Thursday, March 8, 2018

spring training

I drove up to Jupiter this afternoon to watch the Florida Marlins play the St. Louis Cardinals.

Spring Training is an interesting scene. The games mean nothing but the fans are there rooting for wins regardless.  The Marlins and Cardinals share the same stadium. In a strange reversal, whereas all northern teams go south for Spring Training, the Marlins actually travel north.  And despite the proximity to what I assume is the Marlins fan base in Miami, the stadium was packed with Cardinals fans. Real ones too. Bonafide serious Cardinal fans wearing the jerseys of their favorite players.

I sat next to three delightful guys from Springfield Illinois--serious Cardinal fans. The fellow immediately to my left was the genuine article.  He knew more about baseball than I do and I know my fair share. He was relaying terrific anecdotes about Bob Gibson and Augie Busch and even the midget Bill Veeck sent up the plate (number 1/8th) as a stunt. He told stories about Earl Weaver--the Orioles long time manager--that were priceless. We both exchanged memories about the 64 and 67 Cardinal world series.  Terrific game watching partner.

I was sitting next to these guys by luck. They had sold their extra ticket to a fellow who then sold it to me.  The trio had travelled to Jupiter from Fort Myers where they had watched games over on the west coast and were going to see two games in Jupiter and then at least one other in West Palm Beach.

In addition to these two, there were some real fans in front of us who, it seemed to me, wished we behind them would shut up so they could focus on the game.  It is Spring Training, the games mean zero, many of the players have as much a chance of making the team as I do--yet when a pitcher started to falter one said to the other in all seriousness--better get someone warmed up.

The atmosphere in Spring Training is far more laid back than during the regular season.  The stadium is like a miniature with an appropriately miniature (but substantive in terms of offerings) concession area.  A fellow in a golf cart takes you from where you park your car to the stadium.  The drivers are not into making a shekel, they are retirees just having fun doing something fun on a beautiful afternoon.

Worse ways to spend time, than watching a Spring Training baseball game.

No comments:

Post a Comment