On the flip side, there was plenty of elbow room in the reserved seats along the third-base line at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, the historic spring training site of the Detroit Tigers.
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Even with the clouds, a mid-week getaway for an afternoon ball game is still one of the unique pleasures of springtime in Florida. In Orlando, you can pull the trigger on a Lakeland baseball road trip just before lunch time and still slide into your seat in time for the first pitch.
There's been a creeping exodus of Major League teams from Florida to Arizona in recent years, but there are still plenty of options for spring baseball here:
You can find teams in Viera ( Washington Nationals); Lake Buena Vista ( Atlanta Braves); Kissimmee ( Houston Astros); Sarasota ( Baltimore Orioles); Fort Myers ( Boston Red Sox, Minnesota Twins); Jupiter ( Florida Marlins, St. Louis Cardinals); Port St. Lucie ( New York Mets); Tampa ( New York Yankees); Clearwater ( Philadelphia Phillies); Bradenton ( Pittsburgh Pirates); Port Charlotte ( Tampa Bay Rays); and Dunedin ( Toronto Blue Jays). Visit mlb.com for ticket and schedule information, and make plans early for marquee matchups.
No such worries on Tuesday when I arrived at the ticket window to find my pick of any section, eventually settling on a $13 spot in the reserved grandstand. Tigertown remains one of the genuine old-school spring baseball experiences.
Fans are close enough to the action to interact, such as the friendly exchange on Tuesday between a guy in my section and a Florida Southern player, who wasn't aware of the big green gum bubble attached to the top of his cap by a wise-guy teammate.
I almost lucked into a foul ball, lunched on a hot dog, beer and peanuts for $13, and watched the sun peek through the clouds, at least in my mind. Let's play two.