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Scenes from Spring Training: Phun with the Phillie Phanatics Part 3

Mar 15, 2010, 10:00 AM EDT

After the clubhouse I made it out to the field and scoped the scene:

Phillies stretch.JPGThe Phillies take a much more casual approach to stretching than the circle-em-up Pirates do.
Howard skinny.JPGAt the risk of best-shape-of-his-life cliches, I really can’t impress upon you just how good Ryan Howard looks. He has absolutely transformed himself over the past couple of years.

Catcher Pitching.JPG I hadn’t noticed catchers warming up from the mound anywhere else, but both of the catchers who were suited up for Philly on Saturday did. Also: earlier, when the position players were warming up, Shane Victorino got down in a catcher’s crouch and Howard fired in a couple of full windup pitches to him. Worth noting that the pitches from both catchers and Howard were harder and more accurate than the pitches from the best dude most of you faced in high school.
 Dugout.JPGI don’t think I’ve ever paid close enough attention to notice if this is common or not, but I kind of like the two-row dugout.

Phanatic.JPGBright House is a new stadium — opened in 2004 — and has a lot of amenities that aren’t typical in the Grapefruit League. One of them is a cool kids’ area, complete with a playground, a special kids’ snack bar and, of course, a Phanatic statue for photo opportunities and, for the more intrepid youngins, climbing on.

Practice field.JPGThis practice field sits directly behind the stadium. There’s absolutely no truth to the rumor that it was a prototype designed to extend Pat Burrell’s usefulness as a defensive player. I mean, that would be silly. He couldn’t cover a left field that large.
Thome Homey.JPGThe Twins were in town, and Jim Thome made his way out to the field to say hello during Phillies’ BP. Everyone who came near him, be it players, coaches or media, either hugged him or gave him a fist bump. Everyone loves Jim Thome. I’ve been following his career since he broke in with the Tribe, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard a negative thing about the guy.
Police Truck.JPGYou think the City of Clearwater wasn’t cognizant that 10,000 Philly fans were on the premises? They had a police command station set up right outside the ballpark. They know who they’re dealing with.

  1. d - Mar 15, 2010 at 10:05 AM

    very Phunny!
    “You think the City of Clearwater wasn’t cognizant that 10,000 Philly fans were on the premises? They had a police command station set up right outside the ballpark. They know who they’re dealing with.”

  2. Neil - Mar 15, 2010 at 10:17 AM

    You see any wacky scientology stuff while in Clearwater? I think they have a bunch of administrative offices and a hotel/retreat in town.

  3. Jonny5 - Mar 15, 2010 at 10:19 AM

    So, what was the crowd response to Thome when he came out of the dugout for his first at bat?

  4. Craig Calcaterra - Mar 15, 2010 at 10:20 AM

    It’s the Scientology world headquarters. I saw a big building with the logo on it while driving around after the game. I assume that’s where they keep the aliens and mind control devices and stuff.

  5. Craig Calcaterra - Mar 15, 2010 at 10:21 AM

    Thome got a standing ovation. One of the bigger cheers of the day for anyone or anything. Very warm.

  6. Old Gator - Mar 15, 2010 at 10:59 AM

    Not funny at all. Half-assed. Unless the Deapartment of Health was using the same mobile command station, who was checking those horrible horsemeat and velveeta sandwiches? There are ways you can do both exterior and interior damage.
    Incidentally, I have been wondering for years who thought up the Phanatic and what in the name of Buddha it was supposed to be. It is easily as grotesque a figure as anything in the bar on Tatooine, under the microscope at the National Center for Disease Control or in the ladies room at a Young Republican’s clubhouse (and this is not an attempt to be partisan; I’m saving the Pelosi jokes for another mascot). For awhile I thought maybe it was a swine flu virus with an extra Y chromosome (and yeah, before all you medical and molecular genetics mavens out there start climbing on me, I know that viruses are smaller than most chromosomes but that would at least account for the bloat). Perhaps, like the picture of Dorian Gray, it had started out as a svelte and attractive sort of creature and gradually taken upon itself like some alien scapegoat all of the phestering bile, resentment, hostility, vulgarity, provincialism and culinary bad taste of the Feelies fans until it arrived at its present hideous manifestation. I see that in the photo of the Phanatic above above even its hair has fallen out, which while not necessarily a bad thing (fewer fleas) yet demonstrates that this perverse amalgam of unlike forms remains in process. Fascinating.
    Ergo, I hereby announce that this summer, I plan to undertake a series of detailed iconographic readings of all the unnatural, deformed, malformed, freakish, aberrant, twisted, repulsive, eldritch teratoid mascots running around on the baseball fields of America, Canada and Macondo – I am by no means blind to the reality that as loathsome as it is, the Phanatic is far from the only flagitous gorgon infesting our national pastime. One at a time, then, I will be offering up an interpretation of each team’s mascot, starting with the Feelies’ atrocity. I think we owe it to ourselves to understand what these things are doing out there, and what evil purpose they may actually serve.

  7. Joe L - Mar 15, 2010 at 12:11 PM

    Re: Thome. A friend in Cleveland lived in the same condo complex as Thome when he first broke in with the Tribe (as a 3rd baseman – remember those days?). My buddy was friendly with a girl who lived next door to Thome, and she said Thome, more than once, came next door to unplug a drain, fix a toilet handle, etc. That’s why he is everyone’s favorite player. Starting third baseman for the Indians, and he’ll pop around to fix a leaky shower head. Love it!

  8. Charles Gates - Mar 15, 2010 at 12:33 PM

    Euphamism, anyone?

  9. madhatters - Mar 15, 2010 at 3:21 PM

    after part 2&3 I wanted the 5minutes it took to read them back. Thanks for a little insight into 3 and congradulations I will now read Part 4
    Let’s Go Phillies!-!-!!!

  10. Caroline - Philly Tourism - Mar 15, 2010 at 5:02 PM

    Love that you got a picture of our Phanatic statue in there. He’s one of 20 that will be all over Philadelphia this summer. We’re actually in the process of naming that statue as we speak! You can vote on the name here:
    Go Phils!

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