Instinctively, I reached for a hooded sweatshirt. It was 8 o'clock in the morning and I was standing in my hotel room in a t-shirt and shorts. The plan was to grab a quick bite to eat and then drive to the gym. For the previous three months, the routine had required an intricate layering process, sweatpants and sweatshirt topped by a jacket, all of which would later be shed into a duffle bag. But today, as I dug through my suitcase in search of that hoodie, the realization hit me: The temperature outside was 70 degrees and I could see the rising sun through my window.
Contrary to what friends, co-workers, and bosses might think, spring training isn't exactly a two-month bacchanal of margaritas and tennis matches. You get to the ballpark around 7:30 in the morning and get home around 7:30 in the evening and most times you are unclear about what, exactly, you accomplished over the previous 12 hours. There is lots of standing around, lots of driving around, and lots of haggling with blue-haired snowbird ballpark volunteers.
All of that being said, there is sun at spring training, and that sun produces warmth, and most days you would have to pay me a substantial amount of money to trade spots with you.
Technically, the first workout of the spring isn't until Wednesday, but there are plenty of players already down here in Clearwater as the Phillies prepare for the process of forgetting last season's disappointment.
In today's Daily News, Ryan Lawrence continues our in-depth previous of the Phillies roster as it stands heading into spring training. Ryan details five of the key questions the Phillies face heading into 2013. He'll have five more tomorrow. His Top Five: 1) Can Roy Halladay be healthy and productive? 2) Can Chase Utley be healthy and productive? 3) Is Ryan Howard's leg at 100 percent, 4) Can Delmon Young play right field? 5) Can Michael Young play an effective third base?
I agree with four of the five: I don't think the structural health of Ryan Howard's leg is as much of an issue as how quickly he can rediscover his swing after what was effectively a lost year because of the Achilles surgery. Tomato, Tomahto, I guess.
Elsewhere. . .
. . .John Weber, the Phillies VP in charge of ticket sales, tells the Delaware County Times that the Phillies are expecting to start the season with about 3,000 fewer season ticket holders than they had at the end of last season. According to the Times, that means fans can purchase season tickets during the run up to Opening Day for the first time since 2010.
“We finished the season at 28,000 (season-ticket holders) and now we are around 24,000 and looking to be around 25,000 when the season starts,” Weber told the Times.
. . .FanGraphs.com takes an in-depth look at each of Delmon Young's called strikeouts from last season. There were four of them.
. . .Twins Daily ranks Trevor May as the No. 9 prospect in the Twins system. May entered last year as the Phillies top pitching prospect but was traded to Minnesota in December along with Vance Worley in exchange for Ben Revere.