ITM shook off a few cobwebs this morning and traveled two hours north to Bradenton, Florida for the Sox/Pirates game. We won't brag about rocking a Kia Rio all day, instead, here are a few of our takeaways:
- Josh Beckett, despite a shaky line on the day, is looking fit and strong. ITM got to the park a couple hours early to watch him long tossing, then staked out a spot on the ledge three feet away from 'Tek while Beckett had his bullpen session. The takeaway? - the man looks ready. 'Tek, too, was commenting on the stuff, and it looks like Beckett is making a focused effort to play around with some offspeed pitches this season.
- Ortiz, a little short on hits, is not short on swagger, watched one soar over the fence and into the swamp like he never expected that there could be any other result from a pitcher throwing something near him.
- Mike Cameron's famed personableness is no lie. Perfectly cordial to the legions of fans hanging over him during BP and bullpens telling him 'this ain't that pansy NL pitching, Mikey' like they know the man. ITM is as condescending as anyone when it comes to the NL, but don't taunt a professional athlete to his face, folks. It just shows an embarrassing lack of self-awareness (ie, we're fat and awkward). Cameron handled it classy in any event, letting the fans have their fun.
- Pitt's minor league facility has a lot of character. It's smaller than City of Palms Park, but they combine southern hospitality with family fun. We were able to talk baseball with some old timers without anyone getting heated....something that is harder to come by in Ft Myers, and of course nearly impossible up North (applicable to both NY and Boston).
.....We've got pictures and videos that we hope to be posting later, but for now, we're headed out to "Joe's Crab Shack" in downtown Ft Myers. To the handful of Floridians (Tampa fans) who follow this blog, we'll take any suggestions on places to eat/drink.
More to come....go Sox.