These entries will not be entirely baseball related. I'm just going to document my Florida trip, because other than my grandfather's funeral, a majority of it will be baseball related...
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 27th
I was originally planning on going to Spring Training later in March. Sadly, my grandfather passed away this week, and as he lived with my grandmother in Naples, Florida, it just made sense to bump my trip up earlier and extend my stay around the funeral.
The one kink in my original plans is that I won't really be able to go to many actual games: I have to leave Sunday to return to New York, so the only the games I'll be here for are three against the Red Sox, two at the Red Sox facility and one at the Twins. The one at the Twins facility falls on the same day as the funeral. So, to sum up, all of my blogging about the Twins stadium will be in the next few days when I go to watch workouts, not any of the actual spring games. But I will be at the Red Sox facility on Thursday and Saturday and will be able to cover those games.
Today was my first real day down here. I flew out of New York on Friday night after work and was afraid I wouldn't make it out. For some reason we got around 2 feet of snow dumped on us and flights were being cancelled left and right -- I know 2 feet doesn't sound like much to Minnesotans, but New York tends to shut down with even a dusting. They're wimps. -- On the flight I got to watch some Olympic hockey because JetBlue is genius and has free DirectTV for every seat (not a paid promoter, I swear). I landed in Fort Myers around 11:30PM, got a zippy little burgundy Kia Forte rental car with only 600 miles on it, oh man does it feel good to drive again, even if it's a Kia. It has that new car smell and it's so pristine, I kind of want to kiss it whenever I see it.
Today was rather cold (cold for Florida) and rainy, so I'm glad I didn't head up to the Twins complex. Instead I spent the morning running errands, including going to Target and buying them out of major league baseballs in their protective cases so that I can get all the autographs I want (and the ones I've promised people).
I was put in charge of getting the alcohol together for a family and close friends reception Sunday night for the funeral. I'm not sure why I was put in charge of the alcohol, either they trust my taste enough or they are commenting on my liver functionality. Anyway, I tried going through my grandfather's liquor cabinet which is full of all sorts of random things (including Nut liquor, have you ever heard of that? It tasted disgusting.) The majority of the afternoon was dedicated to emptying down the drain all the $500 bottles of champagne that he had stored poorly and had since turned to vinegar. It was such a waste. Then I took my mom and my aunt to the liquor store to replenish everything.
Topped that off with the best restaurant I've ever been to in my life. If the Twins and my grandparents weren't down in Naples I would have made excuses to fly down just to eat at this place: Fernandez the Bull. Best Cuban food ever. Today I had the lime marinated roast pork with yuca, black beans and rice, plantains, and sangria. It was between that and their famous media noche sandwich (like a Cuban but with sweeter bread).
I need to pick my cousin up from the airport in Ft. Myers tomorrow afternoon so I think on my way out there I'll drop by the Twins facility and do my first walkabout of the trip. Hopefully I'll have some good baseball info for tomorrow!