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April 19, 1980 - Image 16

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-04-19
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"

Page 6-Saturday, April 19, 1980-The Michigan Daily

-W

Ir

-W

The Michigan Daily-Satu

'Take me out to the ballgame! Take me o

ut to the par

FTER THE LAST out in the
World Series is made and the
champagne has been wiped off
the locker room floor, months
b metimes without any hope that
the cold winter will ever end. Dreams of
those hot summer days spent watching
Abner Doubleday's invention begin to
permeate both sleeping and waking hours.
Homeruns, fly balls, no-hitters, and the
peanut vendors.
The panacea for baseball withdrawal
symptoms is spring training, where you
pay $1 for a hot dog without complaining
and where groupies wait to get their
favorite player's autograph.
If spring break coincides with the return
of the crack of the bat and the thump of
ball-hittipg-mitt, it's time to head for sun-
ny skies, warm temperatures, and
training camp.
March 1 is the day eagerly anticipated
by players and fans alike because baseball
is reincarnated.
For players who spent the past weeks in
the Dominican or Puerto Rican leagues,
the third month of the year is when they
show their stuff in a bid for the starting
nine.
Still other athletes realize as they put on
their cleats that their newly-acquired guts
will be subjected to twists, turns, grunts,
groans, and stretches.
As for the rookies donning major league
uniforms and experiencing their first
camp, a feeling of nerves or awe for living
legends is to be expected. Besides accep-
ting traditional barbs from veterans about
the onset of puberty, the up-from-the-
minors players must prove themselves.
Attending the Chicago Cubs spring
training camp in Mesa, Arizona is a far cry
from the friendly confines of beautiful
Wrigley Field. Instead of the Chicago
skyline in the background, Mesa's Ho Ho
Kam Park is surrounded by mountains on
three sides. The Camelback, Phoenix, and
Superstition mountains are reminiscent of
the one the Von Trapp family climbed in-
the Sound of Music.
The serenity evoked by cacti, Arizona
sun, and palm trees causes quick memory-
lApse. Sub-zero temperatures back in
Chicago and Ann Arbor are forgotten.
But the players must prepare for the
pre-season opener with Japan's Taiyo

Touching, all bases
at spriOng training

By Beth Rosenberg

Whales instead of concerning themselves
with back home because baseball is their
business.
The Cubs work out daily from 10 a.m. to
2 p.m. at Mesa'sFitch Field where three
diamonds permit separate practice for
pitching, fielding, and batting. Baskets of
balls are used with fungo bats to keep
players on their toes.
New Cub manager Preston Gomez has
assumed the reins of the team, and both
players and fans are intent on scrutinizing
the former Los Angeles Dodger.
But Gomez always finds time to chat or
pose with Cubs fans because spring
training is the time young and old can get
to know the team. And he and the players
know without the fans there would be no
baseball.

HICAGO SPORTS-fans are a
special breed. They settle for
day-only baseball, they faith-
fully listen to the games on
W television and radio, and they
alwaysbelieve that this year is "next
year.''
A Chicago sportswriter once said the
Windy City's athletic teams win in 40-year
cycle. The Chicago Bears last won a
championship in 1963, while the Cubs
haven't won a pennant since 1945. But
don't ever tell a Chicago sportsfan that the
Bears have to wait until 2003 or the Cubs
until 1985. They'll never believe it.
The Bears have Walter Payton and the
Cubs have Dave Kingman and the fans
never give up.
Whether it's the hog farmer's wife from

Rockford or the Iowa businessman, they're
all experts. They keep the faith that fifth
place will not be a recurring nightmare.
Besides sporting an in-depth knowledge
of all current players, the fans are pros on
former players.
They remember what almost was in '69
and how the Miracle Mets took away the
Northsiders' glory. The remember Leo
Durocher. Ernie Banks. Don Kessinger.
Glenn Beckert. Ron Santo. Billy Williams.
Don Young. Jim Hickman. Ferguson
Jenkins. Bill Hands. Randy Hundley. Kent
ny Holtzman.
No one will stop talking about the '69
team until another roster comes close
again.
But back in 1969, baseball was different.
Instead of the usual talk about RBIs and
batting averages, the talk at spring
training today is of free agents,
salaries, and contracts.
The Wall Street Journal appears to be
more popular than the Sporting News.
Players and fans alike debate whether
Cubs' pitcher Bruce Sutter's salary of
$700,000 is justified.
Rumors run rampant about a strike
while first baseman Bill Buckne'r flies to
Tampa to meet with attorney Marvin
Miller and the Players' Association.
Seven major league teams train in
Arizona, and offer the baseball fan an op-
portunity to see the sights of the Grand
Canyon state while watching athletes
from the Oakland A's to the Cleveland In-
dians.
Several Japanese teams practice near
Mesa. The Taiyo team, who stayed at the
same motel as the Cubs, brought their own
chefs and interpreters from the Orient and
offered a few table tennis lessons at
poolside.
For a change of pace from baseball, the
cities of Mesa, Tempe, Scottsdale provide
numerous shopping malls, tourist spots,
and restaurants. Scottsdale's famous Fifth
Avenue boasts as many expensive stores
as its New York counterpart.
Arizona State University in Tempe is a
ten-minute ride from Mesa for those who
can't live without a collegiate atmosphere.
The ASU Sundevils' campus is the home of
the Fiesta Bowl and recently was a host of
the NCAA basketball regionals.
For those who are not avid sports fans, a
trip to spring training is a chance to soak
up the sun and enjoy getting away. But for
the true blue baseball fan, there's nothing
better.

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