Baseball Memories · Spring Training

Spring Training 2009

We just got back from a great weekend in Arizona– complete with 3 Dodgers games and some great, warm weather.

photo: family at surprise stadium

Obviously, a highlight was seeing the Dodgers new complex at Camelback Ranch, but it was also fun to see them play at Surprise Stadium against the Royals  (where we are pictured above) and Goodyear Ballpark against the Indians (also brand-new). We didn’t get to see Manny play but we got to see lots of other players up close and personal.

In the near future, I’ll be posting reviews of the venues we visited, noting especially how they rate as far as family-friendliness, but in the meantime you can check out our photo album and get a little taste of our baseball weekend in the desert.

View our photo album!

Oh, and I found a great license plate that would work for me:

photo: mlb girl

the ocean & baseball– perfect!

Family Fun · Spring Training

10 Reasons To Take Your Family To Spring Training

This will be our third year in a row heading out to Spring Training… we went to Arizona two years ago, and last year we spent a week in Florida. We can’t wait to see a few Cactus Leauge games this weekend (and be sure to check back next week for a recap!). In the meantime, here are few reasons why we love Spring Training and think it makes for the perfect family vacation.

Chiquita at Dodgertown, Vero Beach

1.  Weather~ Whether you go to Florida or Arizona, you’re bound to get some warm days, which will put you even more in mood for baseball, in my opinion. With so much of the country still experiencing winter in March, it can be a much-needed reprieve to hit up some baseball games near the beach or in the desert.

2.  Intimacy~ When else are you going to be able to get so close to the field and to your favorite players? We’ve had great experiences with players being open to signing autographs and even seen them posing for pictures on occasion.

3.  Practice~ Sure, getting to the game early to watch batting practice is cool, but it pales in comparison to leaning against a chain-link fence, just yards away from a handful of Major-Leaguers shagging fly balls, or right behind the backstop while your favorite hitter takes a few swings.

4.  Cheap (& Good) Seats~ Even at the newest of Spring Training facilities, you can still get great, close-to-the-action seats for reasonable prices (which is more than I can say for every third spring’s other baseball event).

5.  Atmosphere~ There’s a certain electricity to Spring Training- I’m not sure if it’s due to everyone finally thawing out from a cold winter, the anticipation of Opening Day or possibly just that loud beer-guy with the big hat who sings about his Bud Lights that he’s selling.

6.  Lawn Seating~ If you’ve got little ones, you know how hard it is to get them to sit in a stadium seat or a lap. Enter the berm seating area, which most Spring Training fields offer. We’ll be sitting exclusively in the grass in Arizona this year, and we’ll be sure to let you know how Chiquita fares.

7.  Scouting Rites~ Be the among the first to scout out your team’s new roster, and because the big guys don’t always play very many innings, you’ll also get a chance to see a lot of the up-and-comers.

8.  Proximity & Variety~ With minimal driving, you can easily see say, five different games in five different ballparks in five days or less in either Florida or Arizona. At Spring Training You can get a taste of a variety of MLB teams and fans without leaving your one vacation destination.

9.  Location, Location, Location~ You can get to Spring training in a reasonable amount of time from almost anywhere in the country (either by car or plane) thanks to the two leagues being so spread out. Some of us are lucky enough to be able to drive it one day (ie, Southern California to Arizona), but last year, getting out of Colorado in March was well-worth a flight to Florida.

10.  Sheer Awesomeness~ I think every baseball fan should make it to Spring Training at least once. You feel almost like an insider, taking part in the behind-the-scenes aspect of Major League Baseball. And if you have a family of young baseball fans, this is a perfect family vacation that can easily be catered to a weekend trip for a couple of games or a week-long escape complete with multiple games, theme parks, golf and/or other excursions.

Baseball Memories · Spring Training

Spring Training Travels: 2007

Well, it looks like our March “Would You Rather” decision got made for us by the cold virus. We were hoping to make it to the WBC tonight, but it looks like David is a little too far under the weather. So, instead, I decided we’ll just psych ourselves up on our upcoming Spring Training trip which is this weekend, and in the meantime, reminisce about our past travels to see both the Cactus League and the Grapefruit League.

Two years ago, when I was very pregnant with Chiquita, we headed out to Arizona for a baseball version of the “babymoon.” We went to two games and only stayed one night but had a great time (besides the blown tire on the drive out there).

The Angels have a beautiful training center at the Tempe Diablo Stadium and we drove straight there to catch a game, from our home which was then in Orange County, CA. (We’re technically Dodgers fans but I like to consider the Angels as our American League team). We had awesome seats (for a very reasonable price) and enjoyed a good game against the Padres.

angels' tempe diablo stadium

We stayed in Downtown Phoenix, and walked around the Diamondbacks’ ballpark which we’ve yet to visit (hopefully this year!), and then the next day saw the Royals take on the Cubs at their field which they share with the Rangers in Surprise, AZ. The field is really nice but our “surprise” was the amount of traffic we had to go through to get into it. Again, the seats were good and so was the baseball.

Royals Spring Training

You can view our photo album here and stay tuned for some 2008 Spring Training nostalgia tomorrow.