I have seven weeks to fall in love with Sarasota.
Right now, I want to take it out for a nice seafood dinner and never call it again.
Let's just say my first impression of the city hasn't been a good one. There's not a lot to see and do on Fruitville Rd., at least the stretch that I've traveled since leaving the airport.
I can't imagine that this particular area is a hot tourist attraction unless you're into medical buildings and auto repair shops. In that case, you'll want to keep your digital camera handy.
I did purchase some groceries and supplies at Sweetbay Supermarket, which I'm pretty sure could kick Safeway's butt. Now I'm back in my hotel room trying to slow my heart rate.
I just had the following exchange with the kid working the front desk:
Me: "I have a dumb question. How do you change the channels on this TV? I keep pressing the arrows and it stays on channel 3."
Him: "Are you using the black remote?"
Me: "Um...never mind."
I'll devote the next few nights to searching for the spots that many of you recommended. They've got to be more than a few miles from here, but I'll pass plenty of gas stations along the way. And I'm sure that Sarasota will gradually grow on me.
The temperature was in the upper 50s when my plane touched down at 3:30 p.m., which is downright cold for this state. But I checked the forecast for the rest of the week and there's not a single mention of snow, so I have that going for me, which is nice.
A few pitchers reported today and the rest will trickle in tomorrow, along with the catchers. I'll head to the facility early in the morning to pick up my press credential and parking pass. I'll also try to get my bearings in my new surroundings, which are supposed to be less than 10 minutes from my hotel. That was the main appeal to staying here.
I could walk through the Fort Lauderdale complex blindfolded - which was often recommended - without bumping into anything.
The real work starts on Thursday when players take their physicals and head outdoors. There will be more drills to monitor on more fields. I'll try to spread out.
Manager Dave Trembley will sit down with the media and brace for the inevitable questions about his Opening Day starter and lineup. No sense waiting until the end of March and ruining the tradition.
Anyway, I'm going to bed early so I'll be refreshed in the morning, and I plan on sleeping like a baby.
I'll wake up crying every two hours.
Come on, Sarasota, let's try to get along. I'll give you every chance. And I'll settle for a friend-hug at the end.