Tuesday, February 4, 2014



The start of another baseball season is less than a week away and I just got my hands on some 2014 Topps baseball cards. I can't stop looking at team websites, gathering player photos and sorting out the baseball cards to team sets and moving players who have been traded or signed as free agents to their new team stack. I have baseball fever and my temperate is rising.


I kept my promise and went to the Cubs open house for their new Spring Training stadium. When we arrived both the wife and I were shocked that it was decked out with live band and hot air balloon rides. Looked like a festival with the stadium and training complex as the main event. They even had sports cards and memorabilia dealers with guest Michael Floyd (NFL Cardinals & Notre Dame $40-$50) and Bill Madlock (Cubs 74-76 15 year MLB player with 163 career home runs $20) signing autographs. I did not know it would be this big of an open house, I thought we would be in and out in less than a hour and it turned into a full afternoon event. This time, they had pocket schedules. No give-a-way games, but did see the Cubs and Mets are going to play two games in Las Vegas 15-16 March. Not sure why a Grapefruit team and Cactus team  are meeting on natural ground in Las Vegas? Both teams are using split squids, will it be a mix of major and minor, I guess we just have to wait and see.

After fighting the traffic and finally finding a parking space we walk into the stadium. We stop at ever point taking pictures and resting in the seats taking in the view. The players enter the field just outside the teams dugout and that section is blocked off for press only, so getting autographs will be hard at this stadium. Unless, they sign along the rails around the first and third base line. The back stop had a brick wall just like Wrigley Field, the only thing missing was the ivy on the outfield wall. From the right field lawn to the party deck in left field to behind the plate it's a nice park. It was a little pass 2:00 pm and most of the stadium seats were cover from the sun, however the sun was hot in the outfield area. If your going to a game keep this in mind when you get your tickets. From what I have read, Cubs have one of the best attendance in spring training and the only tickets left might be the outfield lawn.

We could not get into the team complex, but the weight room was open and we walked around the practice fields. There are two fields up front, most likely the Major League field, one in-field, pitching mound 8-10 can pitch at a time, 12 indoor batting cage and in the back 4 Minor League fields. There is a look out patio you can stand and see all four minor league fields. A good place to stand when you want to find that prospect your looking for his autograph or just take in the practice and get out of the Arizona sun.


Located at 10710 W Camelback RD, Phoenix AZ. This complex is huge and lots of parking. Speaking of parking, it free on game days. Of all stadiums to have free parking I would not have thought this would be one of them. The stadium was closed and there are no tours, so I did not take any pictures. Game tickets range from $8-$44. The White Sox complex is closes to Camelback road and the Dodgers complex is on the other side of the stadium. The good news is spring training starts early this year for the Dodgers 9 Feb  9:00 am - noon as they open the season Australia.  Not sure why they would start practice on a Sunday, but I will find my way out to Camelback and get a early taste to the start of the 2014 season. The White Sox will start spring training on 15 Feb 9:00 am - noon. I asked about autograph days, but there are no players commented to a certain days yet. I was told that players autograph day would be posted on or one of the teams other media sites. More than likely, these autograph days will be part of the spring training games played in the stadium. I would like to find Frank Thomas walking around practice one day and get his autograph with HOF 14.


Located at 3600 N 51st Ave, Phoenix AZ. Of all the ballparks I have seen, this one is located in the middle of busy town with one entrance in and out and having to cross over the intersection may be hard unless cops/ security control traffic. Parking is $6 on game day. Game ticket range from $8-$23. To my surprise there are 9 give-a-way days and 8 of them are bobbleheads. March 1 Carlos Gomes (2,000),3rd Hank Arron (2,000), 6th Ben Oglivie (2,000), 7th Cerveceros day, 10th George Scott (2,000), 15th Polish Racing Sausage (2,000), 17th Gorman Thomas (2,000), 22nd Harvey Kuenn (2,000) and 27th Ryan Braun (500). The stadium was open and we were allowed in to walk around. It was the first day of business for the stadium as they had workers stocking the team store and workers putting the seat in at the stands. There is only one entrance on and off the field and it's located near the right field wall. The wall is a little high, but you can still drop a ball over the wall to get signed. I would not try cards, books or photos unless they are on a clipboard with string.

I have to make at least one stop to a minor league practice to get a Kent State Alumni.

I have complete 8 of the 10 teams complexes. The remain two are Angels and A's. However, their box office do not open until after spring training has already begun. I will not have a chance to preview these two complexes, but may still make a trip and try to get some autographs. From some blogs I have read Mike Trout is very fan friendly and I may have a chance to get his autograph. The Angels only visit Goodyear once this year and there is only a 50% chance he will travel and play an away game.

I have already gotten my tickets for the first five games at Goodyear, Reds and  Indians play each other the first three game and the next two are give-a-way games. I'm asking around the RV park looking to see if anyone wants to get discount tickets with me instead of getting all 30 game tickets at one time.


My school, Kent State will kick off the 2014 baseball season with three games against Arizona on 14-16 Feb. I have already gotten the tickets for all three games and will continue to work on my Kent State Alumni autograph collection. They are custom made photos with the player in his college uniform, the school logo and the players name with open space in the middle for the player's autograph. I also have several more for the players who now play for MLB teams who will be in Arizona for MLB spring training. The hardest part was finding the right photos with large pixels to fit and look good. Kent State looks good this year for another run at the MAC title (13 MAC Championship and/or MAC Tournament tiles in the last 14 years) with seven players (four under class men and three upper class men) on the team who have been drafted by MLB teams (but, decided to attend college), along with a few more upper class men who have a good change at getting drafted in June. Kent State has had 5 or more player drafted 4 out of the last 5 years.

Arizona is ranked #33 and they have a really good team, but ... I am, Kent State. GO FLASH!

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