Saturday was the 4th annual Bradenton Beer Festival.  It was fun.  Unfortunately, the Shock Top Volkswagen was not in attendance, so I have no new pictures of it to share with you all.  This year, they had free food along with the free beer, so we didn’t get to see the folks at T&L BBQ. That was disappointing, but some of the food they did have was tasty enough that we felt satisfied.  One vendor I will definitely visit is Casa di Pizza, which has 2 locations in the area.  The owner is from Buffalo and is a die-hard Mets fan, so I absolutely have to go. I didn’t love the pizza he had at the Festival, but that’s because it was stone cold, and I never developed a taste for cold pizza.  The friends I went with love cold pizza, and they liked it, so I’ll trust them and will visit Casa di Pizza. The owner said they have the MLB package, and sometimes it’s nice to watch a game with other people.  After the Fest, we all went to Gecko’s for a dessert beverage.  A good time was had by all.

Sunday included a trip to the new-and-improved Ed Smith Stadium to see Dad’s beloved Tigers play the Orioles. Of course, I was a dutiful daughter and I rooted for Dad’s Tigers.  The Tigers destroyed the O’s, 9-1 on an absolutely gorgeous day in Sarasota.  During every Spring Training game, the announcers make sure to tell the crowd what the temperature is back home.  Well, yesterday it was 37 in Detroit and 55 in Baltimore. But it was 70 in Sarasota, and that was, of course, only in the shade.  Where we sat, in the sun, it was considerably hotter.  I had SPF60 on, and still got some color and a new crop of freckles.

Anyway, here are a couple of pictures of the new Ed Smith.  The field looks pretty much the same, but the outside is just beautiful.  Here is the entry way:

And here is a recycling bin:

And here is a long-distance view of the new scoreboard/TV:

And, way off in the distance, is a sort of pavilion right over the O’s bullpen:

And, while I’m posting pictures, I’ll post a couple I took at McKechnie last week.  Here is a pirate ship at the Fan Fest:

And here is the Parrot pretending to be a cameraman.  He was actually pretty funny:

There must be something in the water at Ed Smith, because both this year and last year, there were people behind us who were beyond clueless about baseball.  It’s one thing to be a newbie, and yet another to be a newbie and pretend you aren’t.  One of this year’s crop of clueless ones asked why there were players hanging out in a fenced-in area down the right-field line.  One of her companions seemed to think that they weren’t allowed in the dugout.  I restrained myself from telling them that this was the bullpen and that those were the relief pitchers.  When Miguel Cabrera, the Tigers’ DH came up to bat, his name was announced, as was the fact that he was the DH.  And one of the women behind us asked what a DH was.  Her companion didn’t know, but stated rather emphatically that of course he had to play the field. We didn’t say a word.  Then, when the scoreboard showed that a player had previously hit into a DP, all 4 of them spent a couple of minute speculating as to what a DP could be. The only man in the group said something about it having to be the dugout.  KC couldn’t take it anymore.  She told them it stood for “double play.”  They thanked her, but ended up leaving a few minutes later.  Dad doesn’t hear well, and he didn’t hear a word of this, but he did get a kick out of it when I filled him in later.

Another beautiful weekend in Paradise!