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The Rocky Mountain Collegian

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The Rocky Mountain Collegian

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Hamblin: Spring training fever starting to settle in

Hamblin
Hamblin

After several weeks of trudging through ankle-deep piles of snow, slipping across sheets of ice that CSU likes to call a clear side walk and bundling up to the point you recreate the scene from “A Christmas Story” where the little boy falls and cannot get up because he is wearing so many layers, frigid cold has subsided.

Students this week have been able to roll down the windows, show off those outdated Hawaiian shirts and walk to class in a light jacket in the comfort of mid 50-degree weather.

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While walking into class this week, students have not had to check their hands and feet for hypothermia as the spring season has sprung in colorful Colorado. As we reach the halfway point of February, basketball season is coming to a close the beginning phase of baseball season is on the rise.

The time has come to dust off, unpack and put on our favorite Major League Baseball attire for the start of spring training a week from today. Pitchers and catchers reported last week to loosen up throwing arms and mitts while home runs, no hitters and seventh-inning stretches are just around the corner.

Spring training is one of the greatest experiences a sports fanatic or even the average joe of sports can have in their entire life. With enough room in the outfield to catch fly balls, extend ones toes deep into the freshly cut grass and enjoying a grilled hot dog with the works (mustard, sport peppers, grilled onions, relish and tomatoes), spring training is worth every penny.

Instead of splashing into the clear waters of Cabo San Lucas, skiing down the slopes of Vail, Breckenridge or Aspen along with taking one too many shots at Lake Havasu, think of an ice cold beer steps behind your favorite team’s dugout. Spring Break is so hyped up to be about partying and raging when really, the best place on earth to be during the week off of classes is the ball park.

Who does not like sun, sports and keeping score?

Compared to the prices of an expensive airline ticket, the rising gas prices or even a five-star hotel room, the majority of spring training is 13 hours south of Fort Collins in Scottsdale, Mesa, and Phoenix, Ariz. In the sweltering heat of the sun, no spring break is complete without catching a foul ball or even scouting prospective rookie of the years.

On average tickets are sold for $12. For the price of two Chipotle burritos, attendees are accessible to the general admissions outfield which needless to say is the best seat in the house. Fans are able to mingle with ease to roam around the outfield to get the best photo snap shot of the beautiful Arizona views and outstanding MLB players. For an increased price of $28, spectators are accessible to the outfield reserved which is located between the grass and each baseline, but no seat at a ball park is a bad seat.

At the start of every season, fans get their hopes up of a stellar season when the reality is your favorite team will let down before the  All-Star break. Baseball has a season of 182 games, one loss and one win does not a make a season though an experience at spring training will change any baseball followers life.

With every season, I personally get my hopes up of the Chicago Cubs stunning the world and winning its first World Series since 1908. Though I know even with top recruits infielder Emilio Bonifacio and first basemen Anthony Rizzo, I can still say with an open mind the Cubs will win some time before I die.

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Then again, baseball is about the love of the game not about the amount of hardware you have collecting dust in an office not visible to the public eye.

For all Colorado Rockies fans out there, you are in the same dilemma as myself as your team is not going to win this season either. The loss of Todd Helton does not only bring tears to the eyes of die-hard Rockies fans, but it also brings question to the replacements needed to bring runners home and crowds to Coors Field.

The quote from “A Cinderalla Story” describes it best, “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” In this context, do not let the fear of your favorite team keep you from cheering them on during a nail-biting, action packed spring break experience.

There is just nothing like it. Play ball.

Collegian Assistant Sports Editor Haleigh Hamblin can be reached at sports@collegian.com and on Twitter @haleighhamblin. 
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