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First Trip to Spring Training

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Just booked my trip for last week in March. Bought tix from the Bucs site to see the O 's play in Bradenton on a Sunday night. When I went to check out and pay, I found an option I never imagined. For an extra $75, I can buy a pass to go on the field and shag fly balls during batting practice....how cool is that?!?

Look for me...I'll be the old guy pushing all the 12-year-olds out of the way to catch a ball (though not sure I can see 300 feet away)!

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If you don't mind paying a bit extra for parking and want to get in and out fast, pay $20 across the street from player's entrance - park it yourself. I usually go with four or five so not so bad that way. Coming from Fruitland Rd (s of stadium), turn left just before stadium practice fields. Go to next right and find parking on left past player's entrance a few hundred yards down street.

The sun is a factor especially on first base side so if you have tickets, as Jacki said, wear sunscreen and a hat.

You can stand at/on (depending on inebriation ;)) a shaded table on second tier and watch game with nice breezes right behind home plate.

There is an air-conditioned lounge on third base side upstairs, which is nice on real hot days and has views of field and nice wait staff.

Lineups are posted on walls as you enter stadium.

Walk up and say hello to Roch, Eddie Encina or Britt before game. Gulf bird (OH fotog Craig) and Doc Shorebird are usually roaming on field prior to game. Check in with them and say hello. Eddie dapped me last year - he's a nice guy. Follow them on Twitter for more inside info at game time and during.

Player's wives and friends are usually seated behind home plate if viewing quality talent is a key. :slytf:

Be sure to see the beer vendor with the big hat roaming the stands lugging beer. He's a nice guy guy and local legend.


Edited by bobmc
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For flights into the Sarasota area, do most folks fly directly into the Sarasota airport or the bigger Tampa area airport? Looking quickly at some prices it looked like Philadelphia to Tampa was cheaper than Baltimore to Sarasota.

Tampa for me. About an hour drive to 'Sota. Only that long because the airport is the other side of that gawdawful bridge.

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Is Bolton Bob coordinating anything this year?

Will be down March 10-13. Can't wait.

Shoot me an email at weams {at} orioleshangout [DOT] C0M and i will get you his contact info. Sometimes he is not around here for days at a time. Bob lives the Full Life.

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For flights into the Sarasota area, do most folks fly directly into the Sarasota airport or bigger Tampa area airport? Looking quickly at some prices it looked like Philadelphia to Tampa was cheaper than Baltimore to Sarasota.

I have flown into both. Obviously, Sarasota-Bradenton is much closer, but more expensive MOST of the time. For S-B the sooner you can book the better, which usually also means a stop-over or two. Tampa is an easy in and out airport though and the route south is a pretty straight shot to Sarasota.

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First time going this year. The wife and I. We'll be at the 3/8 and 3/10 games.

How is Siesta Key? We're hoping it's warm enough to at least go sit on the beach.

We stay on Siesta Key. It is a beautiful island. The Beaches are some of the nicest in the US. Water is pretty cold though in March (the times we have visited). You can sit on the beach, but there is usually a breeze and it can get cool and down-right cold as the sun goes down. There are shops, restaurants and bars down the main street.

The public beach on Siesta Key is clean, huge and has tons of easy free parking.

Every day before sundown, locals gather, play music, and chit-chat as they watch the sun settle down over the ocean/horizon.

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In my only, but not last, visit to Sarasota I made a wrong turn or two trying to get to Siesta Key. I'm sure that beer had NOTHING to do with it :scratchchinhmm: The wife and I ended up at St. Armand's Circle. We had a great time there and ended up dining at a restaurant called Columbia. I believe it is a Cuban restaurant. Great times.

Give yourself ample beach time when you plan. The Gulf beaches are nothing like the Atlantic beaches and are truly amazing.

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