Skip to content

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. YankeesfanLen - Mar 5, 2010 at 8:13 AM

    Will the official Hardball Talk emissary from Florida, Old Gator, be waiting at the gate?
    A selection of tropical fruits should be made available, of course including a carton of tomatoes to take back to Wendy’s International in Columbus.
    Sightseeing tour of JoePlayeretc stadium, or whatever it’s designation is this week.
    And don’t forget to take the Foreclosure Sightseeing Bus, no money down, just check that the johns haven’t been pilfered.
    Hey, it could be worse, spring training in a bizarro world would be held in New Jersey, Xanadu has plenty of space available.

  2. Old Gator - Mar 5, 2010 at 8:39 AM

    Of course I’ll be waiting. I have been deputized to present the Key to Dystopia to Craig and expect the entire Macondo family to turn out. I’m loading all fourteen Feesh fans into my U-haul and we’re going up to MIA – where a “Cubs style” tax was charged all the airlines to build American a nice new terminal. Craig will feel right at home.
    Got the tropical fruit thing well and truly covered.
    Forget the water metaphor. Thanks to the very strong and assertive El Nino, or thermal oscillation, or whatever, this has been one of the most miserably cold winters on record here. It’s been in the 60s and low 70s nearly every day. Us inveterate exotherms have serious issues with this shit. The water is cold, and where shallow enough to be sun-warmed infested with younger cousins of mine for that very reason. Since they’re mostly younger and not Type II, they’ll eat anything. Swimming is not recommended.

  3. Jason @ IIATMS - Mar 5, 2010 at 9:21 AM

    Here comes the part when us “working folk” begin to hate you even more. First you quit your lawyerin’ to play on Twitter and make fun of Dayton Moore and Brian Sabean (low hanging fruit, anyone?) on a full-time basis.
    Now you rub our noses in it by regaling us of your plans to tour the Florida camps like a retiree looking for the best bocce, shuffleboard and croquet facilities.
    (though, try to get to Malio’s Prime when in Tampa. Say hi to George for me, if he’s not asleep in his creamed spinach)

  4. Craig Calcaterra - Mar 5, 2010 at 9:23 AM

    You got any leads on some good bocce and shuffleboard? Cause I’m sorta flyin’ blind there . . . 😉

  5. Craig Calcaterra - Mar 5, 2010 at 9:25 AM

    And this isn’t going to be as easy as you say. Did you read the part about visiting my mother in law? And being in the Mets press box on Sunday is not going to be easy given that every fiber of my being is going to scream out for me to (a) wear my Braves cap; (b) talk shit about the Wilpons; and (c) ask team officials where the Major League camp is constantly, seeing as though the baseball I’m seeing is decidedly bush.
    Tough duty, really.

  6. BC - Mar 5, 2010 at 9:31 AM

    You gotta get down to Gulfstream one day. Even if you don’t play the ponies heavily it’s fantastic.

  7. Jason @ IIATMS - Mar 5, 2010 at 9:34 AM

    I’ll tell ya what: Take me with you and I’LL take your M-I-L out for a nice dinner, on me.
    Though that line about Mets ML camp is hilarious

  8. The Common Man - Mar 5, 2010 at 9:37 AM

    Step 1) Gather together shirtless you, Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, JJ Hardy, Nick Punto and Denard Span.
    Step 2) Post said picture on the interwebz.
    Step 3) Drive the ladies wild.

  9. dl3mk3 - Mar 5, 2010 at 9:39 AM

    See if you can get a picture of John Rauch and Loek Van Mil standing next to each other when you’re checking out the twins.

  10. TF in Tampa - Mar 5, 2010 at 9:39 AM

    Craig and Gator:
    So as spring gets sprung [finally warmer weather is forecast here for the weekend and next week as well] and the flight of the Northern birds head south, that being you Craig, I hope that we can make some arrangements to meet in the Tampa-Sarasota-Bradenton-Clearwater areas and enjoy some of what FLA has to offer, that being, sun, suds, b-ball, and if I can arrange it, my favorite, some boating around Tampa Bay.
    So, if either of you two highly intellectual, sports blog writing, baseball know-it-alls, care to interact and break some bread with a simplistic, down to earth, northern displaced, NY Yankee loving now Fla commoner, pls let me know and count me in a days plan.

  11. stuart - Mar 5, 2010 at 9:46 AM

    Have you scheduled a time to see Strasburg?

  12. Jonny5 - Mar 5, 2010 at 9:47 AM

    Ok Craig, I have some saturday work for you. Ask Cole Hamels if he could please get his Shit together this season. Thank you.

  13. Jonny5 - Mar 5, 2010 at 9:52 AM

    “Gather together shirtless you, Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, JJ Hardy, Nick Punto and Denard Span.”
    “Post said picture on the interwebz”
    “Drive the ladies wild”,
    Uhhh yeah, uh huh. You are gay. You totally know exactly who it is you want to see shirtless even. Just embrace your feelings, it’s ok.

  14. Old Gator - Mar 5, 2010 at 10:18 AM

    Ah, the timing is rotten. Next weekend we have folk/blues legend Spider John Koerner at the Luna Star Cafe, and a couple days before that Canadian blues legend Michael Pickett at the same venue. Two cannot miss musical events (Joe Zoss was here last night). Aside from that, I have a horrible fear of rogue waves. Now it’s true I’ve not seen a wave since the last time I was at Shea Stadium or the Rogers Center – there aren’t enough fans at Joeprodolsharklife Stadium on a given evening to generate a wave, or even piss a beer backlash tidal pool big enough to cover a sand crab – but I keep dreaming that I’ve just emerged from a sewer pipe lined with Aboirigine x-ray art and there it is, curling sixty feet above with Duke Kahanamoku and Laird Hamilton with Gabrielle Reece sitting on his shoulders riding straight at me. No thanks. But we’ll get something together this Spring. Something tamer.

  15. Old Gator - Mar 5, 2010 at 10:22 AM

    Well, you know what they say, Johnny – two’s androgyny, three’s a crowd.
    Cole Hamels is past it. The Feesh solved him last year after season after season of prostration and frustration. You would think that someone who’d been eating Feesh would be in better shape late in his career than someone who’d been eating those horrible horsemeat and velveeta sandwiches, but there’s no accounting for genetic predestination. It’s time for him to consider a late-inning game-is-hopeless mop-up role. No reason for the guys to be in a rush home for dinner when you-know-whats are waiting for them.

  16. salvo - Mar 5, 2010 at 10:22 AM

    Craig, I hope when you’re at the Cardinals game that you have an opportunity to uphold your mission as a sports journalist—you’re not just there for fun, you know—and ask Mark McGwire why he won’t just come out and admit that he knows the steroids he took are the reason why he was able to hit so many home runs. Until he does that, he has no business having a job in baseball.

  17. Ryan - Mar 5, 2010 at 10:28 AM

    Are we going to get an ATH for the time you spend with your mother-in-law? *crosses fingers*

  18. Andy L - Mar 5, 2010 at 10:48 AM

    I’m moving down to Bradenton next Monday, so I’ll miss your visit. But be sure to let me know what the Pirates’ spring training home is like so I know what to expect!

  19. Jonny5 - Mar 5, 2010 at 11:12 AM

    Well I heard that Hamels wife had him on some kinda fish and veggie diet last season and his lack of nutrition led to anemia, coupled with the high amounts of mercury he was consuming had him a little unstable. Ref. “mad as a hatter”. I’ve heard he’s given up this diet in support of his career, and he’s been eating two cheese steaks with provolone every day with the rest of Phillies pitching staff. The grease will lube his elbow and shoulder significantly while giving him an energy boost from the large amounts of protien.

  20. smsetnor - Mar 5, 2010 at 11:24 AM

    My favorite part of going to spring training games has been heckling the professional autograph seekers. They’re the worst.

  21. Roy - Mar 5, 2010 at 11:24 AM

    take a dump in the Mets clubhouse and don’t flush

  22. themarksmith - Mar 5, 2010 at 12:00 PM

    GET SOME AUTOGRAPHS!! They’re exciting and useful.
    And if not, you can always sell them on eBay. I’m assuming you don’t make as much these days as you used to. You’ll need the extra dough to keep up the lifestyle.

  23. The Common Man - Mar 5, 2010 at 12:17 PM

    Consider my feelings embraced. Just extremely comfortable with my heterosexual man-crush on Joe Mauer. And I’m all about giving the ladies what they want…and what they want is Joe Mauer shirtless. Given Craig’s impressive National Media press credentials, I have no doubt he has the juice to pull this off.

  24. CG Hudson - Mar 5, 2010 at 12:19 PM

    At the Braves-Yanks game, track down Dave O’Brien and punch him in the stomach for me for perpetuating the nickname “J-Hey” during this formative developmental period.

  25. APBA Guy - Mar 5, 2010 at 12:31 PM

    Craig, you have to get to Sarasota and see the O’s. I need to know just how bad they are. Besides, a drive down the coast highway from Tampa to Sarasota takes you through St. Pete and Longboat Key. You might run over an oldster or two and nobody would notice.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. D. Wright (2998)
  2. J. Fernandez (2431)
  3. Y. Cespedes (2367)
  4. G. Stanton (2269)
  5. D. Span (2088)
  1. Y. Puig (2006)
  2. F. Rodney (1966)
  3. M. Teixeira (1957)
  4. G. Springer (1917)
  5. H. Olivera (1896)