I'm sure most are familiar with the famous movie quote form Field of Dreams,
"If you build it, [they] will come!" Such a true statement about Baseball Spring Training in Arizona!
Thousands came and talk about traffic! If you've not been there you would be shocked at the traffic-compares to LA freeways during rush hour! Seems that they forgot about widening the roads when they built all the baseball parks, and there are a lot of baseball parks in Arizona. All the cities run together, and while there's a ton of new growth in these cities, new homes, new shopping centers, etc. Most had only two lanes going each way, definitely not enough to accommodate the number of people who come to Spring Training. We soon discovered that eaving early for each game was a must!
Nicole, David and Gigi traveled with us, in our "home mome" on Thursday, March 19th, to Surprise, Arizona, about 30 minutes from Phoenix. We stayed in a mobile home, gated community (Sunflower Resort, although some of the residents didn't have sunny personalities!) that also had RV sites. David's parents, Dan and Jeri joined us with their trailer. Thursday night they went to the Phoenix Airport to pick up David's sister, Stacey and her son Peter (6), who flew in from Indiana.
Nick and I were the only Padres' Fans in our group--the Bennett clan is all for the LA Dodgers! So, we endured two Dodger games, being the good sports that we are! and only one Padres' game over the weekend. As much as I wanted to get Gigi a cute little pin Padres' outfit, I am told David would never allow her to wear it! She did look cute in her Dodgers garb, though!
While at Spring Training we went to 3 ballparks: Friday night we went to the Surprise Recreation Center, home of the Kansas City Royals and. (the LA Dodgers lost to the Kansas City Royals, 9-3); Saturday afternoon we went to the all new Goodyear Ballpark, home of the Cleveland Indians and the Cincinnati Reds (the Dodgers beat the Indians ); Sunday afternoon the Bennetts all went to the new Dodgers park in Glendale AZ, and Nick and I went to the Peoria Sports Complex home of the San Diego Padres and the Seattle Mariners (unfortunately, the Padres lost to the Diamondbacks 12-7). But I'm told Spring Training isn't about winning baseball games. It's about seeing new possible players for each team before the season actually starts in April.
Visiting the different ballparks (top pic: Surprise Field; mid pic: Goodyear Ballpark; bottom pic: Peoria field) was more fun than I had anticipated. Each had a look all it's own. There were a lot more fans at every game than I thought , as well; the first two games we went to had sold out crowds numbering 10,000+ fans, and 8,838 fans at the Padres' game! At all three parks we visited they not only played "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" for the seventh inning stretch, but they followed that song with "YMCA!" Seemed funny to us, but everyone got into it with arm movements and all.
We enjoyed great company, great fun, great food, nice weather, although rather HOT on Saturday-some of us had to seek shade during the game, and beautiful sunsets! We had such a good time we plan to go back to Spring Training next year, for a week! That way we can do some other things, like golf or shopping and relax between games to avoid some of the traffic. We found a new place to stay that looks much nicer and the people are friendlier. It even has a golf course right in the park!
To see more pictures from our trip to Spring Training, click on this link to my flickr pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/72308330@N00/sets/72157615899629988/