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Joy and I at the Charlotte Stone Crabs opening night!

Joy and I at the Charlotte Stone Crabs opening night!

 

 

Hey everyone!  Sorry for the delay… I have had family in town, games to work, and sleep to get!  

To catch up a bit, the Fort Myers Miracle are currently in FIRST place in the FSL (Florida State League) and boast a 11-6 record.  Twins catcher Joe Mauer has been on the road with the Miracle for the past five days rehabbing and should be back in Minnesota ready to play on Friday.   Check out http://www.miraclebaseball.com/ to see our roster, news, and updates!  

In other news…Who is on Twitter?  I joined recently and was skeptical at first but LOVE it.  I can “follow” ESPN, Sports Center, Time, the Twins, etc.  That way, every headline shows up on one page and I can click from there to read the article.  It saves so much time and I only get the news I want!  It’s also fun/silly to follow some celebrities… some of my favorites include Giuliana Rancic from E! (amazing tips on working out/health), Perez Hilton (admit it, you like him too…) and Kim Kardashian.  You can also follow Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia and Twins catcher Joe Mauer…neither one “tweet” consistently but it’s an oddly fascinating thing to read their “140 characters or less” updates.

You can follow the Miracle (search Fort Myers Miracle or Gary Sharp) and myself, Nat32.

Also, hope you all enjoy a couple of my new pictures (NJP & Friends)…the ones of Joy and I are in our new jackets the Twins gave us in appreciation for Spring Training!  Too bad it was only chilly enough to wear them one night…

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Baseball in Stilettos…

Hey all!  I’ve decided to change the name of the blog to Baseball in Stilettos, for the following reasons (not so much as reasons, but because it gives the blog an interesting twist):

-I’m 22.  I’m not just living and breathing baseball (although at times that may be true)…I try to maintain a a fun social life in between games…and I’m always attired in… STILETTOS!

-Not only do I have a unique behind-the-scene view of Minor (and Major) League Baseball; that view is coming from a girl. 

-I’m trying to work hard and excel at my job  just like everyone else, except I’m teeter-tottering on my heels through the sacred world of baseball, run predominately by males.

-Turf or grass, MLB or MiLB, GM or Intern….everyone has a story and journey, and here is mine: A 22-year-old’s Summer in the FSL: Stadiums, Stilettos, and Strikes.

Great book title, no?  I’ll stick to the blog.

Miracle season starts a week from tonight!

 

Also, George Toma did NOT attend my 22nd Beach Birthday Bash (capitalized to emphasize the importance of that day we so luckily had off), but he DID give me a copy of the book he wrote, “The Nitty Gritty Dirt Man,” and wrote the following in the front cover (“and then some” is HIS quote) :

To: “Natalie”
Happy Birthday to a wonderful young lady and a tireless worker.  It’s a real inspiration 
to watch you work.  The difference between average people and top people is that you have 
the “and them some”– you do your job “and then some.” You are very thoughtful of 
others–are you considerate and kind “and then some.” You are a great friend to everyone 
and can be counted on in an emergency “and then some.” Whatever you do you leave it 
better than you found it.  Your not just speaking to someone else but offering a smile 
and hand shake.  You are not just listening to someone else but actually caring–also not 
just giving others a smile, but alawys offering a few kind words.  Keep up the excellent 
work.  May all your good fortunes be as numerous as the blades of grass.
“And then some.”
My Best,
George P. Toma
P.F.H.O.F. 2001 

 

What a great keepsake from such an inspirational man.  

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About Me!

I recently read my entire blog (looking for changes, etc) and realized that some of you who read this may really wonder who I am and what I’m all about–my “Who IS this girl??” doesn’t really provide the 411 on why the heck I am taking a semester off school and why I chose to come here to Florida.

 

As I’ve mentioned before, there is a point in time (22 or 72) where some people come to a screeching halt, parking break and all, look around, and realize they are not happy.  Signs might have been missed leading up to this point, but boy, you want to get the heck out of wherever you are and whatever you’re doing.   Unfortunately for me, this occurred last fall. I had had it- I was done being at the library until 3am, done spending hours studying for a test that was multiple question A-F, and done wishing I was doing something else.  Although I have to return to all that in August (I am already mentally preparing myself), what I am doing now has been great for my self and my resume–and will hopefully launch me into some kind of career after graduation (ahem…after the 5th year victory lap. Or 4.5 yr. Not sure about that yet…).   I have met great people and love the area I live in–the people at Circle K know my name (they will soon forget, as I am on my second coffee-free day in months…tea from now on!) and I have made “when I get to the condo..” into “when I get home…”

 

Digging a little deeper to who I really am…. it’s hard to describe yourself to a virtual world–the majority of the people reading this I know and those I don’t will probably never meet me.  However…

I have multiple pairs of “going out shoes” in my closet (organized by height), but I work sometimes 13 hour days at a ballpark, where heels are somewhat made fun of… (See previous post)

If you look in my fridge, I have Heineken Light sitting next to boxed wine.  You can trick anyone after the wine is in a glass–who knows that much about wine at 22 anyway?  However, everyone loves a great beer.

I love getting my nails done; again, I also work at a ballpark.  The two are like oil and water. 

I love to write, yet my job poses a small distraction.

Everything seems to be tying back to my job….

Rap is my favorite kind of music, yet I know most words to every country song.  I’m from Indiana. 

Nothing beats where I am at the moment (on my lanai..palm trees blowing..small breeze coming in)

i’m a girly-girl with a love for sports–that’s just about like the manicures/ballpark situation.

without going on, and on, and on, this is a small glimpse of who the typist is behind this fun, sometimes (hopefully) insightful, and somewhat silly blog. 

hope you all continue reading, and thank you for the great comments and feed back!

np

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Filed under Ft. Myers Miracle, Intern, Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Life, Minnesota Twins, Minor League Baseball, mlb, Sports

People Watching….

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Can I join the Safari??

 

I don’t know one person who does not like to ‘people watch.’   Its airport entertainment, a laugh from your drivers seat in rush-hour traffic, and a strain of your neck as you do a double take…”is she REALLY wearing that?!”

Needless to say, between yesterday and today at the stadium I got my far share of people watching in.  Stationed on the Party Deck (1st baseline), I saw a few categories of baseball game goers that could be seen throughout Hammond Stadium :

1) The Guy Too Old To Be Bringing a Baseball Glove to the Game

This guy is in his mid to late 30’s (with or without a child in tow, double points for matching shirts/gloves with his son), has a backpack slung over his shoulder with multiple items for autograph signings (not his own…) for after the game, including our $6 souvenir bat sticking out from the top.  After multiple attempts of catching a ball, he finally gets one, bare-handed, and continues to shake his hand around in pain after his catch, only to emphasize that any man in his mid to late 30’s should not catch a baseball barehanded…. again, you BROUGHT A GLOVE TO THE GAME. This act is concluded by handing the ball to his son or keeping it for himself, the latter of the two drawing loud ‘boo’s’ from the crowd.

2) The Girl Who Wore a Dress/Heels/Sparkles to a Day Game….

I have nothing against dresses and heels (nix the sparkles), but there is a time and place for everything.  Recently, I saw a girl walk in the front gates of the stadium in a dress I wore out in South Beach for my sister’s bachlorette party (under the Pictures tab, I am wearing it in the picture with my sister).  It’s pink, a tiny bit clingy, and definitely not appropriate for the ballpark (purely my opinion). Maybe she had big plans that night that at 1pm she had to be dressed for. What do I know.  Planning ahead is a good trait in a person. 

3) The Miserable Child with His Overeager Parents..

This poor child has very little, if no interest, in baseball or being at the ballpark on a hot, sunny day.  He is more excited about the inflatable Twins beach rafts versus the Twins hitting back-to-back-to back homers (3/23/09).  His parents are on the The Vacation of a Lifetime (either preceded or followed by a trip to The Best Place on Earth…Disney World), complete with fanny packs and a little bit of sunscreen not so rubbed in on their noses.  If they are from up North, their attire might include a Hawaiian shirt, khaki shorts, and white tube socks with their sandals or boots (the above picture was taken today..too bad you can’t see his socks/shoes/rest of the family)…because they need to stand out a little more than they did before (their pale skin/enormous amounts of sunscreen are clue indicators…).  The kid is dragged around with one hand from concession to concession, souvenir stand to souvenir stand, where Dad is testing all the ballpark food and trying to find a score sheet (only included INSIDE the program, for $5.  We’re not a subsidiary of Dollar General, so please don’t complain about the price.  Nothing is free.) and Mom is catching every riveting moment of The Vacation of a Lifetime with her new camera.  So touching.

Although there are numerous other observations, these were repeat offenders throughout my two days on the Party Deck… if only I was there more often. 

 

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Spring Training Update

Spring Training!

 

Wow, I have been so busy lately!  Glad I finally have a chance to catch up.  We’re right in the middle of spring training, and although fun, I’m already a little exhausted.  A few highlights in the past couple weeks:

-The Netherlands and Puerto Rico played the Twins recently; fun to see WBC teams in Ft. Myers! 

-I literally “ran into” Pudge down in the tunnel–he walked into the office as I was walking out, thinking he was walking into the clubhouse.

– I met Tony Oliva (in the Twins Hall of Fame).

-George Toma (legendary artist of field prep) asked me when I was taking him to dinner (he favors Perkins while reading USA today); then proceeded to ask if he could come to my 22nd birthday party (this Saturday…we’re going to the beach!  What a lucky day to have off).  He had his 80th birthday on the 50 yard line at midnight after the conclusion of the Super Bowl this year …how do you top that?  He said he would get me a copy of his book too–what an interesting guy, can’t wait to read it.

-I met JOHNNY PESKY on St. Patty’s day @ City of Palms Park (where the Red Sox spring train) before the Red Sox/Twins game… I was told no more people could get pictures/talk to him because he had been out in the sun long enough already (he is in his mid-upper 80’s) but after quickly explaining my ties to him, I got to be the “absolute LAST person in line”….that is verbatim from a Boston usher who was not too pleased nor impressed that my Grandpa Platt knew him.  I explained to Mr. Pesky who I was and that my Grandpa coached him and he seemed a little foggy at first, but quickly repeated my Grandpa’s name and said he remembered those days.  

     I was so excited and nervous to meet him, but he is such a great man and the epitome of a an old-time baseball player.  A young boy was standing a little behind me and while Mr. Pesky was walking up the steps, he asked the boy to throw him the ball.  The boy threw the ball to the lengendary player and Mr. Pesky threw it back saying, ” Now you can tell all your friends the oldest guy in the ballpark caught your baseball.”  As he continued walking up the stairs, he was surrounded by a few ushers and loudly said, “Where the hell were you guys when I was a player?  I could have really used you then!”

        He also called me ‘good looking’ and ‘blondie’ in the whole two minutes I talked to him… the man still knows how to flatter a girl!

      I hope some of the baseball stars of today realize what a refreshing impact they can have on families and kids that come visit the ballpark–especially when the economy is the way it is and baseball is still an affordable form of entertainment–because Mr. Pesky certainly made the young boys day, and made me smile at the same time.  

    The weather has been great down here lately, and I’m excited to spend Saturday at the beach celebrating my birthday!  I looked at my calendar,  and I have exactly six weekends off between now and when I leave in August–I’ve got to start planning trips to Miami, Key West…. I’ll stop there, for all those who are still dealing with cool temperatures up North.

 

Kelly came to visit!

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Twins vs. Red Sox Pt. 2

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It’s safe to say that I BARELY made it though the first two Spring Training games–in fact, only one and a half.  During the win over the Red Sox Wednesday night, the weather went from warm and sunny to chilly and windy as soon as the sun went down.  Combine that with standing outside all night and you’ve got yourself a Top 5 worst cold of all time.  So, the President of Miracle Baseball, Linda McNabb, found me on a makeshift bed of office chairs during the Twins/Yankees game Friday and promptly let me go home where I am pleased to say I feel 80% better this morning.  

I have had the three worst colds/sinus infections in my life when I have been in Florida…once  my freshman year in college during spring break in Miami (that required a quick trip to an emergency med center in a not-so-nice part of Miami…), once during Miracle season last year (the chicken dance and YMCA on top of the dugout needed a break from me as much as I needed a break from it) and now this one–where I slept for about four hours yesterday afternoon on a double-decker blow up matress (Mom, Aunt Tish, Uncle Mike, and G-pa are still here…no bed for me!).

Anyway, the game and a half I have made it through have been fun–lots of work (14 hr work day on Wednesday), but great to see all the things we have done to prepare for opening night come together.  It’s especially great when families come  up to me and explain that this is their son or daughters first time at a Spring Training game and they are having a great time, or how beautiful Hammond Stadium is and what a great facility it is for Spring Training.  

It’s comments like those that remind you why you’re doing what your doing and keeps you wanting to do it more.  Many things we do go unnoticed, but  when someone  takes an extra moment to tell you what a great job your doing or how great their experience was… that makes it all matter.

We play the Red Sox again tomorrow, and hopefully I will make it through the entire game!  Check out the MLB network–not sure Sunday’s game is on (MLB Network website hasn’t posted which games will airing) though.  Also, TODAY on MLB Network, 30 Games in 30 Days will be coming to you from Ft. Myers Florida/Hammond Stadium on the Minnesota Twins!

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Twins vs. Red Sox

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A new season will be underway tonight at 7:05 P.M., when thousands of snow-birds and die-hard fans will come to Hammond Stadium and see the cross-town rivals Boston Red Sox take on an almost identical 2008 Twins team.   

I’m as nervous as any rookie out in the backfields– a 13 or 14 hour day?  Who signed me up for this? Kidding, kidding…. but seriously, I’m nervous.  I’m not sure why–I don’t even know what I’m doing at the game tonight.  I was hoping to introduce myself to Johnny Pesky (a Red Sox LEGEND for you non-baseball fans), as my Grandpa Platt coached him during WWII in Bunker Hill, IN along with Ted Williams.  However, a friend of mine who works for the Red Sox said his age is keeping him from attending road games.  My Grandma Platt said Johnny was much more personable then Ted–apparently they were on a first-name basis.  Hopefully I can track him down before Spring Training is over.

I can’t wait until the game tonight– GO TWINS!!

I also figured out how to put pictures on here finally…enjoy!

np

 

 
Spring Training

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Fort Myers Miracle GM, Steve Gliner, and I in the parade!

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Just a thought..

A comment someone left on here yesterday made me think about 1) why I like to write and 2) what keeps me doing it.

I’ve been interested in writing as long as I can remember–I would make up character’s names and ages on a yellow legal notepad before I started my story, and would write about six or seven pages of whatever a ten or eleven year-old thought was important. I eventually wrote for my high school’s newspaper and yearbook, and finally decided to major in journalism at IU, where I wrote for the Indiana Daily Student for a short time and tried my hand at broadcasting with IUSTV.

With sports marketing as my minor, I thought it was pretty ingenious of me to combine two areas of interest that I love–writing, and sports. I guess my goal is kind of to be the Erin Andrews of print (however, I would like to be known for my talent…but, I would like to say that I think Erin Adrews is VERY talented and should be recognized for that more often).

I’ll admit, I don’t know a whole lot about baseball. I can tell you what the stats mean and who is in what league, but other than that, I honestly don’t care. There is so much more to every athlete that goes unmentioned, and that is what I love to write about–who they are, specifically when they aren’t in uniform.

Every single person has a story. Have you ever asked someone, “so what’s your story?” What is their response? Probably something along the lines of “I don’t really have one,” “My life is boring,” “Nothing interesting happens to me,” and so on.

But if you ask the right questions, there will be a story. Great stories stem from great conversations, and I think great conversations stem from asking what others don’t.

I keep writing because of the fulfillment I get in translating someone’s life into a story that otherwise wound’t be told. Everyone likes to talk about themselves, and I like to give them a chance to do that.

“To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone.”
-Reba McEntire

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Spring Training is Here, pt. 2

Spring TrainingPitchers and catchers, along with some over-eager position players, have finally reported to Ft. Myers and Hammond Stadium. Since this is my first spring training, I had no idea that people came to watch the morning practices–there is even a concession and souvineer stand set up.

Since I’m still somewhat new to the scene, I’m a little star-struck…so I snuck out of the office and caught a few minutes of the pitchers and catchers working out. You can tell which fans are seasoned ones, well equipped with a wind-breaker (they get cold easily these days), a roster and pen, and a methodic trailing of the players as they move from the main field to the bullpen to the back fields.

As I stood behind a crowd of people by the bullpen, I noticed a young boy, probably four or five, who refused to leave when his dad said it was time to go. He had found the perfect gap to watch the pitchers warm up, and he follwed their pitches–back and forth, back and forth. It’s amazing when you see a kid in such awe of these athletes, but I didn’t know whether to smile, or be sad at the sight, knowing there is only an 8% chance any baseball player will ever wear a major league jersey. Either way, I hope these players know how much of a role model they are to these kids (ahem… are you listening, Michael Phelps?).

It’s interesting to be in an employee position here, where I can stand from afar and take in what being a “fan” really is. It’s fun to see the older fans come out to practice in the morning, people that have probably been coming, faithfully, for years, and fun to see Dad’s bringing their sons to what is maybe their first glance at Major League Baseball, and everyone in between.

Vin Scully (in For Love of the Game): “After 19 years in the big leagues, 40 year old Billy Chapel has trudged to the mound for over 4000 innings. But tonight, he’s pitching against time, he’s pitching against the future, against age, against ending. Tonight, he will make the fateful walk to the loneliest spot in the world, the pitching mound at Yankee Stadium, to push the sun back into the sky and give us one more day of summer.”

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Spring Training is Here!

 

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It’s a breezy 80 degrees and sunny today here in Ft. Myers–what a great day to be working outside! I wear “work clothes” to work everyday but somehow find myself in my Nike running shorts and t-shirt by lunch…. there is lots of moving and cleaning that has to be done before Spring Training oficially starts. Today, I’m taking down the old billboards in the outfield–not a bad gig when the weather is this great!

New faces are starting to appear at the stadium–today it was the Twin’s clubhouse manager, “Hotrod,” and other guys from MN helping unload boxes and boxes of Gatorade and other clubhouse essentials. It’s nice to have a little activity down here–can’t wait until things really pick up tomorrow, when the Twin’s truck arrives with everything else for the clubhouse and players.

It’s amazing to me that I will be soon passing people like Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau down in the tunnel… as a sports fan, it’s hard to differenciate how I veiw them (sports celebrity) and how they view themselves (regular twenty-something-year-old).

Little boys dream of being like these guys the first day their dad’s teach them to play catch–I can’t imagine how Mauer feels knowing that every spring brings a new season of nights under the lights and every fall brings the opportunity of being Mr. October.

“You gotta be a man to play baseball for a living, but you gotta have a lot of little boy in you” -Roy Campanella

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