On Saturday I headed a bit north to Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota where the Red Sox were taking on the Orioles in a split squad game. I arrived at 9 AM to capture the whole experience; so today I will take a break from the Anatomy of a Rivalry and share with you a great day at the ball park!
The Orioles are in their second year at Ed Smith Stadium although they have enjoyed a long time relationship with the city of Sarasota and upon my arrival I knew immediately I was in for an interesting day. I stepped out of my car and took about 100 steps up the street where I met this man,
His name is Romeo and in case you were having trouble discerning this, he is an Oriole fan, a big Oriole fan, no a very big Oriole fan! And yes those tattoos are Oriole related!
I made my way inside the park and was among the first persons present.
The Orioles were getting loose and I watched them take an infield. It has been at least a bazillion years since I watched a pro team take a pregame infield and I stood behind Orioles coach Terry Crowley and took it all in!
Terry Crowley parked for infield practice.
During the infield, BP pitchers began preparations for their days work.
Pearls chosen, they were ready to go and began to warm up.
Loosening up for the days work.
As the Orioles were finishing up their BP, the Red Sox made their way onto the field to stretch.
Red Sox catcher Ryan Larvarnway stretches his way loose.
And for a little while they hopped, skipped, jumped and danced their way up and down the third baseline.
Then a little throwing,
Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez practicing his pitching windup.
Then it was time for a few swings in the turtle.
Kevin Youkilis prepares to take his cuts in the cage.
After BP came the “how many times can you hit the ball in the air contest”.
Won by “Yooooouk”!
And then of course there were the fans and autograph seekers looking to get close to their boys of summer.
Red Sox minor leaguer Nate Spears signs for fans before the game. Nate played at Pawtucket last year and is hoping to be with the team when they head north. He plays every position but pitcher and catcher which could make him a valuable commodity. He hit a three run homer in the game accounting for all of the Sox runs in a 3-3 tie.
Red Sox outfielder Darnell McDonald, bedecked in St. Patrick’s Day green, obliges the fans with an autograph.
My three favorite things of the day:
Kevin Youkilis responding to a man of about 35 years old, who asked for an autograph. Here’s how it went;
35-year-old knucklehead, “Hey Youkilis sign my glove.” Youk, “I might if you ask me nice”, Knucklehead, “Will you please sign my glove.” Youk, as he was signing, “You have to set an example for the little kids on how to talk to people especially when you’re asking for something.”
People will never cease to amaze me.
The little kid with the red sunglasses on top of his cap (fourth from left) is nine and he knows the entire story of Ted Williams’ 502 foot home run and the red seat at Fenway Park. Details and all!
And the highlight of the day was Daniel Nava painstakingly finding a way to wave to a man in the stands who is suffering from terminal brain cancer. I love that he wears the number 67! What a year!
Oh and one more thing…..
I love the patch!
And so it is on this day in Fenway Park history, March 19, 2012.