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  • Tony

Cactus League Spring Training - 2020

Updated: Aug 18, 2020

March 2020 - Headed out to Scottsdale AZ. for our annual Cactus League baseball spring training trip. Good times with our friends Dano, Lynn, AM, Walker & Junior and a few special experiences this year.

We're close to having visited all of the spring training ballparks after this trip, checking off two new ones including our first game of this visit for the Giants vs Padres @ Peoria Sports Complex. Got to see a starting line up that should be close to the season opener for a few innings before the invitees started replacing them. A little rusty still but a great game in the warm spring sun of Arizona.

A return visit to Scottsdale Stadium for us to watch the Rangers vs Giants. The oldest remaining stadium in the Cactus league received a few much-needed upgrades in the offseason, mostly for the players including a new clubhouse. This year more of the fan facing upgrades will take place. Another good starting line up today but still no Pence or Panda taking the field.

We were fortunate to be on the field for the first pitch today. Our good friend AM is here on her annual trip with the Giants who host tourism exec's from SF for the week. She was asked to throw out the first pitch today in substitute of another guest who couldn't make it today. When we arrived she and her Giants host invited Dan, Mary and I to join them on the field, of course we said yes! While on the field we were standing at the end of the Giants dugout and close to many of the team including Crawford, Pence, Longoria, Coach Kapler, Coach Nakken, and Coach Wotus. Fun to watch the hugs and interaction between Pence and his last year ranger teammates as well as the young fans clambering for autographs. Young Mason from Auburn (in the orange hat) was kind enough to play catch with AM to warm up her arm for the big pitch. A super sharp 9-year old that is a true fan of baseball and could tell you everything about the players and the game.

Very nervous before her first pitch, she came through like a champ and lobbed a pitch that was just a bit high and outside...

Following the game, we were invited to the group's reception on the rooftop of the Valley Ho hotel. We enjoyed the great view, appetizers, cocktails and conversation with Giants pitcher Dereck Rodríguez who was the guest of honor.

Another first stadium for us, Camelback Stadium watching the Giants vs Dodgers. Mostly second and third stringers in the lineup today except for Johnny Cueto as the starting giants pitcher. Not a fair game as the Dodgers started their entire first string along with Clayton Kershaw on the mound. We played well against the Dodgers starters.

Our friend Dan moved to Scottsdale from California about two years ago and is kind enough to have us stay with him when we are out here. His place is fantastic and since our last visit, he has added a pool and stable for his new horse Junior. Walker, Dan's Black Lab is so fun, he'll chase the tennis ball or just about anything he can get you to throw for him all day long! We took every opportunity, trying our best to wear him out. He thought that I had slept enough so one early morning he snuck into our bedroom and greeted me with a wet nose on my forehead and big wagging tail, knocking against anything in its way, he was ready to play. We helped Dan feed his horse Junior who loved his morning visits from Mary, carrot in hand as he shared it with Walker.

Walkers first pool time of the season, we spent what seemed like an hour tossing this big ball in the water while Walker jumped in enthusiastically after it. Good thing Dan had this beautiful pool for Walker.

We had one free day from baseball and chose to do a desert hike and to visit the Music Instrument Museum. Dan and Walker took us to Browns Trailhead near their house, a large preserve of permanently protected, a sustainable desert habitat that includes an interconnected network of trails for hiking, biking, and horse riding. We hiked through the desert landscape and up to the top of Browns mountain, some 3,200 feet at its peak. The views from the top were amazing.

Although I didn't get any photos of the Musical Instrument Museum, our short time there before they closed was a new desert experience for us. Instruments from all over the world and throughout history were on display with accompanying visuals and sound. We especially enjoyed the Artists salon where several bands and individual artist's instruments were on display also supported by video images, their music and brief stories about them. Fascinating Roy Orbison display, I didn't realize the scope of talented musicians that he played with over the years including George Harrison, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, Jackson Browne, K.D. Lang, Jennifer Warnes, and Bonnie Raitt. The Buddy Rich exhibit was also very good, amazing to see the diverse styles of music he could easily adapt to and play so well.

Fun times in the desert, and a special time of year to visit.


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