In photos: Spring Training trip includes Puig, Posey, Rollie Fingers and more |

In photos: Spring Training trip includes Puig, Posey, Rollie Fingers and more

TRUCKEE, Calif. — They had just “searched” our bags and released us into the friendly confines of Peoria Sports Complex when my father-in-law blurted out what was on his mind: “This is like heaven!”

We nodded in agreement and continued on, drawn by the invigorating sound of baseballs popping leather.

Passing up a $9 beer, we scouted the grassy slope beyond the outfield wall and claimed our patch, above the visiting Giants bullpen, with an unobstructed view of the pristine ballfield.

We spread out beach towels and plopped down in the warm Arizona sun. Suddenly, the beer vendor’s selling pitch — “ice cold” — had a convincing ring.

We proceeded to watch nine innings of preseason major league baseball, surrounded by smiling faces and positive vibes, then repeated the process for the night game of our choosing.

Such is life as a fan at Spring Training, which could be argued is one of the happiest places on Earth. I certainly thought so as I joined my wife and father-in-law on their annual vacation to Phoenix during the last week in March.

Spring Training is a must-experience for any baseball fan, or even the non fan who enjoys sunshine and good company. We met interesting people from all over the country, snapped photos of our favorite players and watched as much baseball as time would allow.

Heavenly, indeed.

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