The past few years I’ve been somewhat consistent posting about my travels for both work and pleasure as well as posting during each week of the fantasy football season. Well, it seams travel has slowed down lately, so there isn’t much to post about between now and the start of the regular season. As such, I’ve decided to start a Photo Friday theme. Every Friday I’ll post a picture that has some sort of meaning in my life. It might be a picture from travels during years past. It might be a picture from the previous week. It might not even be a picture I took, but something I saw online and found interesting or funny.
This week I’m going back in my time machine to February 2008. That “spring” I went to Port St. Lucie, Florida to see one of my favorite sports teams get ready for the upcoming season. That was also the first year Johan Santana pitched for the NY Metropolitans. He went on to pitch the first no-hitter in Mets history during the 2012 season. Although his stats haven’t lived up to expectations, pitching a no-hitter was special for the history of the franchise. This picture was taken during his first batting practice session on February 22, 2008, assuming the information on my camera was set correctly at the time. You can read more about that trip here.
Feel free to recommend certain topics for pictures to add. I’m open to anything and have over a decade worth of pictures to choose from.
The past few weeks I was getting a little tired of the cold weather. After doing some research, I found this group that “trains” for spring every February and March in Florida. Sounded a little like a cult to me, but figured it was worth it to go to Florida for some warm weather. This one group I researched trains in Port St. Lucie, FL, so that’s where I went on Tuesday. I started to do some additional research on Tuesday night at a local bar where the bartender was aware of this group. Actually, her father works at this secret training site. The bartender said to show up at the site around 11 AM to watch them train. This still sounds a little weird, but if I can just watch and enjoy the warm weather I would be ok with that. After enjoying a Starbucks coffee on Wednesday morning, I ventured over to the site to watch them train. Turns out I wasn’t the only one interested in this phenomenon. There were a few hundred people there, from kids to adults, some were even hounding the trainees for autographs. Some of the trainees were gracious to the watchers while others just ignored them.
If you haven’t figured out what I’m referring to and need some help, I’ll give you one last hint. The trainees were dressed up wearing shirts with numbers on their back and the word Mets on the front. I’ve wanted to go to the Mets Spring Training site in Port St. Lucie for at least 10 years, so I can now cross that off my bucket list – not that I’ve seen the movie, but I like the reference.
On Wednesday and Friday I watched the Mets practice. The highlight of the trip had to be the last thing that happened before heading back to the airport. There are about 5 fields at Tradition Field and they were in the process of taking batting practice at each of the fields. Some had coaches pitching and some had players pitching. Johan Santana pitched his first batting practice session to David Wright and some other players with Omar Minaya (Mets GM) watching. On the way out, Pedro Martinez was walking on to the main practice field when he decided to pop a squat on the corner of the outfield grass and sign autographs for little kids.
On Thursday I crossed over the bridge from Port St. Lucie to Hutchinson Island, stopping at Jensen Beach Park. I didn’t stay at the beach long since it was very windy and clouds were rolling in. It ended up raining most of the afternoon. Before the rain hit, I did manage to walk around downtown Stuart berfore grabbing some food at Duffy’s, which is a sports bar/restaurant chain in the Florida area.
It was a quick trip, but was pretty cool to see the Mets up close and overall a fun/relaxing few days in Florida. Check out the photo albums here for more pictures.