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Banana Boat Lawn lures the crowd

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — John and Marilyne Pettigrew settled under some shade at the Banana Boat Lawn to watch the Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres play Thursday afternoon. Their reason for being out on the grass at Salt River Fields was as good as anyone else’s.

“It’s his birthday!” Marilyne exclaimed.

The couple had won lawn tickets online, which explained their presence at the game.

The lawn attracts spectators for a number of reasons. Yes, it’s Phoenix and the temperature can go north of 80 degrees at some of the Spring Training games. And the price is right: $9.

But it’s also a reason for kids to throw a ball against the lawn wall or to roll down the hill. Other people lay prone on their blanket and chat.

Becky Delahoyde fears no sun. She is a Phoenix native, so the heat doesn’t bother her. She props herself on a bleacher seat on the grass right under the sun and watches the game. She only needs two things to stay fresh.

“Beer and water, yep,” she said.

There are other ways to beat the sun. At the top of the lawn, people lather on sunscreen from free Banana Boat dispensaries. A walking lemonade stand treks through the grass in search of a customer.

And the scoreboard in the middle of the two lawns? It provides some shade for those trying to evade the sun.

That’s exactly where Ed Mirra and his son Joseph planted themselves for the game. With Joseph on spring break, the two traveled from Philadelphia to see the Diamondbacks, their favorite team. The elder Mirra chose the lawn so his son could play with other children.

“I think it’s good for him to run around,” Mirra said. “There’s probably kids out here that will run around with him.”

Kids on spring break towards the end of March? So it is. Cindy Interdanato brought her kids out to the park to run around, play games and hang out, aside from watching baseball.

And to keep cool?

“That’s difficult,” Interdanato giggled. “We’ve got hats, that’s about it.”

Garrett Bair didn’t even think about how to stay cool before he came to the game. He just wanted to spend the day with his son and enjoy the outdoors. The lawn was the place to be for them.

“We just like to sit back and relax,” Bair said. “The grass is a nice spot to park your rear.”

It’s no wonder then that the lawn is a popular spot for attendees each and every game. Sam Sanchez usually sits in the stadium but decided to make today his first time out on the grass.

“I love it,” he said. “The grass is like carpet.”

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