There was a time when I would have considered a trip to a baseball park without a visit to the hot-dog stand as something close to sacrilege.
That was before the crab-cake sandwiches entered the picture.
At Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota,
With all those choices, it's understandable that I never made room for my annual ball-park dog. I eased my guilt by making it to the stand selling more than a dozen international beers, ciders and ales — an upgrade from my usual draft beer.
I've been skipping out on various responsibilities for Major League spring training games in Florida's
In addition to Sarasota, there are teams in
The good news is that most remaining clubs are based in high-end homes with multiple practice fields, shiny new stadiums and amenities for players and fans. In Sarasota, the Orioles' home reflects a $31 million renovation in 2011.
Reserved grandstand seats ($18) are close to the infield and it's possible to get within conversational distance of the players in both bullpens. The Oriole Bird mascot wanders through the crowd and is willing to pose for pictures, even with guys old enough to know better.