Former Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda stands next to his portrait before it is hung at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington in this 2009 file photo. Lasorda, a Catholic, led the Dodgers to eight division titles and two world championships in 21 seasons as manager. (CNS photo/Larry Downing, Reuters)
Former Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda stands next to his portrait before it is hung at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington in this 2009 file photo. Lasorda, a Catholic, led the Dodgers to eight division titles and two world championships in 21 seasons as manager. (CNS photo/Larry Downing, Reuters)

Tomorrow, weather permitting, marks the first full schedule of Spring Training games in the Valley. The 15 teams who train here bring with them the players who are big names today and rookies working their way up. They largely focus on training while in the Valley, but local Catholic efforts are affiliated with a few of the teams:

  • Tommy Lasorda to speak, sign autographs at Seton — The Catholic Preparatory’s booster club will host “Take Me Out to the Ballpark” March 8 with baseball legend (and Catholic) Tommy Lasorda as the key speaker. Lasorda is in his sixth decade with the Los Angeles Dodgers, is a 20-year manager, and is known for his motivational speeches, words of wisdom and humorous anecdotes.

    “We are thrilled to get in the swing of spring training season here in Chandler by welcoming Mr. Tommy Lasorda to Seton Catholic Prep,” Principal Patricia Collins said in a press release. “Mr. Lasorda is a charismatic leader who has inspired his players to perform above and beyond their potential. This is an event for all young people as we at Seton Catholic strive to instill leadership qualities as part of our mission.”  


    Want to join the celebration? Tickets are $60 for adults and $25 for students 18 and younger. Hurry, registration closes Ash Wednesday (March 5).
  • Paz Day with the Chicago Cubs — Join supporters of Paz de Cristo, a Mesa soup kitchen that serves dinner nightly to the area’s homeless and low-income, for a day of Spring Training with the Chicago Cubs.
    The players often spend an evening serving dinner in the dining hall during their Valley visit as well.
  • Watching the Giants can yield giant student scholarships — If you plan to head to a San Francisco Giants Spring Training game at Scottsdale Stadium, feel free to park at nearby Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish (map). For $5, you’ll get to see the parish’s Men’s Club in action and support its quest to raise $7,500 to fund scholarships for eighth-graders heading to area Catholic high schools.
    The Men will be out there for two Scottsdale Festival events too through April 13.
Jesuit Father Dan Sullivan leads prayer on opening day of the St. Francis Xavier Athletic Association's baseball/softball season in this 2013 file photo. The league attracts students from across the Valley. (Ambria Hammel/CATHOLIC SUN)
Jesuit Father Dan Sullivan leads prayer on opening day of the St. Francis Xavier Athletic Association’s baseball/softball season in this 2013 file photo. The league attracts students from across the Valley. (Ambria Hammel/CATHOLIC SUN)

If watching younger athletes — and paying little-to-no entrance or parking fee — is more your speed, look up your nearest Catholic elementary or high school and get a game schedule. The following high schools have decent activity calendars:

You could also head to St. Francis Xavier any Saturday morning between now and Mother’s Day. Young athletes (preschool to eighth-grade) from across the Valley are playing in the St. Francis Xavier Athletic Association.

UPDATE March 3

Check out the trio of mascots who stopped by St. John Vianney School in Goodyear Feb. 28. The school’s middle school math teacher threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the March 1 game.

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