Let's start by saying that it was a beautiful day for baseball. This is what I look for when I come to Florida (and it doesn't usually matter what teams I watch or what stadium I'm in when the weather is like this).
At last night's game, there was a bit of a buzz (helped by ushers) about getting autographs during the morning pre-game workout on the back fields of the Tradition Field complex. "Come at 9:30" is what I heard at least a few times. There were quite a few people there that early. This is the type of drawing power that the Mets have in Spring Training. But they didn't open the practice fields. They were telling us a little after 9am when you come in to the parking lot that they won't open up. It makes sense - it's a day game after a night game, so they won't be working out as early as they normally do. But I got there at about 9:20am hoping to be able to go to the back. No such luck.
So it's hanging out by Gate A and the media entrance. Gary Cohen came back and forth a few times, stopping (or getting stopped) to sign a few of those times. I think that makes 3 for me overall. He's a nice guy.
Around 10:30am the crowd waiting on line to get really swells up (basically, a sellout today). And around 11am there was a bit of a buzz when Ralph Kiner arrived in his parking space, and security set up a line for autographs for him. That was worth leaving the front of the line to wait for about 30 minutes to get his autograph. I wish I could remember what I said to him or what he said back.
- My assessment of Ralph is that he's old. Sorry to say. He talked and wrote very slow. The actual signature is very readable and a very good one. And he still sounds good on air.
Inside the stadium, there was the expectation of getting somewhere between very little to nothing. That's about right. That's why I didn't mind staying outside for Ralph Kiner. During the Marlins BP, their star player Hanley Ramirez spotted a Marlins fan over by the Mets bullpen, and come over to sign a few. He came back a few minutes later to work the line, basically all the way down from the bullpen home plate over to the Mets dugout. Weird to see the visitor player come to the home team fans for a warm reception. So I got his autograph.
For the game, Dillon Gee went 3.1 innings before running out of gas in the 4th. some good relief, some was better than others, and a 4-run 3rd inning gave the Mets the win.
One more game tomorrow in Ft. Lauderdale. Maybe a stop at Mets practice before I head down there.