Baseball Betsy and I decided to go to the Braves vs. Phillies spring training game at the last minute today. With not much going on at the Phillies minor league complex we picked up two of the cheapest tickets available and walked around Brighthouse Field for much of the game taking in different sight lines around the concourse which encircles Brighhouse Field. In the top of the eight inning we wound up standing at the concourse area up behind the Phillies dugout. It was a good vantage point and one off our favorite pitchers Ken Giles was coming in to pitch.
Ken was pumped and he had his good fastball working along with his knee buckling slider to keep the Braves hitters off balance. He struck out the first batter swinging on the knee buckling slider to bring Jose Costanza to the plate. Giles fired a pitch that no doubt was near 100 mph and the left-handed hitting Costanza had trouble catching up to it. He hit the ball foul directly over the Phillies on deck circle. The vicious line drive hit off the hand and seat of a fan in the section about half way up behind the Phillies dugout and deflected the ball up towards my right shoulder where Baseball Betsy and I were standing. Like the old first baseman I once was, I caught the ball fully extended in the right palm of my hand.
I had never caught a ball before that just went 100 mph. The ball tells a neat story with the black paint off of Constanza bat blurring the MLB logo and the blue from the seat erasing out the “ball” in baseball and nearly Commissioner Selig’s name. So this is what an 100 mph fast ball looks like after it leaves the hand of Ken Giles if the batter is able to make contact. See Below:
Giles went on to give up a seeing eye broken bat single to Costanza but went on to strike out the side in the inning in his most dominating inning of spring training so far. What was ironic during the game I happened to be ready a story on Ken on my smart phone about him having a breakout season just before he came into pitch. READ HERE.
Ken has never pitched above high A Clearwater so it is highly unlikely the Phillies will keep him on the opening day 25 man roster. He does have major league stuff right now and with work on throwing strikes look for him to pitch out of the Phillies bullpen before the season is out.
Just a warning to fans who sit behind the dugouts to beware of foul ball line drives over the on deck circle if your are at games this season when Ken is on the mound. I was lucky to catch a deflection but I still felt the imprint of the ball on my right palm for a period of time after catching it. The fan in the stands was not so fortunate as he was taken out to get ice on his hand.
Tuesday starts the first of three weeks of minor league games and the Phillies AAA/AA teams open with the Blue Jays at the Carpenter Complex and the high A and low A teams travel up the road a couple of miles to the Blue Jays minor league complex in Dunedin. We hope to be at one of the sites to blog about the games but we are sure that we will not see any pitches close to 100 mph.
Ken Giles firing away on Monday against the Braves.