Dear John Lackey: Welcome to town. Well, not this town at the moment, but Fort Myers, Florida, a place where the entire male population seems to be made up of people who flunked the audition for a Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band. (Previously, the Red Sox once trained in Winter Haven, where the entire male population seemed to be made up of people who flunked the audition for a Bull Connor tribute band.) Anyway, in the stands of City of Palms Park, you will quickly be able to distinguish the people from here from the people from there. The people from here are the ones with the white noses, and looking otherwise like sweaty sides of beef in Bermuda shorts. I bet many of them can be referred to as “Senator” or “Mayor” or “Councilman.” (There are probably entire towns in the Boston suburbs that could conduct their business from Joe’s Crab Shack on West First Street. Any rumor you’ve heard that they’re considering renaming the ballpark Greased Palms Park is a scurrilous assault on our fine local public servants and should be ignored.) Up here, though, there are already some second thoughts brewing. It is said that if one of your infielders bungles a play behind you, you’ve been known to shoot them a glare. You may conclude you’re already being somewhat heckled. Pitchers, catchers, and unreasoning dread all reported to spring training on February 18. Like I said, welcome to town.
Charles P. Pierce / firstname.lastname@example.org
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