The boys of Summer are back in action

February 27, 2011 by

After 175 days of waiting out the harsh Florida winter, baseball finally returns to the Sunshine State and more specifically, to Clearwater, Fla.

The boys in the red, white, and blue make their 65th trip down to the Clearwater area to prepare for another season of Phillies baseball, one defined more recently by winning.

Since moving the team’s operations to Bright House Field and Carpenter Complex in 2004, the Phillies have yet to win less than 85 games in a season, producing four division titles, two MVP’s, and a Cy Young Award winner. More importantly, the team captured the 2008 World Series crown over the local hometown team and have made it to at the least NLCS three years in a row.

A year ago, Clearwater got to see one of the game’s best pitcher in Roy Halladay who delivered the franchise’s first Cy Young Award in over 20 years. When he returned to Florida in May, Halladay hurled just the 20th perfect game in baseball history.

Since losing last year’s league championship to the eventual world champion Giants, the Phils have rearmed themselves. Literally.

The addition of 2008 Cy Young winner Cliff Lee to an already successful and experienced rotation makes this year’s Phillies an easy favorite for playing deep into October.

The buzz that the “Big Four” have made this off season has certainly transferred into the box office as fans are expected to pack BHF to catch a glimpse of the potentially historic squad. Bright House Field set three attendance records for an individual game last spring and you can expect that record to fall in the coming weeks (fire marshal willing).

Another thing that fans will have their eye on is the battle for right field, since vacated by Jayson Werth who is playing for division rival Washington. Veteran Ben Francisco will be taking on rookie, top prospect, and local (born in Zephyrhills) Domonic Brown. Brown, just 23 years young entering the season, was listed as the fourth best prospect in all of baseball by Baseball America. He patrolled the outfield just two years ago for the Threshers and ascended all the way to the big leagues last season.

Finally, Clearwater fans will be able to watch five 2010 Threshers this spring that have been invited to the major league camp. Justin De Fratus, JC Ramirez, Matt Rizzotti, Joel Naughton, and Harold Garcia return to Clearwater to try and make an impression on manager Charlie Manuel and the coaching staff.

De Fratus was an all-star closer before making the jump to double A, and Garcia broke a 59-year-old record with his 37-game hit streak during a phenomenal stretch of play a summer ago.

So with plenty to look forward to and experience this spring, be sure to make a trip over to Bright House Field and be a part of it.

Az Fall League.

November 8, 2010 by

When one thinks of Philadelphia farm teams, the Mesa Solar Sox don’t usually come to mind.  The Sox are apart of the Arizona Fall League, which is an easy accessible off-season league created by Major League Baseball.  The team itself is a shared Winter League component.  Six teams have players that are presently located in Arizona.  The Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Mets, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Chicago Cubs, and Philadelphia Phillies all have athletes on the team.  The Mesa Solar Sox are currently second in the AFL East division of the six-team league.  They trail the Scottsdale Scorpions by two games.  With a 12-10 record, the Sox are playing pretty consistent baseball.  Many of the Philadelphia representatives are now playing with the fall team.  Matt Rizzotti played for the Threshers in 2009 and 2010.  Before he was promoted to Reading, he was batting .358 with 10 RBIs in 31 games.  He is currently in 4th place in the Arizona Fall League in the hitting category with a .405 average and 9 RBIs.  Tim Kennelly is a familiar name to the people of Clearwater.  In 115 games this past year he batted .274 with 59 RBIs.  The catcher is currently batting .346 with 3 RBIs.  The Phillies organization has a collection of pitchers currently in Arizona.  Five pitchers have ties to the Clearwater Threshers.  Tyson Brummett is 1-0 with a 4.85 ERA in 13.0 IP.  Justin De Fratus and Chris Kissock both have a 0.00 ERA and 1 save.  Jacob Diekman and BJ Rosenberg are also playing constant baseball.  Other notable Thresher alumni that have played in the AFL include Chase Utley, Roy Halladay, Jimmy Rollins, and Ryan Howard

The season is never over.

November 8, 2010 by

The season never ends for the staff of Bright House Field.  Even though the 2010 games have ended, the front office employees are still working diligently.  The fans see the glitz and glamour of the ballpark.  The end product if you will.  The real work is done behind closed doors in meetings and workshops.  From general managers to ticket sales, the year never goes by fast.  Sales managers are continuously scouting for fans looking for season tickets so the ballpark atmosphere is at its peak every game.  Group sales are contacting businesses, schools, church groups, etc.  The promotions team has been working nonstop to come up with new ideas for 2011.  The staff was present at the Florida State League Promotions Meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada.  They received both information and feedback on how to include fans in the overall baseball experience.  Threshers supporters should look for reoccurring promotions as well as new and improved ideas.  The schedule should be out soon!  As the minor league season comes to an end, the major leaguers come into town.  Spring Training begins in March you know.  While that may seem like an extended period for the staff to get ready, it really isn’t.  That is the most hectic time of the year for the Clearwater staff.  The entire stadium is buzzing with Phillies personnel.  Fans crowd the stadium, reporters from around the world monitor the team’s progress, and all-stars and fan favorites take the field for four weeks of fun in the sun baseball.  Decisions are made, prices are set, and improvements are done all in the hopes of making the upcoming season successful in all sense of the word.


DJ FBI at Happy Hour Wednesday December 1st.

November 8, 2010 by

For those of you that miss the ballpark there is hope.  Every Wednesday we host Happy Hour at Frenchy’s Tiki Pavilion.  This is the best happy hour in all of Tampa Bay.  Fisher from 97x will be on hand along with live music.  And Ladies  you drink free from 5pm-6pm.  So pack up from work a few minutes early and make it over.  Also, on December 1st,  DJ FBI (who you’ve seen and heard at WildFish) will be doing a special throwback show.  So don’t miss the 80s and 90s hits while enjoying a cold drink and the Florida Sun.  Be on the look out on the Threhser’s Facebook and Twitter page this month for some updates and contests.

27, 26, 12, 3:53

August 6, 2010 by

Those are just some of the absurd numbers from last night’s game between the Fort Myers Miracle and the Clearwater Threshers. Here are some more tidbits and unusual numbers.

With a 14-13 final, the 27 combined runs are the most by far this season as the Threshers used not one, but two five-run innings to win. Each team finished with 13 hits (26 combined) and it took three hours and 53 minutes to complete.

The Miracle had three leads during the game of three runs or more, and blew all three.

Clearwater scored all its runs in three innings, including 10 in the last two.

The Threshers also walked a season-high 12 batters, five of which ended up scoring.

Fort Myers went 7-for-19 (.368) with RISP, and Clearwater went 9-16 (.563). That’s a combined .457 batting average with runners in scoring position.

There were a combined 15 runners left on base, with the Miracle stranding 12.

In a game with 27 runs, one would think it was a slug fest. Not the case in last night’s game. The teams combined for only three extra base hits (all doubles), recorded by Darin Ruf, Fidel Hernandez, and Angel Morales.

Only Clearwater’s Jim Murphy went hitless between the two teams, yet he still scored twice.

So that was fun.

Looking back at the month that was

July 26, 2010 by

It’s been quite a month at Bright House Field as the season grinds along. We’ve seen history being made, tough streaks, flashes of brilliance, and plenty of rain.

July got off to solid start, sweeping the series against Lakeland and watching Harold Garcia break the Florida State League record for consecutive games with a hit. His 37-game hit streak was one for the ages, breaking a 59-year-old record. Garcia was immediately rewarded with a promotion to Reading following the streak, along with closer Justin De Fratus on July 6.

Garcia’s streak seems to be the only positive streak the Threshers have had this season. The team is currently in a slump on Sunday’s, losing nine consecutive contests. Also, the Threshers were unable to figure out the Charlotte Stone Crabs, losing all eight games in the season series. The lopsided series is the worst for the Threshers since they went 1-7 against St. Lucie in 2005 (Clearwater was also 1-7 against Bradenton this year).

Then came the longest home stand of the season, an eight-game set that saw six rain delays, extra innings, and two double headers. However, the staff was able to keep the field dry and the theme nights on track to provide fans with an enjoyable week. Geek Skwad put on a great performance after the July 22 contest and over 100 motorcycles fought the rain to make an appearance on July 24.

The Threshers still have plenty of time to climb out of the cellar in the north division with 69 games left to go. The team travels to Jupiter and Palm Beach before hosting Fort Myers. Clearwater is 6-2 against the Hammerheads and Miracle this year and might catch the Cardinals at a good time as they are just 5-5 in their last 10 games.

Either way, don’t miss the action coming to Bright House Field in August including Pitch For Pink, the team’s largest event of the season! Visit the official website for more details or 727-467-4457.

First Half Review

June 25, 2010 by

The first half is officially in the books as the Threshers finished tied for second with the Tampa Yankees and Lakeland Flying Tigers, four games behind the Dunedin Blue Jays.

Those that have been following the team will tell you though that a second place finish is a disappointment, seeing how the team was in first for the first month and a half of the season and were five games up at one point.

The Threshers began the season with a 13-9 record in April and boasted two of the league’s best hitters as Matt Rizzotti and Cody Overbeck combined for 50 hits and 22 RBI. Austin Hyatt and Heitor Correa led the pitching staff, combining for a 7-1 record in nine starts.

Clearwater carried its strong play into May, winning a franchise-high nine games in a row. After taking three of four from Jupiter in the second week of May, Rizzotti got the call to Reading where he continues to flourish. His presence was surely missed though as the team finished the month with a just a 4-11 mark.

June was not friendly to the Threshers either, as they limped into the all-star break with a 1-9 record. The nine losses came consecutively, setting another franchise mark. However, the three-day layoff seemed to be just what the team needed, as it swept Brevard County and took two-of-three from Tampa after the break. Clearwater finished the first half strong taking two more from Brevard on the road to end up with a 37-33 record.

Read the rest of this entry »

FSL All-Star Weekend

June 14, 2010 by

The Clearwater staff is back from another great Florida State League All-Star weekend. The event was held in Brevard County as the Manatees hosted and did a great job with the event. While the players stayed in a hotel closer to Space Coast Stadium, the staff was treated to a hotel on the beach in Melbourne where the All-Star Gala was held. The gala was capped off by a great motivational speech by Pat Williams, the senior VP of the Orlando Magic.

After spending the whole day on the beach Saturday, it was time to head back inland for the game. First up was the home run derby, which was a low-scoring affair due to the deep fences and strong winds blowing to right field. Our man Cody Overbeck was one of several players who failed to get one over as Charlotte’s Henry Wrigley beat Bradenton’s Quincy Lattimore in the finals.

 Then it was finally time for the game which was well played by both sides. Overbeck manned the hot corner all 10 innings and all three of our pitchers (Austin Hyatt, Trevor May, and Justin De Fratus) looked impressive in their outings. The South was victorious though in extra innings, 5-4.

Overall it was really good weekend and great time to hang out with everyone on the staff away from the ballpark and the daily grind. It was also nice to get one last look at Overbeck, who was promptly promoted to Reading the following day. Thresher fans can hopefully get in on the action next year as Clearwater looks to host the event.

Skid Hits 7 But Certain Players Are Shining

June 9, 2010 by

After a 3-1 loss last night in Charlotte, the Threshers are mired in a seven-game slump and will take on Dunedin, owners of the best record in the FSL, tonight and tomorrow. Despite losing a five-game lead in the division and falling all the way to fourth place, certain players on the team are finally hitting their stride and another has silently been one of the best in the league.

At 19-years-old, Anthony Gose has been plugged into the lead off spot every night for Dusty’s club despite his early season struggles. Gose wasn’t as terrible a hitter as he was a terrible lead off batter, recording an on base percentage of .252 a month into the season.

However, he finally started stringing hits together in May, including a nine-game streak, and bumped his OBP to a .340 mark as of today. Also, his batting average continues to climb as he is now hitting .274 on the season, up from .236 25 games ago.

Another player that has been shining for the Threshers is second baseman Harold Garcia. Since coming off the DL, Garcia has hit .310 in 87 at bats. He is currently in the middle of a 15-game hit streak which is tops among any Clearwater player in 2010 and the fourth longest streak in the FSL.

Quietly putting together a solid season is pitcher Jesus Sanchez. While his 5-4 record will fool anyone at first glance, a deeper look at his numbers tell a different tale. Sanchez has made 10 starts this season, eight of which were quality starts. His first outing of the season was in relief of J.C. Romero and Brad Lidge, and Sanchez technically had a quality outing despite not starting. The former catcher has yet to throw less than five innings and give up more than three earned runs in any outing.

With a 3.10 ERA, Sanchez is currently listed as the 10th-best pitcher in the league despite being charged with four losses. In 69.2 innings, he has surrendered just 62 hits and has struck out 44 while issuing just 19 walks. Sanchez throws tonight against Dunedin and win try to be the stopper that the team so desperately needs right now.


June 8, 2010 by

That’s right, the Baha Men will be rocking Bright House Field on June 17 after the Threshers take on the Tampa Yankees at 6:30 p.m. The Grammy Award winning group will headline Caribbean Night and is a part of an exciting home stand.

The team returns home Monday, June 14 after the all-star break and will play the Brevard County Manatees for three games followed by the Yankees for another three. After that, the Threshers hit the road to the same two teams for a six-game swing.

After the Baha Men perform on Thirsty Thursday, BirdZerk brings his crazy antics to Bright House Field on June 18. BirdZerk is one of the wildest and craziest shows in sports and is something you definitely do not want to miss. On top of BirdZerk harassing umpires that night, the Threshers will be giving away Coors Light BBQ Sets to the first 500 fathers in lieu of Fathers Day the following Sunday.

Then on June 19, the Threshers will have their regular Saturday night fireworks show to wrap up the week.


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