February, 2014. Lakeland, Florida. Let the Games Begin!

Posted on February 25, 2014

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photo (1)Spring training – it’s like a rock concert, circus, media event and reunion all rolled into one, topped off with pure excitement over the fact that baseball is back!photo

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Nick Castellanos signs autographs for the fans

People clap and holler when their favorites emerge from the club house – women get giggly over men the age of their grandsons – yesterday’s athletes clutch baseball card collections – kids of all sizes and ages clamor for autographs – people meet up with acquaintances from previous years.

Stories are swapped, gossip is shared, and predictions are made. Players are scrutinized – is he limping a bit? He’s slimmed down…look at his hair!DSCN0522

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Justin Verlander, Victor Martinez and little Victor

If the players feel like bugs under a microscope they seem to take it in stride, as well they should – fans pay the bills!

We’ve spent a week sitting next to a practice diamond, Bill and Bill playing catch until batting practice starts, hoping the wind will be in the right direction so they can shag balls that soar over the outfield fence. Baseballs may ricochet off the trees, land in a wet ditch, or burrow into the weeds, but the Bills eventually get them.

And once in a while a little conversation develops through the fence.

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A fan with his baseball card collection, hoping for autographs

Did you know Austin Jackson has two English Bulldogs and a Yorkie? That’s what he told me after he asked how old Daisy was.

He loves dogs, but that Yorkie just barks too much.

Today the Tigers played an exhibition game against the Florida Southern College Moccasins, tomorrow they will travel to Orlando to play the Atlanta Braves, then meet the Braves at Marchant Stadium on Thursday.DSCN0550

We’ll be there.

It’s been fun.

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Posted in: Travel - Florida