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Trip Report Great trip to Spring Training (10 days in Florida)

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I flew to Florida March 2 for 10 days of much-needed vacation from Hartford, CT. Had 2 very uneventful flights (other than the whiney brat sitting next to me on the way home). Most of my meals were at my parents house in North Port where I also stayed.

My first day there we went to the beach on Boca Grande. Great beach and saw a lot of dolphins swimming. We always drive out here. Gorgeous drive around the island.

The first game that we went to was the Pirates @ Red Sox in Ft Myers at Jetblue Park at Fenway South. This was my first trip to Spring Training so I wasnt sure what to expect in terms of playing time, who was playing etc. It was $10 to park at Jetblue - bargain compared to $40 at Fenway. Great beer and food selection here. I had a few different beers including Lobster Ale (from Belfast Brewery in Maine). Beers were $6.50 so again cheaper than Fenway. Had great seats down the RF line and really enjoyed this stadium. The field dimensions are identical to Fenway Park. My only complaint about this stadium is that there is no atmosphere due to how big it is and that people are just there to see the stadium - rather than cheer on the team (same issue has been ongoing at Fenway lately). Pirates beat the Red Sox 9-2. By the end of the game, there were no recognizable names in the lineups

The 2nd game was at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota for the Blue Jays @ Orioles. Our seats were right behind Home Plate. $6 to park here. Stadium is older than Jetblue and really does show it but has been renovated and is a great place for a game. My dad had a hot dog but didnt enjoy it so I went with a Chipotle Chicken Sandwich from a deli inside of the concourse which was decent. Another great beer selection with a bunch of new ones that I hadn't had. About the 6th inning, shade started creeping in and the grandstands emptied with everybody running for the sun in LF. Orioles win this game 11-10 on a walkoff 3 Run Home Run in the 9th Inning.

Friday afternoon, we went to the Phillies @ Rays game in Pt Charlotte. Great stadium as I have been here in the past for Florida State League game. Our seats were down the 3B Line. Lots of Phillies fans here. I took some good-natured ribbing having a Washington Nationals hat on. Really enjoyed the boardwalk and tiki bar in the OF. Rays won 3-2 in a close well played game. I also enjoyed sending texts to friends in CT dealing with another snowstorm...

Sunday we saw the Red Sox beat the Rays 6-2 in Pt Charlotte. Biggest crowd of the year there but they handled it very well and it was a lot of fun.

Biggest suggestion if you are going to a Spring Training game is to just enjoy it. By the end, there may not be big names or even anybody recognizable playing but it will still be fun...I really enjoyed these games and will go again. Really enjoyed the great weather for these games too.

On Monday, I went to the North Jetty in Nokomis to go to the beach. Saw some dolphins and walked out. Then went to Pop's for lunch. Had a Grouper Salad and a few beers while sitting on the Intercoastal.

Flew home on Tuesday through Philadelphia. I try to avoid PHL as I have had some really bad delays there. But had no issues. I had dinner and a few beers at Jet Rocks inside the terminal and enjoyed it. Had a few new beers here too.

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