Spring Training is under way. Since we’re not lucky enough to be down in the Florida sunshine, we still have a plan to have you covered. David Franco from Next Level Ballplayer is down in Florida for the week providing us with all the sights and sounds of spring baseball that we need. Today’s adventures include Halladay’s domination, the booing of the Hooters’ girl at the Phillies game, the worst public restroom experience of my life and more. Franco has done an amazing job reporting all week from down in spring training, so be sure to follow him on twitter or Facebook to show your appreciation!
Franco’s Spring Training Update From FL: Day 5
What’s up DiamondHog Nation? Day 5 went a little something like this- Woke up at a buddy’s place in Tampa. Special thanks to former Tigers prospect D. Witt for a comfortable couch. I drove south west toward Dunedin for the Blue Jays/Tigers game… The only problem was that I had to drive right by the Phillies’ stadium in Clearwater where I knew Roy Halladay would be pitching. Long story short, I called an audible and never made it to Dunedin. Many apologies to all you Canadian readers out there.
Overall Highlight of the day: Witnessing Halladay carve up the Pirates for 3 innings.
Overall Low-light of the day: Watching a foul ball bounce perfectly to this old guy only for him to miss it and fall into the lap of “super cool guy.” Super cool guy was wearing a flat billed hat with the sticker still on it and was rocking super bling earrings… I was crushed. Really wanted to see the old dude make a play. Didn’t happen.
Phillies vs Pirates 1:05pm
Tickets: Scalped a ticket. $8 for a $25 seat 11 rows behind home plate. Perfect spot to watch Halladay go to work.
-Halladay looked like Halladay and made multiple Pirates look downright bad. In my entire week of watching games, I have not seen such horrible swings and half swings like I saw yesterday.
-I didn’t find out until after the game that Dominic Brown broke his hand during a first inning swing. He stayed in the game and got his first hit of the spring before later getting taken out. His potential replacement in the outfield for the Phils, Ben Francisco hit his second bomb of the Spring.
-A beer vender had the best sales line of the day. It was a hot sunny day and he yelled, “DE-HY-DRATION, JUST SAY NO!! RE-HY-DRATION, JUST SAY YO!!” I’m not a dietician or anything, but I don’t think that beer is a good source of rehydration… but that inaccurate description didn’t stop a bunch of Phillies fans from buying beer from the guy.
-The crowds at the two Phillies games I attended this week in Clearwater, where easily the youngest and rowdiest fans out of all the games attended. Kinda felt more like a spring break atmosphere than the retirement home atmosphere I had gotten used to earlier this week.
Phillies Fans Booing the Hooters’ Girl
Philadelphia fans are famous for being ruthless with their booing. Case in point was the time where they actually booed and threw snow balls at Santa Claus during an Eagles game. Granted this is spring training game in Florida, but there were still a decent amount of misplaced people from Philly. Anyways, Hooters is doing a promotion with the Phillies this Spring and the ball girls down the right and left field lines are Hooters’ girls dressed up in their Hooters outfits.
Well, they announced the names of the girls before the game and they got a cheer from the crowd louder than the introduction to Jimmy Rollins, but not quite as loud as Halladay. As I mentioned above, it was more of a spring break crowd. Well, in the 3rd inning someone hit a dribbler into foul territory towards the Hooters’ girl down the right field line. She ran up to get the ball as the crowd cheered wildly with no shame. All eyes of the stadium were on her as she made a HUGE mistake. She flipped the ball directly to a fan in the first row who was decked out in Pirates gear. He had on one of those obnoxious black with yellow striped throw back Pirates hats and an old Barry Bonds jersey from his days in Pittsburgh. Immediately the cheers turned into a chorus of boos from the entire crowd who started yelling relentlessly.
The poor girl had no idea what had happened and why the fickle fans had turned on her so quickly. She just sat back down on her stool and tried to be normal, but looked very uncomfortable. Random fans continued to make comments that I couldn’t make out from across the stadium. She didn’t get another chance at a ball while I was there, but hopefully she learned from her mistake.
Shortly after Halladay exited the game, I exited as well to make the trek back up north. 12 hours later I rolled into my cold and rainy parking lot, happy to be home, but already missing FL. It has been an awesome week attending 9 games in 7 days and logging over 2,700 miles on my trusty ’98 Honda Passport. Stay posted Monday for my “spring training trip wrap up” post with some sprinkles of anecdotes that didn’t make it into my posts this week, but need to be heard.
I’m not a coffee guy but was a bit tired on my drive back, so stopped at a coffee shop to get a pick me up. The dude behind the counter suggested a Toffee Coffee. Sounded good, so I got it to go… Not more than 30 minutes later, I was on high alert of an exit so I could find a bathroom asap. Just my luck that I was in the middle of a 10 mile stretch with no exits. First exit I saw, I got off. First place I saw, Wendy’s. Perfect. I duck walk in and go directly into the only stall in the guy’s restroom.
Right after I sit down, a dad walks in with his younger daughter and unsuccessfully tries to open the door to my stall. “Calm down dude. Seat’s taken.” That’s what I wanted to say, but was too zoned in on taking care of business. Well, I quickly realize that this is not going to be an in and out stall session because my stomach is swirling. About 30 seconds after the guy’s unsuccessful entry into my stall, his daughter and him start speaking in Spanish. Well, I once lived in Costa Rica for 6 months, am 50% Hispanic, and can speak Spanish decently. So, while my stomach was going crazy, I’m also listening to this Daughter and her dad going back and forth in Spanish. I understood everything they said. The rough translation went something like this:
Little girl: I have to use the bathroom. How long is it going to be.
Dad: I don’t know. I’m sure the guy in there won’t be too long.
Me: (noises I don’t know how to spell out.)
Dad: HOPEFULLY he won’t be in there too long, but who knows.
Little girl: Oh my gosh, it smells bad in here.
Dad: It’ll be fine, we’ll clean the seat good when we get in there.
REALLY?!?! I can understand you! I am dying in the stall at this point wanting to be done in the worst way, but my stomach was having different plans. I kept quiet. A few minutes later:
Little girl: Do you think he’s sleeping in there?
Dad: No, I’m sure he’ll be done really soon.
Enter loud random guy: Oh man, there’s a line in here? Are you guys waiting for the stall?
Dad in English: Yeah… (Then in a whisper that I can clearly hear) He’s been in there for a while.
I wanted to scream- I CAN FREAKING HEAR AND UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING YOU ARE SAYING!!!! I AM NOT SLEEPING AND WILL BE OUT THE SECOND THIS TOFFEE COFFEE IS DONE DOMINATING MY STOMACH! REST ASSURE, I DON’T JUST COME INTO WENDY’S STALLS TO HANG OUT AND MAKE PEOPLE WAIT. I kept quiet.
Random Guy as he’s leaving: Well, I’ll try back later
I’ve turned into a human rain delay in the bathroom of the Wendy’s off of exit 152. People are literally turning away and I’m lucky enough to fully understand the bathroom play by play being announced by this random Hispanic dad and his daughter.
Finally, I am completely done and open the stall door. I can’t look them in the eyes. I whispered a quick awkward apology, but without thinking, it came out in Spanish. The dad jerked his head around as he was shutting the stall door and we had a moment as he realized I had understood everything over the last 15+ minutes.
Moral of the story: Wendy’s needs to invest in multiple stalls for their bathrooms.