Tales from Spring Training

Posted: March 6, 2011 by drunkonsports in Spring Training
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Its finally that wonderful time of year when baseball fans around the country begin to prepare for their team’s latest attempt at winning the sport’s ultimate prize, the World Series. As the weather begins to change, the players pull out the bats and gloves and head to Arizona and Florida for a month of training for the regular season.

Having not personally had an opportunity to go to a Spring Training, I sought out the most passionate baseball fan I have ever met who has been to many Spring Trainings over the years and can tell countless stories from baseball’s annual pre-season event.

Megan Magiera is a Journalism student at IU and was nice enough to take the time to share her thoughts on the unique world of Spring Training.

Where do your baseball loyalties stand? (Favorite team, Favorite stadium, Favorite moment)

Chicago Cubs. (Red Sox too but not nearly in the way I’m a Cubs fan) Favorite stadium is Wrigley Field for obvious reasons. My favorite moment would either be when Sammy Sosa hit his 600th homerun just because everyone thought he was done and to come back and do it against his former team and the only team he had never hit a homerun against is just the perfect story. The other would be in 2008 when Matt Murton scored the winning run to put the Cubs in first in the division and Len Kasper, their announcer, was so excited his voice cracked when he screamed “The Cubs win! The first place Cubs win!”

Where have you attended Spring Training games?

I’ve been going to Red Sox spring training once a year, every year, since 2002. I went to a Twins game finally last year as well.

How would you describe Spring Training compared to regular season games? Atmosphere, Fans, etc

I think because it’s the Red Sox my Spring Training experience is a lot different than most. People buy season tickets for and they have homes just for spring training. It’s Red Sox Nation, they take it seriously. Every game is a packed house. Where as the Twins it’s more of relaxing in the sun having a hot dog and there happens to be a baseball game 10 feet from you. At Red Sox spring training 85% of the people are in Red Sox gear where at the Twins game everyone was in random teams or not baseball related at all.

I think it’s taken pretty seriously. I’m a Red Sox fan because of spring training. I also think I may be biased because I am a fan of the Cubs and Red Sox and I think it’s a different mindset than most teams. The Cubs have had 13 errors in 4 games already this spring and it makes me angry, so the fact that I’m getting angry despite it not counting I think shows that it has relevance to me. I guess I find comfort in knowing that the games don’t count but you automatically start to think well what if they do this in the regular season too.

Do you have any great stories relating to spring training or any baseball games for that matter?

When I was 12 I was at a Red Sox-Rangers game and the Rangers still had A-Rod and he wasn’t the asshole he is today. He was signing autographs and I was about three people away and he stopped. I was really disappointed because usually you just get no-name guys and here I missed out on A-Rod. So after the game I convinced my dad to go find where they come out and get autographs. My dad is not a patient guy and the thought of standing around for a scrub’s autograph isn’t his idea of fun.

We were walking around the stadium after the game and he told me I had to find out where they came out if I wanted to stay. I wasn’t big on talking to people I didn’t know but I went up to this guy that came out of the back door and asked him something along the lines of “excuse me sir can you please tell me if this is where the Red Sox come out?” he said no and told me where to go. I said thanks and left. While we were standing out by the parking lot the guy comes out and calls my dad over, to not cause a scene I guess, and says “this is for your daughter for being so polite” and hands him a Pedro Martinez signed ball. He happened to be my favorite player at the time next to Jason Varitek and let’s just say that I try to make sure I never forget my pleases and thank yous now.

Any thoughts on the upcoming season?

Cubs over Red Sox in game 7 at Wrigley! Haha I can dream right? Cubs wise, defense is going to be life or death for them. The rest of the division is having issues right now too and it’s the NL Central, it’s anyones to win. Keep an eye out for pitcher Chris Sale over on the South Side, goofy kid but I think he’s the real deal. Hopefully the Red Sox can get back on track, a lot of big signings so they’re expecting big things. Also, the Marlins, please someone get them some fans. Michael Stanton is going to tear it up and no one is even there to witness it. Rumor has it Mark Prior is pitching again? Does Vegas have an over/under on days until his arm literally falls off?

-Josh Bowles


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