Sunday, February 22, 2009
Where the Bulls Are
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I was playing around with the new version of Google Earth and decided to try and find the Rays’ new training camp down in Florida. Charlotte Sports Park, Port Charlotte, Florida. There it was right out in the middle of ready-to-go subdivisions, but where are the houses? Just roads and canals.
The view took me back to my childhood in 1950's Florida when my friends and I used to explore the woods and swamps along the St. Johns River. Sometimes we’d find empty streets, bullet-perforated road signs, and curbing from abandoned, never-built subdivisions of the 1930’s and 40’s.
If I’ve done this right, you can access Google’s very creepy “street view”. Try it (click the view larger map link). Drive around the vacant streets nearby.
But, hey, it’s Florida! Where else can you cut notches in the handles of your lawn mower to keep track of the snakes you’ve driven over? Use a tennis racket to kill flying cockroaches (known as palmetto bugs to the cognoscenti of Florida insect life)? Troll for alligators with your neighbor’s insufferable sub-miniature Pomeranian behind you as bait? ("Why no, Eleanor, I don’t think I’ve seen Precious in the last couple of days. I did notice that it has been a lot quieter around, though.") Oh brave new world, home of the drag-line development (that’s where you take a swamp, dig out canals with a drag-line and pile up the spoil to create your building sites and road beds).
Where was I? Oh, the Rays training camp. It’s in Port Charlotte, “in” being a relative term.
However, don’t think I’d go chasing an errant fly ball too far into the woods, unless I had a rifle, a really sharp knife, and needed a new pair of alligator skin boots.