NOTE: Today’s post and photos are courtesy of Linda S, an Aaron Miles’ Fastball reader who was in Jupiter, Fla., recently to watch the Cardinals in spring training for several games plus a Cards-Mets game in Port St. Lucie.
Linda and her friend Judi are celebrating milestone birthdays this year, so this trip with their husbands was their “ultimate spring training birthday trip.” Thanks to Linda for sharing! (You can follow Linda on Twitter, @LoveTheMusic.)
What I Learned at Spring Training
1. Red Schoendienst drives TLR around in a golf cart to pick up Berkman, Schumaker, Rasmus and others from batting practice. (Are they worn out from bunting?)
2. Albert jokes a lot with Yadi. (I am sure I didn’t understand a word!)
3. Chris Carpenter will wave so you get a better picture of him. He signed autographs for an hour and joked with the fans. (He receives the “I am happy and feeling great” award.)
4. Jon Jay (@jonjayU) and Ryan Franklin (@franky3131) are really funny tweeters.
5. Matt Carpenter had the fans talking about his hitting and fielding but they LOVED how he RAN on and off the field. He wants to play with the big guys.
6. The signs that read “Watch For Objects Leaving the Field” means: “Duck because the chances of you getting really hurt by a foul ball are GOOD.” Lady across the field got a broken nose.
7. I was in awe of Mark McGwire giving Colby Rasmus and others batting instruction. He appeared to be relaxed and even signed his a “Got Milk” picture for a lady.
8. Bob Gibson and Lou Brock get a standing ovation when they get introduced or walk by fans. They are kind to the adult and kid fans.
9. Players will do cool things for the kids. CC opened the gate and let a boy in for a picture with him. He did sign for adult fans too.
10. You can get fish tacos at a ballpark. (Ah, Florida.)
11. Who knew our husbands would LOVE the practice sessions so much that they didn’t want to be late.
12. I lied to my husband because I told him that Spring Training games never went into extra innings. When the players didn’t leave after the 9th inning (tied) my husband gave me the “eye.” The four of us experienced the 20-inning game last year at Busch. The guys left after the 13th.
13. Sunscreen doesn’t work on my bottom lip. (I looked like a bottom feeder.)
14. You get to see great players up close even if they aren’t Cardinals. I appreciated watching David Wright play third and Jose Reyes run the bases. God bless DW and two of their pitchers for putting up with a few disrespectful Mets fans. (Why go?) Yes, Cardinal fans do clap for fantastic plays by the other teams in Spring Training too.
15. My husband was amazed at how many young men are trying to make it to the major leagues. It was really fun to watch the sparks of potential in the simulated games.
16. You meet the nicest people at spring training who have lots of stories. One couple was from New Hampshire and said CC was from their area and always does good things for the community. Another couple was happy about their recent move to St. Louis where they could be the Cardinal fans they always wanted to be.
17. Birthdays happen so you might as well celebrate them in the best place ever, Spring Training!
Linda, thank you so much for sharing your stories and pictures! (And, of course, for that incredible CC picture — wow!! — and the others of him as well. Glad to know he really is a nice guy.) A spring training trip is definitely on my agenda in the next year or two. Happy birthday too!
Thanks for the great pictures and story Linda!! This makes me want to take a trip down to Jupiter even more! Glad you all had a great time and had a great birthday celebration!