I love baseball. The idea of sitting in a chair next to my favorite people enjoying a hot dog and nachos while watching a game is summer bliss. I am an Angles fan, yes Mike Trout, I am thinking of you. Unfortunately, my boyfriend is a HUGE Dodger’s fan, which can make life interesting during season. Thankfully we can usually (this can be a stretch sometimes) have peace.
This year I requested that we go to Spring Training in Phoenix as part of my birthday celebration. Just as an FYI, Phoenix is not someplace you just up and visit for pleasure (no offense to those who live in Phoenix). However, my boyfriend and I made the five hour drive east to enjoy some spring training fun. Due to our differences in team preference, we agreed to go to two Angels games and two Dodger games. However, due to some poor planning on my part, we had to cancel one of the Angels game. My boyfriend was SO disappointed. We arrived to the outskirts of Phoenix late Friday afternoon, did I mention this was a weekend trip?
First, we headed over to Camelback Ranch home to the Dodgers during spring training season. It’s really a beautiful field that the Dodgers and White Sox share. Inviting with a small waterway running through the practice fields, finally ending in a small pond just outside the stadium gates. As much as I strongly dislike the Dodgers, I knew I had to “show up and show out” or however the saying goes. I wore my Dodgers shirt and shoes, matching my boyfriend and hoping no one called me out for the imposter I was. As a side note, I am a root for the home team kind of girl, so I wore my Dodger gear with home team pride. We took our time getting to our seats as we looked around the stadium and got acquainted with our environment. The whole time my boy friend was fangirling, taking pictures of the stadium and players. It was endearing and sweet, a side of my boy friend I hadn’t seen before. Let me warn you now, my boyfriend and I are very bougie about our seats at baseball games. Well, to be honest, we tend to be bougie about a couple of things. Those things will come to light in time. We carefully choose our seats for each of the games that we attended, but there is a HUGE difference between looking at a map of a stadium and actually experience the stadium first hand. I will elaborate on this later. Despite our lack of knowledge, our seats were great and we were able to meet some great people in our section.
Tempe is home of the Diablo Stadium where the Angles have practice and hold their spring training games. The stadium and surrounding practice fields are not as “pretty” as Camelback Ranch, but as an Angel fan I loved it. The Angels do not share a field like the Dodgers and White Sox which is why the field is smaller than Camelback Ranch. The smaller field did not bother me at all. If anything, I felt that I was closer to the field and players. Although, as I mentioned before, it’s one thing to see a stadium on a “map” online and another to experience the stadium in person. None the less, the weekend was great. My boyfriend and I got a weekend away together to watch our favorite teams play.
Below I have listed a few recommendations to surviving spring training in Phoenix.
- Research your stadium. As I mentioned before, Bryan and I always try to be smart when buying tickets to any game we attend, but this can be a challenge when you have never been to the field. Make sure consider not only where you’ll be sitting, but the start time for the game you will be attending. We were extremely excited when we saw great seats behind home plate (third row, aisle seats). We bought them without even considering that we were attending a one o’clock game in Phoenix. Keep in mind, we are true Californian’s and in March spring and winter are still fighting so we have a mix of cold to cool days. We don’t start to get our crazy hot weather until April. With this in mind, we were not prepared to sit in ninety degree weather during an afternoon game with no shade. The heat was unbearable. Bryan and I were a hot sweaty mess and it was the only day I got sunburned. Ultimately, the heat was just too much and we left early. Make sure to sit in the top half of the first level or the second level in the shade. Although, I would do it again for those seats.
- Stop at Crackle Barrel. As a California girl, I love Crackle Barrel! This may be due to the fact that we don’t have a Crackle Barrel in California (I know one is coming to Victorville soon). The first Crackle Barrel you hit going east on the I-10 is in Goodyear, AZ. I know..I have a problem.
- Bring SUNSCREEN, the weekend we went was the hottest weekend of the year. Just my luck. Thankfully, I didn’t get sunburned until our last day but sunburns in general just suck. You can bring lotion sunscreen into the stadium with you. Make sure to reapply, reapply, reapply.
- Dress cool…it is HOT!!! I wore shorts and sandals to every game. I tried to wear my team shirts, but all I have are actual t-shirts. When we went to the Angels game I finally gave up and wore a strapless top I had thrown into my luggage last minute. I can’t say it really helped, but at the time I felt cooler. Bryan wore shorts and a t-shirt every day, but I knew it was not the most comfortable outfit choice. Make sure to check the weather and dress accordingly. The weekend we attended was the hottest weekend yet and we were not prepared.
- One last tip and maybe the most important! We did not take any alcohol with us due to the fact that we saw no purpose to it. Both Dodger and Angel stadiums no longer allow tailgating so we assumed (never assume) that tailgating wouldn’t be allowed at the spring training games as well. However, when we got to Camelback Ranch, we saw several people tailgating. The same happened at Diablo stadium. We regret not being better prepared to tailgate, especially since we drove and were able to bring along tailgate essentials. Make sure not to make our mistake!
Spring training is a great experience. It gives you the opportunity to get a look at possible new players and have a great time before season officially starts. So go out and enjoy yourself!