Thursday, March 08, 2007

An order of Pujols, some false teeth and a couple of suits

Yet another postcard-quality day for baseball. St. Louis defeated Minnesota 2-1 in a split squad game. Joe Mauer and Johan Santana remained on the west coast, but still got to see Albert the Great and Justin Morneau. A treat, indeed.

Roger Dean Stadium (below), home of St. Louis and Florida, is situated as part of Abacoa, which is like a town within a town in Jupiter, Fla. The surroundings are pretty cool, even if some parts of the stadium lack warmth. After seeing more than my share of sparsely-attended Florida State League games at RDS over the past couple of seasons, it was good to see the stadium filled to near capacity.

Saw two things I still haven't fully processed. When I arrived, I walked past an overweight, mobile-home-living woman getting out of her car. The overweight lady was sporting a quality wifebeater and was bulging out of the bottom of her jean-shorts. As I approached her car, she was bending over to pick something up – trust me, not the best view to start a day. I finally got close enough to see what she was picking up. Apparently as she got out of the car, her false teeth fell out of her mouth and were lying on the grass in the adjacent parking spot, teeth part facing the sky. Unfortunately, I was running late and couldn’t stick around to see what happened next.

I had almost purged that image when, in the third inning, two men wearing full suits and carrying winter overcoats walked into the stadium and down to their box seats. It was 80 degrees. I was hot in shorts. Now, people leave the office and come to the ballpark in suits all the time, but why the winter coats? Did they just fly in for the game? In that case, why didn't they leave the jackets in the car? If they took a cab, where was their luggage? If they stored their luggage, why didn't they store their coats? We made fun of them for an inning. Two innings later, they were gone. They never took their suit jackets off. Maybe they lost a bet.

Minnesota's Tommy Watkins, a favorite of, continues to impress. The utility infielder featured in The Funniest Thing I’ve Ever Seen, made a diving play behind first base to quash a Cardinals' rally. That's three big plays in three days.

Rounding the Bases:

  1. I personally am not a big believer in this whole global warming thing, but maybe it explains the weakness of both team's bats. It's hard to generate much offense when bats are shattering all afternoon. No less then six bats broke – some spectacularly, including one barrel that sheared off at the handle and sailed over the third base dugout, clobbering a couple of fans. I'd consider suing Al Gore.
  1. RDS is an autograph seeker's Mecca. The bullpen benches are so close to the stands that fans carry on conversations with players throughout the game. Great for fans. For players, not so much.
  1. RDS food ranks near the bottom of spring training sites. The hot dogs may be the worst around, the peanuts lack salt and everything was overpriced, even for ballpark cuisine. Two beers and a bag of peanuts: $19.50.

Home: Getting home was no cinch. The quaintness of a stadium tucked into a small community loses some of its appeal when there aren't any officers helping direct the 7,000 or so out of the ballpark. Spent as much time going the first mile as I did going the final 39. That said, it’s still better than working.

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