Spring Road Trip – Spring Training

March 6-8, 2015

Here is a special shout out to Joan, Tim, Butch, Jeff, Mark and all my other Dodger fans and Vin Scully fans.

After visiting my awesome uncle and aunt we headed down to Phoenix to check out some spring training games. Spring training is so fun; in many ways its better than the regular season. The venues are cozy and you can closer to the players and the action. You also get to see the rookies trying so hard to make the team. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that you get to visit sunny Arizona when it’s rainy and cold back home.

Our first game was Friday afternoon March 6 at the Milwaukie Brewers’ facility in Maryville – west Phoenix. This was a split-squad meaning only half the players were here; the rest were back at Camelback Ranch playing another game.

When we entered the Dodgers were lined up on the left field line warming up. I hustled down to the edge of the box seats and watched them work out. Most of these are rookies but you can see Yasiel Puig (number 66) just to the right of the center of the photo. That man is put together. Lots of muscles in a tight frame. I knew he was a specimen but didn’t fully appreciate it until I got to see him close up.

Dodgers warming up before facing Milwaukie in Maryville Arizona.

Dodgers warming up before facing Milwaukie in Maryville Arizona.

On Saturday morning we headed out to meet our niece (Carla’s youngest sister’s youngest daughter) and her fiancé for breakfast. They moved down about a year ago where he works as a tax attorney and she is an actuarial. I don’t know what that is but I know she is the only person I’ve ever met who loves statistics. This was the first time we’ve seen them since they got engaged a couple of months ago. They are so happy!

Saturday March 7 we travelled farther west in Phoenix to Goodyear to see the Dodgers play the Cleveland Indians. Beaverton home town boy Darwin Barney was in the starting line up and I got a quick shot of him in the on deck circle. I don’t know him but his lovely sister was in the Aloha High School band with Andrew. Darwin’s dad is my buddy Herb’s dentist. Small world.

Beaverton home town boy Darwin Barney in Goodyear, Arizona where the Dodgers faced the Cleveland Indians

Beaverton home town boy Darwin Barney in Goodyear, Arizona where the Dodgers faced the Cleveland Indians

The Cleveland site was my least favorite of the three; we had to walk through about 5 acres of dirt to get from the parking lot to the stadium; but once were inside it was very nice. The Cleveland fans weren’t complaining about the hike; while the temp was in the low 80’s at the game it was in the mid 20’s back in the midwest.

Here is one of the many awesome sites of Spring Training: the high number rookies with the best seats in the house watching how it’s done.

High number rookies checking out the veterans  in Goodyear, Arizona where the Dodgers faced the Cleveland Indians

High number rookies checking out the veterans in Goodyear, Arizona where the Dodgers faced the Cleveland Indians

Now I’m not saying there were some long shots in the dugout but notice some of them don’t have names on their jerseys – and some have numbers higher than the batboy.

We saved the best for last: on Sunday March 8 we headed over to Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona – Spring home of my Los Angeles Dodgers and the Chicago White Sox. You know you are in Dodger town as you enter the grounds.

Visiting the best Spring Training venue on the planet: Camelback Ranch where the Los Angeles Dodgers train

Visiting the best Spring Training venue on the planet: Camelback Ranch where the Los Angeles Dodgers train

Visiting the best Spring Training venue on the planet: Camelback Ranch where the Los Angeles Dodgers train

Visiting the best Spring Training venue on the planet: Camelback Ranch where the Los Angeles Dodgers train

As we wandered down a sidewalk with a little creek running by it we passed areas commemorating the Dodgers whose numbers have been retired and all the Dodgers who were all stars.

My shirt was a hit; a few people pointed at it as I walked by and a couple of guys asked me where I got it. It is the only thing I’ve ever purchased from a Facebook ad. “Scully” is Vin Scully, the legendary Dodger announcer Vin Scully. If you follow baseball at all you’ve likely heard his masterful call of Kirk Gibson’s walk off home run in the 1988 world series. Kirk Gibson was hurt in one leg and could hardly walk on the other. But he came up to pinch hit in the 9th inning.  After calling the homer (“High fly ball into deep right field —she is gone!”) Vin goes quiet for a full 68 seconds to let us hear the reaction in the stands and then says “In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened.”  You can hear one version here.

He is in is 80’s now but I remember listening to him when I was a kid of 10. One of my fondest childhood memories are related to Vinnie. One night I was listening to his calling of a Dodger pitcher Sandy Koufax’ perfect game against the Chicago Cubs. I was huddled under my covers listening to the game. “I would think that the mound at Dodger stadium right now is the loneliest place in the world.” and “Swung on and missed! A perfect game.” I swear I get teary just thinking of it. You can here Vinnie’s call of the 9th inning here. If you are a Dodger fan, do yourself a favor and listen to this 10 minute gem. He still calls the home games and some road games; it will be a sad day when he fully retires.

Here is a view of the ballpark as you enter from above right field. We had great seats 7 rows behind home plate.

Overlooking the main ballpark at the best Spring Training venue on the planet: Camelback Ranch where the Los Angeles Dodgers train

Overlooking the main ballpark at the best Spring Training venue on the planet: Camelback Ranch where the Los Angeles Dodgers train

I love my Dodgers and not just a little bit.

About howardwthompson

I'm a person who likes to travel, read, cook, and eat
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