|Tradition Field's 9/11 Memorial with the stadium in the background. I had the pleasure of watching spring training camp for the first time on Monday, March 2nd, 2015. Photo by Stephen Guilbert.|
Yesterday, March 2nd, I got to Tradition Field and the Mets spring training complex around 10 A.M. and started watching the already-ongoing practices on the half dozen fields behind Tradition Field--home of the Port St. Lucie Mets and the venue for Mets spring training. As soon as I overcame my starstruck reaction to seeing my favorite players in person and up close, I began to appreciate the atmosphere, the work the players were putting in, and the overall vibe around the complex.
Over the next few hours, I am going to upload my photos from the day and write a bit on each, for each comes with a story or a footnote about what was happening at that moment. If you follow my coverage on Mack's Mets, you will know that I tend to focus on the young players, and my interests led me to watch those players more than the "main guys" on Monday. That does not mean I was totally oblivious to the stars, though. One of those stars was Curtis Granderson, who I found hitting off a tee in one of the batting cages, casually talking to the fans watching him.
|"It's a game of adjustments." Photo: Stephen Guilbert|
My high school friend Preston and I noticed Curtis Granderson hitting off a tee while the attention was on Harvey and some of the other players elsewhere in the complex. An older fan was chatting with him--something I had not seen at all during my day there. Apart from this interaction, there seemed to be an understood decorum: This is their practice. Do not interfere. However, with Granderson, it was different.
(after a swing)
Fan: Right down the line. That's it right there.
Granderson: (smiles, moves the tee and his ball bag ever so slightly) It's a game of adjustments.
Curtis Granderson still looks like he's a 25-year-old young stud player, a season or two after breaking out in the bigs. He appears as in shape as any player there, as muscular, toned, and athletic as our young prospects but with the poise and personality of the older veteran he is. Despite his chiseled physique, the casual chatting with fans, the never-ending gum chewing, smiling, and joking, Granderson is working hard. It seemed clear to me that he was there to the work to get himself back to the MVP-caliber player he was in Detroit and New York.
It's hard not to think how good the Mets could be if he does. I wanted to start this photo essay series with Granderson because he exemplifies what I enjoyed so much about my day at spring training--the accessibility of the players, my admiration for their work ethic, and the enjoyment a baseball fan has watching his favorite players refine the skills that make them so good at what they do.
Stay tuned. There are plenty more stories and photos coming tonight.