Monday, February 18, 2008

Oh, that's SO not fair

In my years at the paper, I made two trips to Clearwater, Fla., to do some advance work on the Phillies' minor leaguers, but I'd never experienced the Major League side of it. From stories I'd heard, people love it. I was eager to see for myself.

So with the Dodgers' likely move to Arizona next year -- leaving Dodgertown in Vero Beach, where they've been since their Brooklyn days -- I decided I had to go this year. I can't miss Dodgertown, and I couldn't let myself see Dodgertown with the Orioles (the presumed replacement) as the tenants. Vero Beach is sort of isolated on the eastern coast of Florida, with only a couple of other teams training in the area -- the Nationals in Viera and the Mets in Port St. Lucie. So, naturally, I had to see the Mets, too, and planned the trip to allow for exhibition games at both sites.

I fly to Orlando on March 10 to see the Braves at their Disney World complex. The Mets play the Red Sox that day, and tickets sold out before I could get them. But because Port St. Lucie is a two-hour drive from Orlando, I would've been cutting it close, especially if I had any flight delays. After the game, I'll head down to Fort Pierce -- between Vero and St. Lucie -- to check into my hotel. On the 11th, I'm at Dodgertown and on the 12th, I see the Mets. I'll head up to the Orlando area to stay with my cousin before flying home on the 13th.

But the other thing I've always dreamed of doing is seeing a live space shuttle launch. My previous trips to Florida have never coincided with a launch, and we've never planned a trip around one.

So, of course, the next launch is currently scheduled for March 11. Right now, they say the launch target is 2:31 a.m. EDT, with only a 10-minute launch window. I didn't think that was likely, because I'd thought they were trying to keep all launches to daylight hours to observe any debris hitting the shuttle on its way up. Maybe they've managed to work around that.

What this all means, then, is that I could fit the launch into my plans, but it means a 90-minute drive to Cape Canaveral during my first night there. And it could take away time at Dodgertown if I have to catch up on sleep in the morning.

It could also mean major jealousy from Casey.

So it's an unlikely side trip. But one I can't stop thinking about.

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