My parents first took me to a St. Louis Cardinals game at old Sportsman’s Park way back in 1957, and I’ve been hooked on the sport ever since. So as a longtime, devoted fan, I’ll be staying for the first two weeks of the Cactus League season before heading on down the road. During that time, I’m planning to indulge my passion with 18 contests: 14 daytime affairs and four night games, so that I’ll get to see all 15 teams at least twice and visit each of the 10 Cactus League stadiums at least once.
Accompanying my notes are a collection of photographs from the first five of those games that I hope will give the reader a feel for the enjoyment, fan-friendly atmosphere and sheer fun of spring training baseball in Arizona.
Stadiums here are much smaller than their major league counterparts, most being in the 8,000 to 12,000-seat range. As a result, fans can get much closer to the action and their favorite stars, player autographs are far easier to come by, plus tickets are reasonably priced and readily available.
So far I’ve seen the 2010 National League and World Series Champion Giants defeat the Diamondbacks on Opening Day, February 25, the Angels top both the Dodgers and the Athletics, the Reds come back in late innings to edge their cross-state rival Indians, and the Mariners hold on to beat the 2010 American League Champion Rangers.
Reds at Indians, Goodyear
What’s a ballpark frank without mustard?
Heading for second in a hurry
Indians mascot ‘Slider’ with young fans