Fourth Adventure - Spring Training

Myworld is preparing for our fourth adventure, a month in Florida watching spring training games.  It won’t be as unknown as Panama, Taiwan or the Dominican Republic, since we have been in Florida every year for at least twenty years.  We call it an adventure because we will still be away from home on another road trip in life.  We plan to spend most of our time at Kissimmee watching the Houston Astros play.  Many think they will be the worst team in baseball next year, but they will be a young team.  We will be reporting on their games as well as other games when they do not have a home game.  Myworld also hopes to be visiting some minor league complexes as well as watching some college games while in Florida.

In previous years we have always been limited to a week for spring training.  We have never had an opportunity to spend a whole month in Florida.  The downside is the warm weather that is in the Washington D.C. area.  I was hoping that I would be substituting snow and cold for sand and warmth, but the weather has been unseasonably warm here with no blizzards in sight.  That won’t make people in Europe feel good, unless they are baseball fans and also plan to spend some time in Florida.  A few of the European professional teams will be training there.

As we approach another baseball season it is interesting to take a look at some of the wacky events that took place last year in the major leagues, courtesy of the Athlon Sports Magazine.

Rickie Weeks and Carlos Gomez of the Brewers become the first team in 42 years to open its season with back to back homeruns.  That was a very auspicious start to a season in which they made the playoffs.

Adrian Gonzalez had stolen one base in his previous 858 games.  In his first start with the Red Sox he stole a base.  It was his only stolen base of the year.

Bryce Harper makes his professional debut with the Hagerstown Suns.  His first professional hit was a bunt single.

The Kansas City Royals on May 18th send in two pinch runners (Mike Aviles and Jarrod Dyson) in the ninth inning.  Both of them get picked off.  Is that manager still managing there?

Wilson Valdez becomes the first player since Babe Ruth in 1921 to earn a pitching win after starting the game at another position.  The Phillies didn’t seem too impressed with that feat because they traded him after the season was over.

Felix Hernandez becomes the first pitcher to get a hit at Safeco Park.  The game was supposed to be played in Florida, but was relocated to Seattle because of weather issues.  Florida was the home team so the DH rule did not apply at the American League park and Felix got to bat.  They are not used to seeing hitters bat in Seattle since the DH applies there.

Gavin Floyd and Jason Hammel are both 6′6″ and 28 year old righthanders.  They both achieved identical box scores of sevin innings pitched, two runs given up, six hits, two walks, no strikeouts and both gave up 12 ground ball outs.  Unfortuantely, baseball did not allow both of them to get a win.  There must have been some wierd cosmic forces taking place on June 28th for that to happen.

Because of an umpire error Cameron Maybin was allowed to take first on a walk, even though he had only taken three balls.  He scores the only run of the game on July 2.

A.J. Burnett has not had a victory with the Yankees in his 12 career August starts.  The Yankees stake him to a 13-1 lead on August 3 and even with that generous support he fails to get the win.  No wonder they traded him to the Pirates.

Speaking of the Pirates, they become the first team since 1885 to lose at least seven games in a winless homestand against opponents who had a losing record.  They hope to avoid extending their 19 season losing streak to 20 next year.

Yoshinori Tateyama becomes only the second pitcher in major league history to allow a grand slam to two straight batters.  It is events like those that probably make him wish that he stayed in Japan.

Johnny Damon becomes the first hitter to hit a walk off homerun for his fifth different team.  That should motivate some team to sign him to make it six.

Ryan Zimmerman only needs seven seasons to hit eight walkoff homeruns.  He hopes to break the major league record for the number of walk off homers by a major league player while wearing a Nationals uniform, now that he has signed an extension with the Nationals that will keep him playing in Washinton until his mid-30s.

So it is with the above events that Myworld looks forward to the 2012 season and spring training.

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