Thursday, March 18, 2004

Spring Training
We just returned from Arizona where we took in some Cactus League ball games. On Sunday, we arrived and drove straight to Scottsdale to see the Cubs take on the Giants. Since we had just come from KC, the 90 degree heat was pretty tough to take. Plus, our seats were way down the third base line in the bleachers. We ended up spending most of the game walking around in the shade and smearing on the sun screen. The Giants ended up winning the game 11-3.

On Monday, we drove to Mesa and arrived early enough to see the Cubs Minor Leaguers in their workouts. My son Joey was pleased when they tossed a couple of balls over the fence to him. We then took the long walk to the stadium to see the Cubs take on the Royals. We had great seats, thankfully in the shade. Jeremy Affeldt pitched well for the Royals, but the Cubs prevailed 3-2. Before the game, we saw the great Buck O'Neil. My son took a ball down for him to sign. Buck told Joey he had to catch the ball before he'd sign it. He made Joey go up the steps, and he then tossed the ball and Joey caught it. Buck then signed it. He's a very charming man. After the game, we drove up to Usery Pass and walked through the desert. It was an enjoyable walk, even though we didn't quite make it all the way to the top of the mountain.

On Tuesday, we drove to Surprise and arrived early enough to see the Royals work out before their game. It's fun seeing these guys in this relaxed atmosphere enjoying themselves as they prepare for the long season. During batting practice, Joey and I moved out beyond the left field fence to try and snag a home run ball. Juan Gonzalez hit one that was coming right toward me. I thought I would have a chance and grabbing it until it went over the fence - into the next field. The shot had to be about 430 feet. He can really mash. We got Garth Brooks' autograph and then headed into the stadium for the game.

The Royals played the Rangers and they hit well against Kenny Rogers. The Royals ended up winning 12-7. We saw Mike MacDougal wandering around the concourse, so we got his autograph.

What a great trip. I'm really anxious for the season to start, and am already planning next year's trip to Arizona.

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