Another Spring Training Game & More To Come! (FL) “DAY 240” – 3/1/11

March 3, 2011 - 12:20 am - (FL) “DAY 240” - Week 35 - State 32

Today (Tuesday) is the 5th day since I hurt my lower back and I’m happy to say that I’m feeling much better than I did.  I’m still uncomfortable sitting down for awhile and I’m not able to move to fast but... all-in-all... I’m getting better day by day. 🙂

After realizing I’m somewhat mobile, I called Pat at work to see if wanted to (could) go to the Twins game with me today in Fort Myers.  Pat loves baseball, so after arranging his work schedule, he was in. (Our plan was for me to meet him at his office around noon.)

Since I had a little over two hours to kill, I pulled out my laptop and got to writing “DAY 239”.  I needed every minutes of it as I got my post up just in time to make it to Pat’s office on time.

Driving With Pat To The Game
When I got to Pat’s office I dropped off my car and hopped in his (no need for both of us to have to find parking).  Anyway, the drive was only few miles and after fighting through traffic (there was a lot of it), we arrived near Hammond Stadium.

Rather than walking the 1/2 mile or so we would have had to if we wanted to park for free, Pat decided to pay the $5 and park inside the stadium complex.

Softball Parking Lot
Although I jumped out of the car to look for tickets before Pat parked, I reminisced for a little bit because this complex is where I used to play softball when I lived here.

The softball fields are awesome in Florida and since the weather is perfect, they play year round. (I’ve hit many home runs on these fields.) 🙂

Finding A Ticket
My plan to get a ticket was to just walk around and find the person who had an extra ticket they wanted to give away.  I do have some money I’m willing to spend if I have to but first I’ll try and get one for free.

As I walked toward the stadium (which was a very nice walk by the way), I encountered many scalpers along the way.  I didn’t want a ticket from scalper but I checked to see what the prices were and they were basically selling them for face value.  OK, now I know I can do better than that, so I kept looking.

As I kept walking closer toward the entrance I met a guy (who wasn’t scalper) who was trying to sell a single ticket.  After talking with him, he told me he would give it to me for free if he couldn’t sell it before game time.

An Old Lady Saves The Day
Knowing I had a option in the bag, I was just standing around when an old lady called me over. (She overheard me talking with Tom, non-scalper guy.)  As I walking toward her she held out a ticket and I thought she was giving it to me when she said, “20 bucks”.  LOL  Are you kidding me? LOL

I guess she didn’t over hear me because she would have known my price was free. 😉  I then told her what I was doing and she just smirked at me and walked away.  So funny, an old lady who isn’t nice or friendly.  Hey, times are tough... I know!

Getting My Ticket
At this point, it’s about 15 minutes until first pitch and Pat is already in the stadium (he got his ticket somehow).  So, I found a scalper who sound me a ticket for $5.  $5 is the right price although I could held out for free.  It OK, at least I’m in and ready enjoy a gorgeous day for a baseball game. 🙂

Hammond Stadium
Even though I’ve been to this stadium in the past, I didn’t explore it or enjoy it the way I do now.  What I mean is, I check out everything while I’m at a game on this trip including everything the venue had to offer.

As I walked around this ballpark, it was nice but it didn’t have to much else to do expect watch the game.  There wasn’t a memorabilia section or anything like that.  Well, they did have a Twins motorcycle out front, but that was it.

Even though there wasn’t much else to do, there was a baseball game going on and this place was packed with fans.  I didn’t hear the attendance, but I’m sure this game was sold out or close to it.

Food On A Stick

Oh yeah, one of the cool thing I did see was a stand selling food on a stick.  I loved this stand because it reminded me of when I was in Minnesota.  Ya see, one of the things I learned on this journey was that in Minnesota, you can get any food you want on a stick at their state fair.  So, to see it here, makes me smile that I know that! 🙂 (Left: Minnesota State Fair food on a stick.)

Minnesota Twins vs. Boston Red Sox
The bad thing about spring training games is that you never know who is gonna play or not.  Today’s game for instance, each team only had some of their regular starters playing.

The only big names playing were Kevin Youkilis, Mike Cameron, Jim Thome, Denard Span and a few other players you wouldn’t the know the names of of unless you had a fantasy baseball team. 😉

Starting Pitchers
One good thing is, you generally get to see the regular starting pitchers although at this point in the Spring, they only pitch 2-3 innings.  None-the-less, I saw the John Lester pitch (the Red Sox young lefty ace) against Scott Baker of the Twins.

Each pitcher looked OK as they tossed what I guess was 30-40 pitches each before they left the game for their respective team.  After that, reliever after reliever came in the game.

Closers Joe Nathan & Jonathan Papalbon

By the 5th inning, each team’s closer had come to hill and pitched an inning. Red Sox closer, Jonathan Papelbon looked sharp as his fastball had some get up on it today.  He’s gonna be a problem for the Yanks this year.  I have a feeling.

More interesting to watch though was Joe Nathan of the Twins.  He was one the best closers in baseball for at least 5 years but last season he got injured and this is his first time pitching (in a game scenario) since his surgery.

Anyway, he gave up a few long fly balls during his inning, but each was caught on the track.  He looked happy to be back on the mound as he showed emotion after each ball was caught (it’s only spring training).

It was good to Nathan back on the hill and he didn’t look bad either.  In my opinion, he’ll be back to his old form by the end of this year. (More bad news for Yankee fans.) 🙁

Where We Watched The Game

Since most people don’t watch games like I do (moving around every second), Pat and I just picked out two good seats near the field and sat there the whole game. (We were right beside 3rd base, so just before the outfield.)

F.Y.I. - Not moving around today actually worked out for me too because my back can’t handle to much walking in it’s current condition. 😉

Anyway, the weather for today’s game was perfect as there was a breeze and overcast.  Yeah, it was close to raining but the Pirates game I went to on Sunday was super hot in the sun, so this is way more comfortable than that.

TC The Bear (Mascot)
After searching the stadium and not finding TC the Bear (I guess he had the day off), I started to have mascot withdrawal.  So, I looked around and found dun dun dun... Recycle Man!  He’s not TC, but he’ll do and he sends a good message. 😉

A Picture With Denard Span (Twins CF)

Another good thing about Spring Training games are the players are very accessible before and after the game.  And, sometimes even during as was the case when I met Denard Span for a moment.

Here’s what happened.  As Span was coming off the field for good in the 5th or 6th, he ran by where we sat because we were right behind the Twins dugout.  Anyway, a little girl was waiting at the rail in front of us for a autograph (from anybody) when Span being the cool guy he is, stopped at the rail and gave it to her.

Since this happened right in front of me, I asked Denard if he minded if I got a picture with him.  He said no problem, but there was a problem.  Some chick Red Sox fan (who was kinda hot) said to me while I was about to take picture with Span, hey can I get in it?  I said sure, you’re better looking than me, you can only help this picture. 😉

Well... I was wrong, after the picture was taken and Span left, I checked it and the Red Sox chick... covered most of Span’s face.  Ahhh!  And Red Sox people wonder why Yankee fans don’t like them. 😉

Leaving The Game
By the time the top of the 7th rolled around, Pat and I decided to leave.  We left for a few reasons: 1.) Pat wanted to get back to work and he drove, so that’s reason enough. 2.) The game didn’t have starters playing anymore. 3.) My back was kinda tight from sitting for 2 hours, so it was cool with me too.

Back To Pat’s
My car was at Pat’s office, so after he dropped me off, I went back to his house for the evening.  While I was at the house waiting on Pat to get home (about 2 hours later), Tracy stopped by. (Tracy is Pat’s girlfriend who I helped him get together with 4 years ago, man time flies.)

Hanging With T-Mac

Tracy and I always got along, so when she showed up at the place, I was excited to see her again.  We just hung around the place and talked until Pat showed up about 30 minutes after her.

The Rest Of The Night

For the rest of the night, the three of us just watched some TV and ate dinner.  Really not much else happened except I gave another present (gold LSU beads I got while at the LSU woman’s basketball game).  Tracy left around 9 pm, Pat went to bed by 10, and I passed out by 11 pm as it was an early night for me.

Thanks for reading!


Comments (2)

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  1. Dad says:

    You look good for being away from home for 241 days.
    Sunny and warm. Tati and I walked this morning it
    was 27 and breezy. Who are you seeing today?

  2. Mike says:

    I see you have been keeping up and posting everyday…. shit beats

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