I've talked before about Braves spring training, been lucky enough to cover it since 1997 in West Palm Beach, and each year, it's sad to me when it ends.
We walk up to Disney's wide World of sports and Champions stadium each morning around 7:30am... There's a heavy smell of fresh cut grass, the sun is barely coming up over the left field wall, players quietly walk in. There's something special about that.
Our last broadcast from the park was Thursday, and I find myself sad to say goodbye the the nice lady at security. Her name is Donna, and she's been at that gate for the past 10 years. She's retired, a library worker from Maine. Her husband has passed away. She loves Columbia, the restaurant. I enjoy talking to her every spring season.
Juan, is one of the security guards the braves locker room door. He's a die hard Mets fan. He has told me the stame story of how he and his father went to every opening day til his father passed in 2003. He curses Bobby Valentine more than any Red Sox player, and can tell you each and every time Chipper Jones beat the mets. I've heard the stories before, and actually look forward to hearing each one again.
When I got into this business 20 years ago, I said there's so much more to sports than final scores. Sports is the backdrop for family, for moments, for story telling, for laughter, for tears... For cheering, for booing, for gut wrenching disappointment.
My disappointment that spring training ending isn't gut wrenching. It just reminds me to look forward to the regular season in Atlanta, and then look forward to heading back to Disney , and catching up with the Donnas and the Juans of spring.
Braves spring training is my backdrop for baseball, sure. But for so much more.
Thanks for the 2013 memories!
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