Arizona is the home of 15 teams for the spring and the schedule, when folded out show 14 of them on one side and one on the back (Rangers) along with the schedules.
The first game we went to was in Surprise, AZ at Surprise Stadium. This stadium is shared by the Rangers and Royals and we saw the Giants take on the Rangers.
The Giants recent World Series Championships were acknowledged in several places around the park including these nice plaques on the wall in the concourse.
Finally, one of the coolest things about the experience were a couple of retired stars hanging around the park each day signing autographs. You could purchase balls, 8 X 10's, bats, etc. for a donation to a local charity. While they weren't Hall of Famers, they were definitely stars from the past.
On Friday at Surprise, Willie Wilson and Bert Campaneris were in attendance. I clearly remember watching Wilson in the 1980 and 1985 World Series while I am a little too old to remember Campaneris in his prime but remember stories about him playing all 9 positions in a game and helping the A's win 3 straight World Series in the early 70s. I decided to get a signed ball from each of them and they were both extremely nice and look the time to chat with my son.
At Scottsdale Stadium, there were 3 players set up to sign, Lee Smith, Gary Matthews and Jim "Mudcat" Grant. Lee Smith wasn't at the table much and I didn't just want to pick up a ball off the table, I was hoping to see him sign it and interact a bit. Grant isn't someone I remember much of so I decided just to pick up a ball from Matthews. He signed it The Sarge and 73 NL ROY - very cool! I had to take 2 pictures to capture the inscriptions.
On Day 3, Lee Smith and Mudcat Grant were back and Matthews was replaced by Willie Wilson. Luckily Smith was hanging around the table and I was able to get an autographed ball from him. Cool inscriptions with his career save number and jersey number. I talked with him a bit and told him that in my opinion he deserved to be in the HOF and he thanked me. When looking at Grant's table I noticed he had authored a book. I have quite a decent Baseball book collection so I decided to pick up a copy and get is signed.
If you made it this far I am impressed, it was more to help me remember and capture my thoughts, hope you got something out of the post as well. I will leave you with my favorite picture from the trip, there is nothing like spending one-on-one time with one of your 3 kids on a baseball focused trip.