I just returned from Spring Training yesterday and am still exhilarated from the experience. I wasn’t planning on going this year because I was still reeling from their trade to the Cincinnati Reds: gone are Matt Kemp, Alex Wood, Yasiel Puig and Kyle Farmer. I decided to go because I enjoy the company of my friends. I was definitely glad I did decide to go.
I met my favorite humans there: Donna, Greg and Norma. We spent most of the time together except sleep time.
I stayed at Comfort Suites as I usually do every year. I think it’s the best hotel as far as price and amenities. There is free breakfast which all the other hotels have. There is also a free shuttle to within 7 miles radius. That’s more than the other hotels offer. I have gotten rides to and from Camelback Stadium, to and from Westgate, to Residence Inn Marriott where my friends were staying. If I were to add up taxi fees and/or rental car, it would add up to an exhorbitant price. I used the shuttle at least 10 times during my 4 day stay.
The rooms are comfortable and clean. The staff is friendly and very accommodating.
My flight arrived about 1 hour before game time. I always take Super Shuttle from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. They are dependable and are always on time. I arrived back at the hotel in time to see most of the game. I had bought my ticket on StubHub for about $30 and had an amazing seat by the Dodger dugout.
Pretty close isn’t it.
It was a sold out game and it was pretty cold, around 52 degrees. Very unusual for Arizona in March. Everyone was bundled up in blankets and hoodies.
I was eager to see Russell Martin who was one of my first Dodger crushes way back about 12-13 years ago.
Most of the starting lineup started to leave early so since it was so cold we also decided to leave.
We went to WestGate but everything was already closing down. We wanted to try a place called Whiskey Rose but the music was blaring and everyone in there was just drinking. Johnny Rockets was closed. We ended up just stopping at Denny’s which is within walking distance of my hotel.
I had chicken fried steak, fries and creamed corn. Everything was amazingly good.
I was ready to rest and be ready for a big Thursday.
The next morning I got up about 3:30am and couldn’t go back to sleep. Breakfast is served at 6:30am. I love the breakfast at the hotel.
The breakfast staff is always nice. I’m waiting in front of the hotel for the shuttle.
I got to the practice field a little before 8:30am and there already was a crowd there. It’s been hit or miss as far as when or if the guys are going to take practice.
As it was only pitchers were out on the practice field. They ran out to the field and ran back in without even looking at any of the hundreds of fans lined up.
When I say run, I mean they ran past everyone.
Same thing in the opposite direction too.
I decided to watch the catchers who were close to the clubhouse.
And there was Russell far far away. It was my first glimpse of Russell in 11 years. He pretty much looked the same.
And my friends arrived. We packed everything up and left. They decided to take a nap so they dropped me off. We left a little early for Peoria so we could stop at one of our favorite places: Cracker Barrel.
We all decided to get one of the lunch specials: turkey with dressing. I got the fried okra as a side and was a little disappointed that it was not crunchy. Oh well.
Since it was National PI day, we split the buttermilk pie with strawberries. It was delicious.
The game was in Peoria against the Padres.
Dino Ebel is the new 3rd base coach replacing my favorite Chris Woodward. I miss him.
I saw Austin Barnes in the dugout. I called him and surprisingly he turned around and saw me. The players have been very focused and have not looked at the fans. No one was signing autographs or stopping at all. Austin waved at me and gave me a big smile. I turned around and showed him that I was wearing an Austin Barnes tee shirt. He gave me an even bigger smile and a thumbs up. It is tradition that I always wear one of his shirts or jerseys when he starts as catcher. That made my day.
I can’t go long without taking a selfie even if I’m not sure who it is.
The game was ready to start so I hurried back to my seat.
Norma got a great shot of Cody swinging the bat and Austin.
It was pretty awesome that Austin hit a 2 run homer in. They say that he has improved his offense. Apparently last season he was fighting an injury which messed up his swing. With a battery of Martin/Barnes behind the plate, we should be fine.
As usual Tommy Lasorda was nice enough to take pictures with us. Love you forever Tommy.
On his way out he was greeted by someone wearing a huge championship ring. Does anyone know who this is?
Peoria is one of our favorite stadiums. It’s well run, plenty of security and the food is pretty good.
I’ll finish up my experiences during Spring Training in another blog which I will write at the end of the week. There is less than 2 weeks until Opening Day. Who’s going???
Thanks everyone for supporting my blog. I appreciate it. I tried Medium for a blog entry but I hate change. WordPress is working with me giving me a better price than $300 to accommodate my blog. Medium is free. I actually like WordPress except it seems to crash a lot. You can see that blog entry on medium. I’ll probably stay with WordPress just because.
I’ll be writing my blog more frequently since it is BASEBALL SEASON finally.