Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Spring Training in Lakeland

Observations after two games at Joker Marchant Stadium-

Game 1 vs Toronto March 15-

Overflowing crowd of 9400, which seemed to include 9300
on the Berm. Great place to watch a game; crowded today,
but people are friendly and more than willing to make room
for others. Seems like a giant picnic with a major league
ballgame in the background. Perfect 72 degree-and-sunny
weather, and ultimately, for a baseball fan, there isn't
anything much better.

Austin Jackson had a double and triple, Jhonny Peralta homered, Victor
Martinez had an rbi single and looked great. Rick Porcello
was very effective in 5 innings, allowing 2 runs and 4 hits.

Tigers beat Toronto 4-2 which for me is like winning a doubleheader.

Game 2 vs Washington March 17-

Sat in the bleachers on the left field line. This game proved
that a lot of spring training fans are NOT AWARE THERE IS A
SPRING TRAINING GAME TAKING PLACE! Having aisle seats sounds
great, but the parade of people coming and going up and down
the aisle made a good part of the game seem like a rumour.
Must be the spring training, laid-back atmosphere. People
heading to the concessions after first inning, people arriving
anywhere from the first to the ninth inning, vendors obscuring
our view while selling beer, lemonade, and chips. And these
guys are in a good mood too, so they like to, you know, linger,
and chat. Oh well, its spring training! And that automatically
translates into fun! No matter what! (I still wanted to see
what was happening on the field, but...........)

The game itself was wild and entertaining. Washington led 7-1
in the 6th inning when the Tigers tied it up with 2-run double by
Martinez, a 2-run single by Prince Fielder, a sac fly by H. Perez and
an rbi double by Alex Avila.

Washington regained the lead in 7th, 8-7, only to see the Tigers
go ahead 8-7 on a two run dinger by Matt Tuiasosopo, a non-
roster invitee.

The pen couldn't hold the lead, as Al Alburquerque got rocked
for 4 runs, and the Nationals held on for a 12-10 win,

Even for spring training this one was a little long, clocking in
at 3 hours and 37 minutes. Another great crowd of 8700.

The score in a spring training game is of course, fairly irrelevant.
The teams focus mainly on the quality of the pitching, while mostly
trusting that Cabrera, Jackson, Martinez, Fielder, etc, will hit.

For the fans of course, it's a great experience. Sunshine,
warm weather, a classic baseball atmosphere, and food. And drink.
Lots of it. It's fun watching people consume that much chow and
beer, knowing that you've restricted yourself to a 6 dollar bag of

Jim Skinner
Lakeland, Florida

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