Angry Ward: Orlando Soccer, Palm Beach Baseball and Your Florida Sports Report

Angry Ward, Aaron Rodgers, Don Shula, Willis Reed, Justin Verlander, NFL, MLB, Spring Training, Meet-The-Matts, Ward Calhoun, MSL, #GoogleAlerts
Justin Verlander to Don Shula & Willis Reed: "You guys were good, but I don't even need a glove."

PALM BEACH, FL – I’m currently winding down vacation in one of the screwiest states in America. There’s plenty of fine weather, beautiful beaches and friendly people down here, but this is also HQ for batsh!t pols and a whole mess of their dipsh!t devotees. But there are ways to compartmentalize and still manage to enjoy yourself. For instance, avoid any and all stupid boat parades, steer clear of anything north of Disney (though I personally might include Disney), and don’t engage in a whole lot of sports talk. The last of these three will inevitably land you with some mouth-breather telling you what a god Don Shula was… and still is. Florida holds on to the memory of Shula tighter than a gator on a small-breed dog. It’s amazing. Anyway, I did see a couple of sporting events. Here’s the quick rundown.

Orlando City Soccer. This past Saturday night, a bunch of us attended a MLS game up in Orlando pitting Orlando City against Charlotte FC. I’m not a huge #soccer guy but, gotta say, it was pretty entertaining. Both teams skew on the mediocre-to-bad side so it was a fairly evenly matched contest. Charlotte got the better of it 2-1, but there was a fair amount of action as well as two blown scoring chances for the home side as a result of offsides calls. However, that didn’t stop the fireworks from exploding when both disallowed goals reached the back of the net. When you’ve got pyrotechnics to use at a soccer game, you might as well use them, no matter what. Anyway, it was an enjoyable and affordable evening with tickets only costing $35 bucks. Hell, you pay that much for a bottle of water at Epcot.

Mets vs. Nats. Monday night, I somehow convinced my wife and daughter (both major theater nerds) to check out a Spring Training game between the Mets and Nationals at the new(ish) Ballpark of the Palm Beaches that Washington shares with Houston. Tickets for this were also 35 bucks, though they bang you for an additional $15 for parking. Speaking of parking, not sure who designed the lot-to-stadium configuration but, you need a sherpa to get you from your car to the main gate. It’s a hike. In any event, we got to see Verlander pitch a bunch of innings. He wasn’t his best but wasn’t terrible. My biggest takeaway from the evening was how damn quiet the fans were. You could hear a sandpaper square drop. When I cheered on Verlander or applauded a Mets hit, people turned to see who it was. It was weird. If I had started up a chant for Don Shula I probably would have made the evening news. Still, really happy to see at least one game before the real ones start. And, with that, I’m outta here.

Come back tomorrow for Buddy Diaz, who I hope will talk at least a little bit about Willis Reed and what he meant to the Knicks.

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About Angry Ward 747 Articles
Angry Ward, who has admirers at the New York Times, is the quintessential angry sports fan but for one exception... he's flat-out funny. And the angrier he gets, the more amusing his work becomes. Psychiatrists say, "Angry Ward's 'anger' is a direct result of "Bronx/Mets syndrome: growing up in the Bronx as a Mets fan." As if that weren't enough, his Minnesota North Stars abandoned him for Dallas, forcing him to embrace The Wild the way Nancy Pelosi embraces Mitch McConnell at charity events. And while his Vikings only tease him with success, his Golden State Warriors actually win these days. A-Dubya is MTM's longest-tenured indentured servant, its Larry David and quite simply, "The Franchise." (Junoir Blaber disputes this). Vent, curse and giggle with him on Angry Ward Wednesdays.