After driving for nearly four hours across the state of Florida, I finally crossed over into Yankees territory and checked in to the Renaissance Vinoy in St. Pete late this afternoon.
Why didn’t I book a hotel in Tampa this year? Because I had such fond memories of the Vinoy from 2007 when I was following the Yanks around the country for the She-Fan book. I was staying here when they clinched the wild card spot at the Trop…when they had their champagne celebration…when they bounced back from an abysmal start to the season and made it into the playoffs after all. And the Vinoy is where I saw A-Rod swimming in the pool and my husband Michael had to restrain me from jumping in after him.
Also, St. Pete is closer to Clearwater than Tampa for when we go to the Yankees-Phillies game on Wednesday. What’s more, the Vinoy is a really first class hotel, so why not stay here? The only negative, I figured, was that I wouldn’t run into any Yankee fans until I got to Steinbrenner Field on Tuesday. Wrong. After Michael and I came back from dinner, I said, “Could we just troll the lobby for a sec to see if anybody’s wearing a Yankees cap?” I didn’t wait for an answer. I just trolled.
Well, the lobby wasn’t quite as empty as it is in the photo, but all the convention goers were gone. So were the guests for the wedding that had been taking place outside our window. But it was pretty quiet. I was about to give up hope of finding a kindred spirit when – a miracle! – I spotted a girl in a Yankees cap. I rushed right over and met Danielle, whose father had driven her all the way down to Florida from New Jersey, just so she could see the Yankees at spring training. Now that’s what I call a good parent. Here’s my chat with Danielle.
She may not be a long-time fan, but she’s dedicated. Seriously dedicated. You go, Danielle!