Five days. Five games. Five parks.That is what my vacation in
sunny Arizona was like last week.
Five days. Five games. Five parks.That is what my vacation in sunny Arizona was like last week.
Yes even writers get to take a break occasionally. After more than a year and a half with The Times, I figured I earned it.
I could have gone any where in the world (or at least the United States), but I chose to go somewhere and do something I do every day at work – watching sports. Some vacation, huh?
The 10-hour drive down to spring training was well worth the effort into the beautiful desert even though I came back slightly reddened after the days in the sun.
I even got to know the Arizona police pretty well as I was slapped with warnings twice. One word of advice: if you are going down I10, remember the speed limit is 55 inside the Phoenix area.
When the officer found out I was from California, he just shook his head, knowing there was no hope for me. He must have known I had the California driver syndrome.
By the time the week of travelling throughout the state was over, I got to know the highways better than the locals. I saw the San Francisco Giants three times and the Oakland A’s twice.
Maybe one of the top stadiums I visited was the Giants stadium in Scottsdale. It is one of the many stadiums in the area which has a grass area for fans to sit on. Most of the stadiums are all within an hour of each other except for the stadiums of the Diamondbacks and the White Sox down in Tucson.
The Major League Baseball season opens in less than two weeks so there is still time to head on down and catch some rays and some baseball.
The A’s and the Giants have opposite records this spring. As of Monday, the A’s have an 8-5 record – which is the one of the best in MLB, while the Giants have a 4-8 record – one of the worst in baseball.
But spring training doesn’t necessarily reflect how a team will do because it is just that – training. Younger players get the chance to compete with the position players to prove that they belong. Most of the players have a different mindset in the spring and will usually stop to sign autographs for fans.
One of the most friendliest of players is the Kansas City Royals Mike Sweeney. He signed for about half an hour along the sideline of the Royals’ stadium in Surprise Sunday after he left the game. The game was still going on and he signed away.
There weren’t too many of the 5,000 people in attendance who didn’t leave without his autograph.
The Royals and the Brewers, who don’t draw large crowds because they lack some of the more popular players, are two teams in which many of the players will sign autographs before and after the game.
While Giant shortstop Rich Aurilia was signing autographs, one fan noted that he had the chance for an MVP this year. Aurilia looked over his shoulder and questioned if Barry Bonds was around.
Bonds and Feliz Rodriquez are two of the toughest players to get autographs from.
The World Series champion Angels and the Arizona Diamondbacks are two clubs that draw a lot of fans.
It is a great experience. If you are not into baseball, but just like the sounds and smells of a ball park, you can take along a book to read or just catch a cat nap on the grass – but that is something few die-hard baseball fans were willing to do.
Now I have to get back to work. Anyone hear how the Live Oak baseball team did?