Trop Presents Concerns Both Above and Below

The Phillies got a look at Tropicana Field Monday to prepare for the opening game of the World Series. Much of their time was spent just getting used to their surroundings and the challenges that the dome presents.

Everywhere the Phillies looked on Monday, there was something new to get used to. Above them was a roof that can make it tough to pick up fly balls and below them was artificial turf, which they haven't played on since 2006.

The early reports on the dome are that it shouldn't present much of a problem and some Phillies even thought it wasn't nearly as bad as they had feared that it would be. The Tropicana Field roof is known for it's rafters, wires and the ever-popular cat walks which have all given players fits at various times. For shortstop Jimmy Rollins, he didn't think the roof would be an issue as long as you're careful.

"I don't think it will be an issue. We're going to have night games, so the sun won't be shining through and making the roof lighter," noted Rollins. "But if you don't pick up the ball right away, it will be tough to find it."

The Phillies coaches and some players gather around the batting cage at Tropicana Field for their first World Series workout on Monday. (Photo: Steve Nesius/AP)
Jayson Werth generally agreed with Rollins but said that many of the outfielders purposely looked away from fly balls to try to pick them up again when they looked back and they didn't have any problem. "I didn't think it was really that tough," explained Werth. "Actually, I thought it would be much worse."

Before Rollins had taken time to get used to the roof, he and second baseman Chase Utley spent time studying how the ball bounces on both the turf and the dirt areas of the field. Rollins observed that both areas have a lot of bounce, but didn't think it would present any problems that the Phillies infielders couldn't handle.

For what it's worth...

Whether you talk to Vegas handicappers or turn to computers for advice on the World Series, both predict that it's going to be close, but they differ on which way the series ultimately goes.

In Vegas, the Rays opened as the favorite at a minus-135, meaning that a better would win one-dollar for every $1.35 that he bets if the Rays win the series. The Phillies are plus-115, meaning that a one-dollar bet would bring a return of $1.15 if the Phillies win the series.

There are still a pile of early betters that jumped on the Rays and their 200:1 odds of winning the World Series when the season began. The Rays had the longest shot of any team on the Vegas boards for this season and many betters throw some money down on those long shots, simply hoping for a miracle. Now, they're four wins away from that miracle.

If you turn to the computers, an on-line simulation gives the Phillies a 51% chance of winning the World Series. Again, the numbers worked out close, but the computers see the edge differently than the money guys in Vegas.

No, really, I'm retiring

Throughout the season, Phillies president Dave Montgomery has held out hope that GM Pat Gillick wouldn't call it quits after this season. On Monday, Gillick reiterated that he's a goner, come the end of the World Series. With his contract set to officially expire on October 31, Gillick has repeatedly reminded the Phillies that he won't be around to attend the GM meetings November 3-6. There is no word on who will replace Gillick either at those meetings or in the general manager's office.

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