POOLSIDE 3:11 p.m. With apologies to those reading this from Philadelphia and its 49-degree temperatures, allow me one minute to mention this blog entry comes from the deck of the outdoor pool at the Embassy Suites in 82-degree Boca Raton. The Quakers are off for most of the day today and some of the guys are taking advantage of that with a little pool time.
The team was up early this morning for a little conditioning at 8 a.m. followed by a team breakfast. The rest of the day is theirs to do what they want before we head over to the park for practice at 7 p.m. Tonight’s practice is important because it will allow the squad to adjust to playing at night under the lights before taking the field for a pair of night games Thursday and Friday evenings.
When I last left you on Tuesday, we were unloading the bus in Jupiter, Florida to watch the St. Louis Cardinals host the Baltimore Orioles in Major League Baseball Spring Training. It was a nice day for baseball and the stadium the Cardinals share with the Florida Marlins was a very nice place to watch a baseball game. There were ample places around the stadium to grab some lunch before the game and from where we were sitting down the left-field line, we had a great view of the game. I wouldn’t go as far as ranking Roger Dean Stadium above City of Palms Park in Fort Myers where the Red Sox play, but to each their own.
A few highlights of the trip to the big leagues...
- The Cardinals were nice enough to announce the presence of the Quakers via the video board and public address system at the top of the sixth inning. Always nice to get your school publicized in front of 8,000 people.
- Orioles pitcher Daniel Cabrera tripped over the chalk lining the third-base line on his way out to the mound. Nothing wrong with seeing a guy standing 6-9 do somersaults on his way to the hill. Even better when he gets up and has a sense of humor about it. He was laughing during his first warm-up tosses and was able to withstand the wrath of noted prankster Kevin Millar.
- It was nice of the guys to point out the horrible tan lines created by my ankle socks I wore on the first day of the trip. In the interest of full disclosure, freshman catcher Will Davis has me beat with his perfect V-shaped sunburn exactly where he left his stylish multi-colored plaid shirt unbuttoned for six innings. Here’s hoping he doesn’t get barreled over blocking home plate tomorrow. I am fairly certain he has not made an appearance poolside today.
- Our apologies go out to the residents of Boca Raton and the surrounding communities for taking up all the washers and driers in the town last night as the team did laundry on their uniforms for the final leg of the trip. It was only two and a half hours.
Looking ahead to tomorrow’s game, the Red and Blue will take on Pitt at 7 p.m. at Santaluces High School. The Panthers are 3-7 so far in 2008. Last time out, the Panthers lost to #20 Central Florida, 8-2, in Orlando. Shortstop Danny Lopez is an offensive catalyst for Pitt, batting .341 while scoring ten runs and stealing five bases over the first ten games of the season. Outfielder Sean Conley leads the Panthers in RBI with 14 and has two home runs. Lefty Brian Chrisman is 2-1 with a 3.57 ERA . Bob Grant has been another key starter for Pitt and has struck out 24 batters over his 17 innings during his three starts in 2008.