On Not Being Very Cool…
When we first got here, I had high hopes of composing a really awesome “Things to do at spring training” post for you all. I knew it was going to be a challenge for a temporary resident of Goodyear, Arizona, but I didn’t rule it out as a possibility. I even sacrificed myself to a borderline lousy sports bar that I wont name in hopes of being able to tell you that they serve wicked good french fries. Unfortunately, I cannot report anything fun and this post right here is my white flag- I surrender.
Although I haven’t spent considerable time around any AZ ballpark aside from Peoria, we do have quite a bit of free time to kill during spring training. Until attempting to gather my thoughts on the matter, I hadn’t realized that Mat and I are really lame. When Mat’s at the ballpark, I can most likely be found working out, sweating a small lake at Bikram yoga, grocery shopping, running errands, being the secretary, housekeeper, or something else you wouldn’t want to do while visiting spring training. Once he’s off work, we usually grab a quick lunch and return home to either play Call of Duty, watch a movie, the History channel, Animal Planet, or the Discovery channel. I cook dinner, we go to bed, and then we do it all over again. What I’m trying to say here is that you can’t write a blog about cool things to do when you aren’t cool.
This brings me to a somewhat unrelated point; It amuses me that Mat has always been portrayed to be some out of control wild child. Not just because we’re boring and nerdy, but mostly because it’s the lamest case of judging a book by its cover. Yes, he’s young. Yes, he has tattoos. Yes, he will let you know if he feels disrespected and, yes, he goofs around a lot. All things considered, we may have quirky interests compared to your average baseball family and more tattoos than your local bike gang but, dude, we really are low-key, boring people. I mean HELLLLO, we’re MARRIED. Married people aren’t cool or wild. It’s just a scientific fact.
Let’s get back on track… When fans come to spring training, they want to know the fun places to go out, good places to eat, etc. etc. Let me just summarize an answer to this inquiry- if your team isn’t in or close to Scottsdale, may the force be with you. If you want to know the best place to go out, I can’t help you. If you want to know where to grab lunch, you have a line-up of chain restaurants and fast food to choose from. If you came here to watch baseball and see some of your favorite players up close and personal, you came to the right spot.
Goodyear ballpark (GYBP) is fancy. It might be one of my favorite ballparks in the cactus league. It’s not too big, not to small. The staff is always smiling and the stadium just feels good because fans are having fun. If you’re a Reds fan and you haven’t been to a game at GYBP, you should probably make it a point to check it out. I can’t speak from personal experience, but spring training seems to generally be a really fun experience for fans. Before games, you can catch batting practice at the complex down the road. Again, I don’t know what this may mean to you but I have heard someone exclaim, “DUDE… Votto was RIGHT there in front of me!!!” like a child who caught Santa with a new puppy in the living room… Probably similar to how I would feel if I ran into a giraffe that wanted to be my best friend.
This brings me to my final point. There’s a zoo nearby called Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium. If you have some free time while you’re here, check it out. Sure, it’s not paved and you are going to want to wear close-toed shoes to keep your feet kind of clean. It’s not huge and immaculate like the San Diego Zoo. It’s also kind of in the middle of nowhere. BUT… the reason I love it so much is because it’s not super crowded and you’re able to get really close to the animals. They even have a giraffe feeding station where YOU can feed their giraffes! HOW COOL IS THAT?! Not as cool as touching a sleeping leopard.
I’m not sure you’re supposed to touch the animals but there were no signs so I’ll take that as a, “Stick your fingers in here at your own risk, buddy”. Here’s this:
Sidenote: I couldn’t reach so Big Bird is the only one who got to touch the leopard. For this reason, you may want to just suck it up and wear some heels to the zoo. It may be your lucky day if you’re into touching large cats.
Also, Wildlife World Zoo attracts all sorts of famous people. I snagged a shot of Natalie Portman! (I fed her too, God knows she needs to eat).
If you really want to know how you should spend your free time at spring training, this tortoise has it all figured out. Be lazy and sit by a sprinkler.
So now you know.