Now that the Reading team is no longer known as the Phillies only two teams in professional baseball remain known as the Phillies. The major league team and the Gulf Coast League Phillies. The top and the bottom of the Phillies system. Last night Baseball Betsy and I had a decision to make: would we stay at home and watch the big league Phillies take on the best team in baseball, the St. Louis Cardinals, on MLB-TV or walk up a few blocks from our home to Dunedin Stadium and watch the rookie league GCL Phillies take on the GCL Blue Jays in the first night game of the GCL season for the Phillies.
We made the right decision. We arrived at the GCL game just in time for the bottom of the first inning and never left until the final run scored on an infield error in the bottom of the tenth inning over three hours later. The game was captivating. We saw just about everything you would want in a baseball game from a three run home run to great defense and strikeout pitching when it counted by the Phillies. They did come up short in a 10-9 loss, hurt with poor infield defense as is too many times is the case with rookie ball, but the game was never boring.
In the game we saw combined 19 runs scored; 22 hits including a three run homer, two triples and three doubles; nine stolen bases; two caught stealings; two batters hit by pitches; four wild pitches; 15 walks; twenty strikeouts and seven errors. All in ten innings.
We watched some real good Phillies baseball too such as J.P. Crawford make a backhand pickup and throw from short to get the batter at first. Then he started to turn two, what appeared to be easy 6-4-3 double plays, only to have his second baseman throw high each time to first to not get the DP. We watched Cord Sandberg take off and run down a long fly ball over his head to center for what turned out to be an easy out. Then we saw Danny Child come in out of the pen and get four strike outs in two shutout innings with the game tied 9-9 forcing an extra inning. All major league quality performances.
We saw some good Phillies hitting if you do not dwell on the all the strikeouts. Phillies right fielder Jose Pujols drove a three run home run that just cleared the billboard lined wall in right-center. Left-handed hitting Crawford showed his speed and pop when drove a ball into the left-centerfield gap for a triple and scored when the throw hit the net behind the Phillies third-base dugout. Third baseman Jan Hernandez hit a ball off the left field billboards for a double and would eventually score.
It was wild and crazy baseball but that is what rookie league ball is all about. It sure beat the Phillies-Cards game going on at about the same time. When we walked back to the house after the GCL game we were just in time to catch the last two innings of the Phillies-Cards game on MLB-TV. Needless to say we made the right decision to go to the GCL game where we watched several potential MLB many of them teenage stars of tomorrow play last night in an exciting brand of baseball. The GCL Phillies and the Jays have a rematch tonight at Brighthouse as do the Phillies and the Cards in St. Louis. You can guess which game we will be watching.