My Trip to the Cactus League

That's right, while the Cardinals were in Florida, I went to Arizona. The real purpose of the trip was a wedding Friday evening, but flights home were considerably cheaper Sunday afternoon than anytime Saturday, so my lovely wife and I decided to attend a spring training game, since neither of us ever had before. After finding some other things to do on Saturday afternoon, we decided one of the two evening games would be best. The Mariners at Diamondbacks was sold out, which I guess makes sense since the Diamondbacks fans don't have to travel far to get to their team's spring home. The remaining choice was:
I bought the tickets that same day from the hotel. A very nice feature of their online ticketing was that I got to pick my exact seats, not just the section I wanted. I just went with the cheapest section, then took 2 end seats a few rows up from the only other seats sold in that section, figuring that would give us plenty of room, a plan that worked to perfection.
We sat in 102. There were a surprising number of Dodgers fans on the "Chicago" side.

One cool thing I didn't realize about this until we got to the park is that the White Sox and Dodgers share a Spring Training facility, so this was sort of a dual home game, and had lots of fans there. I really didn't do this on purpose, but I wound up wearing my Chris Carpenter jersey t-shirt and Cardinals hat with the 2011 World Series patch to the game. Luckily there were others there decked out in the gear of other teams as well. Very few others were wearing Grapefruit League team gear, though.
Spring Training Facilities are one of the few places to see grass in Phoenix

Overlooking the outfield Lawn on the way to our seats 
This was a Split Squad game for the White Sox, so there were lots of guys wearing numbers in the 80s with no name on the back of the jerseys. At one point I even saw #85-#88 standing in order, I wish I had taken that shot. I did recognize most of the starters though, so I have a feeling the B-team went to the other game that day.
Anonymous #87. Dodgers in their BP/Spring Training Jerseys in the background.

Alexei Ramirez had a decent game
I sort of forgot to keep taking pictures after pregame warmups, getting lost in the game itself. One thing I really wish I had gotten a shot of was a concession that was new to me: Helmet Nachos. I've seen Mini-Helmet Sundaes, but this was a full-size replica helmet full of nachos. It was tempting, but at $10, my wife and I instead split a cheaper sandwich and later some "Chicago Style" kettle corn, whatever that means.
Officially it was a ChiSox home game.
As the game went on we decided to leave a bit early. First, we realized that since we were now 2 hours off our native timezone thanks to Daylight Saving Time weekend and Arizona's lack of observance thereof, we were going to be setting ourselves up for a tough time getting up for work Monday morning if we stayed out late. Also, we dressed for Phoenix's midday heat when we left the hotel, but by 9pm it was getting rather chilly. The small stadium let the wind right in of course, so that didn't help either.

                      1  2  3   4  5  6   7  8  9   R  H  E
                      -  -  -   -  -  -   -  -  -   -  -  -
  LA DODGERS          0  0  1   3  0  1   0  0  5  10 14  0
  CHI WHITE SOX       0  1  3   1  0  0   0  1  0   6 17  1

We left in the middle of the 6th by the time most of the Major Leaguers were back on the bench, so we missed that 5-run 9th, but at least I got to experience my first spring game and get a fair amount of sleep that night. All in all it was a great time, and I'd love to go back for a week of nothing but baseball some year soon.


  1. solid game summary and nice pix. Love spring training and need to get back there.

  2. I'm jealous! I need to get down there one year for a spring training game.

    They have the helmet nachos at US Cellular, we went searching for them and when we found them, line was HUGE. I'm talking probably 75-100 people in line. I didn't want to miss that much of the game standing in line. But I vow to get them at least once.