Published in the March 21, 2016 edition.


(Here is a column by Daily Item Sports Correspondent Dan Margarita who is in Florida for Spring Training)

Day 3 — Once again it’s an overcast morning but has cleared up by the time we reach Port Charlotte to see the Tampa Rays host the Philadelphia Phillies.

Using the GPS on Jim’s phone, Siri turns out to be quite good at telling us when to make turns that are pretty obvious but for some reason she becomes silent after a while. Perhaps she is not speaking to us because of something we said, but we are forced to follow the GPS map, which takes us on an unnecessary scenic tour. We get there just in time for the first pitch, though.

Good seats, lower box seats just past the third base dugout, they are in the sun. In years past I relished such seats, going so far as to spend my last few minutes in the sun at a car rental place before departing for home. Now with skin cancer worries, I slather on sunscreen like never before.

They say it’s 82 degrees but it feels a good deal hotter and many elderly fans spend the game underneath in the shade.

Great seats but the downside is that we are in the middle of the aisle so if we want to go to a concession stand or even just to a shady area it will involve inconveniencing a number of patrons in your row.

Trying to find healthy food at a ballpark can be challenging. This always been the case or else, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” would’ve said, “Buy me sushi and soybean dogs. Those foods see there’s no artery clogs.” I wind up getting a hot dog.

It’s a bit of a drive to Ft. Myers for the night game, where the Red Sox host the Yankees. The game starts at 6 p.m. for some reason, so there’s no time to dawdle after the first game.

My first stop at jetBlue Park is a food stand offering “Portobello Mushroom Burgers.” Only one guy is working the stand so it takes a while to get served. When I finally get to the front of the line I ask, “what’s the vegetarian option” that is listed.

He explains that it’s just the Portobello mushroom on a bun with no meat.

“Yeah, I guess I’ll have that,” I tell him.

“You don’t seem too enthusiastic,” he responds.

“Doctor’s orders.”

I get my “burger” just in time to see the first pitch from Sox big off-season signing, David Price, who looks good in giving up just three hits. Unfortunately, one of those hits is a home run and he leaves the game that is tied 1-1.

Once again the Sox bullpen implodes and the home team loses. Then it’s off for some food at an Ale House, a chain that has become a Spring Training tradition.

After my meal I retreat to the men’s room where, while washing my hands I see a young guy with a chef’s outfit in there. As I dry my hands he starts for the door, but I am in a position to block him.

“You’re going to wash you hands, right?” I asked.

“What?” is his insightful reply.

I repeated my question and when he understood my meaning he turned water on to start the process.

“I’ll wash my hands. Did you wash your hands?” he asked.

“Yes, I did,” I informed him.

Back at my table he walks by me and, noting my “hat hair” said, “Nice hair, bro.”

I will not be eating there again.