Posts Tagged ‘2012 Spring Training’
It is all finally over. After a workout day in Pittsburgh tomorrow, the games will count. Tonight was the final game of spring training, and if it’s any indication of the Phillies upcoming season, then waiting the next two days for the Phillies official opener will not be easy.
Cole Hamels was making his final tuneup of the spring, and if the thoughts of his contract are in his head at all, he isn’t showing it. His business now is on the field, and he showed it with another excellent outing.
After a slow start, the offense got things going as well, making everything look the way it should as spring wraps up.
If the story of spring training wasn’t focused on injuries, it was focused on Cole Hamels. The Phillies know what they have to do, especially if they want a seamless transition to the next era of greatness that likely starts with players like Hunter Pence, Shane Victorino and Freddy Galvis. Signing Hamels is a must.
Last August, Angels pitcher Jered Weaver signed a five-year, $85 million contract which was the first stepping stone to a deal for Hamels and other pitchers in similar situations like Zack Greinke and Matt Cain. One of those pitchers cashed in yesterday. It was not Hamels.
Matt Cain signed a six-year, $112.5 million contract with the Giants, just days before spring training. It is the largest contract extension for a right-handed pitcher in major league history.
So now the bar has been set. Hamels is going to get at least five years. He’s going to get at least $100 million. And he’s going to get it within a year. Who he gets it from is the only thing left to be decided.
Baseball in Philadelphia. Finally there was a game in the ballpark the Phillies call home to finally brush away the memory of last season’s heartbreak.
Ok, so this doesn’t exactly remove the image of last October, but the excitement is back. The Phillies were playing winning baseball in Citizens Bank Park again, as they found a way to win late in tonight’s game.
Finally, after a month and a half of games and practices in Florida, the Phillies are coming home. As far as final impressions go, this was a good one for the Phillies regulars that are coming home.
It was also the last tuneup for Cliff Lee, who looked dominant in his final outing of the spring.
[Note: I wrote this for The Loquitur, the student-run newspaper at Cabrini College, my school. It was published in our most recent issue, released on Thursday, March 29.]
Opening Day. The smell of freshly cut grass, the bright sunshine making for a picture-perfect day and the sound of an umpire yelling “Play ball!” April is right around the corner, and baseball is back.
It’s hard for a diehard baseball fan like me to not be excited for a new season. After all, the last time baseball was played, the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers battled in an epic World Series, and several teams saw the bitter end in a dramatic final day of the regular season.
There is plenty to be excited about in the new season. The offseason gave way to some of the biggest moves, with Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder changing leagues, with teams like the Miami Marlins and Washington Nationals headlining offseason moves, not the usual organizations like the New York Yankees or Philadelphia Phillies.
In the meantime, while teams were changing pieces, baseball was changing the rules. With a new expanded playoffs system, baseball is sure to be more exciting than ever before.
In case you didn’t know, five teams from each league will make the playoffs in 2012. This opens the door for the near-misses of 2011, the Atlanta Braves and Boston Red Sox.
Baseball is always a grinding sport. 162 games is a large number leaving plenty to be decided in the next six months. With this new playoff system, baseball is ensuring the best of the best really are playing for the World Series.
There is an old saying that reads “baseball is a marathon, not a sprint.” It is a journey that never fails to provide its ups and downs.
As a Phillies fan, baseball has given me and other Phillies fans very disappointing endings in recent years. Yet, for me, there is an effect that keep me coming back for more every year.
I had no preference of who won last year’s World Series. I didn’t root for either team throughout the season. But I saw my love of the game grow even more through a couple of exciting finishes that made any fan of baseball in general go crazy.
I think I realize how much joy the game brings me when I find myself yelling at the TV praying that a fly ball has just enough to carry over the fence…during a spring training game.
Spring training games have no real meaning except for preparation. And yet there is nothing more exciting than watching some of the most exciting moments of a ballgame have the same impact even when the games don’t.
Every year, I find myself coming back way more often than the year before. I attend more games, I follow other teams more. I simply can’t get enough.
I’ve heard many times over many years that baseball is a dying sport and that other sports have taken its place. For me, nothing compares to the great American game.
If last season tells us anything, it’s that baseball is alive and well. Baseball can still bring people together.
If last season tells us anything, it’s that this great American game is unpredictable. Just ask the Braves and Red Sox.
If last season tells us anything, baseball can only continue to grow from here.
I have high hopes that baseball will continue to deliver for many years to come. Those few magical nights in late September and October can keep baseball fans excited for the future.
The pastime has returned. Baseball is back again. Another season is beginning set to take us on a wild roller coaster ride. Time to play ball and see where this great game takes us next.
After today, there are just three games left that count toward the Phillies spring training record. After that, they all count.
Ultimately, you can’t take that record to heart, especially with some of the names that are playing for the Phillies right now.
Despite the losing record, the Phillies are getting better. Today wasn’t exactly a pitcher’s dream as far as weather was concerned, but the offense continues to get better as the season draws closer.
Amidst injury and a rapidly closing championship window, it is no secret what the Phillies’ most important order of business is off the field in 2012: sign Cole Hamels to a long-term extension.
The progress in that goal is good to this point. The sides have had discussions, according to CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury, and while a deal being done by Opening Day appears to be a stretch, the sides are in the same ballpark when it comes to money terms. The Phillies are willing to pay Hamels around $20 million a season in a new deal, a number that Hamels and his agent are agreeing on.
What is being disagreed upon is the length of the contract. The Phillies want a four-year deal. Hamels is shooting for longer, probably in the range of a five or six-year deal like the one that Cliff Lee got from the Phillies in December 2010.
Just days after Salisbury tweeted encouraging progress in the Hamels’ negotiations, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal shot them down, saying Hamels’ agent and the Phillies’ front office haven’t talked in at least three weeks.
Now, here’s where things get interesting. Hamels remains positive that a deal will get done, but let a hint that a deal could already be done leak. Hamels said that the luxury tax is the only thing standing in the way for the Phillies, and that if they were to make any deal official before Opening Day, they may face the luxury tax penalty. Last season, the Boston Red Sox chose to announce an extension with Adrian Gonzalez in April of last season – after Opening Day – but had finalized the terms of the deal and agreed months before in an effort to avoid the luxury tax. That could be the case with Hamels.
His incredible story now has another chapter.
Jamie Moyer, the ageless wonder who revived his career with the Phillies, was doubted heavily in his bid to return to the majors after having Tommy John surgery on an injury he suffered in Winter Leagues in November 2010. He skipped the 2011 season, but vowed he would return. All he needed was a chance.
One team offered him that chance. The Colorado Rockies signed Moyer to a minor-league deal at the ripe age of 49 in January. And after another strong spring, his incredible story continues.
A tale of two games had the Phillies on the losing end of a game again. The good news was the side of the game you would normally expect the Phillies to struggle from was their strong point.
Ultimately, this game was one that forced you to remind yourself that it is only spring training, and that the players on the field were in different roles and situations than they would normally be. Despite what on paper will be a sloppy game, many positives come out of this one.
As spring training games start to wind down, the Phillies are starting have options opening up to fill the void for several injured players.
Not many of these players are what you’d expect. Usually, the Phillies are looking for players who can simply give the regulars a day off. This year, the extra players will get much more than just an occasional start. They will get regular action themselves.