My final day in Winter Haven watching the Tribe

Random thoughts as they pop in my head from earlier today so they're not in any particular order:

Wow, what a gorgeous day. I got to Chain of Lakes Park relatively early for me (12:00 noon) and there was a good sized crowd. I was there by myself as my wife couldn't take off work. I had a ticket in section 5A, and had never sat there before so I had to ask an attendant where it was only to find out it was the 1st row down the 1st base line, 13 seats past the Indians dugout behind the VIP seats (which are the 2 rows of folding chairs right next to the field). That's basically a long way of saying that it was a GREAT seat.

The wind was not necessarily blowing out to leftfield that much - Iwamura simply jumped on a pitch and it got out of the park in hurry. Crawford also too it the other way with his homer. Overall, Lee did not pitch that badly.

Marte made no errors. : ) He also singled sharply to center and laid off two breaking balls and worked a walk. VERY encouraging.

Hafner looked rather 2007ish. Yikes. It was not encouraging aside from the one at bat where fouled off about 5-6 pitches, but ultimately struck out. Hafner doesn't appear to be in a groove. That is, I get the feeling that he doesn't have a whole lot of confidence when he goes to the plate. But maybe that's just me ...

Jamey Carroll had two solid hits and actually ended up in RF after starting at 2B.

The throw that Shoppach threw into CF on the attempted steal was a slow breaking pitch from Lee - so it wasn't really good pitch for him to try and get the runner.

Grady made an absolutely crazy diving catch in center.  Totally laid out and dove for the ball then held up his glove to prove it.  And this is only spring training !

J-Mike hit the ball hard twice for basehits.

Attempted to abide by LGT standards and consume the requisite adult beverages - although maybe not to the extent that the younger crowd would. I was able to hit happy hour at Beef O' Brady's where the drafts were $0.99.

2008 spring training shirts were completely sold out at Beef's. Last year I bought 2 for $5 each the last week of spring training because they had so many left over. This year they sold before the spring season ended.

The Indian's team shop was almost completely sold out of everything. Anything related to Winter Haven was long gone.

Garko signed a TON of autographs as did Wedge. Did anyone know that Grady writes right handed ? I watched him sign autographs for about 3 minutes just to the left of where I was sitting.

Bob Feller had a few words for the folks of Winter Haven after he threw out the first pitch. He has a booming voice and rattled off that "he and his wife have been coming here for the last 12 to 13 years ..." Actually, it's been 16. He told everyone that "we'll see you in Goodyear !", and then a lot of people standing around me shouted - "no you won't !" Eh, it just sucks to live in Florida and know that the Tribe isn't coming back for spring training in my lifetime. Damn it all.

When Westbrook left the park in the 3rd inning he jogged down the 1st base line and randomly tossed his hat to a little kid in the 1st row.  Jake also signed a lot of autographs.

Grady threw his jersey up into the RF stands when he jogged off and got a huge cheer.

J-Mike was jogging out of the park carrying his 3 bats and then stopped suddenly, turned around gave one of them to an elderly lady. I'm not an autograph seeker whatsoever but I would have taken a bat or a jersey.

Breslow lacked control when he entered, walking the first guy he faced. He was missing the plate by A LOT. He actually got the second strike on the first guy he faced simply by pitching so up and in, that the batter turned out of the way and ended up going around for a called strike. The next guy up Pena hit it out to RF. It's not a good sign when one of your left handed specialists comes in and fails to retire the first two lefties that he faces.

BTW, for all those who never got to Chain of Lakes Park, they have restrooms that are round.  That is, the block walls that make up the bathrooms behind the main concourse are circular - both the men's and women's.  I almost took a picture of it today but then thought better of it, for obvious reasons ...   : )

All in all, a fun day.

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