Hanging Out in Tampa/St. Pete

Yesterday morning I woke up to another chilly, windy day, but the sun was shining and I was so happy to be in the vicinity of actual Yankees. 
My husband Michael went down to the lobby of the Vinoy to get some coffee. When he came back to the room, he said casually, “I just saw Nick Johnson.”
“Excuuuuse me?” I said. I mean, what would Nick Johnson be doing in the lobby of the Vinoy at 8 am? Granted, the Yankees had an off day, but still. The Yankees don’t spend spring training staying at hotels in St. Pete. “Are you sure it was Nick?”
“Not really.”
“On a scale of one to ten, how sure are you?”
“Maybe a two.”
“In other words, it wasn’t Nick Johnson. It was just a tall, balding guy, and you’re getting me all excited for nothing.”
“Yeah, I guess.”
Oh, well. We spent the afternoon sightseeing in downtown St. Pete. I was strolling along in my Yankees cap when a woman said as she was passing me, “So you’re a Yankee fan.” I smiled and said, “Yes! Are you?” She gave me a withering look and said, “Nooooo.” It turned out she’s a Phillies fan who also roots for the Rays. We bonded over baseball despite our different team allegiances, and I asked if she’d take a sec to talk to you via the Cam. Here’s Gloria.
See? I told you it was windy. I hope it dies down for tonight’s game against the Astros, or we might see a lot of balls hit out of the park. Not a bad thing if it’s the Yankees doing the mashing.
Speaking of food, Michael and I drove to Tampa for dinner at Maggiano’s Italian restaurant, since John, Friend of the Blog, commented the other day that he saw Ramiro Pena there. 
There weren’t any Yankees in attendance, but we had a terrific Yankee fan waiter named Andrew who told us where the Yanks do eat – and when. What’s more, after serving us portions of food that would have fed a family of ten, he took a short break and submitted to the She-Fan Cam. It was extremely noisy in the restaurant, so you might have trouble hearing him, but give it a shot.
Some highlights in case you missed them:
He saw CC and Joba having dinner two nights ago while at his other job at a hot new eatery in South Tampa called Cheap.
Apparently, they’re a twosome. He said that other, better known twosome, Jeter and Posada, often have dinner together at P.F. Changs – especially on Wednesday nights.
He said the construction on Jeter’s 30,000 square foot house on Tampa’s Davis Island is now finished and the Captain has moved in…which prompted me to ask if he’d seen Minka around. Check out his reaction.
Oh, and he said Damon wasn’t much of a tipper. LOL.
A big thanks to Andrew for turning his back on all his customers just to be on this blog. Just kidding. He was a sweetheart.
More later from Steinbrenner Field. Go Yankeeeees!


  1. mel.tmottbg@gmail.com

    Sure was windy out there! Hey Jane, I see there was an earthquake outside of LA. Aren’t you glad you’re on the east coast? I have to take my son to the airport today because he’s visiting a friend in LA, so I’m hoping there won’t be anymore quakes.

    Thanks to Andrew and Gloria for being such good sports.

    Have a great time at the game!

  2. ooaooa

    Glad you enjoyed Maggiano’s! We actually met Ramero Pena at The Cheesecake Factory at the International Mall not Maggiano’s. Remember, gates open 2 hours before game time. (5pm for night game) Enjoy!!

  3. Jane Heller

    Not to worry, Melissa. The “quake” was only 4.4 (listen to me – I’m so blase all of a sudden), and there was no damage. They happen fairly regularly. Your son will be fine. Hope he has a great time in LA.

    Jeff, I know. PF Changs? Andrew said Jeter likes sushi, but couldn’t they find a better option? I guess it’s convenient.

    Oh, right. Pena was at the Cheesecake Factory, John! I got my Tampa restaurants mixed up. Oh well. We had fun at Maggiano’s. I love that place. We’re planning on being at the game at 5 pm – and bringing our warmest clothes. Since when is Florida so cold in March?

  4. jojovanb27@hotmail.com


    Thanks for filling us in on the local color. If any of my kids ever get rich enough to send me to Florida for Spring Training, I’ll know exactly where to go. (Both my sons are aspiring writers, so while I’m lighting candles in church and praying for them, I’m being extra nice to my daughters.)

    Thanks also to you and Kathleen for the Siena shoutouts yesterday.


    I was in Latham last night. I stoppped at the Philly Bar around 9 for a sandwich after leaving a meeting at Cohoes High. The DJ didn’t exactly play my kind of music, but the sandwich was good. I usually umpire a few softball games at Shaker every year. If Jane doesn’t mind, I’ll use her blog to tell you if they’re on my schedule.

  5. Jane Heller

    You’re right not to count on your aspiring writer-sons to get rich, jojovanb. LOL. But keep on lighting candles in church and praying – for them and me. Writing is a cruel business! By all means, use the blog to communicate with others. That’s my favorite part of all this – that you guys talk to each other.

  6. mikeeff

    pf changs. bummer. but hey-it’s florida. hard to imagine anyone actually choosing to live there. but that was a fun interview. interesting that such a down to earth guy would have alex as his favorite yankee.

    have a great time today!!

  7. dschaub@gpo.gov

    Ahh, there she is again, at last…finding fans in the most interesting places…gettin’ ’em on trusty She-Fan Cam…juicy little Yankee-story tidbits for us all to munch upon…she’s back in her ELEMENT! We love it so…and you’re just warming up!!
    And do stay warm, please — I see that the weather gods aren’t much nicer to you than they were to us — but at least you’re not drowning, like Diane and the whole northeast — or shakin’ and quakin’ back in Cali. Tell us, oh observant one — is it true what they say about St. Pete — that the average aged citizen is 75 — or does it just SEEM that way when you’re driving? Inquiring idle minds want to know…!

  8. Jane Heller

    Why, Mike? Florida’s really nice. I love it here. As for Andrew, I didn’t expect him to say A-Rod as his favorite player either. But hey, everybody can’t say Jeter, right?

    No, Pena was nowhere in sight, Paul. But I’m sure he’ll be playing at some point tonight.

    The weather gods aren’t giving me the Florida temps I was hoping for, Dave, but at least it’s not raining or snowing. I’ll be packing on lots of layers for tonight’s game! And no, it’s not true what they say about St. Pete. It used to be – mostly old retirees – but you should see the downtown area now. Cool shops and restaurants and plenty going on. A realtor said the median age here is now 39.

  9. dschaub@gpo.gov

    Well then…all to the good for you, Miz Jane. Hey, I guess that Mr. Renegade wouldn’t hang around if everyone was a geezer either…any chance youse two will meet up?
    The Astros — remember their original team name, pre-Astrodome? The Colt .45s — complete with a smoking gun on their unis! Oops…dating myself again. Always thought it would be cool to have one of their old caps, that says “.45s” on it…esp. in my deejay daze, back when they still played that speed of records…let me know if you see any of those kinda caps tonight…!
    Of course, their was also an old funky nasty malt liquor called Colt .45 — I’m sure your delicate senses have never partaken, but ask The Old Salt Michael if he remembers from his bygone daze…and how about former Astros who donned the pinstripes, like Bob Watson, Jimmy Wynn, and, oh, a couple of pitchers…?!

  10. Jane Heller

    Dave, I had the pleasure of meeting Renegade last year. He was kind enough to stop by Barnes & Noble when I had my signing for the book, and Michael took our pic together. As for the Colt 45 malt, I asked Michael if he ever tried it and his exact words were, “It was the first illegal beverage I bought with my fake ID and it tasted like weasel piss.” Aren’t you glad you mentioned it?

  11. Jane Heller

    No interactions with any Yankees tonight, Cat. We got to Steinbrenner Field 2 hours early but they didn’t come out of the dugout until just before game time. Rats.

    I just told Michael his comment made you laugh, Melissa. He was flattered!

    Neither can I, Greg. It’s the size of a school!

  12. TotalBases

    Sabathia and Joba where out eating together? How am I not surprised?
    How is the Yankees spring traing park? That’s one of the only ones I ahve not seen. Should be an interesting season in the AL East. Good luck (not really, lol)
    Total Bases

  13. Jane Heller

    I was surprised that CC and Joba have been hanging out together, Total Bases. One’s a veteran. The other’s trying to make the starting rotation. But I’m glad Joba has CC to mentor him. Steinbrenner Field is a mini-Yankee Stadium – a very professional ballpark as opposed to some of the more “quaint” parks around Florida.

  14. bklyntrolleyblogger

    Ahh…I see you got yourself got ambushed by a Phils, Tampa fan, former Jays employee Yankee-hater (happens all the time, pfff). I’m sure by now the look-outs for the feelers of the informers of the buffers to the middle-men workin for “the guy” who keeps the Minister of Jeterian Security up to date has already been notified there’s a rat in the network. I afraid by the time you get to Cheap & Changs to catch the Spring Daters in mid-meal your plans will have gone Up-In-Smoke. Keep enjoying the Grapefruits.
    BTB Mike

  15. Jane Heller

    The Minister of Jeterian Security. LOL, Mike! The players have nothing to fear from me, as tomorrow’s my last day. I’ll be at the Yanks-Phillies game in Clearwater, outnumbered by Phillies fans, no doubt, but I bet there will be more than a few wearing the interlocking N-Y.

  16. Jane Heller

    I’m glad you’re enjoying them, Emma. I’m still trying to post last night’s game but the internet at this hotel is so slooooow. Yes, I’m hoping to meet Sue today. There’s a 50% chance of rain at the moment….

    Thanks, Scott. Happy SPD to you too.

  17. raysrenegade

    Got a nice little side trip for you if you are there more more day.
    Take 5th Ave North, the street that runs in front of the Vinoy resort hotel and take it north on 4th street to 13th Avenue north. Take a left hand turn and go to end to the end of the road where it dead ensds at a baseball park.
    That is Huggins-Stengel Field. The same field where Babe Ruth was once chased by an alligator from Cresent Lake park just beyond the outfield walls.
    It is also a great park to take an early evening stroll around looking at the majestic banyan trees and the joggers running around the lake…
    But the water tower is a fantastic artistic find.

    Rays Renegade


  18. Jane Heller

    Renegade, I think we drove past that field yesterday! I wondered what it was, so thanks for filling me in. Maybe if we have time tomorrow we’ll take another look. Much appreciated.

  19. grammyg53

    Oh Jane… why did I say “yes”? LOL My boss isn’t letting my out of the office without a brown paper bag over my head now! Hey, he has two appointments in the next few days with buyers who also happen to be PHILLIES phans. I told him today that he absolutely has to wear one of my pins on his lapel when he goes out showing the properties. Reluctantly, he agreed.

    So what happened in the game tonight? Hmmm… wish we had made a friendly bet between you, Michael and me. Maybe next time you come here for a visit?

    Thanks so much for bringing some joy to my life. I didn’t realize that I looked so relaxed considering everything that’s happened since 10/26. I don’t think it was a coincidence that we bumped into each other.

    For all of you who are knocking St Pete… come here and try us on for size. You might be pleasantly surprised!

  20. Jane Heller

    You were great on that video, Gloria – and under difficult conditions with all the wind. I think your boss should wear a Phillies pin when showing properties. You never know what will sway a buyer, right? I really enjoyed meeting you – such a chance meeting too – and I’m so glad to have provided some laughs. I know you’ve been through a lot.

  21. grammyg53

    Jane! You should be some kind of guru of sales people fashionistaism… like that word? HAHA I told Tom (the boss) about your idea. I even showed him your comment ^^^ up there. Guess what? Well, I showed up at the office later last week with a fistful of Phillies pins and one lonely Rays pin. Told him that he HAD to wear one of the Phillies pins on Saturday and Monday when he met with some new clients. They were ALL in town to see the Phillies @ ST. He didn’t get it even one bit but then when you’re not a baseball phan, you don’t “get it”, do you? He was thanking me by yesterday afternoon. I’ll let you know which properties they decide to purchase. When I get my bonus from the sales, I’ll put some aside to treat you and Michael to some gelato at that awesome place along Beach Drive between the office and the Vinoy. Can’t wait until next year. You ARE coming back, aren’t you?

  22. Jane Heller

    I love that your boss showed up with the Phillies pins, Gloria. I hope they paid dividends. May the clients buy a big expensive house with a sweet bonus for you! We’ll sure try to come back to St. Pete. Having a gelato with you would be fun!

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