A trio of opinions gathered at Friday's Red Sox-Rays game in Port Charlotte, Fla ...
David Brown is an editor of Big League Stew, and has contributed to the blog …
A trio of opinions gathered at Friday's Red Sox-Rays game in Port Charlotte, Fla ...
Pat the Bat is back in Clearwater.
For the first time since taking off in free agency, Pat Burrell roamed the Phillies spring complex in another team's uniform.
Burrell, bred to be a Phillie, is now swimming with the Rays.
Burrell, now Tampa Bay's designated hitter after signing for two seasons at $16 million in the off-season, seemed in a great mood and repeatedly accommodated fans from both sides (that I noticed) who said hello and/or sought autographs.
This is a shot I got during one of the several times he went over to sign for folks calling his name at Bright House Field.
Would he answer to "Mr. The Bat"? Nobody called him that, so I don't know.
Did you know that Burrell is especially popular with the ladies for some reason?
"We miss you, Pat!" at least one female rooter shouted out as he signed baseballs, pictures and cards near the Rays dugout before taking batting practice.
"Thank you," Burrell replied.
Just enough words, along with the deed, to get the job done.
Pat GillickRead More »from Autograph alert! Pat Burrell is signing by the visitor's dugout!
How about a little Saturday morning Stew?
My spring fling continues around Florida, and this was the scene a little while ago outside Bright House Field in Clearwater. Fans of the World Utley Champions and their American League subordinates, the Rays, in line to buy seats to Saturday afternoon's game. Good seats, or at least a good place to stand, was available as of 3 1/2 hours before kickoff.
OMG, a raccoon chase! That wasn't here, actually.
The Phillies clubhouse was closed because Don Fehr was holding a union meeting inside. Norman Rae himself. Or maybe Norman Rae would be Marvin Miller. Milllahhhh! Anyway, I am pro-Fehr, generally, but he's kind of a professional sourpuss.
Anyway, outside I bumped into a Phillies Fan named Tom Woods, who tried (unsuccessfully!) to do a Hulk Hogan flex in a shot I was taking of the nice people standing in line. I actually hoped he would have been flexing in the shot because that kind of stuff (along with raccoon chases) is Internet Gold.
There'sRead More »from Guy from Philly forgoes going home to go to spring training
Big League Stew contributor David Brown is in Florida for a spring swing through the Grapefruit League. He'll be posting throughout the day — both to the Stew and his Twitter feed — plus he'll also be filing a report each night from his day's action, complete with photos, videos and observations. His trip continues to Port Charlotte, home of the reigning American League champion Rays (and their critters). In this episode, Tampa Bay shows the Red Sox the Rays can't even be messed with in spring training. Also, what or Who is the source of light behind Rays general manager Andrew Friedman in today's postcard? That wasn't there when he posed; it just showed up on the film! A funny note about the " '09>'08" Fathead-ish decal above the clubhouse doors. The figures were, at first, applied with the apostrophes reversed, something which Joe Maddon — also originator of the "9=8" formula — spotted first, of course.
This update got to the post office a little late, but neitherRead More »from DB's Grapefruit Getaway: Rays still all sunshine against Red Sox
Rocco Baldelli got himself turned around.
“Which way do I go?” he asked, looking for the visitors clubhouse at Rays spring headquarters in Port Charlotte, Fla.
The Rays don't train at Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg anymore, as Baldelli did with them for his first five seasons in the majors. Baldelli doesn't train with the Rays anymore, period, having left for the Red Sox via free agency in the off-season.
He found the visitors clubhouse and found his former team, too, on Friday. Baldelli, usually composed, greeted his friends with a lot of emotion.
"I got more hugs today than I got in a long time,'' Baldelli said. "It was really nice.''
Aside from a long conversation with manager Joe Maddon, along with embraces with ex-teammate Carlos Pena and others, Baldelli also visited Ron Porterfield, the athletic trainer who cared for him in Tampa during the toughest of times.
Porterfield, who has been with the Rays organization since its start, used to have two jobs. He looked after all ofRead More »from Boston's Rocco Baldelli gets a lot of love from friends on the Rays
By now, many of you have read about the rascally raccoon who both delighted and terrified those in attendance before today's Rays-Red Sox game in Port Charlotte, Florida.
But how many of you have seen the commotion it caused among the scrambling staff and the entertainment it provided to guys like Joe Maddon and Don Zimmer on the field below?
Luckily, Big League Stew fought through one security guard who was overly concerned for our safety — we don't worry about getting rabies while we're gathering news, ma'am! — to document a particularly harrowing part of the hunt.
As Charlotte Sports Park staffers close in with a batting net and a David sunflower seeds bucket, make sure to pay special attention to the audio. Yes, the same woman who tries to prevent us from doing our jobs in the name of "safety" later advises one of the workers to "grab its tail."
And while the raccoon escapes this episode by executing a Kimble-style leap from the top of the stands (listen for the crowd's cries!),Read More »from Exclusive! Video of raccoon running wild at Rays spring training
If you're a fan of agonizingly slow and methodical negotations that never seem to yield any progress whatsoever, the contract talks between Manny Ramirez and the Dodgers are the blockbuster discussions you've been waiting for your whole life.
When your kids are grown, will their friends ask where he or she was when Ramirez and his attorney Scott Boras rejected the fourth Dodgers offer this off-season, one for $25 million in 2009 and a $20-million player option in '10?
I'll never forget where I was; it was a motel in Florida writing this post.
General manager Ned Colletti and owner Frank McCourt couldn't use their man-advantage against Boras, but it's not even March yet, so no reason to get all '94 strike about this. We've got nothing but time.
McCourt played the economy card in chiding ManRam for just saying "no."
From the AP:
Read More »from Dodger blues: $25 million for '09 still ain't enough for Manny
"Even with an economy that has substantially eroded since last November, out of respect for Manny and his talents, we actually improved our offer," McCourt
Big League Stew contributor David Brown is in Florida this week for a spring swing through the Grapefruit League. He'll be posting throughout the day — both to the Stew and his Twitter feed — plus he'll also be filing a report each night from his day's action, complete with photos, videos and observations. His trip continues to Tampa, home of the Galactic Baseball Empire from the Empire State, the Yankees. Last year, these two teams didn't like each other in spring training. Would we have another brawl, or would everyone play nice? Ah, who cares? Let's go find Yogi Berra!
A guy walks into a ballpark, and a duck and Yogi Berra try to sell him AFLAC. Wait, that's not how it goes. Well, the most thrilling part of my trip so far happened Thursday at Steinbrenner Field. I got to meet the one of the biggest figures in Yankees lore.
No, not cousin Yuri. But his name does start with a "Y." Yogi Berra, one of the two or so greatest catchers of all time. They had him perchedRead More »from DB's Grapefruit Getaway: Huntin' for Berra — Yogi Berra, that is
The boy on the right isn't protecting himself from pollutants in the Tampa air, nor is he about to perpetrate a stickup. Rather, I overheard this youth say that he misplaced his "Jeter jersey" for the big Yankees-Rays contest at Steinbrenner Field this afternoon and had to scramble to find a proper wardrobe. Really, that's what he said.
So he goes from what probably was an innocuous No. 2 to a full-bore Rayfro, complete with sunglasses, beads, sweatbands and a mouth covering that peace officers might describe as something a Crip might use during a night on the town. Here comes trouble, I say.
But perhaps Tampa is finally shaking its Yankees Fever and sticking with its across-the-bay Rays from the get-go this season? The good amount of Raysheads in attendance at the Yankees stronghold today might suggest such a possibility. More evidence after the jump:
Here's another pic of over coverboy, Lil' Cowbell. (The apostrophe in Li'l should go before the second "L" ... not to get allRead More »from Rays fans representin' at Evil Empire's spring headquarters
Forty years ago, Simon and Garfunkel asked, "Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?"
Finally, the classic American pop duo has its answer: Joltin' Joe's final resting place is this memorial park just outside Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, where I'm watching the Yankees play the Rays today. Nearby are markers for the other great Yankees of old — names such as Whitey, Mickey, the Babe, Yogi and Luis Polonia (if i remember correctly).
I happened upon the garden a couple of hours ago It adds a nice touch to the complex, which seems colossal for a spring site — especially compared to the field in Dunedin the Yanks (and the Stew) visited Wednesday.
Before any more of you gawkers and stalkerazzi come out of the woodwork to raid the Yankee Clipper's grave, know this: Nobody is actually buried here, especially Yogi and Polonia, who are alive. As for Mr. Coffee? He rests in California.Read More »from Even the Yankees spring training site has a Monument Park