I've been off the grid for a while as I've been down in Fort Myers and I couldn't get the phone and Internet turned back on until late this week. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. I think being unplugged did as much for my attitude as the sunshine, and that's saying a lot!
Anyways, if you're a Sox fan and you've never been down to Spring Training, I highly recommend it. It's a whole different experience than attending the games during the regular season. The players are much more accessible, especially when they’re at the Player Development Complex. You can get up close and personal with them, which is pretty cool, and they give out balls to the kids like candy and are usually more then happy to autograph them also.
Speaking of the Player Development Complex; right now it’s on a separate site a couple of blocks away. The Sox provide shuttle bus service from the park for $2, talk about cheap entertainment, but they have plans to build a new stadium with 6 practice fields on site. It’s currently scheduled to open for the 2012 season, and will be very Fenway-esque with its own Green Monster and identical outfield dimensions. The plan is to build it over on Daniels Parkway, which is closer to the airport and has a lot more to offer to tourists than the downtown area. Sounds pretty cool. Here’s a link to the press announcement and artist’s rendering.
As for the 2010 squad, it’s hard to tell this early. They’re mostly doing drills and taking batting practice now, but they all look to be in great shape, and they were certainly in fine spirits. There's a lot of new faces this year, and even though some will be long gone before the season starts, its still fun to see them as they’re likely to show up on a visiting team somewhere down the line.
Not all of the new faces are throwaways, though. Lackey, Beltre, Scutaro, and Cameron all promise to make an immediate impact. Plus the Sox have picked up Boof Bonser and Tug Hulett. Even if these two are a bust at their respective positions, ya gotta love having a Boof and a Tug on the roster. Sounds like something you’d order at a less than reputable massage parlor; “Yes, ahem, I’d like the Boof and Tug special, please.” I can’t wait to hear Don and Jerry’s take on these two guys, it should be priceless.
Just in case you can’t make it down to City of Palms, I’ve included a little slide show below of photos from this past week; there are pictures of the Park and Player Development Complex, as well as some shots of familiar, and not so familiar, faces. There’s also a great sequence of David Ortiz giving his son D’Angelo some hitting pointers. Good stuff.
And if you are planning a trip, you have to check out our “New Englanders Guide to Spring Training” over on berryjooks.com. There’s a little something for everyone, and we’re always open to suggestion, so if you know of any hotspots we’ve missed be sure to let us know.