I finally arrived in Florida after a false start that included a cancelled flight and a "red eye" that landed me in the state at 5:45 in the morning. I was tired, loopy and feeling dirty after getting less than a couple of hours of sleep during the flight. On top of that, I could not check into my hotel room until later that afternoon- apparently they were all booked up the night before and nothing was available so early in the morning.
It is St. Patrick's Day and I will have to go to the game looking in worse shape than I'm feeling. I still don't know how I survived the day without passing out from sleep deprivation. Anyway, nothing would stop me from enjoying this holiday to see the Boys in Blue wearing Green.
So I parked on a grass field that use to be a golf course at Dodgertown, and walked through the entrance to head out to the practice fields to check out the team. As many of you already know, Dodgertown is the only facility that allows fans to walk throughout the grounds. It's awesome.
Below is a pic of the Dodger starting pitchers taking batting practice. Eric Stults is up to bat with Wolf, Hendrickson, Penny, Lowe, Schmidt and Kuo waiting to take their turns.
This is about the time I realize that my camera battery is about to run out and my spare is devoid of juice. Man-O-Live, how could I be so careless? Now I will have to limit how many pictures I can take.
It is at this point that I decide to "do as the Greeks do." I pull out my pen and baseballs to search out willing signers. As you can imagine, on a holiday weekend the competition for autographs is high. I run into Jaime Jarrin who is more than happy to sign for the fans. I caught Jason Repko as he heads to Holman Field. Tommy Lasorda was signing while sitting in his personalized golf cart. For anyone who chases after autographs know, Tommy is a hard catch. He is famous for signing only for women and children, but on this day he is signing for everybody. Now it is time to go to the game. The color green is everywhere. The crowd was splattered with green and the Dodgers came out in nothing but green.
Above is a pic of the Dodger bench. The crowd is so close to the players you can reach out and give them a "high-five."
The great thing about these games is running into other fanatic Dodger fans. I was seated next to a grandfather who recounted his childhood love of the Dodgers and his favorite player Roy Campanella. He went on to describe his Dodger room and all of the memorabilia he's collected over the years.
The next series of three photos are of the first three Dodger batters. Soon after my camera dies.
It is now Sunday and I decide to go to Viera to catch the Marlins vs. the Nationals. I wake up way to late to catch the Dodgers against the Indians in Winter Haven. Besides, the Dodgers are coming to the Nationals home field on Monday so this gives me the opportunity to buy my tickets early.
There's me waving to the camera in front of a giant statue of a ballplayer. The guy who took my picture is a Dodger fan from Colorado who told me about driving down the 91 freeway after Kirk Gibson's walk-off homerun in the 1988 World Series. Fans were pulled off to the side of the freeway jumping up and down hugging total strangers.
I was surprised to see that Joel Hanrahan, the former Dodger farmhand, was on the Nationals team. I had no idea where he ended up. He pitched 3 solid innings giving up no runs and a couple of hits. Below is picture of Hanrahan in a new uniform.
Today happens to be NASCAR day at Space Coast Stadium. Joe Gibbs Racing was on-hand with Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart's car available for viewing. The Home Depot car belongs to Tony Stewart. I've never seen a stock car up close. My first two days have been great and I promise to post more pictures throughout the week. Feel free to check out my photoalbum for more pictures.
Photo Album Link: