Monday, March 12, 2012

Boys of Summer

The year was 1969...and I was all of seven years old. There was a brand new baseball team in town - the Kansas City Royals - and I got caught up in the city-wide excitement of watching a young, exciting team take on the big boys in the majors.

Every single night, my bedside radio would be tuned to "the game" - and I would listen as Buddy Blattner and Denny Matthews brought the game to life, painting pictures for me as I lay in bed, slowly falling to sleep in the later innings. More often than not, I'd have to read the newspaper the next morning to see if we had been victorious the night before - or not.

Thus began my lifelong love affair with baseball...and even after all these years, it's still as strong as ever.

Yesterday, we headed to Hammond Stadium, located here in Ft. Myers, Florida, to take in a spring training game between the Minnesota Twins and the New York Yankees. Don't ask me what hoops I had to jump through and what magic I had to perform to snag these tickets - but I managed it.

Approaching the stadium from the parking lot...

Sometimes they actually get along with each other....

Built in 1991, Hammond Stadium is the spring home of the Twins...and the parking rows all feature street signs named after some of the Twins' former great players. It didn't take me long to find one of my all time favorites, Harmon Killebrew.

Killebrew played 22 years with the Twins...but retired after playing a final year for the KC Royals...

The stadium holds all of 7,500 people - and it was a full house to take in the afternoon game.

About an hour before game time...the stands are filling up...

We were in Row 14...and it felt like you could reach out and touch the batter...a very small, intimate feeling. I think this is one reason I love spring training games...there's an intimacy & casualness about it, that makes for a very fun afternoon.

Refreshments were the usual ballpark variety...however, they did offer a Sweet Potato Fry Sundae - sweet potato fries, ice cream and caramel. I passed on it. Ew. However, I did snag this delicious Killebrew Root Beer, and it was DELICIOUS!

Seriously...this was probably the best darn root beer I've ever had....

The first time a foul ball went into the stands, the fan bobbled it and dropped it...and the crowd immediately erupted into a loud & long chorus of boo's. My son and I looked at each other and said, "Tough crowd." Really - if that had happened in Kansas City, the crowd would politely applaud and shout, "Awww....good effort. Better luck next time." I guess that's the difference between KC fans and Yankee fans.

It was a great game - and a great way to spend the afternoon with the kids while we enjoy Spring Break.


And it's always fun to hate on the Yankees. No matter where in the world you are. :)



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