To me, Spring Training always seemed like one of those things to hear about, talk about, think about, but never really do. It was my cruise of the Mediterranean, my safari in Africa, or a stroll by the Great Wall of China. In short, one of those adventures that appear in your mind’s eye, but you just never get around to doing.
This year, though, it happened. The cruise and the other stuff are still in the hopper; but Spring Training has finally sprung. It started when my father decided that he would like to go to Arizona to play some golf and see a bit of Spring Training this year. After I thought about it a bit, it seemed like the perfect time to join him. A little father – son time, some golf in the desert, and some Reds. It was a pretty good mix.
It turned out to be a wonderful week where we played a couple of rounds of golf, took in six Reds games between two different parks, saw batting practice a few times, minor league practices, and a pair of minor league intrasquad games.
All in all, pretty cool. The feel of the games are more like minor league stadiums, but you can see the major league players. It’s more up close and personal, and more relaxed.
I certainly don’t have the talent of BubbaFan, but here are a few pictures of the trip to give those of you a small flavor of the Spring Training experience.
Arizona State is nearby, and they have a sort of Hall of Fame museum adjacent to their football stadium. Here is the jersey of a former Sun Devil, and current Red pitcher, hanging in both prominent and rather infamous company. The strange thing is that the curator told us when they put that Bonds jersey in the display; it was the size of GI Joe uniform. They also tried to get the helmet from when he played for them since it was the last human-sized helmet that Bonds wore. Also, originally Leake’s home jersey was in the case, but he came by some time last year to exchange it for the away one. Thank you folks, I’ll be here all week. Try the veal.
One of the rookies that I hope will have a great first season is shown here taking a pitch. In a sight not too unusual for Spring Training, there are several empty seats near home plate.
The Player Development Complex, or "the back fields". These are about a mile or so down the road from the Goodyear Stadium.
Jim Riggleman talks to a couple of other coaches in the Reds’ system.
Mr. Perfect, Tom Browning, pitches BP to some minor leaguers in camp.
Browning throws pitch-ez to the hitters.
Badly framed behind a chain-link fence, is Ken Griffey, Sr., shown coaching third base for the AA team in a minor league intrasquad game. He earned his keep by giving Billy Hamilton the steal sign every time he was on base.
Since there is some Costanzo love on this site, here is his appearance in the AA-AAA intrasquad game.
Frazier honing his craft.
Cozart works on his double-play feeds. The man with his head gruesomely cut off as if the person using this camera has no idea at all what he’s doing, is Devin Mesoraco. Catchers take infield with their catcher’s mitts sometimes to work on fielding balls in the dirt. Also, many different people help the middle infielders with double-play feeds, as even Votto does this sometimes.
Hall of Famer (Boy does that have a nice ring to it) Barry Larkin instructs Henry Rodriguez on the throw when turning a double-play.
The man, the myth, the moustache, Corky Miller.
Current Reds, Stubbs, Votto, and Bruce share a laugh with former Red and current Rockie, Ramon Hernandez prior to their game.
A poor photo of my childhood idol, Johnny Bench, who, accompanied by Joe Morgan and Eric Davis, was on the field with Larkin when he threw out the first pitch.
Johnny shows off the jacket that Pete Rose’s hat guy designed for him.
Mat Latos delivers his final warmup pitch prior to mowing down some batters.
Coming in from the bullpen car, a 1988 Delorean driven by Doc Brown, and powered by 1800 jigawatts of nostalgia, it’s Brett Tomko.
Didi Gregorious impressed many in his stint in the Reds camp. I think that he could have a very bright future. This uncomfortably close picture was taken by a zoom lens and my camera was not actually touching his cheek as this photo would imply.
Bronson Arroyo looks to get a leg up on his completion this Spring. #greenhats
Cozart takes his lead at third while Mark Berry looks on.
Cozart cruises into third with a triple. In what I hope will be a good omen for the season, he was always on base. He had some of the best at-bats the whole time I was there.
Believe it or believe it, this is Walt Jockety heading away from the game.
The cloudy sky creates a nice background as I surreptitiously snap the picture of Jockety streaming past us.
Mike Leake at the plate. Off the chart xFlip for not only the high socks, but high stirrups.
Brandon Phillips fouls one back.
Just after BP was grinding and bumping to the music with Ellis Burks and Eric Davis.
The crafty lefthander makes an earlier appearance in the booth. Also, I don’t care what anyone else says, he is one of my favorite Reds announcers.
I think that I like this guy, too. But I feel like I have to do this: Jonh Fya examines his iPad at a Resd gmea. (upside-down no less)
Pitcher’s got a rubber arm!
The first sign of wind all week brings an eerie storm over Goodyear.
This is the scoreboard and interior of Chase Field. The Diamondbacks home turf is also close and they have three morning tours most every day to take you through the stadium. It costs $7 and is a nice way to spend 90 minutes. You get to see some of the bowels of the stadium that you would never get to see on a game day and we even went into the visiting lockerroom.
The scoreboard has an artistic feel to it. The whole Camelback Ranch complex, and especially the stadium, is like an art project. The colors are very "deserty" and they tried to make things blend in with nature and be aesthetically pleasing. It is a neat area and does have a different feel than Goodyear.
At Camelbank Ranch, Kelch grimaces while the Cowboy spends his third consecutive inning talking about ribs.
Bailey on the hill. In a topsy-turvy Spring, this was one outing where Bailey looked good.
Former Reds’ fan favorite, Adam Dunn, prepares to take a mighty hack at a game played at Camelback Ranch.
From the old Red to the new (and now forever) Red, Votto strokes one to left against the Sox.