Boston Red Sox at Scottsdale Stadium Circa 1958-59.

Boston Red Sox at Scottsdale Stadium Circa 1958-59.

Arizona’s got a lot of major league attractions: canyons (Grand), deserts (Painted), history (Tombstone), cities (Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tucson, Flagstaff … ). And don’t forget Major League Baseball.

When I was 14, my greatest pleasure in life was baseball and rooting for my hometown New York Mets. And so I was heartbroken when my parents moved my family and me far from New York, and far from the Mets, to the desert state of Arizona. It was 1978, which meant that Arizona really was a desert to me: a state without its own Major League team. But an oasis was soon revealed in what would prove to be among the most serendipitous and fortuitous moments of my life. While riding on the school bus one morning, I heard a familiar sound in the distance — the crack of a bat. No sooner had I thought I’d caught a whiff of freshly cut grass than a small ballpark came into view. At once the world was green and good again: I had discovered the Chicago Cubs, Hohokam Stadium in Mesa, and spring training baseball in Arizona.

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