February 20-23, 2014
Our annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Spring Training was a bit different this year. First, the Losher boys decided to join us. We had a great time and Trey had someone to play with while I watched baseball. Secondly, we decided to go before the Spring Training games actually started. This proved to be a really good decision too. The practices weren’t as crowded and we still got to watch as much baseball as we could handle. We flew out on Thursday after work on Southwest. I paid for my ticket using a voucher that I had received from a previous bump. Trey used his companion pass, so the flights cost $20 roundtrip for both of us. At Love Field, we stopped at our new favorite place, Moe’s, for some nachos. The first night in Phoenix, we stayed at a Hyatt Place for a cheap stay. I still needed a few stays to maintain Diamond status, so I was trying to route all my stays with Hyatt. We arrived late and crashed pretty hard. The next morning, we had free breakfast and then started off towards Surprise to see the Rangers.
We went from field to field, watching the different drills. The boys had a great time mingling with the players and getting autographs. When they got bored, they would play catch. That afternoon, we checked into the Hyatt Regency in Scottsdale. I used a suite upgrade so we had a really big suite. We had a large patio with a great view of the pool and golf course. The resort looked out of date, but was well maintained. We had a great time in the pool. It had a sand beach, a waterslide, hot tub and a couple of basketball goals. We had a mean game of water basketball, which the Newhouses won.
The resort had a lounge for Diamond members with breakfast, snacks and a great late night dessert spread.
The next day, we decided to go to Glendale to see the Dodgers and White Sox. This complex is really nice, but there are many more restrictions on where you can go. The Dodger side was pretty crowded. The team was taking batting practice, so we went to the right field side to watch. We caught lots of balls and got an up close view of Yasiel Puig.
We then went over to the White Sox side and Trey got some autographs, including Jose Abreau. pics
When practice was over, we headed back towards the hotel. Trey is a Giants fan, so we stopped at their complex. They have a nice stadium in downtown Scottsdale, but their is no access to the practice fields. On the way to Scottsdale, we passed the Oakland A’s complex. We walked into the practice fields and we were the only fans there. It felt like we weren’t supposed to be there, but there was no security around. We played some catch and watched all the A’s minor leaguers practice.
Back at the hotel, we put a movie on for the boys and Greg and I went to the spa. It was the nicest spa I have ever been to with hot tubs, steam rooms, an outdoor relaxation room with fireplaces and a large mineral pool surrounded by palm trees.
Our last day, we had planned on hanging at the Rangers facility all day. On the way, though, we decided to stop at the Peoria stadium to the where the Mariners and Padres are based. Both weren’t crowded at all. We got to see Felix Hernandez and Robinson Cano up close. The boys asked King Felix for an autograph, but he was on the way to a drill and not signing at the moment. The boys had a nice game of catch and at one point were throwing the ball over the heads of the players as they were changing fields. The Padres field was even less crowded. We watched a simulated game for a little while before we decided to move on.
The Rangers share a complex with the Royals, so we stopped there to check it out. They were ending batting practice, so we hung around outside the gate and caught some more balls. At one point, I was in a foot race with an old man for a ball. We almost had a massive collision and the old man got the ball. He then gave the ball to Maddox. Greg got a good laugh about that.
Back at the Rangers facility, the players were playing a situational hitting game and having a great time. The boys got more autographs. The Rangers hitting coach gave trey a cracked Leonis Martin bat. The previous day, a kid was walking around with a broken bat. He said he found it in the trash. So, we went looking in the trash cans and found 1 full bat and 1 half of a broken bat. Yes, we did some dumpster diving.
Our flight was later that night and we still had some time to kill. We went to a batting cage near by and hit some balls. On the way to the airport, we stopped at a baseball field to get one more game of catch in. This was another great trip to Spring Training and alot of fun with friends.