LAKELAND, Fla. — Spring Training in Florida means vacation time for the Canadians that attend.
Travelling from as far west as Grand Prairie, Alta., a baseball family of six made their way to Florida instead of waiting until the end of the month when the Blue Jays are in Toronto.
“Well that’s almost as far for us actually. It’s quite the flight to Toronto and we just thought we’d make a family holiday out of it,” Miles Coristine said.
The Coristine-Chernard family are looking forward to seeing Universal Studios, though “baseball is what attracted us but the rest of its just a perk being here,” Coristine said.
Despite the cold and rainy weather for Tuesday’s game between the Blue Jays and the Detroit Tigers, the family hopes to, “enjoy the outdoors and not 35 below [weather] and watch a good ball game.”
The two youngest boys Konner, 9, and Keanan, 7, are quite the pair of mini Blue Jays players.
Konner has become his grandpa’s protégé in place of his mother, Jennifer Chenard, who is a baseball fan but not as much as her two boys.
“My grandpa would make my mom go and watch [games] and now he does the same thing with me, but I actually watch,” said Konner.
“I don’t watch as much as he [Konner] does but I still know a few players,” said Keanan.
When asked which of the players he knows, Keanan responds, “I only know two of them,” as he and his brother turned around showing off the jerseys of former Jays, Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki.
As far west as the Coristine-Chernard family came from, fellow attendee Joe Bakes demonstrates the same eagerness to watch Blue Jays Spring Training, coming all the way from Truro, Nova Scotia.
Unlike the Coristine-Chernard family, Bakes and his friends make Spring Training a regular holiday.
“It’s a yearly thing for us to come down here. We usually come down March 1st and stay until about April 1st,” he says.
Travelling all the way from the Maritimes, Bakes does the 36-hour drive every year so he and his friends can watch the Jays play all over Florida.
From Clearwater to Lakeland to Kissimmee and sometimes as far as West Palm Beach, Bakes and his group will go all over supporting the Blue Jays during the pre-season.
“[We come for] the atmosphere; it’s great, you actually intervene with the guys, with the players.”
Bakes and his group are true fans. They drive all the way to Florida to see they Jays and be able to have a chance to interact with the players. But why not just wait until the regular season?
“It’s very affordable. We can pick up a bunch of games here for a lot less.”