Take Me Out To The Ball Game

I have the most incredible grandparents in the world, and in March I got to go visit them in Tampa while they were at the Yankees spring training.
Jerry Izenberg said, "Watching a spring training game is as exciting as watching a tree form its annual ring," but I disagree. I think that spring training might be one of my favorite things ever. Maybe most of the games are a little anti-climatic, but there are some that have their exciting moments. I mean, does anyone remember the bench-clearing debacle when the TB Rays played at Legends Field this spring?? P.S. I thought "Devil Rays" was a way better name Tampa Bay.
Anyway... I just love the whole experience that is spring training. I love spending all day at the ball park, and when you are with Clyde King that is what you do. If a game starts at 1:05, you get there at 10:45, and you don't leave until the whole crowd is gone. They just hang out in the box until everyone is gone, they've even out-stayed the Steinbrenners. And that is another thing; I love seeing PaPa in his element. I think he could sit there an talk baseball with Mr. Steinbrenner and Hank all day long, as long as they wait to talk between pitches and innings. He sits in his little corner of the box and takes notes on every single pitch and pitcher, and he still writes in his own special code "so that if anyone took this, they couldn't read what I wrote." And MaMa is one of the few women in that box that actually sits outside and watches all of the games. She sits on the the complete opposite side as the men "so I won't bother them," and all the other wives will come in and out and sit with her, but they never last through the whole thing. Both of them always stand up and sing along with "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" during the 7th-Inning-Stretch, with PaPa sometimes moving his hands like an orchestra conductor as iff to lead the crowd. I mean why not, considering that the whole crowd turns around at this point to stare at the box, cameras aimed and ready, in hopes of catching a glimpse of any member of the Steinbrenner family. Another thing I love about going to Tampa is seeing Mr. Berra walking around in his uniform... still! I think he is probably one of the most precious old men I've ever seen.
So while the action is pretty much non-existant at a Spring Training game, who cares! It is the experience of just being there that I love! So what if it isn't Yankee Stadium? It is still the same boys in pinstripes.
But my favorite thing about my grandparents is that at the end of the day, win or lose, Frank or Liza, they still eat sleep and breathe the Yankees; and isn't that the way it should be?

A few long overdue pictures from my quick trip down to Tampa for Spring Training.

There are only two seasons - winter and Baseball. Bill Veeck

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