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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

4/4/22 : Spring Recap - A Fan’s View

We began back in February with minor league mini camp embedded in the uncertainty of whether Major League Baseball would come to terms with the Players Union on a new collective bargaining agreement.

There was some relief found when select minor leaguers showed up for first workouts in mid February at the Complex and the gates were opened to let us fans in to watch. It was a memorable moment and a turn of the corner in our ongoing comeback from the Covid pandemic - first time since March of 2020 that the complex gates were opened to the general public.

Mini camp allowed the big league staff and front office personnel the opportunity to see some minor league players in action that perhaps they weren’t entirely familiar with. Players such as Johan Rojas, Jordan Viars, Erick Brito, Alexeis Azuaje, Jose Pena Jr, Ethan Wilson, Mick Abel, Andrew Painter, Christian McGowan, Erik Miller, Ben Brown and Darick Hall made strong impressions with their play.

The full contingent of minor leaguers arrived in early March with the MLB lockout still ongoing. It was fun to greet many of the players we’ve come to know back to work. On the 12th of March the lockout ended and big league players started to be seen on the backfields the very next day. Full big league camp opened on the 14th. The excitement of new additions to the big league roster of Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos followed shortly thereafter.

We spent the balance of March watching practices, Grapefruit League and minor league games. Competition for roster spots was strong - in fact, still ongoing for the big league squad. Ethan Wilson and Oswald Medina were chosen for the Bill Giles and Larry Rojas awards for outstanding minor league spring camps. The minor league camp ended this past weekend with team assignments being made. Unfortunately for some players they were given release papers.

I’d like to acknowledge and thank the administrative staff at the Complex/Stadium and the security team for their excellent efforts as well as the local police forces who also keep the complex safe. Kudos for a job well done !

It’s been fun to get back to somewhat normal life as a Phillies fan who observes daily and writes what we see and hear - I’ve been called unique in what I do - don’t know if that’s good or bad. 🤓. Thanks to the folks who read our page - we’ve averaged between 250 to 350 views each article recently with the peak being our mention of Wilson Valdez Jr becoming a pitcher which had over 2,300 reads 😳. Kudos to Mark Wylie, Casey Burns and Cheryl Pursell for supplying us with great photos this spring - in particular Mark has went above and beyond with his efforts. Acknowledging my writing partner Jim Peyton for being a good friend and sounding board and my wife Barb for her love and support.

Also would like to thank the Phillies personnel ( both retired and current ) that make us feel welcome and allow us to interact virtually on a daily basis - it’s an honor to do so. Also the scouts who let us pick their brains, make us chuckle with baseball stories and allow us to learn the intricacies of assessing baseball talent - you’re never too old to learn something new !

One more home game tomorrow to go - big league camp breaks following a “road game” in St Pete at the Rays stadium on Wednesday. Then a quick turnaround for the clubhouse crew at BayCare Ballpark as they clean out the big league camp participants stuff and bring in the 2022 Threshers - an introductory party in fact on Wednesday night with the first game on Friday 🤪.

The IPads are ready and the MIlb TV subscription renewed to now watch our nightly affiliate game action concurrently with watching the big club. We’re amped to spend our days at the Complex observing Extended Spring action shortly and Gulf Coast League games later this summer. With on ongoing intent and commitment ( void any self imposed lulls ) to write our daily reports, weekly and monthly standouts we are eager to get the season started ! Let’s hope it’s winning ways all around for the Phillies contingent and that high five lines are the norm after most games - may each day be a Happy Day, Happy Baseball occurrence ⚾️.

Let’s go !

Photo by Mark Wylie

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