President Obama said the time for hard work and sacrifice is now in his address to the nation. That means ballplayers, too, as the Phillies embark on the first leg of their journey back to the World Series.
Grapefruit League play starts today at 1:05 in Bradenton, Fla., where veteran Jamie Moyer takes the mound to face Philadelphia's cross-state rival Pittsburgh Pirates. As for Beerleaguer, the season also gets underway. Drawing inspiration from the words of our President, I immediately took action by holing up in my home office to create this caricature. I like to call him "Moyer Lisa." Note the ambiguity. He could be pitching a no hitter, or he could be waiting for Charlie Manuel to climb from the dugout and lift him after an inning and a third. The world will never know. The point is that in tough times, it's necessary to have diversions. Baseball has always served this purpose for America. I'm grateful that the Phillies return to the field today, and for having this vehicle in which we can all take the journey together. God Bless Baseball, and God Bless America.
Things to watch: Raul Ibanez makes his debut. All eyes will also be on exciting young prospect Jason Donald, who starts at second base. Joe Blanton will also see action today. Then, the race for the one or two bullpen openings begins when darkhorse contenders Joe Bisenius, Scott Nestor, Dave Borkowski, Mike Koplove and Jake Woods toe the slab.