Bob Brookover, a writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer had a tough time this week trying to watch Ryan Howard take batting practice and field ground balls. He was kicked out of the stadium twice while trying to catch a glimpse of Howard. The mantra: "What are you doing here? Spring training is over."
Ruben Amaro, Jr. and the Phillies have taken the position that their players are off-limits while rehabilitating injuries. The fear is that insatiable beast, the 24-hour news cycle. After Brookover was removed for the first time, he called the Phillies communications director, Greg Casterioto, to see what the hell was going on.
He explained his concern of the 24-hour news cycle and how general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. and team president David Montgomery should not have to learn on Twitter if Howard were to have a setback while I was watching.
A reasonable position, I suppose. It's only fair that a team know what goes own with its own players before the world at large, including the other teams in the league. There might be a better way of carrying out that policy than strong arming reporters out of the complex, however.
After his conversation with Casterioto, Brookover was allowed back in to the stadium and permitted to watch the Howard workout—just no twittering. He put his stuff in the press box and made his way back down to watch Howard. That's when Philadelphia's infield coordinator, Doug Mansolino, got testy.
Long story short, Mansolino made sure I was removed from the ballpark a second time. When I paused to continue a phone conversation with Casterioto, Mansolino gave me his best big-league stare-down.
I hope for the Phillies' sake he's better at working with infielders. It's obvious he takes himself way too seriously.
"Dude, relax, I'm leaving," I told him.
"It's Doug, not Dude," he bristled.
Now, while it may be a little weird for a columnist to take on the team in print like this, let's ignore that for now and instead focus our derisive laughter on the minor league infield coordinator power tripping like Paul Blart the rent-a-cop.
Ryan Howard is obviously an important cog in the Phillie machine, but his health is not a matter of national security. Mr. Blart, relax. Mr. Brookover, relax. Philadelphia, relax.