The View From Section 29 writer’s strike is over. The writers won. My last post was on May 28th. The Red Sox were in 1st place, a game and a half ahead of the Yankees. The post was “Worst to First in 4 Weeks.” No need to dwell on that.
Two weeks later Kara and I took a ballpark road trip to Florida. We saw the Marlins host the Diamondbacks at Sun Life Stadium (formerly Land Shark Stadium, Dolphins Stadium, Pro Player Stadium and Joe Robbie Stadium. There might have been another name that I forgot.
We were in our seats in time for the scheduled start, but the game was delayed because there was a small cloud somewhere in the azure blue sky. Nothing like Boston, where they’ll wait through three hours of heavy downpour to try and get the game in.
I took a shot of the first pitch. Quite the crowd. MLB.com listed the attendance at 15,000, but I swear I’ve been to Cape Cod League games with more people watching from lawn chairs. Arizona blew out the Marlins. As we walked through the practically empty concourse there were several displays of the new Marlins ballpark opening in 2012. It will have a retractable roof and be on the site of the old Orange Bowl. The team will be renamed the Miami Marlins. Remember, when the Marlins began playing in 1993 they were the only team in Florida. The Devil Rays didn’t exist until 1998 and didn’t actually play games of any consequence until they exorcised the Devil ten years later.
So who’s paying for this nice new stadium? It sure isn’t coming from ticket sales.
The next day we drove across Alligator Alley and headed for St. Petersburg to see the Red Sox play the Rays at the Trop. It’s a much more colorful place. The concourses have a Disney World feel, and the crowd was two or three times the size of Miami’s. Still, there were an awful lot of empty blue seats.
They have a crappy fake field and it seemed like half of the fans were from Boston. Lots of Red Sox and Bruins apparrel. When the Rays were in the World Series in 2008 they handed out annoying cowbells for the fans to ring if anything good for happened for Tampa Bay. In case the fans nodded off, the scoreboard would remind you to ring your bell. This night there was only one cowbell in sight. An old guy who would wake up from time to time and ring it – even if we were in the middle of something boring like a pitching change.
Tim Wakefield was pitching for the Red Sox, and he gave up an incredibly cheap home run to Evan Longoria. A line drive right down the line in left. Over the fence by the pole. At the Trop it’s only 315 feet down the left field line and the fence is – get this – four feet. It makes right field at Yankee Stadium (314 feet, 8 foot fence) look tough, and left field at Fenway (312 feet, 37 foot wall) look impossible.
Still, it was a fun trip. Then we came back and enjoyed watching the Red Sox be the best team in baseball during June, July and August. I’ll leave it at that.
Now the World Series is underway. The Tigers knocked the Yankees out of the playoffs, thanks to some great offense and defense by one Don Kelly. Spelled incorrectly, but when the network announcers say the name it sounds the same. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing it.
I’m rooting for St. Louis because 1) they’re not Texas, 2) the Cardinals, even though they beat the Red Sox twice in the World Series, lay down for us in 2004, plus they are already #2 on the all-time World Series win list. Anything that takes them one step closer to the Yankees record is a good thing.