No, seriously… I spent last week with the most elderly folk I had ever seen in one place. You know that stereotype about old people doing everything very slowly? It’s totally true. I was forced to walk and drive slower than ever before the entire week. These fucking snowbirds were crawling everywhere.
Old people aside, I had a pretty good time. The weather was excellent the entire week, except for one day. I drank a lot of beer, ate a lot of food, and got to visit Busch Gardens Tampa. I was able to visit all of the sites Adam Richman visited in the Sarasota episode of Man vs. Food. We visited the Old Salty Dog on the eve of the Maryland/Duke ACC tourney game, along with Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports, Dan Connolly and Jeff Zrebiec from The Sun. Hot dogs aren’t really my bag, so I did not try the Old Salty Dog that the place is known for. I had their fish and chips, which was quite delicious. A friend of mine who happened to also be in Sarasota at the same time tried the dog, and was not impressed. I then ate lunch at Yoder’s Amish Restaurant Monday afternoon and tried their famous fried chicken, and I’m not lying when I tell you it was fucking awesome. Those frigid fuckers know how to cook some shit. Finally, yes I did make it to Munchie’s 420 Cafe. I did not try to hot wing challenge (it would have been awkward since I was alone) though I did get to witness a guy trying it while I was waiting for my order. He didn’t make it, but he didn’t look in nearly as bad of shape as Adam was in on the show. A theory from one of the locals I spoke to was that the owner is a real douche and made the wings hotter than usual when Adam was there in order to pump the place up, which sounded reasonable enough. At least 5 other people spoke up to say they agreed with him, it seemed like I was the only one in the bedroom sized place who wasn’t a local. I left there with a sandwich called the Fat Sandy, which was also featured on the show. This sandwich features chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, onion rings, two cheeseburgers, and fried potato wedges. The whole thing is then slathered in macaroni and cheese. I couldn’t finish the whole thing, but I can tell you that this sandwich was completely delicious.
Now that I have recovered from the heart attack, I can write a little about baseball. The Orioles didn’t look particularly good while I was there, nor did they look particularly bad. There were a few things though that stood out to me. I will list them, in no particular order:
J.J. Hardy is going to be like eleventy billion times more enjoyable for me to watch than Cesar Izturis. He goes to the plate and actually looks like he has an idea of what he is doing. He can actually hit the ball out of the infield when he gets a decent piece of it, and his defense looked very solid the whole time I was there.
Luke Scott is having a great time. Sure, he didn’t hit at all until the last couple of games, but you would never know it watching his behavior. I had seats immediately next to the dugout at one of the games against the Twins. Luke was joking with all of his teammates and even jokingly tried to order two beers from a vendor who came within ear shot of the dugout. The vendor asked why he needed two, and Luke held up both of his hands and said he was going to double fist it. Later on in that game, Derrek Lee came out of the clubhouse for a few minutes, just long enough for Luke to tell him about how they play the Frank the Tank montage when you hit home runs at Camden Yards. He then proceeded to tell Lee how awesome it was and began reenacting the scene himself. Both of these scenes were quite comical.
Mark Reynolds defense came to the Orioles with mixed reviews. From what I saw in person and what I have seen on television so far. He’s pretty good. He made quite a few excellent plays while I was there. He made smart decisions, and looked very smooth.
Robert Andino still looks like a better player to me than Izturis, and it is still boggling my mind why the hell we signed a replacement level player to make 3 times the amount of money we would pay someone like Andino. Andino is younger, more athletic, and actually swings a bat that isn’t dipped in chocolate. I would take him over Izturis straight up, but when he makes a third of the money and he is only serving as a utility infielder, it is a no brainer. Izturis speaks Spanish you say? First, you are dumb. Second, so do Guerrero, Pie, Scott, Jones, and…wait for it…..wait for it….Robert Fucking Andino. Yeah, homeboy is Puerto Rican and Cuban….he be speaking Spanish, believe that.
Jake Fox is red hot. We all know this by now, but Jake Fox is hitting dingers like he wants Matt Wieters job. Obviously, that isn’t going to happen but he is so hot that idiots are actually asking this question. I will go ahead and answer that one for you: No. Jake Fox is obviously going to make the team and I don’t even think there was a question of that entering spring training. He may even earn some extra at bats with this performance but he still doesn’t have a position and he certainly isn’t going to start over anyone ahead of him on the totem pole right now. It has been fun to watch though, thanks Jake.
Nolan Reimold looks like a new man, he’s pretty clearly moving better and he has been hitting well all spring so far. It is a shame we signed Vlad, who despite hitting a couple of dingers while I was there, looks pretty bad most of the time. I just hate undisciplined hitters who make quick outs.
The new stadium is a beautiful place, the renovation makes it look like a totally new place. I was there last year and can’t begin to explain what a difference it is. It is night and day compared to the old facility.
Finally, Garrett Atkins still sucks.
That’s about all I have, feel free to ask me questions about all things Sarasota in the comments.