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Scottsdale to hold spring training festival this weekend

Scottsdale, Ariz. -- Cactus League baseball will soon be underway, and Scottsdale will celebrate by holding a party this weekend.

The city will host a free spring training festival Saturday on the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall. There will be a lot going on, including several things where you might learn something, according to City of Scottsdale spokesman Mike Phillips.

"We're going to have the ‘Science of baseball' scientists," Phillips said. "There's going to be a lot of interactive educational activities for kids. We're going to have a history component through the Spring Training Play Ball Experience museum."

There will also be great food and more there.

"We'll have the stadium hot dog challenge, where we will select the best tasting hot dog from all of the stadiums in the Cactus League," Phillips said. "We're going to have a lot of baseball memorabilia for sale there, as well as a sports card show. There will be a lot of hall of famers represented by the Ferguson Jenkins Foundation there."

Jenkins is a Hall of Fame pitcher who played for the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox.

The San Francisco Giants, Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies all have their Cactus League spring training at stadiums in Scottsdale. Players from the Giants and the Diamondbacks will be at Saturday's event.

The event will run from noon until 5 p.m. For more information, go to www.SpringTrainingFestival.com.

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Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.

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