The wait is over. Four months after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays for the 2008 World Series, the Phillies played baseball today. Even the season itself is a long way off and today's game was nothing specular -- beyond the fact that it means baseball is being played again by Major Leaguers. In today's opening exhibition game of the Grapefruit League season the Phillies suffered an 8-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates, as relief pitching allowed a big rally in the middle innings.
The best news for Phillies fans today is that the venerable Jamie Moyer came right out of the gate pitching strong, starting the game with two scoreless innings against Pittsburgh batters. The work he puts into his pithcing makes his work seem more effortless as time goes by. Signing the 46-year-old to a two-year contract was unsurprisingly controversial, but if his pitching is as steady as last season -- or as this very first mound appearance gives hope for -- he'll more than justofy his presence. Raul Ibanez, the Phillies divisive replacement for Pat Burrell (who the team will play against on Saturday), had an RBI single in the third.
The Phillies' roster will be tweaked and changed a lot before opening day, and even more before the season ends. Best if they can get the 8-2 losses out of their system before the games count, but the important fact is that baseball is back.