About the time this thread starter is posted, I’ll be on my way to Phoenix to catch a couple of days of Spring Training. We’ll see a split-squad game in Scottsdale on Friday and a game against the A’s in Phoenix on Saturday. “Pumped” does not begin to describe how I’m feeling right now.
This will be the 10th straight year than my son and I have attended Spring Training together. We went the first time for his high school graduation present and we attended seven seasons in Sarasota. This will be our third trip to Arizona. As I’ve chronicled here before, we miss Florida and didn’t enjoy our first trip to AZ—but it was much better last year. Now that we’re learning places to go, stay, and eat, it’s becoming more like Sarasota to us. The forecast for Friday and Saturday is sunny with a high of 77 both days and zero chance of rain. Hard to beat that.
For those of you who haven’t been to Spring Training, I can’t recommend it enough. I’ll start the conversation by noting a few of the things I love about Spring Training, then I’ll ask others who have attended to chime in. In no particular order, here are some things that make Spring Training special:
--The quiet at the ballparks. There are no big scoreboards, music only plays between innings (if that), and there are only a few thousand people in attendance—so it’s amazingly (and surprisingly) quiet during the game. If you called out to a player, the pitcher, or an ump while the game is on, they would hear you. Loudly and clearly. But of course, you wouldn’t do that—it would break the charm. I often find myself talking in a low voice—sometimes a near whisper—with my son during the game. It’s great.
--The friendly fans. Most of the people who are there are serious baseball fans. It’s easy to strike up a conversation if you want to, particularly if you’re in another team’s park. Their fans like to learn about the Reds, and we like to hear about other teams, too. A typical question is, “What do you know about this kid at the plate—is he any good?”
--Access to the players. Everyone talks about this, and it’s true. We particularly like to go the practice fields and chat with the players as they’re coming and going from various fields. We don’t ask for autographs, and I think they appreciate that (although they’re willing to sign). They’ll also toss you a spare baseball on occasion—well, the major leaguers will. Minor leaguers have been told not to.
--Warmth and sunshine when it’s cold back home. Okay, this doesn’t always work out—but when it does, it’s great. Nothing better than sitting in shorts in the sunshine, knowing it’s 30 degrees back home. Yes, I now bring sunscreen (learned the hard way, of course).
Okay, that should get things started. Other ST veterans, please add your two cents!