended spring training. It’s why Greg Legg remarked last year that his favorite parts of Spring Training are the first day and the last day.

What players will be making the trip up? That’s why they have Spring Training. But Truby shared some thoughts on a few guys that we could see at FirstEnergy Park on April 7th.

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Some Links

Friday, February 18th, 2011

Here are some links for your Friday afternoon.

5,000 Meters for Jimmy V

Friday, February 18th, 2011

52full2The BlueClaws have partnered with the Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer Research, Active.com and ESPN as part of their annual 5K Race, to be held this year on April 10th at FirstEnergy Park.

Here’s information on the first “Jimmy V ‘Don’t Ever Give Up’ Run Series” from ESPN.com/RunForJimmyV:

ESPN has teamed up with Active.com and The V Foundation for Cancer Research to present a series of races that help raise money for the fight against cancer. You can donate to the cause by finding a race in your area and competing, by making a cash donation, or soliciting donations in support of your efforts.

Get active, get involved and help in the fight against cancer. “Don’t Give Up… Don’t Ever Give Up!”®

The BlueClaws are obviously excited to be partnering with these great organizations and hope to raise as much as possible through this 5K.

For details on the 5K, you can click here. To sign up online, click here. For the full Jimmy V speech (“God, Family, and Rutgers Basketball” among many other great lines), below the fold.

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BlueClaw In the Hen House

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

2010 BlueClaws OF Brian Gump offers up this guest blog post over at Chicks Dig the Long Ball, Philly’s first all-female baseball blog. An excerpt.

Each off-season is a season in itself, a season of family time and a season of weight lifting and countless hours in the cage. It is a time when no one is watching you but yourself and a time when you have the opportunity to focus your efforts on certain parts of your game that you feel you need to improve upon. The off-season is what makes the beginning of the actual season so exciting. It holds an unparalleled sense of excitement and expectation for players and fans alike…especially Phillies fans.

Read the whole thing here. Follow them on Twitter here.