Daddy's Christmas Angel

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Games and More at St. Louis Cardinals Spring Training

"In the Dugout at Roger Dean" photo by Mary Montague Sikes
"This is the place to be," I was told by a small group of friendly fans standing at the side of the St. Louis Cardinals' dugout in Roger Dean Stadium, Jupiter, Florida.

In the past, I've gone down to the front railing by the Cardinals bullpen. That's where players sometimes stop to autograph balls and other items. I'd never thought about going to the bullpen until that day when we had seats right behind it. But, the fans were right. During the time waiting there, I got five autographs on my baseball, including Matt Adams, Kolten Wong, and Mark Ellis.

"Al and Dan at Roger Dean Stadium" photo by MM Sikes
Dan McLaughlin and Al Hrabosky went through the gate next to the bullpen to tape their pre-game remarks. I feel like Dan and Al are old friends because we watch their MLB broadcasts on Fox Sports Midwest by satellite TV throughout the season. The next day, when I stood at the same location, I got to momentarily chat with both of them.

My second day by the bullpen was interesting, but I failed to get any autographs. The uncle of Matt Carpenter edged his way to the front, next to the railing, promising to summon his nephew. Carpenter did come over, hugged his uncle and signed his ball and two others. Yadier Molina stopped to sign but left just as he reached me to go stand with teammates for the singing of the National Anthem. Peter Bourjos proved wrong the fan who claimed he never signed by stopping and autographing baseballs and other items for several minutes.

Although it's fun to get autographs, I really enjoy watching closeup the reactions of fans and players alike. It's interesting to see how players handle themselves in this situation. Most are extremely polite. I loved watching Adam Wainwright who accepted a couple of balls tossed to him in the dugout along with pens, signed them, and tossed them back.

Wainwright's smile says it all. He loves playing baseball, and he loves being a St. Louis Cardinal.

And I love being next to the bullpen where story ideas might evolve for the writer in me and paintings might be inspired by the photographs I take.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That must be a fun location for games - so close you can almost touch the players!

Mary Montague Sikes said...

It is, Alex! Thanks for stopping by!