Opening Day, even Spring Training Opening Day is always filled with pomp and circumstance. There is of course the introduction of the players from both teams, that special rendition of the National Anthem with the requisite flyover celebrating the military. There is of course red/white/blue bunting hanging from anything in the stadium giving the ballpark a festive mood.

What is normally missed in all the excitement of Opening Day is the subtle changes that have been made to the stadium getting it ready for another season of baseball. For the regular season, there are always changes to Chase Field but what about Spring Training? Is there anything different at Salt River Fields?


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In 1952 the Chicago Cubs brought Spring Training baseball to the city of Mesa Arizona. This was the culmination of 10 years of negotiation after the Cubs first expressed an interest in training in Arizona in 1942. In 1952 six Spring Training games were played in Mesa with the Cubs facing the Cleveland Indians, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Chicago White Sox.


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After what seems like an eternity, I survived Spring Training Game Eve. Baseball is finally officially back. This is the day that every baseball fan for every team has dreams that this is the year that their team will catch lightning in a bottle and they will be cheering for the World Series Champions.

For the fans of 29 teams that dream will be shattered. Some will lose their dreams early in the season while others will feel heartbreak in the stretch run in September. For a few their dreams continue into October. As the leaves change and the temperatures again fall down to freezing levels they will be warm in the thoughts that their team is still playing.


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After weeks and months of pacing the floor during the off-season I have nearly worn a pathway in the living room carpet that is an exact replica of the dirt path between the pitcher’s mound and home plate at Chase Field.

I have been somewhat impatient waiting for the beginning of baseball. There are of course minor milestones to mark off on the calendar to try and get you through the darkest days of winter. The post-season helps. Even though your team may not have made the play-offs it is still baseball and any baseball is better than nothing at all.


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After months of speculation Major League Baseball announced a new and somewhat controversial rule to take effect in the 2014 season in a “experimental” version. I am not exactly sure I completely understand what an “experimental” rule is so we will have to see what that means.

Rule 7.13 will take effect on opening day and is designed to protect catchers during collisions at home plate. While most people will point to the horrendous hit that San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey suffered in 2011, that was simply the latest in a long list of brutal hits at the plate.


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Baseball is riddled with history, memorable characters, iconic moments, and of course incredible venues. A baseball fan is not only focused on the current time and teams. Many of us look at the present time and try to compare it with bygone eras and long forgotten players to put context around how the game has evolved.

But it’s not just the teams and the players who have made this game great. In many cases it is the stadiums and venues that leap to the top of our heads when someone mentions the word baseball.


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At FanFest on February 8th, the Arizona Diamondbacks unveiled the D-backs Give Back Jersey Program that would provide Diamondbacks jerseys and caps to more than 22,000 youth baseball and softball players throughout Arizona. The program has been very well received and the team currently has enough requests to be queued up for five seasons.

The kids wearing the jerseys at FanFest were extremely excited but that was just the beginning. Today at Salt River Fields, the Arizona Diamondbacks invited Little League players from the Ahwatukee area to join them for spring training.


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