Saturday, March 11, 2023

Spring Training Trip: Blue Jays vs. Red Sox, 3/10/23

Flying into the Tampa airport out of Philadelphia meant taking a plane voyage with a bunch of Phillies fans bound for Clearwater. Already wearing Phillies garb. While that would eventually be us, it would be a few games before my dad and I would embrace our Phils-fan-ness. There were a few more further stops in the southern portion of Florida that would take precedence.

And that is why I found myself pulled up to Fenway South, surrounded by Sox and Jays fans. 

The way I'd always worked when I'd done Spring Training stuff was at least knocking out the stadiums where my uncle lived, down in Fort Myers, and venturing beyond if need be. The good news is that my uncle lives near two Spring Training stadiums with great bases. The bad news is that one of them is the Red Sox' stadium. And so that's where we started.

I had been to the Fenway South complex 6 years ago, the last time I'd been down for Spring Training. Since then they'd won a ring, good for them and all. The Sox' whole thing down here is recreating the Fenway experience for Bostoners that made the trek down, and that includes getting Kayem hot dogs, Del's italian ice, lobster roll...and being frustratingly elitist when they shouldn't be. We got there about 2 hours before the game began to traverse the backfields and catch minor league BP, and ten minutes after we got there they told everybody to clear out. I don't know why, I don't think they knew why. But we got like...10 minutes. A little bit of Adalberto Mondesi taking BP, a few minor league drills, some other Sox things. And then, okay time's up.

Last year I was at a rock concert in Philly, and the doors didn't open til 30 minutes before the first act because the venue had been booked earlier that afternoon for a speaking engagement featuring Michelle Obama. Delaying proceedings and being crappy to the public in that instance I can understand, because you've gotta provide extra time for security and things like that, that's fine. But what in blazes would have been wrong with having fans in the backfields after 11 AM? What's the crime there?

So instead we saw the visiting team's warmups in the stadium. Which wasn't much of an issue. The only major leaguer that seemed to be in on this was Tom Hatch, but the youngsters always seem to help.

Something evident by that statement is that the Jays, being a couple hours away from base camp, didn't bring many peak guys. The only person in the lineup I'd heard of, other than starter Zach Thompson, was Wynton Bernard, who I only knew from his stories of being a lifetime minor leaguer. These were the scrubs. By comparison, the Sox at least had Arroyo, Duvall, Dalbec and Refsnyder. The Sox...don't really have a great team this year. Taking away Devers, who's doing WBC work, Turner and Story, both hurt, and Hernandez, they don't have much of a lineup really.

What was nice was that Corey Kluber was, in fact, on the mound for the Sox, which I was excited for, as he's always been one of my favorites. the very least has not lost his ability to strike out opposing batters. In the first inning he had some Ks, and did pretty well for himself. Around the 3rd and 4th innings the Jays started getting to him, and the scrubs managed 2 runs off of him. 

At the same time, Thompson went 3 innings without allowing any hits. It was the exact opposite start that I thought we'd be getting.

Being honest, the rest of the game flew by, not only on account of the pitch clock, but it also wasn't terribly interesting. None of the notable Sox did much, though Duvall was responsible for a hit or two. The Jays had good moments but I didn't know who any of them were. Raimel Tapia had some nice plays in the outfield but didn't last long in the game.

What was nice was that where we sat, which was up a bit and in the shade, was very much Jays fan territory, and everybody around us was really polite. There was a family behind us from Nova Scotia, a few Quebecois folk in front of us, and lots of 'soarry's and 'aboat's. I wasn't complaining, especially during Sweet Caroline.

The game itself wasn't much after the Kluber inning, as the Jays wrapped it up 2-0, without letting the home team do anything. What was interesting was that prior to this game, the Sox were undefeated in Spring Training, and so I was in attendance for their first loss of the season. Which was nice.

The following day would also feature the Red Sox, albeit on the road. I'll tell you about whether or not they won that one tomorrow.

No comments:

Post a Comment