I went to the practice fields around 10am, but there wasn’t too much going on. I watched Furcal, Beltran, and John Jay take batting practice under the watchful eye of Mark McGwire.
Afterwards, Furcal and Beltran signed autographs, but Jay had to get read to play that day. Beltran signed for about 30 minutes! He even signed a guy’s wooden leg. I got my cap signed.
I had a great seat about 10 rows back from homeplate for the game. The Cards were taking on the Mets. Before the game, I noticed Bill Parcells on the field, talking with the Mets coach Terry Collins.
I was sitting by some friendly Marlins fans and even a friendly Yankee fan (imagine that!), and it was a nice, convivial atmosphere.
The Cards won 4-3, powered by great pitching by Kyle Lohse who also got an RBI. Lohse struck out seven batters in six innings. Matt Carpenter was our offensive hero with a double and a homer. Chris Carpenter sat on the bench near the warm-up circle most of the game and signed autographs during inning breaks. I was able to get his autograph as well as Skip Schumaker’s autograph on my cap.
After the game, I hung around the players’ parking lot for a bit with the hard-core autograph seekers. We watched players leave but only a couple stopped to sign. John Jay signed for a while, and so did Jaime Garcia. I ended up with 5 autographs on my cap – Garcia, Beltran, Furcal, Schumaker, and Carpenter – pretty cool souvenir.
That night, I had a great dinner at Leftovers Cafe, which is owned by the same people who run Little Moir’s Food Shack where I’d eaten two nights prior. The ambience and food were pretty much the same. I had plantain-crusted fish and peanut butter banana empanadas. I sat at the counter and watched them cooking, so I really didn’t mind being a solo diner.
I had a great time at Spring Training. Wish I could go every year!
I didn’t get up as early as I hoped (I’m on vacation after all), but I still got over to the Cardinals practice field around 11am. The starters had already finished their warm ups by then, but I caught some amusing batting practice by Wainwright, Lohse and Westbrook. The coach throwing BP was a total comedian, making fun of their swings and encouraging competition. When they finished, all three players signed autographs for quite a while. I didn’t get anything signed, but I was able to get some good photos.
I then watching some more batting practice. Mark McGwire and John Mabry were giving tips to Komatsu, Velez, (David) Carpenter, and others. They were quiet, so I couldn’t hear much, but it was fun to watch.
My seat today was in section 118, between third base and home. The Cardinals took on their fellow residents of Roger Dean Stadium – the Marlins. Hanley Ramirez has orange hair to show his Marlin pride.
Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen and Carlos Zambrano kept the crowd amused.
Lance Lynn had the start for the Cardinals today, and he did pretty well, but he gave up a home run to pinch hitter Daniel Pertusati.
It was nice to see Chris Carpenter at the game, sitting at the end of the bench here – although it would be nicer to see him in the game.
We got the home run back with a towering shot by Beltran.
But then a throwing error led to another Marlins run, and they ended up winning the game 3-1.
We wasted a good scoring opportunity with 2 men on and David Freese at the plate with a botched double steal. Yesterday’s game was more exciting, but it was still a nice day at the ballpark.
I had a cheesesteak and an italian ice today, although the Cubs Hater hot dog sounded intriguing. Maybe tomorrow.