Welcome to Goodyear: @ClevelandChick arrives at Spring Training
Leaving behind freezing Cleveland for sunshine and 80 degrees in Arizona was one of the easiest things I have done in a long time. I’m looking forward to a week of hanging out with my best friend, quality time with my dad and some serious Tribe autograph snagging.
This of course, requires a little bit of planning. I landed in Phoenix, grabbed my rental car and drove straight to Scottsdale for the Tribe vs. Giants game. One of the keys to having a great Spring Training experience is simple: Say hello. I met all sorts of Giants fans — some were from Lakewood! — that stepped aside so I could grab some photos and talked baseball. We traded tips about each park (Goodyear and Salt River Fields are amazing), joked about who is going to take the pennant this year (totally the Tribe) and how beautiful the weather was. It was a great afternoon, all because I smiled and said hello to fellow fans. My mom would be proud. Fans at Spring Training are here not only because they love their team, but because they also love the game.
While the games are great, batting practice is downright fun. Each team takes practice on their respective practice fields four hours or so before each game. At Goodyear, the Tribe fields are down the street from the ballpark, and the best way to start the morning. The team works out on several fields, on a variety of drills, open for fans to watch for free. This is an awesome time to take pictures, get an autograph or even snag a ball. Keep an eye out, because it is easy to get a ball tossed to you. Or conk you on the head, so pay attention. At the Goodyear Fields, there are also bleachers and picnic tables to sit on, but restrooms are not around, so go easy on the big gulps.
Most of the players will sign autographs at some point during batting practice, maybe a few at a time as they cross the fields. Some guys will sign more after practice, so have your Sharpie ready. Be aware though, that these guys are working and can’t always sign. Be patient. The players usually go straight to a game after practice and can’t be late to work to sign autographs.
Let’s talk autographs for a second. Think ahead of time what you want to have autographed. Last year I bought a plaque from the Team Shop and had the players sign it for me and I love it. But you can get just about anything signed. A ball you caught from a game. A baseball card, a bat or as I saw last year, a fuzzy pink whale. If you want a player to sign a ball, use a blue ball point pen (not a fancy gel pen). A permanent marker will actually fade with time on a baseball, and according to all the autograph aficionados, a blue ball point pen is the way to go. A permanent marker, however, is great for bats, cards and fuzzy pink whales.
I’m looking forward to sharing a great week Tribe fans; sunshine, palm trees and Indians baseball!
–TribeVibe Fan Correspondent Traci (@ClevelandChick)
Cleveland native Traci Christler, who blogs independently at http://www.HappinessIsaHotPierogi.com, is in Goodyear this spring and writing about the Indians for TribeVibe. The Indians are not compensating her for her coverage, nor did they fund her travel.