OUT TO THE BALL GAME
GREAT MEMORIES AND SPRING TRAINING
Me, in my Angels uniform with Vince Ferragamo and a childhood friend, circa 1986.
When I was 7 years old, I met my childhood hero, Wally Joyner, first baseman for the California Angels. He was the first rookie to be voted into the All-Star Game by fans in 1986, and he was my all-time favorite baseball player. Childhood memories tend to be a little blurry when we
think back on them as adults, but I can still remember that event vividly. At the time, meeting Joyner was the coolest thing ever. I’d still say it’s one of the coolest things to ever happen to me — just below marrying Nicole and the birth of our kids. I got to meet Joyner during spring training, and while that meeting remains my favorite spring training memory, it’s not the only reason I love the beginning of this season.
It’s during spring training that baseball really becomes America’s favorite pastime, because you really are free to just pass the time for a while.
tell everyone has a bit more fun than they do in later games. There’s a lot less pressure, and you’re free to enjoy yourself more.
During spring training, players spend a lot of time talking to fans, which is always really cool. Plus, my godfather is Vince Ferragamo, former quarterback for the Rams. When he came to spring training with us, we got to meet a lot of the players. It’s during spring training that baseball really becomes America’s favorite pastime, because you really are free to just pass the time for a while. The weather is great, the fans are happy, and you get to connect with the people around you. You have an opportunity to really be in the moment.
Back when the Angels did spring training in Palm Springs, my family went out there all the time. We always had a blast. The weather was beautiful and the games were a lot of fun. Years later, all my college buddies and I kept the tradition alive by flying down to the Angels’ spring training together every year. There’s something so nostalgic about spring training. Even though I haven’t been able to go in years, I still remember the feeling of contentment when sitting down with family or friends to catch an Angels game during spring training. It’s a different atmosphere than you’ll find at games later in the season and completely different than a World Series game. The electric buzz of excitement you feel at make-or-break games is awesome, but there’s something undeniably special about spring training.
I am excited to take my family to spring training when Finn and Harlow get a little older. Even setting aside meeting my childhood hero, I have fond memories of going to spring training with my family. That’s something I want to share with my own kids. I think they will enjoy it just as much as I did. –Case Barnett
Since the games don’t really mean anything, everything is a lot more relaxed. The players are there to get ready for the season, but you can
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