Phillies Spring Training

Philly.com has a great article about the Phillies Spring Training in Clearwater, Florida. As the reigning World Champions, and as the only World Phucking Champions on Earth, the 2009 Philadelphia Phillies are sure to have a auspicious start. I'm sure we'll be seeing lots of these WFC t-shirts in sunny Clearwater, worn by diehards still inspired by the team that brought athletic glory to a city sorely in need of it.

When it comes to preseason baseball, Philadelphians are the luckiest of fans.

Clearwater, with its white-sand beaches, its Gulf waters and technicolor sunsets, its drinking and dining options, its golf courses and its proximity to major attractions like Disney World, is unsurpassed as a spring baseball destination.

Since 1948, the Phils have trained here, playing their games first at Jack Russell Stadium and, since 2004, at spiffy Bright House. Only the Detroit Tigers, in Lakeland since 1947, have been in one spot longer.

"Clearwater, boys, is a little like heaven on Earth," the late Richie Ashburn, who came here for 49 winters, used to counsel young players during his annual spring-training address.

This year, the defending world champions figure to lure more supporters than ever. Fans, still glowing from the team's World Series triumph, can watch lazy morning workouts, troll for autographs near the players' parking lots, sunbathe and attend games simultaneously, and maybe even get to talk to a player or two.

(Warning: Don't bother players while they're practicing. That's a surefire way to gain a reputation as a "green fly," baseball talk for a pest, or perhaps even get ejected.)

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