Sunday, March 6, 2011

Lakeland Day 1: Tigers vs. Phillies

Hello from sunny Lakeland, Florida! My first spring training game turned out to be a good one, although it didn't look like it would be that way for most of the game. I analyzed the game itself over at No Run Support, so I won't rehash that entirely. So here is the condensed version, along with some other observations:

  • It looked to me like Phil Coke was getting hit hard early. He only gave up the one run, but it seemed like every out was either a hard ground ball or a flyout to the warning track. However, he got better in the third and fourth inning, especially with the offspeed pitches.
  • I know the folks in the media are starting to get concerned with Miguel Cabrera's lack of hitting so far this spring. It looks to me like he's a little jumpy and swinging at stuff that he wouldn't normally swing at. I'm not worried, though. He'll figure it out.
  • In case you were wondering how the fans in Lakeland have been treating Cabrera, I can assure you that the reception towards him was very positive. Oddly enough, Victor Martinez was the one getting booed. However, I couldn't tell if that was from the Tigers fans or the Phillies fans (and there were quite a few Phillies fans there). 
  • Keep an eye on Brian Holaday, who hit the home run in the eighth inning to tie the game. This kid has the makings of being a very good catcher. He can REALLY throw.
  • I didn't have a lot of luck in the autograph department, but I did get to meet (and get signatures from) Duane Below and Lester Oliveros.
  • Before the game started, I was hanging out by that screened-off player area near the locker room. I got to watch Justin Verlander being interviewed by Tom Gage (I think), which was great because that's the closest I've ever stood to Justin Verlander. But the strangest thing happened a little later on. Jim Leyland showed up and I tried to get a picture, but my camera kept focusing on the screen instead of him (and this camera doesn't have manual focus). I expressed my frustration at this, which caused the woman next to me to point at a player I didn't recognize and ask, "Is that your husband?" What?
  • I found it amusing that the PA announcer gives the gametime temperature in Detroit as well as Lakeland. 
  • I think they have some sort of contest or promotion every single inning. My favorite was when they paged the owner of a specific car (you know, make, model, and license plate) to the box office like the person's lights were on or something. After a long pause the announcer said "Your car has been selected as the dirtiest car in the parking lot." The person won a free car wash or something.
  • The little girl sitting behind me must have been at her first baseball game. She apparently was expecting to see real tigers, and her mom was trying to set her straight.
  • This is the first Tigers game I've ever been to in which Ryan Raburn did not play (but I believe the Brandon Inge streak is still alive).
  •  And if you want to see more pictures, check out my album on Facebook. Be aware that almost every picture was taken from behind either a screen or a fence, though.
  • Tomorrow I'll be at Space Coast Stadium in Viera, watching the Nationals and Astros.

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