Day 6 – Video and Pictures
My Spring Training trip officially ended yesterday as the Seattle Mariners took on the Milwaukee Brewers in Maryvale. Whoever said that Arizona never gets rain and is always scorching hot was wrong. It was a damp, cold morning in which the area temperature was –get this — just six degrees warmer than Milwaukee.
Still, it was an enjoyable afternoon. I got up close to Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder and company out by the batting cages, then ran into former LumberKings closer Ruben Flores (’09) on the practice fields.
“Flo” had the opportunity to suit up for the Crew as the emergency man in the bullpen and was hoping to face the team that drafted him. Unfortunately for him (and me, as it would have made for great video), it didn’t happen.
My dream matchup was Flores against fellow former King Denny Almonte (’09), who was brought along as part of Seattle’s split squad that day. Sadly, Denny also did not get into the game.
I did get some video on Dustin Ackley, who got the start at second base and went 1-for-5 with a triple. The video I have wasn’t of the triple, but rather a frozen rope that would have dropped for a single if not for the ageless wonder Jim Edmonds, who made a shoestring catch to rob him.
Video of my last day in the Cactus League can be found here: “Scenes from Maryvale“.
The Maryvale back fields. It looks dreary, but that’s really only because of the weather. The fields are each named after a famous Brewer. I was somewhere between Paul Molitor Field, Rollie Fingers Field and Robin Yount Field.
Field this way, clubhouse that way.
Jim Edmonds stops to sign a few. A Brewer this Spring, a Red or a Pirate next year?
Ruben Flores suited up in Brewer blue.
Flores in the Brewer bullpen.
Denny Almonte on equipment bag detail.
Almonte up close.
Mariners’ GM Jack Zduriencik talking with Brewers broadcaster Bill Schroeder. I used to be Bill’s research/stats guy.
Dustin Ackley faces Brewers’ lefty Manny Parra.
Maryvale, my last Cactus League stop this year. I’ll be back.
And there you have it, five Cactus League games in six days (one rainout, unfortunately), five former LumberKings sighted and pictures/video of four different Spring Training facilities. Every baseball fan needs to experience Spring Training at least once in their lives, and I highly recommend the Cactus League because of the close proximity and overall quality of the parks.
If you have just one day to spend in AZ, I’d recommend going to Camelback Ranch. It’s the biggest of the Cactus League parks and has probably the best Southwestern feel and most unique back fields. You also can’t go wrong with the laid-back atmosphere in Peoria, where the palm trees lining the berm make you feel like you’ve gone to a tropical locale.
Now, with under 30 days left until the start of the season, it’s back to Clinton. See you there.