Day one in Arizona was mostly a travel day, but was able to explore the area quite a bit. One of the greatest parts about this trip is my dad is along. He is as big of a baseball fan as I am and it is fun to share the experience.
Arrived around 2:30 Arizona time and got the rental car with no problem. (I know that probably burns Mike Curto up). The drive from Phoenix to Peoria is about 30 minutes and along the way you go through Glendale. University of Phoenix Stadium, home of the Arizona Cardinals and Fiesta Bowl was on the right and looked like a huge space ship. I am sucker to just stop at random stadiums so we did.
Made it to the Minor League Hotel and got checked in then headed over to the Sports Complex to pick up materials and credentials.
Oddly enough the first familiar face I saw was that of righty Erasmo Ramirez. He was grinning ear to ear as usual and had to tell me about his start that he made in minor league camp. Said he did well and is hoping to make the Mariners rotation. (I think he has a legit shot)
All the fields were empty as the workouts were done for the day. But, had a chance to just walk around and check it out. Must admit, they indeed are like high school fields that are amazingly manicured with big league dimensions.
Grabbed a bite to eat and noticed the Padres (they share the complex and stadium with the Mariners) were playing at home. They were taking on the Colorado Rockies and like the baseball nut I am, decided to walk over and watch a little bit of it. The Peoria Stadium is not as nice as I was expecting, but bigger than I expected. The average age in the crowd was around 65. The Rockies had more fans than the Padres ironically.
Had a chance before the game to say hello to former Jackson Manager Phil Plantier. He was pretty shocked to see me, but went out of his way to talk to me. It was nice. Phil is now the hitting coach for the Padres and by the quick offensive outburst tonight with that team, seems to be doing a good job.
That was the first spring game I have ever been too. The laid back atmosphere from players and coaches was interesting to watch. Also, a photographer went right behind the plate while a pitcher was warming up to get close ups. Coaches sit outside the dugout and players interract with fans between innings. Everyone that worked there was nice and seemed to love baseball. Below are a few pictures I took with my phone of the stadium. I (hopefully) will have some nice shots the next few days. Not that great with a camera honestly.
Day two will be quite busy. Will head over to the complex around 9am. That seems to be when things will get rolling. Honestly don’t know what to expect, but that is the fun part of it. The Mariners host the White Sox at 1pm at the bigStadium. Going to take in the game from up top and hopefully give some nice commentary for Mariners fans. Tomorrow will be a fun experience. Going to take lots of pictures and get as much info as I can.
- I found this story by Peter Gammons quite interesting on Eric Wedge and the future of the Mariners. CLICK HERE TO READ IT ALL. This story has began a hashtag on twitter of #gammonstojxn
This quote was nice.
“But Wedge sees the framing of this team as vital of the future of the franchise, because this spring, he saw the future of the Seattle Mariners, and their names are Taijuan Walker, James Paxton and Danny Hultzen. They may all open the season with Double-A Jackson, as one of the game’s most hyped Minor League rotations.”