SARASOTA, Fla. - I’m staying in a different hotel this spring, so I must rely on my horrible sense of direction and my GPS to find my way to Ed Smith Stadium and downtown Sarasota.
The good news: I’m very close to the Sarasota airport.
The bad news: I flew into Tampa.
Though it’s overcast and a light rain has been falling, the temperature was 71 degrees when my plane landed. No shovel required.
I made a quick trip to the ballpark to check out the clubhouse renovations, and they’re beyond impressive - from the lobby area outside of it to the huge amount of space inside. If it rains, the Orioles can move their exhibition game indoors and keep the regular dimensions.
The players’ lunch room has been converted to the media work room, which will better accommodate all the foreign press than the trailer that we used for the first two springs. It might have gotten a bit cramped. However, I’ll no longer get my cardio workout each morning hustling from the clubhouse to the trailer to post the lineup.
Nick Markakis was leaving the complex as I arrived - signing autographs in his SUV - so he’s an early arrival. The Orioles are checking him closely after he underwent abdominal surgery.
The clubhouse was empty by the time I got there, but if you’re interested, Wei-Yin Chen has a corner locker next to Zach Phillips. On the other side of the entrance, Tsuyoshi Wada has an empty locker that separates his corner unit from Jason Berken.
For you numbers crunchers, Bundy is wearing 82, Chen 16, Wada 18, Matt Lindstrom 27, Jason Hammel 39, Jai Miller 13, Endy Chavez 9, Wilson Betemit 24 and Nick Johnson 36.
Yes, I had some time to kill because my room wasn’t ready. Don’t judge me.