Spring training - go for the baseball, stay for the other stuff

I have been going to Spring training on and off since 1987 when my then very pregnant wife and I went to Orlando to watch the Twins at Tinker field. A good year to see Spring training, lots of Kirby, Herbie and Killer. Best memories from that trip - running into Ron Gardenhire coming of the clubhouse, as he was trying to catch on with the Twins after being released by the Mets. Tommy Lasorda holding court behind the batting cage, Pete Rose managing the Reds and batting himself, Dave Parker running in the outfield during the game after he had his 2 ABs, just getting some work in.

Later when the kids were younger, we went t Hammond stadium best memory was having the kids hang around the parking lot so they could see the players drive out and maybe stop for an autograph. A night game at the stadium where we sat right behind third base 10 rows up. A foul ball whipped past my sons head and broke the guys shoulder sitting behind us.

Recently I go down with my much later middle aged friends every year. We have a pretty set routine for a long weekend 1) fly in grab dinner on Thursday, meet our friend who lives down in the Fort and catch up. 2) Friday golf 3) Saturday Twins game (tailgate in the lot) 4) head over to Potts - we have run into Mauers, Lavelle Neal, Blyleven and Jack Morris 5) head downtown for dinner and hang out listening at the cigar store - we ran into Gladden and Pags a couple years ago. 6) head to the beach on Sunday and fly back.

We found after seeing the games for May years, one game is enough for us. You can usually find tickets in the parking lot or walk up. Wander around the stadium for different views - much better than in the past. The guys on the practice field are going to be MiLB players running drills but it's cool to walk around.

Definitely check out the rest of Fort Myers - plenty to do, and in the end, the autographs aren't going to be worth all that much.