Written by Stanley Greenberg Friday, 15 March 2013 00:00
As a die-hard Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Mets baseball fan, I have always desired to go to spring training to see my teams perform in the Grapefruit League. Last week, at 78 years old, my wish came true.
With three other gentlemen, we flew to West Palm Beach Airport. Next we picked up a Toyota Avalon at Alamo Car Rental and proceeded toward Port St. Lucie to watch the 2013 Mets. On the way (Route 95 North), a black cloud filled with rain tried to get in our way, but it could not stop us. We had great hopes that our three-day stay would not be rained out. As it turned out, the Florida sun greeted us in Port St. Lucie. It was great to wear shorts and golf shirts under a sunny sky. We checked into the Main Stay Hotel ($75 a night).
Our first game against the Washington Nationals started at 6:10 p.m. at the Mets’ ball field. It is named Tradition Field and it is a lovely baseball stadium. The field has high quality grass and a beautiful grass-lined berm in center field. As we lay on the berm, Ike Davis hit a huge homerun, not far from us.
We also saw David Wright, whom we designated as the All-American Boy because he is one. The Mets lost 6-4. Because Manager Collins was trying out his new crop of players, no other Mets were on the field that we recognized, pitchers included.
After a good night’s rest, the next day we traveled south to Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Florida to watch the Mets play the Miami Marlins. The Marlins had just traded our beloved Jose Reyes to Toronto, so we had no love for them.
We had lunch in a strange place in Hobe Sound, Florida. It was called “Harry and the Natives,” established in 1941. There were strange signs all over the place, such as “Eat, drink and be Harry,” “I’ve got friends in low places,” and “Please notify your nurse when you leave.” Plus there was a life size statue of Marilyn Monroe, with her dress blown up in the air.
The next game, our Mets lost again. We saw Duda and Tejada in this game. Discontented, we drove back to Port St. Lucie. In the morning, we watched the Mets work out. That afternoon, the Mets were playing the St. Louis Cardinals. Cardinal fans are so ardent, they almost outnumbered the Met fans. It was a romp and a rout of our poor Mets. Three games, three losses, but we were not discouraged.
That night, we ate at a fabulous fish restaurant called the Food Shack. Never have I eaten such fresh fish, prepared so wonderfully. I had blackened Tuna.
Our trip came to a close as we boarded the Southwest flight back to Islip. A dream fulfilled: now, if only the poor Mets could win the pennant!