Monday, December 19, 2011

Mets ornament of the day: Spring training and other Florida memories

It's getting close to the point that I've seen the Mets play in Florida as many times as I've seen them play in New York.

My parents thoughtfully moved to Florida in the early 1990s, selecting a spot about 40 miles from the Mets spring home in Port St. Lucie. And the Cardinals later moved their shared spring home to Jupiter, right near the parental homestead.

This has led to some pretty sweet adventures, too, like a front row seat to watching Jose Reyes play in a rehab assignment for the St. Lucie Mets in Jupiter.

I've sat in the stands with former No. 1 pick Shawn Abner and several Mets prospects, sat right behind the open dugout at Vero Beach to hear all the team chatter, enjoyed several green-clad St. Patrick's Days.

Spring games had afford me opportunities to talk to Mets owners, broadcasters, managers and players from Hall of Famers to guys hoping to make the team – and some of their parents, too.

Some of the Florida adventures extend beyond spring training. I've seen the Mets and Marlins play in Miami several times, including celebrating one Opening Day.

The sunshine state being the host for so many Mets memories that I hang this cool sand dollar ornament near the top of the baseball room tree each year.

There's an art festival that runs along Ocean Blvd., that's fun because there is usually some pretty strange-looking art, some pretty strange-looking people and arepas, which are a glorious Florida treat involving corn bread and cheese.

One year I stumbled across a table with these cool handmade ornaments, buying one with the proud Mets logo and one with the then-new Marlins logo.

They're big, and a little goofy. But a sand dollar never looked so good, and it's a reminder of all the fun times spent with the Mets in Florida.

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