Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Thoughts While Waiting For Spring

As if their cold start in the standings weren't bad enough, the Phillies, their fans and virtually every team east of the Mississippi and north of the Mason-Dixon line are enduring an unusually soggy and cold Spring. Pitchers have been blowing on their hands with the blessings of the umpires, batters have been wearing long Johns and turtlenecks and groundskeepers have been calling on every trick in the trade to make their little corners of the earth playable. It's difficult to work up a lot of enthusiasm for the summer game when you are forced to retrieve the snow shovel from the basement after storing it there for what you believed was good!!

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Freddy Garcia makes his first start in a Phillies uniform tonight...if the weather cooperates. Suffice it to say this is going to be a big game for Garcia and his new team. If Freddy's arm holds up and his fastball approaches at least the upper 80's, everyone will be delighted...if he also manages to tame the Mets. If, on the other hand, he fails on any of these counts, the recriminations will begin. Even Jim Salisbury, as fair a man as is covering the Phillies these days, wondered aloud in his column this AM whether or not Garcia is damaged goods.

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Old friend Randy Wolf is 2-1 with a 4.00 ERA for the Dodgers. Battery mate Mike Lieberthal only has five AB's and is batting .200.

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An excerpt from Bill Giles' ghost-written book appears in today's Inquirer along with this picture:

The incident was the ill-fated attempt by Kite Man to deliver the first ball on Opening Day in 1972. What struck me was not KM's veering off course a la the ill-fated ski jumper of ABC's Wide World of Sports promo fame, but the willingness of the Phillies to eliminate so many seats adjacent to the runway from sale for a game that is normally a sellout. This was only the second opening day at the Vet and one would have thought tickets, and therefore seats, were hard to come by. Meanwhile, 35 years later, if the current residents of Citizens Bank Park don't pick up the pace soon, Giles can reschedule another appearance of Kite Man with one major change: he can widen the runway extensively.


Anonymous RickSchuBlues said...

I know Giles is the resident villain of Philadelphia sports (a title not easily won), but that Kiteman excerpt had my laughing pretty good. I love the part where the mangled Kiteman heroically 'delivers' the first ball by chucking it into the Phillies' bullpen from the 600 level - and then everyone starts booing. Classic.

2:37 PM  
Blogger Tom Goodman said...

Year one was dropping the ball out of a helicopter. Year two brought us Kite Man. What happened in year 3?

3:06 PM  
Anonymous RickSchuBlues said...

If I'm not mistaken, 1973 was the first year the Phillies brought in tightrope walker Karl Wallenda to walk on a wire suspended over the stadium. (I know this because I am one of probably very few people to have read Rich Westcott's history of Veterans Stadium.)

3:10 PM  
Blogger Tom Goodman said...

What were those guys thinking??!!! Talk about needlessly reckless stunts.

3:21 PM  

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