Spring Training 2009, Day 2 (“Big Problem Baltimore”)

February 17, 2009 | Drew Forrester

It’s been a bit of a rough start down here in Ft. Lauderdale, to say the least.

I arrived Sunday night on the last flight out of BWI.  My reputation took the 1:10pm flight and got here before me, evidently.

The word must be out from the Orioles.  

Monday afternoon, I headed to the hotel swimming pool.  It’s one of those half-indoor, half-outdoor jobs.  I like those.  Just before I climbed in, I went to the towel basket…it was empty.  The rec room manager was lazing in a comfy chair watching ESPN so I poked my head in and said, “Hey, I was looking to go for a swim and there aren’t any towels in there.  Can you help me?”

He didn’t even look at me.  “Just bring one from your room.”  

“There’s a sign in my room that says please don’t take your bath towels to the pool.”

With that, he got up and walked over to me. 

“Listen pal, you’re the only person in the pool.  No one else is in there.  Very few people even use the pool.  In fact, I couldn’t care less if you ever use that pool again.”

Maybe a late afternoon swim wasn’t such a good idea after all.

Last night I called down to housekeeping to get a couple of extra pillows.  

They didn’t even bother to pick up the phone.

I got up early this morning and ordered room service.  The answering machine said: “This is room service at the Sheraton-on-Cypress-Creek, please leave your food and beverage order with us and we will get back to you within five minutes to confirm your order and delivery time.”

I left my order:  coffee, a bagel with cream cheese, two apples and two oranges.

They never bothered to return my call, let alone bring me my breakfast.

Schmucker’s car wasn’t in the parking lot at 8:00 am so rather than hoof it the 2.3 miles to the ballpark, I called for a cab.  

The cabbie showed up and I hustled to the car.  He said, “I’m here to pick up Mister Drew.”  I sat down in the back seat.  “Yeah, right, that’s me, Drew Forrester.”

“Drew Forrester?  Baltimore?  WNST Radio?”

It’s always good to have fans 1500 miles away (I thought).

“Yep-per, that is me, sir.”

I noticed that the cabbie glanced down at a piece of paper on the front seat.  In the upper left corner, an Orioles logo.  He read from the paper.

“Mr. Forrester, I’ve just received an emergency call from our dispatcher.  I have to proceed to the airport immediately. Unfortunately, I will not be able to transport you to insert place here today.”

He actually read the words “insert place here” instead of…well, you get it.

Even the cabbie blacklisted me.

So, I tightened up the laces and strolled to the ballpark.

I wound up getting in right around 8:45 am.

My first stop was the media water cooler right by the entrance to the O’s locker room.

I was dying for a cup of water.

The only problem…there weren’t any cups out yet.

To my shock, Andy MacPhail was the next person I saw, coming around the corner and heading straight toward me.

“Andy, do you know where the water cups are?” I asked.

MacPhail never broke stride.  As he passed by, he offered this:  “Drew, I can’t answer that question from you.”

I saw a Japanese reporter in the media section around 10:00 am.  I introduced myself.  He looked at me, said something in Japanese to two or three of his co-workers, then leaned forward and whispered to me: “Everyone with Orioles team say you big problem Baltimore.”

This is a tough league down here.