DeMichele right at home in Cactus League
White Sox prospect grew up just 28 miles from team training facility in Arizona
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Chicago White Sox travel almost 1,700 miles for Spring Training in the Cactus League, but for Minor League prospect Joey DeMichele, the six-week stay in Arizona is only a 28-mile drive from where he grew up.
"It's cool because this is home for me," said DeMichele, who spent a few weeks with the big league club at Spring Training before being sent down. "There are people coming here from all over the world for Spring Training, and it's like my backyard. I didn't realize how great it was."
For many White Sox players, the Spring Training season means having to make adjustments, and not just to their game. Some players need to adapt to weather, traffic and Arizona culture -- but not DeMichele.
DeMichele spent his childhood in Scottsdale, attending Arcadia High School, just a short drive from the White Sox Camelback Ranch home in Glendale. He later received a scholarship to play baseball at Arizona State University, where he gained national attention as a Major League prospect.
"[Arizona State] was awesome. If you grow up in Arizona as a kid, and you get the opportunity to play there, you have to take it," DeMichele said. "With all the tradition, there's no other option. If that school is interested in you, you go."
For other players in the clubhouse, DeMichele is an authority on 'where to be' in the state.
"A lot of my friends on the team ask me questions about what there is to do," DeMichele said. "If they want to hike, I send them to Camelback Mountain. Scottsdale gets a lot of publicity too."
Another player on the White Sox familiar with the Grand Canyon State is newly acquired left fielder Adam Eaton, who grew to enjoy the desert in his two years playing for the D-backs.
"It's a beautiful thing when you can get out every day to play," Eaton said. "I don't know how many days it's sunny [in Arizona], but it has to be over three hundred days, which means you can get out and improve every day. You can't do that in the Midwest."
The Midwest is about to become home for Eaton, a slightly bigger adjustment than a move from the D-backs' Salt River Fields Spring Training site to Chase Field, just a short drive away.
"I have to pick up everything and move, so it's going to be a little bit of a difference moving everything -- moving yourself, your car, your wife and if you have a family," Eaton said. "It's a big transition and I'm going to find out how it all works."
Focusing on Spring Training, Eaton said players feel differently about playing baseball in Arizona. He said the weather makes the difference, depending on your goals.
"As a hitter, I would say Arizona is my favorite place for baseball," Eaton said.
Morgan Chan is a mass communications graduate student at Arizona State University. This story is part of a Cactus League partnership between MLB.com and Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.