Sunday, March 26, 2006

Spring Training

Warning: rant to follow.

I've made it clear here that I'm a Roger Clemens fan. The guy's an incredible pitcher, and an amazing athlete as well (despite those that refer to him as "Fat Roger"). I had hoped (and still do) that he would return for one more go-round with the 'Stros.

But, this? Pissed me all kinds of off.

Dude. You want to retire, you want to play, whatever. Do what you want, the choice is yours and you know it. You want to go play at baseball with your son? I applaud you.

But you should have f***ing stayed away from Jeff Bagwell's press conference. "Sneak in unnoticed," my ass. I'm sure you would say that you were there to support your former teammate, but even given the reporter's slant, you didn't say one word about Baggy's situation. The best thing you could have done, if you wanted to show respect, would have been to say nothing.

Okay, rant over.

I was going to post a little bit about the rest of my vacation, including day trips to St. Augustine and Mount Dora, but this is a baseball blog, isn't it? So. . . .

Went to the Astros-Indians game at Osceola County Stadium last Wednesday night. The stadium is small, and open-air. Olsen Field at Texas A&M is larger than this place was, so even with the game sold out (over 5000 in attendence, but I didn't catch the exact number), it had a little bit of a high-school feel. (Except at high school games, you can't buy beer. Hee!) Anyway, it was a little chilly but otherwise the weather was fabulous. The Astros' lineup was Taylor Buckholz starting, Ausmus catching, Berkman at first, Biggio second, Everett at short, Ensberg 3B, then Wilson, Taverez, and Lane in the outfield (so the boys were fielding close to an opening day roster). Bagwell was DHing, which Cleveland was happy to agree to apparently, even though we were the home team. Biggio was hitting leadoff and Bags in the #2 slot, so I got this picture of the two of them together in the on-deck circle (above).

Anyway. I don't know if it's because it was my first game to attend this year, or if it's because I had such great seats (six rows up, right behind home) or what, but I just had such a wonderful time at that game. Buckholtz (and later Nieve) looked pretty good, but we only managed 4 hits, and ended up losing 2-1. Even so, I wouldn't have traded it. I was positively surrounded by scouts, and each one of them had their own radar gun (what a great job--watch baseball! Play with fun toys!). They seemed to be scouting the Tribe more than the 'Stros, for whatever reason. The guy sitting next to me worked for MLB, so he was scouting both. I was trying to peek at his notes but it was pretty difficult to be discreet about it, so I kinda gave up. But at one point I turned to him and asked, "Hey, can I have a copy of that for my fantasy league?"

Oh man. The look on his face was PRICEless. I didn't think it was possible for one human being to actually back away from another while remaining seated, but he was doing a pretty good job of it. And he was sort of furtively glancing around to see where the nearest security guard was. I finally said, "Dude. I'm kidding."

At that point, he looked incredibly relieved, and said, "Man, I was thinking, this lady is INTENSE."

Yeeaaah. . . not exactly.

Anyway, the game was televised on Fox Sports Southwest, and my friends Jason and Emily both saw me on TV. Emily kept texting me, and at one point she was like, "I can C U on TV texting me back!" Later, though, she chided me for not paying enough attention to the game while responding to her text messages. Lord. I felt like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, when Richard Gere told her, "Quit answering the phone!" and she said, "Well, stop calling me!"

The finale to this marvelous evening was an absolutely spectacular fireworks show. It seemed to go on almost forever, and was a sparkling culmination of my spring training "experience."


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