It’s the most magical time of the year. Baseball is back, with the regular season fast approaching (technically, I guess, its already started. Boo for games starting in earnest before Spring Training is complete) Last week, I had the opportunity to make the short (relatively speaking compared to the San Diegans around here) trip to the Valley of the Sun to watch a few spring training games. I’ve decided to chronicle my adventures, and if you get a measure of enjoyment out of it, good on ya mate! If not, that’s okay. I just feel like practicing my blogging skills, and since I don’t actually have a blog of my own(for If I did, This would all have been a figment of my imagination since Dex and Jbox were the first ones here when they came Thursday), I hope you’ll indulge me this fan post opportunity. A Fan Diary if you will.
I had been planning this trip since mid February. I had a few setbacks along the way, including not getting paid for work, friends I was supposed to join canceling, and last minute interviews popping up. But after all these were dealth with, It was time to Go!
I was 35 miles down the interstate, just east of Telegraph Pass, cruising along when disaster struck. No, it wasn’t lights in my window. It wasn’t a 40 car pileup with blood and guts strewn throughout the freeway. Nope it was simply the car losing all functionality and dropping from 75 mph (which means miles per hour) to nothing rather quickly. I pulled over to the side of the road. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to laugh, to cry, to scream or get out of my car stick my thumb out and start walking. I opted for pulling out my phone, calling my dad to come tow me and making my way back to Yuma. So much for Spring Training 2012—or so I thought. My brother graciously allowed me to use his truck, so after changing the oil in it, and getting gas again, it was on the open road. Again.
I was 35 miles down the interstate, just east of Telegraph Pass, cruising when…..I realized the Padres game would be getting underway, so I pulled up MLB AtBat and Gameday radio, and listened to the sweet sounds of Jerry Coleman and Ted Leitner. I don’t know what you did today Jer, but I had a job interview, a car breakdown, and questioned whether or not I was even supposed to go to Phoenix. The Padres won that game, and I could have shown up around the 4th inning, which would be normal for us Padres fans, (am I right, Cole Hamels?) but decided after such a long day, it was time to get to my friends place in Scottsdale and settle in to get ready for several days of baseball.
Wednesday Morning, March 21, I awoke and made my way to Glendale. For the entirety of the Tuesday, I kept telling myself that the Doyers stadium was in Goodyear. So I gave myself much more time than I needed to get there from across the Valley. Hey, at least I knew what time zone I was in. I arrived at Camelback Ranch, home of the White Sox and that other team, and was pleasantly surprised to find free parking. That of course was made up in the fact that the cheapest ticket was $6 more expensive than the cheapest ticket in Peoria. Upon exiting my vehicle, I observed the Baseball Tonight Bus exiting the stadium. I guess ESPN and Baseball tonight didn’t realize there was a game about to take place, since the Padres don’t exist to them. Upon walking into the stadium, I must admit, I was impressed
Rather neat open concourse they have there where you can see the field even when going to go get a drink or something to eat. Speaking of which, as I made my way down the left field line, I began to get hungry- It must be something in the air around LF in Glendale, since apparently Dex and Jbox were famished sitting out there a week later.
After downing a hot dog that was named for the team that was home team for the day, I felt dirty. I needed to go for a walk. So I walked around the facility, marveling.
I saw some training going on a back field, and was going to go out and check it out, but the security wouldn’t let me go out with a drink in my hand. That’s okay. I didn’t really want to see minor league doyer anyway. Also while walking around, I saw a kid super excited to see O-Dog.
God bless the little buddy, he was sadly wearing that whiter white of the team from the north. Hard to hate on a kid but feel bad for him, that’s all. However, on a side note, its amazing how quickly doyer blue can make anyone look quite ugly.
Finally it was time for the game. Timmy was pitching and he gave up some hits right away. It was not looking very promising. I was surrounded by vermin everywhere. I needed moral support. I turned to twitter and the Gaslampball mobile app. I realized my comments , though, were acting as spoilers, so that also made it difficult. Besides, Creanium chastised me for talking to everyone in the open thread instead of enjoying the game, so I tried to slow down. But it was scary there in latrine east.
Meanwhile, I found someone claiming to be a GLB Lurker, SD Clippers fan or something like that. We talked for an inning and when He left, along with all the fans in ugly blue, I made the comment on twitter about how it was pretty typical for them to all be leaving so soon. The Padres went on to win that game, after a bloop job RBI single from Stauffer (Or as the stadium announcer kept saying, Stow-fer) who turned out to be pretty Stausome. Also observed Owings and Boxberger warming up in the bullpen before the phone died so no more pictures from that game.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Thursday morning I was excited. It was finally time to go to Peoria Sports Complex. I got there pretty early, about 9 am, In time to make my way to the backfields, and watch the minor leaguers playing with themselves. Wait. Scratch that. Wait thats probably bad too. Lets go with.... Playing an intrasquad matchup. As I was walking up I saw Spangenberg and Fuentes preparing to bat.
I watched a few innings of this game,seeing some prospective Padres such as Edinson Rincon and Cody Decker. Beamer Weems came over to talk to some people I was sitting next to, and said he was about to get on the field. I assumed he meant the game I was watching, since he went into the dugout, but, turns out he made the game that took place later that day. Wonko foretold his appearance, noting the splitsquad day and shortage of SS.
I made my way back towards the main stadium, when horror struck. I realized I had locked my keys in the truck. Sh-T. Sh-t. Sh-T. Could anything else go against me this week? I approached a parking lot attendant who directed me to the operations office and I got a number to someone to unlock my vehicle, just in time to catch the first pitch. And just my luck my seat was next to another Doyer fan, watching a game between the Indians and Padres. Former Rockie Ubaldo Jiminez pitched for the Indians, and exited after the third inning. Cory Luebke pitched for the Padres and left with the lead.
The seats I had were amazing. One of the reasons I love spring training. I can sit 5 rows from the backstop, for less than $25. The Padres gave up a bunch of runs after the regulars left, and proceded to lose the game in Peoria (although not all was lost- They won in Tucson against the Rox) but as fans filed out, I was able to move right up next to the backstop. To my right was an aisle, and then the Padres dugout. To my left was a hot Canadian girl. In front of me was the ondeck circle. I got to see E-Cab, Weems, Hermida, Na, and Guzman, among several others take their swings 3 feet in front of me.
Of course I kept looking and talking to the Canadian girl. Throughout the game, I had been keeping up with the news on twitter that Moorad resigned. After the game, I was on the aisle that Dan Hayes, Bill Center, and Corey Brock all used to get to the field to get there post game interviews. I got to talk to Center for a few moments, but nothing exciting. On my way to the parking lot, I had a thought. Scary, I know. Why not stop in the operations office and ask for a tour. I re-introduced myself as a minor league stadium announcer interested in observing the operations there. They took my name and number, and I just assumed they were politely blowing me off. I made my way back to Scottsdale, and then met up with some friends for drinks until last call at 2 am. Okay so anyone that truly knows me knows I was drinking Diet Coke while they were drinking a variety of alcoholic beverages.
Friday, March 23
I awoke at Nine and headed out for breakfast. Unfortunately, I was in Scottsdale, about 2 miles from the vagiants Spring home, and the breakfast places were all infested with dickhat. So I made my way up to Talking Stick Resort for the first time since they built it into a resort. I used to play when it was basically just a big tent. It was a rather nice casino, and if your into that kind of thing, I’d recommend it. I was up $100 and should have walked away, but I played some more with time to kill and ended walking out up just $20. Meanwhile, I got a voicemail from the folks at the Peoria Sports Complex inviting me to come to the game that night and get a tour. Score! I arrived to the park around 530, and I was scheduled to tour at 6 so I explored the concourse, ran into Scan, and watched the Fox Sports San Diego Crew preparing for the game by the dugout. After taking in the scenery, I made my way to the operations office and it was time to go up to the press box.
Walking up I had a nice chat with the marketing intern who was my tour guide. She took me past the doors marked Padres TV, Mariners TV, Padres Radio and Mariners Radio. Finally, it was what I came to see, the Public Address and Scoreboard room. While in there, the PA guy, Bill, and the scoreboard operator, Terry were extremely gracious and inviting. We chatted about all things baseball and broadcasting styles, and the fact that Terry hated my Packers lanyard since he is a native New Yorker who likes the football Giants and the dreaded Yankees. I asked if they follow certain timing cues, and the big one was the national anthem is always at 6:57 for an 7:05 game (or 12:57 for a 1:05) to work around the radio and TV Broadcasts. They both emphasized that Jerry Coleman will absolutely refuse to talk during the anthem, (some will, but Jerry always Stands and insists on respecting the Flag. No surprise from the Colonel, and I like that). That turned into discussions about the broadcasters, including a tidbit that made me laugh. One day they asked Jerry what he did that day and what he’s doin the rest of the day. It just reminded me of Uncle Teddy. Well Coleman’s response was he was going to his condo, having a beer and going to bed. This was at about 230 in the afternoon following the 7th inning stretch of a game. I didn’t want to overstay my welcome, but I could have chatted with these gentleman all night long.
As I was preparing to leave, they insisted I stop by the Padres radio booth and meet the guys in there. My Guide obliged, and got to meet the producer, observe Ted and Scan preparing for the game, and get a few pictures with them. If you’ve never met Teddy, he talks in person like he does on air. We talked about the times in Yuma and the pressbox there, and they were both very pleasant and friendly despite having to get ready to go on air.
As you can see , Scanlan , besides his perfect hair, is of average height, and I am simply a midget
Finally I made my way down to my seats, which were 5 rows from the dugout, right where the players came in and out, even with first base.
Some Reds fans were sitting behind me and we had some discussions about Latos, Volquez and Alonso. They hated to see Alonso go, and feel that the Padres got the better end of the trade. I ran into Steve from friarhood, and had a perfect view of Leila from Fox Sports San Diego.
The Padres jumped out to a quick lead, as the Reds Arroyo couldn’t seem to find the strike zone and when he did he was hit hard. Volquez had a really good start. He came out just before Ludwick came up to bat and got a hit. I was surprised.
Padres went on to win and I also got to witness Cashner pitch.
After the win and seeing Budbot being interviewed, by Corey Brock, Dan Hayes and Mud
I went to the window where Bill and Terry were, and they invited me to come watch the game in the booth on Sunday. I was so excited. I also witness Mud doing the moonwalk after making his appearance on the Padres postgame show. I must admit, it was impressive. But that might be the last one he does for awhile, given news of his injuries when racing Dave Roberts. I also got to spend a few minutes talking with Leila from Fox Sports. Unfortunately the phone had died, so I wasn’t able to get any pictures of Mud’s dancing or with Leila.
SATURDAY, MARCH 24
A Break from baseball today, as I headed way east to Gold Canyon for the Arizona Renaissance Festival. It was a warm day, and after completing a maze, I found a shady breezeway, and struck up conversation with one of the staff…
The Renaissance Festival had a lot of interesting sights and shows, and I would recommend it. From the music, to the balancing and juggling acts, to the street performers and jousting demonstrations, there was a taste of everything.
Thar be dragons in here
After leaving the festival,I made the hour plus trek from Gold Canyon back to Peoria and got to hang out with Daniel Robertson, who apparently had a great game, and Cody Decker
I was also texting with the staff member alluded to earlier, and since she was off, I made my way back to Mesa (yeah a lot of backtracking) for some drinks. I’d say things went pretty well today!
SUNDAY, MARCH 25
Last Day of Baseball on this Trip.
I arrived around noon, and was given a press pass. I suppose I could have done the GLB thing and snuck in, but oh well.
Kevin was the Public Address announcer on this day, and was just as inviting as Bill had been on Friday night. Kevin also instructed me to scout out the eye candy. I was able to spot Mrs. Kotsay. That might have been too much candy for this diabetic.
In the booth to the right of us were the Dbags radio announcers, Greg Schulte and Tom Candiotti
We were right next to the Padres scorer for the day, whom I believe also runs the Padres official twitter feed. Corey Brock and Dan Hayes stepped down and chatted briefly with them too. The game went so quickly it was all a blur. Too quickly as the time of the game was just over 2 hours. At one point some kids came up for Kids announcing day. There were 3 kids. 4 batters.
Hey I’m a kid too let me announce!
After the game I snuck a few pictures of Scan a few boothes over.
Andy Masur before he shaved the 5 month old Beard, and Scan with his perfect hair
I also discovered the soda machine and cookie crumbs
Well that concludes the trip. I made it home Monday afternoon after spending Sunday evening back in Scottsdale with old friends at my old eating and drinking place, Zipp’s on Camelback .
Oh Hey Andrew Cashner ate there once too!
Nothing eventful really happened and I wasn’t really looking forward to going home, since I had to go straight to work when I got back. But I work as a field supervisor, so I was able to take in some Little League games, and thus complete the March Happiness Project.
So there was my week. I realize the psost was insanely long. Over 3000 words, and mostly boring drivel I imagine, but if you made it this far, Thank you. If you just liked the pictures, that’s cool too. If I shouldn’t have posted something like this, I’m sorry and I won’t do it on here again. But I hope everyone here gets a chance to go to a spring training some time. I hope that this year is as successful as the spring has been. The Padres went 3-1 in games I went to, and were 5-2 in the time I was there. Here’s to the 2012 Padres Season!