PHILADELPHIA -- In a couple of weeks, thousands of Phillies fans will be packing up and flying to Clearwater, Fla., to catch a Grapefruit League game or two at Bright House Field.
The Phillies packed up and shipped out Wednesday.
A dozen employees loaded thousands of items onto a 53-foot equipment truck for the 1,058-mile trip. The truck is scheduled to arrive at the ballpark Friday, when Phils clubhouse employees start unloading in the morning.
The items aboard the trailer include the usual and unusual. The usual includes 15 cases of gum (regular and sugarless), 12 cases of sunflower seeds, 20 coolers and a half pallet of POWERade mix, 250 batting practice tops, 350 pair of shorts, 450 pair of socks, 600 pair of pants, 600 hats, 200 fleeces, 1,200 bats, 2,000 T-shirts, 2,400 baseballs, 10,000 12 oz. cups and 150 pairs of batting gloves. The unusual includes one wedding dress, four bridesmaids' dresses, one groom's suit, one groomsman's suit, one cake topper and 15 sets of golf clubs.
Phillies manager of equipment and umpire services Dan O'Rourke said he and others began putting pallets of equipment together early last month.
"We place our orders in November and December, and equipment starts coming in after the first of the year," he said. "As soon as we get it, we put it on a pallet so we're ready to load it on the truck."
It takes between three and a half to four hours to load the truck.
Phils director of baseball communications Greg Casterioto is getting married in Clearwater next Saturday, thus the suits and dresses. O'Rourke said a wedding dress is one of the most unusual things he has packed onto a truck. But when he worked for the Astros, he said they loaded a conversion van in the back of the trailer because a clubhouse employee fell ill and could not drive back to Houston.
"We packed that truck so tight, we were able to drive the van onto the truck," O'Rourke said.
So has he ever left anything in Philadelphia by mistake? You know, like Chase Utley's bats or Jimmy Rollins' shoes?
"Knock on wood, we haven't," O'Rourke said. "This might be the year, but I hope not. Maybe it will be the wedding dress."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.