You wake up, crawl out of bed and take a look out your window. What do you see? Six inches of cold, wet snow and your ugly neighbor taking out the trash. You think to yourself “This sucks. It was like 70 degrees yesterday!” March in Colorado can be a bit of a dick, but fear not, I have the cure to baseball cabin fever: Scottsdale, AZ. I first experienced it last year while in Phoenix, and it was awesome. Here before you lie 5 reasons why Scottsdale/Phoenix is the cure for your literal hangover from drowning your baseball sorrows with alcohol and watching highlights of last year on the internet.
1. The weather: No time of year is uglier than late winter in Front Range, Colorado. The temperature is 55 and windy as hell, so it feels like 35. Scottsdale this time of year is 73 without a cloud in the sky. Your near transparent skin will turn a strange shade darker, its called a “tan”. Weird huh? Pack your flip-flops and sunglasses.
2. Scottsdale is the epicenter of Spring Training Mecca: No other sport allows fans from all teams this side of the Mississippi to congregate in one area to watch them practice and play. Unlike the dumb east coast Grapefruit League, all Cactus League teams play in the same general Phoenix metro area. Scottsdale is the nice part of town. Here, you’ll find hardcore fans proudly repping their hood via jerseys and hats. These people know their stuff too. They aren’t the ignorant assholes who ask you, “What ever happened to Larry Walker? That guy was sick.” These are stats-loving, baseball 24/7 minded people who don’t mess around. Simply walk 10 minutes to your teams stadium to enjoy a game. Then follow them as they go on a two day road trip… all just blocks away from your hotel.
3. All the fun without emotional baggage: Just like meaningless sex, you get to watch your favorite team play where the score means absolutely nothing. You don’t get angry at the umpire if he makes an awful call. You don’t get mad at the other team’s fans. Your life isn’t over if your closer blows a 5 run lead. None of it matters! The sun is out, the beer is flowing, and everyone is smiling. I’m not kidding, literally everyone is happy. You remind yourself that this is just a game, at least until Opening Day, then it becomes life and death again.
4. ASU is right around the corner: Wanna chill with students from the public university with the highest (85%) acceptance rate in the nation? Leggo. ASU is one of the biggest party schools in America and winter/spring time is like their summer. They too have sat inside all day, not waiting for summer, but for winter. That means they’re all trying to get their partying in before its 120 degrees (what they claim to be a “dry heat”) outside. Why not join in after a game?
5. Salt River Fields at Talking Stick is unreal: The Rockies/D-Backs new training facility is the best in baseball. If your really crazy, you can go hang out hours before the game or even days when there is no game and watch your favorite players take BP, field grounders, or perform bullpen sessions. The best part about the stadium is the grass lawn outfield seating. The grass feels like a cool, green carpet. The best part of the lawn is that during BP, you can literally sprint after home run balls to catch because there are no seats to dodge, just little kids who think they can catch a ball over you. And once you get that ball you look at the kid with the oversized glove and say, “I earned this ball, theres no way in hell I’m giving it to you.” And you don’t. Ever. Never give game balls to little kids. Thats communism.
So there you have it; 5 reasons why you can’t call yourself a fan if you don’t check out Spring Training, Cactus League style. Enjoy the sun, get stoked, cause in less than a month it’s back for real, the Dark Ages will be over!
Notes: Average Spring Temperature in Scottsdale, AZ: 77 degrees (www.scottsdalecvb.com).
Arizona State University ranked no. 3 party school in the nation in 2011 according to Playboy behind Penn State and CU Boulder.