So far, Wednesday was the most eventful day at camp when it comes to actual baseball news to report.
Most notably, the Phillies began playing intrasquad games today. The game was only 2 1/2 innings long but the Phillies team that hit in the home-half managed to narrowly earn a victory over the top-half Phillies in a tight 4-3 matchup.
The biggest storyline of the day came courtesy of Bryce Harper. Harper was on base when J.T. Realmuto launched an opposite-field home run. When Harper walked back to the first-base dugout, he took off his helmet and yelled, either to the press box or to the heavens, the words “Sign him!” By him, he means Realmuto, who is widely considered the best catcher in baseball.
Harper has not been shy at all in voicing his opinion about his love for his favorite player in the league and his contract situation. He told the media, including the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Matt Breen that it would be ‘terrible and sad’ if the Phillies don’t re-sign Realmuto. Harper has also been sporting in camp a Realmuto throwback shirsey that was a fan giveaway item in August 2019.
Didi Gregorius also homered as his grand slam in the bottom of the first gave his Phillies team the lead. Alec Bohm, who was on the away Phillies team, scorched a double to left:
Cole Irvin, JoJo Romero, and Trevor Kelley all pitched in today’s game. Kelley looked the best out of the three but to be fair, Kelley’s competition wasn’t as stiff as what Irvin and Romero had to face.
The biggest takeaway from today was that this was probably the first fun day of camp for all involved. The first week of camp was riddled with storylines about testing inconsistencies as well as the feasibility of the 2020 season as a whole. It’s no fun for anyone who works in baseball or is a fan of the game. While the threat of the virus shutting down the entire league is still very much a real possibility, that seemed to have taken a backseat for at least an hour or so.
The players on the field were simultaneously loose, yet firm in their competitiveness. From left field, Andrew McCutchen sang Harper’s walk-up song.
I woke up, up still drunk, drunk
On your love, love, on your love, love, love
Funny enough, the original singer of the song, Brett Eldredge, performed that tune inside the ballpark just over a year ago to a sold-out crowd that included many Phillies players who stayed near the home dugout with their families to watch the performance. Perhaps Cutch’s rendition was the more popular of the two.
Harper then came up to bat against Irvin and swung as hard as he possibly could but eventually struck out for the third out of the inning. Apparently, outs didn’t matter in the scrimmage as Realmuto followed Harper by walking to officially end the game. Some innings ended with only two outs while others ended with no outs. It’s unfair to judge the game because it wasn’t bounded by a strict set of rules.
Hours before the game had even began, ace Aaron Nola threw to live hitters. His command was spot-on and all the hitters could do was pound the ball into the ground. Judging from what I saw out of him, it would be hard to deny him the ball come Opening Day if all things go as planned.
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