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Take Me Out to the Ball Game

I said I was going to a spring training game and by golly I did. And it was fun for all sorts of reasons, including watching the ground crew wet the infield before game time.
There is actually one more guy holding the hose up that you don't see. What a job!

Leaving the house early, I wanted to do some exploring in downtown Kissimmee before heading to the ballpark for the 1:05 start. It can be both a blessing, and a curse, seeing photographs everywhere you look. The colors....
Not to mention the overlooking Marines!

Do you see what I see aside the tracks?
The little downtown area is super cute with some neat shops that I want to go back and further explore as my time was limited. In another post I'll show you a little of what I did see with a neat story to go with the photos. But for now, we are heading to Osceola County Stadium for the last Spring training game of the year at that park.

Arriving early, I parked the car, bought the cheapest ticket I could on the Detroit Tigers side of the field, in the shade no less, got a piece of pizza, and found my seat. On my right were an older couple, who seemed nice enough, however, the man had some serious hearing challenges making conversation a moot point. He did manage to say to me that I must be a Tigers fan as I was taking so many photos! My answer was, "no, just having fun." It seemed like too much to explain that I write a blog...

Some of the players warmed up, while others met up.
The photo below, for some reason, is one of my favorites of the day....
and I don't even know who he is! I can remember a time when me and my boys would have been standing along the wall like the folks below, trying to get autographs. Spring training is surely the best time to do so as the players are so close.
In a rarity, there were two "first" pitches thrown by none other than AJ and Ashley, the morning hosts on Bruce's favorite country station, K92. Jonathan will cringe when he reads that!
Is this like a classic photo showing off the difference in how some girls throw, as opposed to boys?

The stands began filling, or somewhat, and the game commenced. I was seriously surprised to see the pitcher sporting a big time beard.
He was quite good, giving up a few hits to the Tigers, and staying in the game until the sixth inning.

The folks around me were loving Nick here, as he hawked, peanuts, popcorn, and cracker jacks. While posing for this photo, he told me he was showcased recently on our local news.
During spring training games, they do all sorts of good natured promotions in between innings, including this sweet one.
Even the ospreys were entertaining, soaring around the stadium lights, carrying in nest building materials.
I can't recall ever shooting during a baseball game, and let me tell you, I felt like the batter trying to time my shots, as he does with his bat!
I wanted to get it all...the pitch, the hit, and the base running/sliding. Never did I time it right to get a photograph of a hit, however, I did manage to get a pretty good one of sliding.
The Astros scored three runs in the first inning, and it was not until the fourth that the Tigers managed to score two, which, as it turns out, was the final score. While watching the game, I was, of course, chatting with the youngish man and his seven year old son who sat on my left, as well as watching the crowd. I was dying at how adorable this little girl is.
During our chat, I learned that my left sided seat mates were from Toledo, Ohio, making their annual visit to Orlando. He, along with his wife, and two other sons, after enduring the wicked winter weather, got their sunshine fix while here, and let me tell you, the weather cooperated! I was happy to be under the shaded portion of the stadium, as it was 90 degrees.
The ground crew scraping the field at the half-way point. You might just be thinking to yourself that I enhanced the colors, but I did not--just that colorful! At the seventh-inning stretch, I took my leave, wanting to avoid any serious traffic during the exit because we were taking the guys and girls out for a birthday dinner. Before leaving, I walked behind home plate for a different view.
And here comes the ball...
I know there are loads of folks who no longer have the patience for baseball, but I like it very much. I noticed they have instituted a time clock for between innings, and during pitching changes. What happens if they go past the 2:30 time allowed, I have no idea, but it did speed things up a bit. My friend Karen, of the "loves white puffy Florida clouds", will be loving this post. Then too, yesterday was her birthday, and the North Carolina weather was none too cooperative; dull grey all day. 

As always I have much more to say, however, I'll restrain myself. Be forewarned, more adventures to come in the next few days.

Happy Good Friday my dears,


p.s. David called while I was at the game, and during our conversation, he reminded me that he played on this very field back in his high school days. I knew there was a reason I went on his birthday. :)
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