Cheap Seats

Spring training hit list

I 'm getting really antsy.

I can barely stand that there is Cardinals baseball -- or at least elements of

Cardinals baseball -- going on somewhere and I'm missing it.

Heading down to spring training is the highlight of my year. But I'm not

headed down this year until the third week of March. So, whether or not the

groundhog saw his shadow, I'm still looking at five more weeks of mental


I used to miss St. Petersburg quite a bit. But as the Cardinals passed the

decade mark in Jupiter, I have to admit that it now feels like home. In fact,

there are so many things we have found to do in South Florida that there is

no way to fit them all in during one visit. So, here is my spring training can't

miss list:

* You can't go to Florida without going to the beach. And you can get to the

beach from just about anywhere in Jupiter by heading east until you run out

of land. But don't settle for just any beach. Head to John D. MacArthur Beach

State Park which is an isolated island that will give you a chance to see the

shore as nature intended it to be seen.

Open 365 days a year, it costs $5 per vehicle but it's well worth it. It's located

at 10900 Jack Nicklaus Drive off State Road 703. For more information or

directions, call 561-624-6952 or check out

* Want to meet the players? Your chances of getting an autograph at a

game are slim because they're otherwise focused.

Go to the morning drills -- which start around 9 a.m. -- on the practice fields

beyond left field of Roger Dean Stadium where the Redbirds play their spring

games. There the players are much more accessible as they come and go.

Another great place to get autographs is to wait outside the players' parking

lot early in the morning or after games. It's beyond right center field of

Roger Dean Stadium along University Boulevard.

Also, check out the night spots the Cardinals frequent. They include the

Waterway Cafe on PGA Boulevard just west of A1A and Abbey Road Grill and

Raw Bar at 10800 Military Trail in Palm Beach Gardens. Abbey Road is the n

earest eatery and bar to the team hotel.

* I'm not going to recommend a seafood place because there are a million

of those. The one dish I crave from the Jupiter area is the hot wings at the

Thirsty Turtle Sea Grill in Juneau Beach.

It's not fancy, basically a bar and restaurant in a strip mall. It has a New York Yankees theme, so you may want to leave the Cardinals cap in the car. But

skip the extra hot dog at the ballgame and head there afterward. You'll find

it at 13981 U.S. Highway 1.

* There are really no bad seats for games at Roger Dean Stadium. But there

is a big difference between the bleachers and the box seats behind home

plate. You're not going to get good seats through the Cardinals because

season ticket holders snap them all up. But I have had luck on

buying tickets right behind home plate for not much more than face value.

You can also usually buy tickets from scalpers outside the stadium. But I'm

not willing to drive 2,500 miles round trip without the tickets already in my