The pro baseball teams that come to Florida for spring training are known as the Grapefruit League. You might be wondering how the League got its unusual name. In 1915, aviator Ruth Law had taken to throwing golf balls out of her plane to market a new golf course. Someone suggested that she promote spring training by throwing out a baseball when she passed over a field. But a baseball, unlike a golf ball, really should be caught. And so Wilbert Robinson, manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, agreed to give it a try when the plane flew over the team’s practice location in Daytona. When the time came for the drop, Law couldn’t find the ball and threw a grapefruit instead. Of course Robinson wasn’t privy to this change in the plan and gamely stood on the field with glove on hand waiting for a ball to drop 525’ from the sky. Imagine his shock when a grapefruit landed on his face!
The Grapefruit League is alive and well in Sarasota today. Since 2010, the Baltimore Orioles have conducted their spring training in Sarasota’s Ed Smith Stadium. But there have been many teams that have trained here over the years. John Ringling is credited with bringing the New York Giants to Sarasota from 1924-1927. The Boston Red Sox were up next, honing their game in Payne Park from 1933-1958 (with a four year hiatus during World War II). The Brooklyn Dodgers then moved in from 1960-1997 and enjoyed the transition from Payne Park to Ed Smith Stadium in 1989. And then came the Cincinnati Reds, who called Sarasota their spring training home from 1998-2009.
Erik Schlake is a mural artist from Cape Coral FL. Erik has studied art at the university level, including Washington University, as well as lessons from various international artists. For the past few years, Erik, along with his daughter Allison, have been participating in chalk festivals since 2016. Erik and Allie, together and individually, create with an attitude of "go big or go home". "We don't mind pushing the limits and failing or falling on our face. It's part of the creative process, and we love putting it out for the world to see. We hope that, in some way, inspires others to get out and try because the feeling of failure goes away but the feeling of 'I wish I at least tried' lasts much longer".
Nanette Crist is a retired lawyer who began blogging when she moved to Florida. It was an online diary of sorts, a way to keep track of her new life. It was also a good way to share her discoveries with friends and family outside the area. Over time, Nanette realized her writing makes her experience the world differently. She keeps an eye out for interesting things to write about and then delves more deeply into them as she crafts her words. It's all about telling the story. Nanette's blog can be found at http://nanettesnewlife.blogspot.com.