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!
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.
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.