Monday, March 3, 2008

2008 Wrap Up

This blog will likely remain dormant until early 2009, so I'll finish up like I did last year with the best of the best. Luckily this year I don't have a lost baseball glove to gripe about.

Best Food:

Competitors this year included the regulars in Sonic and Checkers, but new specialized entries like the Beer/Cheese Dip at the Dunedin Brewery and the Beef Quesadillas at Casa Tina's made a great first impression. It would be easy for me to give the award to the excellent Memphis Style ribs at Brady's, but I think the Red Garlic Potatoes were more of a pleasant surprise and unable to be repeated around here.

Favorite Spring Training Park:

Last year I characterized the Jays operation as commercial compared to the Rays. After experiencing Brighthouse Field's $7 parking, $20 regular seats (we paid $10 to sit in the grass), and incessant plugs for Frenchy's and the Tilted Kilt (TIT KILT!!!!), Dunedin wasn't just pleasant, it was delightfully different. However, I still have to characterize Al Lang Field as the undisputed winner. As the Rays will move their training grounds to Port Charlotte next year, Al Lang will likely never again be used for this purpose. A shame really, the atmosphere there is excellent and the intimacy with the grass berm/bullpen arrangement is hard to match.

Ironman Award:

Since I didn't see three distinct Jay events this year, I have to give the award to the Blue Jay who simply logged the most at-bats and by extension played the most innings. That players this year would be Alex Rios, whose 6 at-bats earned him the crown. Alex made up for hogging rightfield by getting exactly 0 hits and leaving 3 men on base.

Pitching Award:

Dustin McGowan and Casey Janssen looked good on Saturday for Toronto, but the most dominant performance was turned in by Rick Porcello of the Detroit Tigers. Many Tigers fans were in attendance Friday and the ones closest to us were very excited at the chance to see Porcello. Why you ask? The Detroit Free Press calls the first round draft pick from '07 an uber prospect. Porcello was dominant in 2 innings of work, totally embarassing real major leaguers like David Eckstein, Alex Rios, Vernon Wells, and Frank Thomas.

Hitting Award:

Lyle Overbay and Joe Inglett were the only Jays to record two hits over the weekend, but the real story came from Pirates camp. Tampa Bay castoff Josh Wilson whose number 83 jersey more resembled a non-roster invitee than the actual non-roster player who took his original number from him (Doug Mientkiewicz and #16), went 2-3 with 3 RBI, a run scored, and a double. All of this came out of the #9 hole in the order.

Best Photograph:

This year the best photography was not generally the result of a picturesque spring training scene or a well timed close-up. Some of Tia's best shots were of wildlife encountered on the nature trail or on the pier. For its elusiveness and rarity, the Armadillo is the winner. Honestly, how often are you walking along when you encounter an armadillo foraging for grubs under the floor of the Floridian forest.

All of our pictures can be found in my Flickr archive. Tune back in next year!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Tampa Bay 5, Toronto 2

On Saturday we got part of the city experience that we prefer in beautiful downtown St. Petersburg as we said goodbye to beautiful Al Lang Stadium which will no longer be used for Rays spring training and is being proposed as the site of a new major league park to help anchor a lively and walkable downtown. Unfortunately we had to leave straight from the ballgame to return the rental car and catch our flight so we didn't get to sample the restaurants/night life in the area, but it is pretty apparent that it is significant.

During the mid-morning, after checking out and leaving Clearwater, we found ourselves at the St. Peterburg Saturday Morning Market on Central Avenue in the heart of downtown. We also stopped over at Williams Park for the more artistically inclined segment of the market. While in the market, Tia bought some photography while I picked up a Mot-sa-pie in an effort to stuff myself (we had sonic for "breakfast") and not buy ballpark food. According to the market website, a Motsapie is a variation of a hispanic classic, mozzarella cheese melted in between corn meal pancakes. They offered to top it with powdered sugar which I respectfully declined, though it sounds interesting.

The game itself was another washout if you were a Jays fan. Multiple improbable double plays snuffed out promising rallies while one bad inning erased the two run lead they managed to scrape together. Toronto largely brought its bench players down the Pinellas Trail to take on Tampa Bay. Starters Reed Johnson (pictured, about to foul out to 1st base), Alex Rios, and Aaron Hill were in the starting lineup, but the remainder of the lineup included Shannon Stewart (who bloodied a lady with his bat), Marco Scutaro, Rod Barajas, Russ Adams, John McDonald, and Curtis Thigpen. Reserves who entered the game included Matt Watson, Adam Lind, Sergio Santos, Brian Jeroloman, Ryan Patterson, Robinzon Diaz, Joe Inglett, Pedro Lopez, and Chip Cannon.

Dustin McGowan started and pitched two scoreless frames. Casey Janssen repeated the feat before John Parrish slung a scoreless fifth. Young Ryan Ketchner was overwhelmed in the 6th, allowing back to back triples to Evan Longoria and Ben Zobrist that really broke the game open. Jean Machi and Jesse Carlson rounded out the list of Toronto hurlers.

Toronto only managed 9 base hits, and a couple were circumstantial infield hits by Adams and McDonald (pictured about to make contact on said infield hit). It is in front of this backdrop that sparkplug second baseman Joe Inglett, most recently of Torey Lovullo's Buffalo Bisons, led the Jays with two hits. In 3 spring training games, Toronto has scored a whopping four runs.

On the way back to the airport we picked up one last chili cheeseburger at Checkers and slowed down to get around two different fresh auto accidents, one of which occured on the Howard Franklin/I-275 Bridge across the bay. Talk about a tight ass moment! The flight back was delayed mid-air due to traffic at JFK and we completed three circles around Atlantic City, NJ before landing about 20 minutes late, just in time to get to the gate for our short jump to Rochester.

That's it for this year with the spring training game stories/travel log. I will be posting a wrap-up/awards post sometime Monday or Tuesday. I'll finish by giving credit to the Tampa Bay fans in attendance, many of whom are likely the regular season crowd. They were by far the most vocal and took the game very seriously, even in the late innings, though the Tiger contingent who traveled to Dunedin was also impressive.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Detroit 3, Toronto 1

We started our day Friday by venturing to Honeymoon Island, a barrier island off the Dunedin mainland. Honeymoon Island state park offers a mix of activities including standard florida beach swimming, however we were there to hike the Osprey Trail in the more Floridian ecosystem zone of the island.

On our hike we saw multiple Osprey nest perched high in dead trees as well slash pines, a tropical pine tree (after I said there are no pines in Florida...idiot...). The highlight of the hike occured when we heard something sizable rustling in the brush and saw two other hikers paused ahead of us on the trail. On closer inspection it was an actual wild armadillo searching for insects on the forest floor. We patiently waited while the unqiue animal made his way into a clearing before snapping these pictures (kind of like Pokemon Snap?).

After a quick visit to the beach, we made our way through Dunedin in search of Checkers for a cheap heinously unhealthy lunch before the old ballgame. The game itself was a stark contrast to the offensive explosion we saw in Clearwater. Roy Halladay and Justin Verlander took the hill and set a pitching precedent that lent itself to a quick 3-1 Tigers victory.

The Blue Jays sent out a largely regular lineup consisting of David Eckstein, Alex Rios, Vernon Wells, Frank Thomas, Scott Rolen, Lyle Overbay (who drove in the lone Blue Jays run and played most of the game), Matt Stairs, Aaron Hill, and Gregg Zaun. The Tigers countered with a few regulars like Curtis Granderson who homered for the second straight day. Blue Jay relief pitchers included Scott Downs, Jeremy Accardo, Brian Tallet, Brandon League, Brian Wolfe (who struck out all three batters he faced), Jamie Vermilyea (pictured), and Kane Davis. Toronto's second string (Syracuse starters?) was made up of Russ Adams (3B), Ryan Patterson (RF), Joe Inglett (SS), Buck Coats (CF), Pedro Lopez (2B), Matt Watson and Scranton native Wayne Lydon (LF), Sal Fasano and Brian Jeroloman (C), Chip Cannon (1B), and 2006 first rounder Travis Snider (DH).

Since we had parked for free close to the center of town a few blocks from the stadium, we made our way back downtown at the conslusion of the game to do some Rochester-style bar hopping in delightfully different Dunedin. We had a quick drink at Flanigan's Irish Pub before hiking up Douglas Ave. to the Dunedin Brewery and Snug Pub where we shared an incredible beer and cheese dip. I'd highly recommend the brewery to anyone back home who likes Custom Brewcrafters or Rohrbach's. After a stroll out to the municipal pier, we ended up eating dinner at Casa Tina's, a semi-bourg mexican restaurant who serves up excellent beef quesadillas.

We are running a little bit late today, but the plan is to hit the St. Petersburg Saturday Morning Market followed by the Rays taking on the Jays and Dustin McGowan at Al Lang Stadium before we journey back to the Northeast late tonight. Wrap ups are likely to be posted Sunday.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Pittsburgh 11, Philadelphia 6

The ubiquitous "they" say that at this point in the spring, the pitchers are ahead of the hitters. By this axiom, I would have thought that we were treated to a rare offensive display. Instead, the 17 combined runs were only the 3rd most of the day's spring training games as four teams exceeded 11 runs around the country.

A stiff wind in Clearwater precluded any deep flies from reaching the left field berm or the built in tiki-bar at Brighthouse Field. This same wind did not adversely effect gopher balls launched by left handed hitters into the palm trees in right. Pittsburgh's Nate McLouth and Adam LaRoche found the porch as well as Philadelphia's Ryan Howard.

Legitimate major league starting pitchers Kyle Kendrick and Phil Dumatrait turned in fairly impressive performances before giving way to a parade of the anonymous and the journeymen. The score was 1-0 in favor of Pittsburgh after 2 1/2 innings before a pair of first round draft picks blew the game to pieces. The pitchers themselves are a study in contrast. Pittsburgh's Bryan Bullington was the #1 overall pick in 2002 and is taking a very slow route to the major leagues since being promoted to AA in 2004 where he struggled to limit his walk/strikeout ratio. Despite allowing five runs in the third inning (aided by Nyjer Morgan losing one in the sun), Bullington was named the winning pitcher. On the other side Joe Savery is only in his 2nd professional season. After a very successful college career at Rice, Savery spent last year at short season A Williamsport of the New York-Penn league. A five run, four hit adventure not only ended his hopes of making the Philadelphia Phillies in short order, but also his chance to make the Reading Phillies. Savery was tagged as the losing pitcher of record.

Back on the offensive side of the magical baseball equation, many players had two hits, but no one had more. For Pittsburgh, LaRoche, Josh Wilson, and Luis Cruz accomplished the feat. Philadelphia saw similar performances from Chase Utley and Pedro Feliz. In the bang for your buck category, the Pirates were the beneficiaries of incredible production from the 8/9 spots in the batting order. Shortstops Brian Bixler and Cruz, paired with second basemen Wilson and former Twin Luis Rivas combined to hit safely five out of nine times at bat with one base on balls.

In general miscellany, Doug Mientkiewicz of the Twins, '04 Champion Red Sox, Mets, and Yankees played half the game in right field rather than first base. Wilson, mentioned in the hitting paragraph, is one of three former Devil Rays (Jorge Velandia, Casey Fossum) in Pirate camp. I continue to follow utilityman Chris Gomez around North America. It is entirely possible that I saw a young Chris play with Toledo in Scranton in 1993. I know for a fact that I've seen him in action in Toronto in 2004 and in Baltimore in 2006. 1997 Cleveland Indian phenom and 2006 New York Yankee punching bag Jaret Wright also made in the home half of the 7th inning. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons fans would not only recognize Pirates manager John Russell (the last manager in Red Baron and Lynx team history), but also first base coach Lou Frazier (SWB '99). Lou unfortunately was upstaged by the Phillies first base coach shown to the right, perhaps you've heard of him...

From an Ottawa perspective there was little to report. I made a list of FLP's (former Lynx players) this morning that contained four position players, three of whom were catchers as is the case with early spring rosters. Of the eleven pitchers identified, not a one took the hill in red today. Most notable was a player I completely missed, but a more integral part of Lynx history than any 2007 one-and-done player. Andy Tracy signed his first professional contract with Montreal after being drafted in the 16th Round of the 1996 amateur draft. He split the 2000 and 2001 seasons between Ottawa and the big club before returning in 2006 for an entire season, the last of the Baltimore era. Tracy walked in his only plate appearance filling in for the great first baseman Howard while Ottawa's 2007 everyday catcher Jason Jaramillo (pictured) relieved Carlos Ruiz, walked once, and flew out to left field. The aforementioned Frazier of SWB fame was also an FLP it turns out. Lou played 31 games with the 1995 squad in Ottawa.

Post game we made it to Brady's Backyard BBQ in the City of Safety Harbor. I had a half rack of ribs with a side of red garlic potatoes (better than salt potatoes, yeah I said it) and a try of their BBQ baked beans. Tia had a pulled chicken sandwich and liked the potatoes so much, she ordered her own side order after the fact. We then strolled the downtown of Safety Harbor which was surprisingly pleasant compared to what we've seen of the Tampa Bay area and will undoubtedly be a topic on my social consciousness blog.

It would be one of Captain Obvious' finest soliloquies to state that today was better than yesterday, but I'll do it anyway. It's amazing how much better baseball, followed by barbecue, followed by a human scale town experience can make you forget a cranky day of recovering from hockey, followed by 11 hours of travel related tasks including the huge mistake of assuming personal liability of a rental car in a no-fault state. In two days, with some extra-careful driving it'll be a non-factor I suppose. In a few years it'll be neat to see if today was the day Luis Cruz turned a token invite and a #80 spring jersey into a significant major league career.

Tomorrow we roll into Dunedin to see Honeymoon Island State Park, the Blue Jays vs. Detroit, and another Floridian Main Street including multiple Irish and Scottish pubs.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Significant Layover

Our flight out of Rochester to New York City went off without a hitch and we are currently in the JetBlue terminal at JFK, one of the few remaining free airport wireless internet services (even Rochester has become part of Frontier's Citywide subscription network).

We don't take off again until 6:40 so we are sitting down to dinner while surfing news stories and pointed humor blogs.

Interestingly, the most chatter about the Blue Jays that I've come across in recent days involves a minor league free agent signing. Shannon Stewart, originally drafted by Toronto in 1992, returned to the Bobby Mattick training center on Monday. Stewart spent parts of nine seasons with Toronto from 1995-2003 before being traded to Minnesota for Bobby Kielty (who was spun for Ted 'The Tease' Lilly).

Stewart's presence appears to be insurance taken out by the club on the health of Reed Johnson's lower back. With Matt Stairs also in the fold, and Adam Lind waiting patiently at the AAA level, the onus is on Johnson to perform in the spring season. I do feel however, that Stairs' greatest value to the club is pinch hitting and backing up Lyle Overbay in addition to backing up whoever the regular leftfielder is. Hopefully Johnson and Stewart make John Gibbons' decision extremely difficult through solid play (or they could carry one less useless bullpen pitcher, but they're stubborn).

Tomorrow the plan is to hit Philles vs. Pirates at Brighthouse Networks Field in Clearwater (watch out for Scientologists!) at 1PM and hopefully get to Brady's Backyard BBQ for dinner.

Friday, January 4, 2008

New Year, New Trip

Hello baseball fans! A new year is upon us and so is the urge to break free of cold weather, if only temporarily (our next trip is going to purposefully attempt to make it colder as we attend Ottawa's Winterlude on Feb. 8).

Today I purchased plane tickets and made Hotel and Rental Car reservation for the latest installment in our Spring Training series.
We'll be staying at the Howard Johnson on Route 19 in North Clearwater near Dunedin and Safety Harbor. Likely non-baseball attractions include Honeymoon Island State Park, Brady's Backyard BBQ, and the St. Petersburg Saturday Morning Market.

The baseball schedule looks even more promising than last year. My strategy is to see 5 teams instead of 4 this year at 3 different parks including a real game at the home of the Phillies instead of just a free 'B Game' (though I will definitely be on the lookout for hastily scheduled B games).

The plan is to hit Brighthouse Networks Field in Clearwater on Thursday the 28th at 1:05PM for the Pirates and Phillies, Knology Park in Dunedin on Friday afternoon for the Tigers/Jays game, and finally our last trip to Historic Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg before the Rays move their spring training to Port Charlotte, Florida next season. There is also serious talk that Al Lang will become the site of a proposed new Rays ballpark. We'll personally be sad to see it go should voters approve of the proposal to use this public property, but we'll be sad anyway to not be heading back there for games in March.

I'll finish by saying its not too late to join us. We were able to get airfare on JetBlue at a nominal rate of $69 heading down and $99 coming back. After all the taxes and fees, it's $210 round trip per person. I was able to find these rates for a Feb 27-March 1 Roundtrip out of Rochester, Syracuse, and Newark.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

PostScript: New Glove and Awards

We went out to Dick's (not, don't click it!) last night to try on gloves. Couldn't find anything I liked, but decided whatever I got would have to be 13 inches as it felt the most like the old outfielder's glove. Then we went to Play it Again Sports to inquire about some hockey socks I ordered and look at some other glove models.

I ended up purchasing a RTD204 from Rawlings. It has the similar basket web and generally the same palm characteristics as the old one. It's impossible to find a regular-ass tan glove nowadays though. This one has black soft leather on the back side to look 'cooler.' I doubt Hank Aaron's glove looked all that 'cool...'

Anyway, here are the unofficial "awards" I'm giving out as I look back on the bright spots of the Florida Spring Vacation 2007.

Best Food:

This was a tough one as Sonic's French Toast sticks did battle with Checker's loaded fries and the Palm Pavilion's Beach Nachos and Gator Nibblers. You can't discount the Jamaican 'Jerk' Chicken Sandwich served up by Cha Cha Coconuts but I have to give the nod to Crabby Bill's Clam Chowder. When you've had 4 glasses of wine and something still tastes rich and delicious, it must be fresh and packed with clammy goodness.

Favorite Spring Training Park:

As great a value as I received at the Phillies' spring training home, and as nice and modern as that park was, I have to say I probably enjoyed myself the most at Al Lang Field on the edge of the water in downtown St. Petersburg. Yeah, the stadium is very bare and full of concrete, but the atmosphere reminded me of an earlier, better time for spring training. The whole place wasn't so commercial like the Jays experience. The fans seemed into it and the weather was perfect. You could stand inches away from the players in the bullpens and sit on grass berms!

Ironman Award:

It must be tough when you're issued jersey #83 and you aren't even in the list of non-roster invitees that's handed out at your stadium. This is the life of Ryan Patterson. A Florida State League All-Star last season who has also seen action representing New Hampshire and the Honolulu Sharks of Hawai'i Winter Baseball was pressed into duty in all three of the events I took in this weekend. Not one of the other roughly 50 Jays players that I watched logged as many miles over the weekend as Ryan.

Pitching Award:

Josh Towers, John Thomson, Dustin McGowan, and Casey Janssen. The 4th and 5th starter competition sure didn't get any simpler while I was there. Tomo Ohka had a poor game the day we got there, but bounced back with an excellent outing on Wednesday. Decent problem for the Jays to have!

Hitting Award:

The unlikely winner is Ryan Roberts. Ryan Roberts??!?! His 2-4 line with a walk, a K and two runs scored was the best individual performance by Jays hitters on a pitching/error dominated weekend. Vernon Wells went 2-3 with a homerun and two runs scored in only one appearance. Ryan wins on account of being more obscure yet still batting .571 for the spring and his being prominently featured in the next award.

Best Photograph:

There was a lot of good photography taken by Tia on this trip. The constant sunlight made evrything very clear and crisp. For my money, this shot of Ryan Roberts leading off first base while Pittsburgh's Brian Rogers peers in for the catcher's signs framed by the third base grandstand of Dunedin's Grant Park embodies a spring training weekend. Click on the smaller photo for the full-size version hosted on our server.

We're definitely going back next year. Who's with us?

I'm Heartbroke, but I'm Still Loc'ed

This is coming a few days late. Didn't really have the time for it in Florida w our travel schedule and have had a harder time than normal recovering from the travel.

First thing I did Monday was head down Route 19 to the Phillies Spring Training home, Brighthouse Networks Field. It is located adjacent to the Carpenter Complex which consists of four full-size baseball fields, an extra infield (which looks funny with a fence two feet behind it), and extra bullpens just feet away from the locker room. It was by far the nicest facility I saw down there, but I can't comment on the regular game atmosphere.

The game I saw was a "B" game. This is a game made up largely of minor leaguers, but is utilized for some regulars to get more at-bats or innings. The rules are flexible (they only played 6 innings, the top of the 4th inning ended with Blue Jay Russ Adams' two run homerun with two outs) and the results don't count in the standings (The Jays won 3-0, hehehe yeah I care).

I did get to see quite a few Phillies regulars, including starter Freddy Garcia, pitcher Ryan Madson, centerfielder Aaron Rowand, leftfielder Pat Burrell (who dropped a routine flyball), and first baseman Randall Simon (of sausage hitting fame). The Blue Jays employed regular rightfielder Alex Rios as their DH since he has not appeared in a spring training game yet. Pitching for the Jays were three players who saw action with the big club in 2006, Dustin McGowan, Casey Janssen, and Ty Taubenheim.

I didn't have the camera with me, which was unfortunate, but we stopped down here on our way to Dunedin to get these shots. The 'B' game was already over at that point and Jays manager John Gibbons (along with Kevin Barker, Sergio Santos, and Ryan Patterson who played later in the day!) made the trip across the peninsula to Dunedin.

Since it wasn't a publicized game, there was never more than a couple hundred people present and only about 30 when the game started. Third-string catcher Sal Fasano provided levity right off the bat when he boisterously stated to his Jays mates, "We have to take the crowd out of it early boys." Also, Chris Roberson, a 2006 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Baron (R.I.P.), ripped a foul chopper just above the Jays dugout into the row of seats in front of me. The ball popped up in the air and into the seat next to me. Nice souvenir!

On our way across town, we discovered more fast food options that we are missing out on up north. Checkers is a hamburger joint with no inside seating, but TWO drive-thrus! Their menu has such highlights as Chili Cheeseburger and Bacon Cheddar Ranch fries (Fully Loaded! exclaims the menu). Would rival Sonic if the menu was more diverse. The burgers are probably better.

We parked in an old man's driveway for five bucks about a block and a half down the street from Knology Park, the Jays spring training home. The tickets were a fairly ludicrous $13 to watch Indianapolis take on the Jays for 5 innings before the wholesale substitutions began. Bright spots among the Jays regulars were a Vernon Wells homerun, a Royce Clayton two RBI double, and a B.J. Ryan perfect third inning. Josh Towers, who is locked in a battle with John Thomson, Tomo Ohka, and Shaun Marcum (and maybe even McGowan and Janssen) for just two rotation spots, pitched well. He had two strikeouts to go with three groundouts. His only blemish was a bomb hit by beer-league softball player Brad Eldred of the Pirates.

During the 10th inning, I was able to get catcher Gregg Zaun, one of my favorite Jays along with leftfielder Reed Johnson, to sign my scorecard of the game. Also was able to chat with him briefly about his opinion of the new spring training hats. Unfortunately, when I went down to the rail, I left my baseball glove of the last 11 years at my seat. We left slightly before the conclusion of the 8-8 ten inning tie game and never went back to get it by mistake. It wasn't until our night in Clearwater Beach was winding down that we even realized it. We went back to the stadium and left our information with some staffers. As of Wednesday, it hadn't turned up at the D-Jays offices.

Since we weren't aware of this yet at the time, we had a blast at the beach. We took a dolphin watching cruise with a company called Dolphin Encounter. Their hook is the offer of free unlimited Beer, Wine, Soda, or Champagne. All of this for only $19.95, just pennies a day! Also got to see a Florida Gulf Coast sunset from the boat. Quite a sight!!

I hit the Chardonnay fairly hard and Tia the White Zinfandel (which isn't white). The embedded movie below is one that Tia took of the dolphins chasing the boat.

After the dolphin cruise we went to Crabby Bill's at the Marina for the best clam chowder I've ever had. Also rocked a big plate of real hushpuppies. An interesting event occured where the junction between a propane tank and patio heater caught fire. Everyone was asked to clear the area to avoid injury by shrapnel! Sobering up and cleaning up the rental car after this is when we realized the glove was gone.

Coming back to Rochester was a bitch. We woke up at 5:30AM to gas up the rental and catch our 8:10 flight. Security lines in Tampa were insane. We stopped in Baltimore only long enough to walk from one gate to the other and arrived in Rochester a little after noon. Not much could prepare us for the weather we encountered. A balmy FOUR degrees. While it wasn't exactly warm in Florida while we were there as the jackets in the photos suggest, it sure wasn't FOUR! Anyway, real baseball is less than a month away! Already making plans for a Toronto trip on April 15 to see the Tigers/Jays.