Today is Clout Day on Beerleaguer, marking the official date it's acceptable to assess spring training performance and draw responsible conclusions. The Phillies will need an extension.
Once again, the calendar flips to March 20 for our annual celebration of Clout Day, a day that might cause many of you to throw up in your mouth a little. It all came about - I don't know - two years ago when Clout (artist rendering right) tried to curb reader enthusiasm over scrubs who performed well in spring training. For the most part, the tactic worked. We see far fewer springtime fantasies peppering the comments thread, although one reader seems unusually high on 31-year-old career minor leaguer Jason Ellison, who's in camp as a non-roster invitee. But that's okay; I've been in that boat before. When Beerleaguer was in its infancy, I predicted that outfielder Shawn Garrett would make the team as the last man on the bench. Remember him? Neither does anyone else.
A year ago today, I posted a couple spring progress reports in an effort to draw Clout Day conclusions. I'm not doing that again. Not one amounted to a hill of beans. Based on nothing in particular, Carlos Ruiz was ready for a breakout season both offensively and defensively, while Jayson Werth and his .176 Grapefruit League slugging percentage were doomed for regression. On the mound, Chad Durbin would flop, while Brett Myers would start hot.
After all these years, Beerleaguer finally understands the point Clout was trying to make. For 85 percent of the roster, spring training is a lot of nonsense. For the other 15 percent, their fates have yet to be decided and every moment counts. Charlie Manuel and Rich Dubee have each indicated that their final selections won't be made until the very end of spring training, meaning guys like Carlos Carrasco, who starts today in Jupiter, are technically still alive.
Notes: Colleague and Facebook friend Brian Startare will be signing his book, "Flyer'd Up," tomorrow from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Barnes & Noble in Deptford. While there, be sure to pick up a copy of the Phillies 2009 Annual. ... Carson hosted a blogger roundtable on WSBGMs today. Check it out here. ... Don't forget to tune in to Howard Eskin's show this afternoon at 3:40 when we will discuss the Phillies Annual. Listen to the live stream here. ... The Clout Day meet-up scheduled for tonight at McFadden's generated so much buzz that the only definites appear to be me and one other guy. So it's been postponed for a later date during the season.
Game chat: Let's keep it here when the Phils take on the Cards. First pitch is 1:05 p.m.