I complained a bit earlier about how long of a drive it is to get to Rangers camp in Surprise. And it is far if, like me, you prefer to stay in the Tempe/Scottsdale area. But if you’re coming out to Arizona to specifically see the Rangers or the Royals, you’ve got a really nice complex to come to. Surprise is pretty nice.
It’s different, though. Both superficially and for purposes of fan/player interaction. The superficial differences can be seen in this picture:
That’s the Royals’ clubhouse/office complex down the third base line. The Rangers have an identical one down the first base line. The white railing and all of those sliding glass doors remind one of a beachfront motel that has seen better days but which is still kept up for the budget traveler. I almost feel like I’m visiting my grandma when I approach these places. Whatever the case it’s quite the contrast to the professional and almost futuristic office/clubhouse buildings at Camelback Ranch, Salt River, Goodyear and places like that.
As far as substantively, Surprise gives fans the opportunity to get way closer to the morning action than most other spring training complexes. The batting cages abut the concourses inside the ballpark. The back fields are well-arranged and fans have much greater freedom to roam among them than you typically see. There are actually stands near a lot of them so you can camp out and watch warmups, drills and the like up close.
Well, not that up close. But pretty close.
Wandering around the workouts I came across a couple of things of note. Like catchers playing catch with a catcher’s mitt.
How very “Inception” of them. After seeing this I can’t get this song out of my head.
Also: either hitting coaches get personal model gloves or else Magadan takes good care of his old one from his playing days:
It’s been three days since I saw an equipment bag on grass. I was getting the shakes, so forgive me:
Back towards the press box, I noticed some plaques on the wall of the concourse. Members of the Surprise Recreation Campus Hall of Fame:
Just look at how professionally that plaque is hung. That plaque just knows how to hang on a wall the right way. Also:
If your Hall of Fame has room for the guy who literally bankrupted the franchise, I’d say you have a “big Hall” mindset.
An hour and a half until game time. I’m gonna be busy until then: