Boys of Summer

We are a baseball family. We played baseball, watch baseball and hope that our kiddos like it as much as PW and I do. Peter stocked up on spring training tickets the first day they were available. We’ve been to I think 4 games already and have two more on the calendar. It is a lovely way to play hookie, get a tan and enjoy cold beer.

We decided to take just Baylor to a Rockies v Dodgers game and sit in the grass. We knew we wouldn’t see much of the game, but we wanted to have some big girl time with Bay. We got to Salt River Fields (my second favorite stadium) early, laid out a quilt and proceeded to eat until we were full. She got to get lemon aid from the vendor, hot dogs from the concession stands and Italian Ice in a baseball helmet. She and Peter scoured the stadium looking for Dinger, the Rockie’s mascot, and she had her glove ready to snag any foul ball that came our way. The weather was perfect. She was happy. It was a sun soaked memory in the making.

Dinger. She is in love.

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The crowd in the grass

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Italian Ice in a batting helmet

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It’s Coming…

Last night when I walked outside, I noticed something was….different. The air was cool, but not chilly. There was a hint of warmth in the breeze. And there was a scent of grass and tree blossoms and it was familiar. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but then it hit me – it’s time for baseball.

I remember the same sensation when I played softball as a tween. It seemed night practices were always cold and then suddenly when we had a game, it was warmer, balmy and comfortable. There was a breeze blowing through the palm trees and there was an energy that seemed to signal the end of winter and the beginnings of spring.

Obviously I’m not playing a lot of softball these days, but it’s still the same feeling. And there is a sense that something is blowing in the breeze, something coming. That something? Is spring training. The happiest season of the year where we will spend many an afternoon playing hookie from work, drinking ice-cold beers in the hot sun and watching our favorite teams from mere feet away. It is, in a word, awesome.

Pitchers and catchers report in 9 days according to mycountdown.org. But all you really need is a walk outside and take a deep breath to know that it’s time.

Scottsdale Stadium

I spent so many nights here as a kiddo watching Firebird’s games with my dad. And now we get to take Bay to see the Giants. Preferably playing the Cubs. And preferably the Cubs are winning.

Rules Based on Fiction

One of the many benefits of living in Scottsdale Arizona is spring training. That magical time of year when the boys of summer practice America’s Favorite Past Time less than a mile from our house. There are few things that I think are close to what heaven is like – but sitting in the sun, watching a game and drinking a beer is one of them.

I’ve noticed the following occurance before, but never asked why until this season. At most spring training stadiums when a beer, soda or water is purchased, the consessions employee removes the top and then hands the customer the bottle. If asked for the cap, the employee will refuse to give it to the customer.

This may not seem like a big deal, but if I buy a beer and a bottle of water, I really want the water for later and without the cap I risk knocking over the bottle and spilling the water. Which is a very likely scenario. So this makes the whole no cap business pretty annoying. And if it possibly involves possibly spilling my beer, down right scarry.

I asked a concession worker who looked to be about twelve years old why I couldn’t have the cap. He launched into a tirade about how they can’t give the caps because people fill the empty or nearly empty bottles with dirt, seal them with a cap and then launch the dirt bottles at the players. And before I could say “couldn’t they do that anyway without the cap?!” he anticipated my question by saying “and no, it wouldn’t work without the cap so that’s why we don’t give the caps”.

Peter and I promptly decided this was crap and proceeded to the next beer stand – for research of course – and got the same response. As we sipped our beers we were flooded with questions; where do you get the dirt to put in the bottle? If you made a mud mixture, you wouldn’t really need a cap, right? Even if the bottle didn’t have a cap, wouldn’t it still hurt to get hit with a partially filled bottle? Couldn’t you use something other than a cap? Like gum to seal the bottle? And on and on. We were obsessed. Who and where had this horrible atrocity occured thus ruining the containment of liquids for everyone? And was the damage so bad that the entire major leauge got together to make this a rule? Should they ban bottles of every kind? What about peanut bags filled with dirt? Or peanuts? What about hotdogs filled with dirt? The last few may have been the beer talking.

As we walked into the Cubs v Dodgers game on Sunday, we were solicited by a man selling frozen water bottles outside the stadium. His sign said that if you leave the bottle caps sealed, you can take them into the stadium and they were a third of the price than those sold in the stadium. So we bought and sure enough, the ticket takers were more interested in my bag than anything else. So we had done it. We had gotten bottles WITH CAPS into the stadium.

Now, to find some dirt.