Space Coast Stadium — Definitely worth the trip

shuttle.jpgNormally, I leave the postgame blog to reacting to what happened on the field. However, I was able to finish up the stories with enough time to get to Indian Harbor Beach and watch the Space Shuttle launch. Absolutely amazing. To be close enough to watch it gain altitude is cool enough, but the change of colors with the sunset is incredible. You don’t get many chances to be like a tourist when you’re working Spring Training every day, but this was so worth it. I’ll post a photo album when I have a chance.

As for the game, the work of the pitching staff was obviously a huge story. But I didn’t want to overlook the at-bat that Wilkin Ramirez had to drive in the go-ahead runs. With the bases loaded and one out, he got a steady diet of breaking balls from Nationals right-hander Steven Shell in hopes of getting the strikeout, understandably given Ramirez’s history against movement. Ramirez checked his way behind in the count, but fouled off three two-strike sliders to string along the at-bat. Finally, Shell left one up enough for him to line through the left side and plate two runs.

“You’re talking about eight breaking balls in a row,” manager Jim Leyland said. “So if he was ever going to hit one, that was it.”

I’ve mentioned it more than a few times this camp: Ramirez is a spectacular athlete. Baseball has plenty of tremendous athletes who have problems making contact between bat and ball, reminding us why it’s so hard to do. Moments like this give you encouragement that Ramirez can make the leap. Brent Clevlen had a similar quality at-bat earlier to lace an opposite-field liner for a single, also with two strikes, so his camp contact continues.

Other notes …

  • Got the pitching rotation for the next week, and indeed, Dontrelle Willis and Nate Robertson will pitch in separate games. However, they’ll pitch on the same day. Robertson will pitch in a camp game Thursday afternoon at 12:30 p.m. at Joker Marchant Stadium. Willis will follow Jeremy Bonderman in the Thursday night game against the Braves at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex.
  • With plenty of other pitchers needing innings, the Tigers decided to simply let Rick Porcello pitch his next turn in the rotation, which comes up Friday against the Nationals in Lakeland.
  • Look for a few roster moves tomorrow, none of them major according to Leyland.


Back in the days of my college spring break, we always went to Cocoa Beach which is right next door to Cape Canaveral – at least pretty close. One year we lucked out and saw the launch at the wee hours of the morning and it was awesome – thanks for reminding me of a great memory!

A number of years ago, I was at Universal Studios in Orlando (near Jaws, as I recall) when the space shuttle launched. Even from there, it was an awesome sight – and that was in the middle of the day. I’m glad you got to watch that, Jason.
I’m glad to see that the bullpen seems to be settling down. I hope that Nate can build on his good outing and that Bonderman comes back strong. Fingers crossed.

About 5 years ago we were taking off on a cruise and as we were headed out to sea there was a shuttle launch. It was so close you felt as if you could touch it, it was pretty cool.

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