Spring Training 101

Last weekend I came out to Arizona to watch the first two games of Spring Training. I had the chance to get some autographs and take some selfies with the players. It was an exhausting day and process all around. From getting to the field at 8am to standing in line for autographs for three hours, while getting pushed up against the railings. Getting ready for Spring Training and trying to get autographs isn’t as simple as it sounds. I had a few people reach out to me to ask me for tips in order to prepare correctly. I will still be attending Spring Training for the next three weeks, so I will probably come up with more tips as I go. If you’re interested in following the updated tips you will find the thread pinned on my Twitter profile, (@dodgers_randi).

  • First things first, check the weather before heading out. Yes, it’s Arizona, but it was miserably cold this past weekend and I wasn’t prepared cuz it’s supposed to be Arizona. You’re going to be outside for hours. Pack right.
  • On weekends you need to get there no later than 8am and I would aim even earlier if you’re able. Haven’t done weekdays yet, but I heard it’s about half as many people.
  • The facility doesn’t open until 9am but most people start lining up outside between 6-6:30am. This is just the beginning of standing in line. So bring plenty of water/snacks or eat a lot before going.
  • There are no bathrooms available until the facility opens. Even then I’m not sure where those are at. But, if you’re going with someone there is a CVS less than 2 mins from the field. Have them save your spot and go to the bathroom there.
  • Parking is free so don’t worry about having to deal with that if you go in and out. But once it hits 9am there’s no more holding spots. It’s a free for all.
  • The best spots to do autographs seem to be at the main gate players walk out of and the gate they walk out of when they’re coming off the field. They tend to start there if signing. Middle spots can get skipped over.
  • The facility opens at 9am and players don’t usually come out until about 9:30-10. So again, a lot of standing around and waiting.
  • Players will not sign before practice, so don’t even bother asking. If you’re going to ask, ask nicely. Don’t yell at them to sign. Try saying “when you’re done I’d love if you come back and sign.”
  • Sometimes they tell you they’ll come back and they do. Sometimes they’ll ignore you. Try saying good morning to them. Remember they’re normal people too.
  • Please understand that this is these players’ careers and jobs. This is how they make a living and support their families. Don’t get angry and yell at them if they don’t sign for you. You ruin it for everyone else.
  • If you’re in the front of the signing section you will get pushed and you will be pushed up against the railing and it hurts. If you can’t handle small tight spaces, don’t go.
  • When asking for a player to sign don’t sit there and scream their name nonstop. They know you’re there and they tend to get bothered by it and signless. Once they get close by just ask them nicely.
  • BE PATIENT. It’s a long and tiring day, especially if it’s hot. Sometimes players sign a lot sometimes they don’t. It’s just luck of the draw.
  • If you’re not dying to get autographs, ask for a picture with the player. It’s easier for them to lean over real quick and take a pic then to sign.
  • Dennis Santana came and took a picture with me and ignored everyone else cuz they wanted autographs. Plus taking your selfies back to get signed is always a fun experience.
  • If you want to stick out, make a cool sign or bring a cool item to get autographed. Players see that stuff more and are more inclined to sign it.
  • Know your players, please. Don’t call them the wrong name or say out loud “who is this?” Yes, people do this and it’s embarrassing.
  • Don’t be an asshole and push the little kids in front of you. Yes, we all want autographs, but it’s not worth hurting a child. Plus if you help the kid players tend to go to them more.
  • Be prepared with your stuff that you want signed. Have your own open with the cap off and the item ready to be signed when the player walks by. There are hundreds of people there. If you’re not ready you’re SOL.
  • DON’T SHOVE YOUR ITEMS IN A PLAYERS FACE. I saw someone do this to Kershaw and he got pissed and grabbed the guy’s jersey and threw it back at him. Personal space, guys.
  • Say please and thank you. Common courtesy goes a long way.
  • Be able to say facts about the players, it helps get their attention. Bring up their minor league accomplishments or college or a fun comment about their dog. Trust me.
  • Bags are not checked when you go into the facility, only the game. So don’t worry about food and all that.
  • You will have to wait about 2-3 hours for the players to finish practice before they’ll sign. If a player tells you they’ve gotta go and can’t sign. Respect that.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for things. Just do it nicely. I saw Brock Stewart walking back with a ball and I asked for it nicely and he threw it to me. I saw Puig throw batting gloves and another guy gave a kid his bat.
  • If you don’t care about autographs go stand outside the facility behind the practice fence. You may catch some souvenir balls from BP.
  • Make sure you bring the right pens to sign the right materials. This may be the most important part. Do NOT use a sharpie on a baseball. Do NOT buy a cheap fake baseball. Autographs ALWAYS fade. Get an official Rawlings MLB ball and use a blue ballpoint pen. Black fades quicker.
  • You have no idea how many people I saw have Kershaw sign that Dodgers logo baseball with a marker. That autograph is ruined and will disappear in a couple of years. Spend the $15 on a ball. Research the right pens and markers to use for other items. Buy new pens for ST.
  • Make sure to check out the whole facility. There are about 12 baseball fields in Camelback I believe. You’re bound to run into other players throughout Camelback.
  • If you do see a player out in the open just respect what they’re doing before walking up right away. I saw Grant Holmes watching a game once and asked for a selfie and left right after. Don’t bug them.
  • At the end of the day, we all want to be around our favorite players. Just respect them and their space. Don’t touch them and don’t be a dick. They don’t have to do any of this for the fans.
  • The line for the games can get stupid long depending on who they’re playing. So get there early for the game and if you don’t need to bring a bag or purse in there’s a shorter line.
  • When trying to get a players attention use their first name. Everyone can read the name on the back, but not every fan knows their first name.

If you have any more questions about Spring Training feel free to reach out to me on Instagram or Twitter at @dodgers_randi. Or you can email me at randi_radcliffe@yahoo.com. Good luck and hope you come out with the autographs you want!

One thought on “Spring Training 101

  1. Thank you randi these are all great advice and yes be ready to be patient,and good luck to all baseball season has officially arrived happy autograph everyone,peace

    Like

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