Hello from, a not so sunny, Phoenix Arizona! This week on 2014 Oakland Athletics: Life as a Major League Baseball Season Ticket Holder I am coming to you straight from Cactus League Spring Training, as opposed to Grapefruit League Spring Training.
Here’s a short history lesson before I get to my experience so far this year in Arizona. Spring Training has been around since the 1890′s but it was not organized into leagues until the 1940′s as the league expanded and more teams joined in pre-season training. It originated in Florida and all but six ball clubs have held their spring training camps there at one time or another. The Cleveland Indians were the first team to move to Arizona in the 1940′s. Their owner convinced the New York Giants to move their spring training there and thus the Grapefruit (FL) and the Cactus Leagues (AZ) were born.
My boys, the A’s, train in what is usually a very sunny and warm Phoenix. This year I’m going to go with “uh, yeah, not so much.” When we, my mom and I, arrived here on Saturday afternoon it was pouring rain with thunder and lightening. We had to miss the first two games we had planned to attend. The plan was to make it a double header day, fly into Phoenix stop by Phoenix Municipal Stadium to see the A’s play the Texas Rangers and then head over to Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, home of both the Colorado Rockies and the Arizona Diamondbacks. The stadium there is beautiful and I have a friend who currently plays for the DBacks. This is a definite perk to being a STH. Often times you become friendly with the players. If you are around the ballpark enough they recognize you and remember you, knowing that you are there to support them through the good times and the bad. Then over the years you become friends. Sometimes even if they are traded you stay in touch. This doesn’t always happen of course but it’s not uncommon.