Sunday, February 15, 2009

Rays Day 1: Hello Peter Gammons

The Rays are a big deal this spring. How do we know? Peter Gammons attended Sunday’s workout, the Rays first of the spring.

Gammons, ESPN’s resident baseball guru, goes where the action is, and hitting the Rays camp this early in spring training means the Rays are one of the top stories in baseball.

But you would have guessed that being the Rays are the defending American League champs.

The first day of pitchers and catchers seemed like any other in the team’s history.

It began with a meeting on Field 3, where manager Joe Maddon gave his annual “we’re going to be real good” speech.

Then the pitchers broke into groups for the time-honored PFPs. That’s Pitcher’s Fielding Practice for the uniformed. PFPs are when pitchers work on fielding comebackers and throwing the ball to first, fielding bunts and throwing the ball to first and covering first when a ground ball is hit to first.

Now when a pitcher messes up covering first base in August and the announcer says, “That’s something they work on during the first day of spring training,” you’ll know the announcer is not lying but actually providing valuable information.

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