So secondbass encouraged me to get off my butt and share some pictures from my Spring Training trip. I spent eleven days in Florida, travelling to Orlando, Kissimmee, Melbourne, Jupiter, Dunedin, Bradenton, and Fort Meyers, seeing the Braves, Nationals, Astros, Marlins, Cardinals, Orioles, Blue Jays, Pirates, Twins, Red Sox, and Rays in the process. I spent three days at the Braves complex and, since this is a Braves site, I'll share some of the better pics from those days.
I tend to spend most of my time during Spring Training at the Minor League complex, and one of my favorite things is getting to meet the last season's draft pics. From right to left, here are Brett DeVall, Zeke Spruill, and Tyler Stovall.
All three are Braves-type guys, very friendly and very professional.
And here are a couple of other young players we've heard a lot about, Jacob Thompson and Christian Bethancourt.
Jacob's a great guy; there's something about how they raise them in Danville, Va, everyone I've met from there is just a good person. I just read yesterday on BaseballAmerica.com about how impressive Bethancourt had been.
And, while we're throwing them out, here's a picture of prospects Edgar Osuna and Jose Ortegano.
Taking a picture of one of these guys might be impossible, they appeared to be attached at the hip.
As much as Spring Training is about meeting the guys and getting to know them a little bit, for me anyway, it's also about getting some autographs. Here's (top row) Kyle Cofield, Gorkys Hernandez, Ryne Reynoso, (bottom row) Zeke Spruill, Julio Teheran, and Cole Rohrbough signing some cards.
Now, as cool as getting the young guys is, it really can't compare to getting some of the top flight major league guys. As many years as I'd been coming down to Florida, I'd never managed to get Tom Glavine's autograph. Well, I finally did; here's Tommy signing my buddy Derek's cards.
Frankly, I'm of the opinion that Tommy is done, and really has no place on our current team. But, he is a Braves legend and one of my all time favorite players and I was shaking getting his autograph. Add in that he's as nice and professional as you'd think and this was definitely the highlight of the week.
Of course, it's also about baseball, so here's some pics of the guys actually playing, starting with Yeliar Castro, Tommy Palica, and Tyler Stovall.
And Eric Barret (he was in a bullpen and I was basically standing where the umpire would stand) and David Francis.
And here's Travis Jones and Kala Ka'aihue out in the field.
And speaking of guys in the field, here's a shot of Myrtle Beach manager Rocket Wheeler taking a turn at third base. You don't even want to know the sound his knees made when he squatted.
As I said, I was all over, seing a bunch of games, so I ran into several former Braves. Here's Wes Helms, Sergio Valenzuela, and Jason Childers.
I know I've been going to game for a while, cause I remember getting Helms with Richmond when he was a wide-eyed prospect. You might remember Valenzuela as one of the worst Rule V picks ever; the Reds picked him, he pitched like crap, and the Braves sold him to Mexico. And Childers pitched on season for Richmond and gets my vote as the most underappreciated player in AAA. I can't believe he can't win a job in the Majors.
We all know that Spring Training gets a little long for the players. Sometimes they just need somebody who understands. Here, Jacob Thompson and Nick Fellman comiserate together.
I ended up taking about a quarter of the pictures I usually take during ST, but I had about a hundred times the amount of fun. I thought about doing a big writeup about it, but really, it was a bunch of inside jokes and nonsense wrapped around a juicy baseball center. I got 1,236 baseball cards signed, more than I'd gotten the previous two years combined. I made a very nice security guard at the Braves complex feel like a fool and confused a Braves fan who was a fool. I got to see the world's greatest ass at a Dunkin Doghnuts at 6:30 AM in Jupiter. But, more important than any of that, I got to be in Florida, watch baseball, and hang around some of the best people in the world. And here's me with one of the best, Charlie Morton.
(Awful picture of me. I blame Derek's photography skills.)