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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!

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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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