We're back from our trip to Brewers Spring Training. We logged 4 games, 3 at Maryvale, 1 at Scottsdale Stadium, and 1 Phoenix Suns game. We ate In-N-Out Burger, drank margaritas and ate spicy Mexican food and witnessed a tilted kilt. No, I didn't turn into a man. But it was definitely a dudes' kind of weekend. Here are my top 5 favorite things about Spring Training:
1. THE WARM, SUNNY WEATHER: Even when it was cloudy and 70 degrees, I still got sunburned. And it was glorious. You forget what sun feels like when you endure a Wisconsin winter. If you go, bring lots and lots of sunscreen. Shade slowly covers the seats behind home plate and left field by 3:30pm. Everything else is prime tanning locale.
2. SEEING NEW CHANGES: Every year comes with multiple roster changes. This preseason saw the departure of Prince and the injury of Hart. Therefore, there were new faces and plenty of new plays being tackled. Aoki looks great in right field, his hitting is improving. Gamel on 1st is shaky, but I think he'll get the hang of it and he is a powerhouse hitter. Braun plays only a few innings during training, but still hit a nice home run on Friday. Conrad is pretty versatile infielder, so we'll see where he ends up during the regular season. Morgan was hit by a ball on Saturday and hasn't quite returned to normal. Hang in there, T-Plush!
3. SITTING ON THE GRASS: Several spring training ballparks have grass berms to watch the game (Goodyear, Salt River Fields, Tempe Diabo Stadium, Hohokam, etc) and catch some sun. Many people bring blankets and spread out in the grass, relax, have a picnic and catch home runs or foul balls. And eventually, due to the length of the games (most near 4hrs), sitting turns into sleeping.
4. SEATING IS FLEXIBLE: After a few innings, seating at most stadiums is pretty flexible. Weekday games aren't usually sold out. So if the beautiful Arizona sun rays have turned against you and you're dying for shade or the gentleman behind you is a little too fanatical, you can just get up and find an open seat in the stadium. Unless you're brazen about it, finding a more comfortable seat is perfectly acceptable. Almost everyone at the game is on vacation so people are pretty laid back.
5. BEING AMONGST THE FANS: When you fly out to Phoenix from Milwaukee, over half the plane is filled with Brewers fans. You'll see those same Brewers fans at restaurants and at multiple games. There's a community feel to Spring Training. Those at Spring Training are die hard fans - you have to be to make the trek cross country. So it's wonderful to see everyone supportive of the players, talking shop, and sporting Brewers gear head to toe.
.......And just for the record, Spring Training DOES have sausage races!