My Spring Training Adventure – Part 1

I’ve finally had a chance to sit down and sort through the many (and I mean MANY) photos that I took during last week’s Florida trip. To make writing about it a less daunting task, I think I will break it apart into at least two, maybe even three, entries.

March 11 – Day 1

Since I’d neglected to go online and print out our boarding passes until very late the previous night, my husband and I were near the back of the line for boarding our Southwest flight from Philadelphia to Tampa. While waiting to board our plane, we realized that the Philadelphia Union soccer team was on our flight with us. Whereas MLB teams have their own charter flights, MLS teams (at least this one) fly on Southwest.

By the time hubby and I got on board, there were no seats left next to each other. So I ended up two rows ahead of him, in the middle seat between two of said soccer players. While soccer players are not exactly behemoths, they are by no means small people. The two I was sandwiched between were both over six feet tall.

OK, so this was going to be a bit cozy.

As there was a very large storm system apparently covering the entire eastern seaboard, we had the bumpiest flight I’ve ever experienced. I am not a fan of flying, especially during turbulence, and most especially when my husband is not next to me so I can squeeze the bejeesus out of his knee. Our approach to Tampa was particularly rough, and since I decided it would be inappropriate to grab the knees of total strangers, I made do with clutching the back of the seat in front of me. After we’d landed, we found out there had actually been tornado warnings in the Tampa Bay area just prior to our arrival. Yikes!

Outside-9838.jpgWe picked up our rental car and proceeded without incident to our lodging for the week, the Inn at the Bay Bed & Breakfast in St. Petersburg. If you’re ever staying in the Tampa/St. Pete area, I highly recommend it. After checking in, we went for a walk around downtown St. Pete, checking out the empty Al Lang Field, former spring home of the Tampa Bay Rays. It must still be used for something, as the field was nice and green and obviously still being maintained. We made it back to the Inn just in time, as it then started to rain. Later on, we enjoyed an ice cream dinner at Cold Stone Creamery (we’d had a really late lunch and weren’t very hungry).

March 12 – Day 2

The Phillies had split squad games today, one in Lakeland against the Tigers and one in Port Charlotte against the Rays. We toyed with the idea of driving to Port Charlotte, but the weather forecast was not very promising. Eventually, we decided not to risk driving an hour and a half, paying for parking and tickets, and getting rained out.

Good thing, too, as both games did end up getting rained out. In fact, it rained just about the entire day.

We opted instead to drive to Bright House Field to do our shopping in the team store on a non-game day, to avoid waiting in the long line that usually forms at games. We also stopped for lunch at the renowned Lenny’s, and left very full.

March 13 – Day 3

Our first game action! Yay! The Phillies were hosting the Twins today at Bright House Field. We arrived nice and early to be there when the gates opened. Here are some of the better pictures from the day.

Former Phillie Clay Condrey stops by to say “hi” during batting practice:

condrey.jpg

 

J.C. Romero peeks out of the clubhouse to check things out during the Twins’ BP. Looks like he’s still eating his dessert:

romero.jpg

 

After March, Bright House Field is home to the Phillies single-A affiliate, the Clearwater Threshers. Thresher mascot Phinley was on hand pre-game:

phinley.jpg

 

Catching the ceremonial first pitch from former Phillie, and current announcer, Larry Andersen, was another former Phil, Desi Relaford. It was bubble-blowing time:

relaford.jpg

 

Prior to the game, Shane Victorino tips his cap to the crowd:

victorino.jpg

 

J.A. Happ was on the mound for the Phillies. He pitched four shutout innings, allowing only one hit, and needed just 49 pitches to do so:

happ ST.jpg

 

The Twins countered with Carl Pavano, who threw three shutout innings without allowing a hit:

pavano.jpg

 

There’s just a wee bit of a height difference between Jimmy Rollins and Justin Morneau:

rollins-morneau.jpg

 

The Phils’ resident caveman, oops, I mean Jayson Werth, makes contact:

werth.jpg

 

Jose Contreras pitched a shutout inning in relief. How does he stretch his fingers apart like that?

contreras.jpg

 

Gotta keep this ball away from me! Twins reliever Pat Neshek has one of the oddest looking pitching motions around:

neshek.jpgFinal score: Phillies 5, Twins 4

And finally, what better way to cap off a Phils win on a beautiful day at the ballpark, than with a beautiful sunset
?

sunset.jpg

That’s it for tonight – Part 2 coming soon!

(all photos by me except for Inn at the Bay)

10 Comments

Great pic’s Sue, looks like you maybe made good use of your new lens. J.C.’s pic looks like it was made for a caption, not sure what at this moment, but still, and the sunset pic is awesome. Glad you had fun even with a rain day.

~peter
Outside the Phillies Looking In
http://devilabrit.mlblogs.com

Sue, you really should do professional sports photography. Your pics are always great. And the B&B where you stayed looks absolutely charming – especially after you told me about their delicious breakfasts! I miss St. Pete. Waaaaah!

http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

That sunset looks like two suns going down…cool :O) Glad you had a nice trip…was sad I could not go with you :O( But now I am really getting anxious for the real games to start!

Jenn
http://philliesphollowers.mlblogs.com

Peter – Thanks! The Saturday game was the first day I’d actually used it, so I was still feeling it out. The Romero shot does call out for some kind of caption; hmm, I’ll have to think on that one.
Jane – That would be my dream job! I just have no idea of how to go about doing such a thing. And the Phillies seem to already have plenty of photographers. I miss St. Pete too – wish we were still there!
Jenn – We should do ST together some year; can you imagine the two of us chasing the guys around with our lenses? :-) I didn’t see too much of Chase, though, as he was battling that respiratory thing while we were there.

That was great to read. Thanks for posting. Tell me more about that bed and breakfast, please? Would LOVE to go to Spring Training sometime.

carol

Sue,
Loved the stories, and especially the pictures! They seriously look professional!
Elizabeth
http://redsoxgirl46.mlblogs.com

Sue-
You are a great fan and this blog is a fun read. I also have many rants, raves, and random thoughts. Spring Training trips are the best.

Shaun

The Three Bs

http://syaple.mlblogs.com

Carol – If you’re ever in St. Pete, I would definitely recomment the Inn at the Bay. It is withing walking distance of the waterfront, the Pier, and downtown shops and restaurants. And they have the most amazingly delicious breakfasts!
Elizabeth – Thanks! I’m trying to sort through the pics from the next two games, hopefully I’ll have Part 2 up Monday.
Shaun – Thanks for stopping by! I’ll have to check out your random thoughts too.

I hope Jayson cuts all that hair off before opening day. It looks terrible. The Bed and Breakfast looks amazing. I’m glad you are having a good time. It was nice to see your video on Jane’s blog.
http://catlovesthedodgers.mlblogs.com

Sue,
Very well done Sue! love the stories, the B&B and your wonderful pictures especially that sunset.
I always carry dramamine just in case I ran into very bad turbulence.
Emma
http://crzblue.mlblogs.com

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