Florida Draft Weekend

Months ago, members of our fantasy baseball league had discussed the idea of one day doing a destination draft where we all meet up for a few days. Things began to come together in January and this week it finally came to fruition. Four members of our league–myself, Walsh, Tim, and Pete, met up in Fort Myers, Florida for three nights. Non-league member Feeney substituted as the fifth man after one of the guys had to back out. The destination was chosen because it’s the location of Twins spring training. Walsh spearheaded the travel plans and we decided to stay at an AirBnb house near the water while taking in a pair of Twins exhibition games.

I flew from Austin to Charlotte to Fort Myers on Thursday, and was greeted by Walsh, who came in a day early for other business, at the airport upon arrival. We met up with Feeney and closed down the bars and crashed at a nearby hotel. Friday morning, after breakfast at Sunny’s, we checked into our AirBnb and were quickly united with Tim and Pete who had flown in from Minneapolis and New York. The day was spent hanging out and catching up before heading to the ballpark for the Twins-Orioles night game.

We all found the first game rather underwhelming. The Orioles sent over a lineup of little known minor leaguers, the scoreboard wasn’t working, and the crowd was full to the brim with low-energy senior citizens not making any noise. It was a real minor league sort of vibe at the park! Also, our fifth-row seats behind the Orioles dugout were shoulder-to-shoulder, making for a rather uncomfy seating experience. Nevertheless, a good time was had.

Saturday after breakfast we took advantage of our house amenities and got some fishing and kayaking in early. After some grilling, the live auction draft had begun. It’s much more fun to do in person with a few of the other managers instead of staring at a computer screen alone! At night we ventured way out to the beach for dinner and a few bars.

Sunday it was already time to check out, but not before a second spring training game. This time it lived up to the hype, with great first-row bar-top seats right behind the Twins bullpen. Lots of space to move around, built-in table, up-close access to the Twins bullpen, and for a while anyway, a competitive game with the well-known major league regulars for both teams. I forgot to apply sunscreen to my face and got BURNED viciously.

All in all, a tremendous trip! It has been such a wild few weeks with all this back-and-forth job drama and solo parenting during Lauren’s travels. This trip’s timing was perfect. It was great to finally have a few days to myself with the guys and not have to feel guilty about anything. I thought ahead, thankfully, and built in a recovery day Monday before I have to start the new job Tuesday.

Waiting to check into the AirBnB house.

Waiting for a ride to the ballpark.

Waiting for some action at the Twins/Orioles game!

Pete and Walsh–fast friends!

My kayaking debut.

Kayaking behind the house.

Draft time… more exciting than it looks!

Walking the pier at Fort Myers Beach.

Beers at the sand bar.

Walsh walks on the beach.

Glen Perkins gets some throws in in the bullpen prior to the Twins/Red Sox game.

Our awesome seats for Sunday’s game.

Walsh and bullpen coach Eddie Guardado

The gang says goodbye before parting ways!

2017 MLB Predictions

As I prepare to depart for Fort Myers, Florida for Twins spring training, here are my 2017 MLB predictions! I’m sure this is boring to most of you, but I’m documenting this for my own amusement!

Last year I was pretty successful, guessing 6 of the 10 playoff teams and correctly predicting the NL MVP and NL home run leader, but incorrectly guessed a Giants-Royals World Series. Nevertheless, it was one of my better showings. I don’t see there being many surprises this year; it all seems pretty cut and dry right now. But again, as usual, I hope I’m wrong!

The Twins are in good position to win 10-15 more games than last year–which isn’t saying much after a 59-103 record in 2016. I like that they finally have a front office that’s embracing some analytics, but I don’t think the payoffs will happen overnight. I still don’t like their lack of a real veteran clubhouse leader, but I give them credit for trying to lure Mike Napoli to Minnesota with a solid offer. What veteran guy like that would want to sign here, if even for a few more bucks? I just don’t see the Twins getting close to .500 this year, though I hope I’m wrong.

AL East W L GB NL East W L GB
Boston 94 68 Washington 99 63
NY Yankees* 87 75 7 NY Mets* 86 76 13
Toronto 86 76 8 Atlanta 78 84 21
Tampa Bay 81 81 13 Miami 74 88 25
Baltimore 74 88 20 Philadelphia 65 97 34
AL Central W L GB NL Central W L GB
Cleveland 103 59 Chicago Cubs 103 59
Detroit 82 80 21 St Louis 83 79 20
Kansas City 79 83 24 Pittsburgh 82 80 21
Minnesota 71 91 32 Milwaukee 73 89 30
Chicago WS 68 94 35 Cincinnati 61 101 42
AL West W L GB NL West W L GB
Texas 91 71 LA Dodgers 100 62
Seattle* 89 73 2 San Francisco* 95 67 5
Houston 85 77 6 Colorado 81 81 19
LA Angels 77 85 8 Arizona 73 89 27
Oakland 69 93 16 San Diego 59 103 41

AL Wild Card: Seattle def. NY Yankees
NL Wild Card: San Francisco def. NY Mets

ALDS: Cleveland def. Seattle, Texas def. Boston
NLDS: 
Chicago Cubs def. San Francisco, LA Dodgers def. Washington

ALCS: Texas def. Cleveland
NLCS: 
LA Dodgers def. Chicago Cubs

World Series: LA Dodgers def. Texas

AL MVP: Josh Donaldson, TOR
NL MVP: Javier Baez, CHC

AL CY: Chris Sale, BOS
NL CY: Clayton Kershaw, LAD

AL MGR: Terry Francona, CLE
NL MGR: Bud Black, COL

AL ROY: Yoan Moncada, CWS
NL ROY: Ozzie Albies, ATL

AL HR Leader: Miguel Sano, MIN, 45
NL HR Leader: Nolan Arenado, COL, 47

AL Batting Champion: Mike Trout, LAA, .343
NL Batting Champion: Adam Eaton, WAS, .350

G-g-g-g-g-ghost!!!

I’m a pretty big sucker for ghost stories or really anything supernatural. As I have said many times before, growing up in that ancient farmhouse, I encountered many unexplainable events (at the time, anyway). One time I woke up in the middle of the night, turned on the nightlight, and at that very moment a baseball rolled off a shelf. Another time I woke up and rolled over and my old console TV turned on with full-blast volume on a static channel.

So naturally I’m TOTALLY buying in to whatever it is that’s going on with Johnny lately.

I wrote recently about how we were getting ready for bed one night and he was being goofy and running around hooting and hollering when all of a sudden he stopped dead in his tracks and stared out into the hallway. He claimed he saw “white Humpty Dumpty”. His eyes were locked in on whatever it was for 10+ seconds. When the saga was over, he got eerily quiet and clingy to me. I tried to get some answers out of him. “What did he look like? Where did he go?” He said it was a boy, but he was very rattled by whatever happened and I dropped it.

And tonight it happened again. We had just finished a video chat with Mama who’s in California for work. We were downstairs this time playing around with a blanket. He was being equally silly, when all of a sudden his eyes fixated on something and he was in his own little world for 15-20 seconds. I looked right where he was looking and there was nothing but a blank wall. “Dat Humpty Dumpty. He want me to go play.” Uh… what?! Since I couldn’t see whatever he saw, I asked where Humpty was. Johnny just kept staring right ahead and said “He right there.” Nope, nothing. Nothing but a wall. No possible way he was seeing a reflection or no way something in the distance was resembling a Humpty Dumpty. “He go now. He go see his Mommy and Daddy.” I again tried to coax some more information out of him while it was fresh in his mind. Johnny went on to say that he saw a boy that was all white, and this time added “he da scary Humpty Dumpty.” And again he became silent and just sat on my lap clutching my arms staring me right in the eyes with a helpless look on his face for a very long time. He never really did perk back up after that. Normally I can easily get him to laugh with some songs or voices but he was very upset by whatever he saw.

So what the hell happened? Is there some logical explanation, like his imagination running wild, him just being overtired, or maybe he just has poor eyesight? Is he just messing with me? I do believe that he is communicating with some sort of kid ghost. I mean I could understand if he mistakenly saw something, but where did this backstory come from? And why does he look so freaked out afterwards? I’m not running to list the house for sale, but… I’d be lying to say it isn’t bothering me!

I asked on our neighborhood’s Facebook page and a shocking number of people within a couple square miles of us claim their houses were/are haunted. One woman claimed she regularly sees clothes hangers spin around at night. Another woman says her aunt who was killed in a fire has visited her multiple times. Another woman said she and her daughter both have seen a green man in a pointy hat and it caused them to move. A man said two girls have visited him many times. There were easily a dozen others, some who messaged me privately to tell their tales. Are all of these people lying or crazy?

So, if it is a ghost–and I do believe that they are real–I hope it’s friendly, at least!