11th Annual Spring Training Trek 2007

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Thursday, March 22 2007

Good morning and welcome to Day 6 of the 11th Annual Spring Training Trek 2007!

After yesterday's marathon, having the opportunity to sleep in before my next Braves game at 1pm was well appreciated (and used).  But to the ballpark I went for an exciting game facing the Mets.  John Smoltz was again on the mound, and in Greg Maddux fashion, the first inning was over in just 10 minutes.  It was going to be a quick game, which was fine since the weather had cleared and temps were rising into the low 80's. 

In the 2nd inning, the Braves put their first run on the board, but I was standing in line for some lunch and did not see it.  I was really hungry so I added some fries to my Grand Slam double-cheeseburger and diet coke ($10.25).  In the third inning, Smoltzie picked off a runner at first, but gave up a run in the 4th after having given up just 2 hits in the first three innings.  A nice defensive toss from Kelly Johnson to Chris Woodward at 2nd base gets the Braves out of the inning.

In the sixth inning, With a runner on, Woodward doubled  and then Chipper Jones - did I mention that for the first time at home this week both Chipper and Andruw Jones were playing - doubled Woodward in.  Andruw and Brian McCann both struck out and Jeff Francouer grounded out, but the Braves had a 2-1 lead.  Over six innings, Smoltz gave up only 7 hits and one unearned run.

In the 7th, Mike Gonzales came, giving up a 2 out double but otherwise breezing through the inning.  After the 7th inning stretch, Doug Clark and Billy McCarthy both singled and Martin Prado walked to load the bases.  Yunel Escobar grounded into a fielder's choice, but the throw home was too hot to handle and all runs and runners were safe.  It was now 4-1.  Tony Pena, who pinch ran for Chipper in the previous inning, homers and just like that the Braves have blown open a 7-1 lead.  Peter Moylan came in to pitch a clean 8th inning and Oscar Villarreal closed out the game in the 9th.

After the game and a quick stop at the Port Orleans Riverside Resort, I made my way to Downtown Disney West Side for dinner at Wolfgang Puck's Cafe.  After a bowl of butternut squash soup (yes, mother, you are reading that right but don't get any ideas), I had California-inspired wolf-uccini with roasted chicken and a delicious bread pudding for desert., accompanied by a glass of Ruffino Pinot Grigio.  Total meal plan price: $36. Next it was to Downtown Disney's Market Place where I shopped Team Mickey and the World of Disney for a few essential souvenirs.

Finally, it was back to the far end of the West Side where I attended Cirque du Soleil's presentation of La Nouba.  I have described this performance in the past as a visual and auditory assault on your senses so at least I will remain consistent this year.  In 2003 I helped mark the 200th performance since the show opened in 1999 (I have missed a show during my trip only the year Aretha Franklin was performing at the House of Blues), and a Cirque cast member confided that the 4000th performance will take place next month.  The show had not changed since the beginning, although some of the score arrangements and thrills in the acts had been updated.  It was a fun night and the cast received a standing ovation as always.

And that was it for the day.  Not the longest and not the shortest, but a fun day highlighted by a complete annihilation of the Mets.  It doesn't get much better than that.

Who notes that with only 5 home games he has no chance of seeing all the starting pitchers but the bullpen looked good when it counted...

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Revised: 03/25/07.