A spring trip out of the cold is a phenomenal idea. A bit of sun, some warm air and relaxing with nothing to do. In college that was spring break on a beach getting drunk and acting stupid. But as a little kid – or now as a very big kid – Spring Training seems to be the way to do it. Somehow, even growing up in Florida, I never managed to make it to Spring Training until now. What a shame. It was a TON of fun and certainly worth repeating.
The colors of spring were out it full force, the weather was a very welcome change from NYC’s and you can get ridiculously close to the action pretty easily. On Sunday a kid, probably about five years old, there for his very first time managed to snag a ball off the field from batting practice and then get it autographed by Johnny Damon. Not bad for his first time at the ballpark. I actually have no idea how he’ll ever top that one. On the bigger kid front, a woman managed to finally get her Tino Martinez jersey signed by the former first baseman, after what was apparently several years of trying.
Even better was that the players were happy to be interacting with the fans throughout all of this. They signed autographs, joked with folks in the stands and along the fence lines and genuinely appeared to be having a good time doing all of it. The fence at the practice field is even built with a cutout for fans to pass items through for autographs. Very cool indeed.
Our visit this past weekend was apparently a fortuitous choice in timing. We got to see Jorge Posada’s first start of the spring, Andy Pettitte’s first start of the spring and a couple pinch hit appearances from Robinson Cano, freshly back from the World Baseball classic.
The other nice “up close and personal” part of the weekend came from having a 500mm lens on my camera. Sure, I still had camera envy watching the guys down on the field with their very long, very fast lenses. But my reasonably slow (f/8), long lens still got the job done. Getting in tight on the shot and being able to mostly freeze the ball in action was a lot of fun for me.
We also got to see a couple legends roaming about during batting practice. In addition to the previously mentioned Tino Martinez, who is only marginally a legend in my mind, Mr. October, Reggige Jackson, was out on the field on Sunday and Yogi Berra was out on Saturday. Good times.
I took about 600 photos over the weekend and culled them to about 100 that were pretty good. I’m certainly not going to post all of them here as the post would be just too long. But they are all online. You can see them all here. Enjoy!
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