blogging Phillies baseball and the home of Phillies Talk Podcast by Rich Baxter
blogging Phillies baseball and the home of Phillies Talk Podcast by Rich Baxter

Welcome to Opening Day 2019

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Harper in home run stride, how many will he hit this season? He could very well have his best season ever and that would be great.

The long off-season is now a distant memory. Opening Day 2019 is here, and the games from today and on will count finally as the Phillies are set to open their season at home for the first time in many years. Last year the Phillies opened up in Atlanta, then travelled to New York to play the Mets before opening up at home on April 5th against Miami. In 2017, the Phils opened up the season in Cincinnati before coming home to open up the season against the Nationals on April 7th. In 2016, the Phils opened up the season in Cincinnati and then travelled to New York to play the Mets, they didn’t open at home until April 11th against the Padres.

The last time the Phillies did open at home for the season was in 2015 prior this year. The ’15 Phils opened up against the Boston Red Sox on April 6th, 2015 and dropped two out of the first three games of the season to them.

The 2019 Phillies team is a much different baseball team. The players have been upgraded at many positions, and it will be interesting to watch them meld as a team and start putting some runs up on the board. MLB Network will be following Bryce Harper’s return to Washington DC as a Phillies player, they cover the April 2nd game between the Nats and the Phils with Bob Costas calling the game along with John Smoltz and Tom Verducci.

Around the home area, NBC Philadelphia has announced a brand new studio making it’s debut for Opening Day, it will be the new home for all of Philly sports here is some info from that announcement from yesterday:

State-of-the-Art 3,600 Square Foot Studio Features Multiple Anchor Locations 
Demo Area Provides Interactive Space for Insightful and Engaging Analysis 
Studios will be the Home for All Eagles, Flyers, Phillies and Sixers Pre and Postgame Programs, Quick Slants, Sixers Outsiders and SNC
PHILADELPHIA-(March 27, 2019)–Dynamic new studios debut on NBC Sports Philadelphia tomorrow during a special MLB Opening Day edition of Phillies Pregame Live on Thursday, March 28 at 2 pm. The studios feature a modern design with dynamic LED video monitors, state-of-the-art video floor, and multiple standup positions designed for movement and flexibility.
The cutting edge 3,600 square foot studio is highlighted by a 23-foot wide LED monitor, and an innovative “demo” area with a 16’x9’ monitor wall and four vertical monitors. The demo area features the latest in tech – a 15’x8’ LED floor allowing for talent to interact and break down plays, providing an even greater level of analysis and insight.
“Our new studios feature the latest in interactive technology, which will allow our hosts, analysts and insiders to engage with each other and Philly sports fans like never before,” said NBC Sports Philadelphia president Brian Monihan. “This allows us to showcase our content in new and innovative ways that allows us to drive our business forward, while also doubling down on our commitment to the fans we serve.”
In the main studio, large displays are seamlessly integrated into the scenic architecture, making every part of the studio an engaging broadcast location. A sleek LED display runs along the length of the room, forming the backdrop for the main anchor area. The visual center of the space is the dynamic demo area, with a large wall display and an LED floor, and portrait monitors.
Large, full-height images depict dramatic views of the Philadelphia cityscape at both day and nighttime. The iconic NBC Peacock is incorporated into the set, creating a subtle reminder of the legendary brand.
In addition a secondary studio, also located at NBC Sports Philadelphia will debut later this year.
The set design is the result of the partnership of NBC Sports and the design group at Jack Morton Worldwide. Fabrication work was done by blackwalnut. 
In addition to the significant investment in new studios, over the past 18 months, NBC Sports Philadelphia has undergone an extensive multimillion dollar renovation, upgrading all operations, and technical facilities, as the network expands its production of engaging content across linear, digital and social platforms.
New Studio highlights include:
  • 23 foot-wide LED monitor behind main anchor desk
  • Demo area with a 16×9 monitor, 15×8’ LED floor, and four vertical monitors
  • 120 LED tiles integrated into the set, including 75 in the walls and 45 in the Demo Area floor.
  • Custom photography for the window views, offering identical day and night versions of the Philadelphia skyline.
  • The set walls trace the irregular shape of the studio, built off of the concourse of the studio’s home base – the Wells Fargo Center. 

So there is much ballyhoo about the Phillies of course with Bryce Harper, and his impact to sell more tickets at the ballpark, and hopefully lead the Phillies to the playoffs in 2019. We’ll see starting at 3:05 PM today in South Philly.

Phillies Opening Day memories assembled by Larry Shenk:

Larry Bowa (SS, 1970-81; CH, 1988-96; MGR, 2001-04)
“Getting my first hit off Ken Holtzman, something I will never forget.”
Marty Bystrom (RHP, 1980-84)
“Seeing ‘Irish’ Mike Ryan catch a ball dropped from a helicopter. Still don’t know how he did it.”

Steve Carlton (LHP, 1972-86)
“Losing to Tom Seaver at Shea Stadium in a game that took 1 hour, 48 minutes.”

Larry Christenson (RHP, 1973-83)
“April 6, 1973, at Shea Stadium in New York, Steve Carlton vs. Tom Seaver. I was 19 years old and the youngest player in the Majors. Willie Mays was in the Mets dugout as a player and at the end of a great career. Seaver struck out eight and beat Carlton in a very close game. I was on the front step as close to home plate as possible and remember the explosive fastballs from each of them on a cool, dark night lit by the lights at Shea. I was scheduled to pitch in Game 2 against [Jerry] Koosman on Saturday night but got rained out. They held me back until a game against the Mets, Friday, April 13. I won my debut, pitching a complete game.”

Jim Eisenreich (OF, 1993-96)
“My first Opening Day was 1982 with the Twins in the first regular-season game ever played in the Metrodome. Some 30-plus family member and friends were there. I grew up an hour north of Minneapolis so it was a very special day in many ways, even though I was hitless in three at-bats.”

Terry Francona (MGR, 1997-2000)
“While with the Reds, hitting a home run in 1987 off Floyd Youmans of the Expos, my former team.”

Jim Fregosi (MGR, 1991-96)
“Hitting a home run on Opening Day off Milwaukee’s Marty Patton.”

Dallas Green (RHP, 1960-64; 1967; MGR 1979-81)
“There are two special memories: my first opener as the Phillies manager in 1980 and then receiving our World Series rings the following year.”

Tommy Greene (RHP, 1990-95)
“Being in the bullpen in San Francisco. All the relievers were cramped in the little box in left field, reminded me of a chicken coop.”

Kevin Gross (RHP, 1983-88)
“My first full year with the Phillies. As a rookie, it was just a great feeling to be part of a team with such great veteran players.”

Terry Harmon (INF, 1967; 1969-77)
“Getting a hit in my very first at-bat in the Major Leagues. That was quite a thrill.”

Dave Hollins (3B, 1990-95; 2002)
“I was pinch-hitting against the Cubs and hit a scorcher up the middle that looked like a sure hit but [Ryne] Sandberg made an unbelievable diving stop and nailed me at first base.”

Ricky Jordan (1B, 1988-94)
“Being in the starting lineup for the 1989 opener at the Vet and hearing the loud cheers for me.”

Jim Kaat (LHP, 1976-79)
“Seeing President Eisenhower throw out the ceremonial first ball … he threw it from his box into a crowd of us and coach Clyde McCullough caught it. That’s one great memory. Another was in 1965 when I had to be helicoptered into Met Stadium in Bloomington because of floods in the area. Wound up pitching nine innings against the Yankees, a game we won in 10 innings, 5-4.

Frank Lucchesi (MGR, 1970-72)
“Well, I have two great memories from Opening Day and both were with the Phillies. 1970 at Connie Mack Stadium, after 21 years in the Minor Leagues, I was finally in the Major Leagues as a manager. Very emotional day. Then, 1971, the first game ever played in Veterans Stadium. Both hold a very special place in my heart.”

Greg Luzinski (OF, 1970-80)
“1972, a nervous rookie in Chicago, in front of my family. Hit a home run off Fergie Jenkins and we won, 4-2.”

Tim McCarver (C 1970-72; 1975-80)
“My very first Opening Day with the Cardinals was not a fond memory. … I was on the bench.”

Mickey Morandini (2B, 1990-97; 2000)
“Has to be Mike Ryan catching a ball dropped from a helicopter at the Vet.”

Bruce Ruffin (LHP, 1986-91)
“Being there for the first Opening Day in Coors Field.”

Dick Ruthven (RHP, 1973-75; 1978-83)
“As a nervous rookie, throwing strikes on my first two pitches is something I remember the most.”

Ryne Sandberg (1981)
“I made the Cubs Opening Day lineup at third base in Cincinnati. Going to home plate and seeing Johnny Bench behind the plate was a thrill.”

Mike Schmidt (3B, 1972-89)
“First game of the 1974 season, I hit a game-winning, two-run home run with one out in the last of the ninth inning to beat the Mets and Tug McGraw, 5-4. Later, Tug became a teammate and a very good friend. We shared a lot of rides to the Vet from our suburban Philly homes.”

Kevin Stocker (SS, 1993-97)
“Opening in Colorado in a snowstorm. Wearing two pair of batting gloves for warmth. Perhaps not my fondest but certainly the most memorable.”

Kent Tekulve (RHP, 1985-88)
“The size of the crowd, the excitement and optimistic attitude about what the season could bring.”

Del Unser (OF, 1973-74; 1979-82; CH, 1985-88)
“Has to be my first hit, a line-drive single to left in my third at-bat.”

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