Results tagged ‘ JetBlue Park ’
by Josh Maurer
After traveling nearly for 20 hours from New England to finally reach Southwest Florida International Airport, walking off the plane in Fort Myers to palm trees and mid 70-degree temperatures this morning brought a wave of euphoria to my body.
I knew was cutting it close anyway to make it from Western Mass in time for Monday’s 1:05pm Red Sox-Rays game broadcast (which Will and I were fortunate enough to do on MLB.com). Because of basketball responsibilities at UMass, I was unable to leave from Hartford’s Bradley Airport until Sunday at 5pm, and was supposed to reach Fort Myers around 9pm Sunday night.
However, a mechanical failure with the first flight forced a missed connection, and subsequently a Sunday night spent in a motel room in Charlotte, North Carolina. I woke up Monday morning at 4:30 am somewhat worried I wouldn’t make it to JetBlue Park in time for the broadcast.
But my flight from Charlotte landed right on time at 9:00 am, and off I went to a Red Sox fan’s paradise: the gorgeous, five-year old Fenway South complex. Once there, I was reminded of how great this time of year is for baseball enthusiasts. It is a time of filled with optimism, curiosity and great weather!
By the time I got settled in the WEEI booth (thank you to Joe C, Tim N and engineer Doug Lane for allowing us to squat in your space) it was nearly time for first pitch. Henry Owens made his second start of the spring, and it was great to watch the former PawSox hurler take care of the Rays for three shutout innings.
“I thought it was good,” said Owens afterwards. “I thought everything went well. I got some ground balls, teammates made some great plays. I’ll come here tomorrow and keep getting ready for the season.”
Mookie Betts homered against Matt Moore leading off the bottom of the first, and David Ortiz collected his first hit of the spring to drive home Boston’s second run in the fourth. Only a pair of unearned runs against Noe Ramirez kept the Red Sox from blanking Tampa through nine innings.
But the Rays plated a run in the top of the tenth against William Cuevas, a man likely to begin the year in the PawSox starting rotation come April. Tampa won the game, 3-2, in a well-pitched and well-defended Grapefruit League contest before a standing-room only crowd at JetBlue Park. For me, broadcasting the game made a very long couple of days worth the trouble.
Today was just the start of our spring training coverage from the Fort. Between now and March 25th (save for a short break this coming weekend), we will have daily updates on the happenings from the big league and minor league camps as well as plenty of special interviews.
We certainly hope you’ll use this blog as a means to get you excited for the upcoming International League season. Will and I can’t wait to provide content for you. Happy spring training!
Just because I’m back in Rhode Island doesn’t mean I can’t still write about my time in Ft. Myers. One of my favorite features of the the new ballpark is the Retired Numbers Courtyard outside “Gate E.” I took some photos of the display before I left and wanted to make sure you had a chance to see them.
Flower Bed Next to the Numbers
Outside “Gate E”
My broadcast partner Steve Hyder is now in Ft. Myers for the entire week. You can check out Steve’s updates by reading his blog.
Well before Bobby Valentine created a stir by saying he was upset by Joe Giradi’s decision to end Thursday night’s game in a 4-4 tie, it was a circus at JetBlue Park for one reason: Terry Francona.
The former Red Sox manager was part of the ESPN broadcast team covering the game and the media went crazy over Tito’s return to Red Sox Spring Training. Below are some pics I took throughout the day.
Every reporter in the house wanted to talk with Tito before the game.
Francona looked like he enjoyed seeing some familiar faces from the Boson media.
Bobby Valentine talking with David Ortiz during batting practice.
PawSox manager Arnie Beyeler throwing BP before the game.
The view of batting practice from the dugout.
A single Rawlings MLB baseball on the MLB.com Shop costs $16.99. Maybe this is why parking at Fenway costs so much?
Red Sox super-shortstop-prospect Jose Iglesias taking some infield during batting practice.
Bobby Valentine chatting with Dan Schulman and Orel Hershiser of ESPN. Buster Olney is sitting to the left.
This was taken about two hours before first pitch. Gates open at JetBlue Park 90 minutes prior to the start of the game. One security guard told me that there were people who camped out overnight!
This was a real thrill for me to be able to see these three great broadcasters: Joe Castiglione, the “Voice of the Red Sox,” Don Orsillo, the TV voice of the Red Sox on NESN, and all the way at the end is Dan Schulman of ESPN Sunday Night Baseball.
There is seating on top of the Monster and in the Monster. You can’t see it well in this picture, but there is netting in front of the seats in the Monster to protect the fans.
Pesky’s Pole in right field already getting some signatures.
The view from on top of the Green Monster.
Today I’m off to the Twins’ complex for a 1:00 first pitch between Pawtucket and Rochester with my good friend and “Voice of the Portland Sea Dogs,” Mike Antonellis. More on today’s game coming later tonight.
Yesterday was as much fun as I thought it would be. Not only did I get to watch the PawSox game in Port Charlotte followed by the Red Sox game at JetBlue Park, I had the great privilege of watching the majority of the Red Sox game from the WEEI broadcast booth above home plate.
Joe Castiglione is entering his 30th year as the “Voice of the Red Sox” and it was a real thrill to be in the booth next to him while he was calling the game. Joe and his broadcast partner Jon Rish are terrific guys and they were even kind enough to answer some of my questions between innings. What I maybe found most interesting is that Joe carries with him a small blue three-ring binder that contains a hand-written notecard with information on every Red Sox player and every opposing player as well.
Joe writes down things he reads in the media guide, online, or that he gets directly from a player. He told me that when he physically writes it down, he retains the information much better than when he types it (I’m the same way). Throughout the game he would write new information on certain players’ cards for use later in the season.
Here’s a look inside the Red Sox broadcast booth at JetBlue Park. To the left is Jon Rish, on the right is Joe Castiglione. Through the glass to the right you can see former PawSox broadcaster and current Red Sox TV broadcaster on NESN, Don Orsillo. Next to him in the navy shirt is the one-and-only Jerry Remy.
Today the Red Sox are on the road playing the Pirates at McKechnie Field in Bradenton, but I’ll be in attendance for the PawSox 1:00 game this afternoon at home against Rochester. But before I leave for the ballpark I wanted to share with you some more pictures I took from yesterday’s game in Port Charlotte.
Not many hot dogs were served from this concession stand behind the minor league field where the PawSox and Durham Bulls played yesterday. It did, however, provide some shade which was in short supply.
So much for the shade! This was my view for most of the game (throwing a Gatorade towel over my head never seemed like such a good idea). Although it got a little warm at times, I was at least grateful that they had bleachers set up for spectators to sit on.
PawSox outfielder Daniel Nava getting loose before the start of the sixth inning.
Only in Spring Training can you find a dugout as charming as this one.
Eammon Portice pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning including two strikeouts, but before he took the mound he was busy charting pitches behind home plate.
The Texas Rangers called Port Charlotte their Spring Training home for 15 years before leaving in 2002 for a newer ballpark in Surprise, Arizona. In 2009 the Tampa Bay Rays reached an agreement with the county to invest over $27 million in renovation costs in order to bring Charlotte Sports Park up to state-of-the-art standards. The renovation costs were more than five times the ballpark’s original cost of $5 million.
I’ll talk with you again late this afternoon/early evening to update the blog on today’s PawSox game. For live updates during the game you can follow me on Twitter. Have a great day!
David Ortiz is at the plate as the Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays play in front of a sellout crowd tonight at JetBlue Park. I’ll watch the game soon enough but right now, from my seat in the press box, I want to get you up to speed with what happened earlier today in Port Charlotte between the PawSox and Durham Bulls.
Chris Balcom-Miller (left) started for Pawtucket and went four innings, allowing two runs. The PawSox scored their first run thanks to a 2nd-inning solo shot off the bat of catcher Matt Spring (below). Unfortunately, that was half of the club’s run production on the afternoon. In the 6th inning first baseman Mauro Gomez singled and scored on an RBI double by right fielder J.C. Linares.
Caleb Clay (0-1) came on and worked a scoreless 5th inning but then allowed the go-ahead run in the 6th inning to suffer the loss. Lefty Hunter Jones could not keep things close and was charged with five runs over two innings. Eammon Portice tossed the bottom of the ninth inning (even though the Bulls were up by six) and retired the side in order, including a pair of strikeouts.
Today’s loss marks the first of the Spring for the PawSox who are now 5-1 in Grapefruit League play.
- Daniel Nava’s solid hitting continued today with a double to center field (the wind helped it some).
- Will Middlebrooks did not play in today’s game; Gomez played only as the DH.
- Parking at JetBlue Park is $9.00. That’s $9.00 more than you’ll pay for parking at McCoy Stadium.
- Tomorrow I’ll be in attendance for the PawSox 1:00 p.m. first pitch against Rochester.
- I’m on the hunt for the best local fish taco. If you happen to know where that might be, please let me know!
It was a nice surprise to find Jonathan Mayo, the top minor league writer for MLB.com, at JetBlue Park yesterday afternoon. He was kind enough to give me about 10 minutes of his time to talk all things Red Sox minor leagues.
Jonathan had some interesting insights on Bryce Brentz, Will Middlebrooks, Jose Iglesias, and Ryan Lavarnway. We also talked about how stacked the Sox system is offensively and how the club’s pitching prospects aren’t quite as deep. You can listen to the interview in its entirety by using the embedded audio player above.
Today should be a busy day for me. I’m leaving my hotel in Ft. Myers around 11:45 a.m. and will travel about 40 minutes north to Port Charlotte to watch the 1:00 first pitch between the PawSox and the Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay). Like yesterday, I’ll be tweeting live updates and the occasional photo (where the players look like they’re about a mile away).
After the game, it’s back to Ft. Myers to watch the Red Sox 7:05 p.m. start against Toronto. It promises to be a long – but fun – day. My hope is to update the blog once I’m back at JetBlue following the PawSox game.
I’ll chat with you then.
Forget Opening Day, my first PawSox game of 2012 is in the books. So maybe a Spring Training minor league game isn’t quite the same as a regular season affair, but it was still a blast to see live baseball again and get my first taste of Fenway South.
The most obvious storyline about today’s PawSox game was that Red Sox right-hander Alfredo Aceves got the start for Pawtucket. Having an established big leaguer who can really pitch start a minor league game played on a nondescript backfield is definitely a contrast, but one that’s fun to watch. Aceves picked up the win despite getting knocked around: seven hits including four doubles. Overall he gave up three runs and left some pitches up, but he was still a pleasure to see live.
(Above) Aceves warming up prior to the fifth inning. He worked with catcher Matt Spring who appeared in three games with the PawSox last year. While in the dugout following the sixth inning, Spring complimented Aceves on his communication.
Kevin Bloes, the manager of the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs, is doing the managing for the PawSox games while Pawtucket manager Arnie Beyeler is assisting the Red Sox coaching staff in big league camp. I talked with Boles after the game this afternoon and when I asked about Aceves he described him as a pitcher with “plus commanded who has life to his fastball and who can change speeds well.”
Offensively, the biggest eye-opener for me was the bat of Mauro Gomez. The former Gwinnett Brave connected on the first pitch see saw today and blasted a no-doubter over the left field fence. Now the new PawSox’ first baseman, Gomez was a force last year with Gwinnett, finishing the year batting for average and power (.304/24 HR/90 RBI).
While it was Gomez’ bat that initially opened eyes today, he made an outstanding play at first in the early innings. The Durham batter hit the ball sharply to Will Middlebrooks at third base and, as a result, Middlebrooks’ throw to Gomez at first was high and slightly down the line. Gomez – wh0 has a thick, stocky build – sprung into the air, stretched his arm above his head to make the catch, and then slapped the tag on the runner a split-step before his foot hit the bag. I asked Boles about the play and, as impressed as he was with it, he said he hasn’t seen enough of Gomez to know if that type of play was out of the ordinary for him. Nevertheless, in the nine innings I’ve seen him play, he’s better defensively than I initially thought.
(Above) Will Middlebrooks at bat in the first inning. The Red Sox No. 1 Prospect (Baseball America) finished the day 1-for-3 with a single.
- Che-Hsuan Lin, the track star from Taiwan and current Red Sox outfield prospect, is pretty impressive up close. I had never seen him in person and was surprised to see that he’s well built and doesn’t have the slim build we imagine most speedsters having.
- I had a chance to speak with newly acquired right-hander John Maine during today’s game (he was in the stands). He’s very well-spoken and describes himself as an “East Coast guy.” John and his wife make their off-season him in Charlotte and one month ago they welcomed their first child, a baby girl named Reese.
One of the highlights for me today was speaking with Red Sox base-stelaing legend, Tommy Harper. Now in his 10th season as a player development consultant with the Sox, Harper held the Red Sox’ single-season record for stolen bases in a season (54 in 1973) until 2009 when former PawSox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury set the new club mark with 70. Mr. Harper gave me a 20 minute crash course in the art of base stealing which was a really fun moment for me. He left me with this piece of knowledge: “a good base stealer reads [the pitcher] – he doesn’t guess.”
- While I was writing my first blog around noon today from the press box at JetBlue Park, I looked to my left and spotted Jonathan Mayo, the (great) minor league writer for MLB.com. He was kind enough to let me interview him for about 10 minutes after the PawSox game and I plan on posting that audio interview here later this evening/early tomorrow. He was very kind and humble to talk with and had some terrific insights on the Red Sox minor league system.
Time to grab some dinner and prepare for my “road trip” to Port Charlotte tomorrow where I’ll watch the PawSox play Durham at their place. We’ll chat again soon.