All my friends and some family and random people I have met on the internet are all neck deep into March Madness. And if you do not know what that is, it is the NCAA college basketball tournament. However, as someone who does not keep up with basketball or football or soccer, I have no interest, really, in who wins. Instead, I have one love when it comes to sports.
/’bāsˌbôl/ noun – a ball game played between two teams of nine on a field with a diamond-shaped circuit of four bases. It is played chiefly in the US, Canada, Latin America, and East Asia
Also known as America’s favorite past time.
As Spring officially began, I was driving home from Phoenix, Arizona, the West’s home for pre-season baseball. That is right: Spring Training.
I have grown up on baseball. I played for a while (that is how I met Stephanie, and look where we are now!) before I realized I was not very good. I decided to stick with sitting in the crowd with a hotdog and a baseball cap. The Angels (of Anaheim, none of this “Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim” business) have been my team since the beginning, and that is why red has always kind of been my color. It has been a dream of mine for a long time to go to Arizona to experience the pre-season shenanigans. My brother and dad have gone a few times, but this year, I finally got to go! Stephanie’s brother, Justin, works for the Dodgers, and as his friend too, he invited me to come along this past weekend to watch two games. Needless to say I was 784% in.
So Friday morning, a friend drove me from school back home, and in a few hours, I was off to the desert! About ten hours of driving that day–let me tell you, not the most fun thing in the world. But the anticipation of getting to see the games was enough to keep me going like the Energizer bunny.
Saturday morning (after a night in a very, very sketchy motel, which I will not elaborate on because I do not want to relive it) we picked up breakfast at Starbucks, and arrived at the facility that the Dodgers share with the White Sox. We passed by the White Sox, casually looking on their practice time, but quickly found our way to where the Dodgers were practicing. The facility has a few fields for each team, and then a big stadium. We strategized how to get as many baseballs signed by the players as possible, which paid off for the most part. Famous people often cater to little kids and cute girls, so Marissa (Justin’s girlfriend and my good friend) and I were put to good use, as well as Justin’s lack of height and squatting abilities. He some success before the game with two signatures.
When we went into the stadium for the game, we hung out by the dugout in the hopes of getting a signature or two more. We met more success there, and Cody Bellinger (who had just moved up from the Minor Leagues) signed each of our baseballs. Even though I am not a huge Dodger fan, I was very stoked to get to keep it, and my fanatics grew over the course of the weekend, for sure.
The game itself was a million degrees. I did a lot of sweating and a bit of sunburning. But for baseball, there was no reason to change a thing. A hotdog was necessary, obviously, and it was delicious. We all ended up taking a lap around the stadium and watching the game from different angles and enjoying some Italian ice and shade. The Dodgers lost the game, but it was still a fabulous time.
On Sunday, we woke up and got to the facility earlier so that we would have a better chance at getting signatures–it worked! We added quite a few more to the collection. As tiring as it was for us girls (since we stayed up a little too late watching Jimmy Fallon clips on YouTube), it was pretty worth it. The game was just as got as the first, but we managed. I got nachos, and I must say, they were wonderful. We had to leave early as to get back to Burbank at a decent hour, but it was exciting to see the newer player get to take the field for a while. Specifically, Cody Bellinger. Because he is a cutie, and I definitely will start tuning into Dodger games more.
The drive was long and draining, but I will never forget this experience. Baseball season is the best season, and I am still reeling that I got to go to Spring Training. It was such a fun and exciting weekend, and I hope one year I will get to see the Angels out there, as well. I cannot wait for the season to begin, and I am so looking forward to returning to Cal Poly to watch my Mustangs play at Baggett Stadium.
Hotdogs, pretzels, nachos, frozen lemonade, nine innings, various walk-up songs, nice butts in baseball pants, the clink of the bat when it meets the ball, the smack of the ball landing in a glove. These things define Spring for me. They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, and in my case, that means the rock and the infield. The boys of Fall ain’t got nothing on baseball players.
I am so thankful for this weekend! ❤
Your Crazy Baseball-Loving Friend, Ash