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Legends On Deck

Red Sox Return To Farrell’s Managerial Roots, Lose To Jays 6-3

Is This Heaven ? No, it’s Dunedin” (paraphrased from a line in the movie “Field Of Dreams” )

Florida Auto Exchange Stadium

Florida Auto Exchange Stadium

The Fighting John Farrells took to the road once again on Thursday as the Boston Red Sox (mostly Pawtucket Red Sox, actually) played in one of the oldest facilities in spring training. Boston manager Farrell,  formerly the Blue Jays skipper led a squad of mostly non-roster and minor league camp players against Toronto and lost to the Jays 6-3.

Toronto starter Aaron Sanchez, ranked # 35 in the Baseball Prospectus 101 prospects list for 2015 picked up the win, pitching 5 1/3 innings, allowing 3 runs on 4 hits and struck out 3.  Chad Jenkins notched his second save with a scoreless ninth.

Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista hit a first inning home run off losing pitcher Henry Owens, one of the key figures rumored in the potential trade with the Phillies for Cole Hamels.

For the Red Sox, Daniel Nava was 2 for 4 with a double and Garin Cecchini was 3 for 3 in the loss.

Josh Donaldson was 2 for 3 for Toronto. Dalton Pompey and Devon Travis each added two hits for the Jays.

The Blue Jays,  for years said to be leaving their cozy confines in Dunedin for greener spring training pastures, have nevertheless hung in at this facility, the only place Toronto has trained, for 39 years.

Florida Auto Exchange Stadium was basically built around existing Grant Field in the late 1980’s. When Toronto was awarded a Major League Baseball franchise which began play in 1977, they moved into Grant Field, a converted high school park which was dedicated 38 years before their new tenant began American League play.

A former Publix Supermarket still sits beyond the right field wall where I once saw ex-Blue Jays outfielder Lloyd Moseby hit a home run onto the roof.

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Blue Jays jersey in Press Box.

The current stadium was built in the Grant Field parking lot, but no other expansion was made, and as a result, Florida Auto Exchange Stadium has the smallest area for auto parking in the Grapefruit League. Media parking is relegated to the area next to the visiting team bus.

The Stadium features not only the smallest press box in spring training, it also has the tiniest elevator I have ever seen in a public facility which seats over 5,000 people.

But the people in the ballpark, both fans and  employees are friendly,  so there’s that. Canadians.

No television in the press box on the first full day of the 2015 NCAA Basketball Tournament, so the media were forced to watch hoops action on their laptops. Guessing here if the NHL playoffs started in March there would be a TV.

The Red Sox return home for a 1:05 PM game against the Baltimore Orioles on Friday. Justin Masterson is scheduled to start for Boston, followed by Anthony Varvaro, Tommy Layne, Brandon Workman, Felipe Paulino and Mitchell Boggs. Brian Matusz starts for Baltimore.

Boston takes to the road Saturday with their second game in Bradenton in a little over a week before opening a two game home stand on Sunday.

Photo of The Day:

Dunedin

Great sign at first parking lot “No Media Parking”

Brian Mullen

Brian is a Boston native and art school student who took a summer job with a baseball team and never left. He has been employed by the Boston Red Sox in one capacity or another since 1982. He also follows and blogs college basketball. Follow him on Twitter @BostonBrian2015