If you are traveling, there are few better ways to meet strangers than to wear a Cubs hat. I would guess it to be rare that a stranger would strike up a conversation with a Yankee fan and congratulate them on their 27 World's Championships, but there are many who love to remind Cubs fans of a century of futility, goats and Bartmans. However, the Cubs faithful are everywhere too, and a Cubs cap stands as a symbol of membership to a world wide family that reaches the far and wide. I've been to Cubs bars in New York and New Orleans, chatted with a guy in an Andre Dawson jersey while eating Bull testicles in Denver, and argued with Cardinals fans on the side of the United States' largest sand dune. So, weather permitting, I wear a Cubbie Blue hat as my ticket to meeting baseball fans.
And there is no better place to meet baseball fans from all over the world than Spring Training. With 15 teams each in Arizona and Florida with their home ballparks and training facilities a short drive from each other, fans descend on the desert and tropics to swap war stories of harsh winters and watch their beloved teams get ready for a marathon season. There is nothing like it, especially at the brand spanking new Cubs Park. It's an impressive monument to the Cubs and a wonderful place to watch a baseball game, a veritable baseball picnic. If you haven't been yet, plan to go soon.
It's not even that expensive! Check out my first installment of Spring Training on the Cheap for some money saving travel ideas. All in all, my entire 10-day trip to three cities (Phoenix, Vegas, LA), which included six ballgames and two rock-and-roll gigs cost me roughly $800. This includes the fact that I rented out my apartment for $175 to some Brazillian girls to subsidize the trip, walked and rode bikes everywhere, bartered rides for tickets with musicians, stayed in questionable motels and with friends, and drank free at Casinos and rock gigs while gambling on a budget. It was the best $800 I've ever spent.
Here are some pics to demonstrate how much fun someone can have in Phoenix at Spring Training on less than a grand….and stay tuned for my next post and how I barely spent money in Vegas!
Heading to O'Hare. Temperature. Freezing.
Prime Real Estate!
I seem to be in the right place!
And then the stock market crashed….
That one year the Cubs decided to go with a beaked kangaroo.
And a monkey taking a shower….
Wish you were here!
It rained once and it's already rusty!
No sign of Clark in the center field kids ball park….yet…..
Wish they had these food trucks on Waveland and Sheffield!
My cousin Owen, me, and my buddy Karl's father-in-law, Peter Morash.
Braun at the Juice Bar.
Gigging at an appropriately named venue.
Scottsdale Stadium. Obstructed View.
Tree back seat.
Stacy showed off her acrobatic skills!
And then I tried…..
My Airbnb host Sammy gives a thumbs up to Chicago!
Spring Training Fashion.
Peoria Sports Complex. Baez crushed a ball past where I'm standing.
The beer list at Draft House across the street from Peoria Sports Complex.
Abandoned Drive-In Theater on the road to the Giants Scottsdale Stadium.
On the bridge to Scottsdale.
My faithful borrowed steed.
Clifford and Chloe. My Air Bnb hosts dogs.
Asia and Sam. Chloe and Clifford. Couldn't have asked for better Airbnb hosts.
What a $54 Priceline motel by the airport looks like. Only 1.3 miles from Chase Field!
And it has a pool! Who can name the bull's artist?
I think this place also rents by the hour….there was a fair amount of….ummm….. traffic.
The E-Z 8 motel is an OTB!
Looking for a restaurant/lounge just steps from your room? I opened this door after the Mariners-Cubs game to find this!
Adios, muchachos! For now….
Half of the $800 was spent in Vegas. Stay tuned for Sordid Travels of a Cubs Fan: Las Vegas (on the cheap)…. will post soon!
Lots more pics!