Friday, October 10, 2008

Bedeviling Rays

The Red Sox are about to open the ALCS at Tropicana "Field" in St. Petersburg. Studious fans know that place is haunted by catwalks and a history of bad baseball and bad blood. But what about the visiting team's accommodations? Apparently, the Vinoy Hotel is haunted. Read all about it:
[Scott Williamson:] "I looked, and someone was standing right where the curtains were. A guy with a coat. And it looked like he was from the 40s, or 50s, or 30s – somewhere around that era."

[Coach Frank Velasquez:] "The fact that it lined up with someone’s story that I never knew anything about just kind of helps me know that it was real."

Coach Gerald Perry... swears to this day that on the team’s third night in the hotel, he awoke to find his room door wide open when he knew he had bolted it shut before retiring to bed...

In the mid-1990s, the paper ran a story about a painting crew that fled their job site at the Vinoy after returning from a break to discover buckets of paint knocked off their scaffolding and splattered on the walls...

Thoroughly spooked, [John Frascatore's] family fled without their luggage. When they transferred to a room in the new wing of the hotel, front desk staff told them "that stuff happens all the time" in the old wing... Cito Gaston, whose hotel room door, which he’d locked and chained shut, kept opening in the middle of the night and then slamming. "Then I go check and nobody was there. Nobody was in the hallway. Nothing."

[Jay Gibbon] set the alarm clock on the bedside table, then washed up and prepared for bed. As he reached for the lamp, he noticed the clock he’d just set was now off. He sat up to reset it and discovered the cord draped over the dresser with the prong resting over the clock. “It kind of freaked me out” says Gibbons, "because the outlet was near the floor. How the hell did the plug get from down there to the top of the dresser and just stay there? Because I didn’t even move the clock."

It was at that moment Jon and Dana [Switzer] believed they saw the artwork hanging above their bed come to life. The painting depicted a garden scene with a woman in Victorian dress holding a basket with her right hand. According to John, her left hand, which had been by her chin, was now scratching the glass desperately to get out...

Gift shop workers... report frequently finding store items broken or moved when they arrive in the morning.
Ghosts or no ghosts (if this was Philadelphia, I'd assume it was fans causing mischief), the article concludes, the visiting team clubhouse at Tropicana Field is full of jumpy, bleary-eyed ballplayers in need of a good night’s sleep.

Hat tip to the CHB, Boston's own specter of the newsprint.

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