We know its spring (or at least its getting close) when the boys of summer start stretching their legs in the warm winter sun of Florida. I grew up in Maryland when we only had one baseball team and that was the Baltimore Orioles. The first professional baseball game I ever attended was at the old Memorial Stadium the Angels at Orioles. The Orioles Hall of Famer Eddy Murry hit a home run and Hall of Famer Cal Ripkin was still playing shortstop. I even remember that the manager at the time had planted a tomato garden near the bullpen. I say all this because Oriole baseball played a big part in my life growing up and it was a thrill for me to take in a spring training game in sunny Sarasota.
The best part of spring training is getting a closer view of the pros in the smaller suncoast stadiums. The 8,500 seat stadium was pretty packed, probably because the give away was a “Birdland” Hawaiian shirt. We got there late so we didn’t get the shirts. We did, however, enjoy a day in the sun setting right behind the dugout. Amanda, because the home team is from Baltimore, was able to get a crab cake sandwich. I had a classic dog and Cracker Jacks.
The O’s had the game in hand from the outset. We were a bit worried as the Florida Marlins staged a rally near the 7th. The end result was a big win for the O-R-I-O-L-E-S. I look forward to exploring the other ballparks and watching more of the big league players in these small stadiums.