Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Mets and Yankees: Spring Training Road Trip with Toyota

Steinbrenner Field, Yankees' spring training home

When Toyota invited me to a spring training road trip in Florida, I could barely contain my excitement. Three days of sun, baseball and staying at luxury hotels? Sign me up.

When we got to the Westin Tampa Bay, we got personalized jerseys, (NY Mets for me, of course) hats and the keys to a new car. Alas, the cars had to be returned, but we got to keep the shirts and baseball caps.
Some serious swag

My partner, LeAura and I headed for the colorful Toyota C-HR, in teal, that reminded me of the uniforms the Marlins used to wear. But we decided to first drive the Toyota Prius Four. LeAura and I are both vegetarians, and eco conscious. This hybrid, with its 56 miles per gallon, is perfect for both us. In fact, four of my neighbors own this exact car.

2017 Toyota Prius Four

We drove to enemy territory (Steinbrenner Field, home of the crosstown rival Yankees) and sat in the sun. The Toyota folks thoughtfully provided sunscreen, snacks, water, and a victory.

Running path along the water
We also had baseballs and Sharpies, but kids are really the ones who approach the ball players. I had never seen major league baseball players be so accommodating; signing autographs, flipping balls to kids and smiling at everyone.

By the time we returned to the hotel, there was only a short window for a quick workout. I ran along the causeway and got to stretch at the small beach at the Westin. The hotel also has a gym, and loans you exercise clothes, for $5, if you forgot your own. You get to keep the socks.

The gym has a Peloton bike with live streamed or on demand spin classes. And there is a indoor pool

Salad at Aqua
We ate dinner at Aqua, at the hotel. The chef buys local produce, and grows his own, makes cheese and serves super fresh seafood.

The Westin emphasis on being fit carries over to the breakfast menu. I had a 'superfood' smoothie with blueberries. There are also healthy choices like steel cut oatmeal, egg white scramble and avocado with tofu.Toyota road trip to baseball spring training

Toyota Prius drive impressions

We each drove only about half an hour in the Prius, but it was remarkably comfortable. The 4th gen Prius was designed with a lower center of gravity, (think sports car) which makes it fun to drive. And if course it get gets great gas mileage.

Safety: Standard Toyota Safety Sense

Artistic and delicious dessert at Aqua
When we were driving back to the hotel, we needed to move over quickly to the right, but traffic was heavy. Although my partner was signaling, no one would let her over. I tried hand signals, to no avail. The problem? Every we looked, everyone else was texting, so not making eye contact.

This made me extremely happy that the car had Toyota Safety Sense. This suite of safety enhancements is standard in Toyota's line, and makes anyone in a Toyota safer.

The safety tech includes pre-collision system that automatically brakes if a crash is imminent. There is also pedestrian detection, keeping anyone walking by safe.
The lane departure alert requires lane markers to work

The automatic high beams give you more clarity at night. They drop down to regular headlights when the car detects an oncoming vehicle.

Heavenly bed and breakfast smoothie
The Prius also has lane departure alert with steering assist. We saw a large truck weaving ahead and were happy to have a car that keeps you in your lane.

I slept soundly on the aptly named Heavenly bed. And then LeAura and I hit the road in the teal C-HR.

Note: I was a guest of Toyota, which paid for my travel and accommodations (and snazzy Mets paraphernalia). Opinions expressed are my own.


  1. I like everything about this post, starting with the personalized Mets jersey. One of these days I'd love to do a spring training trip too!

  2. What a great hotel, to not only have spare workout clothes, but to send warm cookies and milk to the room! And what you say about the Prius is absolutely right. That's my car. And I get 56 MPG and rely every day on the lane assistance technology.

  3. I'm not a big sports fan, but I do love baseball games. And beer at baseball games.

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