Spring Training Trip 2016
Being that I now live in the Pacific Northwest after over a decade living in San Diego – there are a few things that have a deeper meaning (during the winter months especially) than they used to: Heat from sunshine, fresh cut grass, and In’N’Out. Luckily in Arizona, you get all that and more. I recently had the chance to spend 3 days in the desert and get 4 games in with some friends from college. We were able to take in 4 stadiums, some quality Mexican food, and two trips to In’N’Out for good measure.
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After arriving late Thursday and catching In’N’Out before it closed at 1AM which included one member of our group demolishing a 5×5, we were ready for a day of baseball on Friday.
Friday morning we knew had a fun day ahead of two games of baseball. The temperature was in the 90’s so we had to get prepared early, going to the store with a borrowed cooler for ice, beer, water, and sunscreen. You can bring water in as long as the bottles aren’t opened, though it was quickly revealed my idea of putting ice in our plastic bag with the waters was a failure as water seeped all under our seats at Talking Stick Ballpark.
The first game was the nearly hometown Arizona Diamondbacks taking on the split squad Oakland Athletics. Starting for the D’backs was their new free agent prize Zack Greinke, who allowed one hit in two scoreless innings to start the game. Another D’backs newcomer Jean Segura led off Arizona’s offense with a home run to get them on the board first, and they would never really look back en route to a 6-3 victory though Oakland tied it in the 3rd costing Greinke a meaningless Spring Training victory.
Cuban import Yasmany Tomas still looked out of shape in the field for Arizona, once bobbling an easy grounder to the outfield from Yonder Alonso before throwing Alonso out at second base after an ill-advised attempt on his part to turn his single into a double. That play seemed to epitomize both players: enough talent to be here but mental/physical inadequacies to keep them from making the next jump.
An impressive player was Gabriel Guerrero, nephew of Vladimir Guerrero, who seems to have the same body and swing. He launched a home run to left field that had distance and power behind it. So far through 10 spring games, he is hitting .278 with the one home run and predictably no walks.
Salt Water Fields at Talking Stick Park is a very nice ballpark, with a great concourse to walk around, good food options and beer choices as well. Our seats were in the shade, but we also took in an inning from the outfield grass and happened to meet the girlfriend of backup AZ first baseman Kyle Jensen.
With Game 1 in the books, it was time to head over to Peoria for the nightcap: The World Champion Kansas City Royals playing against the San Diego Padres. It took about an hour with traffic to get to Peoria from Scottsdale but with the drive the city cooled down to a perfect temperature with a great sunset beginning to take shape in the summer sky.
Next: Padres Game Recap