I lived in Florida for eight years and never went to any spring training games. I didn’t really get into baseball until I was in high school, and we moved when I was thirteen, but still– I should have at least seen something of the Grapefruit League while I was down there. It’s kind of embarrassing. I’ve seen my dad play amateur ball (in the Roy Hobbs League) at City of Palms Park, where the Red Sox spring train, but never the Sox themselves. Admittedly, it’s a hell of a lot cooler to see your dad play than anybody else, but regardless, I totally dropped the ball on Florida baseball.
So now I’m trying to make up for that. My grandparents live in Scottsdale, AZ, and (again with the happy coinciding of dates) spring break nicely lines up with spring training, Cactus League style. Arizona baseball doesn’t have the history that Florida does (nor do the Red Sox play there, DAMN IT), but it does have the excellent advantage of all the ballparks being really close to each other and not sprawled out all over the state. Had I had the time and money, I would have seen more than two games, but two is still a huge breath of fresh air after the long baseball-less winter. The whole experience was made even better by my best friend Tegan being in Arizona at the same time (having just finished a stint with AmeriCorps)…so we got to go be baseball junkies together. Awesome!
I managed to recharge my camera battery at Tempe Camera (on the advice of Tegan’s boyfriend, who could hold up to any Mizzou photo-j in terms of camera gear know-how), so I was good to go and could telephoto to my heart’s content. One regret: not enough photos of Grady Sizemore.
[Game One: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Chicago White Sox at Camelback Ranch, Glendale, AZ. Russell Martin catching while Jim Thome bats. The White Sox won 6-1.]
[Dodgers vs. White Sox. Orlando Hudson at bat, AJ Pierzynski catching, Manny Ramirez on deck. YAY MANNY! I still love you; I just hate Scott Boras.]
[Dodgers vs. White Sox. Manny Ramirez breaking his bat before grounding into a double play with the bases loaded. Whoops.]
[Dodgers vs. White Sox. Paul Konerko covering first base.]
[Game Two. Cleveland Indians vs. Chicago Cubs at Hohokam Stadium, Mesa, AZ. This was a much better, more competitive game than the other, but the Indians were victorious, 7-5.]
[Indians vs. Cubs. Mark DeRosa (who just moved from the latter to the former) runs the bases in front of a sellout crowd after his second home run of the game. DeRosa was 3 for 4 with two homers and a double.]
[Indians vs. Cubs. Derrek Lee dwarfs Indians 1B Tony Graffanino. Because he’s REALLY TALL.]
[Tegan’s boyfriend Dan at the Indians/Cubbies game. Incidentally, he’s wearing the jersey (which he stole from Tegan) of the Chiba Lotte Marines, the Japanese team Bobby Valentine manages.]