Spring Training…

As the Grapefruit League season comes to a close, we wanted to reflect a bit on Spring Training.  The Phillies have been quite busy with workouts, lineup changes and rehabbing injuries.  Spring Training provides a great escape for fans looking to take a weekend getaway to sunny (most of the time) Clearwater, Florida and watch our Phils shine. 

This year, 8 ballgirls were able to make a trip as fans to Brighthouse Field for a weekend of sun, fun and baseball.  Unfortunately, the weather was not exactly cooperative, but we still had a great time. 

For those of us unable to make it, there were still events and other things to do at home in the Philadelphia area.  Enjoy hearing a bit about what we did last week!

 


ST.tarp.JPGKami:
I can sum up my very first spring training experience in one statistic: 0-3. Not only was it the Phillies’ win/loss record for the duration of my trip, but it was also the number of games I attended, even though I had tickets for all three! Unfortunately for me, I spent several hours in the Clearwater emergency room which caused me to miss Friday night’s game against the Orioles. Doctor’s orders to stay indoors kept me away from Saturday’s away game in Lakeland versus the Tigers. I did, however, actually make it to Sunday’s game but there was a rain delay and a few of us (me included) had to catch a flight back to Philly! Despite it all, I had a good time. One of my favorite Phillies training memories will be remembering the time 8 of us ballgirls huddled under a tarp serving as a makeshift tent in the outfield at Brighthouse Field while being barraged with thunder and torrential rain from all sides. Another was my very first Lenny’s Diner experience with Mike the balloon man. Lenny’s is a Phillies-centric diner a few short miles from Brighthouse Field. It’s so popular with Phillies fans that the wait on a normal day is over an hour! Though I may have come home with a different souvenir than I anticipated (a hospital bracelet), I’m pretty sure only true fans wear their Phillies hats in their hospital beds!

Katie: This past week, some of the ballgirls traveled to Clearwater, FL to enjoy some nice
ST.beach.JPGweather, the beach, team bonding, and Phillies baseball!  It had been a few months since I saw live baseball and once I stepped into Brighthouse Field, I felt like I was in a familiar place even though I had never been to Spring Training before.  We still cheered the Phillies even through their losses.  I was very excited to go and sad to leave.  We all really enjoyed each other’s company and hope we can arrange another trip like it again!  I loved going to Spring Training because it gave me an excuse to travel with my friends and watch baseball near the beach!  I am definitely ready for the 2010 season to start!

Bonnie: One would think that eight girls staying in the beautiful city of Clearwater, FL for a weekend would want to spend their days soaking up as much sun as possible. Well, that’s not the case when you put together eight Phillies ballgirls in Clearwater for a weekend during Spring Training. I’ve been to Spring Training before, but I have never experienced such a memorable weekend as I did this year when eight of us ballgirls headed down with all of our Phillies gear determined to catch some rays…if we could catch them in the stands of a baseball game! It’s not every day that you get to hang out with a group of girls that can talk baseball like the best of ‘em and are willing to stand out in the pouring rain for hours in hopes to see the Phillies play. The one goal I had for the weekend that probably drove everyone crazy was to determine our “Phillies Spring Training 2010″ song. I didn’t want to force the matter, but I love when there’s that one song that reminds you of a past adventure. Some runners up for the weekend were Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” and the classic piano ditty “Heart and Soul.” I know…I was really reaching for a tune that would be a hit with everyone, but we couldn’t come to an agreement. So I now would like to take this opportunity to announce that the official song of the trip (thank you, Tori, for your nomination) is Kris Allen’s “Live Like We’re Dying.” A couple other highlights of the weekend were our family minivan rental that Lindsay and I drove with pride and Perrin getting stuck in the van door. We’re just glad that we only had to make one ER stop! I think all of us would have to admit that we’re more excited than ever for the regular season to get going!

Brittany: Well I have never been to Clearwater, FL, so I can’t lie and say I went to Spring training, because I didn’t.  I would have loved to gone but I didn’t really have the moolah for it because I had gone on a cruise the week before all the other girls went down.  So I’m sure all the other girls just pretended I was there with them. But I have been keeping up to date with the games.  By the way I was really feelin the Phil’s green jerseys on St. Patty’s Day.

Victoria: Ahhh Spring Training…..Obviously Spring Training is bound to be an experience of a life time when you have 8 ballgirls, beautiful weather, a pretty sweet mini van and of course the PHILLIES.  This by far was the best Spring Training yet, the weather was beautiful with the exception of a little rain on Sunday (which didn’t stop us!).  I made it to Friday’s home night game vs. Baltimore as well as Saturdays game vs. Detroit.  The team is looking really good this year and I’m so excited for open day!!  Besides being able to be fans for the weekend spending time with some of the ballgirls was awesome.  Friendships really developed and unforgettable memories were made.  I wouldn’t go back and change a thing…….Spring Training 2011, LOOK OUT :)


ST.becca.JPGBecca:
For Spring Training this year I was not in sunny Clearwater. Instead, I was in windy, rainy, cold Philadelphia! I was quite jealous of the nice tans and fun stories the girls had, so I’m definitely making it my goal to attend next year! I did however work the Franklin Institute’s Annual Spring Training Day with Jess and had a blast! Dan Baker, the Phanstormers, the Phanatic, Jess and myself spent the day with tons of Phillies fans who ventured out in the rain to participate in some baseball related trivia and games. It was great to see so many people come out and share their excitement and enthusiasm for the upcoming season. I met one particular fan (a fellow Becca) decked out in her Phillies gear that expressed to me how much she loves her Phils and hopes to be a Ballgirl herself one day! Look out for her Phillies fans, you might be seeing another Becca in the near future!

Bridgette: Let me start off by saying how envious I am of the ladies who were lucky enough to make it to this year’s spring training! Judging by their photos and stories, they definitely had a great time. While I wasn’t able to join them in Clearwater, I was however a hop, skip, and a jump away visiting a friend at the University of Miami. My favorite part of the trip would hands down have to be spending hours soaking up the sun (after lathering up with lotion of course) on Miami’s beautiful beaches. Throughout my whole life I’ve only ever been to one beach outside of New Jersey (just so happened to be in Clearwater!) so it was refreshing to experience something new. Talk is already being generated about a trip to next year’s spring training, which I would definitely love to be apart of. I have also been participating in some spring training of my own. If you recall my New Year’s resolution blog entry, I’m taking part in the Broad Street Run on May 2nd this year (along with Kristina!), and have been training to reach my goal of finishing ten miles. With much inspiration from the Phils and the Rocky soundtrack on my mp3 player, I’m crankin’ out the miles and can’t wait until the day of the race!

Lindsay: This was my first trip to Clearwater for Spring Training and it lived up to all the hype!  Besides the fact it was sunny and warm for a change, I loved getting to catch a bit of March baseball and see some of the new Phillies.  On Saturday I got a chance to see our newest Ace, Halladay, pitch a couple innings against the Tigers.  It was the most beautiful day for a baseball game!  Sunday we attended “Not So” Brighthouse Field (Perrin’s words) and set up a tarp in the outfield to survive the torrential downpours.  Lucky enough, I was able to find the gift store and buy a couple new items of Phillies Merchandise in the meantime.  Overall, our trip was a great way to build new friendships and start the season off right!!

McKenzie: I have never been to spring training, but a bunch of the girls were lucky enough to go this year. I would definitely love to go not only because of the beautiful Florida weather, but because you get to see the team in a different environment, and meet fans from all over the country. I think Clearwater is the perfect place for spring training, and don’t think it would be a good idea for it to be in Philly. The players I’m sure want a change of pace and really enjoy the whole environment of living in Florida for a few winter months! As for my OWN spring training.. I have been trying to go to the gym more often in preparation for the ballgirls softball season.. our opponents better watch out!!!

Kristina: The thing that makes spring training so exciting is the anticipation.  Phil’s fans have been waiting anxiously since October to see their favorite team in uniform again.  Unfortunately, I was unable to attend Phillies Spring Training this year although I have gone to the two previous.  Two years ago I went to Brighthouse Field and last year I saw the Phils play the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium in West Palm Beach.  Sitting in the stands, in warm weather, watching a great baseball game in March, it doesn’t get much better than that!  Even though I wasn’t able to physically attend a game I definitely have been thoroughly following my favorite team.  I believe that their spring training so far has been extremely positive and I can’t wait until they come back to Philadelphia and play at the bank!

Katelyn: My first trip to Clearwater, Florida for Spring Training was an experience of a lifetime!  When Katie mentioned the idea of the Ballgirls making a trip down to sunny Florida to catch some Spring Training games, I knew right away that I wanted to go.  Of course the first thing the girls and I wanted to do was go to the beach.  It was a beautiful day! I was thankful to be able to relax in such an enjoyable beach.  That night Katie, Victoria and I were lucky enough to get tickets to the Phillies game.  We had fun even though the Phillies didn’t score a single run.  That night the girls and I were entertained when Victoria and Perrin decided to have a pushup contest.  I was very impressed, especially when they each had successfully completed 40 pushups in the time allowed.  The next day the girls and I went on an adventure in our rented minivan to Lakeland, Florida to see the Phillies play the Tigers.  The Phillies weren’t playing their best again, but at least they were getting some more hits and the weather was perfect.  After the game was finished, the girls and I played a competitive game of catch phrase in the parking lot.  That evening we decided to go to a nice dinner.  We enjoyed some of the best food in Clearwater in a beautiful atmosphere.  Ever since I arrived in Clearwater, I had been hearing about Lenny’s diner, the best place to go for breakfast for anyone who is a Phillies Phan.  So Sunday morning we were able to eat there, and it was a lot of fun! 

Thumbnail image for ST.katelyn.JPGThe food was delicious and we met a man named Mark who was making balloon hats for everyone!  Each Ballgirl received her own balloon hat.  As soon as we were leaving Lenny’s it started to rain so we made sure to buy some ponchos for the Phillies game that day.  By the time the game was supposed to start, there was a torrential downpour!  The ponchos helped a little, but we still got soaked.  We tried to be as innovative as possible by making a fort with a tarp.  After the rain cleared, we had the opportunity to make our way down to the beach one last time to see a spectacular sunset.  I have been a fan of sunsets for years, and this one was particularly wonderful.   My experience in Clearwater was amazing because I was able to spend time with 7 of the Ballgirls, eat some yummy food, and get to see my favorite team play baseball!  Watching them play reminded me just how excited I am for the regular season to start.  Go Phillies!

Perrin: This year was my first time visiting the Phillies in Clearwater for Spring Training and who better to share the experience with then my fellow ballgirls! I met up with Lindsay and Patti at Philly Int’l Airport on Friday night and we all flew into Tampa thus beginning our weekend adventure. From the hospital to fast food, it was certainly an interesting first night in Clearwater. We were notified with alarming news that Kami was in the ER for an unexpected medical condition. This is not the news you want to hear when you’re just walking off the plane, but at least she was discharged that night. On Saturday we traveled to the Detroit Tigers’ stadium in Lakeland to see our Phillies on a gorgeous sunny day. Unfortunately they did not win, in fact they did not score a single run the entire game, but at least we all got some nice tanning (and burning) in.Sunday began with a fantastic breakfast at the infamous Lenny’s Diner in Clearwater. I’m not sure what was better, the food and atmosphere, or the awesome balloon hats we had custom made at our table (Thanks Mark!). As we enjoyed our meal it was evident the skies were becoming increasingly dark and dreary with an impending storm on the way. We made our best efforts to attend the afternoon game at(not so) Bright House Field despite no cooperation from Mother Nature. In light of the torrential downpour, we used our survival skills to pitch a makeshift fort to protect ourselves. Even with high spirits and good company we ultimately made the decision to leave the game – cold, wet, and defeated. Once we got into dry clothes we heard the game had started after a two hour rain delay – big bummer. Unfortunately it was too late to make it back to the game with our flight lingering in the coming hours. Instead we opted to enjoy the rest of our time togetherplaying some board games and remembering the silly moments from our trip. Overall I had a fantastic time with some great people. I hope all future ballgirls can make a trip down to Clearwater and perhaps they will actually make it to a home game!

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