Sights & Stories From Today’s Spring Training Action Between The Marlins & Cardinals
Today was a fantastic day for baseball. It was sunny, but not too hot. And there was just enough of a breeze out to keep it from feeling too humid.
I got to the stadium early this morning – around 9AM. With only one day to make the trip to Spring Training, I wanted to take advantage of the full day and spend as much time at the ballpark as I could.
Since the game was not scheduled to start until 1:05, I had plenty of time to walk around and check out what was going on at all of the Marlins fields that makes up half of the Roger Dean Stadium complex.
The minor leaguers were out in full force, with at least 80 of them out and about. And the big leaguers were present as well – on the main practice field. After going through a few stretching and running drills, the major league squad split up with the offensive players going to the main stadium for practice and BP and the pitchers going to the side bullpen for their pitching session.
At the pitching session, it was a rotation of four guys throwing at the same time – and Jose Fernandez was in the bunch. He was closest to the fence, and I literally had a front row seat as he threw 60-80 pitches. The fence at this area of the field is extremely high, and unfortunately my pictures came out awful.
When he was done, the group that assembled (about 10 of us) asked if he would sign but he said he had to go do some running. He did, however, open up the gate between the players and the fans and shove five balls he used during his session through to us. I was lucky enough to grab one!!
That is a ball that was used by the reigning NL ROY – Pretty cool!!!
Instead of standing around and wait to see if he was going to return and sign for us, I opted to head towards the main stadium to see if I could get anything going there. The main stadium is not open to the public for practice or BP, but I have learned where to stand as the players have to walk by where I was to get from the stadium to the clubhouse.
I saw almost everyone – Salty, Lucas, Solano, Redmond, Mathis, Hechavarria, Yelich, Ozuna, and then my main man walked through the outfield wall and headed right towards me!!!
Giancarlo Stanton!!! He was very nice – I asked if he could sign for me as I was the only one around and he waved me over. He quickly grabbed my pen and signed my ball. I thanked him for taking the time to do that for me and I wished him well and good luck during the 2014 baseball season.
Here is the signed ball!!!
I may have missed Fernandez, but I got the guy I was truly seeking – and the auto is crisp and clean!!
After that, it was game time.
Henderson Alvarez was on the hill for the Marlins.
And Adam Wainwright was on the mound for the Cardinals. My picture of him came out way too blurry so I will skip posting it here.
But, here is a picture of the new 3B coach for the Marlins – Mr. Brett Butler:
I was able to walk around to all areas of the park – so I snapped pics throughout the game.
Here are a few more:
My man Stanton at the plate, with Molina catching:
The day was fun, lots of fun. I only get to do this once a year, and I really enjoyed myself today.
I’m a little sun-burned, and a little tired. But, it was a great day – I got to see my boy Giancarlo Stanton up close. I got to watch Jose Fernandez pitch. And the Marlins beat the Cardinals 7-3.
The only thing that would have made this better would have been if my wife and kids could have joined me but it is not Spring Break yet and I don’t think pulling them out of school for the day to go to Spring Training would go over too well…
Oh, I also saw Andre Dawson, but it was just for a minute. He was moving from field to field during practice and I waved to him. He waved back, but I am not certain that he recognized me… Otherwise, I know he would have come over to say ‘Hello’.. LOL
I am so ready for the season to get underway – today was a great kickstart to the 2014 season for me!!!
Thanks for reading.