FORT MYERS, FLA. -- So I'm cruising across Metro Parkway toward the Red Sox camp in Fort Myers about 8 a.m. Thursday, still working on waking up, when I pass Danley St. and it starts again.
Within a split-second, I think of Kerwin Danley, the major-league umpire.
Twisted, I know. Whacked, I admit.
But I'm guessing I'm not alone here.
Anybody else out there have an issue with automatically associating street names with players?
Long ago, I'd be driving on I-5 in Southern California, my stomach would start growling and I'd know exactly where to exit for the In-N-Out burger: Steve Avery Parkway.
OK, truth be told, it probably isn't named for the old Atlanta left-hander. Especially because it's actual name is Avery Parkway.
A few springs ago I got turned around heading to dinner at Le Tub, a marvelous old gas station-turned-into-a-grill on Florida's intracoastal waterway.
Now I know exactly where to exit I-95. Sheridan St. How could I forget Pat Sheridan, who played outfield in the 1980s for Kansas City and Detroit?
On and on it goes. The exit leading off of I-75 in Florida that takes me to Minnesota's camp isn't Daniels Parkway, it's Kal Daniels Parkway. A tip of the cap to the Cincinnati outfielder who led the National League in on-base percentage in 1988.
The exit off of I-10 in Arizona that takes me to Peoria Stadium (home of the Mariners and Padres) is Bell Rd. -- which never fails to remind of wacky outfielder Derek Bell. He played with a number of teams, but I'll always fondly recall the time he took his uniform pants back to the Blue Jays equipment manager and asked for a longer pair.
"How long?" the equipment guy asked.
"For the whole season," Bell replied.
I could go on, but it's late afternoon and I'd sure like to get a run in before dinner and a night of prepping for tomorrow's stop, Twins camp.
Of course, when I drive back to the hotel from Boston's complex here, the route will take me on Fowler St., during which I'll no doubt think of Billy Martin's old pitching coach, Art Fowler. ...
Likes: Manny being Manny. ... Full squad workouts starting. ... Exceptional tribute to the late Bob Howsam, the highly respected former Reds executive who passed away a few days ago, from Sparky Anderson in this piece. ... Nino's Pizza and Italian Ristaurante at Daniels Crossing. Had an outstanding pizza -- New York thin crust -- from there last night, and meals there remain one of the highlights of the Florida tour. Graziano and his staff serve terrific meals with impressively fresh ingredients.
Dislikes: Fort Myers traffic has grown exponentially since I first started coming down here in 1994. It's the old joke -- Daniels Parkway, one of the main thoroughfares, is called a Parkway because you spent a whole lot of time parked on the asphalt. ... Physical exams. Everybody goes through them, of course -- such as Boston on Thursday -- but they really throw the day's schedule off.
Sunblock day? Little rain in the morning but the sun came out shortly after 9 a.m.
Rock-n-Roll lyric of the day:
"In the garbage disposal of you dreams I've been ground up, dear
"On the river of your plans I'm up the creek
"Up the elevator of your future I've been shafted
"On the calendar of your events I'm last week"
-- Johnny Cash, Flushed From the Bathroom of Your Heart