With the beginning of Spring Training games, the eyes of Angels fans turn to the Arizona desert. Some of us are going to make new Spring Training memories in 2013 and many have great ones to share from years past. So let's hear them.
For me, Spring Training is about so much more than baseball. It is a couple of days out of the office, in the sun, hanging out with my dad and/or friends. It's the realization that summer is almost here, and a time to remember summers of the past.
My favorite trip would be my first, in March of 2007. I bought a package for myself and my father as a Christmas gift; a way of saying thanks for hanging in there until I finally got my act together. Yes, I found out I overpaid for everything, but the barbecue after the game was great. Great food, free beer, and time to hang out with Scioscia, Hatcher, and Reggie Willits.
Coolest baseball moment: seeing a 19 year old Mike Trout in March 2011. He flew out to center in his one at bat, but was standing on second when the ball was caught.
I've been to most of the ballparks (no Phoenix Municipal or Surprise until this upcoming trip) and would love to see which are your favorites, have your favorite foods and features, or are on your wish list. Obviously Tempe Diablo is a blast, but here are some of my other favorites.
Overall: Camelback. From walking through the practice fields to the sight lines and look of the park, it is great.
Hidden Gem: Maryvale. Home of the Brewers, this is a beautiful ballpark with shaded seats tucked in a nondescript neighborhood. Bonus: the brats are the same as the ones served in Milwaukee and are amazing.
Nicest: Scottsdale. All brick and very classy. The smell of garlic fries is incredibly welcoming for a guy who lived up north for a while.
Food: Peoria. A huge variety, but the clincher is the fresh made mini-donuts. You watch the dough drop, cook, and land right in a bag. Cover with powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar, shake, and enjoy.
Too Big: Salt River. This place is a AAA stadium. It is gorgeous, probably nicer than Sacramento's AAA stadium, I just find it lacks the intimacy and charm I expect out of Spring Training.
Please add your stories, favorites, and tips you think might be helpful, or ask questions if you are planning a trip.