One of our traditions when we're on Sanibel is to take the drive back over the Causeway and through the Fort Myers sprawl to see the Red Sox in Spring Training camp. The games usually don't start till early March, but it's fun to see the players training, posing for photos, and the accompanying media circus. It always amazes me how young some of these players are, particularly the second-string and farm team kids. The younger players always spend time signing autographs, the older and more well-established players tend to duck into the locker room door after practice, ignoring the shouts of kids and grownups.
And sometimes, you get a photo op with a legend. Larry ignored Dice-K and the rest in favor of an oldie but a goodie--Luis Tiant.
The Ballpark is in a down-at-heels area of Fort Myers. You park your car in the lot, and then board a bus (for $2, new this year) that takes you to the practice fields around two miles away. Crowds of kids and adults wander round the fields, looking for their favorite players. Most players seem to spend a lot of time standing around gabbing. At 11:30 they stop, and walk toward the locker room as parents push their kids toward them with pens and caps for autographs. It's also fun to watch the media try to grab interviews, hang around, and enjoy some non-Boston warmth.
They play a little baseball till 11:30.
They sign autographs.
They talk to the media.
And sometimes all you see is them sneaking out to their car. Here's Jim Rice heading home after avoiding the fans.
For breakfast or lunch, there's an oldfashioned place down the street between the ballpark and practice fields, the Farm Market Restaurant. Just about everything is fried, the waitresses call you honey, and they only take cash. You select a main dish and three side dishes. I'm not wild about the meats, so I get a variety of side dishes. I had fried green tomatoes, collards, mac and cheese, and fried sweet potatoes. Yum.