Just when I was expecting to take my first trip out of the county (after getting my Covid vaccinations) since last March, this happens:
Cactus League officials sought a delay in a letter to Major League Baseball released Monday, saying, “In view of the current state of the pandemic in Maricopa County — with one of the nation’s highest infection rates — we believe it is wise to delay … to allow for the COVID-19 situation here.” Flash: Some fans will be allowed, but will I be able to get a ticket?
The letter to MLB, first obtained by Phoenix television station KPNX, suggests mid-March as a potential start date rather than mid-February, explaining that the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation projects a sharp decline in infections in Arizona by that point. Of course, they allowed the NFL to practice and play here. Even our San Francisco 49ers came down here after getting shut down by the Santa Clara County Health Department.
Commissioner Rob Manfred informed teams two weeks ago to prepare for an on-time start of the season, but in the meantime, Arizona’s infection rate remains the worst in the country, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID Data Tracker. Arizona’s rate of new positive cases over the past week was 95.1 cases per 100,000 people. The U.S. average is 54.4 cases per 100,000 people.
There are 15 teams based in the Phoenix area for spring training, playing at 10 ballparks, but no Cactus League team has begun selling tickets. Ticket sales, once given approval, will be sold in pods of two, four or six, and spaced at least six feet apart from one another. In my opinion, baseball is in a precarious position. No fans last year, undecided this year, revenues down, TV and cable viewership down, players unhappy. That is not a formula for success and profits.
Then again, we still have some idiots: Mask mockers in the skies: Flight attendants hate being COVID-19 police, scolding people who flout mask-wearing regulations. They’ve experienced passengers nursing a drink or a snack for long periods of the flight in order to keep their masks down when the flight crew is around. They are hoping that a new federal order requiring mask wearing will make their jobs easier, writes Johanna Read. “I get that some [people] don’t like wearing them. I don’t like it either,” says JSX flight attendant Roshonda Payne, “but it’s vitally important to keeping everyone safe and protected.”
So, I still have my flights for March 12 to 15. I do not have tickets to the game, as they are not yet on sale. And my other reason for going to the Phoenix area was to visit the Gila Area Indian Reservation, where my parents were incarcerated after Pearl Harbor, during WW2. I have tried to visit this restricted area for almost ten years now. And I am no closer today than I was back then!!! Very frustrating.
Coincidentally, Scottsdale was our last destination prior to the Covid lockdown. We left Scottsdale a day early, with Lexi, and drove back home in a single day! Interestingly, we left early since it rained in the Valley of the Sun for several days!
But Scottsdale does have many places that I enjoy. Some of my favorite restaurants are here, including my favorite Tex Mex place, Los Sombreros. The weather is fantastic for hiking and biking. Though I no longer play golf, the courses here are among my favorites, like Troon, and TPC.
Travel and Leisure says: Hiking trails from easy strolls to challenging climbs are great exercise, and they come with the bonus of spectacular views. The McDowell Sonoran Preserve, 35,000 acres of undeveloped land, provides accessible and dog-friendly trails. If you prefer your outdoor fun on the water, Scottsdale has plenty of that too. The Salt River and Verde River provide for canoeing, kayaking, stand up paddleboarding, fishing, and more. In town, explore the city’s museums and outdoor art, and spend some time in walkable Old Town.
Some of my dear friends are no longer here, as some have moved away (Debbie), and some have passed on (John). But new friends await, of that I am certain.
And there is always the charm of the desert, so foreign to most of us city dwellers. Just the famous Saguaro cactus, often towering above us, seems to create a totally different expectation. I love to browse around Old Town Scottsdale. Two Scottsdale standards, the Pink Pony and Don and Charlies are gone. Town Lake in Tempe sounds good for an afternoon of paddleboats and water balloon fights.
I was able to get tickets to a game over in Phoenix, the home of the Milwaukee Brewers. Giants games were sold out immediately to spring training season ticket holders. Scalpers are trying to get well over $150 per ticket on resale. I remember the “good old days” when we could just walk up to the gate, buy tickets, and sit just about anywhere my son could catch foul balls.
If nothing else, it will feel great to get on a plane, rent a car, check into a hotel, and dine out somewhere.