Thursday, March 1, 2012
When Bicycles Meet The ESPN Baseball Tonight Bus
It's spring training season in Tampa Bay, when pasty-skinned northerners descend on small ball parks in Tampa Bay and Florida and middle-aged men get all sentimental about baseball and grovel before major leaguers making $3 million a year for an autograph.
ESPN knows this and has a colorful-painted bus cruiser with the Baseball Tonight logo that's making daily pitstops at the spring training homes in Florida and Arizona.
But a funny thing happened this morning when I cycled to Dunedin to greet the ESPN baseball bus. I pedaled over to the big rig and said hey to the bus driver and after chatting a few minutes about baseball the conversation veered to bicycling -- namely racing, Lance Armstrong and doping.
The bus driver told me he used to drive the bus for a California racing team called Rock Racing that included Tyler Hamilton. The driver told me that Hamilton told him that Lance had the big money to buy masking drugs and drugs that were undetectable to testing (something Tyler also said during a 60 Minutes interview). Lance has put a public face on the terrible disease of cancer and raised millions of dollars. But it's sad that the cloud of doping still hovers above Lance -- even with a bus driver chatting about Lance's doping allegations.
I said so long to the bus driver and pedaled over to the Jays' quaint ball park and small ticket window where the average fan age is 152.
On the way home to Tampa the bike ride took me to the spring home of The Evil Empire off Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa.
The Yankees field in Tampa is named after The Boss. RIP George.
Yankess pride means precise grass design in the pitchers and catchers area at the Tampa spring training stadium.