Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring Training - Surprise

Opened in 2007, Surprise Stadium is the Spring Training home for the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers. It was the most family-friendly of the three stadiums of the weekend, and an especially good choice for Mike and Janelle to bring their family to. The carousel was free for kids, and there were plenty of family-friendly food choices, although Mike was a little miffed he couldn't find caramel corn. The stadium itself was wide open, especially with all the lawn seating in the outfield, but it still retained a sense of intimacy. All four of the Cactus League stadiums I saw had sunken fields, meaning the playing field was below street level, and perhaps that had something to do with the lack of noise during the game. Granted, there was little or no stadium-induced music, sound effects, or rally sounds, but it's rare to be able to hear the players talking to one another during the game or calling each other off the ball.

Josh Hamilton, the reigning AL MVP, came to the stands to sign autographs on his way back out to the clubhouse after playing his seven innings...because Spring Training, much like minor league baseball, is most accessible for kids.

Rangers manager Ron Washington even mingled with fans before the game.

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