Spring Training: The Best Six Weeks of the Year

Posted by on Mar 26 in Spring Training

Spring Training. This very special six weeks of the year has been instrumental in building my baseball collection, and has provided me so many wonderful experiences.

Always a little sad to see my time at spring training come to an end – I sure do love these spring games – it serves as a harbinger to the wonderful season to come. Autographs totaled at 43, having slowed a bit the last few days, but have some very valuable ones to add to the collection. Slim crowds early in the 6-week spring training session made for great autograph opportunities.

Rollie Fingers

I continue to be in awe of the new facilities being built in the Cactus League – state-of-the-art ballparks. We were at the LA Dodger/Chicago White Sox facility at Camelback Ranch – new last year and occupying 243 acres of land, seating 14,000, with total building costs north of one hundred million dollars – all this for six weeks of spring training.

Fergie Jenkins

Some great old-timers came back for spring training to help coach – George Foster (remember him with The Big Red Machine of Pete Rose, Johnny Bench and company in the 70′s), Eric Davis, Brett Butler, Rollie Fingers, Kirk Gibson, Don Mattingly and a host of other stars from yesteryear – what a thrill for a fan like me to see these guys up close and personal, AND to have them autograph a baseball.

Have missed some of the “characters” who haunt these ballparks – the cookie lady who is absent this year (and last), and several old ushers who I’ve grown to know are also missing … time takes its toll I suspect.

George Foster

Had the privilege to watch and listen to a Colorado Rockies Pitching Coach spend almost a half hour talking to a group of Little League players from Utah who were here for tournaments. He talked to them about fundamentals of the game and how he handles young pitchers (leaves them in the game during spring training when they’re getting hit hard, teaching them how to pitch out of a jam). I spoke to him when he finished and complimented him for his efforts with the kids and how much they learned from this old pro.

It was even more memorable to have some of our family with me at these games, and best of all, Betty has attended at least four of the games … and gotten in a few rounds of golf.