You’ll definitely want to hear what Susan thought of Bryce when she saw him up close.
Special thanks to friend of the podcast Susan Robinson for agreeing to help us out by being our eyes & ears for a few days at spring training.
Here’s her first entry after her first day down in Florida:
My First Spring Training
By: Susan Robinson (@TurtleZoot)
March 7th, 2013
After sweating out snowquester yesterday and worrying that I would not get out of Baltimore, I arrived in Florida with only a 40 minute de-icing delay. I arrived to blue skies and mid 60 degree weather; chilly for Florida, but a great improvement over the mid 30′s at home.
Today, I drove up to Kissimee Florida to see the Nats play at the Astros. The day didn’t get off to a good start, though, as I got caught in construction traffic and the hour drive turned into an hour and 40 minutes. I guess, at least during that drive, Florida wanted to make me feel at home.
It made me get to the stadium a little later than I wanted, but I still had an hour before the game. One of the Astros people at the gate kindly guided me to someone who gave me all sorts of info regarding where I was sitting and where the Nats players would be.
I watched some Nats BP (which turned out to be a foreshadowing of the day as I noticed the balls not seeming to go very far) and then walked around looking for players giving autographs. I saw one whom I didn’t know who it was at first, but got him to sign my ball- Zack Walters, minor leaguer. He was very nice.
After that I settled down in my seats, which were great- second row directly behind home plate. I had a great view of the Nats dugout too.
One thing about being that close to home: you really appreciate how dangerous a batted ball is! Ian Desmond fouled off a ball that came rocketing straight back at me (directly at my face!). Obviously the net stopped it but one can’t help but flinch when this happens. Several other balls came close but weren’t as unnerving as that first one.
Anyway, Gio took the mound and did fairly well, giving up three hits in three innings and one walk. He did get out of one minor jam with a double play at one point. Overall, I thought he looked good.
My one concern was that the starters did not hit much, not even getting a hit until the 4th inning I think. And I’m including regulars like Span, Harper, Desmond, Espinosa, Ramos here. It was a bit worrisome considering they were facing the Astros. It’s possible they were affected by the cross wind blowing in, though, as there were MANY long pop ups.
One observation upon seeing Harper close up- the guy just oozes power. His batting stance is like a coiled spring ready to burst. It’s a shame he had a bad day but he’s having a great spring otherwise.
Overall, it was a fairly dull game, although after falling behind 2-0 the Nats managed to tie it up- until Ryan Mattheus gave up two more runs. Mattheus was throwing hard though. They just managed to get a hold of his fastball a few times.
It was fun day, a really nice day for baseball. I was able to get one more autograph after the game, Micah Owings, so that was cool. I did see that Zack Walters was signing again after the game, which impressed me.
It was a shame the Nats lost but there were definitely some good things, particularly Gio Gonzalez and Drew Storen, who had a good inning.
Anyway, tomorrow it’s off to Viera and the Cardinals. My hope is to get Jayson Werth’s autograph for myself and Bryce Harper’s autograph for my mother…okay and maybe one for me too!
A couple more pictures from the 2nd row: