Phillies: Get ready for boys of summer

Opening Day can’t come soon enough!

The sign outside The Wishing Well bar in South Philadelphia read Thursday: Pitchers & Catchers Report in 2 Days.

Outside Citizens Bank Park, hundreds of fans — some of whom had camped out for 24 hours — waited anxiously for the ticket office to open at 8:30 a.m. On Thursday alone, the team sold 70,000 tickets, according to Phillies vice president of ticket sales and operations John Weber, and 3.1 million for the season. Weber said those numbers were similar to what the Phils sold in 2011.

“Fan support has been absolutely incredible,” said Weber. “But there are still good seats available. We encourage fans to continue to go on our website and purchase tickets.”

It’s another reminder of just how much this city has morphed into a Phillies town over the last few years. The reigning NL East champions kick off Spring Training Saturday, when pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater, Fla.

As usual, expectations are high. Most fans agree that anything less than a World Series championship would be a major disappointment. Former Phillie and MLB Network analyst Mitch Williams predicts another 100-plus win season.

“I see another division title. They have that pitching staff and if that rotation isn’t the best in the game, it’s among the best,” Williams said.

The Phillies’ first workout is Sunday and their first exhibition game is Feb. 29 against Florida State.

Wild thoughts

Mitch Williams shared his thoughts on a few of the Phillies’ biggest questions.
   
How integral is Charlie Manuel to this team?

“I think Charlie is huge for this team. He knows how to get the most of all of his players. My 16-year-old son could manage a major league game strategically, but Charlie manages 25 different personalities better than anyone.”
   
How do you explain the last two postseason failures?
“I think the Phillies’ offense was really pressing the last two seaso
ns. They were trying too hard. I think they can still do it, and I think you’ll have the chance to see that this postseason.”
   
Can John Mayberry Jr. fill the void left by Ryan Howard?
“I think he’s going to be just like Jayson Werth when he broke out with the Phillies a couple of years ago. I think he can be a 30-homer guy and drive in a lot of runs and perhaps make up a good bit of the loss of Howard.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Woman dies when run over by bus at…

A woman at the Burning Man arts and culture festival in the Nevada desert died on Thursday when she was run over by a bus carrying participants.

National

Texas parents sue day care center for duct…

By Marice RichterDALLAS (Reuters) - A Texas couple has filed a lawsuit against the owners of a Fort Worth-area day care center seeking $1 million…

National

Santa Fe city council votes to decriminalize marijuana

By Joseph KolbALBUQUERQUE N.M. (Reuters) - Santa Fe on Wednesday became the latest U.S. city to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana, with lawmakers in the…

International

Egypt queries Mursi over documents "leaked" to Al…

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt is investigating jailed ex-president Mohamed Mursi in connection with documents that judicial investigators say were leaked to the Qatar-based Al Jazeera…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…