MacPhail endorses Phils facility's fresh look

Phillies president preaches 'staying current' for fans as well as players

MacPhail endorses Phils facility's fresh look

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Spectrum Field has had a different look and feel this spring.

Sure, it is the first Spring Training without a single player from the 2008 World Series championship team. But there have been physical changes to the exterior and interior of the ballpark and Carpenter Complex, too.

"This is a page from Buck Showalter's book," Phillies president Andy MacPhail said Monday morning. "Every spring, every year, you want to present something new, some kind of improvement. It doesn't have to be a huge expense, but there should be something. You're sending the message that you're staying current. You are trying to make the environment better year after year. It's not just the players. It's fans as well."

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New banners of current Phillies are hanging outside the half-field near the players' entrance. There are two new scoreboards at Carpenter Complex with large photos of Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton, Richie Asburn and Robin Roberts in front of their respective fields.

An entire wall in the lobby of the players' entrance depicts the 2008 team celebrating on the field. In the hallway leading to the clubhouse are large photos of Ryan Howard and Tug McGraw, celebrating the '08 and 1980 World Series championships, respectively. In between them is McGraw's infamous catchphrase "Ya Gotta Believe," which riled up Mets fans and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

A wall in the players' lobby of Carpenter Complex depicts the '08 team celebrating its World Series win. (Todd Zolecki)

In a hallway outside the training room are photos of the Phillies' Wall of Famers.

Another wall shows current Phillies players.

There are more changes coming, which will be visible to fans beginning Saturday when the Phillies play their Grapefruit League home opener against the Yankees. That huge blank wall on the north end of the press box that fans can see from the concourse? It will feature current Phillies players.

Other ideas will be implemented in the future, like expanding the Minor League clubhouse at Carpenter Complex, which is small and antiquated.

"One of the benefits from somebody coming in that hasn't been a lifelong Phillie is you see things with fresh eyes," MacPhail said. "There were a lot of blank cinderblock walls here. I'm a big believer in branding."

Phillies chairman David Montgomery and MacPhail visited Pittsburgh's and Minnesota's new Spring Training facilities last year, which sparked a few ideas.

"Both those organizations did an outstanding job of branding those facilities," MacPhail said. "Not just celebrating their past, but their current guys. When you go to our clubhouse, you have the two World Series teams. You have the Wall of Fame. But you also have current players that are showcased."

MacPhail is thinking about improvements at Citizens Bank Park, too. The Phillies already introduced a new scoreboard in right field last season. They have upgraded Ashburn Alley this year. MacPhail said Phillies senior vice president of marketing and advertising sales Dave Buck has ideas for future renovations to enhance the fan experience, although he declined to get into specifics.

"A lot of things are still in the talking stage," MacPhail said. "But believe it or not, we have the oldest facility in the National League East. You just need to stay current and you want to give people a fresh experience, if you can. And we want to do the same thing with our players. Environment has to count for something. Your work environment over the course of six months has to mean something. We want to make it as accommodating as we can."

On Tuesday, MacPhail will discuss some of the things the Phillies are doing on the baseball and business operations side and Pete Rose getting on this year's ballot for the Phillies' Wall of Fame.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.