Monday, March 24, 2008


The numbers are still coming in. I keep updating as I think of things.
Total mileage=2061
Total # nights in motels = 8
Total # ballparks visited = 8
Total # foul balls caught = 1
Total # of fans with face painting that I talked to = 1
Total # of errors A-Rod committed = 2
Total # of games seen=10
Total # of sports stars seen in bars = 2
Total # of Hall of Famers met = 1
Total # days until next years visit= approx. 360
Total # of pictures taken = 714
Total # programs bought = 8

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Final Day A Rainout

The day started great, but was cloudy. Rain was forecast. We arrived at the ballpark early and were able to watch TB Rays take BP in the back field. Carl Crawford and Evan Longoria were there. Later in the ballpark I got autographs from Joe Maddon (manager), Matt Garza (pitcher), Rocco Baldelli (OF) and a few others. Unfortunately, the rain wasn't able to hold off and the tarp came out after the second inning. That will probably be the last game I get to attend at Al Lang since the Rays are moving Spring Training to Charlotte county. That's a bummer.
I also got a great picture of one of my favorite players, Cliff Floyd.

Here are the pics

Friday, March 21, 2008

Day Eight and the Best Stadium in Grapefruit League

Dad declared that the Tigers field was the best we've been to so far. I liked it alot, too. I still think the Phillies have the best, mostly because you can still see the field from the concessions. I will say that the Tigers have the best announcer. His introductions of the Tiger's players was great. Each name was announced as if they were going to do battle in the Thunderdome. Then when he announced the line-up for the visiting Jays he says each name and position, quickly. Very funny. Dad and I talked to a nice guy from Toronto who's visiting with family. He was in Myrtle Beach recently and was telling me how much he liked it. I like the Blue Jays fans. Even more, I like the Tiger's line up. If they get some good pitching, they are the team to beat in the AL. Jim Leyland was there. Gary Sheffield hit a frozen rope over the left field wall. The D-Train was derailed and he was pulled in the fourth inning. The Jays were knocking him around.

Here's the link to the pics.

Go Tribe!

Yesterday I met and got an autograph from Hall of Famer, Bob Feller. Very nice man. He talked to everyone that he signed for and shook their hand. I'm not sure how old he is but I do know that he went into the Hall of Fame in 1962. He also served in the US Navy in WWII. He pitched a no hitter on Opening Day of the 1940 season against the White Sox (sorry, Skip). Here's a link to the wiki about HOF'er Bob Feller.
Chain of Lakes park is losing the Indians to Arizona after this year. Very sad. The park is old but has a ton of character. Who ever designed it said, "Hey, let's face it this way and give it a cover so the fans can sit in the shade." I would like to shake that person's hand.
Later, that night I met golfer John Daly. But, that's a story for another time.

Link to pics.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Long Day. Started early with laundry. Met this guy who's 16y/o kid has a one day contract with a group of prospects and will play in a game with the Phillies minor leaguers. This was one proud pop.

My Dad was interviewed and photographed for a story that the St. Pete Times will be running in the beginning in April when the season starts. It is about the end of Spring Training baseball at Al Lang field. The Rays won the game 4-1.
The night game at McKetchnie Field was like stepping back in time. Except for one thing. It was a night game. This is the first night game ever played at McKetchnie. It was supposed to have happened earlier in the week, but was rained out. This game was a slugfest from the start. The first Pirates batter hit a homerun off Phil Hughes. They slugged it out with the Yankees for the rest of the game. The Yankees ended up winning 12-9. There was a total of 29 hits, four errors, (A-Rod made 2) and a beautiful bunt made by CofC alum Brett Gardner who started in Centerfield for the Yankees. He also scored a run and struck out. Go Cougars!

Here's the link to the pics. And Here

Clearwater, FL

Here I am on the West Coast of sunny Florida. Phillies and Rays played yesterday. Phillies won 4-1. Great seats, in the shade.
Today is a double header for us. Phillies and Rays at Al Lang in St. Pete. Tonight is Yankees and Pirates in Bradenton. Chance of rain tonight/tomorrow morning is 60%. If a game has to be rained out at least it's a game with Yankees. Although, I've never been to the Pirates facility so I was kind of looking forward to it. Even if it rains I'm going down to check out the stadium.

Here's the link to the pics.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

First...A Word about Viera, the Nats and Ron D's huge head

Monday was a trip to Viera, which is near Melbourne. An even wider view would include Cocoa Beach and Canaveral. The "Space Coast." Home to Maj. Nelson, Jeannie, and Spring Breakers. Viera is on the eastern side of I-95. At one time, in the not so distant past it was probably wetlands. Now, expanding out from the center of the outdoor mall it is a golf community. Homes are large, brown and expensive. Space Coast Stadium sits in the middle of an empty field. Almost an oasis for the weary baseball traveller. It is almost an hour north from Port St. Lucie. I arrived there at approximately 10am and went to the local Panera for coffee, bagel and some time to check e-mail, etc. Normally, the ball fields open two hours before game time. This gives the fans a chance to see the home and visiting teams take batting practice. This is an almost essential activity for Spring Training. For some reason, the Nats didn't(wouldn't) open the gates until 11:40. By then the Nats were done with BP. When I went in and staked out a spot for Mets autographs and pics, I was told that I couldn't stand in the first three rows. They directed me to a place near the dugouts. It was a walkway in front of bullpen, directly to the right of the dugout. I decided I would have a better chance of a few autographs near the Nats bench as opposed to the Mets side. I did get three signatures (Austin Kearns, Aaron Boone and Justin Maxwell). Ryan Zimmerman, the Nats star third baseman was reaching for my baseball when the announcer said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, please rise for the singing of out National Anthem." Dohhh. Ryan is a good American. I didn't get an autograph.

My seat was third row, directly behind homeplate. Great for watching baseball, but because of the net, hard to get photos.

The hamburger I ordered was excellent. It was fresh, not frozen, on a big bun with lettuce, tomato and onion. The basket is served with fries. 8$ is not that steep, considering the amount of food you got and what I've seen at other parks. And it leaves you satisfied.

Oh and one last note, Oliver Perez pitched great! The Mets won. The only Mets win I saw on this trip.

Okay about Ron Darling's head. I was in Duffy's which he had (coincidently, not ironically) mentioned the week before during a game. (The secret's out, he said). So there is Ron D. in Duffy's. I've seen him on a few occasions at the games but he's normally a ways away. Monday night he was 5 feet away, he's a big guy, but his head is HUGE. It has it's own weather system. People would stumble when they walked past because of the gravitational pull. They had to open both doors so he could get out. Okay, that's a little cruel. Ron could squash me like a bug. I like Ron. He seems to want to give some insight to the game being played and recognize what the NY Met fans want. He was very nice to everyone that approached him and shook thier hand and thanked them for being a fan.

So that's the Monday report, being written on Tuesday night. One day I'll tell the story about the girl snorting coke in the booth at Denny's. Oops that's the story. Another story is about the guy from Canada who wants to be a golf pro. He stays at a place where he's met a number of players, ironically he doesn't know anything about baseball.

Here's the link to the pics.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Dr. Petersen calling

This Mets are tied 4-4 right now in the seventh inning. They were leading until they called out Brian Strokes. Up until then Pedro pitched 4 shutout innings. Sure he loaded up the bases but walked away with no runs scored. He's Pedro. He probably loaded the bases on purpose so he could practice pitching out of a bases loaded situation.

In the 5th Matt Wise came out and pitched a 1-2-3 inning.

Then up came Brian Stokes. Former D-Ray. He gave up four runs. Now the score is tied. Looking at the carrer of Stokes the best I can figure is that Dr. Petersen thinks he can help Brian find what's missing.

(This post has been updated after losing the wireless signal. I wasn't able to upload the photos yesterday. Here they are.
Here's a link to the pics

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Day One Photos

Follow the link below to see all the photos from Day One, St.Louis Cardinals at LA Dodgers.

Jazz, Legends and Homeruns

Day One. I left fairly early. 4:30ish. Traffic was light until I got to Melbourne, FL. In my last post I may have been a little harsh on the fine state of Georgia. I mentioned that they didn’t have rest areas on I-95. I have to say that was a slight exaggrasion. They have rest areas. But, at the first one the restrooms were closed. At least that’s what the sign on the interstate stated. I guess the other was open. Anyway, enough about that. I will give the State of Georgia credit on roads. They have three lanes of interstate for most of the drive. So, if you gotta go at least you can make pretty good time and not get stuck behind someone. The other thing I will mention is if you’re driving through Georgia in the morning look for a jazz program on 93.7 (I believe that’s correct). This cat played the best jazz tunes. I made great time through there and was sorry to hear the show end at 8:00am, which was about the time I got to Jacksonville. When I drive through Jacksonville I have to put on the Smashing Pumpkins. Having Billy Corgan screaming at me at 70mph helps me to stay focused.

The drive between Daytona and Vero Beach seems longer and longer everytime I make it. There are all these places that never existed until recently. Palm Bay, Cove Cay, Palm Cay, Cove Bay….These places pop up in former palmetto fields and become small enclaves of Spanish style stucco houses that all look exactly the same. Every time they build one of these eyesores it stretches Florida a little, thereby increasing the driving time down the coast. Of course, this could be useful. It’ll push Miami closer and closer to Cuba and one day we’ll just drive over a bridge and be in Havana.

Dodgertown and Holman Stadium was really a nice place to be. First it was packed. 7,000+ on hand. It’s also very intimate. I feel like I was practically on the field and I was in the second to last row. Second, the weather was great. Warm with a cool breeze and mostly to partly sunny. With most of the Dodgers in China, including Joe Torre, they asked Tommy Lasorda to coach. The fans are eating it up. Tommy’s getting up there in years and size. Maury Wills was on the bench also for the Dodgers. For you kids out there, Maury was the Jose Reyes of his day. Fast. I think I got a couple good photos of him.

Rick Ankiel hit a homerun in his first at bat. You could hear it. Crack. Later he put the Cards ahead with a three run homerun. The final score was 6-4. I didn’t know the starting pitcher for the Cards. Estaban Loaiza started for the Dodgers. Other highlights were two cold beers and a Dodger Dog. Burp.

Finally, on my way out this kid ran past me yelling “Mom, Mom” and he’s waving this piece of paper. He catches up to his Mom and says, beaming, “They gave me the line-up card for the Cardinals.”

On tap for tomorrow is Tradition Field. The NY Mets and the Cardinals.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


I was able to get my packing done this morning. I'm traveling extremely light. Normally, I bring way too much. This year it's two-thirds of what I normally bring. This year it's just too much. The truck is ready. The new camera is packed. The tickets are stowed. I'll be leaving early. I hope to arrive in Vero Beach around noon. Maybe I'll have lunch with Tommy Lasorda.

I don't drive too fast and I like to make stops. Stop for gas. Stop for coffee. Stop for a bathroom break. Oh, look a Waffle House. Ummmm, waffles. More gas. More coffee. John told me about the Spring Training sign at the rest stop in Florida. I'll stop there.

Georgia doesn't have rest areas on I-95. Apparently, the Georgia state motto is "Pee in your own state." Anyway, who wants to stop in Georgia? I do wish I could miss Jacksonville. Many of you have heard me say, but it bares repeating; Jacksonville is NOT FLORIDA. It's South Georgia. You don't really hit Florida until you see the signs for St. Augustine and Daytona. And the signs for the New Yorkers (Miami - 456miles).