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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

spring training

If you know me personally or have been reading this blog for awhile, you have figured out that we are a family who enjoys the game of baseball.  Something we have wanted to do for  years but haven't done for one reason or another, is go experience Angels Spring Training.  Opening weekend for Spring Training this year happened to be the week of Grant's birthday... so we kinda used his birthday as the perfect excuse to finally do it!

 My husband did all the booking of tickets and hotel.  I knew our hotel was walking distance from the fields and stadium so I was happy.  Then when we got there and I saw how beautiful it was I kinda wished we had planned a week long stay!  It was sad to only be there for one night.  As soon as we arrived we went on a walk around the grounds and as soon as the kids spotted the pool... well, it was straight back to the hotel room to change into swimwear and go back to the pool.  It was heated.

The next morning was all business.  We woke up, got dressed, grabbed a super quick Starbucks breakfast and then headed straight to morning practice.  I feel the need to stop  right now and excuse anyone reading who is not a baseball fan.  From here on out you may just be bored and or lost.
Our hotel grounds were covered in amazing cactus.  It is Arizona and all... but they were just too cool not to take pictures of!

This was the first practice field we came up to.  Grant was in immediate awe.  Imagine being an eight year old boy who loves this sport.  He couldn't believe he was so close.
One of the players who was in the outfield caught a hit ball and brought it over to Grant.
He told Grant, "You gotta catch it!"
And of course Grant caught it!
Super cool experience for my little man.
What I imagine he was thinking: Wow... a ball that was hit and caught by pro ball players and then handed to me. So awesome.

We ended up going from field to field watching different groups of players taking part in different drills and practices.  This was my view most of the time... the back of the boys' heads while they watched through a fence.  It was actually pretty cool to realize that I was as close to their practice as I am at Grant's little league practices!
 Eventually we headed into the stadium to see who was warming up in there and check out our seats and what not.  Grant was also very determined to get an autograph so we needed to see how to go about that.  He quickly positioned himself against the dugout and was prepared to camp out until the players headed in there when the game would start.  All I could do was hope that his plan would work for him.  I think autographs are silly, but he wanted it so bad that I wanted it for him even worse.  Plus, it isn't so much about the autograph as it is about the exchange that may happen while getting one.
 While he was camped out he watched the team's manager, Mike Scioscia and the other coaches hit balls out to the players for warm ups.

Tim Salmon and Mark Trumbo chatting it up.
My little man on top of the Angel's dugout!
Once the game started we were in our seats...  three rows back on first base side behind the dugout.  They were great seats!
It was a windy day and this girl had some serious static electricity going on!  We couldn't help laughing at her... and this was her response to our laughter.  Typical Avery.

Grant scoring another ball.  
This one was hit in during the game and a grounds keeper handed it to Grant.
All he did the entire trip was smile.  Which made me smile too.  As a parent it brings me so much joy to see my kids enjoying life.

During the ninth inning we headed down to the wall because we knew the players would leave the field that way and Grant was hoping he may be able to get another autograph.  He did manage to get one while camped out at the dugout before the game.

I don't have the picture because it happened so fast... but, this player(we still need to figure his name out) walked up to Avery and handed her one of the game balls.  She pretty much melted when he did this.  Her smile was crazy cute.  Then she handed it back and asked for him to sign it.  As he signed her ball I told him, "Thank you... and you may have just taken her favorite player spot away from Trout."  He shook his head and said, "Oh no I could never do that."  In this picture you see him signing Grant's ball too.  Grant ended up with four autographs.  Not from any of the main players we are used to watching during the season... but from four really nice ball players.  We had prepared him that spring training wasn't just about the normal A-team roster.  He learned that some of these other players are pretty great too.  Not to mention nice, humble, and just happy to be there playing the game that they love to play.  Some of them actually stood there and signed every single ball that was handed to them.
After the game was over they posed for me on the front steps of the stadium with their autographed balls.

It was a super fun weekend and overall great experience.  
We will for sure be back.  This will now be an annual trip we take.  I think in the future we will stay long enough to see more than one game though.


  1. Looks like such an amazing trip, especially for your little man! Such a beautiful family :)

  2. Spring Training is just the absolute best! You get to sit sooo close to the action and for pretty cheap. One year, we decided at 11pm we wanted to go so we hit the road, we got there about 4am, slept, watched a game, and drove home.....sooo worth it!