Thursday, January 22, 2009

Almost That Time Again

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.


24 comments:

Tom said...

I can hardly wait. I also wish that I could get down there for some games, but that ain't gonna happen.

Thanks again for your spring training posts!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing this blog. It is much appreciated by those of us who can't go to Arizona.

Jordan said...

Thanks again for doing this! Can't wait for the action to start. I think this spring training is going to be a lot more wide open than past spring trainings.

RMD said...

Great tosee you back, wish Icould come down &take some of those tix off your hands!!

Well, I might just try & pull it off.

Looking forward to your posts!!!

Rory
AKA 44Stretch

Giantfan9 said...

Hey Rory, good to hear from you. Another season is about to start.

Anonymous said...

Woo hoo. The first sign of baseball. Thanks for taking on the task again Hank. Looking forward to it as always.

Ginger

55saveslives said...

NICE!
GF9's blog is what I look forward too at this time of year!!

Luigino said...

Thee agony is almost over! Thanks for raising my spirits. Giants Baseball is almost back. Looking forward to your reports!

Anonymous said...

Luigino, I totally know what you mean about the agony. The day after the Giants' last game in 2008, I seriously considered wearing black for the day. Several months without baseball is nothing less than cruelty. Baseball is a religion. The other sports don't cut it. Football is a vulgar scrum. Basketball is a playground trifle. Baseball, elegant precise baseball, that is the sport of kings.

Anonymous said...

I googled "giants jottings" and this is the first item!

GF9 is becoming HUGE!!

steveb said...

Giants Jottings is the best way to start the season. I'll be following your blog from Tokyo and am looking forward to your pics and comments.

Mary said...

I look forward to your coverage every year!

Anonymous said...

It is a pleasure to have you back!

babz said...

Hey Hank. I absolutely love and look forward to your blog every year. It's a sure sign that baseball is right around the corner once again. Thanks so much for helping to feed the addiction!

greg8370 said...

Spring is in the air and it's a balmly 20 degrees here today in south eastern Connecticut.
Looking forward to those great pictures!

allfrank said...

The painfully long and tedious Winter nears it's end. And in a few days we will have your great blog to look forward to. I am going to the 3/19,20 (in Glendale), and 22 games (my first SF ST) - already have my tickets. Any recommendations on hotel/resorts in the $150 range?

Giantfan9 said...

Hey Allfrank....glad you are able to come down. Sorry, I can't help with hotels. I bought my condo in July 2002......so it has been 7 years since I stayed in a hotel in Scottsdale. WOW...has it really been that long? Amazing.

Anonymous said...

As a Giantsfan in Sweden, this blog is a fantastic way to keep up och get prepared for the new season. One of the highlights last spring was coming into work, start up the computer and then read your latest article about the previous days activites over a fresh cup of coffee. Makes the dreadful subway commute every morning a bit more tolerable...

Anyway, just wanted to let you know this blog is deeply appreciated, not least by those of us who follow the Giants from halfaway around the world!

//Lars in Stockholm

Anonymous said...

This blog is essential to my existence. Its been too long, I can't go on much longer without some baseball.

kevin said...

Horray football is over, Make way for baseball! Love the post, my third year coming to your site! Trying to get the first game might be asking about those tickets!
-Kevin-

Giantfan9 said...

Tix still available.....but I have to put them on StubHub soon. I wait as long as possible because typically fans of the other team buy them. And I hate sharing my seats with the opposition.....even in Spring Training.

Anonymous said...

Baseball is coming! Baseball is coming! I anxiously await your appearance every Jan./Feb., and am so excited you're keeping up this blog. Thank you thank you thank you!

Dennis said...

Hank,
Great to see you back in Arizona. Looking forward to your pix and commentary.

Anonymous said...

Any idea where and when the Giants hold their annual S.T. dinner?....Happened to be eating at Don and Charlie's a few years ago when the had their meeting there and got to see and meet players and announcers.