"Aimee's Red Sox Spring Training Report: March 2011."
I was lucky enough to see a Red Sox game down at the City of Palms Park in Ft. Myers, Florida this past Sunday: March 20th, 2011, and I thought I'd write a fan post, and report about the game, the park, the team, and the spectator climate.
The park holds only about 8,000 people- so getting tickets to a spring training game is almost as big an ordeal as it is to get tickets to a Fenway game. I waited online in a "virtual waiting room" (a chart with boxes where your 'little man' figure walks to the left until it is your turn, and every twenty minutes of waiting you have to either enter a code or confirm from the sounds emmiting from your computer announcing it's your turn (turn up the volume!) and click that you are still waiting in order to continue before it kicks you out of line.) It's stressful...but eventually, I was successful and we scored tickets to the March 20th game against the St. Louis Cardinals- my husband's team.
So Tom and I arrived to see our respective teams face off in what was the first spring training game either one of us had ever seen on Sunday- to a sold out crowd. We sat with the above view off of right field with great views of the players and the whole game in such an intimate park. I regret that there was no jumbo-tron like screen to see replays like they have at the bigger parks (and even AAA teams) but it did make me pay attention better than I have in years at the umpire calls and the number of outs during each half of the inning. The game continued 0-0 into the sixth inning, when I decided to go find my friend Melissa, who was sitting in a nearby section. (See photo left). While we stood in line for ice cream and pretzels the Cardinals scored two runs...and then eight more. When I returned to my seat the score was 10-0 Cardinals. I was perturbed slightly. Even more annoying were the random Yankee's fans (in front of and to the left of where I was sitting) who were heckling both Cardinal's and Red Sox fans throughout the whole game. (And people wonder why no one can stand Yankees fans.) Although, my frustration was paid off in the many giggles and laughs I had at the quartet of six-year-olds who decided after ineffectively raising a "Let's-Go-Red-Sox!" chant a few dozen times, to try out the iconic staple, "Yankee's Suck!" Which was enthusiastically applauded by both Cardinal's fans and Red Sox fans. (Although- being a teacher- I should be appaled at the useage of such bad sportsmanship at such an early age, it did take the edge off of the game my team was losing badly, but I'll just have to be a role model of better behaviors instead.) Even though we were losing, and we eventually did (10-3), I really enjoyed seeing Marco Scutaro play, (I didn't see him play much of last season) and I enjoyed the crowd's rendition of the classic "MARCO! POLO!" turn into "MARCO!!! SCUUUUTARO!!!" across the stadium.
All in all it was a fun day. I got to walk up to the Cardinal's dugout, to get the close up shot (see photo left) for my sister in law (also a Cardinal's fan) and I could see Varitek catching for legendary Pujols, (if only he would go the same way as Crawford! If you can't beat 'em, hire them!) and Terry Francona lounging but analyzing, and all of my favorite players most of which already sit on the rotation. (A rotation which heading into the Rays game and the Phillies on Friday might change the five-game slump.) I agree with Jared Stegall (Over the Monster-A Red Sox Blog) that this lineup is starting to look like a opening day lineup:
1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF 2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B 3. Carl Crawford, LF 4. Kevin Youkilis, 3B 5. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B 6. David Ortiz, DH 7. J.D. Drew, RF 8. Jason Varitek, C 9. Marco Scutaro, SS
...A list of champions that might need some reshuffling to create the tour de force needed to, um, actually win some games. There's so much hype about that lineup rotation- like every other Red Sox fan out there, I'm pretty proud of it- but nervously hopeful and seasoned enough to know- you don't leave until the game ends..and for a Red Sox fan...that better be in October...
Over and out.