Daily Archives: March 6, 2009

Spring Training – Marlins vs. Orioles – The Game

Man it was good to get to watch a ballgame again.  It’s been a while and my hunger to be at the stadium was finally quenched…
I know what Spring Training is all about – get the starters a few innings worth of work and then bring in the non-roster guys to finish the game.  Since I arrived at the stadium pretty early in the morning, my plan was to leave once the starters were pulled from the game, which ended up being in the 6th inning or so. 
My notes:
  1. This was my first chance to see Cameron Maybin play live.  During practice, whether in the field or at the plate, he seems to take the game very seriously.  It’s nice to see that in a young guy that has been tapped as a candidate for the Rookie of the Year award.  He led off the game with a strong double, and eventually scored the team’s first run courtesy of a Jeremy Hermida sacrifice fly.  For the game, Maybin went 1-2, with a double and a run scored.
  2. My new best friend, Dan Uggla, didn’t start off too well in the field as he committed 2 errors at second base early in the game.  The Marlins have made a ton of errors so far in Spring Training(3 in this game, 2 of which went to Uggla) and they need to make changes or the unearned runs will pile up quickly.  Uggla was clearly disappointed, but his offense took him out of his funk when he launched a solo homer over the left field wall during his second at-bat.  He’ll be fine once the season rolls around.  He is a hell of a player and is probably just thinking about it way too hard…
  3. Andrew Miller throws heat.  I was standing no less than 5 feet away from Miller when he was warming up prior to the game.  This guy can bring it – I was standing alongside him and I could clearly hear the ‘pop’ of his pitch hitting the catcher’s mitt 60 feet away from both of us.  Miller pitched well, but I think that the team’s early errors in the field hurt his confidence – you could see him get down a little emotionally after each error occured and subsequent run crossed the plate.  But ever the gentleman, Miller signed autographs 2-3 more times after his departure from the game.
  4. Anibal Sanchez is going to be really, really good.  I’ve always liked watching Anibal pitch.  Most of the Marlins pitchers are enormous in size(see Josh Johnson, Andrew Miller, Chris Volstad, etc.), while Anibal looks a little more normal in stature.  When he was warming up in the bullpen before becoming the 3rd Marlins pitcher for the afternoon, I was watching the movement of his pitches as they cruised towards the catcher.  He looks great, and I expect big things this year from Anibal.

The Marlins lost the game 5-2.  Spring Training win/loss records mean nothing, but the team certainly has some work cut out for themselves if they want to start strong.  Errors need to stop – period.  The pitching staff will be fine as they have young arms that look fresh and ready for a 162-game season.

I’m sure I’ll hit a few more games before Opening Day comes around.  See you at the ballpark!!!!!

Now Batting, Center Fielder, Cameron Maybin

Now Batting, Center Fielder, Cameron Maybin

The guys taking in the game from the dugout

The guys taking in the game from the dugout

Andrew Miller reaching back before firing it home

Andrew Miller reaching back before firing it home

Dan Uggla prepares to launch one over the left field wall

Dan Uggla prepares to launch one over the left field wall

Andrew Miller talks to the media after his start

Andrew Miller talks to the media after his start

Spring Training – Marlins vs. Orioles – Helmet Update

My quest continues to complete the Marlins helmet I started a few weeks ago.  Prior to the game I had 19 autographs on the helmet.  I made this project a bigger priority as I knew that the crowd was relatively small and most of the guys on the team bus were guys that I needed to add.

Now the signature count on the helmet stands at 28 players and coaches.

Here are the guys I added :  Andrew Miller, Dallas McPherson, Robert Andino, Fredi Gonzalez, Jay Gibbons, Kyle Skipworth, Mike Rabello, Matt Dominguez, and Brett Hayes.

And now, an updated look…  I don’t know how I am going to be able to add the 10-15 more that I still need!! 

helmet-1

helmet-2

helmet-3

Spring Training – Marlins vs. Orioles – The Autographs

I scored quite a few autographs before and during the game yesterday.  I’m glad that I got there early as the players starting arriving around 9AM.  Only about 7-8 guys drove themselves and I scored most of my pre-game autographs from them.  The team bus came around 945, and they park in a private section near the entrance but none of those guys came back to the 10-12 of us that were waiting for them.

Before the game, in the parking lot near the visiting team’s entrance I got the following guys to sign for me:  Andrew Miller, Dan Uggla, Robert Andino, Jeff Conine, and Anibal Sanchez.  The guys that were also there but I missed were Cameron Maybin, Jeremy Hermida, and Cody Ross.

Once the gates opened up at 11AM, I found a comfortable spot along the left field fence and hung out a bit while watching the pre-game action.  The O’s were taking BP and working in the field.  A bunch of them signed, but I had nothing to get their signatures on.  I was able to snag a foul ball hit by one of the Orioles non-roster guys though.  That was pretty cool – my first ever game used ball from an actual game I attended!!

During the pre-game and even between innings I was able to grab more Marlins autographs.  Jay Gibbons, Dallas McPherson, Mike Rabello, Kyle Skipworth, Brett Hayes, Fredi Gonzalez, and Matt Doniguez all signed for me.

Here are some of the better autographs that I scored: 

All-Star Stud, Dan Uggla

All-Star Stud, Dan Uggla

Mr. Marlin - Jeff Conine

Mr. Marlin - Jeff Conine

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Spring Training Game – Marlins vs. Orioles – The Pre-Game

I made the 20 minute drive to Ft. Lauderdale Stadium yesterday to watch my favorite team in some Spring Training action.  It started out to be a pretty cool and breezy day, but with the sun out and no clouds come gametime, it was pretty damn hot by 1PM.  Now I have a pretty bad sunburn to take care of because of it…

I got to the stadium around 8:30 in the morning hoping to catch the players as they arrived for the game.  Since I had little to no interest in any of the current Orioles, I made my way to the visiting team’s entrance.  There were 4-5 other people there around that time as well and the crowd never got beyond 12 people prior to the gates opening.  I was hoping to get some autographs before the stadium opened and I thought that most of the guys would drive themselves to the ballpark versus taking the team bus since many of them probably live in the Ft. Lauderdale area.  I will post about my autograph successes shortly…

I bought a general admission ticket for $10 and basically stood along the fence that keeps the field on one side and the fans on the other.  I moved around a bit, but I wanted to be close to the action.  This spot was great for pictures, and I took advantage.  The only disappointment about my view was that the crowd around the batting cages were too large for me to get any ‘clean’ shots of the guys taking their swings.  It was cool to watch BP though and this was my first experience doing so.

Here are some of the pics: 

Synchronized Stretching???

Synchronized Stretching???

Bo Porter hitting to the outfielders

Bo Porter hitting to the outfielders

Andrew Miller warming up prior to his start

Andrew Miller warming up prior to his start

Dan Uggla, Cody Ross, and Gaby Sanchez take a break...

Dan Uggla, Cody Ross, and Gaby Sanchez take a break...

‘The 40/40 Club’ – 1980’s – Card #26

‘The 40/40 Club’ – 1980’s – Card #26

Darryl Strawberry – 1983 Topps Traded

Being the 1st pick in the 1st round of the major league baseball draft immediately puts pressure on a player to become an instant impact.  That’s exactly what Darryl Strawberry was able to do during his debut season with the New York Mets in 1983.  In that season, ‘Straw’ won the Rookie of the Year award while hitting .257 and crushed 26 homers, driving in 74 RBI, and stealing 19 bases. 

Although Darryl was never a contact hitter that would threaten to hit .300 per season, his offensive skills of power hitting and base stealing more than made up for it.  ‘Straw’ had the ability to drive the ball deep with ease.  He blasted 25+ home runs in his first 9 seasons in the major leagues.  And on the base paths he was able to make things happen as he stole 15 or more bases in 7 of his first 9 seasons.

Because of his playing time in New York and then Los Angeles, Darryl Strawberry got quite a bit of media attnetion – both good and bad.  A 8-time All-star selection, Strawberry was a crowd favorite.  He also finished in the Top 9 for the MVP award 4 times during his career. 

Strawberry’s career took a quick turn for the worse during the 1992 season.  Injuries took a toll on his body and he was no longer the premier player that he was just a few short seasons prior.  Over the next 8 seasons, Darryl only managed to play in 100 games in 1 season.  His next highest total was just 63 games.  The guy that was once considered to be a threat to Hank Aaron’s home run title was now struggling to compete and play in the big leagues.

Darryl found himself to be on some incredible teams during his career.  He won 3 World Series titles – 1 with the Mets in 1986 and 2 with the New York Yankees in 1996 and then again in 1999.  Although Strawberry struggled through most of his playoff match-ups he did fare well and has 3 championship rings to show for his efforts.

straw