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Train To Reign

Thursday, February 25, 2016 – JetBlue Park, Ft. Myers

Spring Training workout

It’s great to be back in “The Fort” for my 14th spring training trip.  The first time I went was 2003, also the first year in Red Sox camp for one David Ortiz.  I’m still having a hard time comprehending his retirement and it disturbs me to think that when I come back next year he won’t be around.  But for now, I’m going to enjoy Big Papi and his teammates as much as I can.

The players took the field later than usual due to an MLB Players’ Association meeting in the morning, but they still held a full workout.  Between warmups, fielding practice, live B.P., and regular batting practice I took my usual 300 or so photos.  My top ten favorites, in no particular order, are below.

Eduardo Rodriguez spent a lot of time with fellow lefty David Price. Price is already embracing a leadership role on the team. For the record, I hate the nickname "E-Rod" for Rodriguez because it sounds too much like A-Rod. For the purposes of this blog he shall be known as "Ed-Ro," which sounds more like Pedro.

Eduardo Rodriguez spent a lot of time with fellow lefty David Price. Price is already embracing a leadership role on the team. (For the record, I hate the nickname "E-Rod" for Rodriguez because it sounds too much like A-Rod. For the purposes of this blog he shall be known as "Ed-Ro," which sounds more like Pedro.)

I am so happy to see John Farrell back with the team after beating lymphoma last fall. He made the rounds and kept a watchful eye on all the proceedings.

I am so happy to see John Farrell back with the team after beating lymphoma last fall. He made the rounds and kept a watchful eye on all the proceedings.

Mookie Betts is one of the guys I'm most looking forward to seeing this year.  He runs, he hits, he makes amazing plays in the field, he bowls, and he can solve a Rubik's Cube in under two minutes. What's not to love?

Mookie Betts is one of the guys I'm most looking forward to seeing this year. He runs, he hits, he makes amazing plays in the field, he bowls professionally, and he can solve a Rubik's Cube in under two minutes. What's not to love?

David Price threw live batting practice to Mookie Betts, Pablo Sandoval, and Dan Butler. Let's just say there was not a lot of contact made.

David Price threw live batting practice to Mookie Betts, Pablo Sandoval, and Dan Butler. Let's just say there was not a lot of contact made.

The "Train to Reign" sweatshirts that many of the players were wearing are probably standard MLB issue that every team has in their colors, but I thought it was cool that President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski wore one as he visited the various drills.

The "Train to Reign" sweatshirts that many of the players were wearing are probably standard MLB issue that every team has in their colors, but I thought it was cool that President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski wore one as he visited the various drills.

Meet new outfielder Chris Young. He was taking batting practice in the same group as Big Papi and Hanley Ramirez.

Meet new outfielder Chris Young. He was taking batting practice in the same group as Big Papi and Hanley Ramirez.

It's not really officially baseball season until Pedey's in the house. As he took batting practice, David Ortiz sat on a water cooler and heckled him, calling him "Pee-Wee."

It's not really officially baseball season until Pedey's in the house. As Dustin Pedroia took batting practice, David Ortiz sat on a water cooler and heckled him, calling him "Pee-Wee."

Another young player who I love to watch is Xander Bogaerts. We'll get you to the All-Star Game this year, X-Man!

Another young player who I love to watch is Xander Bogaerts. We'll get you to the All-Star Game this year, X-Man!

Blake Swihart has already been anointed as the starting catcher. I look forward to seeing him build on the xperience he got at the end of last year.

Blake Swihart has already been anointed as the starting catcher. I look forward to seeing him build on the experience he got at the end of last year.

And finally, here's the man, the myth, the legend, the soon-to-be-retiree himself, Big Papi.

And finally, here's the man, the myth, the legend, the soon-to-be-retiree himself, Big Papi.

It was a slow day on the autograph front – the only two I got were pitching coach Carl Willis and outfield prospect Bryce Brentz – but those often come in bunches and I’ve got four more days of workouts to watch. After practice we hit the beach in Englewood, north of Ft. Myers.  With temps on the “chilly” side for Florida, it was practically deserted, but as New Englanders that didn’t stop us.  (Actually the water was as warm as the air, the waves were beautiful, and if it hadn’t been for the wind it would have been perfect.)

Englewood Beach on a breezy afternon.

Englewood Beach on a breezy afternoon.

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