Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Delight in Bradenton, Venice

6:50 pm E.T. My last full day of Spring Training, reluctantly concluded (but happily consummated). Pirate City remains charming and little-known (you can stand in the middle of an array of four diamonds, a few steps behind each home plate, as b.p., infield practice, and intra-squad games are going on). Phils beat Bucs in Bradenton, another gorgeous day-game (they announced the weather back in PA: 20 degrees, more snow expected), Ryan Howard smashed a double off the centerfield wall. Then, another rejuvenating beach walk (Venice Beach this time). It'll be hard to leave in the morning, but I need to reach Jacksonville by nightfall -- unfortunately my old friend near J'ville will be heading out of town in the a.m. But there should be just enough time to spare for a stop at the Tigers' place in Lakeland -- and I'll try to resist the impulse to stay for the game at 1. It sure was nice -- symmetrically so -- when my Cards avenged 1968 last October (thanks to the incredible lack of throwing-to-1st prowess on the part of the Tigers' pitching staff) and at the same time softened the blow of 2004 -- and did it with a team that probably couldn't have bested the '68 Cards once in ten tries. Just goes to show that baseball is indeed a funny game. As Casey Stengel said, there comes a time in everyone's life, and I've had plenty of 'em...

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