Monday, March 19, 2012

Seven ballgames in seven days

Seven ballgames in seven days.
That was my plan for vacation last week and I managed to pull it off.
Saw more baseball in one week than I ever have in any spring training.
What prompted it was simple.
During spring trainings past, I'd leave the office at lunch for a game at nearby McKechnie Field, grab a hot dog and soda, watch a couple of innings then head back to work.
I'm sure a lot of us who work in Bradenton do the same thing.
Nuts to that.
This year I decided to do it differently and enjoy a week of spring training like all those other lucky baseball fans who come here just for the experience.
So I took a whole week off.
Went to McKechnie three times to see the Pirates play the Twins once and Phillies twice.
Got to Sarasota's new Ed Smith Stadium twice to see the Orioles play the Rays and the Pirates.
Then I did Bright House Networks Field in Clearwater twice to see the Phillies play the Tigers and Braves.
Phillies fan though I am, Bright House was way too crowded for my liking and my wife's.
Each game drew more than 9,000 fans.
Good for the Phillies.
Bad for fans like me who enjoy a little elbow room.
The new Ed Smith?
Very, very nice.
They definitely got the bang for their taxpayers bucks in that $30 million renovation.
It's spacious, got great sight lines and plenty of shade, handy this unusually hot spring.
I especially like the dining area and seating directly behind left field, an idea I'd be interested to see the Pirates try when they begin the $7 million renovation at McKechnie after the 2012 season.
Even without that, McKechnie's got something we didn't feel at either of the other two ballparks.
McKechnie Field's got a coziness to it that can't be beat.
There's no place like home.

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