Okay! Here We Go! First day of Spring Training! I’m heading over to the Complex around soon.
It’s a chilly, overcast, 61 degrees with a 57% chance of rain. Rain chance dissipates to 0% and temps rise to 66 degrees around noon and a high of 72 degrees by 3:00 PM.
Hope to have some news and photos to post here later today.
As I leave the house at 10:15 AM, the 57% has changed to 100% as a light drizzle is beginning to fall. Crap. Off to the Complex. More later.
It’s later !!!
I arrived at the Complex at 10:24 AM. My good friend Steve Potter was sitting in his car. The light drizzle had increased to a steady rain. Having spent so much time at the Complex over the years, I have come to know a lot of the security guards. I decided to brave the weather, sans umbrella, and say hello to the guards.
Gary, the head security guard, was answering questions for a guy sitting in his car. As I passed them on my way to their shed, he asked me a question about long v. short season, which I was able to answer for both. I reached the shed and spoke with John while looking past his shoulder to monitor the arrival of players from the major league clubhouse.
A little after 10:30 AM, players started trickling out in groups of two or three. Steve, mutual friend and photographer Mark Wylie, and I took up our positions along the driveway where we are allowed to watch. The players mingled over on Schmidt Field before pairing up and throwing. They started with soft toss and expanded to long toss although not far as I’ve seen in the past. No sense risking an arm in this weather.
As pitchers finished throwing, they made their way to the mound on Schmidt for some pickoff work. With a coach playing first base and two coaches at the mound, the drill had the look of a training session. There were frequent interruptions as the two coaches appeared to be offering advice during the pauses.
When these drills were over, the pitchers left the field briefly. When they returned, some had changed into workout clothes while others remained in uniform. Both had returned to complete their running for the day – corner to corner along the warning track. Some ran on Schmidt, others on Ashburn. Of course, we got a look at the guys who ran on Ashburn.
Judging by the sheer numbers, we saw most of the pitchers listed as attending Spring Training and some of the Mini Camp guys.
Later we saw the pitchers who are listed as attending the Mini Camp. They seemed to come over from Roberts Field. They ran on Schmidt and departed. We assumed they had been working out on Roberts. We hadn’t seen them because they are using the Complex clubhouse while the ST guys are using the stadium clubhouse.
Only two other people came to watch. I hope it’s because the Complex is closed and not because of the weather. One of the guys spoke with me during the session. His name is Brian. He walked with us when we went over to our Instructs perch behind Roberts Field. On the walk back, we found out we shared the same alma mater, Holy Ghost Prep. Of, course, he’s much younger, class of ’84.
The morning guards had turned over to the afternoon shift as Frank and Jimmy replaced Gary and John. I’ve come to realize I know more people at the Complex than in my personal life down here.
I pretty sure that I saw Brogdon, Coonrod, Dominguez, Eflin, Howard, Jones, Medina, Neris, Nola, Sanchez, Suarez, Velasquez, Kintzler, Nova, Marchan, Knapp, Hennigan, Hernandez, Parkinson, and Paulino. There are certainly more Ps and Cs here, I just couldn’t make out the numbers from a mile away.
No position players were out. We heard the soothing sound of bat on ball coming from the tunnel under the stadium. I’m guessing any BP was moved indoors. At this time of spring training, BP is held in the stadium. I’m sure it will be closed to spectators this year.
Here are some photos. Mark is sending me some later. I’m considering pinning a photo gallery on the site and just putting his much better photos there rather than adding them here and having most readers miss them.