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So I'm going to Spring Training

Mar 5, 2010, 7:57 AM EDT

Florida card.jpgI’ll be blogging as usual today, but first thing tomorrow I’m leaving on a jet plane and heading to Florida to check out some Spring Training wonderfulness.  It should be great: I’m in the best shape of my life. I’m working on a new grip for my changeup. The voice of the turtle is heard in our land and all of that.

The plan:

  • Mets camp on Sunday, when they play the Nats. That is, assuming the Mets don’t read this blog and decide to ban me from the premises;
  • Tuesday and Wednesday will be in Fort Meyers for the Twins and Red Sox, who will be playing the Cardinals and the Rays, respectively;
  • Thursday will be busy: Pirates-Rays at Bradenton during the day, Yankees-Braves in Tampa that night and at some point I probably need to see my mother-in-law who spends her winter in that neck of the woods. She’s not in the best shape of her life, but she’s doing pretty well for a 75 year-old woman;
  • Friday will likely be spent loitering at whichever camp in the vicinity seems the most interesting;
  • Saturday its the Phillies in Clearwater, where I’ll do my best to avoid catching a spike on the turf at Bright House Field.

Things I hope to accomplish apart from getting the hell out of Ohio for a week: Meeting some people. Learning some things. Grokking some spring training zeitgeist. Seeing how much I can get away with on the NBC expense account. Making an enemy or two. Buying my kids alligator key chains and stuff. I suppose if I try I could crack the back end of the Mets rotation. It’s all rather up in the air, actually, which makes this whole endeavor rather exciting.

If anyone has any ideas of stuff they want me to see, do, ask or whatever, by all means, let me know.  Short of that, I’m just going to jump in and see how deep the water is.

  1. Jonny5 - Mar 5, 2010 at 12:36 PM

    LMAO!!! I was waiting for you to “man up” to my comment. Now I’d pay money to see Joe Mauers face when Craig actually asks him to remove his shirt for a photo! :>/ That would be the shot to post.

  2. CG Hudson - Mar 5, 2010 at 12:37 PM

    Do me a favor . . . when you go to the Yanks-Braves game, track down Dave O’Brien and punch him in the stomach once for me for perpetuating the nickname “J-Hey” during such a formative period as this.

  3. michael standish - Mar 5, 2010 at 12:40 PM

    Old Gator should know that requesting “Creepy John” will make Spider John’s day. In return for this tidbit, I’d appreciate it if he could explain the underlying symbolism of the photo above.

  4. TF in Tampa - Mar 5, 2010 at 1:12 PM

    Well, I’m sorry to hear that you won’t be able to visit the West Coast of Fla this go around, those gigs at the Luna Star Cafe sound too inviting to blow off. You will be missed.
    As far as rogue waves here on Tampa Bay are concerned, this is a far cry from the 30 footers that kicked up in the Mediterranean earlier this week. My boats are unaffected by 2-3ft seas which is about as rough as it gets here on the Bay.
    Now, if your not telling us something, like your inner middle ear gyroscope gets tangled up with whats been ingested into your lower intestinal cavity tubes and says its time to separate from one another, thats a different subject. But I’m sure thats not the case,considering those dreams of yours, you know, emerging unscathed from the depths of the dark unknown. If you change your mind, just let me know, otherwise we’ll pick this up later.
    Keep those cards and letters coming!

  5. Old Gator - Mar 5, 2010 at 1:18 PM

    Okay, no problem, and I will definitely make that request. I usually ask for “The Old Prospector” (also known as “Acres of Clams” to folks who regularly eat at Ivar’s in Seattle and spend the time it takes to simmer their smoked salmon fettucini alfredo reading the lyrics off their placemats.
    Okay. First thing you should know is that that’s not an alligator, but a pretty badly designed dummy crocodile. For some reason, the idiots who made the Gator the symbol of Florida for tourists back in the 1950s were busily trying to exterminate them at the same time, and nearly succeeded. I am happy to report, though, that due to an attack of environmentalist guilt, we have now overprotected our tourist symbol to the point that they are invading all the suburbs of Macondo, showing up in our canals and swimming pools, eating our dogs and, on occasion, our drunks as well. We have responded with a campaign that no one who doesn’t watch the Discover Health Channel regularly is aware of – which means most people – that Gator meat can be used in any recipe calling for veal and is much lower in cholesterol (I use it regularly in Gator schnitzel a la Hollstein, Gator francaise, Gator rollatine and Gator parmegian. Really.) Meanwhile, we also have a nuclear power plant, Turkey Point (I didn’t make that name up – you can’t make a name for a nuclear power plant like that up), which now doubles as a crocodile preserve. Cross my three-chambered heart. And we are rapidly approaching the same problem with crocodiles that we’ve been having with alligators., except that the crocodiles glow in the dark and we have no idea how big the next generation of them will be.
    The biting of the pneumatic female tushy works on two levels. On the first, recalling the chronological provenance of this image, is meant to appeal to aging Jewish mothers. For a more detailed explanation of the complex cultural inferences of this tushy-biting image, you need to watch the movie Where’s Papa, where the infamous “tush scene” will illuminate it for you. (You might also try to find the wonderful explanation of that scene by George Segal, whose tushy gets bitten in the scene, on the Dick Cavett show – and then stick around to watch Dalton Trumbo’s elaborated response to it.) The appeal of the bitten tushy was hugely successful in stocking the rocking chairs on the beachfront porches of the miles of holding pens for the afterlife that eventually became the Art Deco district of South Beach once that entire generation had expired (and in all semi-seriousness, I had a part time job in high school – yes, Miami Beach High School, which was everything it sounds like it was – showing old movies at these retirement homes. We’d set up the first reel of The Eddie Cantor Story, the oldsters would file in, we’d dim the lights and start the projector and go across Ocean Drive and blow a joint on the beach, then talk about Jimi Hendrix for two hours, and then go back to change reels, repeat the process, and then go back to pack up the projector. The nurse would turn the lights on and the duffers would all get up and stagger out, pushing their little wheeled IV stands and catheter bottles before them. Usually. Sometimes, one wouldn’t get up. When you’re stoned, this can be disconcerting. After this happened a couple of times, I quit and started earning my keep catching eastern diamondback rattlesnakes down by the B-52 base in Homestead and selling them to Bill Haast’s Serpentarium for six dollars a foot. That was a lot of date money in 1967, you know?)
    Okay, on the second level, there’s the Freudian appeal. The old croc is a father figure and the entire mise-en-scene reeks of deflected Oedipal desire. I don’t care how old you are, but if you are reading this the woman in that photo is definitely old enough to be your mother, if not your grandmother, by now. If her tushy still appeals to you, I want you to close your eyes and repeat, over and over again, “sometimes a good cigar is just a good cigar. Sometimes a good cigar is just a good cigar. Sometimes….” etc.
    There, Mike. Get your money’s worth?”

  6. Old Gator - Mar 5, 2010 at 1:34 PM

    Definitely. I gotta take you over to the Dali museum and see if they’re showing “Destino,” the film that Dali made with…are you ready for this?…Uncle Walt himself. I believe it was meant to be included in Fantasia but it even weirded Walt out. Ah well.

  7. michael standish - Mar 6, 2010 at 12:32 PM

    Old Gator kicking out the jambs is a lovely thing to behold. But that grandma’s tush business was worse than watching Don Buddin at shortstop. Thank God a friend just dropped off a couple of cases of Yuengling.

  8. Magaret Rockwood - Mar 7, 2010 at 1:36 PM

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  9. Old Gator - Mar 7, 2010 at 3:06 PM

    Just a quick thought before this thread subducts beneath the North American continental plate: back in, oh, I would guess 1982 or 83 or so, Ollie the Alligator was the county icon for the Broward County Chamber of Commerce’s division of tourism. The Director of Tourism for Broward County (that’s Fort Lauderdale and environs for you auschlanders) got fired for walking around the Vatican in his Ollie the Alligator costume as a photo op. I think Ollie might have been retired after that. They probably use a Burmese python now.

  10. Louie Picado - Mar 7, 2010 at 5:00 PM

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