Blowin’ In the Wind

My good friend Dylan – original fantasy league member and Foul Line contributor – and I have a tradition where we go to at least one spring training game a year. This has been going on for several years, and it’s always a great time. The thing about going to a game with Dylan is that something crazy/fun/outlandish happens every time. That, and I’m pretty certain that we’ve never witnessed a Red Sox victory. During the years of going to games with Dylan, some of the highlights have been seeing the two Red Sox World Series trophies and getting great pictures with them, getting interviewed by, the Jed Lowrie foul ball game, meeting Nick from the Penalty Box bar in Rhode Island, the Great Ellsbury Birthplace Debate, and meeting Dewayne Staats. But today’s game may have been the craziest. Today’s game will be known as “the one where we almost watched someone die.”

The best thing about going to a game with Dylan is the constant banter. All the topics are covered: baseball, personal lives, politics, travel, The Foul Line. It’s always witty, and I’m constantly laughing. It makes for a great baseball viewing experience. A few weeks back, Dylan texted me and asked if I wanted to go see the Sox and Cardinals play on February 26th at jetBlue Park in Fort Myers. He was going to get standing-room-only Green Monster tickets. Of course I was in.

I picked him up at his house for the five-minute drive to the park. Upon getting to the stadium an hour and a half early, we noticed a strong 30-mph wind blowing straight out to center field. It was going to be a bad day to be a pitcher. Dylan grabbed a sausage & pepper sandwich with a Sam Adams. I opted for the Fenway Frank and a 312 wheat beer, and we made our way to the top of the Green Monster. The thing about jetBlue Park is that that everyone working there is a prick. I didn’t see one person smile the entire day. They’re working at a beautiful stadium, watching the most beloved team in all of sports, and they treat everyone like they’re wearing an “I love George Steinbrenner” shirt. It’s bizarre.

Anyhow, Dylan and I grabbed a spot on the wall and started watching the Cardinals take batting practice. Balls just started launching out of the park. Texas-Leaguers were carrying in the monsoon-like winds. At this point, more and more people were making their way to the top of the Monster with hopes of catching a BP ball.

It was the typical crowd: the 45-year-old dude who brought his mitt and was chasing down every ball with Jim Edmonds-like enthusiasm; the dad with his kids trying to score two souvenirs for his baseball-loving boys; the middle-aged woman who flinches and ducks at any ball that hints at hitting the wall; and Dylan and me, eating our food, sipping our beer, and watching ball after ball fly over our heads.

As the Cardinals were wrapping up their batting practice, some unknown player started crushing balls over the wall, one after another. The souvenir-baseball feeding frenzy was in full effect. People were chasing down balls like they were the Wonka Bar golden tickets. Dylan and I continued to watch and take it all in.

As Mr. Unknown was winding down his impressive power display, he launched one more ball high over the wall. As the ball carried, it appeared to be hit so well that it was going to leave the entire stadium. At the last minute, an overaggressive ball-hound jumped up for the ball and began to tumble over the rail to a 25-foot fall. When he was half way over the wall and on his way down to certain peril, the 45-year-old, with his mitt still on, dove and grabbed the guy’s legs, saving him from having a really bad day. It was the best and most important catch of the day.

This led to me saying to Dylan, “Damn, that guy almost died!”

To which he replied, “And that’s why I don’t chase after BP balls.”

And here are your Dylan-centric Quick Hits

  • Due to predicted lousy weather, both teams put all their scrubs in the starting lineups. When Daniel Nava is the big name, you might be in for a snoozer.
  • The experience of watching a game from the vantage point of the top of the Green Monster is unparalleled to any seat at any sporting event I have ever had. I highly recommend it.
  • Sox starting pitcher Ryan Dempster was on the mound today. With the scrubs backing him up in the field, Dylan commented that he hoped Dempster had his Eh game. You know, because he’s Canadian. It’s funny, eh?
  • There are fewer things I enjoy more than a Fenway frank, a cold beer, and watching baseball.
  • Dylan was able to turn two standing-room-only tickets into two prime seats on the monster, just by being in the right place at the right time.
  • (For the confused Rays fans, “Standing Room Only” seats are when your team sells all the seats at your park, and your only option is to stand.)
  • 312 beer is poured using an old telephone receiver tap. I’m not sure why, but it was awesome.
  • We’re still waiting for the final three spots to get filled on fantasy league. Clock’s ticking.
  • I’m returning to the Yankeehaters team name. It was fun being the Boston badboys for a season, but the Yankeehaters just feels right.

Thanks to all for reading! The baseball draft is ONLY 4 weeks away! Start prepping now.

Follow @thefoulline on Twitter.

25 Responses to “Blowin’ In the Wind”

  1. 2012 fantasy baseball champion Says:

    I always find it amazing how much jetBlue Park looks like Fenway Park.. Quite remarkable really.

    I hear so much about the famous Fenway Frank, yet i’ve never had one. Its on my bucket list

    Mike had a few when he went to Fenway in 2010

    Im assuming the final 3 spots are Sam, Chefdick and Dennis?

  2. Anonymous Says:

    If I can auto-draft I may make my comeback from fantasy retirement. Side note- fantasy retirement is a great way to describe my day to day activities.

    If a spot needs filling let me know, but, I don’t want to take away a more eager fantasy leaguer.


  3. allan Says:

    Dave, 4 weeks feels like 4 years…

  4. Dave Says:

    Thanks Dylan… You know how it is. We have ten guys that have committed to playing, but are slacking when it comes to actually signing up.
    Did anyone notice Blowin’ in the wind….It’s a Dylan song! Get it Bob Dylan? It was a Dylan- heavy post! Please tell me that you young punks got the reference!!

  5. Dave Says:

    I hear you Allan… I’m kicking my draft prep into overdrive. Clocks ticking….

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Robert Zimmerman

  7. 2012 fantasy baseball champion Says:

    No Dave we didnt get the reference we’re not old. lol

  8. Dave Says:

    Damn whippersnappers!

  9. WillisBeTheYear Says:

    Did you forget to Tell us if the sox won the game or am I just getting old?

  10. Dave Says:

    Sox lost.. Like always 15-4

  11. 2012 fantasy baseball champion Says:

    15-4? ouch

  12. Dave Says:

    It’s Spring training… It was scrub city!

  13. 2012 fantasy baseball champion Says:

    2008 Rays, 18-8 in Spring Training, AL East Champions

    2009 Rays, 15-16 in Spring Training, no playoffs

    2010 Rays, 20-8 in Spring Training, AL East Champions

    2011 Rays, 15-14 in Spring Training, Wild Card Berth

    2012 Rays, 10-16 in Spring Traning, no playoffs

    Its just spring traning, it doesnt matter….

    Or does it?

  14. Dave Says:

    That’s easy. It doesn’t. Interesting stats though.

  15. allan Says:

    Spring training doesn’t matter. In the beginning, your lucky to see 3 starters in a game. If spring training mattered, We’d stop signing all these $100 million dollar contract, use nothing but prospects & A,AA ,AAA players in games. Spring training, its like a vacation before work begins. It’s pure.

  16. 2012 fantasy baseball champion Says:

    I think you guys are missing the boat on this one. Spring Training can absolutely matter.

    Now am I saying that if the Giants have a bad spring, there doomed to a bad season? Absolutely not. But say a team like the Blue Jays, with all those expectations and has never won before. Dont you think if they have a bad spring they’ll be holding the bats a little tighter when the season starts? Dont you think they’ll looking to show everyone that spring training was a fluke? If RA Dickey has an ERA over 5.00 in spring training, you dont think the fans will start to grumble they traded for a flash in the pan?

    Or say a young up and coming team like Kansas City. I dont care WHEN it comes, winning breeds confidence. Especially for young players. Spring Training is nearly a month and a half… That’s not a short amount of time. And if you get into a routine of coming to the park every day and WINNING, then that team is going to go into the season with the confidence that they can win there too! Just look at the 2008 Rays

    I think you guys are underestimating the effects Spring Training can have.

  17. Dave Says:

    I appreciate what your saying Dan, but how can it be a true barometer when teams are using hodge podge lineups of regulars mixed with AA players? Spring training is about loosening up the pitchers arms, hitters getting their timing down, and hopefully no one getting hurt. There are very few players vying for roster spots. Teams know for the most part who’s going to be on the opening day roster. I love Spring training! But, I’ve never lost a minute of sleep when my team loses a game in mid-March.

  18. sportsmanMike Says:

    Spring Training doesnt matter… Its like the NFL preseason or the NHL’s entire season.

  19. allan Says:

    Do you think it matters how well Will Myers does in spring training? NO, the Rays are still going to postpone his debut to gain more control of him. Lol. So why does it matter if he bats .500 or.120?

  20. 2012 fantasy baseball champion Says:

    I’ll bet Wil Myers will have a hell of a lot more confidence heading into the season if he hit .500 in spring training instead of .120

  21. 2012 fantasy baseball champion Says:

    The World Baseball Classic has started!

  22. BDog Says:

    So you guys do watch the World Baseball Classic then?

  23. 2012 fantasy baseball champion Says:

    Dave Says:
    January 28th, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    I guarantee John Lackey wins more games than any one of the Rays starters this season. That’s money well spent!

    Sorry Dave, couldnt resist. Is it draft day yet??

  24. Dave Says:

    All my predictions can’t be home runs Dan.. Lol!
    I started doing some mocks yesterday. I usually start in January, but oh well. It seems harder to get into a groove and anticipating who’s going where. I talked to Willisbetheyear today and he ran into the same situation. Maybe, we just need more practice?

  25. 2012 fantasy baseball champion Says:

    Its not that, its the lack of urgency. You cant control it. As the draft gets closer, your mind will start to say “oh crap! Draft day is getting closer, time to step up!” Its just how human nature works. By the 25th you’ll be ready

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