Last Sunday, we made our way back up to Surprise for a game
between the Kansas City Royals and the Chicago Cubs. As expected, it was very
crowded what with it being a Sunday and of course the Cubs draw everywhere they
Surprise Stadium, home of the Rangers and Royals, is
probably my favorite of all the Cactus League stadiums. If you have infield
tickets on the Rangers side (first base) you’ll be in the shade for pretty
much the entire game. As far as I know, it’s
the only venue to offer free parking for Cactus League games so the $22.00
ticket becomes quite attractive compared to the rest of the venues.
On our first visit February 29, we spent $70.00 before the
game even began (2 tickets, 2 beers, 2 hot dogs and a bag of peanuts) so this
weekend we decided to check out the Home Run Party Deck. The party deck is
located in the outfield. Tickets are $35.00 and include admission to the game,
2 drink vouchers and an all you can eat buffet. SWEET! This definitely sounded
like a better deal.
The Party Deck is not the place to go, however, if you want
to watch the
game. If you get there early and score one of the seats along the
front row, the view is very good, but the trade-off is that you will be in
direct sunlight all day. From our table, which was in the second row under the
tent, there was nothing to watch except the Suns-Spurs game on the big screen
TV. The baseball game was such a laffer that everyone was more interested in
the basketball game anyway. There was a band playing prior to the game, and
played briefly between innings starting at about the end of the 6th
inning after they had caught up on their sleep from the night before. I was
disappointed that the buffet didn’t include hot dogs but instead consisted of
some semblance of Mexican fare. I’m not sure if it’s the same every Sunday or what
they do on the weekdays when I have seen the Party Deck extremely less crowded.
Now, here was the most pleasant surprise about the Party
Sunday, they bring a baseball player up for about an hour to pose
for photos and sign autographs. Yesterday, it was former 2nd
baseman Cookie Rojas. Fergie Jenkins will be the guest on March 16. On March 23 it
will be Rollie Fingers. That’s kind of a nice way to meet some former ballplayers,
and you don’t have to stay in the tent. You can walk around to other areas of
the ballpark. Also, here’s another little secret we discovered: you can upgrade
your game ticket to the Party Deck ticket for $10.00. I’m not sure if that
includes lawn tickets or not, but if you have $22.00 seats you can get into the
party tent for an extra $10.00. If you buy them ahead of time at the box office
they are $35.00.
This week we went to pick up tickets for the Feb 29th game in Surprise between the Rangers and Angels. (Funny, I think we saw them play each other there last year.) By the way, that’s a great name for a ballpark. Imagine my "surprise" to find out that infield box seats for a Spring Training game are now higher than our seats in the front row Down the Left Field Line at Chase Field.
ODDS and ENDS
Stephen Drew has arrived at camp – get ready for this, Ladies – "thicker".
Ah, we finally made it! Less than two weeks to go before the first Cactus League game. Everybody’s tied for first and hope springs eternal in the heart of every baseball fan. Even so, it’s good to be a Diamondbacker, drinking the sportswriters’ kool aid and dreaming of another Division title.
Meanwhile in Miami, Da Fish are looking for a few
good big men.
Is the future of spring training in Tucson in danger? The upcoming spring training season may be set,
but the 2009 season is very much up in the air due to questions surrounding the construction of a stadium in Glendale and the possible flight of major league teams from the Old Pueblo to the Valley of the Sun.
Crews are rushing to finish the
Dodgers/White Sox facility in Glendale prior to the spring of 2009 when the two teams are scheduled to relocate there from their current homes in Vero Beach, FL, and Tucson. The Dodgers could be coming to Arizona as late as 2010 should the
construction deadline not be met and the White Sox even later if no replacement
team for Tucson is found. There has also been some talk of the Dodgers
moving to the Cactus League as early as the final two weeks of spring training in 2008 to accommodate the team which will be playing exhibition games in Japan.
City and county contracts with all three MLB teams that train in Tucson
– the Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago White Sox, and Colorado Rockies – require three teams to hold spring training in the city. If one team leaves –
as the White Sox have announced their intention to do in 2009 – it would
provide the other two teams the opportunity to cite that fact and also shop
around for other host cities.
The White Sox are contractually obligated to find a
replacement team in order to break their lease at Tucson Electric Park, which runs through
2012. Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry said the White Sox have
assured him they will find a replacement team or honor their contract. But no replacement team has been found; and the team
potentially faces stiff penalties if it and Glendale’s other spring training
team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, don’t combine to play at least 20 home games in
Glendale in 2009.
Meanwhile, reports have surfaced that the Colorado Rockies
are in talks with the city of Goodyear about moving there. Goodyear wants a second spring training team, and the city
has talked with the Rockies in the last two
months. The Phoenix suburb is building a new stadium for the Cleveland Indians for the 2009 season,
but room could be made for another team.
According to Rockies spokesman Jay Alves, the mayor of the
city of Goodyear, Ariz.,
misspoke when he said Colorado had discussions about relocating there for spring training. The Rockies can opt
out of their lease in Tucson if the White Sox don’t find a replacement team. The Cincinnati Reds are the
leading candidate. The Rockies plan to talk with Tucson officials soon about their spring
Tucson also will probably
lose its Triple A team, the Tucson Sidewinders, to Reno, Nev.,