Spring Training 2016 Part 3: Yankees v. Phillies, Glutton for Punishment

I thought I was done with my little Spring Training tour for now, but I woke up Sunday feeling malaise that it would be a day without baseball in person. Kevin S. to the rescue! He helpfully reminded me that the Yankees would be playing the Phillies but a stone’s throw from me at Brighthouse Field. Bah, the Yankees. He sweetened the pot by mentioning Tanaka would be the starting pitcher. Now, my interest was piqued. Since it doesn’t take much more convincing than “Do it!” for me to do something, I was sold. This game, however, would require family involvement–the children.

We arrived at Brighthouse Field early to see Tanaka warm up. I have been to Brighthouse Field more times than I can count. I have always thought it an attractive Spring Training and minor league facility, but now that I had the memory of Ed Smith Stadium, Ed Hammond, and JetBlue Park so fresh in my mind, I found it lacking somehow. Familiarity in this case has bred contempt, although I know objectively, there is nothing wrong with it. I noticed its flaws–the power lines you can see in the distance–instead of its beauty, or maybe it was because it was jam packed with Yankees and Phillies fans. No, seriously, the moment I saw it from the distance, it was like an old annoying boyfriend. I wanted the shiny new exciting stadium I met last night that seemed flawless with its perfect sunset. I know I was being unfair.

The exterior is similar to Ed Smith’s–Spanish Mediterranean stucco with tile roofs and arched entrances. Outside the main entrance is a fountain with a statue of Steve Carlton. (Picture taking had a degree of difficult today of 10,000 because I had to play mommy–if it’s not my picture, I’ll credit the source.)

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Wikimedia. It definitely looks better without all the Yankees and Phillies fans. 🙂

There is definitely a party vibe at Brighthouse Field. The thatched roofed tiki bar in left field run by Frenchy’s, a popular local bar/restaurant chain helps to nourish that feel. A lot of people get SRO tickets and just hang out there for the whole game. You can get your foofoo drinks here. It’s very crowded to navigate and the air is rich with cigarette smoke. Now, I don’t mind the smell of pot–it’s like incense–but cigarette smoke irritates the hell out of me. I avoid this area.

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Source:  Mike Heckendorn

There is a playground area, much to my chagrin, where you can’t even watch the game. If the kids want to go play, the parents can’t see any of the game. A nice amenity would be a television in that area. Yes, I suppose they want you to watch your kids, but I am at a baseball game. I suppose I am here because I want to watch the game. Guess where I spent a couple of innings?

o

Source: Yelp. Why? A Playground? Thanks, guys.

You might be aware that Hooters girls are the ball girls at Brighthouse Field. Clearwater is the home of the original Hooters, so naturally, the Phillies want to honor this historical landmark. If you are ever visiting locally and you must have boobs with your wings, I would recommend Wing House over Hooters. The wings are much, much better, and the girls are just as pretty (actually they are dressed in black shorts and tops, which is much more flattering than that ugly orange). Or, just hire a hooker and eat wings with her. Why get sexually frustrated? Have your wings and eat them too. Wow, I have really gone on a tangent here. Back to baseball.

The vibe was definitely not as laid back as it had been for the past three spring training games. I heard a Yankees fan yell, “Phillies suck!” One, yes, we know. Thanks, Captain Obvious. Two, no one yells that at a Spring Training game. No one heckles. (Unless it is Jim Norton heckling Alex Rodriguez at a Spring Training game and posting it live on Twitter. Did anyone else see that last year? It was hilarious.)

Watching Tanaka warm-up, Yankees fans were harassing him for an autograph. I have been to a lot of Spring Training games. I have been to a lot of games at Tropicana Field. I have never seen anyone harass a starting pitcher while he is warming up. I said to one fan, “He’s working; he can’t sign your autograph right now.” Don’t you want your pitcher properly warmed up and focused? Would you want him thinking about anything else? I know this is just Spring Training, but this is prep work for the season. There’s etiquette. My god, New Yorkers can be so annoying. I’m a New Yorker. Thanks for reminding me why I left. They were making Phillies fans look so good.

I picked a great spot in the berm that was nicely positioned next to the bullpen. The field has a strange set up for the bullpen–the two teams are parallel to each other so there are no secrets here. I got great shots of Tanaka. I could practically whisper sweet nothings in his ear, but I didn’t, because I have manners. And I don’t speak Japanese.

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Tanaka. Yes, I was standing that close, and that was without a zoom.

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This was zoom. I like the detail in the 19.

Tanaka looked freaking awesome. That’s my scouting report. His control is a fucking dream. Catcher said here. Here it went. There. There it went. Amazing pinpoint control. Could probably thread a needle with a baseball. All 10,000 of his pitches looked like they were working to me.

It wasn’t all bad Yankees fan though. On the berm, I was sitting next to this dad and his two young daughters, age 9 and 6, who hit it off with my kids, age 7 and 4. This dad is a Yankees fan, but somehow was still nice. His wife was at home with their two year daughter, and they were expecting their fourth daughter. “Kept trying for that boy?” I asked. “Yep.” he replied. “Gonna keep trying?” I asked. “Nope.” he laughed.

#41 started warming up in their bullpen. I asked pregnant dad if he knew he who he was. “Nope.” Since the Yankees still insist on no names on the back of their uniforms because it is 1957 and free agency doesn’t exist and players never shuffle around, I had to look him up. The reason I was curious is because a big burly Yankees fan had saddled up to the bullpen and yelled, “You know who else wore #41? Tom Seavah! (sic).” I want you to hear his accent. “You gonna be just like you him. You got great stuff! Look at you, hitting your spots! Whatta fastball! Tom Seavah! Don’t you forget!” If my eyes rolled any harder, they would have popped out of their sockets. You heard it hear first. Non-roster invitee Anthony Swarzak is the next Tom Seaver according to big burly Yankees fan. Pick him up for your dynasty leagues.

The “You suck” Phillies won 6-5 and I was happy, because seriously, Yankees fans. You made me root against your team even during a Spring Training game, and nobody cares who wins a Spring Training game.

(Forgive all the typos. Feel free to edit them, fellow bloggers. I gotta go to work.)

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40 thoughts on “Spring Training 2016 Part 3: Yankees v. Phillies, Glutton for Punishment

  1. Really enjoyed the Spring Training Game Series.

    Never thought I would read a post on the blog that ended with “bowchickabowow” or see the suggestion to hire a hook and take her out for wings rather than going to hooters….at least one of them is honest about selling sex.

    The one time I went to Boston I also played “find the black person”. I haven’t been to that many big cities in the US (a dozen or so, I guess), but I’ve never been to one that was so lily white everywhere you looked. We took the train into town, then the subway to the stadium, and sat way down the RF line. Just white people everywhere…no black people, few latinos, I saw more Asians or middle easterners and they seemed to be tourists….but pretty much everyone was white. We ate and drank at a huge bar/restaurant before the game….had to be 200+ people there….and it was 100% white. Just….weird.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s one reason I think I liked Ed Smith so much. The beautiful people–white, black, Asians, Latinos–I saw everyone. The Orioles seem to attract a diverse fan base. Of course, this is just one night. The sunset, the perfect weather, the foul ball. It was an excellent night.

      Liked by 1 person

    • “see the suggestion to hire a hook and take her out for wings rather than going to hooters….at least one of them is honest about selling sex.”

      I’m thinking of also writing tourist guides for the area. I tell you the truth. 🙂

      I cannot go to one of those wing places without thinking of this:

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      • I’ve only been to a Hooters once…and that was with the family when my then 10 yr old nephew kept chanting “Hooters! Hooters! Hooters!” when the subject of going somewhere to eat came up. Apparently, that was when they shifted to being a more family oriented eatery?

        During the time I spent in Paraguay, the only place I could expect to see a white person was in Asuncion. I was traveling throughout the entire country (not with the goal of traveling, per se), the collection localities were just spread throughout the entire country. Paraguay isn’t exactly a tourist destination, so it was rare to see a white person, and if you did, there was probably a group of them all wearing the official Mennonite uniform. I was asked by a few different times if I spoke German, with the question asked in German….I think they thought I was a former Mennonite, as it was getting more common then for some to leave and not come back. I saw one black guy the whole time I was in Paraguay….turns out, he worked in the US embassy.

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        • The Dominican Republic is kinda like that too. We have light skinned Dominicans (thank shithead Trujillo and their racist policies) but generally, people look the same. I don’t like it. I prefer everybody. That is how I grew up.

          I affiliate American. I was born here. As flawed as our country can be sometimes, it has one wonderful feature. All the ethnicities that live here in relative peace. Yes, we fight–terribly sometimes. Culture clashes.

          I hear Toronto is like that. I’d probably like Toronto a lot.

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        • I should amend–the DR is like that in the places I visit. I typically stay with family, off the beaten path. At the resorts, it is full of white people. I have stayed at resorts a couple of times as a little treat there. It’s nice to have electricity 24/7. I am a “spoiled” American.

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    • Go to Roxbury! Other than on campuses, Boston is still kind of segregated and will be in the near future. Only people who can afford to live anywhere by Fenway, live by Fenway. You may see people of color but I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that they make 100 grand/year.

      20 years ago the combat zone…Aka as Roxbury, was 80% black, now even Sully from the North End moved there because he couldn’t afford anything else. When young, entitled ,white, rich guys are getting all the apartments, good paying jobs, legacy scholarships, contacts with their parents connections, 3,000/ month 1 br studio and all the other perks that there connections will get them…why are you surprised?

      Basically the same as any big city in America. Boston may be racist, but so is St. Louis, N.Y., L.A. etc. Gentrification will either make racist more tolerant, or it will do the exact opposite and bring us back to the 60’s.

      Either way, don’t peer down your nose and make it seem like the most racist city in the US when you can look at most of the South and a good portion of flyover country for the Trump voters,

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      • Of course, every city has racism. I am not going to pretend NYC is some perfect oasis. It is not. You hear about it on the news. There are pockets of NYC–Howard Beach, for example–that are still pretty bad. My experience though was much more peaceful and multi-ethnic. My best friend since I was 11 years old is Irish-American. A group of us girls, multi-ethnic, have been friends since middle school. NYC, slappy. She’s the milk, I’m the cafe au lait, and the other is the black coffee (she was so naughty, always hitting on my dad!)

        I went to a huge high school. My graduating class had 800 students in its high school class and had your generic mutt whites including German, Irish (oh, you Irish boys), Italian, Jews, plus Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Mexicans, Indians, Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, blacks, Muslim (Iranian, Pakistani)… you get the idea. I hung out with people of all those ethnicities due to my various extra-curricular activities. It was awesome. We looked like a fucking Benetton ad from the 80s.

        I hear that Bensonhurst, a formerly very racist neighborhood in Brooklyn, is now ethnically diverse. You may know it as the “Do The Right Thing” neighborhood. There’s always hope.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’m sorry Inda, what I wrote was directed at paper and not you at all..my bad. You can do no wrong in my book, but I am very tolerant of Boston hate most of the time and even do it myself, however, when someone who grew up in St. Louis decides to say that Boston is the bellwether city for racism, I had to defend it. Again, I replied to the wrong post, it was Paperlions that ticks me off and even then he didn’t single out Boston, it just felt like pot meet kettle, know what I mean?

          @ Paperlions, I probably took it out of context and I don’t mean to imply you’re a racist, but if I would have said anything about Ferguson, you would have a rebuttal to.

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        • Kinda my point. You can smoke a joint across from the police station in Boston wether you’re black or white with the worst case scenario being a fine, which is a stupid tax on someone who is dumb enough to do it. Try that in N.Y. or St. Louis and you might get shot.

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      • Who said anything about Racism? I just said it was all white people….because it was. It was an observation, not a moral judgement.

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        • The one time I went to Boston I also played “find the black person”. I haven’t been to that many big cities in the US (a dozen or so, I guess), but I’ve never been to one that was so lily white everywhere you looked. We took the train into town, then the subway to the stadium, and sat way down the RF line. Just white people everywhere…no black people, few latinos, I saw more Asians or middle easterners and they seemed to be tourists….but pretty much everyone was white. We ate and drank at a huge bar/restaurant before the game….had to be 200+ people there….and it was 100% white. Just….weird.

          So….am I to assume that WASN’T a ” moral judgement”…. really? Not trying to start an argument, but if that isn’t a ” moral judgement” then I guess that I have never seen one! Try going anywhere in Boston that isn’t to Fenway, I guess that would entail more than three hours of your time. You would be able to ” find the black person” within two seconds.

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        • Oh fuck off then.

          Apparently, black people also don’t ride the subway or go to baseball games in Boston. It is weird to be ANYWHERE in a major US city and to see only white people. All I said was that it was weird….because it fucking is weird.

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        • Okay, you’re right, you get to be the arbiter of racial fucking harmony because the day you spent in Boston didn’t live up to YOUR expectations and YOUR experiences, then of course it’s because ONLY white people hang out where you went. You expect me to believe that you went to a Sox game and saw not a single minority but “tourists” ? Get the fuck out of here with that shit!

          Really? I expect more of your posts than that. You could have just done a fucking Ortiz is cancer and the Sox suck, but no, you had to make it out like in the 3 fucking hours you were at Fenway you didn’t see a single person who was black? Really? Belecheck, Brady and Trump don’t have that kinda luck.

          Tl;Dr- fuck right the off back at you! Project much?

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  2. Now I’m disappointed. When I saw that picture of “Frenchy’s”, I had hoped that Jeff Francoeur had enjoyed being a Phillie so much that he opened a bar at their spring training complex.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. You made me root against your team even during a Spring Training game, and nobody cares who wins a Spring Training game.

    It’s like you’re trying to tell me something, but I just don’t understand!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Nik Schwartz over at Fox Sports is similarly affected
        “Mets second baseman hits clutch inside-the-park home run”
        It’s freaking SPRING TRAINING, not the NLCS.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It gets crazy in spring. I think it is because baseball has been gone so long by March.

        Ken Giles choked his first relief appearance with the Astros (against the Mets on Saturday) and all of a sudden the papers are full of speculation on the trade deal and how the battle with Gregerson for the closer job will go.

        People! It’s March 5th. He was working on his slider and it’s not dropping yet. Worry at the end of the month. This is just warming up.

        Liked by 2 people

        • The fans typically are not nuts. Even Phillies fans are pretty laid back, at least the ones visiting. I don’t watch many televised spring training games.

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  4. Nice series, Indy. I enjoyed catching up on your ST adventures. Busy all week end, so I read them this morning. I’m in a baseball mood now!

    BTW, I saw your note for Karaoke singing, too. I have a rather long story about singing in bars in Japan that I will share at a later date. This was back in the 1980’s.

    Liked by 1 person

      • In January 1988 a friend of mine and I were sent by our company to do a technical consult at a chemical plant in Japan. It was located in a small town not far by bullet train from Nagoya. We spent about a month there and got a pretty full-dip immersion into Japanese business culture of the time.

        For reference, you could say that the experience was very “Lost in Translation” – although without the Scarlett Johansson part, more’s the pity.

        Our hosts were in general impeccable in their hospitality. The relatively small town where we stayed was not very used to hosting Americans at the time; we were something of a rarity – so they organized various dance and theatre presentations for us and took us on a guided tour of the sacred sites in Kyoto.

        All very cool. But part of the hospitality was the good old-fashioned Japanese business dinner – which some of you may be familiar with. I’m not sure how it is these days; but in 1988 it was very male, very loud; kneeling at a table eating lots of raw fish and drinking vast quantities of alcohol (primarily beer). Over the course of the time we were there we probably survived about ten of those dinners. Karaoke was actually pretty new in the United States then, and I’m not sure it was that much older in Japan. But, after we had been imbibing vast quantities for a while, our hosts would urge us to get the microphone up front and do some singing. Not being by nature a heavy drinker, I was usually in a state by that point where it was pretty easy to talk me into it.

        I played a musical instrument in high school, but at that point in my life I had no training in singing (I have since improved on that item). I was pretty damned horrible. But they loved it. It was either the fact that they could get these foreigners to do the stuff, or maybe they just thought i was hilarious. Amazingly, all the karaoke I saw there was in English, even for people who spoke almost no English. There was a little video screen up at the front that you could follow while people cheered you on.

        They loved pop ballads. I remember singing “Diana” by Paul Anka over and over. It was funny, because translated into Japanese and back into English, the songs could be a lot different from what you expected. But Sinatra was The Man. You had to develop a whole repertoire of Sinatra hits.

        In fact, my traveling buddy and I became a karaoke duet. The whole bar would be cheering and yelling as we sang the stuff. And we were terrible. But they would hardly let us sit down. We finally developed a routine. When it was time to leave the bar, our friends would go get the taxi and get our coats. Paul and I would do a final rendition of “My Way” and then I would shout “Soshite oyasumi, min’na arigatōgozaimasu!”
        (roughly, “Thank you everybody, and good night!”)

        It was fun. And I can imagine nothing I have done in my life that was less like me. But that was long ago and far away……..

        Liked by 2 people

        • That story is fantastic. You win the Karaoke Blog.

          I would pay money and/or give up a couple of days of my life to have seen you doing that. (The latter years anyway–those last few days suck, I’ve seen them.)

          “For reference, you could say that the experience was very “Lost in Translation” – although without the Scarlett Johansson part, more’s the pity.”

          I bet your wife was pretty happy about that. 😉 She is one beautiful woman.

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        • All of the witnesses but one have not survived the last 30 years or live at least seven thousand miles away. Paul, my fellow traveler, is several years older than I. But he told the story at his retirement party.

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        • Nah, I let 28 years of regular life do the job, Indy. Besides, most of the survivors were just as drunk as I was. They didn’t know who I was, and they all live in a little town in southern Japan.

          That’s pretty covered up.

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        • If you met me in person you would probably assume stone-cold assassin was more likely that drunken karaoke singer.

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  5. And Inda continues to absolutely refuse to give COPO any credit whatsoever. He’s the one who mentioned Tanaka pitching. At this point, he could break the news that Mike Trout got suspended for PEDs and she’d give me credit for it. 😛

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  6. “Or, just hire a hooker and eat wings with her. Why get sexually frustrated? Have your wings and eat them too. Wow, I have really gone on a tangent here. Back to baseball.”

    Yeah, that. HA!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Spring Training 2016 Part 3: Yankees v. Phillies, Glutton for Punishment – Random Thoughts and Other Musings

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