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Ft. Myers, Day 2

Monday, February 23 – Spring Training Workouts, Ft. Myers

Another early morning wakeup call, and another trip to the Red Sox minor league complex for Spring Training workouts. It was chillier than yesterday as we waited for the players to take the field at 9 am. As they made their way out to practice, I managed to get Dustin Pedroia’s autograph as well as one from pitching prospect Daniel Bard. When they take the field, they all stretch together for a while on Field 2. I went up to the back of the grandstand of an adjacent field to get some pictures looking down on them. Here’s a panoramic shot of the complex. (Click the picture to enlarge.)

Panoramic view of the players hard at work stretching, and the fans hard at work watching them.

Panoramic view of the players hard at work stretching, and the fans hard at work watching them.

After stretching, they split up. On my way to see what was going on in the different fields, I saw Luis Tiant signing, and went over to get an autograph from the iconic Red Sox pitcher.

Luis Tiant autographs a baseball.

Luis Tiant autographs a baseball.

Later in the day, Johnny Pesky arrived in camp, set up a chair, and signed hundreds of autographs, all the while chatting and reminiscing with everyone, posing for pictures, shaking hands, kissing babies, and just generally being a Red Sox legend.

I made my way to Field 3, where I found out I had missed getting Mike Lowell’s autograph (which would have been perfect on my photo with the 2007 World Series trophy, since he was the series MVP) while I was taking photos from the grandstand. But both my parents got him, with my father even telling him how we stood in Copley Square for the Rolling Rally chanting “Re-sign Lowell” to everyone who passed.

On Field 3, the infielders were doing their drills. Two different coaches were hitting grounders to the different positions, with the fielders rotating who gloved each one. Big Papi (who is definitely ready for the 9 interleague road games by now) and Brad Wilkerson were at first. Dustin Pedroia and Nick Green shared duties at second. Julio Lugo and Jed Lowrie battled it out at short. And it was nice to see Lowell back at third with Kevin Youkilis after a day off.

Continuing my series of photos of Great Fu Manchus in Red Sox History, it's Kevin Youkilis, sporting his new look. He's joined by Mike Lowell (whose hip looked fine, by the way) taking ground balls at third.

Continuing my series of photos of "Great Fu Manchus In Red Sox History", it's Kevin Youkilis, sporting his new look. He's joined by Mike Lowell (whose hip looked fine, by the way) taking ground balls at third.

They were later joined by the catchers, pitchers, and a bunch of kids called up from minor league camp to serve as baserunners. This drill involved everyone except for outfielders, and worked on covering bases and picking off runners. The pitchers took turns going to the mound and getting ready to throw, and then the baserunners would take off, and everyone would have to cover the right bases to get them out. A lot of the players just go through the motions, but Youk was operating at full throttle, chasing down the would-be basestealers as if it were the ninth inning of a playoff game – which is the way he goes about everything… with the possible exception of shaving, of course.

After that, the players split back up again. We stayed at Field 3 to watch Jonathan Papelbon throw his first live B.P. of the spring. Speaking of players who are at maximum intensity at all times, Paps was doing his usual intimidating closer stare, even standing behind the batting practice screen facing non-roster invitees Carlos Maldonado and Ivan Ochoa.

Shippin' up to Field 3 for some live B.P. with Paps.

Shippin' up to Field 3 for some live B.P. with Paps.

Papelbon was followed by Brad Penny. Meanwhile, over on Field 2, Rocco Baldelli and some other players practiced bunting. A coach fed baseballs into a pitching machine, while the players practiced their bunts. David Ortiz, Mike Lowell, and Julio Lugo looked on in amusement. Here’s a quick video of Rocco taking a few practice bunts:

The position players finished up with some “real” B.P. – hitting against coaches’ soft lobs instead of their teammates’ best stuff. I watched Big Papi, Mike Lowell, Julio Lugo, and Jason Bay take some swings on Field 4.

We’ll be back again tomorrow for the final workout of the spring. (As much as I love going to the workouts, I guess it’s a good thing they’re coming to an end. This getting up early routine, along with a lot of standing around, has made me exhausted!)

3 Responses to “Ft. Myers, Day 2”

  1. Christine - March 10th, 2009

    Hi, I am glad to see I am not the only Diehard to make the trip to Ft. Myers every year-I have been going to spring training since 2005 and we have always had such a great time. I go down at the start of training and then back again in March to see some games. It is funny because I was there the same week as you and the same practices and I will say for the first time the kids were a little disappointed, we got some autographs but not from the big guyes. Over the last few years we have gotten Coco and Youk and Varitek and Johnny Pesky signed a book for us last year and Coco signed our jersey but this year it was all rookies and all though thats not bad I wish sometimes the big names would stop for the kids and sign-thats why we are there-and on that Monday they just about all walked by-hopefully when we go down on the 18th we can get some more, we are going to the Phillies game and are so excited-see you next year at camp-keep writing I love your stories, and I was at the 3rd field all morning-It is fun to watch with or without the autographs-but the autographs are pretty cool-

  2. RedSoxDiehard - March 10th, 2009

    Glad you had fun. Monday was definitely my slowest day as far as autographs went. It’s funny how some days so many guys sign, and other days hardly any of them do. But I’m happy to get the minor leaguers, too. You never know who they’re going to turn out to be. I got Youk’s in ‘04 before he had made his major league debut, and now he’s a star. Some of the minor leaguers are just happy to be asked, and will stop and talk a little bit, as opposed to the stars who get mobbed and have to move quickly.

    Have fun at the Phillies game!

  3. Holston - June 3rd, 2009

    Great Post I love this site… Thanks

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