Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Early March Baseball

On Friday and Saturday I went with some of my family to see two spring training baseball games in Florida. This was the second year in a row I've attended spring training, last year I saw three games later in the month.

The two games were Cardinals at Nationals (ss) at the brand new Ballpark of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach and then Nationals at Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium, Jupiter.

The Nationals lost the first game 2-1 in ten innings in a match that featured starting pitchers Michael Wacha and Stephen Strasburg (Box Score). We got there during Cardinals batting practice and walked around the park checking out the views, the concessions and the like. This was the second Nationals home game in this new ballpark and it was very lovely and well designed. Fan and particularly kid friendly with plenty of concourse space to walk around and berm to lounge on. The game wasn't sold out so the uncrowded-ness allowed my nephews to wander around and I saw many kids playing catch. Great beer, too. I had Due South 3 IPA on draft which was new to me. And then I followed that with an old standby, Goose Island IPA, also on draft. The pretzel was good and the peanuts superior. As a vegetarian I didn't see too many more options for sustenance. This was a split squad and featured A-team players like Turner, Murphy, Harper, Werth, Rendon, Zimmerman, Yalor, and Strasburg. The B-squad won their game against the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium.

Strasburg's first pitch to Tommy Pham

Bryce Harper swinging way over this pitch.
Now for some photos from around the Ballpark at the Palm Beaches:

Saturday 4 March 2017:

Speaking of Roger Dean Stadium... that's where we were Saturday. The Nationals and Cardinals tied the second game 1-1 which was started by Gio Gonzalez versus Lance Lynn (Box Score). Roger Dean is a little older and therefore not as open as the Ballpark at Palm Beaches, but for whatever reason, the experience was far superior. We got to watch Nationals batting practice and my nephews got 11 and 12 autographs on a baseball. Some of the signatures I think they got were Dusty Baker, Chris Heisey, Michael A. Taylor, Clint Robinson, Austin Adams, and Brandon Snyder. There were others but I don't recall who. One of my nephews had Chris Heisey sign one of the tickets, which I kept. After the top of one inning, centerfielder Michael A. Taylor threw my nephew the last-out ball. It bounced off his glove and me, being the cool uncle I am, caught it off the ricochet. Not a lot of "starters" at this game but that's ok. It was baseball. Had another pretzel and enjoyed a can of Victory's Summer Love Ale.

Michael A Taylor

Michael A. Taylor signing my sister's game-worn Taylor jersey

Our seats right behind the Nats dugout
Now for some beer pictures! Here are the brews I enjoyed at the two games:

Due South 3 IPA in a souvenir cup, West Palm

Goose Island IPA in a throw away cup
with the Racing Presidents, West Palm

The Goose tap! West Palm

Victory's Summer Love Ale, Jupiter
I had also, at the hotel, a beer from Sam Adams called Hopscape. I had mostly sworn off Sam Adams because I just don't care for them much but this at least was a drinkable beer. And it helped me unwind.

Spring Training is so wonderful and relaxed. You can hear a lot of the action like the coaches instructions. It's very cool and the players are also more approachable because, of course, the games mean nothing. At Spring Training you can stick your balls in a guys face and have him happily smile and accept them into his hands.

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Umm... I'm just going to say Phrasing for that last sentence.. lol

    Aside from that, nice pictures! Sounds like you had fun there.. One of these years I'd like to go down to catch some Jays games..

    1. Hee hee. I had fun writing that last sentence, for sure! I hope you do get down there to see some games. The change in weather is shocking but worth it.

  2. I love attending Spring training games. I've been twice in the last 13 years and it's just a fantastic way to take in a baseball game. Smaller venues, usually smaller crowds, and the price is right!
    BTW, I think you may be the only vegetarian blogger I know of, but you're definitely not the only one who enjoys a nice brew!

    1. It is a whole lot of fun and I do like how casual it is. And daytime games, I think, is almost a lost art. Something so nice about spending an afternoon like that. I hear you on the price.

      I have to be careful about the beer now as it seems craft brewers are using scrapple, bacon, etc.

  3. Glad you were able to see a good bit of baseball. I really miss my spring training trips. When I switched to my current job Feb and March became my busiest months. The access and the atmosphere is just top notch.

    1. Matt! Hi! Me too. I'm glad I got to see some players, too, before they left for the WBC like Daniel Murphy. I'll have a word with your bosses to see if your workload can't be alleviated. The other option is to change the settings on their computers so that they think Feb/Mar is Aug/Sep?

  4. Oh man that looks like fun. I've been to ST twice in AZ. I love it. I kinda miss getting IP autographs too. I don't do that anymore, now its all TTM.