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Dunedin has baseball and we don't?

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Column by Jim Clark

Vacations are a good thing. They give you a break from the routine and let your mind and body get refreshed while you supposedly spend some time doing some activities that you don’t normally get to do.

Vacations are also a bad thing. Why? Because they end.

Last week I spent a few days in the Clearwater-Dunedin area. If you know me at all, you might guess that it had something to do with baseball. And you would be right.

The St. Lucie Mets, the high Class A affiliate of the New York Mets, visited the Dunedin Blue Jays for four games. The teams split, but I wasn’t impressed at all with the Mets. Free agency better be helpful.

The Dunedin baseball facilities aren’t exactly the hub of the universe with an old ballpark in the middle of a residential area. But at least they have a stadium, which is more than we can say around here, thanks to our enlightened county commissioners, who decided we couldn’t even vote on it.

In addition, I couldn’t find an affordable motel in Dunedin, so I stayed in Clearwater, which is only about 20 minutes away.

If we had the facility, we could probably steal the Blue Jays (since we let the Yankees get away). For the first three games of the series, the average attendance was 371. It spiked to 661 for the Thursday game because for a $12 ticket it was all-you-can-eat pizza night. Tickets are normally $7, and only $6 if you’re a youngster or a senior.

Downtown Dunedin (for those not familiar it’s pronounced duh-NEE-din) is one of these towns that has been redone into a quaint village, crowded with shops and restaurants and a trolley (sort of, it’s on wheels, not tracks). Some of the people who keep pushing change around Ocala’s downtown square should probably spend a couple of days down there. They might learn something.

The biggest challenge is getting there. Fortunately, a lot of construction on Interstate 275 through Tampa is finished, and getting on the Courtney Campbell Causeway, State Road 60, is easy if it’s not rush hour. But if you don’t know where you’re going, it isn’t easy to find. The old phrase (you can’t get there from here) applies.

Anyhow, I’m back at the old computer trying to catch up with 215 e-mails and getting used to the new carpet she had installed while I was away.

My thanks to Jeff Bryan, editor of the Riverland News in Dunnellon, who did the Citizen last week (I had the Messenger done before I left).

Jim Clark is the editor of the West Marion Messenger and the South Marion Citizen.