Other posts in this series:
Greetings from scenic Sarasota (Reds at Pirates, March 21, 2008)
The agony of defeat (Reds vs. Rays, March 23, 2008)
Frozen in Florida (Reds vs. Jays, March 24, 2008)
I almost didn't make it to this game. It seems the Mapquest directions are outdated. They've installed a new ramp, so instead of making a left turn, you take the exit ramp on the right. I was of course on the wrong side of three lanes of fast-moving, tightly-packed traffic, and missed the exit. I got off as soon as I could and turned around, and soon found N. Old Coachman Rd., the street the stadium was supposed to be on. I didn't know whether it was to my left or right; I went right, figuring if I didn't see it soon I would just turn around and go back the other way.
Unfortunately, there was a bad accident at an intersection a short way down the road, and the police forced everyone off onto a side street. I had no idea where I was. I couldn't see the highway any more. After driving around for awhile, I came across Old Coachman Rd. again. Yay. I followed it. But eventually, I hit a dead end. So I turned around, figuring the stadium must be in the other direction. But as I drove along, I started to wonder if this was one of those deals where Old Coachman Rd. and N. Old Coachman Rd. never actually connect. I was going through an undeveloped area that just didn't look like a stadium neighborhood. Then all of a sudden, I came around a curve and saw a sea of people wearing red, walking along the sides of the road. Bright House Field at last. Through the back roads, though; most people came from the other direction, where there are apparently signs and things.
The game was sold out, so I bought a ticket from a scalper. It was a club seat ticket. I wasn't sure what a club seat was, but it was right above first base, and I was worried I'd miss the first pitch, so I took it.
It was a great seat. Best I've seat I've ever had a baseball game. You get a terrific view of the whole field:
There's also a private concession stand, so there are no lines for food and drink. There's a roof, so the seats are protected from rain and sun. (This was a dubious blessing yesterday. It was so cold that some sun would have been welcome. Many of the club seat holders left for warmer seats in the lower levels, even though the view was worse.) But what I really loved was that view. The floor is steeply canted, so even if Yao Ming has the seat in front of you, your view is not blocked. I was next to a column, which meant I had a place to put my camera bag. I could photograph almost every area of the field without getting in anyone's way. It was really great. I'd love to get a club seat again for today's Yankees game, but I have a feeling it would cost an arm and a leg.
The weird thing was that even though the game was sold out, the club seats were almost empty. From what other people said, many of the club seats are held by wealthy and connected season-ticket holders who don't bother to give away or sell their tickets when they can't use them. What a waste.
Before the game, Phillies outfielder Geoff Jenkins came over to say hi to Brandon Phillips. BP threw his arms around him.
Voltron was pretty solid.
He did get hit by a comebacker, but he was fine. The trainer didn't even come out of the dugout.
The speedy Freel isn't quite speedy enough; he's out at 2B when Dunn grounds into a forceout.
Keppinger throws to first. Sit down, Pedro Feliz.
It was three up, three down for Bray in the 6th.
It appears Cordero is not immune to the Curse of the 8th Inning. He gave up two runs on two singles, a walk, and a double.
However, he also had some bad luck. Dunn had an adventure in outfielding.
And so did Hairston, who probably should have let an outfielder get it. (Gameday called it a fly ball to Adam Dunn.)
No one got any errors, but I think those balls were catchable.
They almost botched the rundown, but in the end, Arlon Quiroz was out at home, 1-5-2-6.
Former Red Ray Olmedo was subbed in at 2B. He got one at-bat and grounded out to second. He's batting .200 this spring training.
Coffey pitched a scoreless ninth.
This one belongs to the Reds.
Final score: Reds 5, Phillies 3.
Today, I plan to see two games. The Yanks at the Phillies this afternoon, and the Reds at the Jays tonight. I will be heading back north early tomorrow, so it's my last chance.