The joys of spring training in Arizona
During the 2016 Cactus League spring basics training season, Kansas City Royals players and coaches stand during the national anthem in Surprise, Ariz. (John Sleezer/AP)
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A hundred yards from the stadium, I hear what has become an annual ritual: A cheer rising from the stands, the cheer of a happy and hopeful crowd that has traveled to Phoenix to watch their baseball team prepare for the season ahead.
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The players call it spring training. I call it the end of winter, the end of a long, cold season of being locked indoors and the beginning of a new time good quality replica bags of year, marked by the return of baseball and my annual pilgrimage west. For this weekend, I will care only best replica bags about our national pastime, and the joy it brings those of us lucky enough to be worried about sunscreen in March.
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Wholesale Replica Bags In 2016, fans with a high chance of success line the fence awaiting autographs from players in Scottsdale, Ariz. (Jeff Chiu/AP) Wholesale Replica Bags
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Phoenix is quickly developing its own foodie culture, happily independent of chain thinking. Fans who head to Surprise to see the Rangers or the Royals should stop on their way back at one of two Rio Mirage Cafes, hallmark Mexican restaurants where my fajitas were delayed because the chef was still making that night’s flour tortillas. (Given the impeccable quality of the final product, I would have gladly waited another hour; my wife picked the correct location, the hostess told us, because theirs had the mariachi band that night.)
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In Scottsdale, Arizona Diamondbacks mascot D. Baxter the Bobcat does some pregame stretches with Colorado Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon before a 2016 Cactus League game. (Jae C. Hong/AP)
Previous visits have highlighted other exceptional restaurants, in every part of the valley. My father in law and I made a mess of ourselves at Honey Bear’s BBQ, in downtown Phoenix, thanks to fall off the bone ribs and sauce laden pulled pork. During that same visit, a source and I spent an endless lunch at Richardson’s, north of downtown and famous for its stuffed replica designer backpacks chile rellenos.
Glendale, west of Phoenix, is replete with authentic Mexican joints in which families who have run restaurants for longer than Arizona has been a state continue to serve tortilla chips that haven’t been out replica bags online of the deep fryer for more than a few minutes. Guacamole made table side is the rule, not the exception.
On this weekend, after three full days with my parents, I have one more task to complete: While my father in law delivers my parents to the airport, I want to get a few more hours in the sun. So I meet my friend Seth at Tempe Diablo Stadium to try to squeeze in a few more innings before I have to return to reality.
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In spring training, such larceny is a common feature, and in my final few moments in the sun I witness a half dozen acts cheap designer bags replica of brazen base stealing. Half a dozen foul balls come close enough that we leap out of our seats, threatening the safety of Seth’s pretzel and my Cracker Jacks, a thrill that only happens in the rich seats in the Major League parks.