Fan Correspondent @ClevelandChick hits the Arizona roads

The merry-go-round at the Royals' Spring Training home in Surprise, Ariz.

The merry-go-round at the Royals’ Spring Training home in Surprise, Ariz.

My Spring Training schedule is an easy one.

Get up, go to batting practice and catch a Tribe game. I follow the Tribe to their home field at Goodyear and all over the Cactus League. Fortunately, I was able to catch three away games this trip. Unfortunately, one got rained out.

Each ballpark tries to take on the feel of the home team. At Goodyear, there are pieces of Indians and Reds history along the walls — and Stadium Mustard at the concession stands, of course.

The San Francisco Giants play in Scottsdale at one of the largest ballparks. This ballpark was one of the most crowded on my trip. Maybe it was because the Giants have been in Scottsdale for 20 years, or maybe it was because the sun was shining or maybe it was the World Champion banners hanging everywhere. The day was fantastic, and people were everywhere. They had tables and chairs on the lawn area and I ended up meeting some Giants fans originally from Lakewood.

My next away game was to see the Indians and Kansas City Royals. The Royals share Surprise Stadium in Surprise with the Texas Rangers, and the place has a merry-go-round on the grounds! It was raining when I was there, so I didn’t get to see it in motion. Bummer. But, the park has a baseball cut into the outfield, which looks great from the stands.  I may have to talk to the Indians front office about that one. The thing that surprised me the most, outside of the rain, was the batting cages that you could walk directly up to. The Rangers were batting and it was fun to watch for a bit, especially since it was covered. The game was called after a few innings due to the weather, but the grounds crew got loud cheers from the crowd each time they ran out.

Cubs3

The Chicago Cubs have played in Mesa at Hohokam Stadium since 1952 and you can tell. The best way to describe the stadium is to call it little Wrigley Field. Even though the weather was cold and crummy, there were tailgaters everywhere. Parking was tough to come by and scalpers were selling tickets on the street. When you walk into the stadium, there is no question that the Cubs play there, as evidenced by the team shop being called the Cubby Hole to the completely Cubbed-out vendor hawking Old Style. It was well worth the trip to see the Indians destroy the Cubs. (The Cubs, coincidentally, will leave Hohokam in 2014 for a new stadium, while the A’s will move in.)

If you come out to Spring Training, the Cactus League teams are in close proximity to each other, making it an hour or less to each park. There is no excuse not to follow the team.

I have a few more days in town, and a few more autographs to get so until next blog post, have a great day!

–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. For her first two blog entries from Goodyear, click here and here.

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