The Book of Mike

"This is no junior college. This is the notorious University of Miami.” -- Marlins starter Dontrelle Willis, after getting knocked around for six runs in 2 1/3 innings by the Canes.

Monday, March 08, 2004


Spring Training
I’ve read on a number of other sites how excited people in the Midwest and Northeast have been to watch ESPN’s coverage of Spring Training this year. Being a resident of South Florida (after having grown up in Phoenix), I have to say that Spring Training on TV just isn’t the same to me. Maybe if it was snowing outside, I’d take it, but I’m lucky enough to be able to get in the car and go to a game or two on the weekends usually.

That’s what I did on Saturday when I made the trip to Fort Lauderdale Stadium to watch the Orioles take on the Expos. While the prices of Spring Training tickets have increased dramatically over the last few years (but that’s what always happens when there are new stadiums, right?), tickets are still generally affordable. While waiting for the gates to open on Saturday, I heard many families walk up and ask if there was anything available “between the bases.” They were happy to hear that tickets were available directly behind home plate a few rows up for $10 each. Granted, a ticket in Fort Lauderdale (particularly for a matchup with the Expos) is about the easiest Spring Training ticket to get that there is, partly because the Orioles aren’t great (despite the additions of Tejada, Lopez, Palmeiro, and (technically at least) Ponson) and the stadium is the most antiquated (the Yankees inaugurated the stadium in 1961 and the stadium feels like not much has been done to it since).

Anyways, one tip on Spring Training: bypass the urge to sit as close as possible unless you're able to take a lot of sun. Spring training games are hot. Some of the best seats a few rows back - and usually at a lower price level - are in the shade. Still great seats and you can manage to survive the whole game.

Interleague Matchups
While it’s probably too early to come out and make this statement, the Marlins have to be happy with what their interleague schedule looks like this year. Road trips to Cleveland and Detroit (too bad Pudge won’t be coming to Miami – I’m sure the fans, if any are left by June, would like to give him a boo or two). Home games against Chicago and Texas. And of course, the famed “rivalry” match-up bringing a home and home series with Tampa Bay. You could probably argue (and I’m a White Sox fan) that the Tampa games could be the most challenging for the Fish on paper and well, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays are still the Tampa Bay Devil Rays…

Elon Phoenix
The University of Miami squared off against Elon this weekend (and not surprisingly swept the Phoenix). What was interesting though is that both managers of Miami's highest profile teams (well I guess that's tough to say since the Hurricanes play in Coral Gables and the Marlins practically play in Broward county) - the Miami Hurricanes and Florida Marlins are managed by Elon alums. Hurricanes coach Jim Morris is an alum, as is Marlins manager Jack McKeon, albeit from a different era.


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