Monday, May 14, 2012

Dunedin Blue Jays Visit

This leg of the trip was to span seven days include eight ballparks, and all 12 of the Florida State League [FSL] teams. The first section of my FSL journeys was, unfortunately, financially cut short by the splendors of Opening Weekend in Atlanta to watch my beloved Braves play.

However, I was able to make it to three FSL games; the first of which was the Lakeland Flying Tigers at the Dunedin Blue Jays.

2012 Dunedin Blue Jays Primary Logo
More after the jump!

Only an hour drive from Tampa, we arrived in Dunedin, greeted by a small shopping center, full of artisan crafts and treats. There was homemade ice cream, and a candy shop that featured incredible homemade delights of a local chocolatier. After a few hours of window browsing and an excellent dinner at a local Mexican restaurant, which featured unique dishes such as crab quesadillas, we made our way to Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, home of the Dunedin Blue Jays.

Parking was not a problem; there were probably twenty other cars at the stadium when we showed up about an hour before the game. Parking was free, and the lot we parked in was about fifteen yards from the entrance to the stadium. Not too shabby. Tickets ran $6 each, but were general admission. After buying a program ($2), we found our way to the first base line where we sat two rows up just beyond the dugout. Great seats, even for a minor league game. 

View From Your Seat, Dunedin Blue Jays, 5/3/12.
There are several odd things that I noticed about the stadium itself. First off, they had seating sections closed off (the signs on the red railing). It makes a little more sense when you realise that the D-Jays draw the least amount of fans in the FSL, averaging 801 per home game. There were about 175 people at this game, maybe. Announced attendance was 822. The second oddity is that the Lakeland bullpen is open to the rest of the field, as you can see to the right of the pitcher/catcher on the mound. I couldn't come up with an explanation for that one. 

Mustard was the victor!
Many of the concession stands were shut down, actually only one was open, and I didn't manage to find any unique food items to try. Bummer. The Team Store was fairly nice, and the lady that was working was friendly and knowledgeable when it came to hats. The D-Jays only have one New Era hat, running a high price for minor league hats at $35 bucks a pop. They are Made in USA. Which brought a smile to my face.

The game itself wasn't terribly interesting, some highlights included a monster home run onto the nets that cover the outfield pitching cages, a 100 MPH heater by Lakeland's Bruce Rodon, and a condiment race!

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