Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Spring Training, It's in the Cards



I spent the better part of this past Sunday plotting out a trip to Florida I'll be taking in March. One of my oldest and best friends is close to the Lerner family, owners of the Nationals. He spends time down there each year, getting away from the hassles of New York City. After several years of trying, this is the first time our vacation weeks matched up, so away I go!

Six games in six days. That's a lot of baseball, and sunshine (we hope). I pulled and scanned cards to represent the match-ups we will be seeing. 

Beginning on Saturday the 14th it's the Marlins-Nationals in Viera, home of the Nats on the Atlantic side of the Sunshine State. Should be fun as I'm told we will have pretty much unlimited access to everything. Only rule... get off the field for the game!

Sunday we are taking a drive across Florida to Bradenton to catch the Orioles playing the Pirates. McKechnie Field is the oldest stadium used for spring training. Should be a fun visit. It'll be my first look at the Gulf side of the main peninsula. 


On Monday we will be back in Virea for the Nats-Astros game. I want to see Jose Altuve up close. He's the only big leaguer I can look down on, in a manner of speaking.




On Tuesday we will go with the Nats to Lakeland for their game against the Tigers. I'm looking forward to seeing Joker Marchant Park. It's an older stadium, in the middle of the state, and I was told it's very cool.



It's south from there to catch the Orioles in back-to-back games to wrap up the week. On Wednesday it's a game in Fort Myers, home of the Twins.


The six day whirlwind will wind up in Sarasota with the Orioles hosting the Pirates. My buddy will not be around for this one but I figured that if I was going to spend almost a week on the grapefruit circuit I had to check out the Orioles' spring digs.


I had hoped to stay another day, run back down to Ft. Myers and take in the Orioles-Red Sox game on Friday but 1) the tickets are gone and I don't want to pay scalpers' prices and 2) I'd likely have to leave mid-game to make the flight I'd have to take out of Tampa.

I expect to take a bunch of pictures on the trip and blow my diet big time. But it's been about forty years since I was last at a spring training game (Yankees-Mets in Fort Lauderdale in 1973ish) and I have some catching up to do.