March 25, 2004


When last seen, The Rev. Joe Kendall, Side Salad's exclusive Spring Training correspondent, was touring through the Detroit Tigers' spring home, Joker Marchant Stadium.

Well, the Rev.'s father, Julius, came into town last weekend, which gave Joe a chance to tour the area's finer baseball establishments (that is, when he wasn't memorizing his latest script for the next season of "Pastor Cop.")


Unlike Rev. Joe, who can be moody and surly at times when he isn't fighting crime, acting or spreading "The Word," Julius is a lovely, warm and cordial man with an ever-present smile. In the photo above, he's seen sitting behind the backstop at a recent Devil Rays spring training game.

Then again, if you can't smile while sitting at a spring game accompanied by perfect weather, you don't belong at the ballpark.


Rev. Joe wasn't the only celebrity on hand for the game. Here, FoxSportsNet talks to tennis great Jim Courier, who was sitting in the same row as Joe and Julius.

One question they didn't ask: "Hey, Jimbo, what's your stance on non-secular law enforcement?"


Julius and The Rev.'s whirlwind tour took them to several parks over just a couple days. Here, Julius poses just outside the right field stands at the New York Yankees' stadium in Tampa, Legends Field.


Much like his son, Julius enjoys meeting people at the ballpark. Like, say, this TV crew from Japan who are covering spring training for folks back home.

Repeat after me, "Gambaree Yanks!"


The Rev. Joe repeatedly chants this mantra: "There are no menial jobs at the ballpark. All are honored by their association with the game."

Here, Julius follows that theory by chatting with a parking usher before the first pitch.


Julius and Joe had company among diehard fans. These folks stood/sat in line waiting for the remaining spring training tickets for the year at Legends Field. Note the woman in front who appears to be knitting a donut for Alex Rodriguez to swing in the on-deck circle. How thoughtful!


An important part of any spring training excursion, according to Rev. Joe: quantitative carbo-loading.

Here, just before the two attack the new Philadelphia Phillies home, Bright House Stadium in Clearwater, Julius is shown after a satisfying meal at Lenny's, a local institution.

As the photo was being snapped, Rev. Joe was overheard asking, "Got any Juicy Juice in the back?"


Did we mention that Julius is always ready with a smile? Here he is standing on the left-field concourse at Bright House Stadium during another beautiful Florida spring morning.


It's unclear exactly what this child was attempting to accomplish with his portable fan during the Phillies game.

Perhaps he was warm and needed a short burst of self-made breeze. Perhaps he was doing that experiment in which you talk into the fan and hear your voice quiver back at you. My theory: he was hoping to use the rotating blades to scrape away the horrific psychological residue of last year's late-season fade by the Phils.

Yeah, that's it.


Tour Stop No. 1: Clearwater; Philadelphia Phillies.
Tour Stop No. 2: Tampa; New York Yankees.
Tour Stop No. 3: St. Petersburg; Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Tour Stop No. 4: Dunedin; Toronto Blue Jays.
Tour Stop No. 5: Lakeland; Detroit Tigers.

Posted by Jeff at March 25, 2004 02:27 PM | TrackBack