Whenever I am asked how I ended up in Arizona my patented answer is – Ohio.
It implies that I couldn’t take the Buckeye State anymore.
While there is a fragment of truth to it, it would be more accurate to reply with ‘baseball.’
It is my first love of sports and this time of the year is exactly why I moved here.
Last weekend I spent a sun splashed few hours at Desert Vista’s annual tournament, then made it to a Cubs practice and an Angels practice this week.
At each stop, the thoughtful friend that I am, I called a buddy back in Ohio and gave him a by-play-play of what I was doing compared to what they were doing (dealing with snow).
Surprisingly I was only hung up on twice.
None of this is a newsflash to anyone who is here by any means, but I hope it serves as more of a reminder of how great it truly is to have spring training, college programs, some of the best high school talent, the Fall League, Rookie League and so much more here every year.
It’s kind of like those who don’t even notice Camelback Mountain on the ride to work or don’t visit Grand Canyon because it is too far away.
People from all over the world visit our state just to see these gems and some Arizonans take it for granted. I’ve even met people who have lived here for years and never been to the Grand Canyon.
That’s just crazy talk.
In my mind a lot of people in Arizona have the same desensitized approach to baseball.
It is around us constantly and we forgot how lucky we are to live in an area where we can see Justin Upton, Albert Pujols and Yu Darvish up close, watch one of the nation’s best baseball programs in Arizona State and see young studs like Hunter Rodriguez of Desert Vista and Mountain Pointe’s Joey Curletta before they make it big in college.
So do yourself a favor and get reacquainted with the game by taking in a spring training game, a Sun Devil doubleheader or a find out when the high school teams are playing.
Eat a hot dog, along with some peanuts and just enjoy the mix of the warm sun on your face, the smell of fresh cut grass and the sounds of the game.
It is something special that 48 other states don’t house.
And that’s why I call Arizona home.
Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or Jskoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.