Tag Archives: spring training

Sights & Stories From Today’s Spring Training Action Between The Marlins & Cardinals – MUST READ!

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!!

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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!!!

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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.

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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:

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I was able to walk around to all areas of the park – so I snapped pics throughout the game.

Here are a few more:

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Yadier Molina

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My man Stanton at the plate, with Molina catching:

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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.

Tomorrow, I Go To Jupiter!!!

Tomorrow, I Go To Jupiter!!!

Coincidentally, the anniversary of my employment at my workplace is during Spring Training.  And in my world, if you do not use your vacation time when your anniversary hits, your hours are wiped out and the clock resets itself.

In a nutshell, this means that I have 8 hours of PTO remaining that must be used by the middle of next week.  Normally, I save a day or two just in case one of my kids gets sick and I need to take a day or two off, but it looks like I am clear now as everyone is feeling great.

So, what is a guy to do?

I’ll tell you what this guy is gonna do.  He’s going to Jupiter, Florida to catch himself a full-days worth of Miami Marlins Spring Training action.  The fish play the Cardinals at 1:00 so I will catch a few innings of the game.  But, I will get there much earlier than that.  I love the Jupiter complex and enjoy walking around taking in all of the action.

Hopefully I will be able to see some of the players on the side fields go through their drills before the game starts.  And since not all of the guys will be playing in the game, I am hoping to be able to see some of the ‘main roster’ players during their workouts.

It should be fun.  It should be hot.  And I cannot wait.

And if I am able to snap some good pictures while there, I will surely share them with you when I return.

Happy Friday to me!!

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Sights & Sounds From Today’s Marlins/Mets Spring Training Affair

Sights & Sounds From Today’s Marlins/Mets Spring Training Affair

Well, as you may or may not know, I headed out to Jupiter today to catch a little Spring Training action between my Miami Marlins and the New York Mets.

The Mets don’t really have anyone on their roster that I am interested in seeing play, and the team that they threw on the field had several guys on it that I had not heard of.

But, as for my Marlins, this was going to be my first time seeing the ‘Miami’ version live in person.  And even with Logan Morrison, Giancarlo Stanton, Hanley Ramirez, and Gaby Sanchez out of the line-up, I was happy to get to see ‘my team’.

Here is a great picture that my wife took of the new sign that leads you into the ballpark:

And once inside, here is a not shot of my new skipper Ozzie Guillen.

He looks pretty relaxed, huh?   I love the atmosphere of Spring Training, and by the looks of it, so does Ozzie.

Team ace Josh Johnson was on the hill today, and thanks to my wife’s new ‘zoom’ lens, we got some great shots of JJ in action during the first inning:

And even though he gave up a run and three hits in the first inning, the ball was zipping nicely.

And I finally got to see my new lead-off hitter in action too – Jose Reyes!

Here are some great shots of Jose leading off the bottom half of the 1st inning:

While he did not manage to connect for a hit, I was very happy to bring home some quality images!!!

And then the rain started…

And it rained…

And it rained some more….

And then it really, really started coming down in buckets…

And after waiting around for 57 minutes, we left.

The day was exhausting due to the downfall of all of that rain.  And if you have ever been to Roger Dean Stadium, there is very little cover.  And there is nothing worse than hiding from the rain in a cramped stadium than doing it with soggy Mets fans – trust me on that one!!!

So, my Spring Training experience in 2012 lasted less than 40 pitches.  We actually spent more time in the car making the round-trip than what we spent in the stadium.

But, every cloud has a Silver lining.  And this journey was no exception.

Right before we entered the stadium, I was showing my wife the player clubhouse, parking lot, and the side fields.

All of a sudden, I ran into someone I know.

You may know him too:

Yep, I caught up with Andre Dawson yet again.  It was great to see him, but he was definitely in a rush to get out of there quickly.  He signed my baseball and one for a kid that ran up to him as I was chatting with him.  He was not really in the mood to chat, but that is not something that I will take personally…

So, another great autograph for the collection – too bad there is no inscription though…  Not really too sure what I am going to do with the ball since I only need inscribed ones for the collection these days…  We’ll see.

Overall, the day was fun-filled as my wife and I enjoyed the day together sans kids.  And while we may not have gotten to soak in the Florida rays that we wanted to this afternoon, we did get soaked and we were in Florida – and that has to count for something.

Thanks for reading.  And thanks again Andre!!!

I’m Headed To Jupiter Today To Catch A Little Miami Marlins Spring Training Action!!!

I’m Headed To Jupiter Today To Catch A Little Miami Marlins Spring Training Action!!!

I’ve got the next few days off of work as another anniversary comes to a close.  So, with a few days to burn prior to the end of the month, I scooped up tickets for the Marlins/Mets Spring Training game this afternoon.

My wife will be coming with me, and she is a much better photographer than I am so if she snaps some good pics, I will be certain to share them with you all later tonight.

It’ll be nice to catch an afternoon game – the weather is supposed to be beautiful and Josh Johnson is on the mound.

I’m really looking forward to this one.  Story and pics to be posted at ’30-YOC’ later tonight.

Have a great day.  GO FISH!!!!

Pandemonium Erupts Throughout Spring Training Ballparks And I LOVE IT!!!!

Pandemonium Erupts Throughout Spring Training Ballparks And I LOVE IT!!!!

’30-YOC Top Ten Lists’ – ‘Top Ten Players I Would Like To Watch Take Batting Practice’

’30-YOC Top Ten Lists’ – ‘Top Ten Players I Would Like To Watch Take Batting Practice’

I love the tradition of batting practice.  I love that guys still feel like they have to get into the cage to sharpen their skills.

And while I have seen my share of BP during Spring Training, I have never had the chance to witness BP at a major league park.

So, for this week’s ‘Top Ten List’, I will offer up to you the top ten players that I would like to watch take BP today.

ANd the list is not going to be composed of just home run hitters, although there are many on here that are.  My list is of the guys that I think are becoming of have become masters of hitting – and I would like to watch them do their thing.

Honorable Mention – Josh Hamilton, Robinson Cano, Ryan Howard, David Ortiz, Jose Bautista, Brian McCann, Carlos Pena, Adrian Gonzalez, and Adam Dunn.

And now onto the ‘Top Ten’:

10 – Josh Johnson.  I know that he is a pitcher, but he is a powerful hitter too.  I have seen him launch some longballs in live games, he has to be fun to watch taking 60 mile per hour pitches in BP.

9 – Evan Longoria.  He packs a mighty swing, and he can hit to all areas of the park.

8 – Ichiro.  The greatest hitter in the game since Tony Gwynn.  I am thinking that he can point to a location and hit the ball to that spot pretty well; a la Babe Ruth!

7 – Hanley Ramirez.  While slumping horribly this season, I know that he hits the ball very hard when he connects.

6 – Jayson Heyward.  If what I have heard is true, nobody hits the ball harder than this young guy.  And when Hank Aaron says that, I pay attention!!

5 – Ryan Braun.  Possibly the most underrated hitter in the sport, Braun is rapidly becoming one of the best hitters in the National League.  And he is a threat for 30 home runs every year too…

4 – Alex Rodriguez.  I’d love to see what he is able to do at this stage of his career.  He still puts up solid numbers, just not the numbers he once did.  I’d also love to see him in the HR Derby – I think he still has what it takes to contend for the title.

3 – Albert Pujols.  I’ll take the Pujols with a healthy arm, not a broken one please.  I would love to see this guy taking BP – can you imagine the bombs he launches when he’s getting 60 mile per hour balls tossed to him?  WHOA!!

2 – Mike Stanton.  I watch a lot of Marlins games and this guys crushes the ball.  He strikes out a lot too, but when he makes solid contact, the ball sails.  He is a future Home Run league leader – trust me!

1 – Prince Fielder.  I consider Prince to be the greatest showman in the sport today.  He has a lot of personality, and his performance backs up his persona.  And for a big guy, he always hovers around that .300 mark too, which is very impressive!!

And there you have it!!!

Did I miss any one?  Let me hear it!!

Oh, and before I forget – There will be no ‘Top Ten List’ next Sunday night.  It is a very special day at ’30-YOC’ so the ‘Top Ten’ will be skipping a week.  Make sure you stop by to see why….

‘On The Road With psuGator02′ – Braves/Mets/Cardinals/Marlins – March 26, 2011

‘On The Road With psuGator02′ – Braves/Mets/Cardinals/Marlins – March 26, 2011

Braves at Mets
10:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
Port Saint Lucie, Fla.
Saturday, March 26

Arrived at 10:45 and had to wait only 15 minutes for Ralph Kiner. He wasn’t having any part of it this time.

Ralph Kiner: 0/1 “I can’t do that, 0/1 “I can’t do that. I pleaded, “Ralph, it will only take two minutes.” Said Ralph: “Yeah, but if I do it for you then I’ll be signing for 20 minutes.”

I came for him and Carlos Beltran, who was supposed to be appearing in a minor-league game on the backfields. This place is such a fortress that even the gate to the minor-league fields was locked. I didn’t understand why so I begged a few security guards to let me in. That idea failed so I walked into the Mets’ administrative offices. The secretary referred me to a lackey wearing a Mets’ collared shirt who said he sympathized with me, but that no one was allowed into the backfields after 11 a.m. on home games.

I had left my bag in the car, which was probably a bad idea because while I was in the Mets’ office Kiner walked by me. I doubt he would’ve done it anyway because he seemed grumpy. I was just about to head back to Jupiter when I got a text that Sandy Koufax was in camp. Of course, I got a little excited but it wasn’t long before I found out that I had missed him by 30 minutes. The security guard who told me this also said that Koufax stopped signing two weeks ago. I asked him what prompted this. According to the guard, Koufax asked a fan what he planned on doing with the ball he had just signed. “Sell it,” the fan told Koufax. That must have pissed off Koufax, who has since shut it down.

Cardinals-Marlins
Jupiter, Fla.
1-3:30 p.m.

I chose not to go into the game, instead waiting outside the Cardinals’ parking lot.

Dennis Martinez: 3/3
Bob Gibson: 0/1 despite just two graphers
Mike Aldrete: would’ve stopped but didn’t really need him