Monday, March 03, 2008

The Misadventures of the Girls of Spring

I see the Girls of Spring in the I truly believe Dylan Thomas would have written had he met us.

Coined by the lovely Zoe herself, the Met Divas this past weekend became the Girls of Spring...for the past weekend anyway. I realized a few things about Spring Training while attending it for the first time ever.
One is...we shouldn't get too stressed about the team not winning games now. Why? I won't say the typical...they're practice games saying, but that mostly scrubs play the majority of these games. Plus, as a fan, you don't leave the park feeling like a sour puss like when they lose during the regular season.
Two is...the players may be getting in shape, but it's the fans who need to get their vocal stylings prepared. Like our "AH!! LOU!!" chants. Singing "Fernando" by Abba for F-mart at-bats. Belting out Jose-Jose-Jose. Me shrieking "OHHHHHHH PEEEEEEEEAAAAAAA!!"
You know, the important stuff.
All in all, as my new summer family member CrazyMetGirl said, "Now that you've done Spring Training, you can't not come anymore. You have to go all the time." I agree. Totally have plans to do it again next year.
So the round-up is - Friday, I arrive at the crack of butt after not sleeping very well the night before. Jump off the plane, hug Zoe, get the car, and away we go. Drive about an hour north to PSL, and make it to Tradition Field. It was a nice day, not too cold, not too hot. I won't say it was juuuuuust right, because basically, it was very cloudy. The game itself was pretty uneventful, since Johan Santana gave up a 3-run home run to Juan Gonzalez (yes, Juan Gonzalez) in the first inning that still hasn't landed. The game was lost, but like I said, it didn't put a damper on the day.
We later checked into our hotel...which if you ever saw the movie Beverly Hills Cop, well the place was probably the polar opposite of the suite he had, but we were able to get a suite upgrade for nothin'. We might have rocked a circa 1969 NASA-special microwave and a retro-1983 television designed specifically for hotels.

We stayed in a town called Ft. Pierce, which if you are on a budget, is pretty decent. But for posterity sake, when we go next year, I think it will be worth the extra dollars to stay in Port St. Lucie. Since pretty much we spent most of our time there anyway.
Not much distinction in the town of Port St. Lucie. It's very pretty but quiet and not much to do in terms of fun, except hang at Duffy's or Hurricane Wings (which according to Z, had very tasty boneless wings. I partook in a veggie burger that was quite a tasty son of a bitch).

We actually ran into Ron Darling and Matt Yallof later that evening and had a few words with them. Very gracious, nice guys. Yallof especially. For some reason, he and I started Valley Girl talking and we exchanged some great slang terms.
Saturday, Zoe and I make our pilgrimage back into PSL to join the boys in their open workouts. By "join" I mean, watch them as they do their running and throwing drills. People start showing up around 9:30, some earlier though, to get closer to the fences and take pics and stuff. Not conducive to autograph getting. Bust pretty cool nonetheless. I caught this great pic of Pedro, who walked into the workouts later, and gets himself into an Oh Pea and Cullen sandwich.
The game was pretty cool - the gals and I met Kevin Burkhardt before the game, probably one of the nicest most humble guys on planet Earth.
The game against the Dodgers was pretty uneventful, till the bottom of the 9th when Brady Clark had a walk-off HBP moment. Lots of happy Mets fans there. We later had an event at Duffy's with Cerrone from Metsblog and we managed to meet a few Met bloggers, like the legendary Mets Today's Joe Janish, and not to mention a few of the Mets themselves. Not Reyes or Wright, and sadly not my Oh Pea, but Jose Valentin (I guess he couldn't find a GR in town), Andy Hernandy, Ruben Gotay and Duaner Sanchez who bought us a round of drinks simply because we were cool. John Maine and Joe Smith showed up later too. I thanked Maine for his performance on the last Saturday game last year but also told him 54,000 people dying of heart attacks would not have been a good thing there. He had a good laugh. Very sweet guy.
We stayed out waaaaaaay too late Saturday night. LOL
Then, this was the best day of them all, as Zoe, Cerrone and myself hopped in a car for a quick road trip north to Vero Beach, to catch the last year of Dodgertown.
I thought the players would be a little more accessible in PSL, and I was disappointed that Juan Padilla was really the only guy willing to sign autographs at Tradition Field. Although to his defense, David Wright did sign a few for some kids.

But Dodgertown takes the cake. They were able to have like this open autograph thing on the field, where kids and adults alike could down to the field and get autographs...but not from scrubs, like guys with names like Garciaparra and Martin. We met up with SNK, her friend, and the one and only Metstradamus. Dykstraw and his gal were there too. Coincidentally, Ms. Dykstraw and I got to talking and it was discovered that we grew up in the same town and went to the same high school! I'm just a little teeny tiny bit older than her though. A little. LOL
Dodgertown was a throw back and very cool but BOY was it uncomfortably hot. The game was downright boring too. Yes, I do know my Pea was pitching, but he looked a little shaky. But then again, so did Johan, and that doesn't keep me from being excited about him. We left a little earlier than usual to beat traffic...only to hear later that they won in the 9th inning! WTF? They have the heroics in Spring training? Save it for September, guys. LOL

But the real misadventures occurred today. I don't know what happened, but our directions to the airport took us way out of the way, and we ended up running late. I dropped Zoe off at the gate, I take the rental car back, only to get hosed for an extra day for returning it later (that was never explained to me, but I plan on writing a strongly-worded letter to Hertz anyway, based on other experiences)...then have to get on the next flight out of dodge on stand-by. Well, I made it home OK, but it was still one of those things like...I had fun visiting PSL, but I wouldn't wanna live there.
So the Coop's verdict -- go. Go to spring training. You won't regret it. Just don't go for more than three days. Or for four days, but save one of the days to get some tan. Plus, like the players need to get limber for the regular season, we need to warm up too.
I am too wiped to try to post pics from the Metsblog outing and my obligatory Oh Pea worship, but I will get them up in a day or two.


Shell said...

Sounds like you had a good time (aside from the airport debacle). But I have to disagree on the amount of time for spending at spring training! Last year my friend and I did 10 games in 8 days (3 were the Mets, 1 at PSL) and this year we are doing 9 games in 6 days (4 Mets games this year yaaay). Doing such things absolutely requires the rental of a convertible. :) It was fun last year & I'm looking forward to the sequel!

CrazyMetGirl said...

Love your pics! I was bummed when I heard they ended up winning, too... but lordy it was good to get in the a/c in the car!!

It was great hanging out with you guys... and yes, next year we are staying in PSL, too. Just easier.

I'll email you and Zoe some of the pics I have that you might like... lots of good ones of Ollie and Jose from the Saturday game...

Get some sleep!

will said...

OMG YOU SAW JOE SMITH?!?!!?!!? ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh i hate you ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

hope you have fun in pt st lucie

BlondiesJake said...

The Coop, sounds like it was a blast. Heck, I say win all the games in the 9th, and have the paddles and voltage ready!

Btw, funny you should mention Nomar when talking about the signing stuff at Vero Beach. Check out Jeff Pearlman's article about him...

snk said...

So much fun! At airport now waiting to come off- can you believe I saw another walkoff yesterday?! Late inning heroics are getting out of hand.

Zoe said...

I'd forgotten about singing Fernando! And I forgot to mention singing his Star Wars music when Castro stepped to the plate :-) Boy we can have fun, baby.

Anonymous said...

Great stuff! I totally agree with you about Burkhardt, he's aces. (don't they make a lovely couple?)

Anonymous said...

Alou.....hernia......out for at least most if April......I TOLD YOU!!! Why did we re-sign this geezer????? He's playin 89 games for us this year....MAX! You and Pete will be hearing about this ALL season :)


The Coop said...

Hey now - I said MONTHS AGO that the Mets should exercise Alou's option...UNLESS some young dude (a la Milledge) was going to get more playing time, with Alou playing like 50-60 games per year. Of course, that aint crappenin. Just saying, I love Alou, but not for 2008.

The Coop said...

I meant - should not exercise his option. LOL