This year, MLB caught us off guard: we had to make our condo reservations early, and when the spring training schedules came out, the season was starting later than usual. This would call for some strategic planning…
During our Ft. Myers stay, one thing I could plan on was dropping by the practice facilities, so I picked a nice morning, fought traffic off the island, and hung out at CenturyLink Sports Complex with many other Twins fans.
team gathers on the big field for drills
It was great seeing the young ballplayers — Sano and Vargas definitely stand out, size-wise.
third basemen practice fielding, including Miguel Sano
The new coaches were very involved and hands-on in the drills I watched, particularly Molitor, Mientkiewicz, and Guardado. Alumni were also visible all over, including Carew and Oliva.
Coach Guardado works on fielding with the bullpen
So, what ballgame did I eventually get to? The only Twins games played in Ft. Myers while we were there were either the home opener, or against the Red Sox at their home opener the next day. There was also a road game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park up in Port Charlotte just over an hour away, though.
The ballpark was quite nice, and the weather was sunny and beautiful. When I bought my ticket earlier in the year, I looked for my traditional spot just past the dugout on the third place side, and I found a nice seat in the fourth row with a great view of the action.
Only one extra base bit in this game, but overall play was pretty clean and still had its share of action. The Rays ended up winning 2-1.
I was able to get three autographs on my program: Max Kepler, catcher Dan Rohlfing, and extra catcher Mitch Garver.
Barring a rainout, you really can’t lose when attending a Florida spring training game.