March 14, 2005

BPF reporting from Clearwater

BPF writer Martin Smith reports from Clearwater, under the brilliant sunshine, clear blue sky and slight breeze. It's enough to make folks back home sick.

Martin Smith / BPF Writer
What a day to watch my first baseball game of 2005. After a few u-turns, there's finally a new Spring Training home for the Phils. Bright House Field is a beautiful, small, modern stadium, the kind of facility where you can head to the concession stand for a soft pretzel and a $4 beer and not miss a pitch.

Bright House features Hooters ball girls on the left and right field lines, a grass bank in the outfield where you can sit on a blanket to take in the game, and Frenchy's Tiki Bar Pavillion in left for consuming large amounts of beer.

The Phils won the game before a sold out crowd. The winning hit was by pinch-hitter Tim Gradoville, who singled with the bases loaded.

All runners on board were there via walks as the AA and AAA ball players finished the game. It was a sloppy ending that saw Geoff Geary struggling to retire anybody and Jim Deschaine play a game he would love to forget. Deschaine dropped a fly ball to left that was costly, and later forgot to run from first base when Ryan Howard lined a double left.

Before the reserves filled the field, the regulars provided some fine play. Bobby Abreu walked his first two times at bats, and Jim Thome followed each with long home runs. Placido Polanco had great at bats, lining-out on a vicious drive snared by third baseman Andy Marte, and later roping a single and homering to left. Another offensive star was Chris Roberson, who likely will play in Reading this year. Roberson beat out a bunt for a single, and also stretched a routine single into a double with head down speed.

Bobby Abreu: Solid as a rock in right.

The guy that impressed me the most was super prospect third baseman Andy Marte of Atlanta. Marte made the defensive play of the game, and also matched Thome with two long home runs. Where will the Braves find a position for Chipper Jones with this player on the horizon? Chipper can't play left field, and first base has young Adam LaRoche and fabulous favorite, Julio Franco.

As we left the ballpark, finally visiting Diamond Outfiitters (there were lines to get in throughout the game), I looked back to the field to see Marlon Byrd taking extra batting practice. We exited the ballpark and most of the Hummers were gone from the players parking lot, but entering the lot was Eude Brito. So next to number 77 on our spring training program is Eude's autograph. What a great day!

BPF favorite Carlos Ruiz with his name in lights.


At 3:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All this Phillies talk and not one mention about Sandy Green running for Mayor of Kutztown? Let's get our priorities straight, fella! Go, Sandy!

At 7:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whats the word on the kid from Hamburg High?


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