Big League Stew contributor David Brown continues his spring swing through Florida's Grapefruit League with a stop in Fort Lauderdale, at an old-school ballpark, to check on the Orioles and Red Sox. Dave'll be posting throughout the day — both to the Stew and his Twitter feed — plus he'll also be filing a report each night from his day's action, complete with photos, videos and observations.
Hey, hey, hey, Stewies!
Fans at Monday's Red Sox-Orioles game in Fort Lauderdale could find David Ortiz just about everywhere they looked Monday.
In the stands, anyway.
I spotted him any number of places, in any quality of seat. Which one is the Real Ortiz, and who's just a tease?
It's a trick question, because Ortiz and most of the elite Dominican workforce in the major leagues has evacuated his own team's camp for that of his country. World Baseball Classic exhibitions are underway, so talent from nearly every country representing in the big leagues is out of place.
On Tuesday, if fans want to see the Real Papi, they'll have to be in Jupiter, Fla. to watch the Dominicanas take on the Marlins. Oh, Hanley Ramirez against his Fishmates? The heck?
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Fort Lauderdale Stadium is difficult to describe in family friendly terms. It's spartan (without the swords) and old (without accumulating wisdom) and inadequate (yep). Hard to believe the Yankees trained here at one time (unless you mean in the time of Frankie Crosetti).
White Sox fans liked to say about old Comiskey Park, "Yes, it's a dump. But it's our dump." Truly, the Fort is a park only its mother could love. It's just not on speaking terms with mom.
At first glance, it looks like the baseball stadium from "Fast Times at Ridgemont High." Spicoli's van was parked outside, I swear. It's an overgrown high school stadium with stale 1960s architecture and facilities.
The fans are right on top of the action, and the seats in the upper part of the grandstand are wide enough that you can fit an entire butt in them.
That's the good. Just don't expect to get anywhere inside the park quickly; or to get in and out quickly; or to get a hot dog quickly; for heaven's sake, don't need to use the toilet. The beer guy will sell you a cold one while you stand in line for the port-a-potty, though.
The Orioles must feel like American Legion ballers. You remember when the owner of the Indians in "Major League" started selling everything off? That's what it's like. These guys have a job to do (earning those millions) and comparing what they're given to work with to, say, the Twins in Ft. Myers, there is no comparison.
They say the spires at the Twins spring home resemble those at Churchill Downs. The Red Sox's facility, crosstown, ain't this nice, either. Score one for the Little Guys. Orioles' chief Peter Angelos should expedite a move to Vero Beach, or Clearwater Central Catholic, to gain competitive balance.
OK, I'll write back soon, Stewdz.