Sunday, March 5, 2023

On the Heels of Another Spring Training Trip

 Six years ago, ironically during the last World Baseball Classic, I spent a few days in Western Florida and hopped along some Spring Training stadiums while I was there. It was a breezy trip that featured several home runs by Pablo Sandoval, an appearance by switch-pitcher Pat Venditte, and the single closest seats I've ever had the pleasure of watching a game from. 

Next week, as I feel it's been enough time, I'm heading back. 

It's a combination of hitting some more Spring Training stadiums and getting some time on the beach. I don't do that enough, just let all the stressors wash away for a bit, and it's been a very stressful time for me to say the least. So I'm gonna do that, and I'm gonna be seeing some games while I'm there, because...why the hell not?

Here are some of the stadiums I will definitely be hitting next week:

JetBlue Stadium at Fenway South, Boston Red Sox
Have I ever been? Yes, once last time I was in town. I'd been to the old Sox stadium a few times, I went to a St. Patrick's Day game there in '06. It was as insane as you might imagine. The new stadium is pretty cool, I like that it replicates some of the feel of Fenway with the mini Monster and everything. 
Who Am I Most Anxious to See: This new Japanese outfielder, Masataka Yoshida, if he's suiting up. I'm always intrigued by which guys can work in the States, which guys need more time, which guys are just auxiliary guys at this stage. Yoshida looks good, it'll be interesting to see what he's capable of.
The Game in Question: Blue Jays vs. Red Sox, Friday the 10th.

Hammond Stadium, Minnesota Twins: 
Have I ever been?: Yes, a few times. This is near where my uncle lives, and it's been there for a bit, so I've seen some games there. This stadium is pretty standard, but it's got full backfields and some nice little touches. 
Who Am I Most Anxious To See: If he's there, Carlos Correa. These games are gonna be during the World Baseball Classic, so I'm not sure who we'll get. But it'd be nice if Correa, or Pablo Lopez, or Christian Vazquez were to show up.
The Game in Question: Red Sox- Twins, Saturday the 11th. 

BayCare Ballpark, Philadelphia Phillies
Have I ever been? No, I have not. My dad, who I will be going with, attended a game in Clearwater last year in between beach days, and said the facilities are low-key but still pretty cool. As this is the hometown team, and a team with a lot of promise, I'm excited for this one.
Who Am I Most Anxious To See?: Trea Turner, of course. Again, if he's around, I don't know how badly the WBC is gonna screw around with rosters. But most of the team will do, I'd love to see Painter if he's healthy, love to see Kimbrel or Walker, JT and Rhys if they're around. 
The Game in Question: Blue Jays vs. Phillies, Sunday the 12th.

TD Ballpark, Toronto Blue Jays
Have I Ever Been?: Nope. Neither has my dad. I know they played MLB games here back in 2021, I had fun with glorious Dunedin being a major MLB landmark for a bit.
Who Am I Most Anxious to See?: It was gonna be Vlad Jr., but with the injury I don't know where he'll be. Probably some of the other kids, like Bo Bichette, Alejandro Kirk, maybe Brandon Belt to see what he's got left. 
The Game in Question: Red Sox vs. Blue Jays, Monday the 13th. This is the game where we might just use this day as a beach day and are questionable for the game itself, but we'll see.

George Steinbrenner Stadium, New York Yankees
Have I Ever Been? Nope. Never even been to Tampa period. This one is kind of a rite of passage, even if it's probably gonna be ridiculous at some points. Y'know, just to say I've been. 
Who Am I Most Anxious to See?: Rodon if possible. Volpe or Jaisson if possible.
The Game in Question: Blue Jays vs. Yankees, Tuesday the 14th. We're upstairs, behind home plate, and hopefully we enjoy ourselves.

A few trends we've unknowingly walked into here: We will be seeing the Blue Jays in 4 out of 5 games, and the Red Sox in 3 out of 5 games. And we're Yankee fans. So that'll be interesting, just following the two teams we'd rather not see win for a bit. 

It's gonna be a fun week, and I'll try and report my findings here as frequently as I can, or if I run into any players on the backfields or stumble onto any cards. I'll keep you all posted. 

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