What a morning it has been so far in Florida! After breakfast at Peach’s–I highly recommend the sausage, egg, and cheese croissant with fruit as a side–we found what might be the best park in which we’ve ever played. Located in Central Park just west of I-75 on SR-64, we came across the Manatee Cal Ripken and Babe Ruth Baseball Complex. After taking a walk of approximately 1.5 miles around the lake, we donned our uniforms and broke out the ball bucket. Al was rattling the fences pretty good (no dimensions will be given) and I was rattling the backstop pretty good as well with fouls. Gotta keep my head on the ball!
The groundskeeper came over to cut the grass on our field–that’s right, they were cutting the grass on March 5, BWA HA HA HA HA!!! I’ve seen Facebook photos today of friends’ backyards full of snow, and captions about how beautiful it is. It’s not beautiful. Shagging fly balls under the crystal blue Florida sun on a carpet of fresh cut grass, when other people have snow in their backyards, THAT’S BEAUTIFUL!!! . . . Sorry, I digress. While “our” field was being cut, we moved to another field to take grounders. The actual infield consisted of about an inch of fine red clay on top of 12 feet of Portland cement. Well, maybe it was just baked and packed clay under the fine stuff, but the ball took off like it was cement and if you dropped the bat, it sounded like cement. In any case, the ball acted like a kangaroo on speed; I haven’t slowed down that much from 54 to 55.
Tonight we head out to Ed Smith Stadium to take in the Orioles against the Pirates. We’ll bring you that experience tomorrow at about this time because it will be too late to blog by the time we get back tonight, and we’re heading out to Central Park again for more practice in the morning.