By Beasley Reece
Today is a momentous day in Phillies history. Camelot is open for business again. The media gathered for the first official press conference to introduce the best rotation since Atlanta trotted out Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz, and Avery. This time the names are Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Oswalt, and Blanton. Four extraordinary guys and the best also ran in the game in Joe Blanton.
The setting was the lunch room beneath Bright House Field in Clearwater, Florida. The room is like a converted elementary school cafeteria, but the excited kids included legendary Philadelphia reporters, national representatives, and a few international broadcasters.
Bright House is an amazing venue for exhibition baseball, but for a major press conference, not so much. We hovered around sharing opinions like carrion birds preparing for a hunt. But no blood was spilled on this day.
What is there to question?
What complaint is there to be lodged?
Perhaps Steve Carlton could have been invited back to replace Joe.
The rotation demands attention. It’s like baseballs version of the Beatles. Every space in the room is filled with complaining media members blocked out but still photographers and leaning for a better view.
Cliff Lee said he is honored to be part of the group and back in Phillies Red. He said he is here because it’s his best chance to win.
Joe Blanton talked about handling the trade rumors.
Roy said he wish he could throw left handed. We all laughed.
Cole complimented the organization and said the pitchers should go out to the mound and be themselves.
Doc said he made the right choice coming to Philadelphia. He likes the organization commitment to gathering the best.
Cliff Lee got a laugh when he reminded us that they haven’t thrown a pitch yet and warned us not to write them into history as one of the best staffs ever.
Roy reminded us that they’ve spent all of three hours together. Then Cole added in, “yeah we’re really close.”
Each pitcher promised to give his all. They talked about preparation, routine, health, video study, continued learning, mechanics, and focus.
Joe got a laugh by saying he hopes his fifth start will catch hitters sleeping because they don’t have to face the other four Aces.
Four Aces with Joe as a wildcard sounds like a full hand.