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MLB Pitchers, Catchers, Nation’s Retirees Report to Florida for Spring Training
The annual migration.
Major League Baseball’s Spring Training is set to begin on Monday, as hundreds of pitchers and catchers make their annual pilgrimage from across the country to training camps in Florida, alongside millions of elderly retirees flocking to the Sunshine State.
Mets trainer Jorge Cortez, who oversees pitcher conditioning at the team facility in Port St. Lucie, and oversees hundreds of senior citizens lining up for Early Bird specials at the IHOP across from his condo, says the goal is to take it nice and easy.
“This is a time to get warmed up,” said Cortez, giving stretching directions to Mets relievers and directions to Temple Beth El Israel to a group of 80-year-olds. “Everybody goes at a slow pace, whether that’s Justin Verlander working up his fastball speed, or somebody’s grandmother doing a steady 25 MPH on the highway.”
Pitchers and catchers use this time to develop bonds among new faces they’re meeting for the first time.
“I love having one-on-one time with the guys,” said Twins catcher Christian Vazquez. “I’m figuring out how they want me to call pitches, when to make a mound visit, and what the old guys outside my coffee shop mean when they call me a beatnik.”
The scene from spring training in Florida is set to be a vibrant one, with players taking to the field for the first time in months and septuagenarian insurance salesmen from Buffalo, New York taking to gift shops across the state to stock up on their novelty floral t-shirts and straw hats.
It’s not all smiles, however, as some players voiced specific concerns like the condition of some practice fields, and retirees asking pressing questions such as “does the sun have to be so bright?”
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