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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Road Trip: Sun Life Stadium

Marlins pitching coach and CMC set member Randy St. Claire with Marlins catcher John Buck before a game May 18, 2011 at Sun Life Stadium.

My wife and I arrived at the Marlins' Sun Life Stadium May 18, hoping to see a Cubs win. I was also hoping to see two CMC set members at work. We got to see those, and a whole lot more - something we didn't necessarily want to see, but something that made the game that much more interesting.

It was the Marlins that originally led to our Florida trip in May. They're in the last season at their old home, the former Joe Robbie Stadium. We wanted to get to it, or at least I wanted to get to it, before the Marlins moved to their new home in 2012.

We did the same thing with the Metrodome, getting there the year before the Twins moved out. Being that the Marlins were in Florida, my wife didn't need to much convincing to get the vacation set. The Cubs were in town May 18 and 19.

Sun Life Stadium, home of the Florida Marlins, May 18, 2011.

And, of course, it was the Marlins that led to the two Florida State League games we saw, and seeing the space shuttle launch.

So we got there and had no illusions that the place was some kind of baseball palace. Two World Series had been played there, but at its heart, it was a football stadium. The two Jumbo Trons were at either end zone, the seats were all oriented to a football playing surface, not baseball.

The view from our seats down the right field line at Sun Life Stadium.

We got tickets down the right field line and the seat orientation was most evident there. We had to turn a good 75 degrees from straight to see home plate. It would seem the local that attends the games already knew that. For this Wednesday night game, we were literally the only people in our section.

Not that I didn't kind of know about the orientation. I picked out that location because it was close to one of the bullpens.

You see, both pitching coaches in the stadium that day, the pitching coach for the Cubs Mark Riggins and the pitching coach for the Marlins, Randy St. Claire, were both members of the CMC set. (My Riggins November 2010 feature)

Marlins pitching coach and CMC set member Randy St. Claire watches over pitcher Ricky Nolasco in warm-ups May 18, 2011.

We were near the Marlins bullpen, so I managed to get a few good photos of St. Claire as he spoke with catcher John Buck (up top) before the game. I also caught St. Claire watching over Ricky Nolasco. (above)

The Cubs' bullpen, across the field, was also within reach, because of the camera I happened upon over the winter. It's a Canon with a 20x zoom. For stuff like this, I've found it to be great. I can just zoom right in on stuff.

Cubs pitching coach and CMC set member Mark Riggins (seated) watches Ryan Dempster during warm ups at Sun Life Stadium May 18, 2011.

This time, I was able to zoom right in on Mark Riggins as he watched Ryan Dempster warm up. A security guard kept getting in the shot, though. Security would be the issue later, related to the thing we necessarily didn't want to see.

What we didn't necessarily want to see was a streaker. The guy jumped from the right field wall, ripped everything off and ran out onto the field dancing. I got video of it myself, but never got around to uploading it. Then I looked, and there were plenty up already on YouTube.

As for the game, the Cubs ended up winning. It was actually the eighth time my wife and I have seen the Cubs play since our first game together in 2004. Since then, only one other time have the Cubs won, that was in 2005 when we saw them win at RFK in Washington.

By the way, I included that photo of a cardboard cutout of Hanley Ramirez up top because Ramirez is a derivative CMC set member. Hanley's agent is Andy Mota, member of the set. (Mota's April 2011 feature) The cutout was in the Marlins gift shop.

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