Today’s Post-Dispatch included a Jim Edmonds interview that was less-than-encouraging. Aren’t Monday mornings hard enough without having to read about Jim saying that he probably won’t be ready for opening day? Well, my initial gloom has turned to acceptance. It’s better for Jim and for the Cards if he takes a little more time rather than risk another injury by rushing things. This news definitely leaves some open questions about the starting lineup for the outfield, especially since we’ve yet to see Juan Encarnacion back in action (any day now, they say).
On the positive note, Braden Looper pitched 4 scoreless innings today, and Rick Ankiel broked out of a mini-slump with a homer and a double. Tony has always had faith in him – who knows, with these pesky outfielder injuries he may be testing that faith in Ankiel sooner than he planned.
Oh, and I had dinner at Ozzie’s. Review coming soon.
I’ve posted all of my best Spring Training photos in an album here on the blog. Check ’em out.
It was good to watch the game on Channel 5 today and see Jay Randolph again. When Mike Shannon stopped by for a while, that was a true 80s flashback. All that was missing was "Celebration" playing in the background.
Carpenter looked his usual worldbeating self today. Too bad Tyler Johnson and Josh Hancock let the Braves scalp ’em. Yes, it’s only pre-season, but the bullpen is becoming worrisome now that we know Josh Kinney will be out for the season.
The Wall Street Journal did a story this week on comparing Spring Training ballparks, and Roger Dean Stadium was rated very favorably. They were particularly impressed with the Dean Dog, a jumbo hot dog. I’m annoyed because at two different games I tried to order a Dean Dog only to be told they were out of them. I guess I’ll never know that hog dog euphoria.
In Jupiter, we stayed at the Comfort Inn and Suites. It was okay, nothing special, really. It’s biggest selling point is its convenient location to the ballpark. Being in walking distance to a Starbuck’s was another plus, especially because the free breakfast was less-than-thrilling. Our experience there didn’t start well since we had reserved a non-smoking room via Orbitz only to be told at check-in that only smoking rooms were available. The rooms were fine, and high speed internet was great. The pool was tiny and reminded me of a Motel 6 pool. For $166/night, one hopes for a little more, but I guess that’s just high season pricing.
Here are some places we ate besides Roger Dean Stadium:
- The Blue Water Island Grill – This restaurant is pretty new and was formerly called Reef Grill. It had a festive, margaritaville type atmosphere and a big crowd. The walls were decorated with murals of caribbean islands. There’s a variety of fresh seafood on the menu, and I ordered seafood-stuffed mahi mahi which was pretty good. I liked my key lime martini better than the key lime pie (not tart enough).
- The Crab House – This place was decent, if a little too huge and impersonal-feeling for my taste. I think I would have enjoyed it more if we’d sat on the patio overlooking the inlet instead of indoors. Their main attraction is a seafood buffet, but we just ordered from the menu. Food was fine but not really memorable.
- Marc’s Chophouse – This was our best meal of trip. Its modest strip mall exterior hides a classy yet unpretentious eatery. My dad enjoyed his ginormous veal chop, and I liked my filet mignon. Service was smooth and friendly, and the chocolate cake was decadent.
- Casablanca Cafe – On the way to Ft Lauderdale airport, we stopped at this place for lunch. It had a nice, relaxing atmosphere with ocean views and breezes, and I really liked my lobster salad sandwich. They also had the best key lime pie of the trip.
I’ll also mention a couple of popular Jupiter restaurants that we missed – Nick’s Tomato Pie and Little Moir’s Food Shack. Both places had big lines out front on the 2 occasions we tried them, and we were too hungry to wait. Next time!
If you have Jupiter hotel and restaurant recommendations, please leave a comment.
My third and final Spring Training game was Monday, Cards v. Astros at Jupiter. We got to the park 2 hours early again and watched some batting practice on the practice fields. Bill Parcells was there, chatting with Tony. Maybe we should hire him.
Saw some of the pitchers taking BP, and also Taguchi, Rasmus, and Duncan. Many Cards stopped to sign autographs, including Izzy who signed for all who gathered.
Our seats were in the field boxes just beyond 3rd base, so we had a great view of the action. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much action on the Cardinals’ side as they lost 5-0. On the positive side, Wainwright had a great start. He went 4 innings and gave up 2 walks but no hits. Unfortunately, things crumbled when the relievers came in, with Smith giving up 2 runs, and Kinney looking a mess and giving up 3 runs. I wasn’t surprised to hear today that he’s got an injury. I hope it’s not serious, and he can get back to his old form before too long. Something was definitely amiss with him in the 2 appearances I saw.
There aren’t many offensive highlights to report. Preston Wilson struck out twice, which caused much cheering from the drunk Astros fans in our section. Spiezio had 2 hits.
Duncan started off the game with 2 sliding/diving catches in left field that gave me hope for him, but then reality came crashing back in as he misshandled and dropped a much more playable fly ball a couple innings later.
My dad wasn’t feeling well so we cut our trip a bit short and skipped Tuesday’s game in Ft. Lauderdale. I wish we had stuck around for today’s home run derby at Dodgertown!
My attempts to make Sunday a day of rest from Cardinal fandom failed. My dad and I visited the Burt Reynolds and Friends Museum, located at the junction of US 1 and Indiantown Rd here in Jupiter, FL. The museum is unlike any I’ve ever visited. It basically houses everything anyone notable ever gave Burt, from his people’s choice awards to a canoe used in Deliverance (the one film where I find him to be a hottie), to autographed photos from everyone from Frank Sinatra to Luke Perry to tons of honorary deputy and sheriff badges.
There’s a corner of the museum devoted to sports memorabilia. Did you know Burt dated Chris Evert? She gave him a trophy from one of her tournaments, and she had it engraved: "I won it for you." In the sports nook, there were several pieces of Cardinal memorabilia.
There were three Stan Musial autographs – this poster was inscribed "Always enjoyed your restaurant".
Mark McGwire donated an autographed photo, cap and bat. The photo read "from one athlete to another." You may recall Burt played college football for Florida State.
The museum has some art – oil paintings of Burt. Yes, Mr. Reynolds sure could fill out a wetsuit.
A full report on the museum will be forthcoming on my pop culture site Ape Culture.
Congrats to the Cards on a 12-3 victory over the Marlins today!
My 2nd Spring Training game of 2007 was a great one, with the Cards jumping all over the Marlins in an 8-1 victory.
We got to the ballpark about 2 hours early, so I walked down to the practice fields and watched the pitchers take batting practice. It was cool to get a very close up view.
Back in the stadium, I stood for a while over by the players’ entrance and got some pics of the players entering the field. Most of them wouldn’t look up, but I got a few decent shots.
TLR came out with his buddy, Bill Parcells. Parcells climbed the steps and walked right by me on the way to his seat. He’s taller than I expected.
We had seats in Section 206 today, in the 2nd level up behind home plate. They provided a great view, and we were right below the pressbox where Mike Shannon and John Rooney were calling the game for the folks at home.
Kip Wells pitched well, giving up no runs in his 3 innings. Marlins’ starter Anibal Sanchez was really wild and gave up 4 walks in an inning and a half, yet the Cardinals couldn’t manage to convert those walks into a run.
The offense did get on track later in the game, with J Rod and Skip Schumaker both getting 2 hits. Rick Ankiel had an RBI single, and Colby Rasmus smacked a double. Given that the lineup only featured two regular starters – Rolen and Molina – the offensive output was quite encouraging.
Jolbert Cabrera did not have a great day at shortstop, with 2 errors. Brendan Ryan had a strange at-bat in which he swung at two pitches that looked like they were going to hit him, but he did have 2 other hits. I like watching Mike Sillman pitch. He really threw some heat with his odd submarine delivery, in an effective closing performance.
I’m taking the day off of baseball tomorrow but will be attending Monday’s and Tuesday’s games.