As I sit here on Delta flight #1362, Ft. Myers to Rochester, I'm killing some time by listening to some tunes and picking out my top spring training photos from the past several days. The Red Wings will be flying home in a few days on their annual migration north to the Flower City and it will be the start of a new baseball season next week!
This past winter was a legendary one in the frozen tundra that was Rochester, NY and I couldn't wait to get down to Florida this year, more so than any other year I think.
I didn't do as much traveling around southwest Florida this spring as I have in the past. Most of the games I covered were in Ft. Myers with the exception of one game at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, the spring home of the Baltimore Orioles. Two other Twins away games against the Red Sox were in Ft. Myers at JetBlue Park at Fenway South just ten minutes down the road from the Twins spring training facility, Hammond Stadium.
Fenway South is beautiful by the way. They've managed to successfully bring the atmosphere of Fenway Park in Boston down to Florida by incorporating some classic elements like the famous Green Monstah, complete with the hand operated score board. There's even a Yawkey Way street party vibe that goes on outside the park before games.
It seems there will be a lot to cheer about at One Morrie Silver Way this season! Mega prospects Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano will likely be on the way at some point and it looks like many popular players from last year like Eric Farris, James Beresford and Alex Meyer will be back and the team has a new manager in Mike Quade to lead the way in 2015. I think this is the most optimistic I've felt in many years about the Wings' chance to recapture the Governors Cup, but it's a long season, so we'll see.
I had a nice chat with Wings' former manager Gene Glynn one day as he was coming off the field after pitching batting practice. Gene has joined Paul Molitor's coaching staff in Minnesota. He told me how much he loved the last three seasons he spent in Rochester and how much he's going to miss everyone.
I managed to capture plenty of action shots this spring as I always do, but this year I felt inspired to take more of a photo documentary approach to my work to illustrate the essence of spring training.
Here are some of my photos from sunny Florida to warm you up for the upcoming season!
Former Major Leaguer Chad Mattola discusses hitting with a young Tampa Bay Rays' player on the back fields of Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte.
The new season ushers in a new Commissioner of Baseball. Robert Manfred's signature is featured on the new Official Major League baseballs.
The new state of the art spring training facility at Hammond Stadium in Ft. Myers.
Big Papi, David Ortiz
The Green Monstah at Fenway South.
Baseball's top prospect, Byron Buxton.
Eduardo Nunez always seems to have time for autograph seekers.
The very last image I made from my 2015 spring training adventure.