Off the Beaten Basepaths: Spring Training 2012
It wasn’t easy going to Florida for a Spring Training sojourn because it was up to us to have as much fun as possible on behalf of all our friends who couldn’t go. Our motto was We’re having fun because you can’t. It took us 15 days and we drove almost 2,900 miles down, around, and back, but it was well worth the effort. My buddy, Al, and I saw the Pirates/Blue Jays at McKechnie Field in Bradenton, the Orioles in three different games versus the Pirates, Braves, and Twins respectively at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, and the Tigers/Nationals at Joker Marchant Park in Lakeland. We visited both the Orioles and Braves minor league complexes and watched the University of South Florida defeat Jacksonville University, as well as the St. Leo Lions defeat the Florida Southern College Moccasins. Heck, we even took in a Sarasota 13-14 Babe Ruth game which preceded a wonderful home-cooked meal to which area friends invited us. At one point we had seen 8 games in 7 days and we would have seen 9 games in 8 days had it not rained in Kissimmee the day we went to see the Astros play the Tigers.
Many fans don’t realize that the minor league camps are readily accessible and that the college schedule is in full swing during the major leagues’ spring training. That’s the topic of Episode #2 of Off the Beaten Basepaths, which I hope you enjoy.