Yesterday the Mariners played the Texas Rangers at Surprise Stadium in Surprise, Arizona. The town is proud that the Rangers and the Kansas City Royals call Surprise home. These banners cheering on both teams line the streets on the way to the ball field.
We had good seats, about eight rows up and just behind home plate in the midst of a bunch of Mariners fans. That's my favorite guy, Justin Smoak, up at bat, batting left-handed today. I took this just before he hit a home run!
Though it's one of the older parks, Surprise Stadium is really nice. There is no charge for parking and all of the workers in the stands are volunteers from the community.
He looks pretty somber, but he was actually quite happy as Four Peaks Kiltlifter was on-tap at the park --
It wasn't a sell-out crowd (7621), but the game was well attended. The Mariners struck first with Smoak's 2-run homer, but the Rangers ended up winning 5-3.
It's always hard to tell what it's going to be like in the regular season as many of the players start having substitutes as early as the 2nd or 3rd inning. The Mariners usually waited until the fourth, but you can tell they are anxious to let many of the young guys have a chance to strut their stuff. Erasmo Ramirez pitched a solid five innings and we heard later that he will be second in the pitching rotation behind Hernandez.
It's hard to see Spring Training come to an end. The Mariners have two more games this week before they head to Anaheim on Saturday. We've made an effort to see most of the ballparks in the Cactus League this spring. We didn't get to the stadium in Maryvale nor the Municipal one in Phoenix (which will no longer host a Cactus League team, but will instead host one of the Arizona colleges.).
There was a wide variation in prices. I think we paid twelve dollars for the cheapest and twenty-eight dollars for the highest. I'm not sure which park is the favorite, but the newly remodeled Peoria and Salt River are definitely near the top of the list.