Happy Fourth of July weekend!
We're back at Citizens Bank Park on this picture-perfect Friday morning for the start (or restart) of Phillies training camp — three weeks of workouts and intrasquad games before the 60-game sprint-to-October commences later this month.
I started the morning in the garden, where I whipped up a fresh five-gallon batch of critter repellent. Red pepper flakes, cayenne, chili powder, dish detergent, milk, a few eggs, a whole head of garlic. Fill with water and let that stuff sit in the sun and get all funkalicious. Sprinkle some around the garden every night. Guaranteed to keep the deer away. Picked a zuke and a summer squash on my way out the door and headed for the ballpark — with a quick stop at Wawa for a 16-ounce cup of rocket fuel.
It's good to be back and I hope everyone stays healthy so we can see this thing through.
The goal here is to provide some live or semi-live observations throughout this first workout. Keep checking back for updates.
Here we go:
9:45 a.m. — I checked into CBP. Had my temperature taken through a face imaging device. 98.2. I signed a waiver. Good to go.
9:50 a.m. — Arrived in press box. Same great view of Center City. Field is green and gorgeous. Reporters are restricted from wandering so this is where I'll be observing from. Shoot. I forgot my binocs.
10 a.m. — Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer arrives in press box. He is wearing shorts. Legs are quite unathletic and he has apparently been taking the quarantine seriously because he hasn't gotten much sun.
10:04 a.m. — The grounds crew has finished prepping the field. Music is playing over the PA system. The ball bags are on the field. The batting cage is out.
10:05 a.m. — There is some action in the visiting dugout. A coach has popped his head out. For spacing reasons, both clubhouses are being utilized.
10:15 a.m. — A grounds crew member is nailing the rubber spike scraper to the mound.
10:16 a.m. — Black Smoke Rising by Greta Van Fleet is playing on the PA system. Hmm.
10:17 a.m. — Catching coach/bullpen catcher Bob Stumpo is heading out to the 'pen with a big equipment bag.
10:26 a.m. — Joe Girardi emerges briefly on the field. He's in shorts and a T-shirt, big cup of Joe in his hand. Yes, he is masked.
10:27 a.m. — The grounds crew is putting down tarps around the batting cage.
10:29 a.m. — Good to see Brookie.
10:30 a.m. — Robert Palmer's Addicted to Love is playing. Ah, the '80s.
10:40 a.m. — Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez and Zach Eflin pop out of the dugout. Looks like they're heading to the concourse for some conditioning work. The concourse is being used as a work area to ease overcrowding in the weight room.
10:45 a.m. — The view from teammate John Airport...
10:50 a.m. — Grounds crew is watering the infield dirt. So relaxing and mesmerizing. Anybody who's ever done it knows what I'm talking about.
10:53 a.m. — Just noticed — only one flag flying in center field. The Stars and Stripes. No championship flags, state or city flag.
10:54 a.m. — Andrew McCutchen just walked from the stands down into the dugout. He is masked. Looks like he's spent some time in the weight room.
11:04 a.m. — J.T. Realmuto and Andrew Knapp have taken the field and are loosening up their hoses.
11:06 a.m. — Several coaches — Dusty Wathan, Juan Castro, Bobby Meacham, Mike Calitri — are on the field playing catch. Distanced and masked. Not all players are wearing masks, but they are distanced.
11:07 a.m. — Just saw a fist bump. Call the cops.
11:15 p.m. — Batting practice commences. McCutchen, Realmuto and Knapp in the first group. Wathan is pitching. Jukebox Hero is playing over the PA.
11:20 a.m. — McCutchen hits one into the left field seats.
11:22 a.m. — Realmuto hits one out to right-center.
11:23 a.m. — Jake Arrieta is walking through the outfield. He's doing some stretching. He's wearing a muscle shirt and looks ready to dent some skulls.
11:27 a.m. — Realmuto powers two in a row into the left field seats. Line drives.
11:35 a.m. — First round of BP is complete. Standard fare.
11:36 a.m. — Realmuto and Knapp are putting the gear on. Looks like Arrieta is getting ready to throw a 'pen.
11:40 a.m. — Realmuto and Knapp are doing receiving drills with the aid of a pitching machine. Stealing low strikes.
11:42 a.m. — McCutchen is long tossing. Interested to see how he moves in outfield drills, if they are on the docket.
11:43 a.m. — Realmuto and Knapp headed to the bullpen to catch Arrieta and I'm not sure who the other guy is. Players are not wearing numbers.
11:45 a.m. — Arrieta indeed set to throw a bullpen.
11:46 a.m. — McCutchen headed to left field for drills.
11:54 a.m. — McCutchen is taking fly balls in left. He looks a lot better than he did in March. Still detecting a slight hitch in his giddyup, but he looks to be on the right course with three weeks to prepare.
Noon — Phil Gosselin in the cage taking some hacks.
12:01 p.m. — Really could use a za.
12:03 p.m. — Adam Morgan and Vinny Velo are playing catch. There are extra catchers here.
12:12 p.m. — Some new artwork in the press box. Pretty cool.
12:14 p.m. — Adam Morgan and Vinny Velo are throwing in the bullpen. A Josh Harrison sighting. Looks like Zach Eflin might be preparing to throw a 'pen.
12:16 p.m. — Rhys Hoskins appears for BP. Lotta hair.
12:17 p.m. — Phil Gosselin dons first baseman's mitt and takes ground balls at the position. Kinda interesting.
12:20 p.m. — Now playing: Pour Some Sugar on Me. One lump or two?
12:21 p.m. — Coaches/staff are wearing masks. Most players are not, at least on the field while doing drills. They are wearing them when they head to the concourse for conditioning, etc. There's a lot of action going on behind the scenes.
12:26 p.m. — Bryce Harper is in the batting cage. He's wearing his No. 10 Realmuto T-shirt. Hoskins is hitting in this group, too. Jean Segura, too. I know that short stroke.
12:32 p.m. — Harper hits three bombs in five swings, one the opposite way.
12:35 p.m. — Segura is hitting with a mask on. One of the few players wearing one on the field.
12:54 p.m. — Roman Quinn sighting. He's headed up to the concourse with a bat in his hands. Must be a tee and a net up there. Again, it's out of my view.
12:55 p.m. — Hoskins, Segura and Josh Harrison getting in some infield work. Segura is at third. Hoskins at first. Harrison at second.
1 p.m. — Things seem to be winding down, at least in the early session. Hoping to chat with some of the participants in a little while. So we'll call this a wrap for now. Thanks for following along. Happy baseball, happy gardening, stay safe. And, Breen, get some sun on those legs.