By Justin Udo

By Justin Udo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Snow and ice may be covering the ground around here, and spring may look like just a distant mirage, but there is hope of a warmer future.

We were reminded of that today as the Phillies packed their bags and loaded the tractor-trailer, getting ready for spring training down in Florida.

Twenty-four hundred baseballs, 1,200 bats, and a slew of other spring training necessities were all loaded up on a 53-foot equipment truck headed to Clearwater, Fla.

“We had the clubhouse cleared in, like, an hour and a half,” says Dan O’Rourke, the Phillies’ manager of equipment and umpire services.  “Then, after that, it took about two hours just to load and stack it properly.”

O’Rourke says this move takes more than just a morning of work.

“We started planning for this day two weeks after the season (ended).  We clean out the clubhouse, then we inventory everything, and then we place our orders in November and December,” he says.

And it’s not all business equipment they are taking down to Florida.  Some bulky players’ personal items also make the trip.

“As long as we bring their golf clubs and the kids’ toys and stuff like that, I think they’re happy,” O’Rourke says.

He says the eight-state trek for the truck will land them in Florida sometime between Friday night and Saturday morning.   Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report February 12th.


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