(Originally published in the March 1996 issue of Philadelphia magazine.)
Illustration by Colin Johnson
The first game is still months away, and the chain-link fence that separates the Philadelphia Phillies’ spring home from the surrounding pawnshops and junkyards and trailer parks is in desperate need of repair. Though the team’s first annual January mini-camp doesn’t open for 24 hours, coaches and players park, brace against the brisk Florida chill, and straggle into the clubhouse. It’s been three months since they’ve seen each other, three months since anyone’s had a reason to set an alarm clock.
The coaches gather in a small, windowless locker room tucked under the rightfield stands of Clearwater’s Jack Russell Memorial Stadium. It has cinder-block walls, a drop ceiling, scant ventilation but just enough space for two rows of lockers and a boardroom-size folding table. As usual, manager Jim Fregosi sits at the head. The table is empty except for his elbows, his Kools and his lighter. Starting tomorrow, he will see what kind of shape his players are in and give them a chance to get to know each other (only ten remain from the team that played in the World Series two years ago). For now, someone throws a videotape into a VCR, and suddenly Fregosi comes face-to-face with the almost perfect season of 1993. On a Samsung TV bolted to a wall, he has a 3-0 lead in the ninth inning of Game Five against the Braves-but Mitch Williams is stretching in the bullpen.
“Is he done now?” Glenn Brummer, a minor-league coach, asks about the Wild Thing’s current career.
“He was done then,” says Fregosi.
Read more »
Hot couple alert: Outsports reports that Chandler Whitney, the boyfriend of Conner Martens, the first out college football player, has also come out of the closet. Here’s how the scene went down:
Read more »
Wednesday, the Trenton Thunder — minor league baseball affiliate of the New York Yankees — announced the winner of the team’s contest to name the new bat dog: Rookie! Aww, look how cute.
Read more »
Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels (35) sits in the dugout in the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on Aug 12, 2013. Photo | Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
Ever wonder what it’s like to be on the receiving end of the Cole Hamels stare? You know the one — that withering look he’s known to give on occasion when the home plate umpire’s being stingy with strike calls, or an outfielder makes a bonehead play. I felt that same chill as Cole looked me in the eyes and said, “I’m not talking about the kids.”
Read more »
This past July, during an audience Q&A following his address to the national convention of the Society of American Baseball Research here in Philadelphia, Phillies team president Dave Montgomery was asked whether, in light of the Phils’ second straight subpar season, it might be time for the organization to take a look at something it has long resisted: advanced statistical analysis.
Montgomery, in the Q&A and an interview afterward, replied that contrary to the belief of many, the team does actually give some consideration to advanced stats. He said the Phillies’ front office has three employees in its player personnel department who have statistical evaluation as part of their portfolio, although no one employee does the work full-time. Montgomery added, however, that “character” plays a major role in the team’s personnel decisions.
Read more »
This is why you never slide head-first, kids.
We mention this only becasue the slider, Jonathan Villar, was a former member of the Phillies organization. He was sent away in the Roy Oswalt trade a few years back. [Deadspin]
This year’s Stephen Starr-Garry Maddox BBQ Challenge returns to Citizens Bank Park on Saturday August 11th. For the eleventh year Philly’s biggest restaurateur and Phillies legend, Garry Maddox team up for the ultimate grill-off. Restaurant teams from Starr’s line up and other local venues will compete against each other, and in the pit master division BBQ enthusiasts will face off, all for bragging rights to the best barbecue. This day of friendly competition ends in the winner-takes-all Garry’s Rib Challenge, where the prize is tickets to the 2012 World Series.
Read more »
As a Best of Philly challenge, Top Chef Kevin Sbraga and Philadelphia Magazine’s John Gonzalez ate their way through Citizen Bank Park’s many eateries. After eating more than two people should ever eat within nine innings, Sbraga and Gonzalez found that when the Phillies aren’t doing so hot, fans can at least chow down on some quality ballpark classics.
The food comes in a rush, a torrent of pork sandwiches and french fries, hot dogs and hoagies, a flood of questionable gastronomy that threatens to drown us. It’s impossible to decide where to begin. Sbraga reaches for the Bull’s pulled-pork sandwich. He’s the expert here, like Carlos Ruiz calling for a first-pitch fastball. Sbraga declares that the pork is “bangin’,” but adds that he wishes “there was something a little different with the roll.” Too dry. I’m too busy getting barbecue sauce all over my face and shirt to notice.
Ballpark Eats with Kevin Sbraga [Philadelphia Magazine]
We don’t want to innundate you everytime a bakery offers a Phillies related cupcake so we’re putting all of our Phillies related specials on a single page.
There are deals, special dishes and unusual spots to watch the World Series listed and we’ll be updating them regularly.
Know of any must-hit deals or specials? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org or @foobooz on Twitter.
World Series Specials [f8b8z]
That Sly Fox
Sly Fox is hosting a beer dinner at Alison Two on Wednesday. Read the Full Post on Foobooz
Deal With This
BYOB Bindi has a coupon good for a free Indian-inspired mixer — just mix in your own vodka, rum, or tequila. Read the Full Post on Foobooz
Varga Bar: Tale of the Tape
From the team that gave us Mercato and Valanni, it’s an American bar with a pinup-girl theme. Read the Full Post on Foobooz