The excitement of buying my Spring Training tickets has yet to wear off. This spring is my third year of attending the games in Jupiter, which is only an hour from my place. My excitement, along with the lack of Cardinals news, allows me to take this time to get a little personal.
I moved from St. Louis to South Florida in March of 2006. The move was kind of an “all-in” situation, where not making it wasn’t an option. Although times were tough at first, and we were counting our pennies, saving enough for a Spring Training game was a must.
I’ll never forget that first game. We enjoyed a few beers as we waited for the gates to open. I had heard good things about Roger Dean Stadium, but this was my first experience. I remember thinking how small the concourse and vending area was as I passed through the entrance. I guess I was comparing it to a major league park. I made a quick stop at the beer cart before climbing the few steps to the seating area. At the top of the staircase my breath was taken away. It was amazing. I couldn’t believe how close the field was. The proximity of the players was unreal. At that moment, I thought, I’ll be back here often.
Since that first game, I’ve enjoyed several trips to Jupiter, as well as a few other ballparks within driving distance. The more I learn about Spring Training, the better it gets. I’ve seen the AB hitch, clydesdales and all, marching around the warning track just as they would in St. Louis. I’ve seen all the stars, as well as the prospects, trying to shake off the winter rust. I’ve gotten countless autographs from Cardinal greats, including Hall of Famer, Bob Gibson. Now that I know what to expect, I’m more excited about camp than ever before.
For those who haven’t been to a Spring Training game, I couldn’t recommend it more. You don’t know what you’re missing. If you can’t make it down to Florida, I’ll do my best to provide you all the insights I can. As I said in yesterday’s post, I’ve already purchased tickets to four games, and I’m sure I’ll attend more. I’ll take a ton of pictures, and do everything I can to give you an idea of all the happenings from camp. If there’s anything in particular you’d like to see or hear about, please email me, or leave me a comment.