Last week, I took a trip to the home of the Cactus League, Phoenix, Arizona. I have been a baseball fan most of my life. When some friends suggested that we should take a trip to Phoenix this year for Spring Training, I agreed because it gave me the opportunity to travel somewhere I have not been before. Going for the baseball games seemed secondary since Spring Training games do not count toward the regular season. My experience was a pleasant surprise.
I had not realized before this trip that there are 10 baseball stadiums around the greater Phoenix area, all of which are an easy drive from anywhere in Phoenix. Playing in the 10 stadiums are 15 major league teams, including the 2 teams I follow; the Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Angels. If you’re looking for pure baseball enjoyment, Phoenix is a good place to visit during the month of March.
My experience reminded me a little of my days when I played golf. Golf was something I was never particularly good at. When I kept score, I usually experienced disappointment at the end of the game. The games where I did not keep score were the most enjoyable. Even though scores are kept and statistics are tracked during Spring Training, the results don’t count when it comes to making it to the post-season. You do get to see some great plays. The general atmosphere is more relaxed. The number of fans at any particular game is usually 8,000 to 10,000 instead of 30,000 to 50,000 for a regular ball park. At some stadiums, like Tempe Diablo Stadium, you can sit close enough to carry on a conversation with either the 1st or 3rd base coaches, depending on where you sit.
It’s common to see fans wearing team gear from many teams, even ones that are not playing at a particular stadium. You can follow around one team or you can get a variety and see several teams play. During my visit, I went to 3 games and saw the Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Angels, Milwaukee Brewers, Colorado Rockies and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Not bad for just 3 days.
This trip made me a Spring Training convert. You can be sure that next March, I will be traveling to Phoenix again to get an early baseball fix. It was a great vacation!