Tampa, FL - The temperatures are too good to believe and the baseball games being played remind us that this is going to be one HOT summer.
NY Yankees: Mariano Rivera and CC Sabathia pitched a few innings on Sunday for the first time and they both looked good as the Yankees went on to beat the Phillies 3 -0. After the game both players were interviewed by many reporters who as usual barrage the players with all type of questions looking for the right statement to use in their reports. Sabathia stated that he still needs to work on his two-seam fastball and that was it for me. Other reporters continue to ask questions, some that I really don't understand, like "how do you feel?" being around baseball so long I just can't understand some of the questions, but respect every reporters right to ask what he, or she believes is important for them.
Questions to Mariano were more centered on his pitching, his years in baseball and his age. One reporter asked him did he appreciate the standing ovation he got when he was introduced? Mariano responded, what are you trying to say? The reporter said, well perhaps because of your age the fans are showing their support. Mariano laughed and said, "you guys, you guys man, I always appreciate the fans." Another reporter asked him, "The fans gave you that standing ovation perhaps because they believe that this is your last year." Mariano just turned and said, "Fellas, I got to go." This makes me believe that spring training is also a time for many reporters and media people to also train and get in shape with our questions.
On Monday we went to Lakeland, Florida to see the NY Mets at the Detroit Tigers baseball facility. Both teams have players on the prestigious LatinoMVP ballot for 2011. The Mets have (or had), José Reyes who is now with Florida and Detroit has 3 players. Sluggers, Miguel Cabrera, Miguel Martínez and closer, José Valverde.
Tigertown Stadium is one of my favorite stadiums. Spring training is about getting ready for the season. It is also about enjoying baseball and watching a game in Tigertown is exactly that. It's so relaxing and layback that you really get into what baseball use to feel like before the multi-million player contracts and the new stadiums in the big leagues that have been designed to separate the players and the fans unless you can pay big bucks to sit at field levels. This situation has made some fans stay home to watch the game on a television screen where they can see the player much closer. Thank God for spring training and stadiums like Tigertown. Please don't change this.
While we were there, the Mets held an impromptu press conference in the hallway outside the press box stating that Mets bullpen catcher Eric Langill was arrested late Sunday on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol following a one-car accident, according to the St. Lucie County Sherriff's office. For some reason David Wright's name was also mentioned in the context of those comments being made and the news spread about David Wright being in the accident and DUI.
For the record, according to the Mets David Wright was not involved. Unfortunately, some of us began to Tweet and Facebook the first information we heard and almost immediately many fans were commenting in disbelief. David has been one of the quietest players in the league and a stand up guy with us so we are glad that this is not about him. The news definitely woke up many NY Mets fans, but we wish to wake up Met fans with games on the field and not incorrect stories. Los pobre Mets, they can't seem to stop getting press coverage that they wish they would not get.
After Lakeland, we drove to Tampa to have a one on one interview with Robinson Cano, the winner of the LatinoMVP rookie of the year when he broke into the league at the ripe baseball age of 22 and the 2010 LatinoMVP American League winner. Robinson is once again on the prestigious LatinoMVP ballot for his performance this last 2011 season. Robinson is a stand up guy that respects the press and gives his time to everyone, fans and press. He has always taken time to be interviewed by Latino Sports and appreciates the coverage and support he has received from the Latino press. You can read more of his interview later this week at www.latinosports.com
Yesterday Wednesday we went to Dunedin, Florida to see the Toronto Blue Jays. Just driving through downtown Dunedin was worth the trip. Dunedin would definitely win the most "Lovely Town of Spring Training." Just driving through downtown was relaxing with beautiful colorful homes, quaint boutiques and restaurants and ducks walking through the streets of downtown near a one-story structure that is City Hall. If I ever had a thought of retiring in Florida, Dunedin would be on the top of my list.
Once we got to the stadium which is dead smack in the middle of this residential community we were able to set up and go interview some of the players on our list. Toronto has two players on the LatinoMVP list. Of course, Dominican born, José Bautista the American League homerun slugger with 43 HR (1st) is one and Los Angeles born pitcher, Ricky Romero. Both players were please and appreciative for being nominated for this prestigious award. Both players stated the importance of receiving an award from their own community. In depth interviews can be seen later this week at www.latinosports.com
My biggest surprise was being approached by Omar Visquel who I have not seen in years. Omar is an old friend that in my opinion has been one of the most colorful shortstops in baseball. A future Hall of Fame player that looked like Fred Astaire dancing in the infield who together with second baseman, Roberto Alomar has to be the best combination of infielders in the game. What was more surprising is that Omar told me he was trying out for the team. God Bless him, forty-five years young and still looking fit enough to make the second round. After shooting the breeze for a while we wished Omar the best and look forward to seeing him again in the big circus.