A few weeks ago, my parents surprised me with an early birthday present: a trip to Florida to watch three Spring Training baseball games! I traveled down to the sunshine state to see a few different baseball teams play, including my favorite team, the Baltimore Orioles and their archrivals, the New York Yankees.
Day 1: Baltimore to Tampa
On an early Sunday morning my dad and I arrived in Tampa, ready for an exciting trip to watch a passion that we share: baseball. We arrived at George M. Steinbrenner Field, the spring training home of the New York Yankees, not knowing what kind of atmosphere to expect.
As we walked up the ramp to the stadium, arriving several hours before first pitch, tons of people came into view huddled against a fence trying to get a sight of Yankee players throwing back and forth. We were able to squeeze past a few people and get a closer look at the players everyone was struggling to see. I was in shock to be so close to such great players like Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter! Every so often a persistent fan would scream their favorite players’ names to try to get their attention for an autograph. Almost every time, they were ignored, except Nick Swisher would occasionally acknowledge his name.
After the Yankees had finished throwing, they moved on to batting practice. Every single player was amazing to watch; their smooth swings, their power, and their presence. A little while later the game began, and it did not go so well for the Yankees. They lost 9-2 to the Twins, but I didn’t care because deep down inside every Baltimore Orioles fan roots against the Yankees just a little bit. After the game finished up, my dad and I drove to Sarasota, Florida to get some rest before going to see the Orioles play on Monday.
Day 2: Sarasota, Florida
Ready to enjoy another warm, sunny day in Florida, my dad and I arrived early at Ed Smith Stadium, the spring training home of the Baltimore Orioles.
This was the first season the Orioles would be playing here, so I was really excited to see the newly renovated stadium. When we went inside we quickly walked to the front row of seats in hopes of getting an autograph.
Even though a lot of people were hoping for the same thing, there were not nearly as many fans as there were at the Yankees game. After batting practice concluded for the Orioles, I was able to get star centerfielder (and one of my favorite players) Adam Jones’s autograph.
The game ended well as the Orioles beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, 8-2!
Day 3: Sarasota to Baltimore
We arrived early at the stadium again in hopes of getting more signatures from Oriole players. With luck, I was able to get Matt Wieters, the Birds’ up and coming catcher, to sign for me.
This time the game didn’t go in the Orioles favor, as the Houston Astros roughed up every Baltimore pitcher and won the game 14-8.
After the game, I was able to get a few more autographs from young Orioles players that will hopefully bring wins to a team desperate for success. Late that night, my dad and I flew back to Maryland after having experienced an amazing trip that I’ll remember for a while to come.
Hopefully this season, the youthful Birds will take their spring training accomplishments and turn them into regular season success. Maybe this year is the year Baltimore Orioles fans will finally have something to cheer about!