My lady and I just wrapped up our annual trip to Braves spring Training. This was our first visit to Orlando and the Wide World of Sports Complex. Boy, is it ever incredible! It puts the other ST facilities I've been to, to shame. It's clean, vibrant, and exciting.
I'm going to go into more details than the average Braves blog reader may want but I'm doing that to try to help anyone else that may be going to a ST game in the future. I'll share the tips and tricks I picked up on and hopefully they will be somewhat helpful to anyone else going down.
1. If you have any aspirations of getting autographs, get there early. By early, I mean three hours before gametime. We waited in line starting at 9:30am for the gates to open and headed directly behind our dugout. If I was to do it again, I would hit the area where the dugout ends up the first base line. This is the spot where players are going to stop and sign. Before gates open, feel free to bide your time out behind the gate in right right. This has a driveway that the players use. We were able to talk to Michael Broadway beforehand. He was fashionably late and toting Chik-Fil-A. Apparently, he pitched the day before.
2. The Buffalo Chicken Sandwich is bomb. The menus throughout didn't really impress me, but this sandwich was great. Beers run about $7.50 for your domestic 16 ounce plastic bottle. Two chicken sandwiches with fries and two Miller Lights ran $32.50. No surprises here. But during the 6th inning, domestics drop to $3.00. Me and my BAC% thought this rocked.
3. The lawn seats are not bad at all. If I was to do it again, I would have bought lawns. Instead I was up 25 rows two sections from the outfield wall and paid a hefty $30. I was in the bleacher seats and they weren't comfy. The lawn would have been much more relaxing. I was in the game early, as noted, but I would doubt there would be many scalpers outside the stadium.
4. You are allowed to leave the stadium, and re-enter. Very different from Turner or any other stadium I've been to. This could be leveraged to satisfy your thirst at your car, satisfy your fat belly at the nearby grill (which I'm sure offers a better variety of foods), or to take something to your car that you don't want to haul around throughout the rest of the game (things you wanted to get signed, big ass cameras, etc).
Other news and notes from my day:
1. David Ross rocks. If I had to spend the day drinking with one Braves player, it would be my man, David Ross (Huddy would be a close second). One of the Braves coaches fell and hit the turf. No one would have noticed if it wasn't for Ross' deep, continuous laugh coming all the way from right field. His laugh made the entire stadium laugh! You could tell he has tons of personality and is a real jokester, which confirms what we all have heard.
2. Jordan Schafer is a womanizer. As mentioned before, we were behind the dug in the first row. My fiance was gawked at on three different occasions. Three times he entered the dugout, three stares he just stared. He did the same thing at a signing in Johns Creek (??) at Publix last year. I've been told he is a bit full of himself and I've yet to see anything to make me think otherwise.
3. Freddie Freeman and Martin Prado are all about the fans. Freeman and Prado signed for about 40 minutes straight after BP. Freeman just posted up, leaned against the railing, and signed hundred of autographs. Prado did the same. Prado was more conversational and moved multiple notches up in my book. These guys seemed to really care about the fans. Hinske signed for about 10 minutes but was a bit cranky and ornery. Venters signed also and continues to maintain a great reputation with me. T. P. signed for 20 minutes too.
Now for some pics:
Pitchers out before BP. Mostly bullpen and minors leaguers:
Hinske yawning when the bossman wasn't paying attention:
McLouth's awful, and I mean awful hair. When talking to T.P. I asked how Nate was looking and he said the predictable, "Great!" The I asked him if he liked his hair-do and he said emphatically, "Absolutely not."
My man, David Ross, taking the time to sign for the people who paid an extra $55 for the "On-Field Experience." Not sure if that's worth it. Maybe if you had kids and had nothing else to spend your money on.
Hinske signing and being cranky. Between the yawn and the attitude, I'm going to chalk it up to a late night on Friday night or something:
Prado, Heyward, and Freeman doing some pre-BP stretching:
Funniest thing of the afternoon... Freeman was doing this putting thing with the bat (golf club), ball (golf ball), and a glove (hole). He lined it up twice. The first time he came close, the crowd Awww'd, and he retrieved to reset. The second time he did it, Heyward comes flying out of no-where and kicks the balls just before it hit the glove. It was entertaining to say the least and the crowd loved it. Here, you see Freeman's approach and off to the left you see the gigantic leg of Heyward come in to kick it away just before Freeman's moment of victory.
That's it for this fanpost. I'll have a few more in another Fan Post. I'm not sure how many pictures TC allows per Fan Shot. Hope you enjoyed.