Mar 21, 2013 at 11:06 am
Fort Myers, Fla. (KNSI) - So what goes on during the course of a normal day at the Lee County Sports Complex around Hammond Stadium? Simple, its tune up, tune up and more tune up.
From the farthest flung field in the complex all the way to the bullpens that border the main diamond,the boys of not quite summer are working on a wide range of fundamentals. Hitters swing away, bunt, then run the bases. Pitchers toss a few, then practice fielding their position over and over again. Youngster or seasoned vet, each and every player is expected to be present and accounted for throughout the day.
As the players go through their paces on the field, all around them something strange happens...people are watching! Some may scratch their heads as to what on earth would draw men and women, young and old, to take time out to watch practice?
Such is the state of a baseball fan after a long winter as spring dawns. Just as the thrill of the grass can excite at first glance...the fundamental baseball-ness of bat and ball, dirt and spike, grass and glove on display, even just in practice, is an incredibly welcome site. That fact makes every chance and every glimpse all the more valuable.
If you have caught any of my drop ins today on KNSI the sunshine is a prominent topic, because frankly, the sunshine is so prominent. With that in mind, most spring games come during the the day.So on a normal day at Hammond when the players are just finishing up their morning work before a 1:05 scheduled start, stadium workers begin to bring the stadium itself to life.
Hot dog grills, popcorn poppers and cotton candy machines all get fired up as the concourse at Hammond prepares to welcome the couple thousand hungry baseball fans that will flock to the stands. Nothing is quite the same as the co-mingled smell of a sizzling brat right next to the thick hanging aroma of kettle corn. All of it is a sure sign that baseball is on the way.
Finally, to the delight of those who have been trailing around the complex all day, the gates are flung wide open and the fans make their way to their game-time routine. Buy a program. Visit the concession stand. Pick up a souvenir or two. No mater what, just get to that chair by the time first pitch rolls around.
So what goes on during a day at the Lee County Sports Complex? The answer is simple: Baseball. The sights, smells and sun, all on display first at spring training.
Quick note, for those living vicariously through my trip, after a few more minutes around the ball-park today, I will be heading off to see these gulf-stream waters I've heard so much about, then later tonight my first big league baseball action, taking in one year old JetBlue Park to see the Red Sox host the Phillies. Tough world isn't it?
KNSI's coverage of Twins Spring Training, directly from Fort Myers is brought to you by Foley Lumber and Milaca Building Center, Jackson Hewitt, Bristow's and New York Gyro. Hear J.W. all throughout the day on the KNSI Morning Show with Don Lyons, The Bob Hughes Show and Ox in the Afternoon. Coverage continues this weekend on the KNSI Saturday Morning Show with Dave Phipps and The Benchwarmers.
Temp: -6°F (-21°C)
Wind: 9mph NW