After having been completely spoiled at the Florida Marlins Fan Fest and the pre spring training practice at Roger Dean Stadium, I have to admit that I was definitely looking forward to today. Not because I was craving more autographs, but because I have been fortunate enough to meet every player on the Florida Marlins and feel like I know each and every one of them. At this point, they feel more like my buddies than players, and while the attitudes displayed today were more those of a professional ball player, the great memories that have been had at those last two events will forever out shine any instance of arrogance or having a chip on their shoulder.
Each and every one of our players are beyond grateful to be playing on that field and it clearly shows through their kindness and generosity.
However, after 3 losses thus far in Spring Training, it was quite evident that some egos had been bruised and some spirits were low. This did slightly affect the number of autos to be had, but did not take away from the game or fun loving atmosphere.
Today began like any other day for us. We rose early, hit the road for our 75 mile drive, and as usual, we were the first to arrive. I was eager to see all of the familiar faces and I was also dying to see the famous Albert Pujols. Everyone I had ever spoken to about him commented on his out of this world stature. A friend of mine even said that upon meeting Pujols, he saw that one of Pujols thighs was as large in thickness as my friend’s waist! I was terrified, but wanted to see the giant for myself. Upon seeing him today, I was shocked. His pants hung loosely around his legs and his once enormous muscles were no longer protruding from his jersey. It appears as though our friend recently lost a significant amount of weight. What ever could have made him lose all of that weight and muscle mass? A little odd, no?
After waiting for what seemed to have been a couple of hours, our friendly Florida Marlins emerged from behind the gates and I was thoroughly relieved. I had no desire in gawking at the Cardinal players like everyone else did, I was more interested in greeting my favorite players. Cody Ross, John Baker, Dan Uggla, Andrew Miller, Gaby Sanchez, and yes, even Hanley Ramirez were all as wonderful as ever. It is always a pleasure with these guys.
The game began, a few homers were hit, a few runs scored, a few errors were made, and unfortunately my Marlins lost the game, but it was still as fun and exciting as it always is and that is what makes it worth going. After the game, many players dispersed the field with anger in their eyes. Even Dan Uggla left the field with a solemn look on his face, but not before he stopped to give two of his bats away to two little boys. We exited quietly with out requesting anything from any players. We understand what it must feel like to the players after a loss. After all, I am a die hard baseball fan and I feel every emotion with the players, from the joy expressed when a player scores a run to the agony felt after an excruciating loss.
As always, attending the games, capturing terrific photography(wish I was able to get more!), and experiencing these memorable moments is always a pleasure. Look out for next week’s game where I will be taking Mario to Jupiter to watch the Marlins take on the Orioles for his birthday!