TAMPA, Fla. — The Rental Car Gods are smiling down upon me.
They had foresaken me for two straight spring trainings and I was prepared for a third. My first year covering the Yankees in 2009, they assigned me a half-SUV, half-sedan made my Chevy that possessed only the middling qualities of both. Last year, the Gods challenged me once more, sending me a Hyundai that couldn’t beat a John Deere lawnmower off the line. I wasn’t pleased.
I began to think that getting a convertible for my first spring training in 2008, back in my Orioles beat writer days, was an exceptional stroke of luck. I wonder what I had done to anger the Rental Car Gods. Did I neglect to bring back a rental without a full tank? Did I spill Starbucks and stain the carpet? Did I inwpark in a handicap spot? Did they even exist?
But finally, after my crisis of faith, the losing streak came to an end today.
Nissan Altima, silver and blue, with a grand total of nine miles. Comfy seats, four doors, no bizzare blind spots, and plenty of room, for those times when it is my turn to drive colleagues who may need to work in the car on the back from games. Score.
The golf clubs fit perfectly in the trunk, where they will live until heading back to New York in late March.
I’m not a huge fan of the keyless ignition, which still strikes me as a wholly useless innovation. That’s a minor quibble though. This car is going to work.
During the regular season, I don’t usually get caught up about my rental car because you’re in it at most for five days.
Spring training in Florida is a different story. This is when the Rental Car Gods really have to come through. Though it’s not as bad as it used to be, you’ve got drives that are up to three hours (thanks Washington Nationals!) each way. So it’s important to have a decent set of wheels instead of a piece of shit.
Indeed, learning that that I have not been totally abandoned by the Rental Car Gods was a perfect way to start Day 1 of spring training duty, simply because it’s going to help the remaining 47 days go by that much easier.
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