There’s a lot to love about Spring Training, and, being ‘on assignment’, I’m appreciating it this year more than I ever thought I would. I’m not really sure why… maybe I’ll figure it out by the time I’m done writing this post.
What’s to love about Spring Training? Lots.
On Monday, I visited Arizona’s newest Spring Training facility, Salt River Fields. It’s a beautiful stadium… one with a palpable feeling of excitement, similar to an amusement park. Well, I guess to this baseball fan, it is just an amusement park for grown-ups. After all, they have ice cream helmet sundaes AND Blue Martini margaritas.
First, you can get up close and personal with the players– the veterans, as well as the PTBNLs (Players to Be Named Later). I spelled this out for any of my fellow chick readers who were just about to copy and paste that acronym into Google. If you get there early, you might be lucky enough to get an autograph from a rising star.
Pitching prospect Tyler Skaggs signing autographs. No, that is not this Pink Hatter's Pink baseball, unfortunately.
With the smaller crowds and more intimate venues, you may get to see a new side of one of your favorite players.
Now with the Rangers, Conor Jackson was once just a glimmer in the Red Sox's eyes, as a draft pick back in 2003.
Next, you can check out the new prospects.
Since we are ‘Bloggers to be Named Later’, I thought I’d feature a couple of the Diamondbacks’ new prospects. I took this very seriously, and even solicited the efforts of a dedicated photographer…so that I could take copious notes for this blog, and, uh, report from every angle.
Tyler Skaggs: This left-handed pitcher is ranked #3 in the Dbacks’ top 10 prospects. I just put that in there for all you numbers-types (ok- mostly for Paul). But I know him as one of the players the Diamondbacks got for Dan Haren. Nice trade, in my book.
Matt Davidson: Third baseman, self-proclaimed perfectionist. Not yet old enough to drink the $8 beers sold at his home stadium, Davidson was the 35th selection in the Dbacks’ 2009 draft.
Pitching prospect Evan Marshall out of California gets a special shoutout, for retweeting this blogger, the day before this game. Critics say he’s got a great slider. I also think he’s got a great Karate Kid stance. We here at BTBNL are pulling for ya, Evan!
Dbacks’ Outfield prospect, AJ Pollock, also out of the 2009 draft.
Dbacks' Pollock. That's all I got.
It helps to have a great seat. I mean, as in location in the Park.
Admiring the view... AJ Pollock seems to be, that is. Photo Credit: Tiffany Harrison
Before you buy your Spring Training Tickets, Baseball Enthusiast Tammie Harrison, who provided the inspiration for this post, has this advice. Decide whether you want to see a few games this season with incredible seats, or many games, with not-so-great seats. For Tammie, this is a no-brainer.
Why is the woman in blue (below) bored? She’s in the WRONG seats for viewing right-handed (um, most) batters’ best side.
Chris Young. Photo Credit: Tiffany Harrison
Don’t believe me? Here’s a southpaw…no yawning from the women in the crowd now.
Photo Credit: Tiffany Harrison
If you can’t get lower-level seats, there’s always the lawn– where you can work on making your pasty-white winter skin look a bit more appealing in shorts. The day we went, we needed sunscreen and lots of water.
Lawn seats are a great deal-- usually will run you less than $10. Too bad one beer is about the same price.
No matter what your motivation for going to a Spring Training game, it’s a great place to check out your team’s new potential assets. I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds for these prospects. If you’re a Pink Hatter, even if you’re not a big baseball fan, you’ll have a great time. Trust me. Bring your camera.
Special thanks to photographers extraordinaire Tiffany Harrison (on left) and Tammie Harrison (not pictured) for their talents and perspective.
Until next time, this is your Pink Hatter, reporting from Cactus League Spring Training Grounds in beautiful, sunny Arizona.