The fundraisers at the Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame host a silent auction at all home Jaguar games. So they invited Carl and I to join them at their annual induction dinner at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida and even offered to put us up in the historic, waterfront Vinoy Renaissance Hotel.
Free weekend getaway, dinner-out and deluxe accommodations…we’re in!
Saturday morning, we made the 3-1/2 hour drive down to St. Petersburg. After checking into our hotel, we stretched our legs with an energetic 5-mile walk along the water front and through a historic neighborhood district.
After resting for a bit, it was time to get dressed up to head off for the main event at Tropicana Field.
The event was set up right on the field of the baseball stadium. We made new friends with our table-mates, Lisa and Kenny. Kenny is one of the maintenance workers/painters for the stadium and he told us countless stories of his years with the team.
There were also four 20-somethings seated at our table but they barely took their faces out of their phones to introduce themselves or attempt to make conversation with the four of us. Really rude and a sad sign of the generation. I hope that my young adult children would all behave differently. Kids…listen to your mother and put the phones away and talk with the people seated at your table!
After dinner, there were all sorts of important baseball people introduced and given various awards. However, the only one that I’ve ever heard of was Pete Rose.
Although the program ran about an hour late and we were tempted to leave, I’m glad we stayed because Pete, the last speaker of the evening, was an entertaining story-teller and did the best job of them all.
Look how close we were to the stage….
As soon as it was over, we hightailed it out of there and made our way back to the hotel. And who should be getting out of the vehicle in front of us but Mr. Pete Rose! I was very tempted to approach and ask for a photo with him but Carl wouldn’t let me. Blah.
On Sunday morning, we found an adequate church to attend in Clearwater. We went and checked out the water front views in downtown Clearwater.
But then the real reason for our stop in Clearwater was to spy on the Scientologists. After recently reading Leah Remini’s book on Scientology (called Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology) and watching the first season of her expose on the cult (Scientology and the Aftermath), I’m a little fascinated by the whole thing. We stopped in the visitor’s center to use the bathrooms and had a nice conversation with the young girl inside.
She attempted to get us to stay and watch a movie about Scientology and learn more but we rejected her offer. She then attempted to give us reading material but we also declined that.
We walked around the area and saw several of the buildings featured in the Scientology series, including Flag – short for Flagship (the headquarters)
and the Fort Harrison (the retreat center).
There were all sorts of Scientologists walking around in their uniforms and going in and out of buildings. It really made me sad. After taking some time to pray for the people to be delivered from the cult, we made our way back home.
It was a short and sweet weekend but I’m glad that we got to see another part of Florida and enjoy a beautiful weekend on the Gulf Coast.