Seattle Mariners: Spring Training part 1: Tips from the Chief
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Rich

It is that time of year, when all good Mariners fans get  baseball gloves out and their airline reservations to sunny Pheonix, AZ to root root root for the home team.

SSU editor-in-chief Abe DeWeese just got back from a 3 game series in the Valley of the Sun, so I sat him down and forced him to spill the beans on  Spring Training from a Mariners fan perspective.

After much alcohol and a brief water-boarding session, he spilled his guts.

Rich:

Can you introduce yourself to the fans?

Abe:

My name is Abraham DeWeese; I am the Editor-in-Chief for Seattle Side Up and a life long Mariners fan. I spend a lot of time with family in Arizona, and have attended Spring Training in 11 of the last 15 seasons.

 

Rich:

What is the best thing about spring training?

 

Abe:

My favorite thing about spring training is that I get to watch the big league roster from close up.  When I go to Safeco, often I sit in the bleachers and at times I feel detached from the game as a participant becuase of how far from the field I am.

The weather ain’t bad either!

Rich:

Is it worth the time and money?

Abe:

Heck Yeah!  I can go to Spring Training for relatively cheap and get a vacation out of it to!  A flight costs $250, I have a free place to stay with family, and tickets for the game is ~$20.  So a trip is around $500, not a bad price indeed.

For those who don’t have access to free lodgings, there are so many hotels, you can find one in your price range with no problems.

Rich:

What is your favorite souvenir?

 

Abe:

I am not a souvenir guy Rich; however, I did catch a fly ball–I gave it to my son.  I do often buy a hat or sunglasses because I forget to bring one from Seattle.

Rich:

As a diehard Mariners fan, do you evaluate what you see on the field vs. scouting reports?

 

Abe:

Rich, this is one of the more amazing things about spring training, after reading all the scouting reports about a minor league player, I get to put a player up to the eye test.

I remember the time when I first saw Felix Hernandez.  This enormous kid was shooting a flamethrower, mowing down Angels batters left and right.

I jumped up out of my chair, I threw down my program and said–he is the guy!!
Rich:

What are you do’s and don’ts for spring training?

 

Abe:

  • Do go see Taliesin West. This is the studio for Frank Lloyd Wright in Scottsdale, AZ.
  • Do go see the Challenger Space Center in Peoria
  • Do go see as many different stadiums as possible
  • Do go play some golf
  • Do go to Mill Ave in Tempe.
    • Think the Ave in the U-district
  • Do go see theactual desert.
    • Phoenix is urban sprawl, there is very little natural beauty to it (think Lynwood WA).  To see natures wonders, you need to rent a car and drive a bit out of town.
    • It is 4 hours to the Grand Canyon, but if you are willing to make a day of it, rent a car, and see the beauy of the desert.
  • Do not go out to nightclubs in Scottsdale
    • Unless you are under 30 and/or very wealthy
  • Do not get a hotel next to a stadium; it is very expensive.
  • Do not expect to find authentic Mexican food
  • Do not go during the week of spring break.
    • Big crowds and hotels are more expensive.

 

Rich:

Where is your favorite place to eat?

 

Abe:

Tilted Kilt. The food is average to above average, but the…ahem…. view is great.

 

Rich:

Is there any good grub at the games?

 

Abe:

OMG! YES! The food at the Peoria stadium is reminiscent of a state fair; Elephant ears, hot dogs, and Beer; lots and lots of beer for the beer-lover. The eateries stock a huge selection of Seattle based beers.
Other stadiums vary in food quality / quantity

 

Rich:

How much spending money do I need?

 

Abe:

Price for foo are much less expensive than Safeco. Hot dogs, beer and GIANT soda pops are all about $5 each.

Unfortunately, the souvenir stands will have prices comparable to that at Safeco–I suspect the prices are fixed.

 

Rich:

Are there ticket scalpers in Peoria?

 

Abe:

Yes. Buy your tickets in advance so you do not end up getting screwed. In fact, if the Mariners are sold out, go see a different team, it will be cheaper than a scalper and still a lot of fun.

 

Rich:

Have you rented a car? Used a shuttle? Your James Bond Jet Pack? How did you get around?

 

Abe:

Do not get a taxi; they are unreasonable. Very few hotels have shuttles.  Uber is now availabe, but still cost prohibative.

Renting a car is a must.  Especially, if you plan to see multiple stadiums and some of the countryside.    Approx 60$ per day minimum.

 

Rich:

What is your coolest interaction with a player (Mariner or not), coach or staff at spring training?

 

Abe:

I went to a restaurant across the street from the Peoria Sports Complex and I ran into Jamie Moyer. He saw how decked out I was in M’s gear and commented on it.   I got to shake his hand.

Also, I got Barry Bonds to tell me to “eff off” when I chastised him for not signing kids autographs.   Not one of my finer moments, not one of his either.

For as awesome a guy that Moyer is, Bonds is his equal in being a jerk.

 

Rich:

What do I absolutely have to let our readers know about attending spring training?

Abe:

Spring Training is a must for a baseball fan. It turns adults into kids. It is pure baseball, you forget that it is a multi-billion dollar industry.

 

Rich:

Am I just a complete idiot for working for you and expecting straight answers?

 

Abe:

You speak truths.

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Richard Michelson is an avid sports fan and the Managing Soccer Editor here at Seattle Sports Union!