The lawn is the ultimate baseball playground

Mar 14, 2016, 8:00 PM | Updated: Mar 15, 2016, 11:40 am

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Banana Boat Lawn at Salt River Fields is a beach without water. Grass replaces the sand, but the fun and the sun are ubiquitous.

The open-lawn seating is ideal for families with small children or anyone looking to catch a deal with the $11 ticket.

“This is by far my favorite field. It’s got a nice vibe,“ said Scott Macpherson, who is originally from Glasgow, Scotland but has lived in Arizona for 17 years. “We always sit on the lawn so the kids can get out and run around and not disturb other people who are watching the game. The lawn also gives the kids a chance at catching a ball.”

Other fans agree with Macpherson and enjoy the freedom the lawn gives.

“We love it,’’ said Brian Kriesel. “We always come to sit in the grass and soak up the sun. You’re free to roam around; it’s better than crawling over the top of people’s knees and legs. Usually, everybody on the lawn is your kind of people, having fun and you’re going to rub elbows a little, I guess, but that’s fun.”

Dean Scorza, a Florida native and new D-backs fan since moving to Arizona, soaked in his first-ever spring training game at Salt River Fields Monday when Arizona hosted Seattle on another sun-splashed afternoon. Temperature: an ideal 75.

“We love it. It’s very family-friendly and you get to see everything from the outfield,” Scorza said. “We have seats behind home plate for today, but we’re sitting up here for now. It’s the best of both worlds.”

The Banana Boat lawn offers fans complimentary sunscreen provided by Dignity Health.

“I think a lot of people who come from out of town don’t know the Arizona sun and the damage it will do in a day,” Megan Macpherson said. “It’s smart they have the complimentary sunscreen stations.”

D-backs fan Nina Espero described the stations as “brilliant.”

“I literally just looked over there and said, ‘Complimentary sunscreen! I think that’s brilliant,’” Espero said. “I think that’s awesome because sometimes you forget and you’re in a rush to come to the game and you forget sunscreen, so it’s safe and it’s awesome.”

Other fans enjoy the lawn due to its accessibility to players, especially in left field,  where the D-backs’ bullpen is located.

“Now that (Zack) Greinke is pitching today, we wanted to get here early to watch him warm up,” Kriesel said. “Right here in the grass, you can walk over and take pictures.”

Originally from Wisconsin, Bryan Kjer has lived in Arizona for 27 years. He said the closeness of the lawn isn’t comparable to other places.

“The lawn has the best player interactions with the fans. You get stuck in the big multi-million dollar stadiums and you don’t feel like you’re part of the game,” Kjer said. “Here, they take the time to sign autographs and you don’t have to have special tickets to do so. It’s the best time of year to watch baseball.”

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The lawn is the ultimate baseball playground