We were lucky that our recent Arizona trip coincided with Spring Training Baseball for our team, the Texas Rangers! While catching a game meant that we had to skip a couple of planned stops, we bought general admission lawn tickets and altered our schedule.
For most of my life, baseball has been my favorite sport (I had a relatively brief love affair with hockey after the Dallas Stars came to town). For my husband James, baseball has always been his first love. Luckily, we are both from Texas and didn’t have to include one of us changing our cheering allegiance in our pre-nup. When the kids came, there was no question – they were born Texas Ranger fans.
Note : I apologize for the low quality phone pics! They wouldn’t allow cameras in the stadium, and my phone isn’t the smartest one on the block.
We started the day of the game at 7 degrees at the Grand Canyon, so the sunny and warm stadium felt pretty awesome even before the first pitch was thrown. Then when the game started, it definitely felt like Spring baseball! We sat on the grass next to the bullpen, right behind the right fielder. For the first four innings of play, that meant we were sitting within spitting distance of starter Nellie Cruz.
The only thing I disliked at the game were roving bands of kids in their early teens (or younger) that were at the game. They would hassle the players to try to get baseballs and signatures. Comically during one of the worst pitched innings of the game, one of the kids was constantly yelling “Come on Cruz! Let’s go Cruz!” hoping that buttering up the player would earn him a tossed ball. But what was Nellie going to do? It’s not like you can do anything in right field when every at bat is ending in a walk. Jeez! Alexi Ogando left the game with a 20.25 ERA for goodness sakes!
I definitely think we’re going to try to go back to watch Spring Training in Phoenix next year, and the years following. I think it’s a great tradition for us to make as a family. It had a totally different, more relaxed feel than watching a regular game at The Ballpark and I liked the energy of the young players trying out for a spot on the team. It was a great time, and I think the kids will enjoy this as a tradition as the years pass.