When I was in middle and high school, my family spent most spring break vacations in Florida to watch Spring Training baseball. We would drive to different stadiums around the state while following our Phillies and checking out AL teams we never got to see in the regular season. I remember being @ the Twins spring training stadium when it was, like, brand new - 1990/91 - and thinking how cool it was. And going to see the Texas Rangers when they still trained in Port Charlotte in 1992 because my mom wanted to see her favorite player (Dickie Thon - yeah) since the Phillies didn't resign him after the '91 season. My brother and I brought our binders full of baseball cards, in the hopes of having an easier time to get an autograph in the Florida sun than we did by camping out at the player parking lot of the Vet. Good times all around.
I hadn't been to Spring Training since 2003 (to see the Phill's play one last time @ Jack Russell), and Mr. ChickPhilA had never gone. My mom had decided to get a house in the St. Pete area for part of the spring, so we headed on down to spend some quality time with her and the Phillies.
I sprinted to the airport from work on Friday night, and got to the gate to find none other than Tom McCarthy on the same flight to Tampa as I was. It seemed as if the whole plane full of people were heading to Florida for the same reason I was, as evident by the amount of Phillies gear they were wearing. Had a pretty uneventful flight, sat next to a guy in a Birdland X The Fightins shirt that I also have, read a book, blah blah blah.
Anyway, Saturday the Phills were in Lakeland so my mom and I decided to check out if anything was going on over at the Carpenter Complex in Clearwater. As we drove over, I saw someone Tweet that Polanco was playing in a minor league game that day - same for Jayson Werth - and I wondered if they were in a minor league game over in Lakeland against the Tigers minor league teams or if they had stayed back home. We parked and as we walked towards the 4 fields I saw a familiar number through the fence. #28. A really tall # 28 with hair poking out of the back of his hat. YAY they were here in Clearwater!!!