Spring Training Day 4 notes (and a few photos): Reunion

Spring Training is long enough that any time an automatic angle offers itself to you, you take it. Today in Port Charlotte for the game between the Rays and Orioles, two such angles intertwined. The talk of both managers’ pregame sessions centered on two topics: last year’s Game 162s, and Luke Scott.

It was the O’s of course who beat the Red Sox to knock Boston out of the postseason last fall, and this was obviously the first meeting between the clubs since then. And Scott, well known as a colorful, outspoken, politically opinionated fellow, moved from the O’s to the Rays over the winter.

So, before a few photos, a few notes from a couple of pretty entertaining manager scrums. For more hard-news baseball, of course, check out Rays.MLB.com and Orioles.MLB.com, where our beat writers are all over that stuff. I filed a column on the Rays offense that should be up at the Tampa Bay team site too.

* The Rays were wearing University of South Florida t-shirts in batting practice, and manager Joe Maddon also had on a USF hat. It was in support of the school’s bid for an NCAA basketball tournament bid.

It was pointed out to Maddon that Vanderbilt alum David Price was wearing a hat from his school to go with the USF hat, and Maddon said that was OK with him:

“At least he wore the t-shirt,” he said with a smile. “That’s all I can say on that.”

* Maddon also said that while he doesn’t necessarily agree with everything that Scott espouses, he’s found Scott to be engaging and interesting, and that’s enough for him.

“I want them to be free to express themselves and what they think, always. I find him interesting. Whether I agree with him or not doesn’t matter. I just find him interesting and other people should find him interesting too. He’s a great teammate. Go ask Baltimore what they think of losing Luke Scott in their clubhouse. He’s been that guy. That kind of stuff I don’t think it should matter, although to some people it will, just because some people think in that manner.”

Asked about Scott’s fondness for hunting and firearms, Maddon said he has no weapons but “a really nasty looking broom,” and said that while he’s not a hunter, he has no problem with those who are.

“I’m really respectful of that. I don’t get it. I don’t understand it. It’s something that I would never do obviously, but that fact is an indication that you’d like to have him on your team, I think. A wild boar shows up in our clubhouse, we’re in good shape.”

* O’s manager Buck Showalter likewise expressed his fondness for Scott, repeatedly emphasizing what a good teammate Scott is — while also noting with a laugh that you never, ever wonder where you stand with Scott, and that one would be advised not to ask Scott any questions to which you don’t want to hear an answer.

* Monday was Baltimore’s first day of Grapefruit League games, and the O’s had a split-squad day-night doubleheader. It’s not ideal, but Showalter expressed his gratitude to the Pirates for accommodating Baltimore’s request to play at night. That at least allowed him and the coaching staff to attend both games.

* And as for the matter of his team playing hard to the end, and upending the Red Sox, he appreciated the compliment but didn’t see his team as doing anything really out of the ordinary.

“I’m really proud of the way Tampa went about their business [as well]. They had to win too. Is there supposed to be another way? It should be the norm.”

I’m headed for Red Sox camp in the morning, and I’m eager to see the new ballpark there. No playlist today, but I wanted to pass along three albums that I’m really enjoying. Picked them all up for this trip, and I’m 3-for-3, which is a rare rate of success. Noel Gallagher, formerly of Oasis, has an album with his band High-Flying Birds. I enjoy it more than anything from Oasis in a very long time. Cloud Nothings’ “Attack On Memory” is hard to describe but really fantastic, loud and evocative and worth finding. And School Of Seven Bells’ “Ghostory” is I guess sort of ethereal electronic pop. Sometimes I hate trying to describe music. All really solid, and any minute now the new Springsteen will be out.

And now for a few photos:


Rays manager Joe Maddon donned a University of South Florida t-shirt and cap for batting practice.


Orioles prospect Manny Machado signs some autographs.


The end of a beautiful day at Charlotte Sports Park


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