Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring Training Trip 2010 - Day 3

Read on to see why I have a picture of Jerry Seinfeld

We start this adventure with a stopover in Port St. Luice at Tradition Field to see a bit of the open workouts (for those players not attending the game in Jupiter) before heading down to Jupiter myself. What I saw was a lot of fans with the look of expression when pondering this question and answer:
Fan 1: What time do they open the gates for open workouts?
Fan 2: They open at 9:30am.
Fan 1: But it's 9:48am and the gates aren't open yet.
Fan 2: Ya, I know.
After 30 minutes of that, I gave up and went to the team store to do my shopping, and came back to find the crowd had moved from one locked gate in the parking lot to the next locked gate outside the fields. Goodbye Port St. Lucie, I'll see ya on Tuesday.

Game 4 - Mets vs Cardinals @ Jupiter
On to Jupiter and the Sea of Red. Those Cardinals fans are plentiful in Florida this time of year. And all wearing their universal colors - red and white. In Jupiter, they let you in during the visiting team's BP session. There, we go to see that the Mets left their biggest names at home and went with a bit of a scrubs lineup. But the kids are sometimes better at signing autographs for the fans. The two that did did so from inside their dugout and the fans all crushed along that wall trying to get what they could get. I tried to get in but I just refuse to push my way around or contort my body to get into a good position (I almost blew out my knees, ankle, and back doing that Thursday night).

BP ends, players go away to their hiding place to get ready for the game, and fans start coming into their seats, which pushes autograph seekers (kids, dealers and collectors, and the innocent fans) out. On a good day, we're not left with any assholes and it's not so bad. Today, the only asshole was the usher clearing the entire front row for a family of 6. We stayed and swarmed around the family. They didn't mind. Thursday night, some people had said, the Mets players were "forced" to all come over, for as many that did (about 8 in total) and sign. Today, it was nothing like that. Only those that wanted to come and sign did so. Nick Evans is a good kid for that. Razor Shines is not, because he said what we were all thinking - if he signed for the 2 kids, he'd have to sign on the entire wall, so he wouldn't sign for the 2 kids. I think he did end up signing for them and maybe 2 or 3 others.

In Jupiter, it's easy to get autographs from either the Marlins or the Cardinals opponents from the LF bullpen. It's also crowded when a big name team like the Mets or Cardinals is in town. Today there was both. Of course, who in the bullpen do you want to get an autograph from? Relief pitchers and extra catchers, especially for the Mets on the road, are not at the top of my autograph list. But catching candidate Chris Coste was nice enough to sign in between innings after his playing day was done. I could have had more if I chose to, but I didn't choose to.

For the game, John Maine started and went 4 innings. There was no radar gun display on the scoreboard, so I couldn't see exactly how the speed was (unlike watching Stephen Strasburg in Viera last night). But at times, it didn't look like he had his fastball. He got hit up a bit early in the game, but it wasn't a terrible outing. I think he has a lot of work to do, and maybe an extended Spring Training would do him well after all of the time NOT pitching in the past 2 seasons. I had heard something earlier in the Spring about his lack of innings since 2007 being a bit of a rust issue now.

Later in the game, Florida opened up their lead, the Mets scrubs mounted a 9th inning comeback, topped off by a shot to Left Centerfield by Ike Davis to tie the game with 2 out after the Mets manufactured 2 runs earlier in the inning. Kiko Calero comes in to pitch the bottom of the 9th and gives up a HR right back, and the Cardinals win.

Backing up to batting practice, we had a real celebrity in the house today. Jerry Seinfeld had his family at the ballpark. They arrived down the third baseline via golf cart, stopping off right in front of where the autograph crowd was standing. They got off, went over by home plate to watch BP, and when the Mets were done, they got a security escort up to probably a private suite to watch the game. He politely declined a few autograph requests.

But I got this picture as he was walking back.

And in honor of, I give you today's Manuel's Musing.
As soon as the game ended, all of the beat writers hoped onto the field from the standing room area by the Mets bullpen in LF. They were there to intercept Jerry Manuel on his way back to the Mets clubhouse in LF. This is where the Jerry Manuel quotes in Spring Training come from some days.

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