Trip to Camelback: The Yasiel Puig and Magic Johnson Show

I was thinking of waiting to do this until after I go to tonight's (Saturday's) game, but yesterday was cool enough that I don't want to jinx tonight by holding out for more good stories.

Got to the park a few hours early and followed the crowd to a workout with Jansen and Greinke. Here's Jansen striding like a mofo (sans ball).




Then came the main event. The Man himself. Yasiel in all his glory.


He signed for quite a while. Seemed very friendly, though he wasn't the most talkative guy in the world. :)


... because Yasiel needs all the bats he can find.

After watching some of the workouts, we went to find our seats.


Maybe not as good as Eric's, but man was that a sweet view. Not that there's a bad seat in the place. Every couple innings we'd have to flee to the shade anyway and watch from a further vantage point. The Phoenix sun is relentless.


... and then the game was set to get underway. But first, let's sing the National Anthem:


What's that you ask? Oh, just Cuban defector Yasiel Puig, during the Anthem, taking in the sweet taste of freedom all by himself. I took about a dozen pictures of this shot. Could not get enough of it.

I didn't get much game action, but you all had a good view of that anyway:



That's Puig after his triple. Off the bat I was screaming "go for three" and immediately felt like an idiot when the ball was already on the outfielder when Puig was barely rounding first. And then the fielder bobbled it for a second and that's all it took.

And, finally, I'll close with some Magic thoughts. First, he signed a bunch of autographs before the game:


Billion dollar smile right there.

But anyway, story time: My seats were basically right in the line of fire of lefty foul balls. We got a rocket early on that walloped a kid (late teens, maybe) in the side. He looked shaken up and the staff was with him for a good bit before he could catch his breath and realize he had not in fact broken all of his ribs (as I'm sure he imagined).

Then an inning later his friend, sitting right next to him, got nailed too. Two rockets, two friends, both looked pretty pained. What are the odds, right?

Then about an inning later we start to hear applause coming from behind us. And they're swelling. So everyone turns. And there's Magic, strolling down the aisle with one tiny bodyguard trailing behind him. Then you see an usher point over to the two kids, and their faces turn into an anime character's as they realize that Magic is coming to them.

I got a little video of him approaching them -- he gave them a few autographed balls and a hat. The video is pretty much worthless (apparently I was withdrawing from crack at the time, also, which explains the shaking). But what the heck: (can't get it to embed for some reason. Le sigh)

Now that is how you make sure a fan doesn't sue you.

Had such a blast. Can't wait for tonight.


EDIT: Thought I'd update this with a few more photos from Saturday before the night game. Nothing much in the way of anecdotes -- though as a general matter, the crowd was much larger on Saturday and more in love with Luis Cruz than anyone else, with 'Dre and Matty (or, "Hey Boo" as he was known to many in the crowd) in a close second.

Oh, and I lied. I do have an anecdote. There's a CVS right next to Camelback that I had to stop at before the game. Inside, they had some Dodgers and White Sox merchandise. Including about a hundred of these large, laminated photos of Dodger legend...


... George Sherrill. I somehow did not manage to purchase one.

On to the Ranch! Here are some generic shots of Dodgers looking menacing in batting practice...



And, as I think was mentioned elsewhere, the Zen Master was hanging around that day, imparting words of wisdom to Donnie (and Sue) no doubt:



Puig thinking wistfully about murdering baseballs.


Big Mac and Donnie trying to reason with Puig.


Puig telling them GFY.


Stan Kasten('s back), doing some overseeing.

... and then batting practice ended and the grit parade began:


Skip and Punto. Skip was the only guy to stop and sign that day, though it was understandable for the rest of them (end of spring training is serious business).


And then the caravan rounded out with Donnie's high five derby.


And that's all I got in the way of baseball related activities. But of course the real highlight of the night was when for some reason all of a sudden the Budweiser Clydesdales??


So yeah. Fantastic weekend. Happy almost Opening Day everyone!

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