Solari does Red Sox Spring Training Day #1: sweet gig with a few exceptions

I’m pretty psyched to be in Fort Myers covering the Red Sox spring training. Heck, let’s not beat around the bush: I am wicked excited to be in sunny, warm, hot, humid, snowless Florida hanging out with the World Champion Boston Red Sox. No denying it’s a pretty sweet gig.

I’ll be here for a few days cooking up blogs and videos for the Sports Chowdah and my good friends and partners at the Bangor Daily News. My goal is to provide a little unique Solari insight into what really goes on here and hopefully share a few stories and opinions you won’t read, hear or see anywhere else.

I have taken on this assignment a couple of times in my sports career. The last time was spring of 2008, after the Sox won the 2007 World Series. The players and coaches were in great spirits and unless the media members who got here ahead of me this year have already worn them down, I expect the atmosphere to be quite jovial and fun.

Being around the team on the practice field and in the clubhouse is a real treat and a chance to see a different side of the players. In the past I’ve seen Youk clean up at cards, Big Papi and Tiant argue in Spanish and swear at each other in English, Manny take cuts in the batting practice cage barely after the sun came up, and a rotund Bartolo Colon walk past me as he got out of the shower. That last one I can’t seem to successfully erase from my memory.

Today was my travel day. It was largely smooth sailing although I am quite sure the plane I was on may have been been used to transport British troops in WWII. It was old, and check out the Queens English on the tray table in front off me:

When was the last time you used “whilst” in a sentence?

Lets try. “Whilst I am in Florida I will enjoy driving my 2019 Ford Mustang rental car.”

Yup. Upgrade. Ordered a compact but I’ll be cruising into the media parking at Jet Blue Park in style. Maybe some naive fans will think I am a player? Perhaps not based on subtle slam from the attractive young lady who signed me out at the rental car exit.

As I handed her the papers out the driver’s side window she scanned them and said, “I think you have the wrong car.” I looked at her and said I didn’t think so, and she kind of smiled. Then I got it. Ouch.

I booked this trip on short notice and you can imagine most of the better hotels this time of year are booked. So, I am testing my survival and self-defense skills at a chain that shall remain nameless. Here’s the building next door:

It’s the nicest one in the immediate area.

Plus, for some reason they put me in a separate building out back which is reserved for smokers. Two bottles of Febreze later I think I might be able to stay one night there before I beg, plead and use what little charm I have left to get a new room.

At least as I write this my evening office has a nice view.

More to come over the next few days. For now excuse me whilst I head back to my room and move the bureau over to block the door for added protection.

Jeff Solari

About Jeff Solari

Jeff Solari is the president and founder of the Sports Chowdah, Maine’s only free, weekly sports e mail newsletter. Recently, the Mount Desert Island native was the co-host of "The Drive" on 92.9 FM in Bangor.