Results tagged ‘ Cactus League ’
There are two types of days at Indians Spring Training – good days and great days.
Yesterday, my friends, was a great day. It was the first full day in Arizona and we started it off right by heading to batting practice first thing in the morning. I was at the field 10 minutes when Cord Phelps came up to me and asked if I wanted his bat. My answer was a squeaky little “yes, please.” Awesome. The Indians have bleacher seats set up for those who want to watch practice and a fence to hang on for those who want to snag an autograph. I spent most of the morning on the fence waiting for Jason Kipnis and Matt LaPorta.
In my last post I mentioned how important it is to say hello to people. At batting practice, I would suggest the same. While hanging on the fence, sharpie and baseball cards in hand, I met some great people. An older gentleman that has been in Arizona 15 years and became a Tribe fan five years ago when the team moved Spring Training to Goodyear. The man had never been to Cleveland but loved the team just from seeing them at the park. I met a family with photos and cards split among mom, dad and an aunt to send back to a man cave in Parma. One proud grandma had a picture of her three grandchildren, all in Tribe jerseys, for the team to sign. There was a little good-natured ribbing from some Reds fans about Choo and Hannahan (that made me tear up a little). Justin Masterson came by and signed for everyone and chatted with fans. And much to my excitement, Mike Hargrove came over to sign my slightly bent card. It pays to say please, kids. I can’t forget to mention that Cleveland comedic son Mike Polk Jr. was there and I talked to him for a couple of minutes as well.
After practice, my friend and I went straight to the game, which is right down the street. A fan note here: Some players walk back to the practice facility from the game in case you want to take a walk as well. Goodyear Ballpark is, in my opinion, the jewel of the Cactus League. The park is fan-friendly with a mini field for kids to play catch and run the bases. There isn’t a bad seat in the house. The most important thing is how friendly everyone is. From the guy selling hot dogs to the ushers, everyone has a smile to greet you. The ushers also know that there are fans from all over the country (and continent with the World Baseball Classic going on) and it may be the only time someone can get up close and personal with their favorite players. I took a lot of fantastic pictures by simply asking an usher if I could go to the front row and take a picture. I have never been turned down.
The overall vibe at Goodyear is laid back and relaxed. The players are easy going and the fans are fun.
We ended our awesome day, a little sunburned, in Tempe for dinner.
Today is a new day, and I can’t wait to see what happens!
–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.
Can’t wait for Opening Day? For some Tribe fans, enjoying sunlit baseball games begins well before April. Spring Training is quickly approaching, with just eleven days until pitchers and catchers report to Goodyear, Arizona.
TribeVibe had the chance to speak with Ryan Lantz, Manager of Spring Training Operations, on what makes a trip out to Goodyear such an awesome experience for Indians fans.
“First of all, the weather is incredible this time year,” Lantz explained. A quick peek at the forecast and sure enough, it’ll be sunny: in the mid-to-high 70’s.
“It’s also really the perfect time to get an up close and personal experience with the players, in a laid back atmosphere.”
The meet-and-greets and availability of the players lends to plenty of opportunities for fans to get autographs and interact with the team.
“Once the workouts start, one of the best opportunities to get autographs is 8:30-11:30 AM. Before the games, the place to be is down the first-base line. You can also come and catch BP on the major fields.”
TV also spoke with Tom Bowen, a huge Tribe fan and a regular at Spring Training who is excited for a relaxing vacation and to meet some of the new Tribe players.
“I’m really looking forward to meeting some of the players up close, especially [Nick] Swisher,” Bowen said. “In the past, my wife and I got the chance to meet and talk with Justin Masterson a few times, who is just a really friendly, nice guy.”
Lantz and Bowen both love that all of the Cactus League ballparks are within a 45-minute drive, with most being twenty minutes or less, which is a huge draw for those who want to maximize the amount of games they can attend.
“It’s really nice to be able to see some of the other facilities and teams,” Bowen continued. “You can watch half of the league within a 45-minute drive, which is really convenient.”
As Lantz pointed out, Goodyear is also conveniently located for fans who would like to explore outside of the ballpark, with ample places for golf, hiking, shopping, etc. Sedona, Scottsdale, and Phoenix are nearby, and the Grand Canyon is less a than four-hour drive away.
“I’m looking forward to traveling up to Sedona and spending some time in the parks in Phoenix; it’s very scenic,” Bowen said.
If you’re interested in learning more about Spring Training or want to head out to Arizona yourself, indians.com/spring has all the information needed to get you on your way to Goodyear. The Indians travel partner Professional Travel has some great packages to fit any size family, vacation and budget.
“They are very helpful with the planning; they helped us book an extra day onto our six-day package, and accommodated my brother and his wife who are coming from San Diego. We can’t wait!”
– TribeVibe contributor Courtney Shilling