3 Posts In 1: Three Spring Training Games, Two MMA Events, & Traveling! (FL) “DAYS 241, 242, 243” – 3/2/11, 3/3/11, 3/4/11

March 5, 2011 - 2:45 pm - (FL) “DAY 241” - Week 35 - State 32

Unfortunately for me, I have not had a working internet connection since Thursday morning and right now it’s Saturday 3 pm and I still don’t have a working internet connection.

I tell you this because that’s partially why I’m behind on my writing.  But, the other part is... I’ve been doing stuff non-stop since that time.  Since the last time I wrote, I’ve been to three Spring Training games (all at different ballparks), seen two MMA events (one live), and traveled 3 hours to the other coast of Florida.  Ya see, I’ve been busy. 😉

Because I’m so far behind and have so much to do this weekend, I will be writing these three posts together.  I will try to do each day the justice it deserved but more than likely... I will be leaving a lot of the usual details out so I can get all caught up. 😉

Wednesday -  A Red Sox Game In Fort Myers

After waking up and writing, I looked through the internet to see what spring training games were being played today and where.  It was an easy choice for me because the true “Evil Empire” (the Red Sox) were playing at home, right here in Fort Myers (10 miles away).

Since I haven’t been to their stadium on this trip (I’ve been there before), it was a no brainer.  Anyway, I wanted to get there early so I could get the finding the parking, finding a ticket, and overall stadium pictures out of the way before the 1st pitch was even thrown. Got it? 🙂

Finding Parking
Since I didn’t want to pay for parking, I found a spot at CVS a few blocks away from the stadium and after talking with the manager on duty inside, I was informed I could park on the side of the building with no problem. (Even though there are signs out front saying you will get towed.) I got the inside information!  Nice! 🙂

Finding A Ticket
As I was walking up to the stadium, I talked with a few scalpers along the way even though it was an hour before game time and I knew a deal wasn’t gonna happen that early.

Meeting Greeno From Boston
Anyway, I’m glad I did because it was during this time that I met Greeno from Boston.  Greeno was a real cool guy who travels around selling tickets, but his main hub in Boston at Red Sox games (his neck of the woods).

I talked with Greeno about my journey as well as about his (he’s got a lot of stories to tell), but after 15 minutes or so, he left to go do what he does.  As he left, he told me he would give a ticket to this game for free if he had any left after the game started.

Not to mention, he also gave me his cell number so I could hit him up when I get to Boston.  He told me when I get there, the ticket is definitely on him.  Thanks Greeno and good luck in life my man!

Wanting A Ticket Now
Even though I believed Greeno and could have probably waited for a ticket, I searched around the stadium for a good deal.  A few minutes later, I found a guy with a single and after a quick negotiation, I paid him $5 for the seat.  Nice!  I’ll pay that gladly.

Ted Williams Statue
Right out front of the main stadium entrance is a statue of Ted Williams handing a little kid a baseball.  I mention this because Ted Williams is a legend, but also because most spring training facilities don’t bother with putting up any memorabilia.  Heck, some regular season stadiums don’t have anything special.

So, to see a nice statue like this right out front reminds you how much baseball means to the fans of Boston.  Ahhh, I miss baseball season!  But, then again... here I am watching baseball... so it’s all good! 🙂

City Of Palms Park
The ballpark is very nice but outside of the Williams statue, their wasn’t much else to see.  Well... there was a major league baseball game about to be played. 😉

The cool thing about being at this game compared to the Pirates last Sunday, it that this place is packed with Red Sox fans. (The Pirate game had a lot of people there but maybe half were Bucs supporters.)

Anyway, here in Fort Myers, it’s like a mini-Boston but with a lot more old people at the game.  To be honest, if I wasn’t watching the Yankees play, I like to watch the Red Sox.  I guess it’s because they’re our rival or because they too field a top notch team but either way, I enjoy the atmosphere more here than everywhere else except NY.

Meeting Wally
As I was walking around the stadium deciding on where I wanted to sit (as well as taking a bunch of pictures), I spotted the Red Sox mascot Wally sitting near the dugout.

Even though he represents my mortal sports enemy, I still respect their franchise and fans, so I asked the Wal-man if he would take a photo with me.

At first, he just turned around ready to take the photo, but when he realized I was wearing a Jeter jersey, he just stared at me and growled under his mascot head. (He really did growl!) LOL

Choosing My Seat
Even though I bounced around for a few innings watching the game from different views, I eventually settled in the outfield, down the left field line, directly across from where Carl Crawford would position himself.  I was in the first row.  Nice! 🙂

The Actual Game: Red Sox vs. Braves
The best thing about this game today compared the other two I just attended is that both teams are almost starting their projected opening day rosters. (A few players aren’t playing like Adrian Gonzalez, but almost everybody else is.)

Today’s starting pitchers were Tim Hudson for Atlanta and John Lackey for Boston.  Before the game started, I watched Lackey long toss in the outfield to loosen up his arm before he took the hill. (He’s a pretty big dude.)

If I didn’t have so much writing to catch up on, I would write more about the game but for the most part, everybody looked sharp and healthy.  And in reality, that’s all spring training is for the veterans, to stay healthy and get their timing down.

Something I Have Never Seen Before
This is a detail about the game worth mentioning.  During one of the middle innings when the crowd and apparently the Braves pitcher was falling asleep, “Big Papi” (David Ortiz) straight stole second base.  Are you kidding me!  The crowd went nuts!  LOL

F.Y.I. - David Ortiz is an aging 1st baseman who now really only DH’s.  I haven’t checked the stats but I can’t remember him ever straight stealing a bag.  Meaning, not a double steal or hit and run gone bad, but him making a read and taking off.

Talking With Carl CrawFord About “Big Papi”
The inning after Papi stole second as Carl Crawford was warming up in the outfield, I yelled to Crawford, “Hey Carl, you’re teaching Papi how to steal bases already!  That’s real bad for us Yankee fans!”

F.Y.I. - Carl Crawford is one MLB’s best outfielders and base stealers (normally swiping around 50 each year).  Anyway, he was just acquired by Boston this season and already he’s making an impact! LOL

Crawford must be a cool guy because he yelled something back to me as he laughed and smiled to himself at how ridiculous Ortiz straight stealing second was.  On his way back in to the dugout, we chatted briefly about how he felt about being in Boston. (He gave me the PR response.)

None-the-less, those are the type of encounters that make a spring training game so much fun.  The fact that players are willing to talk to you... even when you’re at a Red Sox game wearing a Yankee’s jersey. 😉

Leaving The Game
By the time the 8th inning rolled around, the starters were already long gone and since I didn’t want to get stuck in traffic on Highway 41, I gathered my Rooster gear and headed back to my car. (The game was still close but who really cares in spring training, I know the managers and players don’t.)

Hanging With Pat At His Place

Other than talking about baseball and our fantasy draft boards, Pat and I just chilled out in his living room and watched Iron Man 2. (I have seen it before but Pat didn’t.  Also, Iron Man 1 and 2 are both good movies although the first was better, so I didn’t mind.)

Crashing On The Couch
Sometime well after the movie ended, I passed out on the couch (2-3 am).  I wanted to go to bed earlier because in the morning I’m driving 45 minutes north to a Yankee/Rays gams in Port Charlette but... it just didn’t happen.

Thanks for reading!

March 5, 2011 - 6:00 pm - (FL) “DAY 242” - Week 35 - State 32

When I woke up this morning, I realized I did just pass out last night because I left two uneaten burgers out on the counter instead of wrapping them up. (Money wasted, damn!)  None-the-less, I couldn’t let that bother me as I was off to my first Yankee game of the year!  Woo Hoo!

Driving To Port Charlette, FL
I was going to see the Yankees today but it wasn’t in Tampa at their home ballpark.  Ironically enough, I was going to see them at Tampa Bay’s home stadium which is in Port Charolette. (The Rays have to play somewhere and the Yanks have been in Tampa forever.)

Anyway, the ride wasn’t far (only 45 miles) but I took the surface roads the whole way there instead of taking Highway 75, so it took me a little longer than it should have. (I did drive home the the other way, lesson learned.) 😉

Parking
The stadium area was packed with people trying to find spots and there didn’t appear to be any free parking within walking distance, so I pulled into a pay lot ($10 per car).  Still, I didn’t except defeat as I talked my way in for free as member of the media.  (A Wheresrooster.com wrapped car works sometimes.) 😉

Finding/Buying A Ticket
Normally, as you all know, I will try at all costs to find a free ticket to the game before I spend anything.  But, since I’m seeing the Yankee’s today and really just want to be inside, I decided to just go to the ticket window and buy the cheapest seat they had ($10.).

As I was about to buy my ticket an older couple called me over waving a ticket.  Nice, two people looking to hook somebody up. 🙂  Well, I was sadly mistaken as they called me out of line to offer me a $22 (face value ticket) for $30.

Really old people?  Is it that bad here in Florida?  This is 2nd or 3rd time an older person has tried to scalp me a ticket that I didn’t even look for.

Anyway, I just laughed at them, went back to the window, and bought a $10 standing room only ticket. (It doesn’t matter, I’ll sit anywhere I want to.) 😉

The Rays New Stadium
I don’t know the name of it (couldn’t find it anywhere), but the Rays stadium is brand new and now that I have seen games in many different ballparks, I can say that this is nicest yet.

What makes this stadium better is that there is seating completely around the stadium (including the outfield which most ballparks in Florida don’t have).  Plus, the OF walkway is a tribute to the Rays young organization as every few feet they have a sign with a different record posted on it.

Not to mention, it has a very tropical feel as a Tiki Hut Bar is perfectly positioned in between left and right field. (I know, it’s in center but it didn’t flow off the pen as smoothly.) 😉

Hanging Around The Yankee Dugout Pre-game

Unlike the other games I’ve been to where I don’t care to much about talking to or getting autograph’s from the players, for some reason it’s different when it comes to the Yanks.  Being around the Yankee’s make me feel like a little kid again so in turn... I act like little kid! 🙂

So, for about 30 minutes I just stood outside of the Yankees dugout with a bunch of fans who were trying to get autographs from the few NY starters who made the trip. (The only name starters who made the trip from Tampa were Gardner, Granderson, and Swisher.)

NY Manager Joe Giradi
For the majority of the time I stood there, the only person I cared to see was manager Joe Giradi.  Even though he was just feet from me, he didn’t turn towards the crowd for the entire time I was there. (Maybe for a second while he was talking to somebody but not to acknowledge the fans.)

Nick Swisher Kicks Ass
After warming up on the field, the few starters that were there headed back into the dugout (Gardner, Granderson, and Swisher).  As they got near the side of the dugout where I was standing, a few fans started to ask Gardner for an autograph (he was the first one there).

Anyway, after a few attempts from fans, Gardner politely said he can’t sign any autographs while he was in the dugout.  About the same time, Swisher sat down on the bench right near Gardner as I began to talk to them both.

I looked down and said to them, “I don’t want an autograph from anybody, I just want Gardner to steal 60 bases and Swisher... you just do what do every year!”  Swisher responded by looking up at me with a wink and smile.

I didn’t get a picture of it, so I asked him a few minutes later if he would take a picture for me.  He said no problem as he gave me a thumbs up and smile again.  Thanks Nick!  Good luck this year!

Mascot Time
After leaving the dugout area, I spotted the Rays mascot walking around the stadium doing what mascots do.  So, I chased him down to take a picture with him but when I got close, he backed up and because he didn’t like the Yankee jersey I had on.  Still, I got the picture and moved on to find a seat.

Choosing A Seat
Rather than choosing a actual seat, today I choose to sprawl out on the lawn down the left field line. (Lawn seats are available to anybody and I enjoy them because you have a lot of space even though you don’t have a chair.)

The Game: Yankee’s vs. Rays
The game in and of itself wasn’t that exciting as it was a pitchers duel.  Now, I don’t mind pitchers duel’s when it’s a regular season game because you are watching two top notch pitchers go at it one on one.  In the spring though, you have seen 10 different pitchers already through 8 innings in a 0-0 game.

And that’s what I saw today, two teams who couldn’t hit the ball out of the infield.  Not to mention, the game ended in a tie.  Yes a tie.  This just backs up a point a made yesterday about teams and coaches not caring about who wins.  A tie!

Even though I just watched a game end in a tie, I still enjoyed myself as I got to watch the Yankees play (well... some of the Yankees).  It was now close to 4 pm, so I hopped in the Rooster mobile and headed back south to Fort Myers.

Pat’s House
When I got to Pat’s house, all I did was pack up my things and load it into my car.  That’s because tonight I’m staying at Pat’s parents house with Pat and tomorrow morning I’m leaving for West Palm Beach for a day. (Pat’s parents went away for the night and he had to watch the dogs.)

Dinner At Nino’s
Since it was my last night in town, Pat told me he was gonna take me out for dinner.  Nice!  Thanks Pat!  Anyway, we went to an Italian restaurant called Nino’s.  I’ve eaten here in the past and it was always good.  Tonight was no different.  Thanks again Pat!

Pat’s Parents Place
We arrived at Pat’s parent’s around 9 pm and it was great timing because the UFC event on Versus was just about to begin.  Pat and I are both fans of all sports and even though it took Pat a little longer than me to come around to MMA from boxing, he’s a big  fan now.

UFC On Versus
For the rest of the night, we just watched the UFC event on TV.  All the fights were good but the main event was amazing!  Diego Sanchez won a slugfest against Martin Kampmann but in the end after seeing what Diego looked like... did he really win?  Yes he did and the paycheck difference shows it!

Calling It A Night
After an exciting night of fights ended, I gave Pat one last present before he passed out.  It was a Brooks Robinson t-shirt jersey I got over 230 days ago while I was in Baltimore.  Pat is a huge O’s fan and from the smile on his face, I could tell he liked it.  Well, that’s it.  On to tomorrow. 🙂

Thanks for reading!

March 5, 2011 - 8:00 pm - (FL) “DAT 243” - Week 35 - State 32

Unfortunately for me and you the reader, I just finished writing this whole post and then my computer crashed and erased it all!  Ahhh!  So at this point, after 12 hours of writing, I’m so frustrated that I can’t begin to even think about writing it over.  So I won’t.  I’m only gonna highlight my Friday now.

Traveling To West Palm Beach
I got up early, said good bye to Pat, and thanked him for a great week.  After that, I got into my car and drove across Florida 3 hours to West Palm Beach to hang out with a good friend of mine Scott (from AZ although I hung out with him in Vegas on this trip.)

The worst part of the ride was that my GPS took me on surface roads the whole way, so what should have been a 2:30 minute ride wound up taking a little over 3 hours.  Not bad but still annoying because I should have known better having lived in both area before.

Scott’s Place
I got to Scott’s around 12:30 pm and after unpacking some things from my car, we went to a Mets/Marlins baseball game in Jupiter just a few miles from his place.

Mets vs. Marlins In Jupiter, Florida
Scott was nice enough to pay for the whole day from beginning to end which included buying us tickets to the game today.  Thank you so much Scott!

F.Y.I. - We bought the cheapest seats and then sat wherever we wanted which was the was the 1st row, down the left field line. 🙂

The Mets Bullpen
Our seats were awesome as nobody us all game and we were less than 10 feet from the Mets bullpen.  This was cool because we saw every pitcher warm-up before the entered the game.

Since I'm not a Mets fan and I couldn't see all the backs of the jerseys, I don’t remember the names of the guys we saw, but many were relievers.

Roger Dean Stadium
The ballpark is home to two pro major league the teams, the Marlins and the St. Louis Cardinals.  This is the first stadium which I have been to where two teams shared the facilities.  This must be cool for the people of Jupiter because they get baseball everyday in March.  Not bad.

The Crowd & A Crazy Fan
Even though this game wasn’t sold out, the NY fans in attendance were passionate about their Mets.  Also, there was one crazy fan who was all over one Ump for being over weight.

The funny thing was, the Ump did nothing wrong.  He didn’t make a bad call, he didn’t make an obscene gesture to the crowd, and he wasn’t even that overweight.

Not to mention, he was about 70 years old.  All I can guess is, the NY fan was getting the Ump ready for regular season heckling. LOL 🙂

Mascot Time & Other Stadium Things
Although the Marlins do have a mascot, he wasn’t here today.  Lazy fish!  And like most spring training facilities, there was no memorabilia to take pictures of either. Except for a banner in the outfield of something.

Still, it was a beautiful day and I got to enjoy another major league baseball game in a different stadium this week so how much can I complain. 😉

The Game
The game itself wasn’t bad but I was kinda tired from the drive and since Hanley Ramerez (all-star SS for the Marlins) was the only real superstar playing today, I just relaxed while I watched the game. (Hanley played well.)

Leaving The Game
I wrote a lot more about the day before but this is the second time around and to be honest... I’m shot!  Anyway, we stayed until the 8th inning and then left to head to back to Scott’s place.

Dinner At Scott’s
We got back to his place at 5 pm and for the next two hours Scott worked as I uploaded pictures from the past few days.  At 7 pm, Scott’s Mom bought us a nice meal to eat so we sat in the dining room and had dinner.  Thank you, it was great! 🙂

An MMA Event In Fort Lauderdale
Sometime after 8 pm, Scott and I drove 45 minutes south to Fort Lauderdale to see an amateur MMA show that Scott’s brother (Jason) is COO of.  Because of that connection Scott and I had free tickets to the event complete with back stage passes.  Sweet! 🙂

Alpha Fights
Again, I wrote a lot more before, but to sum it up quickly...the event was good but it was an amateur show, so the rules are slightly different.  No elbows, strikes to the head on the ground, and a few other changes.  None-the-less, it was a live MMA event.

The venue itself was mix of a bar and small arena as it had three levels you could watch the show from a bunch of different angles.  Another good thing for the fans was that it wasn’t to packed, so although there weren’t actual chairs to sit in, everybody in attendance still had a great view of the action in the cage.

Meeting Seth Petruzelli
Other than the fights, one cool thing they had was Kimbo Slice killer, Seth Petruzelli as their in-cage post fight interviewer.  Since Scott and I had cage-side passes, we hung out near inside the inner-cage circle which happened to be where Seth was standing..

Also, two girl friends were macking on Scott and Seth all evening, so during the course of the event we had a few conversations.  Anyway, Seth was real cool and before the show ended, I asked him if he would take a picture with Scott and I.

He said no problem as the three of us took a picture near the cage although you can’t see it.

Leaving The Show
Before I left the show, I hopped in the cage and took a picture with a hot girl who was still there after the show ended.  During this time, I also took a picture with Jason inside the octagon as I thanked him for a great time.

Back To Scott’s
After the show, Scott and I got pizza with a few people from the event and then drove back to his house 45 minutes north.  Once we got to his place, we stayed up talking as old friends do who haven’t seen each other.  I crashed out around 4 am.

Summing Today Up
I left Fort Myers and said good bye to Pat.  I then met up with Scott in West Palm Beach and went to a Mets/ Marlins game in Jupiter.  After that, we ate dinner in West Palm before we drove to Fort Lauderdale for an MMA show.  There, we met and hung out with a bunch of cool people before we ended out day around 4 am.

Well... that’s it, sorry for the vagueness but it’s now 1 am and I already wrote this whole post once in full detail tonight.  I can’t do it again as I have been staring at my laptop for 13 hours straight!  Ahhh!

Plus, I still don’t have an internet connection and it’s currently Sunday morning (1 am).  That’s means although this is written, it’s not posted yet and I have three posts worth of adding pictures to tomorrow.

Ahhhh!  I still have a lot work ahead of me before anybody reads this! 🙁  Oh yeah, since this day is almost over, I can add another day of writing to the list!

Thanks for reading!

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  1. Dad says:

    Great stories. The games and fights sounded awesome.
    Your look good with Scott & Seth. Sounds like your last 3 days have been filled with fun. Say
    Hi to Goran.

  2. greeno says:

    whats up man, its greeno from boston, i was just checking out your website, not bad. My picture came out good and thanks for the shout-out. when you get to beantown, hit me up and i will let you know how to get into fenway for the donut. peace,greeno.

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