We’re a baseball family. You can tell from our World Series T-shirts and Tervis tumblers, our beagle’s leash, the 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle of Nats Park I got for my birthday and our MLB Network subscription that enables us to watch every single team’s every single game—all 162 of them—from April through September. (You may have figured out that our team is the world-champion Washington Nationals—I still shake my head in ecstatic disbelief when I say it—and, yes, one Friday night this winter we rewatched triumphant Game Seven.)
Come springtime, though, like most other proud Sarasota baseball fans we root, root, root for the Orioles. That’s our hometown MLB spring training team, like the Bradentonians who root for the Pittsburgh Pirates and the folks in south Sarasota County who, for the first time this season, can cheer for the Atlanta Braves at their brand-new CoolToday Park in North Port.
Spring training is that wonderful time of the year when we can see our favorite players up close and personal at ballparks way more intimate and fan-friendly than the colossal colosseums they call home during the regular season. The weather’s balmy, the pace is languid, the popcorn and peanuts are tasty, the chance to snag an autograph is pretty good. And the air is filled with expectations that this season—really, this season—could be the year your team, like mine, goes all the way.