Monthly Archives: February 2014

Are The Blue Jays Here To Stay?

There are many rumors going around about the Toronto Blue Jays and their avid desire fordunedin1 a new spring training location. There is no doubt that they have one of the most gorgeous complexes in Florida. Their complex is also an ideal destination for fans who want to get close to their favorite Blue Jays, and autograph-seekers. But what about Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, where they actually play their spring training games? What about the fact that the field is not connected to the stadium? Most team’s spring training location and their stadium/complex are walking distance apart. Unfortunately, the Blue Jays have a three and a half mile bus trip to withstand if they want to go from one to the other. That is one of the reasons why they want to move. The second reason the Jays want to move is that Florida Auto Exchange Stadium is not what you would call a “luxurious landmark.”

For me, this stadium is pure heaven. Fans can feel like VIPs because of the close-to-the-7081312action layout the stadium provides. There is no such thing as a dugout tunnel, so it is ideal for getting autographs. Unfortunately, the place needs a serious update. The Blue Jays certainly have very little to brag about when it comes to Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.

So what will become of Dunedin if the Blue Jays leave? According to the rumors I have heard from the Blue Jays staff, the Milwaukee Brewers have sent scouts to the complex in Dunedin. These scouts have not announced what they would do with the facilities, but I do know that they have an interest in them.

dunedinYou may have heard  the rumor that the Toronto Blue Jays might share a spring stadium location with the Houston Astros. That rumor spread quickly throughout the Blue Jays community. The Houston Astros were officially planning to build a spring training facility in Palm Beach, Florida right next to Roger Dean Stadium, where the Marlins and Cardinals train in the spring.As of now, the Astros are second guessing themselves about this decision. Therefore, this deal that Toronto had with Houston may never come to life.

As for now, the Toronto Blue Jays are in Dunedin through 2017. They could buy one year out of their contract with the city of Dunedin, but I do not think that the Blue Jays are that eager to leave. My prediction is this: the Toronto Blue Jays will most likely leave, but baseball will return to Dunedin. Maybe the Milwaukee Brewers will inhabit Dunedin for some portion of the year.

A Night With Zobrist and Friends

14DinnerTixI had the privilege of being invited to the Rays annual dinner, at Tropicana Field in St. Pete, FL. The dinner recognized seven players to be inducted into the Ted Williams Hall of Fame. Craig Biggio, Johnny Damon, Dwight “Doc” Gooden, Frank Howard, Jim “Mudcat” Grant, and James Shields. The night started off with some autograph signing. The only one of the seven who signed was “The Mudcat,” but there were plenty of guests who were signing, such as Grant Balfour, Chris Archer, Matt More, and Alex Cobb.

My Matt Moore Signed Ball

Cobb and Moore were at the same table signing, but as the line was taking long, the security guards asked for no pictures, to speed the line up. Moore and Cobb both talking to each and every fan so nicely, that the line got very long, and didn’t seem to be moving. As I eventually got up to Moore, he asked me my name, and how I was doing. I was very impressed with how nice he was, as most players were already at their table eating at this point. Cobb was very nice, as well.

mudcatAs I made my way to the last line, the one of “Mudcat”, I was getting out my brochure for him to sign, when someone handed me a card, but I couldn’t make out who gave it to me, as when I turned around, all I could see was a crowd of people. I looked at the card, and saw that it was very old. From 1959 to be exact. When I handed the card to Mudcat, he was very impressed that I had this Card, and signed it. Mudcat said goodbye, and his wheelchair was pushed to where he had been eating.

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Matt Moore and I

As I was making my way to my table, I noticed that there were two figures, taking pictures with about 5 people. I instantly recognized the two figures as Matt Moore and Alex Cobb. They were taking pictures with the people  who hadn’t gotten pictures the first time. Being the fan I am, I instantly ran up to them and said I didn’t get a picture. Matt Moore said, “Well, then lets get you one.” I got a picture with Cobb, as well. They both recognized how important they are to the fans, and spent so much time with them.

The dinner was a delicious 3-course meal, which photo 2-2consisted of chicken and mashed potatoes. While we were eating, the ceremony wet on, The inductees were inducted, and Mudcat sang “What a Wonderful World,” which brought my mother to tears.

As the night came to an end, I noticed a crowd of people talking to Ben Zobrist. His wife, Julianna (who is a Christian singer) was just standing near him, photo.PNGwith no one talking to her. I remembered her coming to my school a few years back, and told her I enjoyed listening to her music. As she thanked me, it got Ben’s attention, as he turned away from the people wanting autographs, he looked at me, shook my hand, and asked if I wanted a picture. I of course said yes. With Ben and his wife.

I left Tropicana with not only an autographed brochure and ball from Matt Moore, but enough memories to last me a lifetime.