Welcome to Phillies Nation at Clearwater, Part II! I’m finally settled in my hotel room after a long day (actually, a long two days â€” I haven’t slept since Wednesday night). Let me say this â€” Clearwater is fantastic. If you haven’t done it, do it now.
I’ll have more posts throughout the day and weekend; for now, here are first thoughts on Clearwater:
* Tampa International Airport is a breeze. From exiting my plane to actually exiting the airport via my rental car, about 18 minutes passed.
* When you drive into Clearwater from Tampa, you take a causeway â€” a very long strip of road that flies you right into town. Want to feel awesome? Roll down the windows and blast some tunes while going 70 on the causeway on a beautiful, sunny day. You’ll feel amazing in no time. (By the way, the high today was 78 with no clouds.)
* It didn’t quite hit me that I was in Clearwater until about three hours into my time in Clearwater.
* The Carpenter Complex is a fantastic venue. You’ve heard of the fields (Schmidt, Roberts, Carlton and Ashburn), but the truth is the four fields are practically touching, with just the awkward-shaped facility/clubhouse in the middle. You can jet from one game to another to another to another within 30 seconds.
* Staff and fans are wonderful. Forget what pundits and analysts say about Philadelphia fans; we’re dedicated and spirited folk.
* I bought a Phillies hat at Brighthouse Networks Field (a gorgeous park) and standing in front of me in line â€” Joe Savery’s mother and sister.
* Didn’t explore quite yet; I’ll hit Clearwater beach next before going out for the night with some friends. But I’ll be sure to hit all the big local bars and restaurants.
This is a great place, and I implore every Phillies fan to come down at some point in their lives.