Friday, February 25, 2011

Baseball is Back in Clearwater

(This post originally appeared on Bus Leagues

Over the last month, while winter held the north in its cold embrace, buses full of baseball equipment migrated to Florida and Arizona. Then, following the buses, hundreds and pitchers and dozens of catchers made their pilgrimage to their respective spring homes. Finally, a few days later, the rest of the rosters traveled from around the world to fill their positions.

Before we kick off the spring contests in full bore this weekend, I had a chance to take a sneak peak at the old ballgame by attending the almost annual contest between the Florida State Seminoles and the Philadelphia Phillies. I say "almost annual" because in the five years I have lived in Tampa, I have seen three games, there was one rain-out, and another year it was not scheduled. But no matter how often they play, for Florida State fans and alumni, myself included, the game is still a treat.

(In case you are wondering why the Seminoles take on the Phillies, it is because the mayor of Clearwater, Frank V. Hibbard, is a Florida State alumnus. To me, the fact that he brings FSU down for a game as often as possible is reason enough to keep re-electing him.)

Even though the final score was 8-0 Phillies and the Seminole bats were completely overmatched, it was good to be at Brighthouse Field. Good to see the fans, the vendors, and of course the players. Good to see the Phillies play some of their regulars - Ryan Howard, Carlos Ruiz, and Shane Victorino all contributed to the Phillies offensive attack. Good to see some obscure names such as Delwyn Young, Josh Barfield, and Brian Schneider, all of whom I thought were out of baseball. Good to do the Seminole Chop with my FSU family. Good to lead a concession stand in "Take Me Out to the Ballgame".

And best of all, it's good to know baseball is back.

Bring on the rest of the spring.