Baseball Spring Training Is A Blast In Arizona

Baseball Spring Training Is A Blast In Arizona

It's my new favorite time of the year.

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Nothing gets me more pumped up than the nice weather and the sights and sounds of the baseball season quickly approaching.

But before we can even get to that point of the 162 games that take up at least six months of our lives, we need to cover all of the bases with what happens beforehand. The monthlong love of spring training.

If you're like me, then you're lucky enough to be in one of the two states that host half of the MLB for this amazing spring season. It's even better when all of the stadiums are within reasonable driving distance from where you're located so you have endless choices for your weekend afternoon.

Even if you're not a baseball fan, it's still a good way for you to even catch a cheap game and spend some time for your friends, which is where the lawn seats will come in handy. Lawn seats are usually located in the outfield on some green grass with a whole field in front of you that usually includes kids running around in hopes of catching a home run ball from the players they idolize.

It's also something that many people don't get to experience, which is why it's so important to take advantage of living in a state that hosts spring training.

I think this is especially important as a student of a university close to these facilities because believe it or not, it kind of becomes a staple for the university and what they have to offer. I know that when I was deciding on what school I would like to attend because I knew it would keep me happy personally and maybe even offer some opportunities professionally.

Personally, I also enjoy it as a baseball fan because I get to go out and see teams and players that I don't get to see as often throughout the regular season.

Spring training is also a really good time to try and get autographs.

With the practices usually being in the morning and with games in the early afternoon, it makes it the perfect day activity whichever day of the week. The accessibility fans get during spring training is unlike any other where you get to watch your favorite players practice and walk past you on their way to another workout during their training in which they might stop by to sign some autographs or something.

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Was Albert Pujols' Angels Contract Worth It?

The answer is a definite yes.
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After breaking numerous career records to open the 2017 season, the discussion about Albert Pujols' performance since joining the Los Angeles Angels has returned. In 2011, Pujols signed a 10-year, $240 million deal to join the Halos after establishing himself as one of the greatest players in MLB history as a member of St. Louis Cardinals, helping the club capture two World Series titles. The contract has been questioned by fans and critics alike from the start due to its duration and average salary compared to his on-field performance, but there have been off-the-field and brand exposure positives that many fail to consider.

In my opinion, unbelievably, the former NL MVP has ironically become the most underrated player in baseball on the field, as he is frequently called "terrible" and "not worth the money" by fans who fail to look at statistics. Nearly everyone I tell is absolutely shocked when I enlighten them to the fact that Pujols was third in the American League in RBI last season with 118, and that he hit 40 home runs the season prior. Pujols remains a feared hitter at the teeth of the Angels offense, and hitting directly behind Mike Trout has helped Los Angeles remain relevant despite a lack of offense in other areas. He, along with Trout helped carry the Halos to the number one offense in 2014, en route to an MLB-best 98 win season. Albert has been the scapegoat for the team's struggles in 2016 and 2017, despite the fact that pitching injuries have decimated a solid rotation for two consecutive seasons, and the team had struggled to find offensive production from the second base and left field positions until this season. Without Pujols, this team is in a far worse positon.

This acquisition is one of the best off-the-field moves in league history. Whether or not the average fan realizes it, this signing has been an integral part of a movement as the Angels grow into a premier franchise. It all began with the club's first World Series title in 2002, dramatically rallying while capturing the hearts of America on the way to the team's first title since the Angels' inception in 1961. Then, once now-unpopular owner Arte Moreno bought the team, he infamously changed the team's name from Anaheim to Los Angeles, a move that angered the masses in Orange County, but gained the Angels massive recognition from national television in other parts of the country. Los Angeles is much more marketable than Anaheim, and this change, combined with an incredible decade where the Halos won the AL West in 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, and 2009, the team earned a mega-tv deal with local Fox Sports West, enabling them to have the funds to buy big name free agents. Enter Albert. The mega-star first baseman was signed to be a franchise icon, a player who would further this development as the Angels continued to catch the Dodgers in terms of popularity, both locally and nationally, and it has been effective. The team has been third in ticket sales for the past few years, trailing only the Yankees and Dodgers, and they have gained much more exposure around the country since Pujols' arrival. Albert alone has given the team so much extra media attention and relevance that the signing has clearly been worth it, even though hasn't repeated his St. Louis production. Each and every day I feel more and more strongly that he will don an Angel cap in the Hall of Fame when he is undoubtedly elected, as he has broken so many milestones here, from 600 homers, to most RBI from a non-American, to the inevitable 3000 hits and possibly, 700 homers.

To conclude, this contract, contrary to what the baseball media will tell you, is one of the best deals in Angels history, as we have effectively grown the club value and relevance, given the team an icon, and a solid bat on the field for the first six years. I am happy to see him play for another four years in Anaheim, and I believe he has undoubtedly paid the price it took to sign him in terms of growth of team value, and I feel the expectations on his career in Southern California are inflated from what they should have been. He has declined no more slowly than his contemporaries, and if it weren't for the contract length and amount, he would not be scrutinized anywhere near as much, despite what many will tell you, and his impact will be felt on this club for years to come. This is only the beginning, as Albert Pujols is one of the founding fathers of the Angels movement.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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The Ultimate Guide To ​Baseball Slang

Seventy-one words and phrases commonly used by baseball players, explained.

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I've spent most of my life playing or being around baseball. With college and high school teams already playing a month and a half and MLB having started their season a few days ago there is a language most people don't understand but will commonly hear during games. You'll hear these from coaches, players, and commentators but most will be used by high school through minor league players.

Ace — the best pitcher on a team who gets extra special treatment from coaches in the lower levels of play.

Alley — the best place to hit a ball in the outfield where it drops between the outfielders. Best hits are line drives that hit and roll through the alley to the wall, commonly resulting in a double or triple and in rare occasions an inside-the-park home run.

Around the Horn — a double play that starts at third going around the infield to second then to first. Can sometimes be a triple play where the third baseman steps on third before throwing to second.

Backdoor Slider — a pitch that starts out or appears out of the strike zone that breaks into the strike zone. Typically thrown as the third strike to get a player to hack at it to strike out swinging or to get caught looking.

Bad Hop — when you go to field a ball and it hits the ground and curves away from you or bounces over you.

Baltimore Chop — a ball hit that goes almost straight down hit hard enough and at a decent angle to hit home plate or in front of home plate but bounces into the outfield over the infielders.

Bang Bang — a play where the runner hits the bag right before the ball or where the ball reaches the fielder's glove right before the player reaches base.

Basket Catch — when a fielder, typically an outfielder, catches a ball in an upturn position around the belt. Usually when a fielder has his back to the ball and is running towards the wall.

Bat Flip — a cocky move when you hit a dinger and toss your bat in different fashions to assert dominance towards the pitcher. Best when the opposing team is in the first base dugout.

Bean or Beaner — a pitch, most commonly a fastball that hits a batter in the head.

Bench Clearer or Bench Clearing Brawl — when there's a fight and the benches and bullpen run out to help. Typically just to assert dominance towards the other team and rarely are they ever good fights.

Big Dick Energy — having the confidence to know you're gonna take a pitcher 450 dead center but staying cool and not having the cockiness to talk trash beforehand. Not the kind to do a bat flip or talk trash but to still have his presence known.

Blue — refers to the umps or umpires and usually a derogatory term often combined with a phrase calling them blind.

BP — no not the oil. BP is batting practice where players, especially in Bush League or lower, have dinger derbies.

Brusher or Brushback — an inside pitch that doesn't hit a batter but makes them jump back or drop to the ground. Typically an intimidation move by the pitcher to assert dominance or to back the batter off the plate.

Bush — to make an amateur play or to act amateurish and not like you're a pro.

Bush League — lower levels of the minors such as Single A, Single A Short, and sometimes Double A.

Camping — when a ball is hit as a popup and the player is just waiting for the ball to come back to Earth, typically followed by a can of corn catch.

Can of Corn — typically said as "Canna Corn" is a catch a baby could make with or without a glove. Most commonly is a popup that is hit where the fielder is already standing and just camps under it.

Caught Looking — when a third strike is thrown and the batter stands there watching it.

Caught Napping — when a baserunner is thrown out either by not paying attention or reacts too late.

Cellar — when you're in dead last for your division. Honestly at that point why show up to games.

Cheddar — refers to either a pitcher throwing good pitches to have a dinger derby or when the coach is throwing perfect pitches at BP to hit cage bombs or yet again have a dinger derby.

Cheese — a sexy fastball to a batter where he can go 450 Dead Center on a pitcher. Sometimes refers to a good fastball that flies right past the batter for a strike.

Chinner or Chin Music — a very high and inside pitch that buzzes close to the batters chin.

Circus or Circus Catch — a web gem catch either on a sacrifice your body type of catch or acrobatic jumping catch followed by a summersault. Pretty much outfielders attempting to show off because they just sit out in the outfield bored most of the game.

Cycle — the greatest feat you can do as a batter where you hit a single, double, triple, and dinger all in the same game.

Daddy Hack — a swing that takes all your power and throws you on your ass. The batter swings envisioning a dinger but usually does a daddy hack on a third strike breaking ball.

Dinger — a homer that is destined for the moon maybe even another solar system that you just sit and salute as it flies and then assert your dominance on the pitcher with your cockiest bat flip and jog around the bases as you talk trash the whole time.

Dinger Derby — refers to BP where players are hitting nothing but dingers or to a game where the pitcher is throwing cheddar and batters are hitting nothing but dingers.

Dirty — one of the ways you can say something's nice. Honestly, baseball players can use so many words to equal that's nice.

Filthy — used to refer to anything that looks good such as a hit, a haircut, an accessory, etc. Just another way to say something's nice while using a word that typically means unclean.

Fireman — a closer who can typically throw a scary fast heater and leave you scratching your head in the breeze off of it.

Five Tool Player — a guy who can do everything and do it perfectly such as fielding, hitting, hitting power, throwing, and running.

Frozen Rope — a well-hit line drive. If playing third it was nice knowing you when one comes to the hot corner.

Fungo — a type of bat used by coaches during fielding practice that makes the balls go semi-crazy when hit but provides fielders a chance to do a web gem.

Gap — essentially the same as an alley. The best place in the outfield to hit a ball.

Get Bucket — at the end of BP or during BP someone has to pick up all the balls and put them in a bucket. Sucks to suck if your a freshman or a rookie.

Golden Sombrero — when a batter strikes out four times in a game. You never want to be the player wearing the golden sombrero.

Good Game — if you don't know then you aren't one of the trusted ones with this butt slap and grab ceremony and no it's no homo.

Go Yard — to hit a dinger 450 dead center while making your cockiness and dominance known.

Heat — when a pitcher, typically a fireman, is throwing primarily heaters to assert his dominance as you stand and watch or duck away till you strike out and go cry in the dugout.

Heater — a four-seam fastball in the upper 90s going up to 105 or 106. Pitches if you're able to hit will go for dingers as your bat explodes to show your dominance, if not definitely a good pitch for the pitcher to show his.

Hot Corner — refers to Third Base where especially right-handed will pull a ball hard towards third down the line. If playing third and a line drive comes your way you better catch it.

In the Hole — not the batter in the on-deck circle but the batter after him.

Jacked — a player that's probably on roids because he's so big or got big fast.

Jam — when a pitcher gets into a situation usually with players on base, one or no outs, and is behind in the count with a batter.

Jammed or Jammer — when you hit the ball with the handle of the bat rather than the barrel, typically on a high and inside pitch that sends a shock starting at your hands going through the rest of your body. Can also refer to a tight swing on a high and inside pitch where you can barely swing but still get a hit.

Meatball — a juicy fastball that hangs right down the middle and is an easy hit typically for a dinger.

Mendoza Line — a line around the .200 batting average in which you never want to drop under or else you legally suck. Named after Mario Mendoza who was one of the leagues worst hitters.

Moon Shot or Moon Blast — a dinger that is hit very high like it's a rocket on its way to the moon.

Ofer or O for — someone who didn't get a hit in a game but grounded or flied out so he can't wear the golden sombrero.

Pegged — to get hit hard by a pitch that will definitely leave a bruise.

Pepper — a fielding game where players catch a hit ball and throw it to the hitter so he can hit their throw. Only for the brave.

Phiten — necklace and bracelet company that players swear gives them superpowers. But for the most part, it's just another form of swag.

Pickle — when trapped between two bases in a rundown. If you have moves you might be good if not just stand there and take it like a man.

Pimped It — to destroy a ball on a good hit typically for a liner or a dinger.

Roids — Steroids or also called juice is commonly used in baseball to get that extra power or edge.

Rhubarb — a fight. Typically doesn't last long but sometimes a good punch is thrown. Best is when there's a bench-clearing brawl.

Seeing Eye Single — a ball hit between infielders typically picked up by an outfielder but gives enough time for a runner to reach first.

Shagger — someone who goes to pick up foul balls or dingers hit in BP so there's still balls to hit. Again sucks to suck if your a freshman or rookie.

Shoestring — a catch made around the shins to the foot before the ball hits the ground.

Stroking — to hit good, whether in a game or at BP. More than likely BP where you get too cocky.

Table Setter — a leadoff or number two guy that is generally a faster player who is just to get a runner on base so a power hitter can drive them in.

Tape — whether it's athletic or batting tape, either is the duct tape for players respecting it like the God it is.

Tape Measure — a dinger that isn't always a high hit homer like a moon blast but is hit out of the park and far enough to say let's get out the tape measure.

Tommy Johns — a surgery to add a tendon from the knee to one's elbow to make the UCL stronger for throwing.

Ugly Finder — a foul ball typically hit during BP that goes straight for a player who usually is not prepared. Can refer to a foul ball that goes straight into the dugout during a game. Either way, if it hits your face, even if you were pretty before, you aren't now.

Wheelhouse — a pitch to the batters hot zone typically waist high and dead center of the plate that typically results in a good liner or dinger.

Yakker — a very good curveball that leaves them daddy hacking or caught just looking. Best Yakkers are curves thrown by a lefty.

Yoked — being a huge probably on roids player who is straight jacked.

Those are some of my favorites but in the game of baseball, the terms change all the time. There are terms from the old days that remain but some might be forgotten for some new term that has more swag to it because baseball is all about the swag.

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