Well folks, it's almost that time of year again. 23 days until Giants pitchers and catchers report. Hard to believe isn't it? Each year seems to get shorter than the last.
I will be heading down to Scottsdale, Arizona on February 4th this year. Plenty early to get prepared for the "big day". After all.......I do need to acclimatize myself to those 75-80 degree days. You can't just go cold turkey from the cool windy climate of San Francisco to the warm desert weather. Just like in the past few years, I plan to attend most, if not all, of the Giants' practices and games for the duration of Spring Training. As in the past, I plan to post photos and narrative on each day's happenings.......at least until "burn out" sets in.
For those that don't know, Spring Training is A LOT longer this year than in past years. Even though the regular season is starting 6 days later than in 2008 (the latest start I can ever remember and I believe the latest in history)........the Giants first game in Arizona is on February 25th vs. the Indians.....3 days EARLIER than their first game in 2008. The Giants' schedule includes a total of 37 games in Arizona.......7 more than in 2008 and 21 home games..........6 more than in 2008. That's something like 6 more games than the Giants have EVER played in Cactus League competition. They claim the WBC Tournament is to blame.......but ever being the cynic, I think it is just a way to make more $$$$ without raising the ticket prices.
I am not sure how the Giants got away with scheduling 21 home games vs only 16 away games. Usually, it's pretty near 50-50. Not only that, but of the Giants 16 away games, 3 are split squad affairs where they are also playing a home game at the same time. So that means only 13 games to attend on the road. Good news for me, since I have season tickets for all the home games. Shorter drive........easier to find the time after the games to post here. All around win-win situation for me....except the additional cost of 4 more tickets to 6 more games.
Which leads into a short commercial interruption here. I have 2 tickets available to each of the home games from February 26th through March 7th and from March 29th through April 1st. They are 5 rows behind the 3B dugout, about as close as you can get to the action......face value $25 per ticket. If anyone is interested post a comment and we will work out a way to exchange e-mail addresses and get it done. End of commercial.
In other Spring Training news the Cactus League continues to grow. The Cleveland Indians are returning to the desert this year, to a brand new facility in Goodyear (SW Phoenix area). They used to play in Tucson when I first started coming to Spring Training, but moved to Florida about 15 years ago. Some of you will remember their old Spring Training site, Hi Corbett Field (where the Rockies now play), from the movie "Major League". The Dodgers (BOOOOOOOOO) are also coming to Arizona, for the first time, this year. Although they are not changing leagues, the Chicago White Sox are moving up to the Phoenix area from Tucson and will be sharing a field with the Dodgers in Glendale (W Phoenix area). Starting next year, the Cincinnati Reds will also be moving to the Cactus League and will be sharing the facility with the Indians in Goodyear.
When the Indians moved to Florida, the Cactus League was down to 6-7 teams. And of those teams, the Padres played in Yuma, Arizona and the Angels played in Palm Springs, California.......both VERY long road trips. Many predicted the collapse of the Cactus League in those days. Far from it. Now, there are 14 teams in Arizona and in 2010, there will be 15.........exactly the same number as there are in the Grapefruit League. What a change. Back in the day, we used to watch the Giants play the same teams 5-6-7 times in the spring. Now, the most they play any team is 4 times (Oakland) and they play most teams only twice.....even with the inflated 2009 spring schedule.
Well, enough of the history lesson. Suffice to say that I have seen many changes over the years.....mostly for the better.
That's about it for this post. I will probably post a few more times over the next couple of weeks, as I work on some technical things and as subjects come to mind. I won't be posting regularly until the first official workout of the pitchers and catchers on February 15th. I hope that most of you that I lost over the regular and off-seasons will tune back in for Spring Training 2009 - Youth Movement Phase II.