I was just dreaming at this point. Then my nephew Travis texted me the next day. "Hey, we should take Pop down to Florida for Spring Training."
Ok, Travis and I must think alike. This has to happen. We worked out the dates, and I started looking at game tickets and hotels. Braves tickets would be easy. They play in a large stadium, and they're not expected to be that good this year. We'd base ourselves in Orlando, see a Braves game, and go to either the Tigers or Astros for a second game.
Apparently Tigers Spring Training is a serious tradition. Their games were almost sold out. It seems that "Tigertown" always draws a crowd of snowbirds from frigid Detroit and Florida retirees. So we were going to see the Astros.
I'm not sure the Braves dreams will come true this year. They're in a rebuilding mode, and most of their talent will be in the minors.
Dad and I at the entrance to the Wide World of Sports complex
Pop and Travis with Champion Stadium - the Braves Spring Training home in the background.
We went down to the practice fields to see a few players taking some extra batting practice.
Hall of Fame manager Bobby Cox drove by in a golf cart with current Braves general manager John Copolello.
Spring training makes it fairly easy to get autographs. We happened to see the entire group of starting pitchers coming by on their way to the bullpen. Travis went over and got Julio Tehran's autograph.
He also got Mike Foltynewicz and Aaron Blair's autographs.
Champion Stadium - The Braves Spring Training Home
The honorary first pitcher and his coach take the mound.
Hall of Famer Phil Neikro brought out the lineup card
Bud Norris delivers the first pitch
A very full dugout in an early Spring Training game
Freddie Freeman fouls one off
AJ Pierzynski takes a cut
And argues with an umpire
Starling Marte had to get out of the way
Centerfield prospect Mallex Smith came into the game in the sixth
Highly touted prospect Dansby Swanson came in to play shortstop
And get an at bat or two
Nick Markakis hit a homer to right
And Ryan Lavarnway hit one to left
We decided to go to Disney Springs for dinner. Travis was craving the Holiday Sandwich at Earl of Sandwich. We found the parking garages full, so we detoured over to Saratoga Springs and took the boat.
Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival
Travis said we had to get the boss' approval before we could really do Epcot, so we did.
The Drive Home
We set off on the drive home fairly early on Wednesday morning. We didn't stop until we reached St. Mary's, Georgia. I had noticed a BBQ place on an earlier trip, so we went there.