It was another beautiful, warm, sunny day in Florida — a perfect day to attend a spring training game between the Phillies and the Blue Jays in Dunedin. With front row seats directly behind home plate, fans were close enough to see the batters expressions and take some awesome photographs of their favorite players.
In an otherwise routine game, the bats stole the show, and not in the way you would think. In the first inning, Philadelphia’s Shane Victorino’s bat slid from his hands and landed in the stands behind the Toronto coaches. A few batters latter, Toronto’s Jose Bautista also had a bat slip out of his hands and land among the Phillies fans. No one was seriously injured, but at least one fan will have a bruised shoulder. Additionally Raul Ibañez further abused the lumber by shattering two bats, and sending pieces flying towards the mound.
Cole Hamels started the game for the Phillies. He put in a good performance through the third inning, allowing no base runners. However, he got in trouble in the fourth when Jose Bautista hit a solo home run, his third of the spring training season. The next batter was Aaron Hill, who got a walk. That was Hill’s seventh base on balls of spring training.
Hamels then got the next two batters out before providing another walk. Phillies coaching had seen enough. They replaced Hamels with Ryan Vogelsong, and J.C. Ramirez finished the game for them.
Toronto tested the arms of several of their pitchers. Ex-Philly Kyle Drabek (traded away for Roy Halladay) started the game and pitched two scoreless innings. David Purcey finished the game by serving up a home run to Cody Ransom in the ninth inning. In between Drabek and Purcey the Blue Jays used four additional pitchers.
The Phillies won 4-2. Ryan Vogelsong was the winning pitcher and J.C. Ramirez got the save. Lance Broadway received the loss. Batting for Philadelphia, both John Mayberry and Greg Dobbs had back-to-back doubles in the fourth and in the sixth innings. Adam Lind had a double for Toronto. Philadelphia had 10 hits, 1 home run, and no errors. Toronto had 6 hits, 1 home run, and 1 error.
Dunedin Stadium holds approximately 5,500 fans. The Blue Jays have been playing at this complex since 1977. The location itself has housed a stadium since 1930 when Grant Field was built. In 1990, $2.4 million was spent to rebuild the stadium portion of the complex. In 2000, an additional $12 million in renovations occurred, and the Blue Jays agreed to remain at the park for another 15 years.
Dunedin Stadium retains a charm from bygone games. The stadium allows fans to feel up close and personal with the players and the game. Tickets are still reasonably priced. Tickets behind home plate were 20 dollars. The stadium does not have much parking, and fans are encouraged by the local inhabitants to park in their front yards for a small fee.
The weather was perfect, the seats great, and the baseball game was entertaining. The charm of the ballpark, fans, and vendors made this a most pleasurable afternoon.