Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Relive the magic of spring training with The Offlede

in review
The Boys of Spring

For The Offlede, Major League Baseball's spring training provided opportunities for new experiences: meeting professional athletes, jockeying for a position to get their autographs, getting perfect photos of them practicing and playing. It's a time when the fans get up close to the objects of their cheering and season-long devotion, and when the rookies have a chance to prove themselves. From a mean look from former Yankees third baseman Aaron Boone, to a heated argument by Tommy Lasorda, to the end of an era in Dodgertown, this is my take on The Boys of Spring.


Attempting to cure my case of the lazies that had me couch-ridden, I jumped off the leather piece of furniture and went to watch spring training workouts. I'm a huge baseball fan, and the stadium is only 10 minutes away, so I really didn't have an excuse. I annoyed Nationals manager Manny Acta, above, with my camera.


I forgive you, Aaron !@#$&% Boone

Aaron Boone looks at me like I'm stupid. He wants to say to me, "Are you serious? I'm trying to sign this bat. Stop taking photos! Let me concentrate! Does this look easy to you?" This also was the first day of the new telephoto lens, so the photos were improved.


D-Lowe, Nomar are still together

I hit up Dodgertown, the Los Angeles spring training complex in Vero Beach, about a 50-minute haul from Melb0urne. I got peaks at former Sox stars Nomar Garciaparra and Derek Lowe, as well as Tommy Lasorda, Joe Torre and Don Mattingly.


Wily Mo Pena misses Red Sox

Wily Mo Pena seems quite distressed now that he's with a losing team, the Washington Nationals. He was known for many great blasts over the Green Monster and onto Lansdown Street during his time with the Red Sox. He added his autograph to my Nats baseball. I also got close to Bret Boone.


Astros stick tongues out at fans

Kissimmee has been the red hot French Kissimmee in the past few days because Roger Clemens just started to throw batting practice to minor leaguers. And because he's fighting off accusations of steroid use, he has had more to worry about than the L-screen and the occasional line-drive that gets by it. I wonder if he would do any better against major leaguers.


Georgetown students face pros

The Washington Nationals played their first home spring training game against the Georgetown Hoyas, a college team. It would have been funny if the Nats had lost, but they didn't. The Hoyas got crushed, 14-0. The kid above got about a million free baseballs.


Troy Glaus and I ask, "What's the deal?"

What's the deal with ticket distribution these days? I paid $40 for two "good" seats at Space Coast Stadium to see a spring training game. But apparently, they weren't as good as I thought. And when I tried to improve them, I got the boot.


Red Sox come to Dodgertown

The final hours are winding down on the Los Angeles Dodgers' storied history at Dodgertown, the Vero Beach complex that is known for its family friendly atmosphere and that still conjures the old, high-socks days of Major League Baseball. A Dodgers game against the Boston Red Sox was a perfect opportunity to see the packed Holman Stadium for myself and to see the Sox in action for my first time.


Tommy Lasorda argues with umpire

The old man still has it. As Joe Torre and the rest of the Los Angeles Dodgers made for a spring training game in China, the better half of the split squad was under the management of 80-year-old Norristown, Pa., native Tommy Lasorda. And he gave 'em hell.


Mets celebrate holiday, new governor

New Yorkers hope the luck of the Irish, above, helps plow a path toward political success in their state with new Gov. David Paterson, who replaced disgraced Democrat Eliot Spitzer. Maybe it will leave them dancing in fields of green, as the Mets did with a 7-4 win.


Marlon Anderson gloves, dips, dives

New York Mets first baseman Marlon Anderson did a little tumble once he caught a pop fly during the St. Patrick's Day game with the Washington Nationals. Watch a slideshow of the event.

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