CLEARWATER, Fla. – There were all kinds of familiar faces at Bright House Field for the Phillies spring opener Wednesday.
Jamie Moyer and Matt Stairs were high above home plate, calling their first game as the team’s new TV broadcasters.
Chris Coste, now head baseball coach at Concordia College in Minnesota, threw out a ceremonial first pitch. He was in town with his team for its spring training.
Scott Rolen was also in the house with his two young children. The former Phillies third baseman is beginning his second year out of the game, but like Moyer, who pitched until he was 49, won’t use the word “retired.”
“I’m not going to shut anything down,” said Rolen, who turns 39 in April. “I’ll leave some options open. I wanted to see how it felt after taking a year off and trying to heal and recover a little bit. I don’t know. I’m not going to shut any doors.”
Rolen had offers to re-sign with Cincinnati or join the Dodgers last season but chose to take the year off.
For the record, he still appears to be in top physical condition.
Rolen, who played for the Phillies during some lean years from 1996 to 2002, remains in contact with several people in the organization. He spends his winters near Bradenton, Fla., and accepted an invitation to the game to renew old acquaintances.
It’s well known that Rolen had a rocky relationship with Phillies management at the end of his time with the club, but all is good now. In fact, there was a time late in his career when Rolen would liked to have come back to the Phillies, but it never worked out.
“What happened happened,” he said. “Everything is good now. I kind of feel like we’re all in the place we should be.”
Rolen gets his baseball fill working occasionally with the Indiana University baseball team. He did not rule out becoming a spring-training instructor with a club in coming seasons. In fact, he said the Reds have extended an offer.
After 17 seasons in the majors, Rolen does miss it.
But not for reasons that might be readily apparent to most.
“I’ll tell you what I miss," he said. "I miss the accountability. I miss having a job. I miss having a drive, a direction and being tired. I miss being miserable. If you’re not tired and not miserable and hot and hurting … you have to fill that space a little bit. I’m a driven person and you can’t drive 100 miles per hour to the golf course.”