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The Homecoming of Spring Training

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By Ellen Bell, AngelsWin.com Staff Reporter - 

Homecoming usually happens in the fall, but for me

It's all about the spring.

That's when we get to return to the field, rediscover our team, and reconnect with our passion for baseball.

Spring Training is more than just a month of practice games that don't count.

It's the beginning of our favorite season, when we get to dream big dreams and hope for the best. Last season's disappointments take a back seat to this summer's possibilities. 

At Spring Training..we all get to think that this could be our year.

Every March, Angels fans flood into Arizona seeking their own kind; the other baseball lovers who can't even wait one more month to watch nine innings. In many ways, Spring Training is more than just a sporting event.

It's a family reunion.

That's how I feel every time I attend AngelsWin Fan Fest. I get to see my fan friends, the faces behind the screen names. For many of us, it's the only chance we'll get to hang out, commiserate about where we fell short last year, and talk about the games yet to be played. Think of it as an Angels Support Group: and we all share the same sickness; die hard love for our team.

This year, Fan Fest begins with a Friday Night dinner shared with invited players and sports writers. Front office big wigs stop by and a few minor leaguers are always on hand, happy to meet the fans. I'm sure other past attendees will agree with me when I say that it was doubly sweet seeing Kole Calhoun and Matt Shoemaker's big league successes after meeting them when they were just trying to make the team. 

In fact, I have many happy FanFest memories; meeting Jerry Dipoto,  Tim Salmon and Arte Moreno,  watching Victor Rojas buy the whole line at the bar a drink, and sharing my love of Angels baseball with my 88 year-old Dad. 

But I have to admit my favorite part of the Fan Fest weekend is the Sunday morning, "State of the Team" talk with Tim Mead, VP of Communications. Every year, we congregate at Tempe Diablo Stadium and sit in the sunshine-filled stands, hearing about the organization that we love from an insider's perspective. All while watching the Angels take batting practice on the field in front of us. 

It never fails. I leave Tempe pumped up and primed for another season of Angels baseball.

Why don't you join in on the fun this year? I'll see you there!

To purchase Fanfest '15 tickets today, click here

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While it is difficult to say one part of the weekend is better than another, I do agree that Tim Mead's talk is a very special event.


My favorite, Sleg...


It's relaxing, insightful, engaging and with baseball players from the team we root for taking BP and Fielding Practice as a backdrop. 

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Nice write-up, Ellen. Your blog article pumped me up. I'm ready for some Spring Training goodness and our fanfest weekend! 


See you in two weeks! 


I cannot wait. 



Nice write-up, Ellen. Your blog article pumped me up. I'm ready for some Spring Training goodness and our fanfest weekend! 


See you in two weeks! 


I cannot wait. 

Thanks Chuck...I can't wait either! Go Halos!

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Ellen, your style, your prose, truly captures a moment and paints a great picture. Spring Training is a homecoming, and Fanfest is a wonderful annual tradition. I am so glad you got to share it with your dad. I look forward to seeing you.

Thanks Dave! See you there! This year I'm bringing another Afternoon Angel to join me...can't wait :-)

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Great read, Ellen!

Spring Training is my favorite time of year!  My best friend and I will be there next Thursday for our 12th year in a row!  


My ST consists of the road-trip out to Tempe, checking into the Buttes, walking down the hill to stake a spot on the left-field lawn, meeting-up with our Tempe-crew and sometimes even discussing our teams' prospects for the season over several beers in the sun, while heckling opposing players and some of our rookie-friends and acquaintances.  We've had an opposing rookie get so fired-up that he actually started to climb the fence in a misguided attempt to get to our group...  We had a beer-guy for several years, that would also serve as our after-game guide to Tempe night-life.


After the games, it's about trying to navigate back UP the hill, into the room and a swimsuit, and out to the pool.  One of my favorite memories was when I basically collapsed into the pool after watching a game in 90+ degree heat.  My buddies skipped the pool, and went straight to the pool bar.  When I came-up for air, they were yelling at me.  I think I flipped-em off a few times, before realizing they were telling me that the Hud-dog and Physioc were hanging-out with them and had a beer waiting for me!  I climbed the rocks to collect my beer and hangout.  I also met Arte a couple of years ago, and had Quinlan sign a spare ball, "Quinlan Rules!"


Once we've recovered, we hail a cab to start the night at Dos Gringos and see where it goes from there.  Our second year brought a new tradition in honor of a fellow Angels fan who passed way too soon in life; the "Buttes Memorial Try-athlon!"  Never fear, we're always recovered in time to make next day's game...


See you all out on the lawn next Thursday!  We're pumped to invade the Buttes and the Diablo for lucky 13!

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