The Philadelphia Phillies are back in town at Bright House Field and so are the fans, and the so-called travel experts from out-of-town newspapers.
High Cheese, a Philadelphia Daily News blog published "Clearwater 101" for Phillies fans migrating to Clearwater for Spring Training and while highlights the best of Clearwater in that piece and in "Navigating Clearwater," the news website also takes a dagger to the region.
Maybe call it balanced reporting, pointing out the good and the bad, but geez, reporter David Murphy doesn't exactly sell the area. The Philly Phanatic's frolic might have been a more friendly portrayal.
Bright House Field is the "best spring training stadium in Florida" but don't leave the area, according to Phily.com:
"I would not recommend venturing too far out of the Tampa Bay area, lest you run into the Florida that the tourism board would rather you not see, the Florida that you hear about on the Daily Show, the Florida that makes the rest of the country feel better about itself."
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The writer praises sportscaster Harry Kalas' voice played against The Natural's theme, but:
"It's pretty cool for the first two or 10 times that you hear it, but toward the end of March it begins to occupy important parts of your brain."
Lenny's Restaurant is a great place to eat, however:
"The food is decent by Florida standards. ... Head down Gulf-to-Bay a little further and there is a Village Inn, which is a chain of Perkins-type restaurants with food that is better than Perkins. Aside from that, you have all of the chain restaurants you can imagine within a five minute drive. Because, after all, this is Florida."
What else? Los Mariachis' food is "supposedly good" and Tampa Bay "is not a great place for foodies, but there are some decent places" and if you want to find anything remotely cool.
For more to do, Clearwater Patch has developed its own Spring Training guides for the area, including where to eat near Bright House Field (Original Hooters) and other things to do aside from baseball (visit Winter the dolphin at Clearwater Marine Aquarium).
Which is awesome because there are some parts of Philadelphia I would never venture to visit.
So, Clearwater Patch readers, where would you really tell Spring Training fans to go to in Clearwater for a good, local experience? And if you have any advice for where not to go in Philly, feel free to share your thoughts below, too.