Sunday, March 24, 2013

Spring Training 2013

Every year we say we’re going to Phoenix for spring training, but then something inevitably comes along that prevents us from going. This year we went anyway. It was our first five-day, non-work-related vacation since Orlando in December 2010.

We stayed at the Marriott TownePlace Suites in Tempe, across the street from Arizona Mills, the area’s largest indoor outlet mall, and within easy walking distance of the Waffle House, our favorite out-of-state greasy spoon diner. Baseball fans from throughout the west and mid-west descend on Phoenix every March, so it’s no wonder every room in our hotel was booked. With 15 teams playing in the Cactus League, fans can go to a game at one of ten different stadiums every day, if they stay long enough. We attended three games in three days at three stadiums: Diablo, the spring training home of the Angels, our favorite team; Surprise, located 40 grueling miles (during rush hour traffic) from Tempe; and Goodyear, home of the Ohio teams (Cincinnati and Cleveland).

Of the three, my favorite ballpark was Goodyear, even though it took us an hour to get there from Tempe. We drove through undeveloped desert land and even an Indian reservation in hopes of avoiding Friday night traffic that, quite frankly, rivals the worst of L.A. The harrowing drive was worth it, though, when we finally arrived at the stadium and were greeted by a brassy version of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” played by a live band. The park was lovely and we had fabulous 7th-row seats. Plus the town of Goodyear is home to a small boneyard of retired aircraft, which we could see from the stadium parking lot—something to investigate further next year!

The Stadiums


The entrance to Goodyear Ballpark

The band

Abstract baseball structure outside the stadium

First-base line, looking toward home

Yes, we were that close—the best thing about
spring training baseball!

For Tim, it ain't baseball without a dog

Airplane boneyard in the distance

Let's go, Angels!

Happy fans

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