A FOND FAREWELL TO SUNNY SURPRISE
The Royals played a club-record 34 Spring Training games in Arizona (a record 36 total, with two final exhibitions in Texas.
Spring Training is a great time of year…and a great place for fans to see their team coming together…
Some final images from Year Seven for the Royals in Sunny Surprise:
Of course watching the Royals play in Spring Training means getting a head start on all the ballpark “eats,” and of course the weather is always perfect! Having seen all ten Cactus League ballparks, I can tell you that Surprise Stadium is the best there is!
The biggest thrill of Royals Spring Training ’09 was the arrival, by golf cart, of former heavyweight boxing champ Muhammad Ali when the Dodgers visited the Royals on March 20th. The largest crowd of the spring assembled that evening, 10,929. And as a bonus, not only was “The Greatest,” Ali, sitting in the front row by the Royals dugout, but “The Great One,” Wayne Gretzky, was sitting right behind him. Gretzky coaches the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes.
Ballpark delicacies. Always an important part of enjoying baseball, whether it’s Spring Training or regular season…
My son, John, on the grass berm in the outfield at Tucson Electric Park. It’s the spring home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, a 2 and a half hour drive from Surprise (and the rampant rumors are…they’re moving to the Phoenix area, along with Colorado, by 2011! That means 15 Major League teams ALL within about an hour of each other!!) For the record, he wound up with 3 baseballs during batting practice that day.
I had somewhere between 17 and 20 relatives visit during Spring Training (I keep trying to count and the number comes up different every time…) Seen here: my dad Layton, mother Marilyn, Aunt Maureen (of Mission, KS), Aunt Marjorie and my son John. I couldn’t fit them all in our radio booth!
This picture had to make the cut…my niece Margaret (soon-to-be-3) and John. She always steals the show.
Here are Denny and Ryan in a “production meeting.” Actually it was dinnertime at the Royals offices and the pizza was free of charge!
When Bob Davis and I travel to (and from) Tucson this is THE place to stop. The “world famous” Picacho Peak Dairy Queen. It’s about the only place to stop on the 2-hour drive between Phoenix and Tucson. Unfortunately (or fortunately if you’re a KU fan), Bob missed both trips to Tucson this spring (basketball season lasted well into Spring Training), which meant no Picacho Peak DQ for Bob…oh well…there’s always next year!
Here are Chris Gough and Brad Porter of Metro Sports in Kansas City. Metro was in Surprise from beginning-to-end in Surprise. After this picture, these two “stars” had the “opportunity” to drive this satellite truck and an SUV all the way back to KC! That’s AZ, NM, TX, OK, KS and MO….22 hours!!
Until next year…so long Surprise!