Spring Training Experience At Salt River Fields
Spring Training isn’t about winning games, it’s about seeing the stars take the field for the first time in four months, and giving up-and-comers a chance to show they have what it takes to join the rest in The Show. It’s about reconnecting with other fans with a hot dog and a beer.
Salt River Fields is one of the most beautiful training facilities I have ever seen. And ticket prices aren’t bad going from $10 for the lawn up to $31.50 for home plate, making it accessible to everyone.
Part of what makes Salt River Fields so great is how close fans are to the players. Get there early, and you’ll see fans and players lined up along the foul line for autographs for both teams (I myself managed to grab Ian Kennedy and Wade Miley among others). The bullpens for both sides are right amongst the stands. I sat alongside the Rockies bullpen and hearing the ball snap in the bullpen catcher’s glove every time Juan Nicasio threw was impressive to say the least.
Congregating amongst the fans is one of the best parts of Spring Training. Everyone is just glad the game is back. I had a discussion with several people on Sunday about their excitement for both teams to improve this year.
One woman lamented over the Rockies’ year last year and Todd Helton‘s DUI. But those things didn’t cast a shadow on 2013 for her. For every fan (even Cubs fans), each Spring Training shows why “this is their year”.
This weekend’s Spring Training opener between the D’backs and the Rockies gave us plenty of opportunity to see both teams dominate. (Rockies win 11-2 on Saturday, Diamondbacks win 8-6 Sunday).
Saturday’s game started with Tyler Skaggs pitching for the D’backs and Drew Pomeranz for the Rockies. Skaggs struggled through 1.2 innings, and committing 2 errors that allowed 4 runs to cross in the first two innings. Pomeranz didn’t do much better, but only allowed 2 runs in as many innings. He also gave up 2 errors and 2 walks.
Heath Bell impressed, in that while he did allow 2 hits, he came back with a double-play ground out and a strike out, preventing the Rockies from taking further advantage. Hopefully this is the 2011 Bell and not the 2012.
Sunday’s game featured Patrick Corbin of the D’backs against Jeff Francis of the Rockies. Both pitchers threw scoreless innings, but Corbin shined a bit more with 4 strike outs. Juan Nicasio managed a scoreless third, but gave up 4 runs in the fourth. He has a 96 mph fast ball, but that wasn’t enough.
Adam Eaton played great offense, managing 3 hits in 4 at bats, 1 run, and 1 RBI. Eric Hinske also managed 3 hits, scoring twice, and 2 RBI’s. Aaron Hill didn’t manage to get any hits, but showed he still has plenty of power left in his bat.
There’s still plenty of spring training left to be played, but it looks exciting for both teams. Hopefully the Rockies will be able to overcome the pitching woes they faced last year (let’s hope for a full rotation at the least). The D’backs look to maintain their pitching excellence while needing to provide those same pitchers with more insurance late game.
All in all, February is the perfect time of year, baseball is back!
David Culver is an avid baseball fan along with his wife. He will receive a degree in English with a minor in Social Justice from ASU this May. Find his blog at dfculver.mlblogs.com and on Twitter @dfculver.