ST. PETERSBURG -- For Nick Franklin and Brad Miller, it didn't take long to remember that they were back home when they arrived in Florida for the first time as Major League players.
One step out the door and the midsummer humidity of Central Florida left no doubt in the minds of the two Mariners rookie infielders, who grew up about 90 minutes away in the Orlando area.
"It's nice," said Franklin, who has hit .253 in 55 games as the starting second baseman since being called up by the Mariners in late May. "It's kind of cool to be back here in Florida. The first thing I noticed when we got off the plane was the instant humidity. Coming from Seattle, it's a little spoiling. But it's nice to be back here, and I'm excited to see my family."
Miller, batting .268 in 34 games at shortstop after being brought up in late June, was also looking forward to playing as a pro for the first time in his home state. And, yes, while Tropicana Field is indoors, he was also feeling at home as soon as the Mariners plane touched down in Tampa on Monday night.
"Growing up, we were used to it, but once you go away and come back, it's a noticeable difference," he said. "Walking around, you just start sweating. It's good though. It reminds us of home. We know we're back, and it's pretty cool."
Neither Franklin nor Miller has ever played at The Trop, but both said they attended 10-15 games at the park while growing up.
"It'll definitely be exciting playing here in Florida, period," said Franklin. "Playing on any Major League Baseball field is awesome, but to be back in your hometown and playing in front of your family is great."
The two youngsters are making their first trip to Florida as professionals, but they aren't the only Mariners with connections to the Sunshine State. Reliever Danny Farquhar is from Pembroke Pines, Fla., Michael Morse is from Fort Lauderdale, Raul Ibanez grew up in Miami, Kendrys Morales lives near Miami and acting manager Robby Thompson hails from West Palm Beach.