Against my better judgement, I drove over to the Complex after my morning “run”. I pulled up about 10:37 AM and saw a couple buses discharging players at the entrance to the main, secured parking lot. It’s reserved for BayCare Ballpark employees year-round and major league players and staff during spring training.
The players entered through the guarded gate and stopped at the tents that are set up to take temperatures each day. About 160 players will pass through that procedure today.
There had been players out on Schmidt Field before I arrived. They or another group were out there when I arrived. I spotted players on Carlton and Roberts Fields and headed down the path to check them out.
I believe there are 4 main groups, as in the past – Reading, Jersey Shore (got that right), Clearwater, GCL. I believe they will have a morning and afternoon session to limit exposure between groups. I believe there will be a further breakdown within groups so that groups of 5-10 or 10-15 players will report at staggered times for less exposure in the dressing areas.
If any of the above is correct, I believe I was watching the position players for Reading and Jersey Shore (almost typed Lakewood).
On Carlton, I saw Jonathan Guzman, Luis Garcia, Chris Cornelius, and McCarthy Tatum taking ground balls on the left side of the infield. Couldn’t make out the right side.
On Roberts, I saw Corbin Williams, Hunter Hearn, Cornelius Randolph, Jhailyn Ortiz, and Keaton Greenwalt performing a drill where they back-pedaled while a coach flipped a ball into the air which they caught with their bare-handed glove hand.
There have been reports of gators lurking in the area behind Roberts Field. The path runs parallel to a creek and crosses the creek behind Roberts’ batter’s eye. Before continuing to watch, I did a quick scout of the area. I didn’t see the large gators who were reported to sun themselves across the creek but I did see one about 18 inches long sunning on a sandbar behind the batter’s eye. Seemed safe enough, today.
The players had switched over to a fly ball drill that looked to involve a few pitchers. Balls were hoisted to center field or down the lines.
On Roberts – 1B Luke Miller, middle infielder Dalton Guthrie, 3B Madison Stokes, CF Randolph, LF Ortiz, pitcher Mark Appel.
On Carlton – 1B Rudy Rott, 2B Matt Kroon, SS Guthrie, 3B Tatum, OF Williams.
Couldn’t make out any more players, and didn’t feel like staying with the restricted view.
Don’t know how often I’m going to go to the Complex. The head of security was texted as soon as I arrived. I don’t feel welcome anymore. Take a look at the fence extension they installed to increase parking.
They had 75 ball players and 75 support staff during February and March and didn’t need this extra space. With 160 players and 75 support people expected during April, and players busing over to stay in the bubble, they definitely needed all this space.
That path that extends away from the camera is where we stood to view what was happening on Ashburn Field. Til later, go Phillies.