It was a great day in Allentown, for those of us who report on the IronPigs and Coca Cola Park. Indeed, it was 75 and sunny, just like Kurt Landes always promises. I guess he’s bound to be right once in a while, huh? 😉
Pitchers: Hearing Sean O’Sullivan versus Ben Lively for tomorrow’s “222 Showcase.” We’re expecting Joely Rodriguez on opening night, followed by Severino Gonzalez on Friday, Adam Morgan on Saturday, Sean O’Sullivan on Sunday (where? ;)) and Paul Clemens on Monday. However, things could change (of course!) Sean O’Sullivan is widely believed to be in line for the Phillies’ start on Sunday. Missing from the rotation is Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, who “had to be removed from his last outing” and is in “wait and see” status to “see how he responds.” Missing from the IronPigs roster is Ethan Martin who is “getting second opinions and things like that.” Not promising. I think Jason Berken could be in line for one of those starts if needed, and although he’s not really stretched out right now, Adam Loewen told me he’d take the ball any time he’s needed.
Catchers: While Manager Brundage wouldn’t commit to a catcher rotation, it is expected that we’ll see Tommy Joseph most nights, with Rene Garcia as the back-up. However, Garcia did impress the Phillies in Spring Training, so it could very well be more of a 50/50 split than I think. Still no mention of Koyie Hill.
Pitch Clocks and Timers: To a man, the IronPigs pitching staff not concerned about the new “pace of play” rules. Even starter Adam Morgan, who experienced the abomination in Arizona last fall, was nonplussed. Catcher Tommy Joseph related that sticking to the game plan would render the clocks irrelevant. Also, I didn’t feel like they made the park as ugly as I had feared. There are some pictures below.
Pig Pen: Ray Burris told me that the ‘Pigs will move their bull pen to the back location, giving their guests the one right next to the fans in the new Pig Pen seating area. Kurt Landes was very pleased with how the area has turned out, and feels that it is a tremendous spot to watch a game. The seats and drink rails will be installed over the next couple days, and it might be ready for Thursday’s opener, although no tickets have been sold for that area (for opening night) yet, pending inspections and the like.
Optimism: I’m always optimistic this time of year, of course. But there was a general feeling of confidence among the coaches, players, and team officials today. Certainly, some of the big bats on this team will need to produce and stick around, but others could be on the way from Reading, too. No, they wouldn’t really talk about playoffs the way the Phantoms did prior to their season, but they wouldn’t rule it out, either. Go Pigs!
Now for some pictures and video–there’s more to come in future posts, but here are some preliminary things from today:
And now, some video. We’ve got more, but we’ll go with a pitching theme today. Videography, Sound and Editing: Cheryl Pursell
See you at the park,
PS: Some thanks for help today: Media staff Joe Fitzhenry (basking in the glow of an undefeated Red Sox team) and Darius Montez Thigpen. Jon Schaeffer and Matt Provence (even though we did bribe him with paprikash and pierogies). General Manager Kurt Landes, and all the players and coaches who humored us as we had a little fun and got to know them today.