This week marks the beginning of Spring Training in Phoenix. Our temperatures are in the mid 70's and our days are sunny and warm; time for grown men to, once again, take the field and play a child's game. There is much to love about spring training. Phoenix and the surrounding cities love it because it brings precious tax dollars to our budget-constrained state. Businesses love it because it brings profits. Hotels and rental car agencies and bars and restaurants enjoy the business boost.
I've lived in some lovely places, San Diego and Hawaii but I've got to say that Phoenix has the best winter and spring weather. But it is Spring Training I enjoy the most here. Folks come from all over; they join the snow bunnies from the midwest to come and watch their teams begin to come together anew in preparation for the long season. I live within three miles of the Peoria spring home of the Padres and Marinerers and within seven miles of the Surprise Stadium that hosts both the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals. Whenever I visit a restaurant or business during this time of year there is a festive air. Baseball fans are some of the best folks on the planet and the spirit of joy and happiness prevails among the loyal ball-capped fans.
In nearby Peoria, Padres and Mariners fans can chow down at your choice of a hundred great restaruants. You can grab breakfast at Denny's or IHOPs, scarf a mid-morning snack at Krispy Kreme donuts, quaff a beer at a blue collar or upscale bar, have an amazing burger at InNOut Burger, put down some great barbecue at Dave's, and never have to walk more than two blocks. Ah, life is good!
Since the Diamondbacks moved from Tucson and built a new spring training facility in Phoenix all of the Cactus League teams are situated within a twenty-mile radius and Arizonans love to host baseball fans. It's a fun time of year. Yes, Arizona continues to bring in the big bucks from the college bowl games, and businesses love the money that flows into Glendale in January. But, the most fun to be had here is truly during the spring training season.
So, Cub fans, Padre fans, Ranger fans, Giant fans...all of you baseball nuts, come on over, the days are warm and sunny, the skies are blue, the locals friendly and hope blooms anew that "your" team will be the one to catch lightening in a bottle and win the pennant.