Baseball is Spoken Here

Spring Training.JPG

Saturday was all about baseball for me, but in two very different atmospheres. The first, was at Spring Training, a very intimate environment. It doesn’t really matter, but the minor leaguers are trying to impress, and the major leaguers are working on their stuff. In fact, the only regular starter from the Red Sox that played was Jed Lowrie. Then at night, there was the World Baseball Classic, and that was an experience different from anything I’ve ever felt before. 

In the morning, I was forced to be a “filler” at a debate tournament– a complete waste of my time! I was able to get out by 11 though, so I was off to Fort Lauderdale stadium. I arrived there around 12:30 so I had a half an hour to get autographs. 
Josh Reddick 5.JPG
The first came from Josh Reddick, and I’m pretty sure I was the only one there who knew his name. ‘JOSH!’ I yelled. I’ve been pretty impressed with him throughout Spring Training. The last time I was at a Spring Training game, I noted that Reddick needed more confidence. I think that has come. 
Lars Anderson 3.JPG
Then it was Lars Anderson. I had his autograph from before, but how could I just let an opportunity pass? So I took off my hat, and when he pointed to me, I threw it at him. Lars and I definitely have a connection seeing that I have his autograph twice. 
The last autograph of that day came from Rocco Baldelli. Rays Renegade was right, Rocco does sign for the ladies :). One of my foul balls is all filled up– by minor league or bench players! It’s going to be pretty cool when I see them in the Majors so I can say: ‘Hey, I got his autograph before anyone knew who he was!’. That has already happened with Jed Lowrie. 
So what are my impressions for this Spring Training game? 
Josh Reddick double.JPG
Josh Reddick had a beautiful lead off double, and he had a great attempt at a bunt. It literally rolled perfectly down the third base line before rolling foul after he had reached first base. When a home run was given up by Adam Mills, (I’ll get to him later) Reddick wasn’t able to get it, but he climbed the wall pretty high!
Jed Lowrie 4.JPG
Jed Lowrie looked pretty good as he had a double and looked pretty solid defensively. Rocco Baldelli was the designated hitter and he has a pretty big swing, which later produced a nice double down the third base line and a hit through the gap to tie the game at one point. 
Chris Carter didn’t have his best day ever, but that was simply because he was swinging a bit too early at bad pitches. Josh Bard continues to make a good run for the backup catcher as he got a couple of nice hits and did well behind the plate. 
Jeff Bailey hit a triple, and had some great hustle to get there, and Nick Green looked pretty nice defensively. Mark Wagner, also competing for the backup catcher job had a great throw to get the runner out at second. 
Pitching
Besides giving up a two run homer, Adam Mills looked pretty good, I would love to see more of him. Devern Hansack followed him and gave up two home runs in his outing, and needs to work on his pickoff attempts, or just avoid them. 
Marcus McBeth had what was probably his best outing of the Spring. He didn’t even give up any home runs! He throws pretty hard, has nice placement, and struck out two. He was followed by Hunter Jones who gave up a home run, but also has nice placement and form. 
Watching Wes Littleton warm up is very entertaining. He throws from the side but has beautiful command, and spots the ball well. Despite this, he is unable to execute on the mound. 
The Sox tied up the game in the top of the ninth, but Dustin Richardson gave up a walk-off home run to end the game. I loved seeing the minor leaguers play, it was like a ‘Projects Game’. 
World Baseball Classic 
There was a beautiful juxtaposition between Spring Training and the World Baseball Classic. I had assumed that there would be one, but to actually be there was absolutely incredible. It evoked a sense of patriotism that I had never felt before. 
There were definitely more Puerto Rican fans than there were American, which was so cool because it made me realize that this is all about national pride! Before the game, as we stood to listen to each country’s respective national anthem, it made me feel really proud to be an American, it gave it a new meaning. It was the same version that Ken Burns opened his ‘Baseball’ series with. 
roster.JPG
The stadium erupted when the rosters were announced, especially for Puerto Rico– it was absolutely deafening. Then, as five people walked out carrying five different flags, it made me realize that I really had never been a part of something like this. 
field of dreams.JPG
It was truly a playoff atmosphere, it felt I was out of the Olympics. And you know how cool it is to see all those flashes going off throughout the stands? Well, it was pretty cool to be one of those flashes. 
The game itself though, w
as a bit disappointing to say the least. After all, the United States did get mercy ruled. If you were watching the game (or even listening to it), you knew that Jake Peavy didn’t have his stuff. I have to say though, if it’s really different from me going from Spring Training to the WBC, I can’t imagine how it is for him. 
Velazquez looked great though, and so did Ivan Rodriguez. He is probably the most impressive player of the Classic thus far. The fact that he does not have a job yet is still “flabbergasting” to me (I felt I just had to use that word). 
flags.JPG
The coolest part though for me, was realizing how baseball is a universal language. Baseball is spoken here. It doesn’t matter who you are, or where you are from– we all know that after four balls you get walked, and after three strikes, you’re out. Everyone knows what a home run is, and everybody cheers at the same time. It is incredible what baseball does–it brings us together.
Photo Credit: me
-Elizabeth 

19 Comments

Great post and photos. I would love to come down to spring training sometime. Must have been wild to be at the WBC game.

Greg
Red Sox Ramblings: http://thevendahhh.mlblogs.com

Elizabeth – what a great time you had! Yes, the WBC game was disappointing, but it still must have been great to be there! Great pictures and I am pretty sure that you & Lars have a connection! ;-)

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Talk about a doubleheader! Great pix and analysis. I bet Pudge will get a job after his performance in the WBC. Teams have to be taking a second look at him now.

- http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

Wow, what a memorable day! Thanks for sharing the experience with us!

Scott
http://fotr.mlblogs.com

Elizabeth,Great post! I love the pics, too! You are soooo lucky that you get to see spring training and the WBC. Too bad the US didn’t really show up for this one, though. It sounds like Pedroia isn’t too badly injured and should be back in the next few days, so that’s good news for the Sox.-Erinhttp://plunking-gomez.mlblogs.com

I’m so jealous you went to the WBC game…. but glad you had a good time.. and yes, this game is universal.. I love it.
p.s. attempting to host an in-gamer for the USA game tonight.. stop by if you have the chance :) http://tinyurl.com/c46e6w
- V [ http://flairforthedramatic.mlblogs.com ]

There is a definitely a unique atmosphere to international sporting events that I can sense on television, but I have yet to experience it in person. Hopefully, the US can rebound vs. the Netherlands tonight.

Mark
philliesperspective.mlblogs.com

Greg: It was wild, and it was loud too! You definitely should make the trip, I love it!

Julia: Oh we certainly do haha

Jane: Thanks, and teams should be giving him a second look, they can’t underestimate a guy like him.

Scott: I’m glad that I could!

Erin: I hope he is okay!

Vanessa: I’ll be there!

Mark: I hope so too!

That’s awesome you got to check out live baseball and the WBC even though it was mucho crappy. I don’t want to get too jealous to early : )
Tom
http://rockymountainway.mlblogs.com

So lucky! I, being in NM and all, occasionally catch a Cactus League game, but the only baseball game I have ever seen in Florida was Yankees-(Devil)Rays 2 years ago. And to see Puerto Rico play! Congrats on a great couple of baseball days.
http://newmexicanyanksfan.mlblogs.com

It is my humble opinion that they need to play this at the end of the year like when the Arizona Fall League likes to play. That way the players if they do get hurt can recover faster in time for the MLB season.
Aaron
http://mlbtribefan.mlblogs.com

I forgot to mention these were my thoughts on the WBC.
Aaron
http://mlbtribefan.mlblogs.com

Elizabeth, do you have the Ken Burns’ Baseball Documentary? Have you watched the entire series? I have seen it, but do not own it (I do have the Civil War Documentary, though!). LOVE it–I would recommend it (and The Civil War) to anyone.
Fun stuff you’ve shared. I will just have to settle for our Asheville Tourists (Rockies Class-A farm club). Your comments about patriotism were interesting–reminded me somewhat of what we, as Americans, felt when we beat the Soviets in the 1980 Olympics in hockey. The WBC is not the Olympics in stature, but national pride is national pride! Thanks. GO SOX!

I would add, also, that your comments about baseball being a language everyone can speak, no matter what your country, is something we should celebrate, even as baseball is celebrated here as a “national pastime”!

Elizabeth,
You saw both games in one day? Unreal. I thought I was a baseball junkie, but you’ve got me beat. Do you know Pedroia’s status? I haven’t heard much. I completely agree with your take on the minor leaguers. Sometimes more fun to watch them because it means everything to them. Of course, don’t the major leaguers have to keep their eyes over their shoulder, just in case these minor league boys are better? (Like Lowrie over Lugo?)

Great recap! Sounds like you had so much fun!! I’m glad that you got to see Jake pitch, but he didn’t do that well. So cool that you got to go to a WBC game! It’s like the Olympics! (well, not really. but kind of close)
http://kaybee.mlblogs.com

Tommy: I’m pretty jealous of YOU traveling all around the country following the Rockies :)

Neal: Thanks, and I hope that you can go to some more Cactus League games!

Aaron: I agree, but we need to give players time to recover from the long season.

Greg: I WISH I had it, but I have seen most of them. They are an absolute pleasure to watch. Those ball games (Single A) are always fun to go to.

Jacobyluvr: Good thing about Pedroia is that his injury isn’t too serious. We could see him back on the field this week. I’ll go more in depth later. By the way, for some more info on Junichi Tazawa, check out this article I wrote at http://mlbcenter.com (go to Red Sox Prospects)

Kaybee: I know that Jake didn’t do well, but we have to remember that it’s ST. I think he’ll do fine this year.

-Elizabeth

What a great day you had! It definitely looks that you had a lot of fun. Nice pictures too! Thanks for sharing with us.
http://hyunyoung.mlblogs.com

Elizabeth, After reading your report here on the WBC, I am more looking forward to this weekend at Dodger Stadium!
Emma
http://crzblue.mlblogs.com/

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