Cactus League calls to HarbourCats fans

Victoria HarbourCats organize Cactus League Spring Training group tour to Phoenix in March

Darlene and Dave Cockle are flying to Arizona for spring training in March. The Saanich couple are diehard baseball fans and are joining other Victoria HarbourCats season ticket holders and former pro baseball player Steve Sinclair to watch Major League Baseball Cactus League teams

As lifelong baseball fans, Dave and Darlene Cockle are eager to start baseball season early.

The trip to Safeco Field (and King Dome prior to that) is an annual pilgrimage in the Cockle household (sometimes twice a season) but for the first time, the couple is making a baseball-specific trip past Seattle.

The Royal Oak couple were among the first to purchase tickets to the Victoria HarbourCats new Cactus League Spring Training group tour to Phoenix in March. The tour is organized by the West Coast Baseball League team and the Flight Centre. It includes return flights to Phoenix, hotel stays, tickets to two pre-season Major League Baseball games, meals and more.

“It’s a great tour for a baseball fan,” said Dave, known to many as the chief of the Oak Bay Fire Department. “I’ve been to AA minor league games in Myrtle Beach [S.C.] and Indianapolis [Ind.] during other trips and I love the culture. And who better to guide the tour, than former Mariners pitcher Steve Sinclair, he knows the game and the area.”

That “minor league culture” is also what the Cockles enjoy as HarbourCats season ticket holders. The two sit under the cover of the grandstand at Royal Athletic Park, just as they did for the Seals (2008 to 2010), the Royals (2004) and the Capitals (2003). Dave supported baseball in Victoria since the Mussels took the diamond in the late 1970s.

The decision to organize a tour is to “expand” the baseball season for HarbourCats’ fans, said the team’s general manager and part owner, Jim Swanson.

“We have a condensed season, so expanding the interest in the game is part or our mandate,” Swanson said. “People talk about the ideals of spring training, allure of spring training, and this will allow them to do some behind-the-scenes tours.”

The trip leaves March 18 with tickets to the March 19 matinee between the Texas Rangers and Arizona Diamondbacks and March 20 matinee between the Seattle Mariners and Cleveland Indians.

Guests will be able to play catch on the field and take some swings. The trip includes an open day for fans to shop, or take in another baseball game if they please.

“Visiting the Cactus League is a bucket list thing to do for us,” said Darlene,  before shoeing young springer spaniel Edgar (named for the Mariner great Martinez) down from the table.

The HarbourCats season runs from June to August. There are several spots available for the Cactus League trip. The club is also organizing a September trip to Seattle when the Toronto Blue Jays visit.

For more information, visit HarbourCats.com.

 

reporter@saanichnews.com

 

 

Just Posted

Double lung transplant gives West Shore man second chance

Co-owner of West Shore Barber Shop grateful for every minute of the 16 years transplant has provided

Hallmark movie filming in Oak Bay

Shooting for ‘Sunshine’ continues into June across Greater Victoria

City says traffic pattern on Bay Street Bridge will stay as is until October

Commuters began facing long waits on Tuesday morning after the east-bound lane was closed

Home where Proctor murder took place removed from Langford’s Affordable Housing Program

Langford woman almost purchased home, decided against it after hearing history

PHOTOS: Victoria youth continue to gather for climate action

Local students participated in a global movement calling for climate action

New airline regulations bring compensation for tarmac delays, over-bookings

Some of the new regulations will roll out in July, while others are expected for December.

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve investigating after sea lion found shot in the head

Animal is believed to have been killed somewhere between Ucluelet and Tofino

POLL: Were you satisfied with the Game of Thrones series finale?

Millions gathered in front of their televisions Sunday night to watch the… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of May 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C. port workers set to strike on Monday in Vancouver

A strike at two container terminals would affect Canadian trade to Asia

Volunteers already rescuing fry from drying creekbeds around Cowichan Lake

It’s early but already salmon fry are being left high and dry

So, they found ‘Dave from Vancouver Island’

Dave Tryon, now 72 and living in North Delta, will reunite with long-ago travelling friends in Monterrey, Calif.

Scheer says it would take Conservatives five years to balance budget

Scheeraccused the Liberal government of spending $79.5 billion of previously unbudgeted funds

Most Read