Results tagged ‘ Sarge's Phillies Phantasy Camp Diary ’
I’m num-ber 45! I’m num-ber 45!
MLB.com Blogs Central revealed their top 100 blogs for the year, and Sarge’s Phillies Phantasy Camp Diary landed on the list at number 45. Not too shabby for a blog that was centered around an experience that was only about 8 days long (orientation, camp, and two reunions). It’s been extremely fun maintaining the diary through the rest of the year, and I’m REALLY excited to do it again. One week to go!
I want to thank everyone for stopping by, reading a post or two, and leaving such wonderful comments in the last year. Right around this time last year, I was embroiled in a little MLBlogs controversy as the blog was mistakenly ranked number one for the month of January. It was still in the upper echelon which I was extremely proud of. I hope I can return there during these cold, winter months as we all watch Prime 9/Greatest Games marathons on MLB Network and get extremely eager for the beginning of Spring Training.
I also want to congratulate all the bloggers who made the list, including fellow Phans Phillies Phollowers, The Phanatic Addict, Rants, Raves, and Random Thoughts, Phillies Red Pinstripes, Larry Shenk’s Phillies Insider, and the best (and number one) beat writer, Todd Zolecki and his Zo Zone.
See you in Clearwater!
If this blog was your destination for up-to-the-second news, well, I would be out of “business”. I’m about three weeks late to this item, but I’m still going to mention it. Current 94 WIP radio personality and former Philadelphia Eagle, Ike Reese, will be joining everyone in Clearwater as a player at this year’s Phantasy Camp.
It’s humbling enough I’m surrounded by former baseball all-stars and World Series winners, but now an NFL All-Pro and NFC Champion.
I’ll be at the tiki bar.
Below is the official list of Phillies Legends that will be in attendance at Phantasy Camp this year. It’s exactly the same as last year, with the exception of Mitch Williams.
- John Kruk
- Mike Lieberthal
- Greg Luzinski
- Bob Boone
- Milt Thompson
- Larry Anderson
- Dickie Noles
- Mickey Morandini
- Marty Bystrom
- Von Hayes
- Dave Hollins
- Kevin Stocker
- Scott Eyre
- Tyler Green
- Tommy Greene
- Jim Eisenreich
- Juan Samuel
- Ricky Jordan
- Warren Brusstar
- Ricky Bottalico
- Terry Harmon
We are officially at the two-week mark! Only 14 days to go until I return to Clearwater for my second and consecutive Phillies Phantasy Camp.
Between last weekend’s incredible freezing over of the field at Citizens Bank Park and today’s 14-degree wind chill in New York City, nothing sounds better than playing a few baseball games in sunny Florida, rather than “the frozen tundra of Central Park’s North Meadow #5…”
I’m even more excited to document my trip once again. This time the entries will not be so lengthy as I pretty much know what to expect. This time I’m going to focus more on the images and speaking to other Campers, especially the rookies, and getting their take on the whole experience. As excited as I am for myself, I’m even more thrilled for the people going for the very first time. Nothing will ever beat it…
When one of the ESF employees welcomed me back to Phantasy Camp last night, I said to her, “I knew I was going to sign up again at last year’s orientation“.
This go round, I knew what to expect. Still, the excitement was not diminished. Unlike last year’s long, solitary train adventure to the Bank, I had the good fortune of getting a car ride down with another second and consecutive year Camper, Sam. Talk of expectations, rookie mistakes, and the game plan for ’12 filled the time as we made our way down the Jersey Turnpike.
Once again, it was a cold and wet night. But this time, the walk to front door was not as heart-pounding. I felt like a senior in high school, heading to class on that first day. I’ve done this before. No problem. Look at the newbies. They don’t know where to go. They’ll learn.
We took the elevator down to the media room. Deja vu all over again. This time, I recognized faces… the good folks from ESF, Campers from last year… lots of “welcome back!” and “hey, you cut your hair!” Yep, Joe Cool runnin’ school.
Sign in, table to table, dot the I’s, cross the T’s…
Now last year, rookies received those great duffle bags with our number on the side. For us second year Campers, we got a nice cold-weather pullover, again with our number on the sleeve. However, my new garment had my old #31. Of course, I had to be a pain and get a new number for this year. Yep, my luggage tags would have to changed (I’ll buy you a beer at a game at the Stadium pal. Sorry about that.)
After we look over some more paperwork and grab some sandwiches and cookies… and more cookies… ok, one more… we get our guided walk towards the clubhouse. Past the umpire lockers, past the Phantic storage, batting tunnels, retired jerseys, photos of recent Phillies triumphs…
…and one Bart Simpson-esque temptation before we enter the clubhouse.
The sight of that clubhouse still gives me chills. Yes, the lockers are emptied out until next Spring, but still, what a moment. Lots of champagne and Bud Light had been sprayed in this room.
Ah, but right before we crossed over, we were met with a sight that made us all shudder. It was like seeing the ship’s log of the Titanic on April 13, 1912. “Clear lanes, smooth sailing”.
Yes, the lineup card for Game 5 of this last season’s NLDS was still up.
Let’s move on.
There was no need for a uniform sizing this time, so we got to spend a little more time taking photos of the lockers. We gazed at the prominently displayed Phantasy Camp awards given out every year as well. You heard it here first: Sam Daley will be the 2012 Batting Champion. I will win the Mario Mendoza Award.
It was very nice of the Phillies to bring in the industrial-sized cap-shaping machine to fit my noggin. At this point, I will also restrain myself from making any Placido Polanco jokes.
Like last year, Scott Palmer was there to greet the Campers. This time, he had two friends with him: Larry Andersen and Gary Matthews. So, I did what had to be done.
Sarge and Sarge.
About half the time we were in the clubhouse, I found myself turning around at the sound of “Hey Sarge!”, over and over. Joe Cool ain’t that cool.
All things must come to an end, so we slowwwly made our way back to the exit. But before we left the clubhouse, I did get to snap a photo of the team mailbox. I made a mention of it last year, but never took a picture of it.
I won’t tell you what I saw, but I will say, “Chooch… I would have never guessed that about you.”
I ran into some more returning Campers as we made our way back. And then it really hit me. Yes, I am going back for the once-in-a-lifetime experience for any die-hard baseball and Phillies fan, but more so this time, I’m looking really forward to the camaraderie. I think this is what truly brings people back, year after year. And that’s what makes this Camp so incredibly special.
The countdown is officially on!
(ooh, one more cookie)
I was only ever on a Major League Baseball field once in my life. Standing on the concrete field they called “turf” at Veterans Stadium for photo day in 1989 was one thing. This was completely different. Just like every other moment I’ve had during this Phantasy Camp experience, you could not get that goofy grin of mine off my face during this reunion. The grass was perfect, the dirt was clean, the Fall-like weather was awakening, and Dan Baker’s voice boomed down from the heavens. This was a religious baseball experience.
On that photo day in 1989, my dad was by my side. Without a doubt, he was with me again on a Major League field.
And he would have the same goofy grin.
Getting changed in the…
That’s why there weren’t any urinals.
“Yes, I promise not to break from the group and run around the field… OK, I can’t really promise that.”
Hey there Scott.
My number was retired across from the visiting team’s clubhouse. They think of everything.
“Calcified Clay? Check. Phillie Phanatic ‘Lady Gaga egg’? Check.”
I immediately recognized this from Opening Day…
Really Bryan? Control yourself.
“Bryan Sargent just ousted Placido Polanco as mayor of third base.”
The Marlins are underwhelmed.
“I welcome you to Citizens Bank Park.”
I’m proud to say I’ve made a return to the MLB Blogs leaders, landing at #49 for the month of June.
Thank you all for your continued readership!
There will be a lot of new pictures and video in late August after the 2011 Phantasy Camp reunion at Citizens Bank Park. And of course, another return to Clearwater in January 2012…
So don’t go turn that dial!
Waiting is the hardest part.
Just like last year at this time, thoughts of the 2012 Phantasy Camp this coming January are constantly hitting me. I feel like Chris Volstad facing Ryan Howard. The reality of the situation is running me over like a freight train… a freight train full of sunshine in the middle of winter, endless buckets of sunflower seeds and Double Bubble, and some of the best damn memories any baseball fan can remember.
Luckily, my 2011 Camp experience is technically not over. Come August, I will have one more huge fantasy come true right before the Phillies take on the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park. But I’ll save that until later…
Until then, it’s watching the Phillies lead the pack in the Majors, guiding my softball team (hopefully) to another championship game appearance, and hitting the gym on a regular basis. Yes, hell has indeed frozen over. More trips to the batting cages are definitely on the docket as well. I am NOT embarrassing myself in front of Milt Thompson again.
As it is that time of year when folks are filling out their applications or still trying to decide if that trip to Clearwater is worth it, I thought I would revisit an interview I gave for the Phillies Talk podcast back in February. If you didn’t get a chance to listen, you can click below, or visit the Fightin Phillies website here.
My brother blog, The Transplanted Phan, has made the The Phield. For two years, The Phield has set up an NCAA basketball-style bracket with Phillies blogs going head-to-head. You, the reader, vote.
I’m hoping to play the role of the Richmond Spiders in 1991, taking the 15 seed, and upset the number 2 seed, Phuture Phillies. So I’m asking all the readers of this blog to write in to The Phield and vote for The Transplanted Phan. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org and mention The Transplanted Phan as the winner in the First Round in the Salisbury Region. Voting ends at 5 PM on Thursday.