George Grbic knew how good he had it Monday morning.
So did Chris Williams.
Bill Brady, too.
The Victor, N.Y., dads and their entourage of sons and sons friends were at Pirate City, situated in a crowd behind home plate on one diamond watching the Pittsburgh Pirates hustle through base running drills beneath a sunny blue sky.
The crack of bat on ball and chatter of coaches and players were a spring training symphony.
So what if it was chilly.
These guys know real cold.
It was 12 degrees with a negative 4 windchill when we left home Saturday, said Grbic, 42.
Who cares if its only 50 degrees here, Williams, 40, chimed in. This is our May.
Its great, said Brady, 39. Like being kids again.
With the exception of Williams, who made the spring training odyssey as a bachelor, Mondays visit was a first for the upstate New Yorkers. That some were Yankee fans didnt matter.
When I found out we were coming here I went, Yeaaay! because I like some of the players on the team Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez, A.J. Burnett, said Billy Brady, 10.
The Pirates have (catcher) Russell Martin and he used to be on the Yankees, so its exciting, said Jonah Grbic, 10.
Its baseball, better than Disney World, said Connor Williams, 9.
Four families came in a caravan from New York to Anna Maria Island where theyre renting a place for the week.
Being cooped up in a van during 24 hours of driving was worth it.
If I wasnt here, Id be shoveling snow, said Matthew Brady, 9. Ive had to do it more than usual this winter, so I couldnt wait to get down here.
Ditto for their dads.
Back home you go to a game youre upper deck, Chris Williams said. Here youre 3 feet away from the players. Its pretty cool. Gets the juices going.
Apparently not everyone in their traveling party was so taken by the sights and sounds of spring training at Pirate City.
Absent were the moms and their daughters.
They didnt want to come, George Grbic said.
They went shopping, Bill Brady said.
Their loss, Chris Williams said.
Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 941-745-7055. Twitter: @vinmannix