Outfielder Andre Ethier signs balls for people at Camelback Ranch in 2012.

Outfielder Andre Ethier signs balls for fans at Camelback Ranch a few years ago.

The blue is on the green again, and it means that baseball is on its way.

Usually this time of year, Steve and I pack up the Saturn and head to the Grand Canyon State to see the Dodgers up close and personal at Camelback Ranch. Often, we get to meet up with my nephew Daniel and his girl, Jaycee. We all drink beer in our favorite seats in the shade and watch the Dodgers limber up for the new season.

The last time this actually happened was just after I got laid off from my job in 2012. The trip had already been planned, and just as I was hitting the road for Arizona, my chickenshit boss called to say my 22-year career with the Los Angeles Times was over. Although this put a damper on the outing to Glendale, we still ended up having a great time, visiting my dad and his wife, and playing pool until all hours of the night at a Holiday Inn off the I-10. My nephew Daniel owes me a lot of marbles!

Last year, I was mad at the Dodgers, so we didn’t go to Spring Training because we were boycotting them. Halfway through the season, however, they started playing real well and had a remarkable run that made me love them again.

Now, I’m a 2014 season ticket holder, but I’m also a documentary filmmaker in the midst of a rugged production schedule, so Camelback will have to wait ’til next year. But in the meantime, there’s TV. I got to watch my first Dodger baseball game of the season yesterday. Kershaw got pounded, but I know he often does in the first games of the year, so I’m not worried.

The madness is beginning again. Vin Scully, Dodger Dogs, the Manna from Havana, and King K on the mound. Thank heavens for baseball!

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