Dodgers Fan: 2015 Year in Photos: #1 Spring Training
The Dodgers, from a fan (fan is short for fanatic)
Starting in Spring Training, I got to see the Dodgers in a practice session. At Spring Training, there is a sense of freshness to it all, that last year’s loss was over, and this year would be different. And, it literally would be. There are lots of new faces, along with welcomed returns of old. I was eager for the season to start.
What is probably old hat to them, it was new joy to me. I could watch for hours, and I did. After the practice was a game and I loved being there, regardless of the hot Arizona sun. Hearing the players talk, making fun of each other, and interact, it made them human.
All around there are boundary markers, dividing the crowd and the players. Even with the boundaries, you can still get up close. Fans crowded an area for autographs and I decided it would be funner to go watch the players practice. Over on one field, infielders were doing grounder drills, making crazy catches and flipping the ball over their backs, behind their backs, between their legs, or in crazy jumps, all with complete finesse and control. These guys were not little leaguers. Both Howie Kendrick and Jimmy Rollins had just arrived to the team, and I could see their fielding talents right away. Rollins I had never seen before, but Kendrick I saw last year with the Angels. I was excited for him to be with the team because he was freakin good at catching bullet hits.
Justin Turner came near the fence I was behind. I hollered out, “Cal State Fullerton!” in a deep voice, not exactly knowing what I was doing. Turner went from pine-tarring his bat to a slow pause and raising a glance towards me. I couldn’t tell if the look on his face said, “who’s this dweeb?!”, or if he was surprised someone knew where he played college ball. Instantly I thought of my friend Jeremy who I’ve been to Cal State Fullerton games with, thinking I had made him proud.
After infield practice, I got to watch batting practice on a neighboring field. Normally during games, you’ll see a homerun here or there, but these guys were clobbering the ball left and right. Definitely a treat to see their display of power.
Andre Ethier finished his batting practice and made his way to leave. To do so, he had to walk through a barricade of fans. I was wondering what his thoughts were, as rumors were swirling that the Dodgers were trying hard to trade him. I joked about it to a guy next to me. Ethier stopped to sign autographs for a while and I could hear Yasiel Puig whistling at him from afar and saying in a high-pitched voice, “Andre Ethier, sign my ball!”
Eventually Puig made it to the autograph crowd and signed for a long while. He’s one of my favorite players, but I didn’t want an autograph. Simply, I didn’t know what I would want it for nor what I would do with it. Instead, there were little kids too far in the back of the crowd to get a signature, so somehow found myself relaying balls, hats, and gloves up near to Puig for him to sign. Eventually I decided it was getting too hot and I left to slowly make my way to the game that would start in an hour.