Armed. With teeth.
It's Florida alright. Winding up 19 toward the Bobby Mattick Training Center, the first ad that pops on 102.5 The Bone is for the Tampa Gun Show.
"A wide selection of handguns from all major manufacturers for self-defence! Classes for concealed weapons permits held all week long!"
Remind me not to cut anyone off.
The weather is suitably swampy and upon exiting the rental in the miniscule parking lot, one is greeted by the the crack of the bat from the nearby cages. That's a nice summery sound.
This is only my second spring here, but the mood seems noticeably looser in camp. Even B.J. Ryan is smiling - and it's not that 'you're-not-going-to-try-to-talk-to-me-are-you' sort of smile.
Speaking of Ryan, watched him throw a bullpen to start the day. Inauspicious to begin with, as Ryan spewed curses after the first few efforts. But he settled in nicely. Frank Thomas wandered by, angled himself perfectly behind the fence and judged Ryan's effort a "little better." Not sure if that was from one pitch to the next or one bullpen to the next.
Afterward, Ryan was still smiling. Well. Grinning. No. Check that. Upturning his lips slightly.
“It’s getting better … Last bullpen felt good, just kind of a crummy outcome, and today was better,” Ryan said. “It started coming together there near the end as I got going.”
Ryan’s issue is trying to find that comfortable three-quarter arm slot.
“I’m still searching for it a little bit,” Ryan said. “It’s still early on in the spring. It’s something I’ve fought with every year. So I found it today. It felt good. Now I just have to remember it.”
Dr. Tim Kremchek, the surgeon who performed his operation, will examine Ryan in the coming days. Assuming all is well, he’ll throw a live batting practice on Thursday. Then he’s due to throw in at least one minor league game before joining the Jays for Grapefruit League action.
Those looking for bigger grins were being pointed in the direction of Roy Halladay.
“Roy Halladay came up to me and was smiling,” returning hero Shannon Stewart said yesterday, sounding mildly alarmed at the facial contortions of his old teammate. “I’ve never seen Roy like that. He scared me.
"I’m used to Roy being serious and going out there and being stone cold. Stone cold. That’s what I called him. He had a lot of joy in his face. It seemed like he’s really happy with himself.”
Or maybe he's excited about the gun show. Proabably not. Halladay's more of a fishing afficianado.