By Joe Christensen
I’ve got an errand to run before heading to tonight’s Grapefruit League opener between the Twins and Red Sox. Think I’ll buy a poster and hand it right to my friend, Gordon Edes from the Boston Globe.
In the Globe’s spring training preview, Edes wrote an ode to Fort Myers that included this sentence:
The Minnesota Twins also train here, but unless you are from the Iron Range, going to watch the Twins play instead of the Sox is like going to a poster shop instead of the Louvre when you’re in Paris.
For my money, Gordon is one of the most talented scribes in the country. But with this line, he swung and missed.
The Red Sox do have their Mona Lisas. Their list of famous (if overpriced) celebrities includes Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, Curt Schilling, J.D. Drew and Japanese sensation Daisuke Matsuzaka. Their spring stadium, City of Palms Park, is cozier than Hammond Stadium, and Sox games are the toughest ticket in town.
But spend a day at the Lee County Sports Complex, watching the reigning MVP (Justin Morneau), Cy Young (Johan Santana) and batting champ (Joe Mauer). Spend a day strolling between fields where Hall of Famers Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew and Paul Molitor roam. Spend a day around this uncommonly accessible pro sports franchise.
Then spend a day watching the Red Sox, whose training fields are two miles down the road from their spring stadium. Spend a day watching Manny being Manny, etc. Spend a day getting trampled by the obsessive fans of Red Sox Nation. And I think you’d agree: They can have their Louvre. We’ll take the little poster shop any day.