Spring Training Trip to Phoenix, March 14-22, 2012
I've been going down to Phoenix to watch "cactus league" spring training baseball, since 1994, only missing one year since '94. Since 2010, I've been driving down to Phoenix in my own car, saving money on airfare and rental cars, though the long drive can be quite tiring. I split the trip down to Phoenix in two days, spending the night with my sister and her family in Lancaster; then traveling on to Phoenix the next day.
The whole trip is about 1,700 total miles. I've been making the trip from Phoenix-to-Hayward in one day, a whopping 780 miles driven in one day. I eat dinner at the Harris Ranch Restaurant off of I-5 near Coalinga, as the major stop / break along the return trip.
My friends from Oakland and Portland usually come down for a weekend, and this year we saw the Seattle Mariners play the Oakland Athletics in Phoenix on Friday night (March 16); the Chicago Cubs play the Oakland A's on St. Patricks Day; and the Oakland A's at the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday, March 18. Unfortunately, it was raining and hailing on us at the A's/D'Backs game, so we cut out early and went to the airport.... We tried to get tickets to the A's/Giants game (at Scottsdale) for March 17, but the only available seats were the grass seats behind the outfield for $45 apiece. So, we opted to see the A's "split squad" game in Phoenix.
The next few days I spent watching the Oakland A's minor league teams play at Papago Park, their practice facilities just north of the Phoenix Municipal Stadium. The minor league games are pretty low-key, and sometimes you'll see the major leaguers take at-bats. Wednesday, March 21, I saw Manny Ramirez, Kurt Suzuki, Yoenis Cespedes, Coco Crisp, Josh Reddick, Jonny Gomes, all take at-bats in a Papago Park AAA game.....
One of these years I'll head down to Tucson to see the caves at Kartchner Caverns State Park; and return to the Sonora Desert Museum outside of Tucson. It might make sense to head there, before heading to see more baseball in Phoenix.