Friday, February 29, 2008
Tour de Spring Training: Dunedin For The Toronto Blue Jays
The Bicycle Stories Tour de Spring Training stopped in Dunedin today for the Toronto Blue Jays' home opener between the Birds of Toronto and the Detroit Tigers. The Dunedin ballpark is a small and non-descript ballyard with not much character. It's kind of quaint -- but also kind of plan with no real distinctive feel like the giant concrete spaciousness of the Yankees' 11,000-seat palaca off North Dale Mabry in Tampa or the Phillies' modern amenity-filled ballyard off US 19 in Clearwater.
But these Toronto-ites are awfully pleasant and courteous and nice -- if not pasty-white. And there's a certain earnestness to the atmosphere of the stadium that harkens back to a time when baseball wasn't dominated by talk of steroids and Congressional hearings and drug-enhanced cheaters.
I met my pal Jeff, author of the famed sidesalad.net Web site, for the festivities today -- and let's just say we didn't shy aware from our usual fare of hijinks.
You have to love fans at these spring games. This lovely couple dressed up their baby for the game.
That's JP Peterson, radio sports guy for AM-1470 and the Channel 8 sportscaster.
Some creative marketing -- this gal was handing out a free grapefruit to every fan because spring training in Florida is also known as -- all together now -- the Grapefruit League.
So, Major League Baseball is finally back -- there are some real major leaguers in that spring training opening lineup at the Dunedin ballyard named for a local cable TV provider.
This Toronto Blue Jays fan thought he ordered a Canadian brew, but just found out it's an American beer. Tough luck, bro.
Guess which guy is the real major leaguer -- it's the fella on the left. I believe his name is John McDonald.
That's the Big Hurt himself, Frank Thomas, signing autographs for Jays fans.
They have cliche contests like who can put on the frozen shirt the fastest.
Let's just say the Dunedin stadium is a bit shy in amenities, but the beerman made up for the dearth in entertainment.
They ride their bikes to games.
And, here's my favorite seat in the place.