Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.
Afternoon: Program Registration: 4:30- 5:15 p.m. After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar desk in the hotel conference room to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, other important information, and to learn when and where the Orientation session will take place. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in. Orientation: 5:30 p.m. We will gather in our private meeting room where the Group leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. The Spring Training schedule of games is not finalized until December and so the schedule that follows is tentative and a representative outline. Guest speakers and the times of games are likely to change. In the unlikely event that a game is rained out, an alternative activity will be provided (no refunds). Free time is limited and unscheduled at this time. We suggest that those who wish to explore the area in greater depth arrive early or stay on after the program. Please contact the hotel directly if you wish to make additional arrangements. Periods in the schedule labeled “Free Time and “At Leisure” offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable while going out to explore on your own, engaging in available activities independently, making new friends among fellow participants, or simply relaxing. The Group Leader will always be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
Dinner: In the hotel restaurant, the dinner buffet includes savory dishes and entrées that vary nightly plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.
Evening: Continue getting to know your follow participants, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.
Activity note: Scottsdale Stadium is approximately 4 blocks from the hotel so the Group Leader will lead those who desire to walk to the stadium, while those who prefer not to walk can either take the free Old Town Trolley (1/2 block from the hotel) to the stadium or a "golf cart" shuttle from the hotel.
Breakfast: At the hotel, enjoy a cooked to order breakfast including omelettes.
Morning: Throughout the program, we’ll meet wonderful baseball personalities who have intimate and often long histories with the game. Sports writer Charlie Vascellaro will join us and provide unique perspectives on baseball history and personalities. In addition to his lifelong love of baseball, Charlie is a bibliophile, historian, raconteur, traveler, and author of a biography on Hank Aaron. Charlie took part in his first Road Scholar program in 2004 and has been a regular guest ever since, delighting our folks with Spring Training chronicles. We’ll take a short break before gathering to head over to our first baseball game.
Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like at the ballpark. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.
Afternoon: Game 1! Our program was planned far in advance when details of games were not available. The information will be posted on our website when available and included in preparatory materials sent following enrollment. The Cactus League was launched in 1946. There are now 15 teams that practice and play in a relatively tight radius surrounding Phoenix, Arizona. From MLB.com: “It is here where the ballparks are surrounded by mesas, rock formations and cacti. It is here where stars stretch and hit and throw and play games in the laid-back atmosphere of Minor League-sized parks with beautiful, warm and frequently sunny backdrops.” We’ll return to the hotel after the game.
Dinner: Hotel buffet.
Evening: Rodney Johnson is the official scorer for the Arizona Diamondbacks. He is the President of the Arizona Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR). Rodney has also served as an expert witness for the U.S. Attorney's Office in the field of sports memorabilia and has written numerous published articles on baseball and baseball history. A baseball trivia fanatic, Rodney’s stories and insights are enthralling.
Breakfast: Hotel buffet.
Morning: Following our presentation, we will take a short break before we travel as a group to attend game 2 of the week.
Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like at the ballpark.
Afternoon: Game 2! The information will be posted on our website when available and included in preparatory materials sent following enrollment. Spring training has been a fact of MLB life since 1886! It was “invented” by the Chicago White Stockings (now the Cubs) who held their spring training in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Many other teams followed suit, attracted not only by warmer weather but also the idea that healing waters could help players. The move to Arizona in 1946 was also related to a local hot spring.
Dinner: Hotel buffet.
Evening: Tonight's presentation will be by Jacob Pomrenke, Director of Editorial Content for the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR). He is the editor of “Scandal on the South Side: The 1919 Chicago White Sox” as well as numerous articles on the games early 20th century corruption scandals. Jacob will discuss and reveal the little known corruption related to the New York Giants in the era from 1902-1932 when manager John McGraw led them to 10 national league pennants and three World Series championships.
Activity note: Walking about 1 mile at stadium; some stairs (can be avoided if need be).
Breakfast: Hotel buffet.
Morning: We’ll go for a special private field trip to explore the Arizona Diamondbacks Chase Stadium. We’ll see the dugout, locker room, and museum. Built in 1998, Chase Field is a technological marvel with its retractable roof and 1,300,000 square feet of space. As we go behind the scenes, we’ll see where players, managers, and reporters go about their business.
Lunch: At an eatery near Chase Field.
Afternoon: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.
Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like at the ballpark.
Evening: Game 3! The information will be posted on our website when available and included in preparatory materials sent following enrollment. We’ll go under the lights tonight. Night games have been growing in popularity, with audiences averaging about 35% higher than day games since more people who work can attend.
Breakfast: Hotel buffet.
Morning: At the hotel, we’ll be joined by Bobby Freeman, longtime organist for the Arizona Diamondbacks. We’ll enjoy a performance and sing-a-long of some ballpark classics and laugh as Bobby shares his personal story and favorite moments. When the Diamondbacks rallied to take the 2001 World Series from the Yankees in seven games, could it be that Bobby was the catalyst?
Lunch: On your own to enjoy while at the ballpark.
Afternoon: Game 4! Spring training schedule is announced in November and we will update our schedule at that time. When the Cactus League was formed following World War II, profound changes were taking place throughout the U.S. Branch Rickey of the Brooklyn Dodgers and Bill Veeck, Cleveland Indians owner, were among the prime movers in promoting the idea of recruiting black athletes into Major League Baseball. It was a matter of strengthening the bench, widening the fan market, and simple morality. Commissioner Albert "Happy" Chandler, a former Kentucky governor and senator, said, "If they (Negroes) can fight and die on Okinawa, Guadalcanal, in the South Pacific, hell, they can play baseball in America." As it turned out, the Cactus League offered a more accepting climate than that which Jackie Robinson initially encountered in the Grapefruit League. The rest, as they say, is history.
Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll have a delightful farewell dinner with a plated and served meal to celebrate our program. Coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase. Shave favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends.
Evening: Following dinner we will return to the hotel for a short program wrap-up to reflect upon our week. Then prepare for check out and departure in the morning.
Activity note: Hotel check-out by 12:00 Noon.
Breakfast: Hotel buffet. This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!