Sorry for the delay in blogging today. . .
Let's get right to it:
1) Those who were not at Bright House Field prior to the first pitch today missed one of the most, um, interesting Star Spangled Banner performances of all time. Dale Badway, a Broadway producer (pictured below), belted out the anthem in a spirited theatrical tenor while pacing around the home plate dirt, gesturing emphatically with his hands and punctuating it with a sweeping bow worthy of a curtain call. Afterward, several Phillies gave him fist bumps, while outfielder Jayson Werth set him up with a high five. You really had to be there.
2) In today's paper, we take a look at Kris Benson's minor set-back. For those who haven't heard, he missed a minor league start today because of soreness in his arm. I realize Phils fans have the Freddy Garcia fiasco fresh in their minds, but this really doesn't sound like something to worry much about. Charlie Manuel, Rich Dubee and Benson all said this is a natural part of his recovery. Benson said he wasn't concerned at all, nor was he frustrated. Looks like he'll be starting the season rehabbing in Clearwater with the goal of joining the Phillies' rotation sometime during the month of May.
3) Cole Hamels will get his most extensive action of the season today against Tampa Bay. He'll probably get upwards of 70 pitches in what should be the first of three final outings before the start of the regular season. Hamels has made just two Grapefruit League starts - his previous start came in a minor league outing. He's been hit hard both times, currently boasting a 12.60 ERA.