As a warning, the Florida posts will be short and sweet. Since it is a vacation with family AND 4 straight games, the time commitment would become too much. Do not fret, the debriefing for the entire roadtrip will hold many juicy details.
I named this one “Ball 0” due to its sci-fi-like test-tube/embryonic state. I took a walk behind the LF side and only found Frankenstein. I chose not to count it because it is hideous AND (biggest factor) it could not be verified as a MLB or MiLB ball.
The TRUE first ball of 2014 came about an hour before gates opened, while in RF/foul area by the batting cages outside the park. A terrible throw(?) found the ball in the possession of a worker. I asked for it and was happily named new guardian of this precious gift. Its name? One-hundred Ninety Voda or 190 for short.
The Rays were taking BP upon entering and I decided to try my luck in the outfield. After a terrible play on a ball in the grass (hey, we’re ALL going through Spring Training) I made up for it with a ball that hit off a weird metal post cap on the wall in LF.
Not having a decent ball (or anything else) for Byron Buxton to sign, I hit up Oswaldo Arcia (in Spanish) and hoped for the pearl a few feet from him. I was rewarded with it, and as there is a Practice stamp on the back, the dilemma of “Sweet Spot” or not was answered for me.
How many of you have ever gotten a ball from a German? I’m guessing none? Well, I have now that Max Kepler has tossed me one! A German baseball player tossed me my 200th career ball… would not have ever guessed that would happen. (Both the German thing and the 200 balls thing.)
Shortly after snagging #200, I asked the Rays bat-boy for the lineup card that had just been tossed by Terry Steinbach (who is rather frugal at giving away said lineup cards). Did I get it? You tell me…
So in short, the haul was 11 balls, 1 mutant ball, 1 autograph, 1 lineup card, and a sunburn (mainly face).
Many thanks to my family (wife and parents-in-law) for going on this trip. My father-in-law snagged his very own first ball; I’m so proud. Thanks also to the many people listed above for tossing me a ball. Lastly, thank you, dear reader, for letting me do an abbreviated post. Sleep is important, along with family time; the massive post will be worth the wait, though.