I’m doing a Top Ten list because there is no way to put into a blog post how much fun we had or all the things we did. I’m not putting “finally meeting friends I’ve gotten so close to” in this list because throughout my time there, I kept forgetting that we hadn’t known each other forever. Some friendships may begin in the most unlikely of ways, but they’re clearly meant to be. Jamie, Kevin, and I were meant to be friends! The list below hits the highlights (not in any order…they were all too awesome to rank)!
10. Playing Peek-a-Boo
While we were walking around City of Palms Park, the practice fields fences were covered with green tarp-like stuff, so you couldn’t watch practice. We found random tears in the covering, and peeped through. We saw Dice-K throw a side session, and we saw fielding and batting practice. We may have looked like idiots, but we didn’t mind! 9. The selectively knowledgeable Pink-Hats behind us
These two chicks behind us at the Twins parks were rather knowledgeable of all things Twins, yet they didn’t know the Red Sox are in the American League. They spent most of the game out smoking and the rest of the time yelling propositions to the Twins players they found particularly hot. They even photobombed us! 8. The birthday boy’s handstand
At one point a man a few rows in front of us leaned over the railing to catch an impossible to catch, foul grounder headed his way. He leaned so far that he fell, head first onto the field. He missed the ball, and quickly scrambled back into the stands. Van Every (who was an ex-Sox player there playing with the Pirates but who is now back with the Sox – yea, it’s taken me awhile to finish this post) smilingly tossed the man the ball. Then everyone saw security coming to get him. We all boo’d security and gave the man a standing ovation. As the guards were leading him out, his wife turns to the people behind her and says, “It’s his 60th birthday!” Happy Birthday, Man! You’re our hero!
7. T. C. I love Wally. There is no denying that, and Walter is my favorite professional sports mascot. However, T. C., the Twins bear mascot, was pretty awesome!! He was friendly and kind to us even though we were decked out in Sox gear. He posed for more than one picture with us and didn’t even pretend to be bothered. He was one of the nicest mascots I’ve ever met! (Can you tell how wicked sunburned I am in that picture?!)
6. Hanging with Haggs
Saturday evening, Jamie, Kevin and I went out to eat, and then we went to a sports bar called Shoeless Joe’s. Joe Haggerty (not shoeless) came and met up with us and hung out for far longer than we expected. Haggs is a sports writer for Comcast Sports Network New England, and he covers the Bruins and the Sox. Several weeks before we were planning to go, I tweeted Joe to see if he would be there, and I told him that J, Kev, and I had buying him a drink on our Spring Training agenda. 99% of the sports writers out there following professional teams for a big name network wouldn’t have responded, but Joe said he’d love to go. We were all three pumped, but we also doubted whether it’d really work out. Joe’s not just a man with a sports blog – he’s legit! After a few emails back and forth, I realized he really did want to hang out with us. After 2 hours hanging with Haggs at Shoeless Joe’s, the first thing the three of us said as soon as we got back in the car (and pretty much simultaneously) was: “Wow! What a nice man!” Haggs obliged us with some behind the scenes/locker room stories that the common fan isn’t privy to, but he also was interested in letting us talk. He wanted to know where we were from, how we all met, and how we all became Sox fans (we were a Missourian, a Floridian and a Mississippian – good question! :)). Yes, Joe Haggerty is a great sports writer (and if you’re a Sox or Bruins fan, you should be reading his stuff!), he’s knowledgeable, insightful, and well written. But, beyond that, Haggs was one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. So, thanks, Joe, for hanging out with us. You made our trip!
5. 24/7 DD – or not! The hotel where we stayed was within walking distance of the Red Sox facilities, so it goes without saying there was also a Dunkin Donuts within walking distance. In fact, it practically shared a parking lot with our hotel. Around 2 am, we decide we’re hungry for Dunkin Donuts (notorious for being open 24/7). We walked to the front door, but it was locked. We looked around, examined the 24/7 sign, loudly joked around about our luck, then walked back to the hotel. Jamie asked the clerk at the desk in the hotel why it wasn’t open. The clerk said (without even looking up): “Knock on the drive-thru window, and you’ll get your donuts.” So, we turned right back around and walked back to the DD. We went to the drive-thru window, knocked loudly, banged our head (ok…my head) against the window, but we were given no donuts. After standing around for awhile in dismay, we gave up. As we were walking back, the DD worker was out smoking a cigarette. He waved, nodded, and pretended we weren’t just at his window pounding and begging for donuts!!
4. Beached Boat
We were driving back from Sanibel Island, and Jamie mentioned that it’s really deceivingly shallow, so most boats don’t ride around the area near the sea. She also pointed to one of the shallow areas where we could see the sand through the water. At that time, Kevin and I pointed out that we saw a boat in the area, and it was going really fast. We watched it as it moved closer to the shallow area. The boat was going full speed until it came to an automatic halt and began shooting sand straight up in the air. Jamie, Kevin and I found it beyond comical, and we still crack up over it.
3. The Youk/Pedey Dance
When we were at Hammond Park, we had seats right behind the visitor’s dugout on the first base side. Our view was unlike one I’d ever had at a Sox game, so it didn’t take me long to realize something was up with Pedey and Youk when they played the field. As the pitcher prepares to throw his pitch, Pedroia and Youk both step forward, step to the left, then jump…in synced perfection. It was mesmerizing for me. Not on a single pitch did they get out of sync; it was the most uncanny thing I’ve ever seen!
2. Jerry Remy
As we were leaving City of Palms Park, Jamie does a mini-squeal and grabs my arm. She simply says (in almost a whisper): “Remy!” She handed me her camera, and waited for him to stop talking with people before asking him for a photo. Crazy drunk guys tried to sneak into the photo, but I scolded them and got a great picture! Then I asked him to take a picture with me, and he obliged. Jamie took the picture. I had asked Kevin to take it, and he looked at me like I was threatening to kill his puppy and said, “Please don’t ask me to do that.” It was both hilarious and adorably sweet. Only Kev would say not to ask instead of just saying no. :) 1. Game Ending Triple Play
I had never seen a triple play – not live or on tv. It was the top of the 9th at City of Palms Park; the Sox were up and three outs away from making out Spring Training debut a positive one with a win. The batter hits a line drive that was caught by the short stop; he quickly tossed the ball to the second baseman for the double play. The second baseman shot the ball to first, but he over shot the first baseman. As I was standing there, I couldn’t believe the kid just threw the ball into the dugout. The runner left first assuming the ball had been thrown into the dugout. Then out of the blue, the ball came flying back onto the field. The catcher had backed up the play, and he shot the ball to 2nd. The second baseman tagged out the runner completing a 6-4-1-4 triple play. I stood there mouth agape! When I was finally able to utter words, I turned to Kevin and said, “Did what I think just happened just happen?!” He informed me that it had. I then added, “DID THAT JUST HAPPEN?!” He simply nodded (he too was taking it all in). Then Jamie looks at us and says, “Unbelievable!” None of us had seen it before, and we very well may never see it again. For three lovers of the game of baseball, it was a perfect ending to our first spring training game! If you want to see more pictures from Spring Training, check them out here: