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Things Left Behind in Florida

We had a chance recently to take in a game at Hammond Stadium. It was my first time at this park, my only prior Spring Training fandom going all the way back to the old Tinker Field. This is a nice venue. And you’ll see a few things you won’t find up at Target Field.

The parking guys for instance. It costs you ten bucks to park. Worth the price I say. The Parking Guys put on an enthusiastic, choreographed show. The way they wave their batons and darn near dance step you into your spots was really fun. They reminded me of the guys who help land jets on carriers. They are all deeply tanned older guys. Probably school crossing guards finally able to let it all hang out.

Most game day give aways are of dubious quality and utility. But in the harsh, unforgiving Florida sunlight this freebie sunscreen was great. In the background you can see the sloped lawn out beyond the left field fence. A fine place to watch a ballgame on a delightful day.

Per this handy guide you can find interesting concessions at the park.

I missed the “Beer Shakes” for sale in the Beer Garden and had no interest in the “Healthy Food Cart”. In fact most ballpark food seemed a bit out of place in a tropical paradise. I settled on a bowl of Orange Dreamsicle ice cream that fit in just fine.

In any new ball park I visit there is a mandatory full circuit tour necessary. As I walked past the midpoint of dead center field I saw fans peering intently over the railing. Not the one facing the field, the other one. Every place in Florida is inches from the water table and every body of standing water can be assumed to contain at least one alligator. I asked the security staff if this one had a name. She laughed, said no and told me it might be her job to go ‘rassel it’. Clearly my old Met Stadium and Metrodome routine of finding a free distant parking place and hiking in would be ill advised here. That ten spot suddenly looked like an even better investment.

Oh yes, there was a ball game going on. It was lackluster. Joe Ryan seemed a bit rusty but all the other Twins pitchers were OK. Alas our lads had an off day offensively with what little action there was being provided by a journeyman whose name is both unusual and close enough in spelling to mine that we are certainly distant relatives.

Hopefully he comes North. But the cold bats and the alligator can stay in Fort Meyers. The sunscreen we won’t be needing for a while.....