(Dateline - Vero Beach, FL - Los Angeles Dodgertown Stadium)
"Mr. Pujols! You promised me an autograph."
Hunter, this cute little third-grader who was sitting next to me at the game shouted politely as Cardinals first baseman and perennial all star Albert Pujols walked past our front row seats at the Cards/Dodgers spring training game.
Albert looked over, recognized Hunter and walked over to keep his promise. The game was going on, but he had been pulled and sent to the locker room... we were ahead 6-0. So as he walked by us ready to call it a night, he made time to sign Hunter's Albert Pujols rookie card and probably 150 other autographs as people gathered for a glimpse and a souvenir. Albert didn't disappoint, he knows that fans are the reason the game is played. Some baseball players have forgotten that.
It made me a Pujols fan all over again. He stood there for a long time, even while the game was being played and balls were flying around us.
We had amazing seats, just beyond 1st base in the front row. Cards won 13-0. We had more fans at the game than the Dodgers did. I wasn't too surprised.
After the game, we looked around for a restaurant by the water. They are surprisingly hard to find... the property is taken up by expensive beach-front houses and condos. We ended up at a place called South Beach Grille, which was about to close but the chef/manager came out and begged us to stay. They whipped us up steak, tilapia and amazing scallops... and combined with a dirty martini and a glass of Smoked Loon Pinot Noir, it was a great way to top off the night.
As we arrived back at the hotel, there were some fellow Cards fans sitting outside their rooms on the balcony partying. We were too tired to join in - we ended up crashing. Today we're headed to South Beach for more rays.
I hope I can keep the sand out of my trunks.