It only took 50 years but the wait was worth it. I was able to spend my first spring training in the valley of the sun. My good friend Jeff Parker was a great host, but even better tour guide. He definitely knows where the hot spots are, and he found us the cheap beers too. A 24 oz. Corona for only six dollars and change, now that's a bargain.
The biggest thing I got out of this was the acquisition of Milton Bradley by the Mariners. Or was it an acquisition? The dude definitely sports an attitude. He was a big gamble in a lot of people's eyes, and this game proved the point. The attitude reared it's ugly head. He had a terrible error in this game resulting in two runs scored and two other runners left in scoring position. Now when you go to spring training with a guy who hangs out there every day you learn the tricks of the trade. You spend the first three innings or so on the third baseline. And the boys around us were getting their money's worth with the taunting of Milton Bradley. As the beer kicked in it got worse. Some of these spring training fans are relentless. Bradley had enough after a couple innings and made a less than desirable gesture toward the fans on his way off the field. They start practice early at around 8:00 am and then play a game at 1:00. By the time the six or seventh inning comes around the veterans start to file out after a long day at the office. That is when our tour guide Jeff informed us it's time to move to the first baseline to watch the veterans leave. Bradley left by himself two innings earlier. It was a tough day all around for Milton. As Ken Griffey Jr. was filing out with his wide smile my friend Jeff asked him why Milton wasn't hanging around with his teammates. Griffey covered the side of his mouth and snickered, "dentist appointment".
My first spring training, and definitely not my last.