Disneyland? Heck No – I’m Going To Spring Training!

This past Sunday after our church worship service, we had a fellowship hour complete with food and a time to talk. As the writer of our church bulletin, I had mentioned that I would have to prepare the bulletins for February 24 and March 3 by February 20, as I would be away until March 4. This meant any bulletin information would have to be given to me prior to then. During the fellowship time I was asked where I was going and what I would be doing, and if my wife Elaine would be accompanying me.

I explained to a number of people that I was going to Phoenix without Elaine. When asked why, I further explained that I was going to Spring Training at Camelback Ranch. Some thought that Camelback was a dude ranch where folks ride camels. When questioned further about what I would be doing, I patiently explained eating, sleeping, breathing, watching, talking baseball – Dodger baseball. Somehow the word Dodger clarified it for a lot of them. Huh!

The only dudes at Camelback Ranch are baseball dudes - and there will be a lot of them! (Photo courtesy of camelbackranchbaseball.com)

The only dudes at this ranch are baseball dudes – and there will be a lot of them.
(Photo courtesy of camelbackranchbaseball.com)

During the conversations, with some of our folks giving me blank looks when I told them I would not be going to the Grand Canyon or doing other tourist attraction things in Arizona, I did try to explain a bit why I am coming to Phoenix.

First and foremost, I am coming because of the other Dodger fanatics I have met on the Inside the Dodgers, Dodger Dogs and ThinkBlueLA blog sites. Although I am not a traveler by nature, I felt I wanted to meet the people out there from around the continent that have put up with me for the past seven years or so. We have shared a lot of personal information and of course our love for a baseball team – the Dodgers. I don’t have a bucket list, but if I did, one of the clauses would be to meet the other members of this extended Dodger family. I also hope to perhaps run into the administrators of other Dodger blogs.

I am making the trip to again experience the sights and sounds that baseball brings. That is, to hear the crack of the bat, a sound of which one can never tire. There are sounds in my life that I never forget. Although it is no longer available to us, I loved the sound of horses coming across a wooden bridge. I love the sound of birds singing, hummingbirds humming, cats purring. I expect if I could only listen to one more sound it would be the crack of the bat which I haven’t heard for about 20 years. The last time was at Olympic Stadium in Montreal. I look forward to the sound of the ball hitting the glove, the fans cheering, the smell of food being prepared outdoors, maybe eating peanuts outdoors.

I have seen pictures of Camelback Ranch but certainly will not be able to fully appreciate the facility until I have experienced it. I still have mental pictures of Dodgertown in my mind. I can remember the relaxed atmosphere, the sand, the grass, the palm trees, the lack of concrete and pavement. I can remember Mike Scioscia hitting a home run in the ninth inning to extend the game, to my delight. I can remember Jamie finding baseballs beyond the outfield fence during BP. Of course, I remember my magic moment with Tommy Lasorda.

I am coming to Camelback Ranch to watch the game being played, even at ST speed. I hope to meet some of the present regular Dodger players. I am bringing baseball cards with the hopes of acquiring some autographs. I haven’t set any goals for whom or how many I would hope to acquire. Whatever happens, happens, and I will be grateful for any that I might get. I have included cards for the 40 man roster and each of the Dodger farm teams. That is not quite true. As of Monday (February 18) cards I ordered from Check Out My Cards are long overdue.

One of the best times for me will be to see the minor league players practice and hopefully see some of them get into a game. I absolutely love minor league baseball and would also hope to meet some of those players for a second or two. Unfortunately a number of the players I was following will not be there as they were traded last year – Allen Webster, Logan Bawcom, Ethan Martin, Leon Landry, Jerry Sands, Ryan O’Sullivan. However, there are many more youngsters battling for recognition and moving up because of those trades. I also am very interested in Kelvin De La Cruz who was picked up by the Dodgers.

Among the Dodgers prospects I'm hoping to see pitch is 24-year-old left-hander Kelvin De La Cruz. (Photo credit - Jon SooHoo)

Among the Dodgers prospects I’m hoping to see pitch is 24-year-old left-hander Kelvin De La Cruz.
(Photo credit – Jon SooHoo)

Some folks are going to Disneyland when they win the Super Bowl. I am going to Camelback Ranch because I have a wife who lets me. Oh yes, and to get my Dodger Blue tanked filled to the max again.

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10 Responses to “Disneyland? Heck No – I’m Going To Spring Training!”

  1. lindav says:

    What a wonderful article – I believe all of us feel exactly the same except that we’ve heard that “crack of the bat” more recently than you have. Can’t wait to meet you.

  2. KSparkuhl says:

    Wonderful article, Harold. I share the same sentiments as you do when it comes to baseball. I only wish that it were possible for us to meet this year. I can’t tell you how truly disappointed that I am unable to make the trip this year.

    I wish all of you a wonderful time and hope all of your Spring Training dreams are realized.

  3. OldBrooklynFan says:

    Very nice artilce Harold, I can’t wait to see you and the rest of the crew when I get there.

  4. ebbetsfld says:

    THREE DAYS AND COUNTING!

  5. Truebluewill says:

    I go along with what everyone else has said. Harold, you hit a Home Run with this article. You described how I feel about baseball and the Dodgers. You are right we have really become a Dodger family because of our blog and that has become very important to me because living in New York it’s very rare to find other people who actively root for the Dodgers (except for Joe and my neighbor Al). Finally I have other people who I can share my passion for the Dodgers with. Can’t wait to meet you and everybody else.

  6. CRANBROOK MIKE says:

    Spot on Harold! I’m only 7 hours away now. Super long day today 12.5 hours. I’m hunkering down in beautiful Saint George UT. Only 7 hours to Phoenix from here. See you guys fri!!

  7. MFGRREP says:

    Don’t be so happy Harold you haven’t met us yet !!

    Looking forward to taking in some Dodger Baseball with you and the gang

  8. doyersfan34 says:

    What a great article, where are you most of the time when you are at Camelback Ranch? I would like to meet you and shake your hand. I live here in AZ and I have been at CBR a few times this year and I enjoy meeting other Dodger fans.

    • Harold Uhlman says:

      Will be there until Sunday. Returning to Nova Scotia on Monday. Our seats are in section 115, Row 21. Six of us to the game on Thursday.

      Thanks for responding. Hope to see you there.

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