This week on 2014 Oakland Athletics: Life of a MLB Season Ticket Holder, I am getting ready to head out to Phoenix, Arizona to see my A's play a little baseball. I feel like Spring Training is something every baseball fan should experience, especially if you are dedicated enough to be a STH.
This is one of my favorite times of year: getting to a mini baseball fix to tide me over until Opening Day as well as some shopping, mani/pedi's, and getting my hair done. It's all about rejuvenating for the upcoming season. Oh and this year will include an extra shopping trip for socks, of course! But there are a lot of other things I have learned over the years that might be helpful for fans new to the Spring Training experience!
As for clothes to bring, I always wear shorts or a skirt to the games. I would, though, caution you to bring at least one or two outfits and shoes for bad weather. Just last year we arrived right after a huge snow storm (in Arizona in February, who knew?). Another year we were at a game vs the Texas Rangers, it rained and was cold. However most of the time it is just gorgeous, perfect baseball weather. As they say though, don't put all your eggs in one basket. I learned that one the hard way. Sure it all sounds girly: clothes, shoes, mani/pedis, but we are really there to watch the games
I have not missed going to Spring Training since the year 2000. It has become a tradition for my mom and me. We choose to fly to Phoenix. I have some friends who carpool and drive. Do whatever works for you. You can usually get cheap deals on Southwest and on such a short flight, the service and leg space are just fine!
Since our first trip, my mom and I have stayed at the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotels Phoenix. It is extremely convenient for us. It is only about a five minute drive to Phoenix Municipal Stadium where the A's play. They also offer a free shuttle. (I recommend taking the shuttle on days when the team is playing a rival like the San Francisco Giants. It is much easier to avoid the extra crowds that day, plus you never know what kind of interesting characters you will meet on the shuttle.)
Comfort is one of the reasons we stay at the DoubleTree. Our first few years a lot of the players stayed there, so we thought it would be cool; but, not many of them stay there anymore. A few do but it isn't like in 2003 when we were in the hot tub with Miguel Tejada or swimming in the pool with Kim and Kennedy Hudson. Then there was the time I was cornered in the bar in 2004 by Ricardo Rincon, I knew he knew me because he'd thrown me quite a few baseballs at games with his phone number on it. I never called, but when we met at the bar he really wouldn't take no thank you to his dinner invitation. Here's what I did. I said "Thank you very much Ricardo but I am here with my best friend, Christopher and my mother so they would have to be able to come with us to dinner." I was quite surprised that his answer was "yes." It turned out that we had a really lovely time eating authentic Mexican food and dancing all night. Thankfully, it was all very innocent, and he turned out to be a very interesting, nice guy. Even now some of the minor league players with invites to training camp happen to stay there, so you never really know who you may run into or even become friends with. It all depends on the year!
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