Monday, April 17, 2017

Spring Training: The Cactus League in Arizona

Spring my favorite time a year. As the boys of summer have their opening day. It is good to be alive and watch the world renew itself for another year.  It's been a few weeks since that great trip out to Arizona to fulfill a dream.  Watching spring training baseball in that Arizona sun, seeing those green fields in the middle of a flowering desert was magical.

Phoenix is an odd place spread out throughout the entire Salt River Valley, nicknamed the Valley of the Sun.  It is a Desert that has water so there is now a city there.  Surrounded by treeless copper-colored mountains it all has a strange beauty to it.

Ever since man has been picking up rocks and hitting them with sticks we have been playing games with objects.   The complexed game of baseball, through centuries eventually developed from this.  Humanity loves games, we love competition. There is no finer field game than the game of American Baseball.  It is played in its purest form on the spring train fields of Arizona and Florida.

I have been wanting to take a trip to watch spring training ball for a long time.  It is a baseball fan's, Mecca.  The ultimate rite of passage for any real fan of the game.  I finally got the chance this spring, to see 3 games in 2 different parks.   Made so much better watching them with my brother in law Mike who is a die-hard Rockies fan.  Me being a Mariners fan it will be fun watching them battle it out in 2 of the games we'll be seeing.

Our first stop is the Peoria Sports Complex set in a sprawling Phoenix suburb.  It's the spring training home to Seattle Mariners and the San Diego Padres.  The first game was the Padres and the Rockies. The Rockies had a spectacular no-look throw double play.  This play alone was worth the price of admission.

The next day we had an evening game with a 630 PM start time so we decided to take a drive to the mountains during the day.   Our first stop was South Mountain Park, a mountain desert park just south of Phoenix.  This place provided stunning views of the city.  We then went on a long drive out to Apache Junction and through the Mountains to Tortilla Flats.  That desert beauty is awesome to behold.  I'd like to stay longer but's it's back to Peoria for a  Rockies and Mariners showdown.

The night game was cold and this is supposed to be Arizona.  The game was fun and ended in a 1-1 tie which left both of us wanting revenge for our team at tomorrow's game at Talking Sticks the Rockies home park.

So we get up early and head over to Scottsdale which is 40 minutes from Peoria on the east side of Phoenix.   The Salt River Park at Talking Stick is awesome, a much better feel than the suburban sprawl of Peoria.  For any Rockies Fan, this would be a great getaway stay at the Talking Stick Resort and Casino while watching a few baseball games.

This park is in
a pristine desert setting and the game did not disappoint either.  This was the last game before opening day.  Although it ended in a 5-5 tie it provided a lot of action and set the stage for interleague play during the regular season. What a great time and go Mariners.